Episode 108: How to Communicate your Message for Money

December 21, 2021

In this episode, Dr. Robyn Odegaard shares concrete ways to communicate to make more money and avoid conflict in business and in life as well as how she wrote 3 books using 3 different processes.

Resources mentioned

Quick Hits Podcast

Contact Dr. Robyn: http://champperformance.com

3 Key Points

Better communication will make you more successful in business.

We each have a unique way of speaking that is as individual as a fingerprint.

How you speak depends on where you grew and what influenced you.


Ellen: Hi and welcome. I’m your host Ellen Violette. And you’re listening to the Books Open Doors podcast, Episode 105 with Dr. Robyn Odegaard. And we’re going to be talking about communication and how what you said isn’t what they heard. And we’re also going to talk about the process that she went through for each of her three books, because she said they were different and I thought that was something interesting that I wanted to hear more about and I think you will too because the thing is not everybody writes the same way. So, let’s do this.

[0:32] Music: Welcome to the Books Open Doors Podcast. Are you a mission-driven speaker, coach, consultant, thought leader, creative entrepreneur, or author who wants more credibility, financial abundance, and wants to make a bigger impact in the world and leave a lasting legacy, and who wants to have fun doing it? Then stay tuned for today’s inspiring podcast with your host, Ellen Violette.

[0:57] Ellen: Okay, we’re back. So, let me tell you about Robyn. She’s a former competitive beach volleyball player turned high-performance psychologist. She facilitates the video podcast Quick Hits, has never met a stranger, loves conversations that twist her brain and make her think. She bike rides, gardens and trains her dog to do circus tricks for fun. And she is here with me today. So, welcome to the call, Robyn.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Thank you for me. I’m excited to have this conversation with you.

Ellen: I am too. We talked a little bit before. And I think what you do is really interesting. And I know that sometimes, people think that they are communicating well and that people understand what they’re saying, and also why they should work with them and they, and it turns out they really didn’t get it. So, I wanted to talk to you about that today. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you became a psychologist, and then how that works out?

[1:58] Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Yeah, absolutely. So, I was always the person, when I was a kid, I was always the person that people who came to for advice. I was just that person. And I also, as a competitive beach volleyball player, I noticed that sometimes, I would be on my game and I could really play and I would be on. And other times, I would show up and I couldn’t make a spike to save my life. And I noticed the same thing about my colleagues and my partner. And I always wondered, like “Why is that? I know I can do this.

This is a skill I have. Why is it sometimes, I really have it, and other times it’s gone? So when I had the opportunity to go to college, which I didn’t do until I was thirty-two. I went to college for the first time at thirty-two, I knew I wanted to understand kind of the human condition, why high performances sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. And I wanted to be able to make that difference in other people’s lives. So, I started studying first with clinical psychology. That’s where I started because that’s kind of where undergrads take you.

And then I had the opportunity in graduate school to look at more of sports psychology, high performance, business psychology, which is much more about human achievement than clinical psychology is. And so, when I started my business, I did a lot of speaking. I talked to a lot of sports teams. And it’s really become now where I consider myself the rock in the hurricane in people’s chaos.

When their life has their expectations and their relationships and what they want and their dreams and what actually happens all collide and it gets a little bit chaotic, I get to be the person that makes sure that they get to live the fulfilled, creative life they want, rather than the default life that we could.

Everybody can live a default life, right? You can get up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed, get up, go to work. And that’s fine if that’s the life that makes you happy, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to live a fulfilled, creative life, then there’s chaos that you’re going to have to manage. And I get to help people do that.

[3:56] Ellen: Yeah. Chaos, let’s talk a little bit about that. I didn’t know we were going to talk about that, but I love that topic.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Well, and so part of chaos in life is what happens to you, and part of it is how you respond to it. And that’s where communication and conflict resolution come in, is your ability to understand how you’re feeling, what’s going on, what the deal is, and then communicate it effectively to the people that are also involved in your life with you to be able to get out of it.

