No. 68 - Make Doing the Right Thing Your Thing

The true test of character is doing the right thing even when no one sees.Eight days a week you will encounter temptation to break your personal code of conduct of doing the right thing. One college conducted a sting to test cheating. Of the 600 students who took the test, one third cheated. When a student was interviewed about it, he said, “What’s the big deal? Everybody does it all the time.”To do what’s right, you merely make one of two choices: be honest or be dishonest. That’s it. It’s not complicated.And you don’t:-intentionally mislead-straddle the line-disseminate false information-break promises-go back on your word-waltz around-exaggerate-or participate in other chicaneryAlso, these words do not come out of your mouth or get put into an e-mail:“Everyone else does it.”“It’s a victimless crime.”“I can hide it.”“It doesn’t matter how it gets done, I just have to get it done.”“Well, maybe just this one time….”“No one will ever know.”“I’ll just shred (or burn) that document.”“What’s in it for me?”“How much can we get away with?”“I’d say anything goes.”“I will deny we had this discussion.”“We didn’t have this conversation.”“This is a non meeting.”“Is this legal?”Nothing baffles people full of trick and duplicity than simple, straightforward integrity.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 67 - A Good Soldier, a Good Friend, and a Good Brother

This is my brother (on the right) escorting a blind buddy of his onto an Honor Flight on Sunday from Denver to join 160 other veterans to travel to Washington D.C. and visit the war memorials.  My brother was in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam — tough as nails on the outside — and the epitome of a good, good man on the inside.Even in the mist of hellish war situations, he still took the time to write his little sister the occasional letter advising her on how to deal with her 1960’s high school teenage drama. Years later I told that story to a CEO client of mine who took down a treasured piece of military memorabilia from his book shelf and gave it to me to honor my brother saying, “If he did that while putting up with what was going on over there, he deserves this more than I do."~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 66 - A Good Brand is that of a “Solid Citizen”

Having upright character is entirely self-serving: You feel good about yourself and you sleep soundly. You don’t fear how your actions will look in the newspaper or in the blogosphere. You need not agonize over how your kids, partner, parents, friends, classmates, neighbors, and co-workers will view you. Being a solid citizen is the ultimate de-stressor. Consider these three truths:

· Fame, popularity, and riches go away; only character endures.

· Ethos is established at the top, and you’re the top in your world.

· People want to trust you, so make it easy for them.

As for me, I have plenty of faults, but I try to do the right thing.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 65 - Real Personal Branding: Tattoos

The good news is tattoos aren’t reserved for sailors, warriors, or rock stars anymore. For these reasons and many others, 1 in 3 people under forty has at least one tattoo. (They are actually an ancient art form dating back to the Egyptians who used them to control the supernatural.)In the future, younger executives will replace older ones and the young ones will sport tattoos so it will become increasingly less of an issue in dress codes and social reaction. But today, a general rule of thumb is: If your boss’s boss is showing his, you can too; if not, cover it.A professor said to me, “A tattoo is akin to wearing the same hairstyle for rest of your life.” That being said, if you have your reasons for getting one—to feel sexy, be rebellious, for sentiment, or because you belong to the Church of Body Modification, then put thought into the following:

-Try a temporary tattoo on as a test for awhile.

-Select the spot on your body very carefully; make sure people can’t see them unless you want them to. Avoid locations that can’t be concealed by normal dress; stay away from your neck, fingers, or hands. One CEO put it flatly, “Don’t bring generously tattooed arms to the office.”

-Think about where you see yourself in ten years and ask yourself if the tattoo fits in the picture. Consider that it will likely limit you in some jobs if visible. You may not as quickly get on the corporate fast track or be nominated for Supreme Court judge.

-Consider who you’ll be with. A friend had his girlfriend’s name ‘Pat’ tattooed on his forearm. When he ended up married to Teresa he changed ‘Pat’ to ‘Bad’ because that was the best he and his artist could come up with!

