Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity for phone-intensive interaction with people—some I know, others I don’t. Regardless, at the end of each conversation I stop and reflect on the exchange of words, tone, and delivery style.

I find myself wondering once again, “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?”

When I was in the corporate world, I taught MAGICMake A Good Impression on the Client. One of the tips was to keep a mirror on your desk and smile into it when speaking on the phone.

Mirror - Laurie

With that in mind, I’ve taken my own advice and placed a mirror on my desk so that I smile on purpose and use words, tone, and a delivery style that I myself would welcome.

What kind of “magic” do you use?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

77 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror on the Wall

    • Sandi – There’s no doubt it, I’ve got one of those cat-that-ate-the-canary faces that just barely conceals the mischievous twinkle in my eye. I’m glad you had a good laugh 😉

  1. You are so cute, Laurie! What kind of magic do I use? Hmmm….I try to use the magic of being genuine, of being authentic. It doesn’t always work, but keep trying to go back to the magic of what’s coming up in this moment instead of what ego’s repetition wants to co-opt and attempt to make genuine. If that sentence makes sense!

    • Kathy – I love your type of magic. And agree that Living transparently isn’t always easy, but going back “to the magic of what’s coming up in this moment…” is oh so worth the effort!

  2. That is such good advice. When I am recording my audio podcast I always remember to smile, but I love the mirror on the desk. I think I will using that one. Thanks for the tip. 🙂

  3. oooh! I really like this idea, Laurie. I’m going to fully commit and get a mirror, rather than sorta making do with the reflection on my computer screen. Thank you.

  4. Great tip. We can sometimes lose a connection with the people that we talk with on the phone or through email. It is a good reminder that we need to treat them like we should be treated. Too bad it would seem weird to take a mirror with us and look at it when talking with people in person. 🙂

  5. Laurie, it’s funny, but I always feel that smile in your written words too.
    I try to remember to soften my eyes and smile from my heart. And to recognize at least a spark of divinity in the person or situation.

    • Colleen – I love the word picture you painted: “…remember to soften my eyes and smile from my heart. And to recognize at least a spart of divinity in the person or situation.” Well said. Well said, indeed. Thank you!

  6. Does it not depend on what the conversation is about? For instance, if I were talking to someone who’s just been bereaved, I wouldn’t want to be smiling… sympathetic, yes, but not smiling.

    Your smile is beautiful, by the way.

    • Val – You’re absolutely right. I should have been clear.

      In this case, I was referring to intense (somewhat drama-laden) conversations that can accelerate down a bumpy road fairly quickly if words, tone, and delivery style aren’t kept in check. I’m a naturally upbeat person so I typically don’t use a mirror for a “regular” phone call. But I whip that mirror out rather quickly when I know it’s a conversation where tempers have the potential to flare 🙂

  7. What a brilliant idea! When I was working for a well known insurance company, we had to do a ‘telephone techniques’ course and were told we should always smile on the phone too. Never thought about the mirror, though!

    Be cheerful whenever possible is what I try to do at work and at home. That tends to work.

  8. I really hate talking on the phone, but I agree this is something to bear in mind… it is even more important when talking to someone in person…. a smile on your face when speaking to someone face to face puts the other person at ease and most often elicits a smile in return. Of course, as Val mentioned, it does depend on the circumstances.

  9. Thanks Laurie. I have heard about the smiling but not the mirror … great idea. The mirror may also help us to get out of the head
    Thanks too for your clarification on the “when” of the use of the mirror.
    I too often need to have coaching conversations and other business conversations via the phone (not my favorite mode). When I do I will often light a candle (learned this from Christina Baldwin) to remind myself to be present and also of the energy/presence between, beyond us and available to us.

  10. Laurie what a great question. I have been using Face-time on my iPad recently for communication and I was surprised by the little window to “me” that is present to show me what the other party is seeing. I smile A LOT! I also make all sort of other appropriate and possibly not so appropriate faces depending on what I am receiving from the other party. My face is definitely a window to my tone and delivery. Maybe, mirror practice would be a better way to monitor 😉 all the best of today to you!

