Otis is new to the family. I thought he was going to be just a pet. Turns out, he’s a teacher too. Otis is a Maltese mix, almost a year old, cute as a button and sweet as pie. And, to boot, he’s very smart. He’s been with us just shy of a week, but already Otis has provided multiple teachable moments.
In particular, Otis has been a case-in-point on good communications practices. Here are just a few of the important lessons Otis has re-taught me these past few days …

 Brevity. Otis responds best to one-word commands. Too many words, and it’s all a jumble, and then he’s unsure of what’s expected. And nothing happens. Hmmmm, sound familiar? Clarity and understanding often come from brevity.


Consistency. Consistency of message, voice and tone are vital in leading, managing … or in the role of master. Just with our being consistent in word, voice and tone, Otis already knows the drill around the house. Consistency is efficient and ultimately reassuring to an audience that knows you.



Positivity. Wow, the power of positive feedback! Dogs aren’t the only ones who like to be told they’re good. It’s universal. You get what you give, and positivity feeds everyone. Let’s face it, nothing is more motivating than a good stroking! It feels good to give it, and feels good to receive it.
Thanks, Otis, for inspiring this blogpost … and welcome to the family!

Beth Levine

Beth Levine

Communications Coach at SmartMouth Communications
SmartMouth Founder and Principal Beth Noymer Levine is a Communications Coach who is emerging as one of the country’s leading voices on how to prepare and deliver speeches and presentations that actually work for both the audience and the speaker.
Beth Levine

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