-Ask yourself, “Is this a piece of art I’d like on my walls; if not, do I want it on my body?”

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No. 64 - Surviving (Inevitable) Rejection

Rejection is inevitable in life, especially if you’re making an effort and putting yourself out there. Here are some strategies I use to make rejection less painful when I get it.First, try not to expect to get it before you actually do. Most of the negative situations you worry about will never happen. If you fret and dread what might occur, it will show all over your face, in your voice, and in your manner. People will see it and give back what you project and seem to expect.Consider the source, timing, situation, politics, and any other contributing factors, so that you accurately understand the rejection. If in your estimation it’s valid — and usually at least some of it is — immediately do something about your actions/behavior to minimize the pushback from recurring. Later, thank the person(s) who gave it, briefly explain the changes you made, sustain the changes, and then forget about the rebuff.Get calloused to the fact that not everyone will like you or what you do, no matter what. Think about it; you don’t like every person and every thing others do, either.There is a percent of the population that will disapprove of you, regardless of how good you are. Take heart in the fact that some people don’t like the Pope, the U.S. President, Miss America, or Sponge Bob either. Life is not logical or fair. As the country and western song goes “sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.”If you’re guilty of any of the following behaviors, you will increase your chances of receiving negative reactions from people; try to eliminate them from your operating style now:

-Procrastination

-Lack of organization or goals

-Self-criticism; low self-esteem

-Perfectionism

-Blaming other people

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No. 63 - Trust Yourself; You're Not Just Lucky

Yes, timing and luck contribute to your success. But you also contributed to your success.One of my early mentors, a long time member of Young Presidents Organization, told me that he and his fellow YPOers had to learn to trust their competence — just like everyone else does.He taught me that the first time you experience a great success you think, “Whew, was I lucky.” The second time you make it big you think, “Wow, I guess lightening struck twice for me.” It’s only when you make big things happen a third time that you trust your ability and therefore yourself.Trust yourself; you’re not just lucky. You’re good.  Give other people and the gods due credit, but give yourself what’s due, too.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 62 - Caution: Car Wrecks and Human Wrecks

When you drive you may be the one who stays at the speed limit at all times, stops at stop signs and red lights, remains in your lane, and signals well before changing lanes. Even though you are doing everything right, someone in another vehicle rams through the stop light at break neck speed, blind sides you and causes a car wreck.In life there are “human traffic accidents” too. You can obey all the rules, do good deeds unto others, maintain self-confidence, give respect to others and someone rams through all your good behavior and blind sides you with a human wreck.You can not avoid some accidents — car or human. You can only try to minimize them. Be cautious; work with awareness so as to anticipate and react more quickly. Hopefully you won’t be too damaged and suffer a lot of pain.In the car it’s physical pain; in human wrecks it’s emotional. Both are tragic.My prayer and wish for you is that you don’t have too many of either. That you recover quickly. And that you are not the cause of the car or the human wreck.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 61 - The Price of a Good Reputation

You have to be willing to pay a ransom for your good name because there are people out there skilled at giving good guys a bad name.If you have any notoriety in your community, industry, or company, what you do is carefully watched by people who like you and those who don’t like you. So what? Your behavior and actions have to be “perfect.” But “perfect” behavior is like beauty — it’s in the eye of the beholder.I hired a consulting firm in my home town. The agreed-upon fee for their project was $6,000. To my surprise, when the project was finished they billed me $9,000 saying they had done extra work for me. I had no choice but to pay the top dollar. I had to pay ransom for my good name. A reputation of not paying would be an even higher price to pay.The consulting firm would be eager to spread chatter that, “She doesn’t pay her bills….she reneges on deals…don’t do businesses with her.” They wouldn’t spread the word that “we charged her 50% more than agreed upon….we surprised her with a claim of more work…we were not open or square in our dealings with her.”The ill repute doesn’t stay in the neighborhood either. A posting on one business owner’s blog (for the world to see) reads, “Don’t do business with M__ L__ in San Diego. He is dishonest, doesn’t pay his bills, and will, hopefully, soon go out of business.” It doesn’t stop there; more than one disgruntled ex-employee or ex-wife has had his or her rant repeatedly viewed on YouTube.To avoid the situation happening in the future I outline my understanding of our work agreement (even if they have also), and get written confirmation. I allow nothing nebulous or ill-defined to occur without immediate clarification and I document date, times, and content of discussions. These two rules go for work associates, partial friends and full-time friends if I’m doing business with them.Still, with all that effort, misunderstandings will occur. I usually elect to pay some bumped-up fee to keep heads cool. Sometimes the best practice means you pay ransom for your good name.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 60 - When Do You Know That You Are Successful?

