2012 Tero Blogs
Best/Worst Analogies Ever Written (Originally from a Washington Post contest)
Friday, December 21, 2012
Can an analogy improve your presentation? Yes! However, be cautious when using them.
Graduates of Tero's IMPACT: How To Speak Your Way To Success workshop discover that you can get your point across in less time, with better understanding and with longer retention if you use analogies. They can be so effective that people will sometimes remember them forever.
However, the following winners of the "worst analogies ever written in a high school essay" contest illustrate why caution should be used when choosing analogies.
- He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at the solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. (Joseph Romm, Washington)
- She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again. (Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)
- The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
- McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup. (Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring)
- From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an errie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. (Roy Ashley, Washington)
- Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)
- Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
- Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakkk/ch@ung by mistake. (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)
- Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. (Unknown)
- He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)
- The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease. (Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)
- Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man." (Russell Beland, Springfield)
- Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)
- The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)
- They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth. (Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N. Y.)
- John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
- The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play. (Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria)
- His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)
- The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon. (Unknown)
Change Begins With An Ending...
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Think of a major change in your life... Did you move to a new house or area? Career transition? Marriage? Divorce? New addition to the family? The passing of a loved one?
It is natural to approach change from the perspective of the new. In fact, it is the new that often excites and inspires us. However, to successfully navigate the process of change, we must embrace the reality that change begins with an ending. Before we can move into the new, we must first leave the old.
Leaving behind the old and familiar can be uncomfortable and stressful. While you may be excited about preparing for the new home, the new job or the arrival of the new baby, your preparations should also include an awareness about what you are leaving behind.
Breaking away from the ending, getting used to the idea of what you've lost as well as that with which you're not yet comfortable and slowly warming up to the idea of the new situation takes time, patience and understanding.
Colorful Food = Productivity
Monday, December 3, 2012
Free radicals aren't so free.
Free radicals are molecules that crash into healthy cells and damage the cell walls. The damage caused by free radicals has been implicated in aging of skin, many forms of cancer and the aging process in general. Antioxidants can help prevent the damage of free radicals.
Where do you get antioxidants? Fruits and vegetables, vitamins (like vitamin E) or in black or green tea.
A general rule of thumb for eating healthfully is to eat in color! Any food that is (naturally) brightly colored is brain food. That means that it is loaded with the vitamins and minerals that your brain needs to achieve peak performance. Eat lots of color such as:
- Oranges, etc.
How To Throw Presenters Off Balance - Questions?
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Most audience members ask questions that begin with who, what, when, where, how and why that give you excellent opportunities to clarify your presentation and reinforce your main points.
Other questions can be damaging to your credibility.
Watch for and learn to defuse the following types of questions.
- Theoretical Questions: Any question that begins with the word "if" is asking for a hypothetical response. When responding stick to the facts and be accurate.
- Leading Questions: Don't be misled by questions that attempt to assume your answer. "Aren't you angry about..." and "Don't you agree" are examples of leading questions.
- Loaded Questions: Questions that are accusatory are designed to make you angry and elicit a defensive response. Stay calm and don't be trapped.
- Vague Questions: Some audience members will ask questions that are vague, that they know contain false information or questions that contain facts that have not been validated by credible sources. Know your facts and stick to them.
- Casual Questions: Before, or especially after your talk, the pressure seems to be off, the formality ends and the informality begins. With all the defenses down, this is the time when the sometimes devious audience member may ask the most dangerous questions of all. Remember, you are always presenting.
Do You Ever Wonder Why You Get Sleepy After Lunch?
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Dr. Judith Wurtman, a research scientist at MIT found that a diet rich in carbohydrates can help you feel relaxed.
Good News Vs. Bad News
This can be good news when you want to relax. It can be bad news when you are trying to stay alert and attentive at work.
Most of us eat lunch meals that are full in carbohydrates and low in protein. Research has shown that carbohydrates affect your mood and relative ability to stay alert. To combat the problem, brain-based learning experts recommend eating a lunch that is high in protein.
So the next time you want a productive afternoon remember...
- Protein is key. Avoid filling food for lunch.
- Carbohydrates are great for a relaxing Sunday.
