Mastering the Feel, Felt, Found Method for Conflict Resolution

Mastering The Feel, Felt, Found Method for Conflict


conflict resolution

The Feel, Felt, Found Method is a popular sales technique of converting sales objections, but I’ve found it to be helpful when addressing conflict as well!

Here’s how it looks:

FEEL – Acknowledge that you understand how a person feels – This creates empathy and immediately de-escalates a situation by acknowledging the concerns of the other person

FELT – Share a quick example of someone else who has experienced a similar situation or felt a similar way. This reduces isolation and takes the issue from being purely subjective to more objective.

FOUND – Share how a person who felt something similar found the situation to have a positive outcome

Example: “Hi Mark, I understand you feel Susie did not give you a chance to voice your opinion at the meeting this morning. I know others have felt the same way during some of our high intensity meetings in the past. What I’ve  found is that Susie has a specific format she likes to follow during those type of meetings so we can cover everything in 30 minutes or less. She will probably be interested in your suggestions if you present them to her one on one.”

It may be helpful to memorize this technique and use it the next time you are working through a conflict with your team. This technique also works really well with conflict in any relationship including those with family and friends!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

         Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Entrepreneurship for College Students and Young Professionals.

What a Recent Food Trend Teaches Us About Leadership

What a Recent Food Trend Teaches us About



                If you cater to everyone, essentially you cater to no one!

        There’s a recent food trend around the country that can be examined to illustrate how important it is to define (ie Brand) your Leadership style. I came across this post on Mashable that discusses small businesses carving out a niche for themselves. If you own a small business, are the face of your small business” as a solopreneur or if you hold a leadership role in a larger company, it’s important to understand how finding and establishing what you are really good at, your niche, works to your advantage.

              If you cater to everyone, essentially, you cater to No one! – As a leader you must be consistent in those things that make you the best leader you know how to be. While every team you lead will have its own flavor, it’s the direction of the leader that sets the tone for the rest of the group. That’s why it’s important for leaders to Understand their own  individual leadership style and Deliver it really well! In this Mashable article, each of these New York City restaurants focuses on one item and becomes really creative with that one item! Who knew you could make grilled cheese so many different ways? What about Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches? These aren’t your 3rd grade lunch box PB&J Sandwiches we’re talking about! Some of these PB&J sandwiches are going for more than $9 each!! Guess what? Customers are paying that price because they know what to expect from the restaurant. They count on the restaurant to be really, really good at PB&J because, essentially, that is what they specialize in!

                 What does your Leadership brand say about you. Does your team know what to expect from you? Are you consistent in how you deliver visions and measure results? You can’t be everything to everybody. You must narrow in on a a specific leadership style that is true to you and work to become the best reflection of that individual style you can!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

               Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Entrepreneurship for College Students and Young Professionals.

The Art of Saying ‘No’ in Business

The Art of Saying ‘No’ In Business

Saying No

            Last year one of my Op-Ed pieces, The Art of Saying ‘No’ in Business, was featured in YFS Magazine. Because it’s such an important Leadership concept, I am sharing it here as well!

Follow this link to see my article over at YFS!

What are some things you need to say “NO” to, in order to be more productive with your schedule?

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

        Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Entrepreneurship for College Students and Young Professionals.

Channeling My Creativity with Coffitivity

Channeling my Creativity with Coffitivity


             Raise your virtual hand if you are anything like me in the fact that you need ambient noise to study, work and/or be creative! I have NEVER been able to study, read or really concentrate in work/study environments without some sort of background noise. I have an attention span of about 5 minutes then I’m off in la-la land if I don’t have some sort of noise around me.
               Even when I am performing surgery, I always have to have music playing in the Operating Room because it helps me concentrate and improves my focus! So, imagine my delight when I came across a website that plays ambient coffee shop noise straight from my laptop ( Que my Happy Dance)! In med school, I studied in coffee shops so much that my family told me I should buy stock in them LOL! Coffee Shops are where I get my best blogging done as well. I can go into one of my favorite coffee shops at 1pm and Literally be the last person they are kicking out at 9pm….yeah, I get down like that!
Coffitivity was launched in March 2013 by four friends and recent college graduates in Virginia. Within just a few short months they have been named one of the 50 TOP Websites of 2013 by TIME Magazine!!!!!After just one afternoon of blogging from home using the Coffitivity website to provide ambient coffee shop noise, I was Officially a fan! I was in my coffee shop element and my work was extremely productive that afternoon.