[4:24] Ellen: So, why do you think people have that problem where they think they’re communicating and they aren’t?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Well, so in my book, my second book, “Handling Every Disagreement Every Time”, one of the things I talk about is the communication fingerprint. And that is that each one of us has a unique way of using language that is as unique to us as our fingerprint is. And that’s because how you use language is developed based on where you grew up, who you grew up with, who your friends are, who your teachers are. And so, the more similar someone’s history is to yours, the more similarly they’re going to use language.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: The more diverse someone is, the more diverse their use of language is going to be. And so, there’s a lot of situations where they may be speaking the same language as you, but the way that they put words together is very different. And a good example of that is in Britain, they have a saying, “Don’t throw your toys out of the pram.” And I know what all those words mean, but I didn’t know what they meant together. And so, I had to ask somebody. And basically, what it means here in the US, we would say, “Don’t throw a hissy fit.”

[5:32] Ellen: Oh, okay.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: But that’s what happens is that you think what you’re saying is very clear, that the words all make sense together, but the other person is putting them through their lens, their communication fingerprint, and then they don’t understand.

Ellen: Right. and that’s one thing that comes up with book writing where I’ll work with somebody who is English or is Australian, and suddenly they’ll have something in there and I go, “What does that mean?” Right? And it’s something they understand. And I say, well, if you’re going for the American market, which most people are, because it’s the biggest market, then we’ll make some small changes because people wouldn’t understand what that meant here.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: And that’s the awareness. You have to have the awareness. Especially I see this a lot in the corporate space where they use acronyms and if you get into a culture with people who have been there a long time, they have shorthand that they use in language, and it doesn’t make sense to an outsider, and they don’t even realize they’re speaking it.

[6:30] Ellen: So, what do you suggest people do? Well, are there things that we can do to know if we’re communicating well? I mean, it’s easy when it’s… It’s easy if you have somebody who’s from one culture and one from another, and they can say, “We don’t understand this.” But what if you are talking to people in your own culture and they’re not understanding you, then what?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Well, so the first thing that I always recommend that people do is if you have the opportunity, have a conversation about communication, which seems very meta. But if I talk to you about, “Oh, this is my communication fingerprint, and this is how I use language and this is how conflict resolution works for me”, then you can create an understanding, and you can avoid blind signing someone because you already have an understanding.

But barring being able to do that, it’s always good to ask someone, “What did you hear?” What do you think I just said? And it seems very awkward, but it’s not nearly as awkward as it might sound. Having the opportunity to really ask somebody, “Are we communicating effectively? Is this working?”

[7:30] Ellen: So, do you think it’s good for people to say, “Could you say back to me what I just said?” I heard some people do that.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Yeah. You can. It feels patronizing to say it that way. It feels like you don’t understand me. Let me make sure. Let me check in. So, I don’t recommend that, but I do encourage people to say, “Hey, what do you think? What do you think about that? What are your thoughts on what I said?”

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: And rather than asking them to parrot it back to you, asking them to elaborate on it, because then you’ll understand. And opposite is if I’m talking to you, I have the opportunity to, when you say something to me to say, “Well, this is what I think I heard you say.” And say something, and then you have the opportunity to say, “Oh yeah, that’s what I meant.” Or ,”No, that’s not what I meant at all. Let’s start over.”

[8:17] Ellen: So, what do you think the benefits are of better communicating?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Well, everything is based on communication. I can’t even tell you how often I ask a question and the answer is always, “Oh, well, communicate better.” So I mean, it’s happier. It’s healthier. It’s easier. Life just goes better. It’s more successful if you’re in a business deal. There is nothing on the human condition that isn’t predicated on communication.

[8:46] Ellen: Okay. So, is there any other tips that you want to give them before we move on to the books?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about conflict resolution.

Ellen: Okay.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Because I think that productive conflict is a really big thing and the ability to engage in a disagreement without it becoming a fight. So, productive conflict is not “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

“You’re right, I’m wrong.”

It’s “Let’s find a solution together. And so, saying things like, “Yeah, but,” not productive. This my two least favorite words in the English language, “Yeah, but.” Because it means, I agree with you, but I’m going to disagree with you anyway.

