July 2017 - In This Issue:

Recently I pet-sat at a home in Santa Barbara, California. I know, lucky me! One activity that I especially enjoyed during my stay in Santa Barbara was observing a vocal masterclass at the Music Academy of the West. Picture this:

A young opera singer walks on stage, stands in front of the grand piano, and she and her accompanist bow to the audience. The master teacher/opera singer sits to the side of the stage and listens intently. They perform the aria, to my ear, beautifully. Then the teacher asks the singer what the songs is about. She gives a brief answer, and then he asks her to begin the aria again. He stops her after a few bars and then gives her a specific suggestion of how she might approach that section. She sings the passage again, following his directions, and like magic it sounds even better than it did the first time.

They work their way through the piece, and for each short section, he offers suggestions that may include how she breathes, pronounces a vowel, the tempo, or the intent of the character. With each piece of feedback and with practice, the singer transforms how she performs the aria. The teacher has taken what was a pretty piece and made it even more beautiful through the way he gave the singer feedback.

As supervisors, teachers, parents, and partners, what if we gave feedback that way?
  • Ask what the person did/thought
  • Give a specific suggestion for how the person might improve
  • Ask if s/he has questions. Does s/he want to try it in this new way
  • Give the person a chance to practice the new way and feel the change
  • After the person has improved that part, then start the process again with a new part
I believe these simple steps, with practice, will help you to become a master at giving feedback.



Special July book promotion!   

Order your e-books through Smashwords with these coupon codes:

The Key to the Castle
(NU87U) for 50% off 

Cultivating a Mindful Life
Inspired thinking

A workshop for adults who are ready to design the next life chapter. Would you like to rethink your work life? You might want to add some spice to your life or consider new skills or activities to bring into your life. This workshop will help you envision your next steps.

We will dive into fun and engaging thought exercises, discussion, and discovery to help you design and build your life.

Six-week workshop series, 2 hours per session, $150 for series

The workshop uses as its framework the book, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans.

Some of the questions we will answer in the workshop include:
  • What's next for me in my work/life?
  • What action might I take to kick my life up a notch?
  • How might I make a larger contribution in my community?
  • How do I meet people who might be interested in my ideas or from whom I may learn?
In a small group, we'll explore these questions and more. We will have fun. We will be inspired and challenged. We will be curious together. The experience just might change your life.
Please contact Sue with questions and to register. We will decide on the workshop dates/times once we have formed a group. sue at oak-communications dot com or 337.534.0954

Designing Your Encore

This workshop is similar to the one described above except it is for those people who are 50 years old and above. You may be thinking about making a job change or considering adding something new to your life. Perhaps you are planning for retirement or already retired and wonder how you will make this time of your life meaningful. How would you like to live your encore?

Designing Your Next Chapter Webinar

And, if you do not live in Acadiana, this version of the workshop is for you.
Photo of Sue Schleifer

Would you like someone to listen to you deeply, with compassion, and with questions that will break open understanding and new perspectives?

Would you like a partner to help you develop practices to live a healthy, creative, and vibrant life?

Would you like to feel greater satisfaction in your work life but are not sure how to make that happen?

Perhaps you want to develop better communication strategies with your team or learn how to apply the ideas of  Conversational Intelligence in your work or organization?

Contact me for a complimentary consultation to learn how we might work together for your success and happiness.
Cultivating a Mindful Life book cover
The Key to the Castle

Specials for July!


Order your e-books through Smashwords with these coupon codes and receive
The Key to the Castle
at 50% off and Cultivating a Mindful Life (SFREE)


Both books are available for purchase from Amazon (print and digital) and Smashwords and other digital download sites.






Sue Schleifer 
Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting
acorns with sprouts