Here’s my interview with Ace Callwood, one of the creators of Coffitivity:

Dr. Carmen April: Start off by giving me the names of the founders of Coffitivity……
Ace Callwood: My name is Ace Callwood and I’m one of the Co-Founders. Our Graphic Designer Co-Founder is Nicole Horton. The man with the plan and the brains behind the whole thing is Justin Kauszler. Then our heavy lifting web developer is Tommy Nicholas
Dr. Carmen April: Tell me a little bit about your educational background and then about your college major.
Ace Callwood: Justin, Nicole, and myself graduated last year from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.  We did four years each and we all graduated in 2012.  Justin and I both majored in entrepreneurship, which is where we actually met.  I actually run the entrepreneurship program at the university now. It’s my day job.  Justin and I majored in entrepreneurship at the Business School at VCU.  Nicole is actually an interior designer by trade.  She was in the School of the Arts at VCU and majored in interior design.  Tommy Nicholas went to VCU his freshman year and transferred to the University of Virginia (UVA).  He graduated in 2011 and he majored in business and African American Studies.

Dr. Carmen April:   
Are all of you guys from Virginia?
Ace Callwood: Yes, Nicole and Tommy are both Richmond born and bred.  Justin and I are military brats so I’ve been up and down the east coast but did high school in the Hampton Roads area.  Justin is actually from Hampton Roads as well.

Dr. Carmen April:
This is the first time that I had ever heard of a university having entrepreneurship as an actual major versus Business, Marketing, or Human Resource Management.  When did they put that program in place?
Ace Callwood: Let me clarify that entrepreneurship is a subset of Business Administration and Management.  It’s a concentration of learning how to be a manager.  The core of our curriculum is focused on entrepreneurship and small business management.  There’s actually quite a few schools throughout the country with this major.  More and more people are getting excited about this, I’ll put it that way.  Here at the university, we teach disruption which occasionally gets people fired from a couple of jobs because they think too freely.  But at one point, they’ll settle into a good fit if they go out and get the job.  As the prime candidate for the job, they can go and shake things up to do some revolutionary innovations.  That’s what we push for with our students.
Dr. Carmen April: So that’s what you do full-time.  What’s your official title with the university?
Ace Callwood: I’m the Coordinator for Entrepreneurship at the School of Business.
Dr. Carmen April: Tell me where the idea for Coffitivity came from. Were you sitting around in a coffee shop one day and the idea came to you?  How did it come about?
Ace Callwood: Yes.  As I mentioned, Justin and I (I may refer to him as Jay here and there) work together on several projects now. Our first start-up actually conceptualized a self-working bike rack called CycleStay.  That was a huge project for us to work on for a year and a half.  Part of our curriculum is a business plan competition that is the majority of our grade.  We hired Justin for this project in our senior year.  After his graduation, we continued the project and ran it.  We were getting a lot of work done in coffee shops.  We brought Nicole on board to look at some of the designs that we were doing for CycleStay.  We were in and out of coffee shops over the course of two or 3 months, looking at the brand, how that would fit, and what it would look like.  We went through a sprint of four or 5 days in some of our favorite coffee shops.  Justin went back to the day job the next Monday or Tuesday and according to him, it was dead quiet in the office.  He was banging his head against the keyboard. He asked his boss, who is the mentor for both of us, if he could work in a coffee shop.  She looked at him like he was crazy.  Justin was in this environment where he couldn’t get the creative juices that he needed going and he realized, “hey, I can do some awesome work in coffee shops.  If I can’t get into a coffee shop, I can bring it to me.” That was his inspiration for Coffitivity and coincidentally, because Justin and I both work in academia- we read a lot of research and white papers.  I had just finished reading a white paper that indicates that playing a moderate level of ambient noise can produce creative cognition.  Like with everything we read, we pass that information on to each other.  Three or four weeks prior to Justin having his revelation, I told him about the research and thought nothing of it.  Fast forward a couple of weeks, he’s in this environment where everything’s a shock to him and then realize that “hey, this is what I want to do.  This sounds like a good idea at the time, there’s research to back it up, and we just need to run with it.”
Dr. Carmen April: How did you come up with the name Coffitivity?
Ace Callwood: The research actually cites creativity being boosted with ambient noise.  It was coffee, and creativity.  We did spend a day or two mulling over the spelling.  Coffee, c-o-f-f-e-e or coffie with an “i”.  We thought that Coffitivity would be a little bit easier to say, to look at, and understand phonetically.  That’s a pretty simple ten second story there.
Dr. Carmen April: How do you plan to increase revenue from Coffitivity?
Ace Callwood: An IOS app is coming out as well as our Mac app.  We’re super excited to have those in the Apple store.  We’re looking at a couple of merchandise options as well so people can have Coffitivity stickers to throw on their laptop, maybe a mug or two, or a thermos. It’s not quite up and ready yet, but those are in the pipeline.
Dr. Carmen April:  What has been the response to the website?