- Water is also essential to your productivity (8 - 15 glasses of water per day).
Are You A Good Listener?
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Few of us have had models of good listening skills in our lives and as a result, most of us are poor listeners. When you are listening to someone, are you responding with appropriate listening skills?
It is not enough to simply listen, you must use appropriate body language so that you look like you are listening. Listening is an active sport.
Use appropriate gestures and facial expressions when you are in the role of listener and enjoy these benefits of good listening:
- Make others feel valued.
- Discover that people may divulge important information they otherwise might leave unsaid.
- By consciously listening, you will automatically concentrate more on the message.
- You might learn something!
Try using good listening skills at home and at work and see how they impact your relationships with others.
The Best Interpersonal Skills Training Programs Are Indispensable
Monday, October 15, 2012
Will the need to continue to improve our interpersonal skills dwindle as technological advances continue?
It's an interesting question and one that all business leaders wrestle with.
- Until the technology is developed that can calm a hysterical customer,
- Until the software is designed that can avert a crisis by rewriting a poorly worded email,
- Until the high-tech solution is invented for negotiating a conflict and repairing a damaged relationship between team members,
- Until the machinery is created that can solve a delicate employee relations issue and avoid a lawsuit,
it is unlikely that the need for highly-developed interpersonal skills will become any less important.
In a business environment characterized by constant change, and where technological advances can be copied by competitors at lightening speed, there is one thing that has changed little in the past several decades. Interpersonal skills account for 85% of professional success.
Those who choose not to invest in the development of interpersonal skills may find themselves lagging behind their competitors.
I'd Like To Thank My Presentation Skills Instructor
Friday, October 5, 2012
Professional athletes, politicians, business executives, lawyers, scientists, sales professionals, technology experts and the list goes on. Articles discussing the importance of presentation skills training are not limited to training journals anymore.
Headlines jump out with increasing frequency in in-flight magazines to publications likes Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. No surprise what their consistent message is - presentation is everything!
Perhaps spurred by the media circus surrounding the upcoming presidential elections, everyone around the country seems to be talking about the IMPACT of presentation skills in establishing credibility.
During playoff season, the Olympics and professional athletic matches, media coaching has become as much a part of the athlete's training regimen as physical training. All to be sure the athletes don't hurt their marketing possibilities by hurting their images.
In business, in what has been termed the "knowledge age", it's the ability to communicate information effectively and persuasively that will ensure success by a factor of more than six times that of technical ability. A decision to participate in Tero's IMPACT: How To Speak Your Way To Success workshop and develop your presentation skills is one of the wisest investments you will ever make in your career.
Why Employees Fail
Sunday, September 30, 2012
What is the most likely cause of failure for employees at work?
(a) lack of technical skill
(b) poor work habits
(c) failure to perform
(d) they do not relate well to others
If you responded with (d), congratulations. Studies show that 85% of the people who fail at work do so for one reason, they do not relate well to others.
The ability to communicate effectively, respond to questions, value others and make a good impression are basic survival equipment for today's workers. It would be nice if we all possessed excellent interpersonal skills. Sadly, this is not the case. While many of us have a keen grasp of the technical knowledge needed to do the job, problems arise when communications fail with clients and coworkers.
To respond to this phenomenon in the workplace and to the rising demand for interpersonal skills training, Tero is pleased to offer a wide range of skill-based training workshops designed to build the critical interpersonal skills that research shows account for 85% of professional success.
Preparing for Career Security
Monday, September 24, 2012
Today's economic climate is described with unflattering terms at worst and future-oriented hopeful terms like 'recovering' at best. Unemployment statistics, reductions in workforce announcements, disclosures of inappropriate (often illegal) accounting practices, leave many people wondering about their career decisions and indeed, their career futures.
Decisions about investing in career development, like decisions about investing in your financial future, should not be made lightly nor should they be based upon factors like the economy. Your best career development investment strategy is one that prepares you for bad times as well as good.
There are some obvious steps business professionals can take to ensure their career is secure. Enhance your skills by getting involved in professional or trade associations. Learn how to network effectively and make a commitment to build and strengthen your network. Keep your current skills current. Build new skills through education. Find a mentor or coach to learn from.
