Mastering Direct Communication: Key Strategies For Leaders With Geraldine Serrano - Speak in Flow

Welcome to *Speak In Flow*! In this episode, Melinda Lee chats with the brilliant Geraldine Serrano, a leading Specialty Tax Consultant, about the vital role of effective communication in professional settings. Discover the secrets to being direct and concise, mastering active listening, and valuing word economy. Whether you’re navigating complex tax strategies or simply trying to get your point across at work, this episode is packed with practical tips and insights to enhance your communication skills.

Key Takeaways:

1. Effective Communication is Essential:

– Direct and concise communication helps convey messages clearly and efficiently, crucial in professional settings.

2. Active Listening is Key:

– Learn how to listen attentively, even to long-winded individuals, and extract key points to ensure thorough understanding.

3. Word Economy Matters:

– In our fast-paced world, brevity is valued. Communicate succinctly and clearly to ensure your messages are promptly received and acted upon.

Why You Should Listen:

– Enhance Your Professional Communication:** Learn practical tips to be more direct and concise.

– Improve Listening Skills:** Master the art of active listening to better understand and engage in conversations.

– Communicate with Clarity:** Discover the importance of brevity in ensuring your messages are effective and impactful.

Tune In To Learn:

– How to be more direct and concise in your professional communication.

– Techniques for active listening and extracting key points from lengthy discussions.

– The significance of succinct communication in today’s fast-paced environment.

About Geraldine Serrano:

For the past decade, the Specialty Tax Consultant Geraldine Serrano has been helping real estate investors, tenants and CPAs use a strategic tax planning tool called cost segregation that allows companies and individuals who have constructed, purchased, expanded or remodeled any kind of real estate to increase cash flow by accelerating depreciation deductions and deferring federal and state income taxes.

She has been a member of the Council of Business Advisors, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), the International Council of Shopping Centers and ProVisors.

Her company Veritax Advisors is a sponsor of the Northern California Certified Commercial Investment Member Chapter and California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns.

She has written articles for CREW about the indoor skydiving venue iFly and parking technology in the Bay Area.

She has also written articles on the changes in the tax law affecting real estate owners for commercial real estate brokers.

She has given presentations to CPAs for CPE credits, real estate brokers, bankers, attorneys, financial advisors and real estate investors.

She is a Bay Area native, located in the East Bay.

She is a thrill seeker. She has gone bobsledding at the Utah Olympic Park, sand boarding at the dunes in Florence, Oregon and land sailing in New Zealand.

My company’s website is: https://veritaxadvisors.com/

My company’s Facebook page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/veritaxadvisors/

My LinkedIn profile & URL is: www.linkedin.com/in/geraldine-serrano-a2934252

About Melinda:

Melinda Lee is a Presentation Skills Expert, Speaking Coach and nationally renowned Motivational Speaker. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Psychology, is an Insights Practitioner, and is a Certified Professional in Talent Development as well as Certified in Conflict Resolution. For over a decade, Melinda has researched and studied the state of “flow” and used it as a proven technique to help corporate leaders and business owners amplify their voices, access flow, and present their mission in a more powerful way to achieve results.

She has been the TEDx Berkeley Speaker Coach and worked with hundreds of executives and teams from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Caltrans, Bay Area Rapid Transit System, and more. Currently, she lives in San Francisco, California, and is breaking the ancestral lineage of silence.

Website: https://speakinflow.com/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/speakinflow

Instagram: https://instagram.com/speakinflow

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mpowerall

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Transcript
Melinda Lee:

Hello dear listeners, welcome to the Speak

Melinda Lee:

In Flow Podcast. Today I have a special guest on this episode

Melinda Lee:

and all like all our episodes were focused around sharing

Melinda Lee:

unique experiences that will help you unleash your leadership

Melinda Lee:

voice as a leader as a team leader. Today, we have Geraldine

Melinda Lee:

Serrano, she's a specialty tax consultant working at Vera tax

Melinda Lee:

advisory. Hi, Geraldine.