ACe Callwood:
We officially launched on March 4, 2013.  It’s just over three months old and it absolutely exploded.  Our first day live, on the 4th, we had one hundred and twenty-ish views.  I think 124, something like that. I joked that our moms looked at it 120 times a piece and that was it LOL!  We told our friends and family, “Hey this is the thing that we built.  We built it for us and we’re going to use it.  If it works for you, that’s awesome!” The second day, we had 47,000 views and 49,000 views the third day.  So yeah, it absolutely blew up! We got a call from our server saying, “Hey you crashed our server.  You need to pay us more money to put the website online.” It was just a hectic day, that second and third day.  At that time we didn’t even have a Twitter account yet.  We got that geared up the second day.  It was wild!

Dr. Carmen April:
How did the word spread that fast?  Because I was assuming that social media and Twitter may have been what spread the word, but you guys didn’t even have the Twitter account up yet.

Ace Callwood: Tommy Nicholas is our Growth Hacker.  We call him that because he does the majority of web development now. He is awesome at connecting, at the right place and right time, and making posts count.  We posted some information at the right time and it got picked up by the tech community.  The Hacker News bumped it up to the front page for a day and a half, maybe two days.  From there, I think Life Hacker picked it up first.  Within the first week, we had Life Hacker, Popular Science, Mashable, The Net’s Web, and I think Gizmodo.  We just had the big tech players pick this up.  That drove a huge amount of our traffic.  Our viral  mechanics were built into the site.  They were very calculated. That has been huge.

Dr. Carmen April: I also read that Time magazine recently ranked you guys among the 50 best websites of 2013!!!

Ace Callwood: 
They did!  We had no idea.  They never told us, nobody gave us a heads up.  We were stuck in traffic and Reggie, who does our analytics stuff asked, “What is ?” We ended up following the link to Time magazine’s top 50 websites.  It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least!
Dr. Carmen April: You mentioned a little while ago about a smart phone app that will be coming out.  When is that set to launch?
Ace Callwood: No set date yet.  We’re still working on playing the Apple review game right now so we could get it bounced back for any number of reasons.  Fingers crossed that it’ll get out in the next two weeks and that’ll be for Mac and IOS.  It’s all pending review, submission, and how fast we can get it hooked up.
Dr. Carmen April: Lastly, tell me what is next for you guys?  You certainly shouldn’t reveal everything, but what else can you reveal that you guys have in the pipeline?
Ace Callwood: Somebody asked that the other day and I told them we were going to start a boy band.  That’s actually not going to happen, but it makes for a great story LOL!  Justin and I have cleared the dance moves.  Right now, we’re going to sprint for the app.  Getting that out is huge! Very soon and hopefully within the next week or when the app launches- we’ll be doing cool redesigns for the site.  You’ll see more audio tracks.