Who Trains the Trainers?
Monday, September 10, 2012
I'm often asked what trainers do for their own training? Sadly, like the plumber with leaky pipes, the financial planner with a personal portfolio in a mess and the marriage counselor preparing to exchange sacred vows for the 5th time, many training professionals don't place a high priority on their own development. Why not? The usual two reasons - time and money.
It has been said we can tell what a person values by looking in two places. How they spend their time and how they spend their money. We vote with our time and our money and we vote for those things that we think are most important.
Sadly, when given the chance to invest our precious resources of time and money, we often choose the tangible purchases that produce short-term gains over the intangible investments that yield greater results but only in the long-term.
We're all so busy and it is a rare individual or organization with unlimited financial resources. Nevertheless, ongoing training should be a priority for us all - and for no one more than those who deliver training.
The members of the Tero Team are committed to ongoing training. In addition to attending education conferences, workshops designed to build skills and ongoing self-development activities such as reading relevant business books, The members of the Tero Team participate in two educational retreats each year designed to help build skills and knowledge around important competencies and broader knowledge of the business.
Annoying Speaker Traits
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
According to a National Gallup Poll survey, following are the percentage of people who find various characteristics annoying in communication situations.
88% - Interrupting while others are talking
84% - Swearing or using curse words
80% - Mumbling or talking too softly
73% - Talking too loudly
73% - Monotonous, boring voice
69% - Using filler words such as um and uh
67% - A nasal whine
66% - Talking too fast
63% - Poor grammar or mispronouncing words
61% - A high-pitched voice
Are you guilty of any of these annoying traits? Do a self-audit and set a goal to improve your communication skills.
Negotiation Challenges - Letting Positions Override Interests
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Despite the clear advantages of reconciling deeper interests in negotiations, people have a built-in bias toward focusing on their own positions instead. This hardwired assumption that our interests are incompatible implies a zero-sum pie in which my gain is your loss. In a survey of 5,000 subjects in 32 negotiating studies, mostly carried out with monetary stakes, participants failed to realize compatible issues fully half of the time.
- Issues - issues are on the table for explicit agreement
- Positions - one party's stands on the issues
- Interests - underlying concerns that would be affected by the resolution
Reconciling interests to create value requires patience and a willingness to research the other side, ask many questions, and listen.
Negotiation Challenges - Linking Logic
Monday, July 23, 2012
This is based on the assumption that if a person is correct in one thing, he or she must be correct in another. So, in a debate about modern technology, one person could ask the other, "Would you go back to using a typewriter?" Since the answer is probably no, the other party has just strengthened his or her argument. The fact that your resistance to the technology he or she is promoting and your desire to avoid typewriters are unconnected may escape your attention. Such is the power of linking logic.
Your best defense against this form of manipulation is asking questions. You need to get to the bottom of the other person's point to see if the logic he or she is applying is sound or not.
Negotiation Challenges - An Early Concession
Monday, July 9, 2012
Some negotiators begin with an early concession and then wait for you to reciprocate and in the spirit of relationship-building, you probably will.
Thank them, remember the concession for later, and continue exploring. Be sure to consciously evaluate the concession for its relative value. The spirit of reciprocity is strong in people and we often make the error of reciprocating a small concession with a large one.
Negotiation Challenges - Last Minute Wavering
Monday, June 25, 2012
Just when you think that negotiations are over and you have reached agreement, the other party begins wavering over some seemingly trivial point. The other party knows that your defenses are down as the negotiation nears completion and they ask for another concession. Actually, the other party can waver several times, squeezing several additional concessions from you each time.
Your defense is to remember that every time he or she raises another issue, points that have been previously agreed to can be brought back for discussion using the word if. As in, "I can consider this new point but only if we reconsider..." If the new point is genuine the other party will not mind resurrecting a previously agreed to one; if the new point is not genuine, he or she will retract it.
Negotiation Challenges - Another Decision-Maker
Monday, June 11, 2012
Well into the negotiations, you discover that you are not talking to a decision-maker. He or she leaves the room and returns five minutes later saying that the boss will not agree unless another x percent is conceded. That point is negotiated and the party disappears again asking for another concession. Sometimes, they don't even leave the room - they simply say "my boss would never agree to that".
