Improving the Way You Communicate with Christine Marchand

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This transcript was created using AI. Please forgive any discrepencies.

[Intro] Welcome to Easy Style with Sami. I’m your host Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each episode, I invite a friend, family member or colleague or just someone I’ve met on this journey called life to come and share their personal style and approach to business, parenting, life and everything in between. You’ll hear motivational and inspirational stories that will help you refine and build your own personal style. Remember, style is easy when it comes from within.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, there, it’s time for another episode of easy style with Sami. And today, my guest is Christine Marchand and Christine. Thanks for being here today.

[Christine Marchand] Thanks for having me.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Now, full disclosure, we tried to record this like a week and a half ago, and technology was not cooperating. So we’re here for round two, but it’s gonna be even better. I’m super excited.

[Christine Marchand] It’s round three at this point, right?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] You know, things that you can’t control,

[Christine Marchand] right? Things that we try anyway. Well,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] before we kick this off, why don’t you just introduce yourself and tell people a little bit about

[Christine Marchand] yourself? So hi, my name is Christine Marshawn. I’m a very much middle aged woman from around Des Moines, Iowa. I have one child and she is a sophomore at Drake University. And I am currently taking Ph. D classes at Drake University. So it’s been a big joke, because when she started her, her first year at Drake is when I started doing the PhD courses, and we made a whole bunch of back to school jokes if you know Rajee, Rodney Dangerfield at all? Like, yeah, I’m gonna move in with you at the dorms. And we’re gonna do, but I didn’t actually do that. And I kind of regret it.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] We’ve threatened our kids with that. I mean, minor, 11 and 14, but we’ve threatened them with, we’re gonna move to college and move in with you. And they’re not they’re not feeling it? Nope. Well, I this is one of the things that I love about drug sales is that if it wasn’t for that you and I would not have met. So we met because one of your friends hosted a party. And you jumped right in, you’ve been one of my most amazing customers and VIPs. But beyond that, like we’ve developed a friendship and even though it’s interesting how like, geographically close we are now. And when I think when you first joined our group, I was living in Oregon at the time. So definitely not a situation where we would have ever met. So that’s one of the things that I is my most favorite thing about direct sales. But the reason why I wanted to have you on the podcast is because you you know, we throw these parties, we have these socials, and some people are crickets and quiet. And some people jump right in, they have all the conversation, they have all the fun. And that was you. And I just picture you also an in person, like being the one who’s like grabbing everybody connecting people starting conversation and making people feel warm and welcome. So is that just something that’s always been a part of your nature?

[Christine Marchand] No, I would say being loud and obnoxious has always been part of my nature. But being able to nurture that or shape it into being welcoming and recognizing the boundaries of when I need to be quiet. And when I need to even recognizing who is being quiet and why they are. Because there are people who don’t want to participate. There are people who are struggling, and they really want to participate. And then there’s also people who just have their own things going on. So you have to learn to respect those different boundaries of other people. And that’s all stuff that I have cultivated, or tried to be better at. I’m not saying I’m perfect with it. But I try really hard to find the ones who are sitting alone, but don’t want to be, you know. And honestly, I think I’m doing better with that because I got this huge compliment after our first in person class because a lot of our classes have been online for my PhD, my first inperson class at the end of it somebody who isn’t even technically part of our cohort, but he was in this class with us. He came up to me afterwards and he’s an educator. So he knows these things like he’s, he’s doing licensure to become a superintendent. So he’s watched and he said to me, he’s like, you know, Christine, I really want to thank you because I came into this class, not really knowing anybody and I was being quiet and sitting back and you truly brought me in and helped me talk to other people. And I felt very included in what could have been a very class for me. So

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Me too. I

[Christine Marchand] felt it was one of the biggest compliments I’ve gotten recently along with you talking about seeing me being very confident. Okay,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] well I think it is it is confidence. But I think it’s also to your point, the practice of listening and self awareness and reading social cues, which I think has gotten a little bit harder. It’s in the virtual space, I think we’re starting to learn more of those social cues, like on Zoom calls and things like that. But like, how did you kind of develop it? Was it you know, walking up to people asking questions, was it just, Oh, you got feedback you didn’t like? So you’re like, Ooh, maybe I don’t want to do that, again, like, how did you kind of grow and nurture that to where it is today?