Dr. Carmen April: 
Do you know where most of the traffic is coming from?

ACe Callwood: 
Yes. Our top listening city is actually Seoul, Korea.  They’re number one on the list, followed by New York City.  We have the usual suspects- DC, London, and Richmond, VA.  We’ve got San Fran as a top city, I believe, so a bunch of awesome cities.  Right now, the top listening country is the U.S.  Number two is Great Britain and then Japan is number 3.  But yeah, the list goes on.  Korea, China, Canada, Great Britain, France, Russia.  I think that we’ve been on every continent but Antarctica!Dr. Carmen April:How do you balance, since this is not a full-time gig for you guys yet, your full time career at the university with this venture?

ACe Callwood:   
Balance, that’s an interesting word.  I can’t say balance because according to my life, there’s a lot of not sleeping.  We’ll put it that way.  Justin and I actually got our first vacation since we graduated last week.  So it’s the first time we’ve been out on absolute leisure, but other than that it’s goes in circles all the time.  Justin works in the entrepreneurial space at the university as well, so we work together in our day jobs very frequently.  For me, being in the classroom once or twice a week- I got to use Coffitivity as a case study for my students.  The fact that we’ve done so much with our start-up is actually beneficial to our jobs which is awesome, in the form of experience, in the form of publicity, and just a lot of things.  It’s a great working relationship to be in the space we are in our day jobs and our site gig.  Everything kind of balances itself out.
Dr. Carmen April: As a young entrepreneur myself, I know what you mean about balance and vacations.  I’ve had to take my mini-vacations, which may be an extended weekend or something.  But as far as the big 7-10 day trips to France, I can’t swing that because I’m not at the point where I can leave my business for that long.
Ace Callwood: Exactly, we didn’t even have Wi-Fi at the beach!  The team was still back here working on the app releases and other stuff, so we ended up paying the next door neighbor at the beach for Wi-Fi. We had to be on one side of the house to be able to connect, so we made it work and it was good to almost be forced to unplug. Justin and I are type A’s who don’t unplug if we don’t have to, but we should.  It was a good R and R for us to get our heads straight and have some time to think about where we’re going with the project and what the next projects will look like, whether it’s over the next couple months or the next few years.
Need to channel your creativity today? Visit and let your creative juices start flowing!
Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

               Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Entrepreneurship for College Students and Young Professionals.

5 Leadership Lessons Learned From The Early Failures of R.H. Macy

5 Leadership Lessons Learned From The Early

Failures of R.H. Macy

Macy's Leadership

               I was in Macy’s Department Store recently shopping for a new ensemble to wear for an upcoming speaking engagement. Since I’m constantly thinking about all things Leadership, I thought about the story of how Macy’s got started. Macy’s was founded by Rowland Hussey Macy, who between 1843 and 1855, opened four retail dry goods stores, including the original Macy’s store in downtown Haverhill, MA to serve the mill industry employees of the area. Each one of Macy’s original stores FAILED! Macy did not let those failures stop him and instead learned from them. Here are 5 Leadership lessons learned from the early failures of R. H. Macy:

1.) Failure is only permanent if you don’t learn from it.

              We all fail. Period. Show me a person who has not failed and I will show you a person who has never tried anything new. R.H. Macy had 4 stores to fail when he started out. Most people would have thrown in the towel after just 1 store failure! He refused to let those business failures be the end of his story and he tried again. Failure is an opportunity to start again with more insight. The smartest leaders and business people will most likely agree that they have learned more from their failures than they have from their successes.