Geraldine Serrano:

Hi, Melinda, thank you for having me.

Melinda Lee:

Thank you for having thank you for being here.

Melinda Lee:

I find you vary your confident your direct you lead teams. And

Melinda Lee:

so tell us a little bit more about what you do in the test

Melinda Lee:

specialty area.

Geraldine Serrano:

Sure. Yeah, so I help both residential and

Geraldine Serrano:

commercial real estate investors lower their tax liability with

Geraldine Serrano:

an under utilised tax strategy called cost segregation. And I

Geraldine Serrano:

also help companies that are creating or improving a product

Geraldine Serrano:

or service qualify for the research and development tax

Geraldine Serrano:

credit.

Melinda Lee:

While it's very specialised in niche no wonder

Melinda Lee:

why you're busy?

Geraldine Serrano:

Yes. We just got a lot.

Melinda Lee:

I love good, sorry. Keep going. Oh, we

Geraldine Serrano:

just got past I just got past the April

Geraldine Serrano:

deadline, but I'm still busy. And will I'm gonna get even

Geraldine Serrano:

busier as we approach the September and October deadline.

Melinda Lee:

Oh my gosh. Well, that's why you have a team. And

Melinda Lee:

I love your analogy about a team. Tell us more about that.

Geraldine Serrano:

Yeah, so I love playing and watching

Geraldine Serrano:

soccer. And I had a teammate during a game. Tell me, I

Geraldine Serrano:

watched him take that the soccer ball, go through all 11 players,

Geraldine Serrano:

including the goalie, and score. And so after he scored, I said,

Geraldine Serrano:

Great. I don't have to do anything. And he said, No, no,

Geraldine Serrano:

no, there is no I in team that we still have to be a team in

Geraldine Serrano:

order to win the game. And that's the mindset I have, when

Geraldine Serrano:

with the people that I work with, to do this specialty tax

Geraldine Serrano:

work, that it's not just me, that is able to do the work.

Geraldine Serrano:

It's my entire team, I bring in the person that needs our

Geraldine Serrano:

services. And then it's my team and I that work together to make

Geraldine Serrano:

sure we're able to provide them what they need in order to

Geraldine Serrano:

reduce what they're going to owe in taxes.

Melinda Lee:

Mm hmm. So it's really there's a lot of

Melinda Lee:

deadlines, there's a lot of people involved. And it's a

Melinda Lee:

we're not an eye to make it super efficient and effective.

Melinda Lee:

And, and so there's a lot of communication that needs to

Melinda Lee:

happen effective communication. And what I found is since

Melinda Lee:

getting to know you more is that your communication, your direct,

Melinda Lee:

and you're confident. And so we talked about what that feels

Melinda Lee:

like when someone approaches you, you're doing a lot of

Melinda Lee:

things you sell for the company, you bring in clients, you're

Melinda Lee:

talking to high net worth clients. So you're busy, and

Melinda Lee:

someone comes to you. And they are long winded. They have a lot

Melinda Lee:

of detail. And they're not getting to the point like what

Melinda Lee:

does that feel like for you?

Geraldine Serrano:

For me, because naturally I'm impatient.

Geraldine Serrano:

It's really hard for me to sit there and listen to someone that

Geraldine Serrano:

just goes on and on. But I do it right, because I feel like I

Geraldine Serrano:

have to somehow process what they're telling me. I my mind

Geraldine Serrano:

works in bullet points. So after I listen, Oh, interesting, they

Geraldine Serrano:

have to say, Then I repeat it back to them in bullet points,

Geraldine Serrano:

like so for example, I was talking to a referral yesterday.

Geraldine Serrano:

And they were going on and on and on. And in, in this in what

Geraldine Serrano:

they were saying. There wasn't like how I told you I work in

Geraldine Serrano:

bullet points. So it wasn't like Geraldine. Here's question one.