[Christine Marchand] Well, a lot of it is, you have to be willing to put yourself out there first. And I think what I started when I was in college and undergrad, I traveled quite a bit. And I traveled by myself. And so I found that I needed to put myself out there to try to be part of the group or to talk and have interesting conversations, which were fascinating. And I love so many, I go back in my memories to so many of those kinds of conversations. And in fact, from somebody I met in Australia, and he found me on Facebook, you know, it’s got to be 20 years later, Wow, pretty much literally, he found me on Facebook. And he told me that one of the reasons why he was looking for me on Facebook, and this is probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten. And I love it so much as he told me, he wanted to find me again, because I was a soul worth knowing. And I thought that was just honestly, it made me blush. And I thought that was wonderful. And I look around find and kind of get with what I hope is somebody’s soul, get past that, that overall facade that people put on and try to meet them a little bit deeper. But to do that, you have to start off very superficial. And I I’ve had colleagues who are like, Oh, I hate small talk Small talk is the worst, when small talk is great. It really is it is the icebreaker that helps you get to the deeper levels. So you need to practice some of that small talk, you need to practice looking people in the eye. And that’s where you really get the cues. And what helps you know, if you’ve gone too far, and they need you to back off, or if you you know, and there is a certain amount of you reach a certain age and you no longer care what people think about you care, yes, I guess I still care. But I try to reel it back in and be like, This is who I am. And this is what I’m going to try to do. I know what I bring to the table for the most part, there’s always somebody who find some part of me that I didn’t know and that some of that includes being too much. And I get that I am definitely too much for some people. But I

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] think what you’re saying is as long as you show up with intention, that’s pure and good. And coming from a good place, you can’t control how other people react. So like, you know, that reaction is not a reflection on your self value or your worth. But having the understanding of saying, Okay, this, this might not be the right combination, I’m going to just gracefully back away from this conversation is okay, but it doesn’t need to mean that you’re, that you need to change who you are or that you’re insert whatever word you want person,

[Christine Marchand] right. But I do think it’s important to understand that when your intentions are pure, or that I’m trying to come as myself, part of that is also understanding and wanting to meet someone where they’re at. Because what’s good for me might not be good for you. My tendency to interrupt people, because I do I get very excited about everything. Like if you’re saying something and I can relate to it, I really want to tell you how I relate to it, not to make the story about me not to change the subject back onto me, but I know that’s often how that can be interpreted. And so I got to try to see if they’re the type of person who you can interrupt and then they’ll finish their story without without being insulted or interrupting them is really too much. And I still struggle with that because I get very excited when I’m talking to like my boss who I know hates to be interrupted. I’m already I’ve already listened to what he said I know where he’s gonna go. And I’m like, Hey, let’s go to this next place and it’ll be great. But yeah, you know, again, I am far from perfect on all of these things. And what I have found to be invaluable is saying, I’m sorry, I recognize that I do this. I do. I try to do better. I will not always succeed. Yeah. And that being open and letting people know that you kind of know what your own faults are, because you should do some introspection, which is not the same thing as self flagellation. Right. You don’t need to sit there and be like, I talked too much the entire time. Yeah, that’s not helpful. But if you recognize that you talked a lot, because you’re nervous, or because you really wanted somebody to like you. So you thought, Oh, I’m gonna just tell them all of this stuff, and they’re gonna find me so impressive. Or, if you want to prove that you’re the smartest in the room, these are different things that you need to look at and think about and go. Alright, how do I present this differently? How do I present myself differently? What is such

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] a good point? So, yeah, well, I have a 14 year old daughter, and we are very much trying to raise her as a strong, confident female, which is very, so nuanced in this world of technology and life. And the times we’re living in and your daughter, you mentioned is in college. So how do you kind of instill some of these things that you’ve learned and her so that she can, you know, go out in the world and navigate it? Maybe just a little bit easier than you had to? Right? Like, that’s our goal with our kids, right? Like, how can we help them, not give them everything, but just help them navigate the world a little bit easier than we than we did?