Is is money, title, power? No. Experience from studying hundreds of successful people in all walks of life shows me you are successful when:You are working towards, are on the brink, or have met your dream life and career goals while you remain a solid citizen. You are viewed as a “good” person: responsible, honest, and fair. You have not, will not, do not let the business political system corrupt you. The upshot is your co-workers truly like, trust, and respect you — and your family members do too.When you communicate — which you have to do all of the time with everyone in some manner or another — you are deemed as: impressive, memorable, credible, genuine, trusted, liked, competent, confident, comfortable, cool, calm, and collected. You set a good example of personal empowerment and leadership and you help infuse it in others.Money, title, power may be an outcome of success, but’s that’s not what makes you a success.~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 59 - A Good Thing for Your Children's Personal Branding

New educational pursuits are trending for teen and preteen girls to curb documented evidence that the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in competence in STEM* (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Did you know that while the U.S. has added more than 1 million IT jobs to the labor force, we still lack the home-grown talent to fill those jobs? At the same time, high school girls make up just 17 percent of students who take the Advanced Placement Exam in Computer Science. In short, girls and young women are our top, under-developed resource in science and math.STEM is a national education trend, and the newer approach of STEAM (STEM plus Art) capitalizes on hands-on learning, innovation, and making an impact on the world.I’m proud to say my three-year-old grandniece is getting a head start in the math area. She was happily digging into a cupcake her dad gave her that was piled high with pink frosting and white sprinkles. When her mother asked her, “What’s the best part of your cupcake?” her response was “Two.”As you work on your own personal branding, it will pay to encourage your daughter to also. If she can get into a curriculum inside or outside of her school that emphasizes STEM, she’ll be ahead of the game.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 58 - Can You Over Communicate? No.

At a time with so many ways to communicate in person and online, it’s a reasonable question: Can you over communicate?No, you can never over communicate. It’s similar to the daft expression people like to say, “You can never be too pretty, or have too much money.”How you communicate is what makes the difference.Effective leaders in any walk of life use questions instead of statements as their primary communication tool. They use inquiring words like “who…what…why…when…where…and how,” to find out what is important in a conversation 80% of the time, and pontificate or proclaim by way of statements merely 20% of the time.When you ask questions, be sure to phrase and deliver with an emotionally regulated tone of voice along with a relaxed, non-judgmental facial expression so the query is well received. “I was curious how the report turned out. Can you update me?” is much more effective than, said with a sneer, “Did you even remember to finally do the report?”Query to learn, engage, and let others shine. You don’t do it to interrogate, put a person into a corner, or be hostile.A key component of asking is to then listen to the answer.Even when you know the answer, it is important to ask people to get their reply--their point of view, first. You want to learn their thinking and test how close or far apart you are. If you want to influence people you don’t always have control over, you best find out what they want to achieve and what they want to avoid. By asking, you discover if and where there is a dangerous gap.The most powerful motivating question is “What do you want to steer clear of? When the dust settles, what don’t you want to have happen?” People are more motivated by a negative outcome than a positive one. If I called you at 3 a.m. and told you, “I bought you four new tires for your car,” you would receive the news less favorably than if I called you at 3 a.m. and said, “I was just driving by your house and I see some kids taking the tires off your car.” Avoiding losing your tires is more motivating than getting new ones — at least, at that time!One universal truism is that leaders stand out from the crowd. In an effort to communicate well — even if you were trained to give answers — you will positively stand out when you ask questions before giving answers, recommendations, and solutions.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 57 - Pick Your Bosses, Not Just the Jobs

