I think one of the most frequently asked questions after a loss is, “What should I say to someone who is grieving?” My company has developed a product that might help with that.

Some background: This past April, I wrote about the importance of acknowledging people who are grieving. Often, the fear of saying the wrong thing leads people to say nothing. From the bereaved individual’s point of view, this could be seen as uncaring or pretending the death did not occur.

So I shared some excerpts from our book, “Cracking the Code to Leadership,” in the hope that it would help those around bereaved people express their compassion and respect in ways that were appropriate and respectful. While the main audience for the book is the business community, many Open to Hope readers have written to say they found the information in the April column helpful.

Recently, my company launched iPAR MindReader, an Apple iPhone app, that is mostly designed to help business people be better at connecting, influencing or inspiring their employees, customers and others stakeholders.

It has again occurred to me that some of the emotions found in business interactions are the same emotions experienced by bereaved individuals. Supported by Nobel Prize winning research, iPAR Mindreader gives tips and suggestions for a strategy to connect with any emotion and make every conversation more productive. Whether the setting is inside a business, with your family, or with a bereaved friend, iPAR Mindreader is designed to improve your ability to connect with others.

Here’s how it works: Initially, MindReader helps you identify Positive, Negative or Neutral points of view. Then it presents you with clues to determine the other person’s degree of positive or negative. Select the appropriate clue and MindReader provides insight into how the other person sees things at that moment in time with verbal and non-verbal samples to confirm your observation. Then the big payoff comes: MindReader suggests ways to connect with even the most difficult/negative person and provides samples of appropriate responses.

How does this apply to bereaved people? We know bereaved people are sad. MindReader suggests how to approach a bereaved person. For example, you first prove you are taking that bereaved person seriously (“It must be very hard…”) and then offer some help (“…so would it help if I sent over dinner for tonight?”).

Sadness, denial, fear, guilt, anger, skepticism, etc., are part of business of business and the business of bereavement. It would be wonderful for me, a bereaved parent, to see this app work in both situations.

In the event you are interested and have either an iPhone or an iPod, go to the Apple store, click on the apps section and search under iPAR MindReader. Any feedback would be welcomed.

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Patrick T. Malone

Patrick T. Malone, a Senior Partner with The PAR Group www.thepargroup.com , has decades of experience in operations, customer service, and sales management. Before joining PAR as a senior consultant in 1989, Patrick worked in a variety of management roles including Vice President - National Sales Manager for American Greetings Corporation and The Scott Companies. As a key member of the PAR team, Patrick has trained and consulted throughout the world with a wide range of organizations including The American Cancer Society, Banfield-The Pet Hospital, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, DuPont, Ft. Dodge Animal Health, Hewlett-Packard, International Securities Exchange, Novell, Sensient Technologies, Siemens Medical, SOLAE, The United Way, and Verizon Wireless. His work with PAR clients has taken him to Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, France and China. A frequent speaker at industry, management and bereavement conferences, he has presented and spoken before the Mississippi VMA and the Delaware VMA; the Frontline Forum at American School of International Management; Argosy University; the business schools at Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University; The American Society of Training and Development; and the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, Iowa State University, Louisiana State University, University of Florida, University of Minnesota, Tufts University, Compassionate Friends national and regional conferences. Patrick is the co-author of the new business book Cracking the Code to Leadership http://thepargroup.com/crackingCode.html Educated at John Carroll University, Patrick is a member of the CEO Action Group of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Growth Council, Legislative Committee and the Professional Services Executive Roundtable. He has also served as the National Board President of The Compassionate Friends (TCF), Inc., an international support group for bereaved parents and is a former Trustee of the TCF Foundation. He also serves as President of LMMA Inc. www.looktwicesavealifebumperstickers.com, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to motorcycle safety and awareness and is the host of the weekly radio show "This Week in Blairsville" Patrick served on the National Board of Compassionate Friends (TCF) from 1999-2005. He served as treasurer from 2000-2003, and was President of the TCF board from 2003-2005. Patrick and his wife Kathy reside in Atlanta, Georgia and are the parents of Bryan, Lance (1970-1995), Scott (1971), Sean and Erin(1974) and the grandparents of Shannah, Devin, Riley, Katie and Megan. Patrick may be contacted at ptm4936@aol.com Patrick appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss Grief in the Workplace. To listen to his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley062305.mp3

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