Insist on discussing matters with the decision-maker or resurrect matters that the other party thought were already agreed to. "If you want delivery in two weeks and an x percent discount we'll have to take another look at quantity." With this countermeasure you are not only sidestepping the attempted manipulation but also effectively encouraging the other person to be open and honest. That way you can arrive at an agreement with which you both feel comfortable.
Negotiation Challenges - Time Pressure
Monday, May 28, 2012
"Let's skip the haggling, just give me your best price" is an example of a common challenge faced in negotiations. When the other party attempts to push you straight to a decision before you've had a chance to explore underlying interests, you are faced with unexpected time pressure. Should you respond to the request by sharing your fallback position?
One approach is to sidestep the request and let the other party know that you need additional information to ensure that the underlying needs of all parties are addressed. Try responding, "I'd like to give you my best price but until I've learned more about your requirements, I don't know what my best price is."
Negotiation Challenges - Delay Tactics
Monday, May 14, 2012
This is a tactic that senior people frequently use on more junior people. It is a way of saying, "I'm calling the shots around here because Iím the more important person." Their hope is that you will become more nervous, or that the effect on your schedule will cause you to feel under pressure and so you will agree to what they want in order to keep the discussion short.
An effective countermeasure, assuming you do not want to reschedule the meeting, is to bring some work or reading along with you. That way the attempt at pressure becomes a gift of time during which you do some work that you would not otherwise have done. Alternatively, you can use the time for some last-minute preparation. Finally, if the time available for the meeting becomes too tight you may have no alternative but to reschedule. If the delay was genuinely unavoidable, the other party will understand. If it was an attempt to manipulate you, he or she will see it did not work and be less inclined to try it on you in the future.
Monday, April 30, 2012
A number of things can occur in a negotiation that can be especially challenging. Anticipating challenges and developing strategies to deal with them can be helpful when they happen.
Not everyone negotiates fairly. Knowing some of the tricks can help you resist them.
We know that when some people try to influence us they do so manipulatively. You can protect yourself against attempted manipulation if you can recognize the main manipulation tactics and use a few simple countermeasures.
In the following weeks, this blog will address some common negotiation challenges. By being able to recognize them, you will be in a better position to handle them effectively. By being conscious of them, you will be less likely to inadvertently use one yourself.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
This is the third in the series of tips for leading successful meetings. Below are some guidelines to help the meeting leader handle challenges as they come up or prevent them in the first place.
1. Consider introducing the concept of ground rules to define and agree on meeting protocol.
2. Handle emotional issues with compassion. Sharing frustration, anger and sadness requires courage.
3. Intervene when group members verbally attack one another or break ground rules.
4. Recognize when you are too invested in outcomes and ask for someone else to fill the role of meeting leader.
5. Recognize that events outside of the meeting are influencing the group dynamics and that conflicts are usually the result of sub-agendas.
6. All people need support, no matter how strong they may seem. Everyone feels stressed sometimes.
7. Make procedural suggestions to help the meeting run smoothly and effectively. Bring issues to closure. Refocus to accomplish meeting objectives. Interrupt and redirect when the discussion jumps to another topic. Make a note of digressions to keep ideas from being lost (some people call this a Parking Lot).
More Tips for the Meeting Leader
Monday, March 12, 2012
This is the second in a series of blog posts offering tips to the meeting leader. Following are considerations for the leader before and during the meeting.
Before the Meeting
1. Understand the meeting's purpose and goals. Distribute an agenda to the group (if appropriate).
2. Bring appropriate information or materials.
3. Be on time.
During the Meeting
1. Use creative approaches to learning.
2. Model an accepting attitude by not judging others.
4. Use open-ended questions to encourage participation without insisting on it.
5. Encourage contrasting ideas. Allow others to draw their own conclusions.
6. Listen carefully to the person speaking while monitoring nonverbal behavior of the group.
7. Be honest and sincere in your comments. Watch for opportunities to tell others that they have done well.
8. Keep on focus but be flexible about direction.
9. Try several approaches to a topic before dropping it. Worthwhile discussion might not come immediately.
10. Remember the power of non-verbal messages. Monitor interactions, especially on controversial issues.
11. Seek to reach consensus on issues. Resist saving time by settling for majority opinion or compromise.
12. Be a positive role model. Contribute to discussions. If you aren't willing to reveal your thoughts and feelings, why should others?