Talking to a group of graduating MBA students going for their first job, I advised them that it’s important to seek out a good boss, not just a good job. So the question was asked, “What makes a good boss?”He (or she):-Tells you what he wants and doesn’t want in terms of work behavior; is clear, succinct, with no ambiguity-Does not judge or criticize your character or motive, only behavior-Gives “atta boy” pats on the back (literally and figuratively) when you do a job well-Curbs your behavior when you don’t do a job well by going back over as many times as necessary, “this is what I want, and this is what I don’t want”-Lets you make mistakes-Lets you correct the mistakes without reprisal so as to learn from the experience-Is as much focused on you doing well as on himself doing well-Is consistent in his behavior with everyone-Doesn’t lie, steal, or cheatHow do you find out if you are going to have a good boss like that? Ask others about the boss if possible but also have the courage to directly question the potential boss yourself with:-How do you manage people?-What do you do if a subordinate is exceptionally good?-What happens when a subordinate makes a mistake?-What do you pride yourself in being especially good at?You have to ask in a conversational manner so as not to make the person uncomfortable. But if you don’t ask, you won’t know until it’s too late. I’d rather raise issues now and see their reaction. They will either be intrigued by your questions and therefore you, or they will be intimidated. Either way, you gather information that you need to know for you to decide if you want to work with that person.Even with that effort, the reality is that the best you can do is cross your fingers and say a prayer that you’ve got a good one.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 56 - A 360 Degree Point of View Will Help Your Self Awareness

You need to learn how you’re viewed by others so you can take action to change the view if necessary. So ask. Many companies provide some sort of 360-degree interview exercises to senior people — but don’t wait until it’s offered to you. Initiate your own version. When you do, be open to the results. Be careful not to become defensive.Here is a list of questions to work with: How well do I look for ways to meet or exceed customer needs? How well do I look for ways to meet or exceed manager’s needs? How well do I take a positive approach to business? How well do I work effectively with people in a wide variety of circumstances? How well do I analyze complex situations accurately and in a timely manner? How well do I minimize activities that do not add value to the organization? How well do I value others’ thinking; champion others’ thoughts? How well do I understand how to get things done in the organization? How well do I have in-depth industry knowledge? How well do I overcome obstacles? How well do I quickly act when I see an opportunity? How well do I demonstrate intellectual curiosity? How well do I make sure I can be counted on? How well do I remain in control when stressed or pressed? How well do I gain trust? How well do I admit responsibility for failures or mistakes? How well do I help others? How well do I follow through to get results? How well do I set a good example? How well do I see and understand the broad view of business?You don’t want to ask in an anxious, aggressive, or intimidated manner. Just straight out seek the person’s opinion with genuine interest and inquisitiveness. Pick one or two questions to try with one person, ask others, and continue over time. If the person says something you don’t quite understand, ask for an example. Sometimes you have to ask the same question 3-4 different ways to help someone answer.Take note if any pattern emerges that is not productive for your career advancement and decide to do something about it. Thank the person for their candor and later report back to him and her as to what you’ve done following up on the feedback and the results you’ve experienced.~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 55 - Slow Down to To Increase Your Effectiveness

