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I had a great conversation this week with Tim Benton who shares my love of communication.

(listen here: Tim Benton. How to avoid communication pitfalls.)

He’s a fabulous communicator, I love some of his apt expressions.

Tim trained and worked in theatre as both an actor and director. So, it's no wonder really that he’s articulate! He currently coaches corporate clients, educators as well as teenagers in how to communicate effectively.

So I tracked him down and asked him to gear his communication knowledge toward parenting and share the core skills of communicating well in family life. And you’ll see, he gives us some gems.

This is the essence of my conversation with Tim.

Listening and Speaking with a a lack of judgement is really important. As parents, it's easy for us to do the whole 'judgey' thing instead of listening empathetically.

Empathetic listening is a popular catch phrase and I asked Tim what he thought it meant. Cleverly, he started with what it isn't.

What isn’t Empathetic listening?

  • Digging in and interrogating

When people are probed they don’t feel inclined to share.

  • Unsolicited advice

As well meaning as it is, telling your story and making it about you doesn't leave someone feeling heard and understood.

So what are some keys to good listening?


It’s often in the silences that people begin to trust and open up

So if you speak over the silence people are less likely to contribute.

The silence can be such a magic space,

whether someone is grappling for a thought

or just feeling the companionship

it can be conducive to sharing.

When someone is paying attention and waiting for you to speak

it’s a friendly silence

a warm silence

You can dare to let it get awkward, so the other person can have the space to speak

Give them the gift of attention!


Validating the emotion behind what’s going on.

'We leak truth all the time' . Karl Yung

There’s always emotion.

Stuff there.

Try to put into words what you think the other person is feeling

it's rewarding to have your feelings reflected back to you.

You feel validated.

If you're right, they feel understood...and share more

if you're wrong, they correct you...and share more.

Try using the expression

'It feels as if....'

Then try to put into words what you think they're feeling

If you can put into words something of the emotion they seem to be feeling, it's powerful.

Having our emotions validated at any stage, empowers conversation

We all want to be, at a deep level, understood


Having understood

Showing that you understand

That you’ve walked that path

Not making it all about you, but demonstrating that you get how big that feels.


Notice when the children are needing your focus

They talk A LOT

it's easy to tune out

but everything they say feels important to them

if they feel their words are important

they feel that they are important

It’s hard being an at-home Dad or Mum if you’ve been used to being out of the house

Decompressing before you come home


Switching hats

Now it's all changed:

You’re off the zoom call and suddenly you’ve got a vomiting child coming in your direction.

Or vice versa

That gear change is really strange when it's so fast

And patience gets narrowed


Watching the amount of time we’re on the phone when they’re looking for our attention

They're watching and weighing up our priorities

That informs their perceived value

They're forming their habits on our habits.


Communication is at the heart of parenting

The heart of

  • Relationship

  • Business

  • Sales

  • Customer service

  • Friendship

How do we speak to another person?

How do we get understood?

How do we understand others?

How do we build empathy?

Pop across and listen to the podcast this week

Podcast 31

Tim Benton. How to avoid communication pitfalls.

See you there!

Love Mads

Pop here to find Parenting For Life

at your special offer price


You can find Tim Benton at Blue Caterpillar.

There's never been a more important time to communicate well.

As Covid-19 ravages conventional business practices, people still need to talk.  Whether on Zoom, Skype MS Teams or another video service, you and your people need to connect in an impactful way, but it’s not always easy.  That’s where Blue Caterpillar comes in.

Whether you are

  • A Founder or CEO needing to pitch or present for investment

  • An L&D executive looking to upskill the workforce in communication skills on video conferencing services

  • Someone who just wants to improve either their own or their team’s impact

From Financial Services to Disruptive Technologies, Start-Ups to Scale-Ups, Blue Caterpillar has a proven track-record in helping clients speak with clarity, confidence and charisma helping you to have impact when you speak.

In the current crisis, we’re helping businesses via remote coaching. On the other side, we’ll be back in the room.

If you've got teens facing exams this year check out Tim's book BrainBox

available here


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