[Christine Marchand] Well, I find a lot of teenagers and especially teen women tend to think about themselves and what others think about them a lot, instead of, and so I’ve tried to instill in my daughter, that honestly, nobody is thinking about you that much. About you as much as you think they are. Yeah. And that when people do things like as a group, they’re not trying to exclude you, you just need to be upfront and include yourself. Like when there’s a group of people standing together talking, they’re not standing together talking with their back to you on purpose. It’s just how they’re how they formed. So you need to go ahead and step up there and work your way into the circle. And you don’t even necessarily have to say anything, but being there is 90% of what’s important and making friends and making connections and being there can be virtual, it can be in person, it can be any number of you know, calling, texting. And then also realizing that people just make mistakes. They just do they don’t mean to they’re not trying to say something hurtful. I mean, there are times don’t get me wrong, when people are going out of their way to hurt you. But those are pretty obvious moments. That if you’re finding yourself asking, Well, did they mean it this way? They probably didn’t. You know, it’s partially giving them the benefit of the doubt. It’s also giving yourself the benefit of the doubt knowing that you are good enough as you are that people are not looking to destroy you. Right? Yeah, well, I think that’s

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] something we take into adulthood, because I’ve shared this before many times. But like, whenever I get a text from a client that’s like, Hey, you got a second to chat, I immediately go into like, panic mode of oh my gosh, they’re gonna be mad at me, they’re gonna be upset with me, when usually it’s just like, Hey, I can’t figure out how to do this. Or could you show me how, like, it’s no big deal. But I and so that’s something I’ve been working on. So like, what a great lesson to learn or to be taught at a younger age that like, just trust to trust yourself. Like, if you’re doing the things that you know, are right in your gut, then trust that the right things are going to happen.

[Christine Marchand] Agreed? Exactly. Okay, so then

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] do you guys compare your college notes? Since you’re both at the same university? Like do you compare what life is a PhD in life as an undergrad is like,

[Christine Marchand] a little bit, but you know, partially because she might be complaining about her reading or whatever she has to do. And I’m like, but look at my read. And, but it’s also different because the way the PhD works is I take one course at a time I take two courses in a semester, but it’s just, you know, semester semester, or six weeks in six weeks. So ya know, but having worked at the University for as long as I have, I’ve been at Drake for 14 plus years now. I seen what a lot of undergrads are still going through. And while I don’t talk a lot with the undergrads, I do surveys of the undergrads and otherwise interact with them and I see the patterns and I hear from the faculty what yeah, how things have changed in 14 years. And it is really hard because one of the biggest things facing our students today and younger generations is mental health issues. Writing, there’s so much more anxiety, so much more depression, that is being recognized and treated, and being expressed by our students, whether they’re treating it or not. That it really has changed the way University works. It’s not the same undergrad experience that I had when I was an undergrad. Although there still are a lot of things that are very similar, of course, when I was an undergrad is when the internet started. I mean, I was on the internet and in 99, but actually 1991 is when I was first on the internet, talking to people around the world, like literally people in Australia and everything else. And that has, technology has so shaped my child, your children, I’m sure as well. Everybody coming forward everything with the chat,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] chat GPT

[Christine Marchand] GPT. Thank you, I’m like CPT notes, and how that’s going to affect classes and learning. And, you know, just seeing this curve of how they’re learning and how they’re experiencing things, including online options, even for undergrad students, you know, you could be sitting in your dorm room taking a class, yep. Which I still will highly recommend going and living in dorms to anybody who is going into any kind of undergrad situate any higher education. Yeah, setting because it’s kind of their babies step between being an adult which you turn 18 and actually being an adult. And learning things, I

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] agree with that 100%, we told our kids the same, like, I don’t care if you go to college, where we live and your daughters and your town, or you go to college far away, you will be living in the dorms, because it’s just such this beautiful, like mix of people that you would also never meet anywhere of all different styles. And you have to learn how to live within those walls, like you have to figure out how to share a bathroom with 15 other girls, maybe if you’re lucky, maybe not. But you know, like neighbors being loud, like people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet. So it’s like a great way to kind of grow and build on those communication styles. So I agree with that. 100% also agree with you on the mental health stuff. And so I’m curious like it because I’m sure a lot of listeners have kids that are about to graduate or going through the college process. Like, are there tips or things that you might, because again, like when I went to college was in 2000, and everything was paper, you had to fill out all of your paper applications and everything in now they have like, group like you just fill out one master form on common app. We’re not there yet. But like the whole process has changed. So when we’re thinking about how we’re sending our kids to college, how we’re supporting them with communication, how we’re supporting them with their mental health, are there other things that we should be looking at, compared to just academics and extracurriculars when we’re evaluating kind of some of these things for our kids?

[Christine Marchand] One of the things that I think is extremely important, and the pandemic shifted it so much that we’re having trouble. I think people are having trouble becoming accustomed to it again. But it’s actually going and doing an on site visit of that campus. Because you there’s it’s a vibe, right? Every campus has a vibe, sometimes you vibe with it, as the kids would say sometimes you don’t mind getting the opportunity to walk across campus and breathe it in and feel whether it’s the right space for you or not. Don’t be overly concerned about what is outside the bounds of the campus itself as a as an parent, because sometimes those bounds are huge, like Iowa City, they are their campuses sprawling, right? So it’s hard to tell what’s inside the campus. What is outside the campus, Drake University is, is very insular. And then we have just a small area that we claim as dog town outside of the university that is, but the rest of it, the kids aren’t going to interact with it much, especially when they’re living on campus because they get their food they get you know, everything else transportation is walking across campus. So that is what I would say is your number one thing is get go to those campus visits, do it as much as you can. Then after that, go ahead and look at what on online. Many different universities will post everything from their yearly student surveys that they have their students take so you can hear from the students themselves what they think or what the trouble spots are and what the pride spot Are you can go to when you’re on campus, actually, listen, don’t don’t interrupt, but just go to someplace like the Starbucks that’s on campus or whatever and listen to how the students are talking. as well. I wouldn’t suggest just stopping and asking random students things because they will get good at it are going to be really good at it. But the ones who just aren’t going to be like, Why are you talking to me? Don’t do that. It’s not worth it. And you won’t get a more true sense from somebody who you ask randomly than you will from your guide. Right, because a lot of tour guides or students. Let’s see, look and see what they offer for extracurriculars as well as you know, if you’re concerned about mental health, see what they’re offering in terms of mental health, whether they have people on campus who are counselors, and what their referral system is, or what kind of whether they offer video counseling, or not some of those different things that you can look at. So those are probably some of my tips. Anyway.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Well, we’ve covered a wide breadth. I feel like I always say that word weird of topics today. And Christina, always appreciate your insights. And your thoughts because I just Yeah, I just think you’re an awesome human. And I’m glad to know you. So we’re gonna wrap this up with the same questions that I asked every guest on the podcast ready for him?

[Christine Marchand] Yeah, I’m ready for it. Okay,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] where is your kind of go to place for personal development or business development? Like where do you go? When you’re looking to learn more.

[Christine Marchand] Um, honestly, I just go to different colleagues on campus, whether because of course, being on at a university, I have the option to have a whole bunch of different kinds of backgrounds, but I can use them to go from and plus I belong to a professional. A professional group that offers training and everything else that’s out there. Personally, I, I have a lot of friends on the internet such as yourself, and many more who really do focus on how do you feel better about you? What do you need to do for you? What’s your next step? So I will go to them as well.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Surround yourself with like minded people that you can trust? I love that. I think we know the answer to this. But would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

[Christine Marchand] Oh, I am such an introvert. No. Obviously an extrovert, although I did tell my mom when I was young. I’m an introvert. I just hide it well. To a degree, I actually stand by that statement, because I love my alone time so much. Yep. But I don’t think anybody is truly just an extrovert or just an introvert. There’s a lot of in between, and I can recharge by talking with people, but I also recharge with my alone time. So

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I like that. What is one thing that’s on your goal list for the upcoming year, either personal or professional?

[Christine Marchand] Pass my comp exam. That’s a PhD, I want to do that. And I want to do it on my first drive. But we’ll see what happens with that. Okay, well,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] we’ll be rooting you on. What’s a piece of advice that you’ve gotten from someone that’s just stuck with you.

[Christine Marchand] My piece of advice that I heard and I have regurgitated in many forms is that remember, when somebody comes to you with something big, that they’ve thought about it a lot, and this can be true of your kids. And it might not even be big to you. But it’s big to them. That if it’s any in any way, shocking or different than what you were expecting that you can say, I’ve heard what you said, and you compare it back to them to make certain. And I appreciate you bringing that to me, but I need a moment to think about it so I can respond appropriately. Because and also the true is in the reverse that when you go to somebody, and whatever news you’re planning on giving them you’ve thought about it a lot. It might be that you have medical news that you need to share or something else. So I find or maybe you’re getting married and somebody reacts when you tell them that you’re going to get married. Their reaction is not what you expect. And sometimes that’s because they just haven’t been able to process it. Yeah, it’s not that they’re upset about it. It’s not that they need you know they’re and knee jerk reactions have the word word jerk in them for a reason. You need to avoid those Just taking a moment, especially as a parent, with all of the different things that kids come at us with, saying, I heard you just give me a moment, and I will talk about it with you. And if you are not going to do it like in the next 30 seconds, like plan out the time, yeah. But always try to respond first with love.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That’s such a great reminder. Because I think, especially in this world of immediate gratification, we tend to need to like just everything is like rapid fire. So taking that minute to just breathe and say I need Can I have a minute and acknowledging the person? I think that’s, that’s,

[Christine Marchand] that’s, well, it’s important that you voiced that you’re taking a minute, instead of looking like it’s a stun, they don’t feel rejected. Yeah, yeah. It’s not a stunned silence. It’s a and, you know, always if it’s something really big and life changing, you start with I love you, you know, that’s whether you say literally or in your voice, that’s the important part. But I don’t need to react, not everything needs to be reacted to immediately like hearing things like I want to drop out of college, you know? That, or you need to take that moment and go, Okay, why? Because they’ve obviously thought about it. And I’m not saying my daughter wants to drop out of college, I’m just trying to use an example.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] No, I’ve been through that exact experience with my parents. And even to this day, we still have a very different because we never really truly had a conversation around it. We still have like, when we replay that time back, their experience of it and my experience of it are like the story they tell him like, what that is not what happened. So I think also to your point, it’s like really, just even just being able to understand, we don’t always have to agree with people. But understanding and having empathy for where they’re coming from, I think is critically important. And we would be much better off as a society as a whole if

[Christine Marchand] we all did that. Absolutely. Without getting into any specifics.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, last question, what is a non negotiable for you in your life?

[Christine Marchand] Um, racism is non negotiable. I will not put up with racism, I will speak up every time that I am witness to it, I will. It’s just not negotiable for me.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I’m questioned about that. And not to drag this on too long. But do you find that being on a university campus, the conversations around that are happening more frequently than maybe when you were in your undergrad? Like, do you see that as a shift in conversations with younger adults, and how that’s kind of progressing and moving forward?