2.) Learn how to Re-strategize

               After the failure of the first 4 stores, he decided to move to New York City from Haverhill, MA. He staked out a niche for himself in a brand new environment. When you encounter failure, as you most certainly will if you ever expect to make progress in anything, you must master the art of the “Pivot”. Continuing to do the same things that have not been working is insanity, but learning how to pivot away from what is not working and develop a new strategy is sometimes exactly what is needed to finally experience the expected result.

3.) Every Expert was once a novice – We must all start somewhere!

                After the failure of Macy’s first 4 stores, he moved to New York City in 1958 and established a new store named R.H. Macy & Co. on Sixth Avenue, much further north than where similar stores were located. On the first day of business in October 28, 1858, his sales totaled $11.08, equal to about $301.47 today. I would venture to guess that now Macy’s probably makes that amount in sales just about every second of the day!

4.) Establish your BRAND early on

              Ever wonder where that iconic Macy’s Logo originated? As a teenager working on a Nantucket whaling ship, R.H. Macy got a tattoo of a star. That star became the logo that continues to serve as the identification of the Macy’s brand throughout the world. Some leaders have a hard time thinking of themselves as a “brand” or understanding the importance of it. However, if you think of it this way, BRAND = REPUTATION, that makes it a lot easier to understand. We all have a reputation. What is your Leadership reputation? Realize that you have the power to craft your Brand Reputation in a manner that represents your authentic Leadership Style!

5.) Be so good at what you do that your name becomes synonymous with quality, class and trustworthiness

                 There’s no doubt that the Macy’s brand is well-respected throughout the world for quality service and products. In order to be a respected leader you must gain the trust of your team and build a reputation that others respect. Your team should be confident in knowing they can look up to you to lead the team in a shared vision.

                The next time you are shopping at Macy’s, think about the fact that had R.H Macy given up on is endeavor to have a successful department store, there would be no Macy’s Department stores for you to frequent in almost every mall in America. There would be no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, no beautiful Christmas Day Display in the window at the Macy’s in New York City. This company is where it is today because Mr. Macy did not let a temporary setback stop him from trying again!

Is there a Leadership vision, goal, or endeavor you gave up on because of a one time failure? If its success is important enough to you, declare to yourself  Today that you will try again!

– Dr. April

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

               Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Entrepreneurship for College Students and Young Professionals.

How Your Dominating Thoughts Control Who You Are

How Your Dominating Thoughts Control Who You



                I’ve been reading a lot from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich lately and can’t express enough how it’s one of the BEST books I’ve ever read! I could write a million blog posts inspired by the information Hill shares in this book – it’s just that good! One of the concepts in the book is stated this way, “Each of us is what we are because of the dominating thoughts we permit to occupy our minds”.

                  Let’s look at examples of this from both sides of the coin. In cases of verbal and emotional child abuse, children who are told they are stupid, ugly and worthless have a hard time healing emotionally from that abuse as they get older. They internalize that abuse and it can become reality.

              In Napoleon Hill’s book, he highlights that a common thread among the world’s wealthiest, most successful people is that they are persistent in their ideas of acquiring personal success and wealth. The concept of persistence is important here. These individuals think positively on ways to get what they want and don’t give up at the slightest of setbacks.

                It’s almost intuitive that we express what we think about most, but seeing it written in this manner in “Think And Grow Rich” was really an Aha Moment for me! Not too long ago, I experienced some entrepreneurial struggles that I just couldn’t seem to find the right solution for – that is, until I changed my mindset! Instead of thinking, “How in the heck am I going to figure this one out?”, I started believing that the solution to the problem was already out there, I just had to open my mind to receive it. Every time I began to get upset about the situation, I started the practice of shutting the negative thoughts down and replacing them with positive affirmations of receiving the solution. Had I continued to let toxic ideas manifest in my psyche, garbage would have begun to flow out! By thinking on positive outcomes, I began to explore more positive solutions to the problem. In the end, I found a solution to the problem, in large part, because of my outlook and the thoughts I let occupy my mind!

Identify a negative thought you have been allowing to dominate your mind. What single thought can you use to think positively, instead.

— Dr. April

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

             Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril