One of my favourite wall plaques is one you have likely seen – it reads:  “Remember, as far as anyone knows we are a nice normal family.”  Families are dynamic, and I think we can agree that at various times (hopefully infrequently) most families are a bit crazy.

It might be a phase, it might be a stage or it might just be a pandemic, but all families feel a bit strained at some time or other. So what do we do about it?

The power of language on expectations

Depending on the household, an announcement of a family meeting is either greeted with much eye rolling, nervous fidgeting or complete bewilderment; they are a waste of time, someone is in trouble or you have never had one before.  In this candid conversation, Ovation communication expert Jan Bailey and counselling therapist Kimberly Schaschl discuss the importance of having a regular family meeting in every household, especially when we are feeling Covid cramped.  Miscommunication, misunderstood communication or no communication at all are all seeds for discord in any family.  But when individual family members are feeling the strain of isolation with family and away from friends and activities that provide outlets, it can be a recipe for disaster.

Family meetings to the rescue!  By providing an outlet, a forum or a platform (call it what you want) where everyone feels safe and comfortable expressing themselves the family meeting crushes issues before they take root.  Granted, it is a process and miracles don’t happen in the first meeting (usually), but with some practice and some willingness – and a few tips from this candid conversation – you are well on the way to improving the health of your family during this pandemic and for the future.

About the contributorS:

In their highly interactive workshops, OVATION speaker trainers have helped countless individuals transform their ability to connect to their audience and deliver authentic and meaningful messages with impact. Now, more than ever, communication with some oomph is an essential skill. At a time when our emotions swing from overwhelmed to irrational, our ability to communicate effectively follows suit and it can be hard to remove the anger, frustration or even fear from our voice, let alone from our message … and that can have all manner of consequences.

Shona Welsh, BA, MCEd, CHRL, CCC is a communication and speaking expert who has won numerous speaking, writing and learning design awards. The author of several books and designer/facilitator of hundreds of international workshops in speaking and communications, she has held international senior executive positions over three decades. She teaches extensively about leadership, communications, and innovation with numerous universities and colleges.

Jan Bailey BA, MAEd is a communication and speaking expert who has designed and delivered hundreds of workshops internationally on public speaking, stage presence, on-camera presentations, and communication. Along with writing and producing a ten-part career development series of books, Jan’s 27-year career has involved extensive on-camera experience as a television host along with being a long-time professor of communications.

Kimberly Schaschl BA BEd M.Ed Psych is a counselling therapist who has worked in the field of mental health and education for over 30 years. She has a wealth of experience assisting clients from school age to adulthood on a wide range of mental health and life management issues. She is a registered member of the College of Licensed Counselling Therapists of New Brunswick.

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