Tero Blogs - 2013 | Tero International, Inc.
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2013 Tero Blogs


Building Successful Relationships in 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Have you ever been in a discussion with someone and felt that you were on the same wavelength?

What would happen if you could create that feeling and express your appreciation in all aspects of your business relationships?

Mattesich, Murray-Close, and Monsey conducted an exhaustive literature review of the factors influencing successful collaboration, and ranked the following traits as the most important:

  • Trust
  • Partner Compatibility

Another name for this, rapport, is exactly that feeling of comfort, trust and understanding you can have with someone else.

Rapport makes it easier for us to be assertive, influential, accommodating, persuasive and relaxed with someone. Because rapport happens as a result of the way we interact with someone, we do not have to wait for it to happen naturally.

As we move into 2014, think about some creative ways to build trust and show gratification to your 2013 clients and business partners that will extend into many aspects of your business relationship. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Did their business have a milestone?
  • Did their child star in the community play?
  • Did they recently move offices?

Demonstrate your support for these small achievements by sending a personal note or in some way showing you care. This new commitment ensures a reason to celebrate the new year for your business.


'App'ly Yourself

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What are your 2014 business initiatives? Have you considered focusing more time on building and maintaining your network? We hope the answer is yes! Your career advancement and success depends on solid business relationships.

If you are busy building relationships, you have to find a way to organize and track your network. Have you ever thought about using apps to make your 2014 goals a reality? This week's blog post features an article from Fast Company noting real-time apps that can help you create success. These apps will assist you in filing critical information as well as increase your interaction and productivity. Which one of these might you 'app'ly?

  • Evernote Hello is a tool which allows you to document your network. Do you have a hard time remembering people or which organization they work for? If so, you are not alone. With this app you are able to scan business cards and store their information.
  • Evernote is an app that allows you to stay organized. This app lets you collaborate on projects, clip web pages, collect information and save it to a single place plus much more.
  • Circle is a local network app that lets you know what is happening now - near you! When networking it is helpful to have small talk topics top of mind to improve your mingling proficiency. So how do you improve your small talk ability? Deborah Rinner Godwin, Vice President of Tero and Etiquette Specialist, coaches participants to be well-informed on current events when networking and building successful business relationships. The Circle app can give you all of this relevant information in just a click of a button/icon!
  • Sunrise is an app which integrates all of your calendars plus much more. How nice would it be to have all of your events from Facebook, Google Calendar and LinkedIn integrated into one? This app allows just that! This app can help you take productivity to the next level. Now get "connected".
  • Wiggio is an app that simplifies working in groups and teams. It allows you to host virtual meetings, manage events with a shared calendar, upload and manage files in a shared folder plus much more.

Resources: www.fastcompany.com, evernote.com, circleapp.com, www.sunrise.im, wiggio.com


Building Successful Customer Relationships

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Think of a time when you or your business:

  • Sent the same standard appreciation card to all your clients.
  • Delivered your usual 30 second-long spiel about you - the one rare opportunity you had to chat with a client.
  • Steered down the other grocery aisle when you spotted a business contact after five o'clock.

The good news? Many other good business leaders have done these things too. The better news? You have the choice to transform yourself from a good business leader to a leader who is truly engaged in business relationships. At a time when competition for customers is intensifying and profit margins are shrinking, building customer relationships has never been more critical.

How can you surpass client expectation and deliver genuine consideration? Be attentive to what is happening in your clients' lives and let them know you care.

For example, did you know that over a dozen times a day we have the opportunity to thank someone? Courtesy is consideration for others; it is really nothing more complicated than this. Yet these small gestures directly affect the confidence and consideration we project, and can influence how credible we appear. Handwritten notes are another great gesture.

Showing your consideration is an investment which will positively set you apart from your competitors. So turn that grocery cart right back around and make it happen.


How to Prepare for Your Annual Review

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Annual reviews are opportunities to measure full contribution to the workplace, often resulting in reward. It is time to ask yourself how to increase your returns in this process. Consider what you would do to get ready for your next annual review.

  • Should you come with concrete examples of what you have contributed to your company? Yes.
  • Should you recognize and acknowledge what the company has done for you? Yes.
  • Should you follow up with a note or email thanking your employer for the time and attention devoted to discussing your development opportunities? Yes.

Prepared for that annual review? Not quite. Now consider how you can distinguish yourself even more.

Ask yourself two questions about what day-to-day variables may influence how others perceive your contribution to the company.

1. What does it mean to look like you are in control?

  • Keep your desk organized.
  • Keep your office clean.
  • Keep documents properly filed and labeled.

When you do not look like you are in control, it could have an effect on how people above you perceive how you are handling the job, as first impressions are formed in about eight seconds.

In a recent survey asking 2,000 employers whether office organization played a role in determining a raise or promotion, the survey concluded a slight majority reported it did.

2. What three simple skills can you use when interacting with others at the office - that may positively influence your annual review?

  • Maintain good eye contact. This tells the other person you are listening and focuses your attention on that individual.
  • Learn to shake hands well. Always be ready to initiate or receive a handshake in business interactions.
  • Practice good posture and open body language. This helps create trust and demonstrates inclusivity. It also broadcasts to others how you feel about yourself.