Tips for the Meeting Leader
Thursday, February 23, 2012
As a meeting leader, you face a unique set of challenges. You are responsible for setting the tone of the meeting, keeping the group focused on the meeting purpose, managing (often complex) group dynamics, ensuring everyone is able to contribute to the meeting and managing logistics.
Sound like a daunting task? Meeting leadership is! And few people are highly skilled at it.
This is the first in a series of blog posts. Below are a few general guidelines for meeting leaders. Future blogs will address specific tips for what to do before, during and after the meeting.
1. Don't think you have to be the expert. Even the meeting leader can learn from others.
2. Your ethical behavior is critical. Breaking confidentiality can quickly destroy trust.
3. Create a safe, non-threatening environment where all participants feel comfortable and want to learn.
4. Think of ways to energize the group discussions.
5. Recognize that while people are different, they all want to be recognized and appreciated.
6. Compliment the group by starting discussions on time and finishing on time or early.
SuperBowl XLVI and Off-the-field Plays
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Today, 70,000 fans will gather at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and millions of viewers will gather around television screens, to enjoy one of the most anticipated annual events in US competitive sports - The Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XLVI, like the 45 that preceded it, brings together two top professional football teams in a sixty minute playoff. Predictions are made and odds are placed on everything from the game outcome itself to the impact on retail sales. So major is the event that the half-time entertainment and 60 second commercial spots have become events and competitions of their own.
In the end, one team will win and one team will lose. That's the nature of competitive sports.
Will performance on the football field define how we will remember the players in the years ahead? Will the individuals who can boast a Super Bowl Win enjoy long-term admiration from their fans? Will those on the losing team be defined forevermore as losers?
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the following names?
The thing that most likely came first to your mind is something completely unrelated to the performance that earned them fame in sports, politics, entertainment or business. Beyond extraordinary achievement in their respective fields, it is the flawed choices and character failings that we remember about others and that ultimately define who we are.
Behavioral choices are not the exclusive domain of an elite group or a special few. They are there for all of us - every day. At a time when we are continually disappointed by the missteps of our elected officials, our sports icons, our favorite celebrities, our business leaders and even the champions of our non-profit and faith-based organizations, looking in the mirror and reflecting on our own on- and off-the-field behavior is an imperative each of us is challenged to embrace every day.
As we watch the New York Giants and the New England Patriots take to the field in today's Super Bowl, let's also watch and learn from their off-field plays and allow the lessons to shape our own choices.
How we treat others, even our fiercest competitors, defines our true character and creates the enduring perceptions others hold of us - for better or for worse.
De-stress for Improved Memory
Saturday, January 28, 2012
When you are stressed, the brain releases a stress hormone called "cortisol." Chronic stress damages your brain's memory circuits.
Under normal circumstances, cortisol helps you remember. This is why you remember stressful or traumatic experiences very clearly. However, when your brain is under constant stress, the effect reverses and your memory begins to short-circuit. In children, the effect has been compared to putting your brain in an acid bath to marinade. (Yikes!)
Make a point to calm yourself down when you feel you are under lots of stress. Exercise, take a calm walk, go fishing, drink a cup of herbal tea, listen to (soothing) music or take a nap.
Challenge Your Brain
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Your brain is just as skilled at remembering as it is at forgetting. If new information is not meaningful or relevant, your brain will delete it and settle into it's own comfortable habits. This will not challenge your brain.
Do the mental version of aerobics neurobics! One way to do this is to challenge your brain by shocking it out of it's normal patterns. This can be as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-preferred hand from time to time, taking a new route to work, or learning a new skill. Try going on a mini-adventure to a part of town you are not familiar with. Learn to (country, swing, salsa, or ballroom) dance. Or, vary your morning routine of getting dressed and ready.