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Workshop Handouts

Best Selling Author, Anna DeStefano www.annawrites.com Literary Agent, Michelle Grajkowski www.threeseaslit.com

She Said, She Said... Developing communication skills that can make or break your career. You can be your best advocate or your worst enemy, each time you interact with publishing industry professionals. There are several difficult conversations every author may one day face with a peer, editor or agent. Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency and best selling author Anna DeStefano bring you a fun but frank glimpse of how these types of interactions can go awry--as well as helpful hints for maintaining positive working relationships by setting boundaries, using active listening techniques and constructively confronting issues before and after they become crises.


She Said, She Said

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(DeStefano/Grajkowski, July '08)

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If you want to be the successful author everyone wants to work with, be successful at working with everyone. Working and playing well with others--even the ones that drive you crazy. The common denominator in all your working relationships is YOU. Have an honest view of the woman in the mirror and the communication skills you need to improve. She said, she said...I can't believe I just said that!!! (a fun little skit at Anna's expense ;O)

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You can only control what YOU say, while you react to what others are saying and doing. The problem is never THEM, even if it is... Your reaction someone else's behavior is the difference between you having a new opportunity to do business or a new problem. What's within your control? How well do you really listen? How well do you know and set your relationship boundaries? How effectively do you assert yourself, WHEN IT'S NEEDED? She said, she said...I can't believe SHE just said that!!!--Things you don't want to hear an agent/editor say, but you should be prepared for them anyway (a fun little skit, yet again at Anna's expense ;o)

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Active listening Active listening is not as simple as waiting for your turn to speak. To be a good communicator, you have to actually care about the other person's perspective and be prepared to let it affect your own. Pay attention (with your ears and body language) and avoid distractions

WWW.ANNAWRITES.COM

WWW.THREESEASLIT.COM


She Said, She Said

(DeStefano/Grajkowski, July '08)

3

Ask Questions like you really want to know • •

Open-ended Questions Clarifying Questions

Reflect information and opinions that the other is sharing Focus on the moment and the information--save the emotional reaction for an appropriate time She said, she said...Who knew there really was lemonade to be made here!!! (and we're still not making fun of Michelle...what's up with that ;O)

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Setting and maintaining boundaries Positive communication is a process, not a single event. Communicating is relating, and any work you put into building your relationships pays off when a challenging issues needs to be discussed. Communicate and negotiate expectations and limits Set a precedent for constructively confronting small issues, BEFORE the big one hits Know your emotional self •

Anticipate your triggers and share them when appropriate For example, one of my pet peeves is being manipulated...

Understand your instinctive reactions For example, I see red when I think I'm being manipulated, and my first instinct is to laugh in the person's face, right before I tell her where she and her face can go jump ;o)...

Plan how to keep your reaction constructive within the relationship For example, when I feel like I'm being manipulated, I've learned not to immediately react. I force myself to walk away and think, or vent into an email and then save it as a draft before sending. I come back 24 hours later and reevaluate before laughing in her face and shoving her off the peer sharing my concerns. WWW.ANNAWRITES.COM

WWW.THREESEASLIT.COM


She Said, She Said

(DeStefano/Grajkowski, July '08)

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She said, she said...Turn an uncomfortable situation in your favor, by focusing on the situation and your goals, rather than the other person's behavior (finally, Michelle gets hers, he-he ;O)

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Taking the "ass" out of asserting yourself When I teach communication skills to people who want to provide crisis care, I explain that caring for the other person should be your primary goal in any conversation you have. We spend several workshop sessions talking about how toSpeak the Truth in L-U-V. Taking the "ass" out of asserting yourself seems a less touchy-feely slogan, and one more appropriate for a business workshop, don't you think? Still, the same principles apply, as you assert yourself in publishing relationships: Maintain the relationship first Your number one goal should always be maintaining a relationship with the person you're having a "discussion" with. Being able to continue working with them is ALWAYS more important than getting credit for being right, being heard, or being the center of attention. Some important questions to ask yourself before you confront the other person: • • • • •

Is this really a problem (what do you have at stake)? Is there something to achieve beyond simply complaining? What are the chances you'll achieve your goal? Are you willing to take the risk, and exert the time and energy, with no guarantee of the outcome? How badly do you want it? Is this the time or place for this discussion? Can you maintain control while you confront the issue?