    • Terrill – “My face is definitely a window to my tone and delivery.” And a beautiful face it is 🙂

      When I FaceTime and Skype I try to keep my eyes on the little circle at the top of my screen – the camera lens – so it appears to the other person that I’m looking them in the face. That gets old pretty fast, but I send my eyes back there as often as I remember 🙂

  11. Love this Laurie! Especially love direction from your mother you shared in the comments: “Laurie, make your words sweet and tender today, for tomorrow you may have to eat them.” For potentially difficult conversations I try to center myself beforehand to let go of any nagging issues that might be taking up my mental or emotional bandwidth and then focus on being fully present and as empathetic as possible for the conversation. I’ve never tried the mirror, but I’ll have to give it a shot! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Many years ago, I used this mirror-phone technique. I was working in a day care and had to use the director’s phone. The wall behind the phone was mirrored. The person I was talking to knew me well.
    They said, “Hey, Leanne, you sound like you’re in a really good mood, today.”
    Actually, I wasn’t. I was stressed. I was new to the day care, subbing for another staff member. So, I’ll say loudly for all to hear, this technique works. Or, at least, it did for me.

    I recently learnt a new magic trick.
    I try to be positive. And I have much to be positive about. My life is wonderful. But occasionally old recordings will play in my head. I find it hard to ignore them. Now, thanks to a friend, I know how to identify them and what to say in response.

  13. This is an excellent idea. I’m too often trying to accomplish 12 other things while chatting on the phone, I’m sure my face reflects harried stress; that is probably reflected in my voice without intent. I will make a point of trying to be more alert to the conversation, and smile into it. Thanks!

  14. I don’t have much of a need to be on the phone, but I do have office mates, and I must say that your question, “what is it like to be on the receiving end of me” is still just as relevant. Something to really think about!

    • Three Well Beings – I visit nursing homes on a regular basis to sit and visit with the elderly residence. I have the opportunity to see and hear the ways that some of their adult children speak to them and I my heart cringes. That’s when I started asking myself the thought-provoking question: What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?

  15. I love your technique Laurie! The mirror is a way to maintain immersion, but in the end I still think it’s you being yourself, which will always give the person on the receiving end a splendid dose of positive energy. I try being myself, as any feigning never quite works out. And humor is always the great equalizer! Ha!

    • Deb – Excellent! And when you’re speaking with your teenagers, pretend that you’re YOUR mother, speaking with YOU at that age — using the words, tone, and delivery style that would have been welcomed by you…

  16. When I’m talking with people I keep in mind an illustration – you can toss a ball gently so the other person can catch it easily, or you can throw the same ball so hard that it hurts her or even knocks her off her feet. I try to weigh my words carefully, thinking of them as balls that need to be tossed wisely.

    I love your mom’s advice about making your words sweet because you’ll have to eat them tomorrow!

  17. That’s very clever! I love LOVE your optimistic and opportunistic thinking :). Your quote actually is something that I keep in mind on a regular basis — the one about what you are not changing, you are choosing…it’s really awesome. Love everything!

  18. Nice concept! I’ve been thinking of smiles and have been smiling too! 🙂
    Well, still thinking of what kind of magic I would be doing… I could borrow yours if I find none. 🙂

  19. It’s an awesome idea and you have such a charming smile – but, I could never do that – look into a mirror that much. I barely glance at myself when I’m getting ready to leave the house. Can’t stand what I see.

  20. Now that is brilliant advice! I find when trying to effectively communicate a message there a lot of things to juggle, you word choice, tone, body gestures and stance as well as the all important facial gestures. Talking on the phone takes away some of the juggling but you have to be extra cautious. The mirror on the desk and your ‘magic’ acronym makes this form of communication a little bit easier. ~Thea

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