Geraldine Serrano:

Here's question two. Here's Question three. So when, in this

Geraldine Serrano:

whole huge talk that they had, I had to figure out by paying

Geraldine Serrano:

attention and listening and repeat it back to them that I

Geraldine Serrano:

feel like you have three questions. And here are the

Geraldine Serrano:

three questions that I think you have. Is that correct? Or did I

Geraldine Serrano:

miss something? And so that way, they can tell that I'm

Geraldine Serrano:

listening, and they can tell me if I right or wrong of what

Geraldine Serrano:

their questions are? Because it wasn't succinct. Yeah. Yeah. And

Melinda Lee:

I Yeah, and the reason why I'm bringing this up

Melinda Lee:

is because I get this a lot. So I get from my clients and these

Melinda Lee:

are VPS executives who are pitching to probably owners of

Melinda Lee:

the company president level and they need support because they

Melinda Lee:

do want to bring in a lot of information. To the CEO, and

Melinda Lee:

just like you, you're the company owner, you have a lot to

Melinda Lee:

do. And so for you to have to work hard to listen to somebody

Melinda Lee:

and find the bullet points of three key points. It just it

Melinda Lee:

feels like the I want them to people to understand the

Melinda Lee:

listeners to understand on the receiving and you're giving the

Melinda Lee:

other person more work. Right. Right. So yeah, like, Okay, I

Melinda Lee:

really think hard and really listen hard. What is this

Melinda Lee:

person's point? Right, when, when they're including too much

Melinda Lee:

detail, I think the sender or the communicator feels like this

Melinda Lee:

other person needs to hear everything, when they don't,

Melinda Lee:

especially

Geraldine Serrano:

right. And to put that to also add to that,

Geraldine Serrano:

Melinda is, so for example, today, I'm going to give a five

Geraldine Serrano:

minute presentation on cost segregation to the Chinese Real

Geraldine Serrano:

Estate Association of America, I've only got five minutes. And

Geraldine Serrano:

so if I were to barf on that audience, right now, I want to

Geraldine Serrano:

give so much information, nobody's going to understand one

Geraldine Serrano:

word that I said, Because I'm speaking too fast. And it's too

Geraldine Serrano:

much information. However, if I know what I'm going to say, and

Geraldine Serrano:

I'm very, and the way if I know what I'm going to say, and I

Geraldine Serrano:

present it in a way that people can easily understand, then that

Geraldine Serrano:

five minutes is going to be useful to them, because I made

Geraldine Serrano:

sure ahead of time that I prepared on what I'm going to

Geraldine Serrano:

say in those five minutes, and how I'm going to present that

Geraldine Serrano:

information so that the audience is left with valuable

Geraldine Serrano:

information that they can use after hearing me speak for five

Geraldine Serrano:

minutes. And that's what I mean. So that's why it's really

Geraldine Serrano:

important how we communicate. Because if you want the receiver

Geraldine Serrano:

to get the message that you want them to have, then it's really

Geraldine Serrano:

important how you communicate that otherwise the message never

Geraldine Serrano:

gets to them. And it's just lost.

Melinda Lee:

Right? Right. And we overthink it, or we think

Melinda Lee:

they need all the details. And that actually waters down the

Melinda Lee:

message. So how did you prepare for your five minute today?

Melinda Lee:

Well,

Geraldine Serrano:

so last year, I read a I read a book that

Geraldine Serrano:

taught me how to give a TED talk. Oh, nice. What is it

Geraldine Serrano:

called? How to how to talk like 10? I think, yeah, I read. Uh

Geraldine Serrano:

huh. And so a TED talk is supposed to be 18 minutes.

Geraldine Serrano:

Because if you give, if you're under 18, you don't have enough

Geraldine Serrano:

content, people feel like you didn't provide enough content.