I was in a meeting with two executives discussing group training for some of their managers and department heads. In bursts a woman to inform one of the executives about a change in appointments. With rapid-fire words she explained the schedule change. Then as quickly as she had come in, she was gone. I asked, “Is she the assistant to one of the level I’ll be working with?” They smiled and said, “No, that’s who we report to!”Boy, was I wrong! My opinion was based on her appearance, a hasty nervous-looking person who zipped in and out with hunched over posture, saying nonverbally, “I’m not that important and I really shouldn’t be here, but…”Men and women up and down the ladder must slow down for efficiency and effectiveness. Harness your energy. One executive I know says he tries to “start out slow and taper off.” It’s difficult to master when you’re in a hurry. Slow down so you don’t stumble and so you don’t leave gaps.A big advantage of going slowly is that if you’re headed in the wrong direction, you won’t go too far before you realize it.Slowing down does not mean putting on the brakes, being lethargic, or squelching your energetic spirit. It means pacing. Pace yourself so you are fast enough but not frantic, so you have a quiet speed that makes you relaxed, calm, and trustworthy. Speed tends to make you appear unsettled, upset, flustered, confused, and suspicious. The actions of effective people do not seem rushed.The more time you give yourself, the more status people give you.As people around you speed up, try the opposite, slow it down. A client from a software company told me this story:"I always speak fast – on the telephone, in person, giving speeches – all the time. But I was in Germany recently and had to speak to a group through an interpreter. After every sentence I spoke, I had to pause and let the translator restate what I said. I was slower than I had ever been in my life. It made me very calm. My English-speaking manager came up to me later and said it was the best speech he’d ever heard me present. Many people in the audience came up and congratulated me also. Now when I speak, I just imagine someone is translating my words into their language and I slow down to let them catch up. I’ve found I’m much more effective."A lot of people believe the busier they are the better they are. But if you want to be memorable, impressive, credible, genuine, trusted and liked, don’t “run around the track” for anybody.To get things done more quickly while slowing down, ask yourself, “If I had to leave town tomorrow for a month, what three things would I need to get done?” Do those three things. Controlled reaction thinking is the goal. Slow down your body, feet, and hands. Quick thinking is necessary, but pace your physical response.For practice, do a silent drill. Rehearse in your head what you’re going to say. Listen to how it sounds. Then speak accordingly. Slow down, let people wait a little. Whatever you say or do will be valued that much more. Try to do this silent drill at least once a day. By the way, this is incredibly difficult to do. We just blurt things out 90+ percent of the time.You don’t want to be viewed like one client, who was sent to me for coaching with this description: “He thinks he’s so thoroughly trained he doesn’t have to think before he speaks and acts. I can’t trust him, he’s so fast.”Slowing down does not mean you’re boring, listless, tedious, or lazy. It means doing things purposefully, like you intended to do it that way. It means patience, then acceleration, then patience. You see, 95 percent of business is waiting; waiting for the opportunity to do the right thing. If you’re going through life so fast, you’ll miss the chance to execute well.When you slow down, you buy yourself time and you can think things through. And when you think things through, you can give yourself the time of your life. When you slow down and think, you align attitude and action, and you appear calm and confident. You’ll feel more composed too. When you appear calm, people think you know what you’re doing. They think you must be right. They are much more likely to listen and follow you.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 54 - What's Irritating About Text Messaging?

Recently I polled a number of people and asked, “what’s irritating about text messaging?”  They told me when people: Text back-and-forth when a simple conversation in person or on the phone would be more efficient Utilize too many abbreviations or they use slang or nonwords Write back so quickly that I feel obligated to write back to them quickly; when they exaggerate the urgency Don’t respond Send unimportant messages Do noncritical texting during a meeting Drive and text Send information that I need to retain Overuse it and will communicate only this way Send long messages that should be put into e-mails Assume I am available to respond 24/7 (they are obsessed with connectivity) Use bad grammar Read and respond to texts while I am talking to them Leave the notification sound on in public places Send text messages that are so long, it takes two or three separate messages to transmitSo now that you are reminded it helps your communication if you refrain from doing those things.~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 53 - What's Irritating About E-mail?