These tips go above and beyond basic preparation for your next annual review. Tap into the 85% of professional success which is highly influenced by interpersonal communication, and you will see significant return.


What Are You Thankful For?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This week we share information from a blog that was posted in 2010. It is important to reflect on what Thanksgiving truly means and why it is important.

Throughout history people have celebrated the bountiful harvest with thanksgiving ceremonies. The idea of a day set apart to celebrate the completion of the harvest and to render homage to the Spirit who caused the fruits and crops to grow is both ancient and universal. The practice of designating a day of thanksgiving for specific spiritual or secular benefits has been followed in many countries. Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated during the month of October. People in the United States are preparing to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday next week.

If you are inspired to show some gratitude during this season of Thanksgiving, follow these steps:

1. Become conscious. What are you thankful for that you have not shown appreciation for? Here is a sample list to get you thinking:

  • The school bus driver who greets your child with a smile every morning.
  • The peer who gave you feedback no one else had the courage to tell you.
  • The manager who communicated honestly and compassionately about changes in the organization.
  • The IT professional who retrieved your deleted files.
  • The flight attendant who found a place for your carry-on bag when the overhead compartments were full.
  • The child who text-messaged to let you know they were running late.
  • The spouse who allowed you personal time and space to unravel after a tough day.
  • The customer who flattered you with their business.
  • The friend who found time when you needed someone to listen.
  • The parent you have grown to admire.
  • The neighbor who supports your child's fundraising activities.
  • The volunteer firefighter whose services you've never needed.
  • The teacher who challenged you to think differently.

2. Get creative. How can you thank this individual? Consider writing a personal note. Making a personal visit. An unexpected phone call. An email with a copy to the person's boss. A Social Media Post. This is one area of life where more monetary spend does not translate to higher quality.


Tips on Expressing Thanks for a Host Gift

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Have you ever hosted a business function and received gifts from your fellow colleagues? Should you openly thank someone that brings you a host gift?

Because the gift is a response to your generosity, a private word of thanks is ideal. A host cannot go wrong thanking a guest for a gift so long as it is expressed with thoughtfulness and tact. Below are some etiquette tips when receiving a gift:

  • When accepting the gift in front of other guests, briefly thank the gift bearer so those who arrived empty-handed are not embarrassed.
  • Find personal time with the gift bearer during the event to express more specific thanks.
  • Follow up with a personal note elaborating on your thankfulness.
  • These tips will allow you to thank your guest appropriately and eliminate the awkwardness that sometimes occurs in these types of situations.


Advantages of Repeating Questions

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Have you been to a presentation where the speaker repeats the audience members' questions so everyone can hear what was asked? Further, do you find this element of the presentation effective or unnecessary?

Even if you've never thought about what small actions might greatly enhance a presentation, here are a few of the many advantages to repeating questions:

  • First, we think at about 700 words per minute and talk at 120 words per minute. Repeating a question allows you time to think about how you want to answer.
  • Second, if the person asking the question is in the front of the room or soft spoken, the rest of the audience may not have heard the question.
  • Third, if media is present and you do not repeat the question, the information you broadcast is compromised, as the listening audience may not understand what you are addressing.
  • Repeating the question, especially in small groups, is not always necessary. However, if you practice it frequently you'll make repeating questions a habit for the times when it will transform a good presentation into a great one.


Achieving Maximum Effectiveness in Presentation/Communication Environments

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How much more effective could your company be if you honed in on the exact details that distinguish an adequate presentation/communication space from an environment of maximum achievement? Optimizing performance requires precision and attention to the simple, yet often-overlooked details we have been sharing through our Tero presentation/communication environment tip series. We have discussed tips including room size, layout, temperature and noise level. In this final insight, let's examine the following subtleties which have the potential to transform your tolerable environment to one of optimal effectiveness:

Personal Space

Your audience has personal space requirements. In a western culture, the personal space is 18 inches. Ensure the room set-up allows for adequate space for thinking and interacting.

Equipment

Determine well in advance your equipment and power requirements. You will need to make arrangements for such devices as a microphone, television, DVD player, flipchart stand, projector, laptop computer, screen or extension cords.

Access

People should normally enter the room from the back to avoid disruption as latecomers.

Plants

Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have discovered that the use of plants makes for a better learning and thinking environment for astronauts. Certain plants remove pollutants from the air, increase the negative ionization and charge it with oxygen. According to the Federal Clean Air Council, plants raise oxygen levels and increase productivity by 10%. A single plant can often affect 100 square feet of space. Audience members in an environment filled with plants are more responsive than those in a sterile, stark meeting room. The best plants for reducing pollutants and enhancing learning environments are: ficus benjamina, philodendrons, dracena deremensis, peace lilies, bamboo palms, yellow chrysanthemums and gerbera daisies. They have to be live plants!


Tips on an Effective Presentation/Communication Environment: Raising the Bar

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Atmosphere, layout, size and general suitability of the room you use directly affect your presentation. Although it's true there are some situations in which you are unable to influence these variables, the presenter normally has the opportunity to improve certain components in the environment.

There are many factors that affect you and your audience. In last week's blog post we discussed some of these factors. This week we provide you with additional tips.