[Christine Marchand] A little bit, but partially, it just has to do with my world opening up. I mean, my undergrad was Luther College in decor, Iowa, and my, my high school was Urbandale high school in Iowa as well. So not a lot of variety, and diversity going on. And so it’s a little bit of exposure. So I started traveling. And so of course, when I travel as soon as you travel, it opens your eyes to so many different things. My first undergrad, my master’s degree is that was from there is from Notre Dame, and again, not a lot of diversity, even buddy, they struck they tried for it. So we had some at least. But these, what I find depressing is the exact same conversations have been happening my entire life, as far as I can tell that there are a lot of needles that haven’t been moved. And I’ve seen things go forward. And I’ve seen things regress. And really, the reason why things are being talked about now have to do with current events, right? And also this understanding that getting making spaces is not enough. You need to make them feel make people feel welcome and change the culture. Because there still is an overall dominant culture that excludes people intentionally or unintentionally. Yep. So there’s just so much work that is always going to be needed. Not hopefully not always. But I’d like to see. I’d like to see the needle moved ahead again. Yeah. And so I wouldn’t say that there’s more conversation and saying it’s different and I was aware of it even as an undergrad, but it was just a very different different. It was different. It was a different framework, but the conversations were still there. It’s things like finding out about sundown towns that existed in Iowa into the 90s. Right? I mean, this is not ancient history. So sorry. You said not to go political and no. The thing is, I don’t actually consider political.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] It shouldn’t be efficient, not be a political conversation. No, I agree with you there. Um, I will keep being a voice. Because I also think that when people are standing up and having a voice, it encourages and makes other people that are just like we’ve been talking about in this whole episode about confidence, confidence conversation, and bring along. I think the more that people like you can continue to have a vote, a voice that you use will inspire other people to use their voice when they maybe wouldn’t. So I appreciate you for doing that. And, Christine, thank you so much for being a guest on this podcast. If people want to chat with you connect with you. How can they do that?

[Christine Marchand] Easiest is probably through Facebook, you know, send me a messenger request. And I will see it. And if you tell me in the messenger request, Hey, I saw you on the podcast, and I’d like to talk with you some more. That’s one thing.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] It’s not a pretty lady.

[Christine Marchand] Or, hey, there are more singles in your area. Don’t do that. Well, I genuinely appreciate the invitation to speak with you today. I always love talking with you. So yeah, this was a lot of fun for me.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] This is great. Well, thank you so much for being here. All right, thank you. I have had so many incredible conversations with Christine over the last few years. And this was no exception. I just love her insight. And the way that she approaches conversations and the way that she approaches how we just live in community with each other, you can find all the links to connect with her in the show notes at easy style with And that’s s a mi. Make sure you’re streaming and subscribing to these episodes. Wherever you listen, you can find us on all the streaming platforms as well as on YouTube at easy style with Sami. And I hope that you’ll leave us a review so that we can get this podcast in front of more amazing people who need inspiration in finding their own personal style. But for now, thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate it and I’ll see you in the next one.



Having conversations with strangers isn’t always the easiest. For Christine, it wasn’t the starting the conversation that was hard, it was ensuring that she wasn’t overhwhelming the people she was chatting with so they could have meaningful conversations. Over the years, she has learned how to read nonverbal cues to have the right conversations with the right people at the right time!

In this episode we discuss

  • Understanding your own communication style.
  • How to read nonverbal cues for better conversations at events.
  • Tips for picking the right college for you kids.

Want to skip ahead?

[3:02] Having confidence in networking (online and offline).
[5:34] Reading cues to understand what people are comfortable with in conversation.
[13:57] What its like being in the same college (undergrad and PhD) as her daughter.
[21:47] Where Christine goes for personal development
[22:47] Is Christine and introvert or extrovert?
[23:23] One goal for the upcoming year.
[23:40] Piece of advice that has stuck with Christine.
[27:19] What’s a non-negotiable?

Christine Marchand

Christine Marchand