Recently I polled a number of people and asked, “what’s irritating about e-mail?”  They told me when people: Give no greeting or sign-off Provide incomplete information Send messages that have typos and poor punctuation and sentence structures Put quotes or sayings in their signatures Expect a reply in five minutes Ask questions that can’t be answered in an e-mail and that require a phone call Sound cold or inhuman Write overly short, curt messages Send long e-mails or send long e-mail chains that I have to go back into to get context while they write, “What do you think?” Don’t reread their words to determine if the wrong unwritten message was sent Send e-mails with mixed topics Use subject lines that don’t reflect the e-mail’s content Repeatedly put in the subject line “Please read” or “Urgent” Don’t use the addressee’s name Forward e-mails without asking Don’t respond Send something important via e-mail that deserves a phone call instead Send an e-mail rather than having the courage to talk to me directly Type with bold, caps, wild fonts, or red text Sit close by, but send an e-mail instead of getting up and stopping by my office to ask a question Give one-word answers to complicated e-mails Don’t bother to read the e-mail trail and respond blindly Send long e-mails without paragraphing Don’t include a phone number or any other optional contact information Lazily hit "Reply all" when individual, targeted responses are necessary Write in an emotional state Take a tone in written form they’d never take in person Write as if they were in an informal conversation instead of being engaged in business correspondence Use abbreviations and emoticonsSo now that you are reminded, it helps your communication if you refrain from doing those things.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 52 - What's Irritating To Others About Video Conferencing?

Recently I polled a number of people and asked, “What’s irritating about video conferencing?”  They told me it's irritating when people: Don’t acknowledge others on the other side of the monitor Constantly look bored or continuously check their cell phones Don’t speak up Use a cell phone for the call, which is usually a poorer connection Join in late Don’t set up pre-call arrangements, and end up having to spend call time dealing with equipment or call setup issues Invite too many people to get on the video Have poor backlighting and contrast Talk louder than necessary Are not aware of their body language Don’t smile Have a background that is too busy or distracting On the other end start multi-tasking Talk over others Don’t mute their phone when appropriate Move excessively in and out of view Make statements like, “I know you probably can’t see this…” and then explain a graph or picture without giving details along with the point, i.e. “As you see here, the numbers are…” Summarize instead, i.e., “This graph shows a 30% growth rate.” Don’t pay attention, fidget with laptop and cell phones Only speak to folks in the room, not the people on the other side of the monitor, too Talk all over each other because of time delay Are obviously having private side conversations Don’t look at the camera; act stiffly around it Shuffle papers noisily Do not pay attention to personal appearance Don’t operate the data systems correctly Eat or drink while on the call Use excessive hand gesturingSo now that you are reminded, it helps your communication if you refrain from doing those things.~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 51 - What's Irritating About Cell Phones?

Recently I polled a number of people and asked, “What’s irritating about cell phones?”   They told me it's irritating when people: Such as my staff, co-workers, friends, etc. feel I should be connected all the time Are multi-tasking, i.e. driving Use the phone in inappropriate places — during a church service, funeral, formal setting Talk loudly in public places; or speaking loudly to compensate for bad reception – without consideration for others in the surrounding (train, subway, etc.) Leave their phone on the desk or dinner table like they are expecting a call Constantly check for calls Call me when there is a lot of background noise: traffic, walking downstairs, on stairmaster Drop calls because of bad signals; poor connections – reception fading in and out Stay on longer than three minutes Mumble; don’t speak clearly Just start talking without asking if it’s a good time to talk Talk on the cell phone when interacting with other people, e.g. at the grocery store, in line at the bank Don’t tell you that you are on speaker phone Talk but don’t listen Answer a cell phone call during a meeting, conversation, while driving with you Yell at other drivers or kids in the back seat when on the cell phone in the car Don’t allow time to respond when asked a question; talk over you Answer in a nasty tone if the call came at a bad time for them, without accepting the fact that the person left the phone on Make irritating sounds: blow their noise, clear their throat Have loud ring tones Have long conversations in public areas; people going on and on in general and when saying goodbye Call me when they know I’ll be in the car Talk socially to me for long periods without consideration of my limited phone minutesSo now that you are reminded, it helps your communication if you refrain from doing those things.~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 50 - Nurture Your Networking Skills