Light

The length and brightness of daylight affect your body's melatonin and hormone levels and influences the release of neurotransmitters. This affects your alertness, responsiveness and moods which in turn affect your learning. You may be able to enhance learning simply by improving lighting during your presentation. Natural lighting is best because it provides the best and most lumens, but artificial (not florescent) lighting also works well.

Temperature and Ventilation

The hotter the room, the more likely the audience is to go to sleep during your presentation. Equally, the colder they are the more distracted they are likely to feel by their discomfort. Therefore, a comfortable mid temperature should be your goal. When selecting a room make sure the ventilation system does not make excessive noise. Know where the controls are.

Noise

Many locations have their own peculiar noises. Find out what they are in advance so you can avoid distracting yourself and the audience. Always know who is in the next room.


Tips on an Effective Presentation/Communication Environment

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do certain environmental factors affect your communication during a meeting, presentation, conference, etc.? Does the "feel" of a room affect your overall presentation success? The answer is yes. In this week's blog post we will cover some factors to consider. We will provide additional tips in the weeks to follow.

Room Size

The room should be large enough to permit the audience to sit in comfort without being so large that they feel lost in the room. Awkward shapes can be distracting and may in fact prevent the audience from easily seeing the speaker in some situations. A larger room will be required where there is a good deal of audience participation.

Seating

At least 20% of learners are significantly affected, positively or negatively, solely based on the type of seating options. To be at their best, your audience needs to have a choice. Some audience members prefer a chair, the floor, a couch or beanbag furniture to be at their best in learning. Studies have repeatedly shown that when audience members have a choice as to seating arrangements, they perform and react better to your presentation/communication.

Time of Day

Your audience is freshest in the morning and will communicate more effectively at this time. When possible plan your presentation and/or meeting early. You will also avoid the problems of running late usually created during the day. Avoid late morning, early afternoon and late in the day since audiences tend to be tired or distracted at those times.


Questions to Ask Yourself When Setting Goals

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why don't we approach every day of our life with the same enthusiasm and spirit of adventure we devote to planning vacations? Just as you would never leave for your vacation destination without a map, learn how to plan for your lifetime destination where you focus on your goals and don't just drift through life.

The world is full of people who are very quick to dream and very slow to act. Often it is because they have failed to take the steps necessary to achieving their goals. A characteristic that all successful people possess is that they are end-results oriented. They have a strong vision and a positive expectancy for the future.

Ponder on the following questions when setting goals:

  • How would you compare your level of career satisfaction today with that of five years ago?
  • How would you compare your level of personal satisfaction today with that of five years ago?
  • When do you feel best about yourself?
  • Have you abandoned any ambitions or old dreams that you might want to reconsider?
  • What goals are you striving toward now?
  • Do you feel you need more challenge in your life?
  • Recent research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (the study of the interactions between the brain, mind, body, immune and social systems) clearly shows that those people who live a balanced life also live a longer, happier life.


Time Management Tips

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

With our rapidly changing world, time is one of our greatest resources. We all have an equal amount of time each day. How much time do you waste per week due to disorganization or low productivity? If you are like most people, you would agree that you can easily waste at least one hour per day.

Many tools exist to aid you in the achievement of your goals. The tools you select will be based on your specific needs and your personal style. What tools are you currently using? Are they helping you or holding you back from reaching top productivity and efficiency? Evaluate what tools you are using for the following:

  • Keeping commitments
  • Keeping track of others' commitments to you
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Documenting activities
  • Following up on commitment
  • Filing
  • Tracking goals
  • Recording expenses
  • Contacts/Addresses
  • Important dates (anniversaries, birthdays)
  • Projects
  • Ideas

If you have not already, select tools that fit your personal style and incorporate easily into your current work flows to improve your daily productivity.


How Does Stress Affect Your Performance?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Do you suffer from work stress? Do you feel tired at the end of the work day or energized? It is interesting to note some people with predictable jobs and work schedules often feel tired, unhappy and stressed. Other individuals who are busy and consistently work longer days are healthy, happy and stress-free. How can this be?

  • Some stress is desirable and can provide a positive state to enhance performance.
  • Stress can also cause you to be unproductive. Stress that is overwhelming is a barrier to effectiveness and can lead to burnout. You may be unaware of the source of the stress or even the presence of it. In such cases, to improve performance, take steps to improve your sense of self-worth and value.
  • Stress can be managed for individuals who sincerely believe they have the resources, time and control over the situation causing the stress. Otherwise the "victim" mentality can inhibit performance.


The Importance of Finishing Early

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How many presentations have you attended that finished early? Finishing early requires good planning.

Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States said he would require two weeks to prepare for a ten minute speech, one week for a one hour speech but could begin without notice to deliver a two hour speech.

In a Speakout article, a publication of the National Speakers Association, 100% of the people polled reported they dislike speakers going overtime. Doesn't it make sense to finish early?

An inexperienced presenter will almost always run overtime. A good presenter will finish on time. You should finish five minutes early. By finishing your talk five minutes early you'll convey to your audience that their time is valuable without shortchanging them on the material they came to hear.