Ellen: Yeah.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: And so, I also don’t like blaming in conversations. It doesn’t help to create blame if you’re having conflict. I talk about the volcano method to conflict resolution, which is, “It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine.” And then it explodes and it’s a disaster.

Ellen: Right.

[9:42] Dr. Robyn Odegaard: So, I always encourage people talk about a problem when it’s little before it becomes a big deal. And that’s going to help you with your conflict every single time.

Ellen: Yeah. The problem is sometimes when it’s not a big deal yet you don’t realize that it’s bothering you. Do you have any tips on that?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: So, it’s interesting that people usually know when something’s niggling at them. And unfortunately, in our culture, where we’ve been taught to just ignore it. And so when people will say, “Oh, I didn’t realize it was a problem.” It’s because they didn’t pay attention to themselves. And so, that’s the biggest thing is notice, notice your psychosomatic response; notice how your body feels, and then start asking yourself “Why? What’s going on? Am I okay? Am I not okay? What do I need in this situation? What do I want in this situation?” Those are our big things as well.

[10:34] Ellen: So, let’s talk a little bit about your books because I thought that was really interesting. We were talking about book writing and obviously, you need to communicate well in your books too.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ellen: Right?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ellen: So, you need to get feedback. I want to start there, so this is kind of a segue. You need to get feedback to find out if people are understanding what it is you think you’re saying. And I find this a lot, especially with titles. People will write a title and they know what their book is about, and so they think everybody else knows too.

And then they’ll come to me and I’ll take one look at their title and I’ll say, “What does this mean?” If I ask somebody, what does this mean? It means, I don’t know what it means and they have a problem, right? So, that is a problem. But anyway, so to segue into the books from there, you said something really interesting, which was that each book had a very different process for you.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

[11:38] Ellen: So, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Yeah. Absolutely. So, my first book, The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams. That’s the first one, Ultimate Guide to Female Teams came out of my dissertation. So, when I did my dissertation, I did some research for a swim team, a D1 swim team and helping them create a team development program. And obviously the academic writing that was in my dissertation was absolutely not going to work for a book.

And so, I had to kind of sit down and look at it and pick out the pieces that I wanted to include in the book and rewrite them to make them more compatible to people who aren’t academic.

[12:17] Unfortunately, I do think I left too much in. I think I left that book longer than it needed to be. It’s probably at least two chapters, maybe three chapters longer than it should have been. And I did cut it down.

There were chapters that I had when I first started writing it that I took out, but I should have taken out more. I had editors. It’s interesting, I had a different editor for each of my books. The first one, I’m not sure that she did a good job of helping me edit the copy down to the point where it could have been. So, that book is longer than I think it should be.

[12:52] The second book was more about people…so, the first book is very focused on athletes. The second one is more business-related. And it started because people started saying to me. “We’d really love business book about conflict resolution.”

And my husband, at one point, said to me, “You really should write that book.
You really have the information.” And so that was a process of sitting down and looking at my first book and saying, “What in here content wise is useful for business.”

And I created index cards and kind of looked at it. And then I also took the blog posts that I had been writing up to that point, because I was blogging once a week. And I took all of those and started integrating them in, like “Where can these fit? Are they useful? Do I need to create segue content?”

And so, that book was born much more out of content I’ve already written and just kind of put together, and then wrote the pieces that had to go to make it work together. And that, so that book from “All right, fine. “I’m going to write this book” to “Ready to Hand to an editor,” only took me six weeks, because I already had so much of the content written. So, that was an easier book to read.

[14:05] The third one is on a completely different topic. It’s called, “How To Feed A Human.” And it’s about my husband and I’s transition from being standard American diet eaters to being whole-food plant-based, eating completely plant based. And so that one I had to go through the process of becoming, and I didn’t know I was going to write a book. I didn’t know that was going to be a thing.