One of the benefits of networking is that it’s a great way of improving your interviewing skills. The logic is simple. If you want to become a better actor, act. To become a better writer, write. And to become better at interviewing, interview. Networking conversations are like low-stress, high-impact, self-initiated interviews. By having lots of these mini-conversations when you aren’t under pressure, you get better at explaining what you want people to know about you. And the more you do it, the more skilled and focused you become."But I hate small talk,” people sometimes protest. Then don’t engage in small talk. Talk about things of interest to you and others. One sure-fire way of feeding a conversation is to try to discover what’s of keen interest to the other person, then talk more about that. Offer some helpful ideas. Don’t assume, “Oh, she’s probably already thought of that.” Maybe not. And of course you can steer the course of the conversation by inserting information about your own interests also.Pay attention to what people say. Care about what they say. Listen hard, and practice reading between the lines. As management guru Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t said.”Another secret of effective networking is to give at least as much as you take. If you only take, you’ll get a reputation for that, and in time people will avoid you. If you give – especially if you give first, without knowing whether or not you’ll receive – people will be attracted to you. “An offer of reciprocity gets my attention,” says Alan Grafman, CEO of Modelwire. “It’s my personal secret to always ask the person I’m networking with, ‘How can I help you?’”Why not try this technique right now? Think of a couple of people that you know who might benefit from knowing each other. Call them up, and explain that you think so-and-so would be beneficial for him or her to meet.I recently wanted to use the professional services of an artist I know. I didn’t feel I could afford his top-drawer price, but I wanted his top-drawer work. So I explained that to him. I added, “I know you’re worth it, I just can’t afford it at this time.” Then I volunteered, “I know someone who could use your services. When we finish talking, I’ll call him and suggest that you two meet.” And I did. The second person then called and made an appointment with the artist to discuss some business. Later, the artist called me and said, “Thanks for the introduction. We’re meeting next week. And don’t worry about the price for your project, I’m going to give you what you need for a price you can afford.”The more you do to help someone else’s career, the more willing that person will be to help yours. You know the expression, “What goes around comes around.” With technology, what goes around comes around even faster.By the way, if you’re a “gray” – older than forty – make an extra effort to get to know and network with young people, who tend to be more in tune with new trends. In return, you can make the relationship mutually beneficial by providing insights and advice based on your years of experience in the business world.What if you find your efforts to network stymied by intense shyness or anxiety? Most of the time, you can reshape your behavior and thought patterns to control and overcome shyness. Everyone has some degree of social phobia; most people feel nervous meeting and talking to strangers. If you are excessively shy, you have to deal with it. The truest and best way is to understand that others experience it, too. Other people feel just as nervous as you do at times, maybe more so. So if you bravely act first and help those around you relax, you’ll get more out of your time together. This doesn’t mean you need to become a social butterfly to network successfully; it does mean that you can’t be lazy about making strong, diverse connections on an ongoing basis.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 49 - Make Sure You Understand the Company’s Personal Brand

In Post No. 48 I wrote about the questions you will likely get asked in an interview. Now I’m suggesting the questions that you could and should be asking in the interview:• What kind of person do you want for this position?• What’s important about the person you hire?• How many people have held this position in the last two years?• Would you describe a typical workday and the things I’d be doing?• How does this job contribute to the company?• Is this department a profit center for the company?• Are sales up or down over the last year?• Where can someone in this job be promoted to?• How will success be measured in this position?• How long do you think it will take until you make a decision?While the interviewer is trying to find that out about you, you are trying to find out:• Is the company worth joining?• Do they have good products or services?• Do they have workable plans for the future?• Will I have a qualified, competent boss?• Will they support my growth and development?• Will they reward my efforts?• Will I be proud to work for them?• Will I make the money I want?Make sure people answer your questions, just like you answer theirs. If they give you a vague, general response, ask, “Can you give me an example?” Concentrate more on listening and grasping what they’re saying than on thinking ahead to what you are going to say next.When you get home after the interview, debrief yourself on what you learned and what you still need to find out.-DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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