  • Time of Day: Your audience is freshest first thing in the morning. By getting on the program early, you are able to avoid the problems that get the day off schedule.
  • Start on Time: Don't wait for latecomers unless absolutely necessary. By starting on time, you'll set the tone for the rest of the presentation. Your listeners will see that you value their time as well as your own and will appreciate it.
  • Plan to Finish Early: Plan to finish five minutes early. Be aware of time management from the very beginning of your presentation. Plan how long each stage of your talk should take and stick to it.


Are Your Team Meetings Productive?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

According to the Wharton Center for Applied Research at the University of Pennsylvania, the average senior executive spends 23 hours each week in meetings. Sadly, senior and middle managers report that a mere 56% of meetings are productive and that a phone call or email could replace more than 25% of meetings.

At all levels of organizations, individuals employ state-of-the-art process improvement methodologies to streamline activities and accomplish more with less. Curiously, and somewhat ironically, these same individuals who strive for maximum productivity in their work activities wrestle with frustration and set-backs caused by unproductive meetings.

Successful team meetings have two key elements:

1. Progress: They are strategically valuable. There is progress against a goal.

2. Performance: They bring out the best in the people who attend or those who are affected. Relationships are built or strengthened (or at the very least, interpersonal friction is not created).

One way to improve meeting effectiveness is to help both participants and leaders alike understand how they can help make the meetings work better. With everyone sharing a common understanding and common knowledge, the result is meetings that are more valuable and productive.


How to Speak to Different Learning Styles

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What learning style do you prefer? We learn in a variety of ways and each of us has a predominant learning style. It is estimated 25% of us have a preference for auditory learning, 35% for visual learning and 40% for kinesthetic learning.

Auditory - learn through what you hear.

Visual - learn through what you see.

Kinesthetic - learn through what you do.

One way we can enhance the effectiveness of communication is through language usage that addresses learning preference.

What language appeals to an auditory learner?

  • I hear what you are saying.
  • Things clicked into place.
  • It was music to my ears.
  • That sounds good.
  • Tell it like it is.

What language appeals to a visual learner?

  • I see what you mean.
  • Things are looking up.
  • I get the picture.
  • I'm a little hazy on the details.
  • The outlook is bleak.

What language appeals to a kinesthetic learner?

  • That feels right.
  • I've got a grasp on the situation.
  • That made an impact on me.
  • Get in touch with reality.
  • It left a bad taste in my mouth.

Begin listening to the words and phrases people use and learn to "speak their language" to build rapport and enhance communications.


How Do You Talk to Yourself?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What is your attitude about yourself? What are you good at? What are you not so good at? Do not think about what others think of you. What do you think of yourself?

How you talk to yourself, your self-talk, has a powerful impact on you. Self-talk is the internal conversation you have with yourself all day, every day. The beliefs you hold about yourself will control your attitude, either in a positive or negative way.

What do you tell yourself each and every day? Do you think you are shy or outgoing, a warm person or a cold person, a high performer or a low performer, a skilled presenter or a poor presenter. Negative self-talk is debilitating.

Examples of negative self-talk include:

  • "This will never go well."
  • "I fail every time I try to present in front of a group."
  • "They never agree with anything I suggest."

You build and change your attitude about yourself through your self-talk. It is often said that if a friend talked to you the way you sometimes talk to yourself then the friendship would be over in a hurry. The greater your self-image or self-esteem the easier it is to deal with new situations and new challenges.


How to Improve Your Confidence in Negotiations

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Do you feel uncomfortable when negotiating with others? Is it hard to determine what type of communication style to use during your negotiation? Here are some tips that will help you become more confident.

  • Rethink your first statement. Many of us think we do not negotiate often because we define negotiations as high pressure meetings with substantial stakes. In reality, you negotiate every day. Did you ever negotiate curfew with your child or a project due date with your boss?
  • Think of negotiations as daily interactions and not just high pressure business interactions.
  • In your daily interactions learn and practice skills such as personal mastery, non-verbal communications, listening, asking questions, rapport-building and assertiveness. These skills are important for a successful negotiation.

Investing time to learn the strategies will enable you to negotiate assertively, improve your confidence and help you achieve a win/win for both parties.


Handling Negative Comments by a Co-Worker

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The workplace consists of several different personalities. Some employees are positive and a joy to work with, while others can be negative and hard to deal with on a daily basis. What is the best way to handle a colleague that constantly makes rude comments about others? Do you fuel the fire?

Rude remarks can negatively impact the workplace and make it nonproductive. If this type of attitude is allowed, over time it will result in an uncivil atmosphere that is harmful to business. It is the responsibility of the employees to do what they can to ensure an inclusive and positive work environment. If you feel a comment is rude, the best thing you can do is politely and one-on-one tell the person who made the comment how you feel.

Saying nothing often communicates agreement. If you do not agree with your co-worker, remaining silent is not a good choice; however, becoming confrontational, defensive or argumentative is rarely productive and can escalate the situation.

Instead, use the magic words that can get you out of almost any situation. "Excuse me," and then finish the sentence by announcing where you need to be. By extracting yourself from the conversation, you neither passively listen to the comments nor participate in an unproductive dialogue. Without an audience, the comments may become less frequent.