Focus your feedback on the behavior and the issue at hand, not the person. Respect the other's right to her perspective, even if you think it's wrong. Respect her period!

WWW.ANNAWRITES.COM

WWW.THREESEASLIT.COM


She Said, She Said

(DeStefano/Grajkowski, July '08)

5

Respect your own rights, without turning assertiveness into aggression. •

An aggressive communication style is expressing your view and protecting your rights in a threatening, abusive, or hostile manner. Think of insults, belittling, lecturing, sarcasm, gossiping, manipulation, or making decisions for another without her approval.

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These tactics aren't about being truthful, or being a strong business person...they're usually about trying to get what you want, without doing the work required to stand up for yourself AND maintain a positive working relationship. Too often, these tactics about going on the attack, because you feel your self worth has been damaged. They're about damaging the other person back, not solving your problem. This is how disputes are handled on an elementary playground, not between professional business people.

Key points to remember: You have to find ways to stand up for yourself and your goals, while not trampling the other person's self esteem and objectives. Communicating is NEVER all about you, no matter how much you have at stake. Professional communication is about taking care of business, while maintaining relationships that you can't afford to trash. She said, she said...We'll need a couple of skits here, I think... (neither Michelle nor I will escape unscathed this time ;O)

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Questions... Volunteer from the crowd to do a skit of your own... Anyone... Anyone????

WWW.ANNAWRITES.COM

WWW.THREESEASLIT.COM


She Said, She Said

(DeStefano/Grajkowski, July '08)

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Anna DeStefano Anna DeStefano is a best selling author of long contemporary romance for Harlequin Superromance. She's a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award winner, a National Reader's Choice and Maggie Award for excellence finalist, and a Booksellers Best and Holt Medallion finalist. An honors graduate form Georgia Tech, Anna worked in corporate IT for ten years, finally settling into a career as a Senior Tech Writer. Her dream to publish fiction refused to be ignored, however, and five years after joining RWA, she's the president of Georgia Romance Writers and is working on her 8th full-length novel. She's invited to present her workshops on planning through character, drafting/improvisation, and revision at meetings, conferences, and all-day workshops nationwide. Check out the excerpts and great giveaways at www.annawrites.com and www.annadestefano.blogspot.com. And look for her Superromance romantic suspense series, Atlanta Heroes. Book 2, To Protect the Child, was a Romantic Times 4 ½ Star Top Pick, and so is Book 3, To Save a Family , her September release, available now!

Michelle Grajkowski From the moment Michelle Grajkowski first opened her doors to the 3 Seas Literary Agency in August of 2000, she has been living her dream. (What could be better than surrounding yourself with great authors and their exciting and imaginative books?). Since then, she's successfully sold more than 200 titles to major publishing houses including Harlequin, NAL, Berkley, Dorchester, Kensington, Avon, Pocket, Random House (both here and in the UK), Knopf, Andrews McMeel, Warner and HarperCollins. Currently, she is looking for fantastic authors with a voice of their own. Michelle focuses on romance, women's fiction, Chick-Lit young adult and middle grade fiction. On a personal note, Michelle's husband is a captain in the Army National Guard and has recently returned to his family after a fifteen-month tour of duty in the Middle East. Michelle loves watching college sports and is doing her best to 'brainwash' her children into becoming into little Wisconsin Badgers -Go Bucky!

WWW.ANNAWRITES.COM

WWW.THREESEASLIT.COM

Anna DeStefano Workshop: She Said, She Said...  

Developing communication skills that can make or break your career

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