Geraldine Serrano:

If you go over 18 minutes, then it's information overload. So my

Geraldine Serrano:

presentation is 18 minutes. Also, it teaches you how to tell

Geraldine Serrano:

stories, because that's what people relate to. So in my TED

Geraldine Serrano:

talk, I give, I tell three stories. So in these five

Geraldine Serrano:

minutes, I'm only going to tell one story. And I'm going to, and

Geraldine Serrano:

I'm going to end it with the way I end my tech talk, because I

Geraldine Serrano:

only have five minutes. And the organiser of this event asked me

Geraldine Serrano:

for my PowerPoint slides, and I only have I only have one, and

Geraldine Serrano:

it has my contact information on it. And she was surprised and

Geraldine Serrano:

worried because she's used to people having you know, such you

Geraldine Serrano:

know, so many slides, you know, that are filled with text. And I

Geraldine Serrano:

just had my contact information. Because if you see a TED talk,

Geraldine Serrano:

typically there is no PowerPoint, there is no slides.

Geraldine Serrano:

And if you and if you think about speakers like Steve Jobs,

Geraldine Serrano:

if there is a slide or anything in the background, it's just a

Geraldine Serrano:

picture. Yeah, that will help explain what he's talking about.

Geraldine Serrano:

So that's why I don't have any slides. But I can understand

Geraldine Serrano:

that most people are used to someone having a PowerPoint

Geraldine Serrano:

filled with text, because that's what we're used to. Oh, totally

Melinda Lee:

Oh, my gosh, and we need to overfill are over again.

Melinda Lee:

And there's so much that we know, especially as experts, and

Melinda Lee:

we have the chance to talk we want to share so much. And I

Melinda Lee:

think that we just don't, we have to remember that one point.

Melinda Lee:

And going deeper into one point is so much more valuable to the

Melinda Lee:

listener. And I love how you're what you're doing tonight, which

Melinda Lee:

is just one slide, one story and then a closing that's so perfect

Melinda Lee:

and right like how to be direct how to really hit home on your

Melinda Lee:

message. Just having one point. If you have five minutes. That's

Melinda Lee:

one point. In a story or a story, it's even better. Yeah,

Melinda Lee:

engaging.

Geraldine Serrano:

And it's also important, how I present that

Geraldine Serrano:

and What I mean by that is I took communication in college.

Geraldine Serrano:

And there's something called the speaker's triangle. So I don't

Geraldine Serrano:

stay in one spot. All right, so I'm going to move, I'm going to,

Geraldine Serrano:

I'm going to start out in the middle. And then when I move on

Geraldine Serrano:

to the story, I'm going to move to one side of the room. And

Geraldine Serrano:

then when I close, I'm going to move to another side of the

Geraldine Serrano:

room. So that's one way I communicate when I do my

Geraldine Serrano:

presentation. Also, I like because I don't know who's going

Geraldine Serrano:

to be in the audience. I get to know my audience upfront. So I'm

Geraldine Serrano:

going to ask, does anyone know about cost segregation, so I can

Geraldine Serrano:

get the audience engaged? Because what do you typically

Geraldine Serrano:

see anywhere? Even if you're not at a presentation, people are

Geraldine Serrano:

always on their phones. And if they're not, in, I can see who's

Geraldine Serrano:

paying attention or not paying attention, right? But if I

Geraldine Serrano:

engage the audience, because I'm asking them a question, then

Geraldine Serrano:

that's a great way to make sure that I know people are gonna pay

Geraldine Serrano:

attention to what I have to say.

Melinda Lee:

Right? Right. It's more like a conversation, trying

Melinda Lee:

to engage the audience and using movement to connect with people

Melinda Lee:

on the left side or the right side, depending on what point

Melinda Lee:

you are at in your story. Yeah,

Geraldine Serrano:

and I'm also going to have people that I know

Geraldine Serrano:

in the audience, and I'm going to call on them, so that people

Geraldine Serrano:

aren't, always aren't looking just at me, I'm going to point

Geraldine Serrano:

somebody, someone I know out in the audience, and they're going

Geraldine Serrano:

to stand up and I'm going to refer to them as Miss, I hate

Geraldine Serrano:

the IRS, then, then, then I'm going to have another friend who

Geraldine Serrano:

will be on the other side of the room. And I'm going to refer to

Geraldine Serrano:

her as Mrs. I hate the IRS too. So it makes it fun. Right? Yeah.