Cautions When Writing a Speech

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You have probably been told to write out your speech so you use the most powerful words and do not forget a major point during your presentation. Is this the most effective way to prepare for a speech?

Written communication and spoken communication are two distinctly different mediums. Taking one mode of communication and translating it directly to another without any modification is dangerous. Your presentation needs to be interactive and enthusiastic - not monotone and scripted.

Eye contact is extremely important when trying to persuade your listeners. If you write out your speech, you will be tempted to look at your paper instead of your audience.

Learn how to organize your material for your presentation in a way that is compelling for your listeners.

Next time you present consider the following tips:

  • Do not write your speech word for word (this will tempt you to constantly look down at your notes).
  • Do practice ahead of time.
  • Do maintain good eye contact.
  • Do look at your notes if you forget a major point. However, stop speaking when you look down and begin speaking again when you have made eye contact with your audience.


Communication Tip - The Power of Threes

Monday, July 29, 2013

Have you ever thought about the power of threes and how this can relate to the power of communication? Consider the following pattern...

  • Faith, Hope and Love
  • The Three Musketeers
  • ABC
  • 123
  • Three Stooges
  • Huey, Louis and Dewey
  • Up, Up and Away

What happens when we do this?

  • Faith, Hope, Love and Kindness
  • The Three Best Musketeers
  • ABCD
  • 1234
  • Huey, Louis, Dewey and Elvis
  • Up, Up, Away and Gone

Something is lost in the rhythm, meter and power. We are conditioned in 3s...

  • Traffic signals - red, amber and green
  • Primary colors - red, blue and yellow
  • To start a race - ready, set, go
  • To present a slide or presentation aid (Tero style) - ready, aim, fire
  • To begin something - one, two, three

In communication, the brain easily grasps threes. Stretch your key message to four and you may lose your listeners.

Communication Tips:

  • Include no more than three bullet points on a PowerPoint slide (ideally, stick to three words per bullet point). At Tero, we call this the 3 x 3 rule.
  • Use no more than three fonts in written communication (italics or bold type visually are different fonts).
  • Stick with three colors and remember shades count as colors (dark red and light red are two colors).
  • Summarize your message into three elements. You will find it pays to leverage the power of threes in any type of communication.


Beating Adversity - How To Take Your Team to the Top

Monday, July 22, 2013

Failure happens, even when working with a talented team. However, if you learn from your failures, you haven't really lost.

In the book Taking Your Team to the Top four "R" words the authors Sundquist and Spizman promote will ensure your team comes out of adversity stronger than they were before it hit. Rough patches in business and teams are inevitable, yet can be desirable if learned from. If handled well adversity can be the greatest teacher and influence on success moving forward.

The Four "R's" To Take Your Team to the Top when faced with adversity include:

  • Recognize: Realizing the signs of stress for your team is crucial. If we cannot admit and see there are problems, we cannot deal with them effectively. Be careful not to deny, and remain open to the possibility of problems.
  • Review: Where did we succumb to pressure? Why? How? Be ready to ask and review these questions.
  • Revise: What different efforts can we take next time? How and what can we improve based on what we have realized and learned?
  • Refocus: Don't dwell on what was. Refocus on what your mission is and accomplishing your goal.

These tips will allow your team to meet objectives and achieve success, even when adversity challenges your team.


Dressing for Success at Your Next Job Interview

Monday, July 15, 2013

What "dress code" should you consider at your next job interview? Should you wear a nice blouse, collared shirt or traditional suit?

These days, wearing a suit to a job interview is not the only option. Instead, dress to convey your expertise in the industry in which you are seeking employment. Dress code will look very different for someone wanting a creative marketing position compared to a candidate in a conservative financial field.

Observe the executives and leaders in your industry and mirror their look when going on a job interview.


Master Your Mingling

Monday, July 8, 2013

It is estimated that each of us has an average sphere of influence that numbers 250 people (this is how many people you could expect to attend your wedding or funeral).

Each time you make a meaningful connection with another person, you have moved one step closer to gaining permission to interact with that person's network.

These tips will help you become a mingling expert and allow you to feel more comfortable in networking opportunities.

Small talk:

  • Breaks the ice.
  • Establishes a connection.
  • Does not require original or profound conversation.
  • Is what people say to each other to be polite.

Practice these tips to improve your small talk ability:

  • Be more informed.
  • Focus on the other person and less on yourself.
  • Do not interrupt.
  • Do listen.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Always close a conversation before walking away from the other person.

Avoid these subjects with others you don't know very well:

  • Your health or diet habits.
  • The cost of things.
  • Personal questions such as "How much money do you make?"
  • Off-color jokes.
  • Controversial issues when you don't know others in the group.

Other helpful tips:

  • Eat a small amount of food for energy before the event.
  • Remember, you were not invited because the host thought you were hungry or thirsty.
  • Make your presence known to key persons in the organization.
  • Shake hands with everyone.
  • Avoid extra gestures of affection.
  • Detect unwanted gestures of affection.
  • Know how to handle a small gathering.
  • Know how to handle a large gathering.

No matter where you are - a business meeting, convention, cocktail party or private dinner party, there is a simple formula for making a successful entrance and networking properly.


The Art of Delegation

Monday, July 1, 2013

What if they don't do it right? What if they mess it up?