Ellen: Right.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: But then when we got through it and we ended up starting the Whole Food Muscle Club, which is an online resource for people who want to move to being plant-based, then the question was, “Well, how did you do it?” And that got to be the question we started asking. And so then I had to sit down with my husband and say, “How did we do it? What did this look like?” And so we had to backtrack and look at “How did we make this transition? What do we want to include? How much science do we want to include?” because a lot of books about nutrition are very, very detailed in science.

And I didn’t want to write another one of those. I wanted to write one that was easy to read, easy to understand, and maybe even fun. And so that process was very different… my husband and I worked together on it. He did all the graphics because he’s an amazing graphic designer, and he did all of the inside book-layout stuff. The stuff that you as authors never think about. You never think about what words go on which page. You just figure you put them on there and no, there’s a whole process.

So, he did all of the work. But the actual writing I had pages of, “Well, we did this and we did that.” And then I had index cards, because I like index cards because you can move them around, right? You can set them on the table and be, “Well that chapter should go over here” and this and that. That gives you kind of an outline to start with. So, that was how all three of them were really different as how they came together.

[15:41] Ellen: Well, that’s interesting because I start with the outline because I would drive me crazy if I had index cards and all that. So that’s what I always say. See, everybody has different processes. So, we’re coming up on the end here, but which one did you like the best?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: I didn’t dislike or like any one of them the best. I think they were all very different. I also will use sticky notes where I’ll stick them up on a board and move them around. So, if I were to start a book now, I think I would start with the index-card sticky-note idea of these are the things I want to include, how do I put them together?

[16:17] Ellen: Okay, great. Well, how can people reach you?

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: So, the easiest way to find me is at my website, which is DrRobynodegaard.com, which is really hard to spell. So, I also have, if you go to champperformance.com, it’ll also take you to the same place.

Or, they can just search Dr. Robyn, D-R R-O-B-Y-N. Spell my name with a Y and that’ll find my podcast Quick Hits on either YouTube or on any wherever you watch your podcasts.

[16:43] Ellen: Well, thank you. So for coming on. I appreciate that. I love what you do. I think it’s really important And also, like I said, I mean, one of the things I’ve learned from working with so many people is that everybody has kind of their own process, and they find their own way.

And so I teach people a process that works and I made it very flexible so that people can adapt it. But if people already have blog posts or they already have articles or something else, then it’s a completely different process. So, it just shows that even one author is capable of doing it many different ways.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard: Absolutely. Yeah. And just do what works for you. Get some words on the paper. That’s what I always say, get some words on the paper.

[17:24] Ellen: Well, that’s it for today. This Saturday is Christmas, so for those of you who celebrate Merry Christmas and to everyone happy holidays!
Be sure to join me next week on Books Open Doors Insights #24
On 7 top ways to sell your book right now
If you’re new to the show and you haven’t yet grabbed the Rockstar Authors Toolkit, be sure to do that at www.booksopendoors.com. That’s booksopendoors.com.

And if you’re a coach, content creator, speaker or founder, who’s ready to write your high-impact book and want to learn more how we can help, go to booksopendoors.com/apply. And if you’re a fit, we can set up a time to chat. And I would love to take you to the next step.

[18:08]. And by the way, individual coaching will be going up the first of the year and so if you want to take advantage of that right now with me, then be sure to go and apply at booksopendoors.com/apply.

So, till next time, bye-bye.

Music: You’ve been listening to the Books Open Doors podcast, with your host, Ellen Violette. If you’d like to connect with other mission-driven speakers, coaches, consultants, thought leaders, founders, creative entrepreneurs, and authors who are changing the world one book at a time, join us in the Books Open Doors community at facebook.com/groups/booksopendoors. Let’s rock your business with books.


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About the Author

Ellen Violette

Ellen is an 3X award-winning book, including being named one of the Top 20 Book Coaches of 2022 by Coach Foundation. She's also a multiple #1 bestselling author, a 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been helping entrepreneurs increase their credibility and expert status, become #1 bestselling authors, and make a bigger impact in the world since 2004. Her mission is to make the world a better place one author and one book at a time!



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