Geraldine Serrano:

Wants to just sit there and be bored.

Melinda Lee:

Right? Right. And creative and fine. Yeah,

Melinda Lee:

awesome. Do you just come up with that? Like, do you? Do they

Melinda Lee:

know? Does the audience know that you're gonna do that your

Melinda Lee:

friends? The audience doesn't know. But my friends know, your

Melinda Lee:

friends, though. Your friends, though. Okay, good.

Geraldine Serrano:

Yeah. And then also, towards the end of my

Geraldine Serrano:

presentation, I'm going to explain to I'm going to tell the

Geraldine Serrano:

audience what they actually do for work, and then have and then

Geraldine Serrano:

associate it with the work that I do, saying that the results of

Geraldine Serrano:

the work that I do this specialty tax work is going to

Geraldine Serrano:

be applied differently in their tax situations, it won't be

Geraldine Serrano:

applied the same. So it'll get them thinking, right, like I

Geraldine Serrano:

pointed somebody out in the audience, and their eyes are not

Geraldine Serrano:

just on me, they're able to not sit there and be bored, they

Geraldine Serrano:

have to be paying attention to who I'm pointing out and what

Geraldine Serrano:

I'm saying about them.

Melinda Lee:

I love that. I love that. Yes, so many great tips

Melinda Lee:

and insights. Can you share with us? What are three things if you

Melinda Lee:

have someone that tend to share a lot of details? What are three

Melinda Lee:

tips that you can share with them to help them because they

Melinda Lee:

don't know what details to share? And what not to share?

Melinda Lee:

What what could you help them with? With tips?

Geraldine Serrano:

Um, I think, you know, one tip, I would say

Geraldine Serrano:

because I'm impatient, and I don't like it when people are

Geraldine Serrano:

long winded, but I feel like, you know, you're gonna come

Geraldine Serrano:

across those people. And I think what's really important is you

Geraldine Serrano:

have to make sure you listen well, because you have to sift

Geraldine Serrano:

through the information, you have to sift through what they

Geraldine Serrano:

tell you and figure out what what is their point? And or what

Geraldine Serrano:

are there questions? And then, and then I feel like to make

Geraldine Serrano:

sure I understood what they said to me, then I either one, repeat

Geraldine Serrano:

it back to them in a succinct manner of what I think they

Geraldine Serrano:

said. And or to figure out if, tell them what I think their

Geraldine Serrano:

questions are. And then I tell them to tell me if I understood

Geraldine Serrano:

what they were telling me. Right. Yeah, right. That

Geraldine Serrano:

provides that provides them the opportunity to tell me if I

Geraldine Serrano:

understood what they said or not. And if I did great, if I

Geraldine Serrano:

didn't, then they can try a different way. Or repeat what

Geraldine Serrano:

they said and maybe, you know, I can figure out what I

Geraldine Serrano:

misunderstood. Right?

Melinda Lee:

Right. And then what about people on the

Melinda Lee:

opposite side? How do they prepare to talk to you? If they

Melinda Lee:

have way too many details?

Geraldine Serrano:

What do you mean if the way someone

Melinda Lee:

someone says okay, I'm going to talk to Geraldine,

Melinda Lee:

and I've all this information? How can I best prepare?

Geraldine Serrano:

Oh, yeah. Well, you know, the example I

Geraldine Serrano:

give is, you know, when I work with my assistant, you know,

Geraldine Serrano:

he'll, I'll ask him to draft an email to follow up on payment.

Geraldine Serrano:

And he'll write a long winded email saying I hope this email

Geraldine Serrano:

finds you well, and I'm following up on, you know, the

Geraldine Serrano:

invoice that was sent to you, and you should have received it

Geraldine Serrano:

by bla bla bla. And he'll just go on and on and on and on. And

Geraldine Serrano:

all. I'll tell him to that I want two sentences. I want Did

Geraldine Serrano:

you receive the invoice? And if so, when can we expect payment?