What if they don't get it done at all?

What if the outcome is not up to my standards?

What if they do it better than I do?

Delegation is an area in which many leaders struggle. It's often hard to relinquish control. Others may not do it "our way." Many times it seems more expedient (and simpler) to do the work ourselves. Rather than learning to delegate effectively, we work longer hours.

There are many advantages to delegating. When we delegate, we are able to accomplish more and shift our attention to other projects. The less time you spend on tasks that can be accomplished by others, the more time you have to focus on larger goals.

For others, the tasks and activities you delegate represent opportunities for growth and job enrichment.

By definition, leadership is about "leading" other people. The long term success of a leader is largely determined by those who follow. As a result, leaders must seek to understand what influences people, what makes them tick, how to talk to them, how to challenge them, how to motivate them and how to delegate the tasks for which they are best suited.


How to Get the Pay Raise You Deserve

Monday, June 24, 2013

Are you one of the several professionals that think they deserve a pay raise but have a hard time addressing your boss? Is it difficult to find the courage to set up a meeting?

Below are a few tips to consider when you ask for your next pay raise:

  • First, it is important to establish your value within the company in your performance review. You should be able to list the high points of what you've been able to accomplish.
  • When discussing a pay raise, it is always good to start by recognizing and acknowledging what the company has done for you and express gratitude and appreciation.
  • Be prepared to give specific examples of what you have contributed to deserve the pay raise and discuss your plans for the future.
  • Even if you do not receive the pay raise, be sure to follow up with a note or email thanking your employer for the time and attention devoted to discussing your development opportunities.

These valuable tips will assist you in positioning yourself for your next pay raise.


Negotiation Tips - How To Achieve Win/Win Outcomes

Monday, June 17, 2013

What is the art to successful negotiations? How can you achieve a win/win outcome?

You can't negotiate effectively unless you understand your own interests and your own no-deal options.

Since the other party will say "yes" for their own reasons, not yours, agreement requires understanding and addressing your counterpart's problems.

Spend time trying to understand how the individual you are negotiating with is going to sell this deal, product or concept. Go from being a person who drives the deal from your side of the table to the person who understands the deal from the other side. Before you can change a person's mind, you have to first learn where that person's mind is.


Tips for Opening a Business Presentation

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do you often ponder how to effectively open a business presentation or whether the opening stage of your presentation is really that important?

The opening stage of your presentation is crucial. This is where you set the tone for the presentation by developing rapport, establishing credibility and sharing your objective.

Rapport is developed by making a connection with your listeners. This can be done through sincere compliments and sharing something about yourself to which the audience can relate.

Consider questions such as:

  • What sincere compliment can I pay to my audience, their profession or their organization?
  • What can I share that my audience can relate to about myself?
  • What visual aid can I use to grab the audience's attention?

These questions will allow you to brainstorm and produce an effective opening that will be captivating and relevant to audience members.


What is Your Personality Preference?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Are you an introvert or extravert?

Do you energize by being around others or does a day in the office drain you? These simple questions can help you determine your personality type.

Below are a list of tips to help you differentiate between extraversion and introversion. Which type are you?

Extraversion

You...

  • tend to talk rapidly and often loudly.
  • tend to think out loud.
  • may refer to other relationships often (may even talk about them using their names as if they are people you should know).
  • often have no problem working with background noise (such as the radio or other people talking).
  • may dominate conversations and interrupt often.
  • may become bored when required to share the limelight with someone else.
  • tend to have little problem revealing personal information to people they do not know well (or have only known for a short time).
  • find listening quietly difficult.
  • may require more information than is absolutely necessary.
  • need and ask for feedback and affirmation from others.

Introversion

You...

  • tend to think before saying anything - may pause before talking.
  • may take several days to think through an issue before giving a response.
  • may be capable of shutting out distractions and concentrating on one thing to the point where it becomes difficult to get their attention.
  • are a skilled listener.
  • are annoyed when interrupted either while talking or thinking.
  • become tired and grumpy when required to spend a lot of time socializing.
  • prefer to interact in small groups or one-on-one conversations rather than with large groups.
  • tend to look for opportunities to be alone regularly.

Knowing and understanding personality differences can further your professional career, as well as your personal relationships. Being able to relate well with all personality types is essential to your success.


Tips on How to Understand Cultural Values and Beliefs

Friday, May 24, 2013

A question we are often asked is, "How do I become more savvy in my ability to do business internationally?"

Understanding the mindset of culture is understanding how to create success when working internationally. Culture influences all of your interactions in business. To be successful working cross culturally, you must utilize awareness and knowledge to develop your competence.

Understanding your own cultural values and beliefs is the first step. Your beliefs drive how you interact and respond to people and situations.

Never forget thoughtful cross cultural interactions create added value for your organization and for you.


Tips on Cubicle Etiquette

Friday, May 17, 2013

What do you consider to be good protocol when it comes to your cube? Do your cube neighbors do or say things that are irritating and/or disrespectful? If the answer is yes, you are not alone.

There is probably no more important place to be considerate of colleagues than when one is an inhabitant of a cube environment. How do you establish a sense of personal space yet get along in a communal cube environment?

