Hi there, I’m Melissa Hereford
I founded Connector Conversations to help you get what you want out of life, at work and at home.
Be yourself. Get what you want. Build stronger relationships.
I’ve been helping business professionals have more connected conversations for more than 22 years. I’ve worked in learning and development as a trainer, a curriculum designer, and a sales enablement leader.
I’ve created and customized classes for people all over the world, with one outcome in mind: making your life better through conversations.
My lifelong passion and the bulk of my career has been in negotiation training, a conversation skill that we’re required to do daily. Despite using these skills to get your team aligned or get buy in on your ideas, negotiation remains at the top of the list for dreaded conversations.
My interest in negotiation skills comes from the heart of all communication: what we say matters.
Every single class that I taught, every sales person I coached, and every customer I worked with said the same thing: this way of communicating makes my life better, helps me understand what’s important to my peers, my boss, my co-workers, my spouse, my kids…and to me.
Studies consistently show that people find happiness through feeling connected to a community.
And connection is formed through conversations.
It’s through conversations that we decide what to study, where to live, find a job, meet new office mates, connect with mentors and allies, get promoted.
It’s through conversations that we fall in love, share our grandest ideas, our hopes and dreams.
It’s through conversations that we find happiness or sorrow.
Happy people are more likely to meet their quotas and deadlines, to come up with creative ideas, and are more willing to speak up and share them.
Studies have found that happy people are more likely to be successful, not that successful people are more likely to be happy.
I’ve coached people through talking to a boss about a promotion, how to work with a difficult peer, how to negotiate compensation and all the other details of a new job, and how to find your voice when working in an environment where you feel like an outsider.
These challenging situations all rely on our conversations to either bring us together or drive us farther apart.
Women in the US are being promoted in larger numbers than ever before, make up a larger percentage of the work force, and yet are still being dismissed and disregarded in meetings and overlooked for promotions.
We read every day that there’s a crisis of women in leadership, that it may be a lack confidence or a lack of desire.
Many of the women I work with look at the positions above them and see that the women above them are not having fun. Being a woman leader, the only one on the executive team or at the board table is lonely and often comes with insufferable compromises.
Listening to “locker room talk,” having to smile when you’re told that you talk too much, being told that you should smile more. All that and so much more.
Many women say, “No, thank you,” and opt out.
I know that we can do better.
You don’t have to give up who you are to imitate your peers.
Whether you want to meet your sales goals or talk to your spouse, get your team aligned or get your kids to behave, these conversation skills work.
One thing I know to be true: we are happier when we can talk to one another, when we are working toward common outcomes that move our agenda forward.
Everyone, even the most confidant women (like you! and me!), get emotionally triggered by comments and actions that leave us feeling angry, defensive, or quiet. We replay these moments over and over in our heads, wishing we could do it differently next time.
But we don’t know what to do if we don’t have the skills.
What if you had a framework to retake control in those moments, to shift away from reacting intuitively to responding with intention?
Through curriculum, community, and coaching, you will learn to recognize when it happens and retake control of your conversations.
Start with this free guide Three Steps to Tame Your Triggers: Turn your emotional reactions into productive conversations.
Curious about how I got here? It’s not pretty. Read the whole story on the blog, just click here.
Connect with me today and let’s start a conversation. Email me at Melissa@ConnectorConversations.com or comment below.
In her words…how Connector Conversations helped
I was trying to form a professional relationship with someone whose communication style was so different from my own that we were talking around each other rather than with each other.
The relationship was so frustrating that I planned to turn down an otherwise incredible opportunity to avoid having to work with this man.
Once I learned the visual model from Connector Conversations, I was able to clearly say what was so troubling about our communications and get clear about what I wanted to make the relationship work.
The purposeful, meaningful alliteration in the model makes it easy to remember and easy to use as a guide. I have it in my head all the time now!
I was able to change the difficult relationship into one that works well enough for me to take that great opportunity that I would have otherwise turned down. It’s not perfect, but it was enough that he understands the problem and is willing to try.
– Kim W., CEO
I had developed the habit of assuming what others wanted to hear and apologizing unnecessarily. Connector Conversations helped me to see how my over-apologizing was giving away my power and that I needed to not allow my fear of upsetting others to motivate me.
Now I remind myself to be mindful of my choices, and feel confident in what I am doing, without assuming where other people are coming from.
I learned to be curious, to ask rather than to jump to conclusions.
The roleplaying that we did was incredibly helpful as it prepared me for a challenging conversation with a colleague.
Connector Conversations increased my confidence and equipped me with strong communication skills to be more successful at work.
– Paula M., third grade teacher
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