Geraldine Serrano:

You know, and that and so that's extremely shorter than his long

Geraldine Serrano:

winded email. Right, right. So I feel like, especially in our

Geraldine Serrano:

world here in the States, not like other countries, you know,

Geraldine Serrano:

here, we're, we live in a fast paced environment, right,

Geraldine Serrano:

everybody wants, you know, things done, and answered

Geraldine Serrano:

quickly, right. And so I feel like, if I or a client were to

Geraldine Serrano:

open up an email, and see a long email that they would have to

Geraldine Serrano:

take time to read, if there were so busy. What, then that's

Geraldine Serrano:

probably going to go on the back burner, because just from the

Geraldine Serrano:

look of it, we'll think, oh my gosh, this is going to take so

Geraldine Serrano:

much time to write this. And so I feel like but when I give a

Geraldine Serrano:

short email, right, the two sentences, did you get the

Geraldine Serrano:

invoice? When can we expect payment, it's gonna be it's

Geraldine Serrano:

gonna get read. And that goes into the, you know, and study,

Geraldine Serrano:

research shows that a text is answered quicker than an email

Geraldine Serrano:

or a voicemail. So because we want those quick conversations,

Geraldine Serrano:

right. So I think the shorter so a saying I like is word economy

Geraldine Serrano:

is key. I may not be the greatest at it. But that's what

Geraldine Serrano:

I like. And I think it's great when people have that.

Melinda Lee:

Oh, you're great at it. You're great at it. Even you

Melinda Lee:

know, just when I met you really quickly, I can get the sense

Melinda Lee:

that yeah, word economy is key. Thank you. Oh, thank you,

Melinda Lee:

Geraldine. I think those tips are very, extremely helpful.

Melinda Lee:

Because it puts us in the other shoes where the receiver if I

Melinda Lee:

see this long email, I can picture myself getting

Melinda Lee:

overwhelmed. So I think the leaders out there who have a lot

Melinda Lee:

of details and don't know how to sort through it. Just imagine

Melinda Lee:

receiving a long email and having to sort through it, like

Melinda Lee:

how would you feel? And then just try to get down to the one

Melinda Lee:

or two points. If it's an email, maybe two points. At the most,

Melinda Lee:

you can just do just what are your key points? What are the

Melinda Lee:

bullet points and then just put it into the email? Or even when

Melinda Lee:

you're speaking to somebody? What if you have five minutes

Melinda Lee:

one point, right. But if you're gonna say three points, just say

Melinda Lee:

the three points, you don't have to give details, just the the

Melinda Lee:

three points. Right. If you have one point, you can give a little

Melinda Lee:

bit more detail in five minutes. That's a rough estimate. But

Melinda Lee:

just be very specific and be very specific to the point,

Melinda Lee:

right. Yeah. Love this. Thank you, Geraldine. And if people

Melinda Lee:

needed to reach out to you for some support for some tax

Melinda Lee:

advice, like what can we put your email address? What's the

Melinda Lee:

best way? You

Geraldine Serrano:

can either call or email me? My phone

Geraldine Serrano:

numbers? 510-386-0872. And my email address is Geraldine at

Geraldine Serrano:

their attacks. advisors.com.

Melinda Lee:

Awesome. Thank you so much. Thanks, Geraldine.

Melinda Lee:

Reach out to her. And thank you so much for being on the

Melinda Lee:

podcast. We we got a lot. I got a lot out of it. That was great.

Melinda Lee:

Well,

Geraldine Serrano:

thanks for having me, Melinda. And I hope

Geraldine Serrano:

that the listeners get a lot out of what we talked about.

Melinda Lee:

I think so I think they did. Yes. Thank you,

Melinda Lee:

listeners for joining us. Appreciate you being here. Until

Melinda Lee:

our next episode. Take care. Bye. Bye. Hi.