Here are some tips to reflect on, perhaps to use as discussion starters, when establishing protocol for a cube office environment.

1. How much noise will be tolerable? Some considerations:

  • Use quiet voices.
  • Avoid shouting over cubes to get someone's attention.
  • Set volume of telephone ringer on low.
  • Avoid speakerphone to "listen" to voice-mail messages or to work while talking.
  • Do not leave your cell phone on and unattended in your cube.

2. What about colleague interactions? Some things to think about:

  • Treat the cube as sacred as an office with a door. Knock gently on cube wall, say "excuse me" and announce your presence, or inquire if this is a good time for you to come in.
  • Have a sign that everyone understands that non-verbally can communicate this is not a good time to talk.
  • Never signal or try to get someone's attention when they are involved in a phone conversation.
  • Create a protocol that prohibits colleagues to stand outside of cubes and conduct conversations.
  • Discourage "Prairie Dogging" over cube walls in passing, or anytime.
  • Avoid looking at colleague's computer screens.
  • Consider having your desk face away from entrance to avoid distractions.

3. What about privacy? Here are some ideas:

  • Ignore what you overhear, and do not repeat what is overheard, or pipe in uninvited to conversations.
  • Keep personal private phone calls to a minimum. Do not subject everyone to overhear your personal business.
  • Do not sneak up on someone while working. Announce your presence by quietly speaking their name.

4. Other things to think about: The look of the cube:

  • Food: Smells, mess and noise of food can be distracting and offensive. Be careful not to leave wrappers, old coffee cups etc. scattered around.
  • Decorations: Decorate with taste. Choose photos and personal items that reflect your professionalism. Do not bring in anything to decorate that could be morally, religiously, sexually, or culturally offensive.

Creating cube protocol is a task that could bring to light problems cube inhabitants may not even be aware exist. The discussion alone can create a healthier working environment.


What is a Perfect Fit?

Friday, May 10, 2013

What is a perfect fit when seeking job candidates for your organization? In this blog post we highlight a specific approach as well as criteria to follow when considering who to hire.

The common need that runs through companies is to understand the competencies (skills, knowledge and abilities) that underlie effective job performance. Without them, recruiters recruit, managers manage and trainers train to different and sometimes conflicting competencies.

Competency criteria aren't always easy to describe. Fit must be assessed on three levels.

1. Organizational or Cultural Fit

2. Job Fit

3. Motivational Fit

First, a list of the qualities (organizational competencies) that are necessary for success in the company must be developed. Individuals who demonstrate high competency in these areas will fit in well with the organizational culture and climate.

Then, a list of the skills, knowledge and abilities (job competencies) that are necessary for success in the position is developed. This list is compiled from information gathered from individuals who are familiar with the position.

It is important to remember that the job competencies should consider not just the technical requirements for the job but also the more abstract and interpersonal skills such as leadership ability, communication skills, teamwork, initiative and risk taking that are essential for success.

A candidate's motivational fit is determined by answering the question - will this candidate like this job? Some candidates possess the necessary skills and knowledge to do the job but find the tasks and activities boring. These candidates lack motivational fit for the target position and are better suited to a role they find challenging and enjoy.

Using a competency-based approach to culture analysis and job analysis and an in-depth behavioral-based interviewing process to measure cultural, job and motivational fit, helps you to identify top performers for your organization.


Does Stress Affect Your Productivity?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Do you find constant change, whether at work or home, is causing more and more stress in your life? Is it hard to "wind down" and relax once home from a busy work day? Do you feel that your stress level actually makes you less productive which then causes you to be more stressed?

Stress is inevitable and it is important to learn how to manage these stress levels.

Chronic stress will damage your brain's memory circuits. When you are stressed, the brain releases a hormone called "cortisol." Under normal circumstances, cortisol helps you to remember; however, when your brain is under constant stress the effect reverses and your memory begins to short-circuit.

Make a point to calm yourself when you feel you are under a lot of stress. Also, be sure to challenge your brain by shocking it out of its normal patterns and giving it practice with the process of change. This can be as simple as taking a new route to work. These simple methods will allow you to feel less stressed and increase your memory which, as a result, will make you more productive.


Professional Presence & Personal Branding

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How many items and tasks are competing for your time? Are you making decisions based on conscious efforts or are you reacting to the demanding needs of your busy schedule? Do your daily "reactions" negatively impact your professional presence and personal brand?

Following are five fast tips for professional presence and your personal brand. No matter how busy you are, focusing on these fast five will make sure the product of your efforts will include a presence of professionalism and polish.

Tip #1 - Be Discreet

Being the person people can trust to keep a confidence enhances your credibility and trust factor. How you handle personal, company and clients' confidential information matters. Are you cautious not only with what you hear, but what you may be overheard saying? Technology makes it easy for us to breach confidentiality. Pushing the send button too soon on an email without thinking of the recipient's feelings can breach discretion and be difficult to salvage - think before you act or react.

Tip #2 - Don't Make Noise

As professionals, you can make too much noise, nonverbally and verbally, and it can detract from your professional presence and personal brand. U.S. business persons oftentimes are regarded by people from outside the U.S. as noisy. The volume of voices, expressions such as shouts of hello or loud laughter, can come off as too noisy cross culturally. Another way "noise" is detected is when we "react" rather than "act" in the office setting or anywhere for that matter. What if you have a complaint? Finding the appropriate person to assertively tell helps maintain an ability to be authentic in sharing thoughts while sustaining an essence of professionalism.

Tip #3 - Walk Don’t Run

No matter how busy you feel, it will jeopardize your professionalism to "appear" too busy. Dorothea Johnson, the founder of the Protocol School of Washington, would give her students wise advice on how to appear professional. One piece of advice went something like this, "In business, never run! Carry yourself elegantly to be perceived as competent."

Tip #4 - Take Up Space

When walking into a meeting room you communicate to others immediately whether you have "presence." Walking slowly and assuredly, greeting others with eye contact, having a smile and saying "hello" communicates confidence immediately - but it doesn't stop there. Also, be sure to focus on your open posture even though this may seem less important in a meeting situation. The visual imprint of sitting in an open posture communicates credibility, receptivity and competence. When gesturing to enhance a point, show the palms of the hands - this psychologically communicates trust.

Tip #5 - Be Kind

It is easy to be more focused on yourself in any given situation than on others. Yet those who are perceived as having professional presence show up in the world in confident ways that allow them to focus more on others. They have already given thought and attention to themselves and how they wish to appear. Professionals that exude presence remember names and care about those they meet. They realize that respect is a demonstration of their values and they can give it to everyone they meet.


The Importance of Eye Contact

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Effective eye contact is crucial to the communication process. It allows you to build credibility and creates trust in a relationship. Your Eye Contact:

  • Tells the other person you are listening.
  • Actually makes you a better listener.
  • Focuses attention on the individual and makes him or her feel important while you look in control.

In a one-on-one interaction, direct eye contact should be made 40% - 60% of the time. Less than that and a person is seen as shy, shifty, hiding something, or lacking self-confidence and authority.

If the eye contact is more than 60%, a person will feel put on the spot, examined or under a microscope, so to speak.

When interacting with two or more people, share your eye contact with all members of the group. Be sure to not exclude anyone with your eye contact. Similarly, ensure that you are not making eye contact exclusively with one member of the group.

If you sometimes get feedback that you are coming across as critical or in a negative manner and you don't mean to, check your eye contact. You may be looking more than 60% and people see this as being pinned down.

To be a good listener, let your eyes say, "I'm listening" and convey empathy and concern.

When you are talking, watch your listener's eyes to see if you are holding his or her attention. It does not matter what you say if the person you are speaking to is not listening.


How to Engage Your Audience

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How do people learn?

This is an important question to consider when trying to engage your audience.

Your listener is taking in information and processing it throughout your interaction/presentation. How well they actually learn/understand the information depends on your ability to deliver it in a way that makes learning easy for them.

People learn in three ways:

  • Audio - People learn through what they hear.
  • Visual - They learn through what they see.
  • Kinesthetic - And through what they do.

While we all learn in different ways, each of us has a predominant learning style. Research shows that 25% of the population is comprised of primarily auditory learners, 35% are primarily visual and the remaining 40% are primarily kinesthetic learners? So the next time you have to give a presentation, whether in a meeting or in front of hundreds of individuals, consider incorporating all three learning styles.


Top Strengths for Job Candidates

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Job candidates often wonder what employers are looking for in their potential new hires.

There are several factors to consider when prepping for a job interview.

In a study conducted by Syracuse University and Total Executive Inc., 300 executive recruiters, CEOs, and personnel directors rated the most important qualities they consider when hiring or promoting candidates.

Topping the list are:

  • Communication skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Professional appearance

This means that your ability to effectively communicate your expertise, both verbally AND visually, will set you apart from the competition.


How to Differentiate Yourself

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Whether you are a new hire or someone who has been with your organization for 25 years, it is important to focus on your personal brand and differentiate yourself from others.

Since interpersonal skills account for 85% of professional success, start with these 3 tips to ensure a positive brand:

  • First, maintain good eye contact. This tells the other person you are listening and focuses your attention on that individual.
  • Second, learn to shake hands well. Always be ready to initiate or receive a handshake in business interactions.
  • Third, practice good posture and open body language. This helps create trust and demonstrates inclusivity. It also broadcasts to others how you feel about yourself.

These 3 simple tips leave a lasting impression which will guarantee a positive perception of your personal brand.


Avoiding Conflict is Always Better – True or False?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is it wise to avoid conflict?

Conflict is a natural and normal part of our work and personal lives. Whether it serves to solve problems creatively or translates to a destructive feud is largely up to how you handle it.

Because of the discomfort it may cause, many of us avoid confrontation and ignore problems. In the long run, avoidance as a strategy is rarely a good one. It can damage relationships, results and/or both.

You may choose avoidance to allow for unproductive emotions to dissipate or to collect more information. Once a clearer head prevails, open communication is always a better choice.


What's Your Name?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Do you have a hard time remembering names? Great news, you are not alone. However, remembering names does not have to be challenging.

There are several methods to help overcome this problem. Here are a few...

1. Stop telling yourself you don't remember names and start telling yourself, "I'm good at remembering names." This statement, repeated often enough, can counteract your negative self-talk.

2. Slow down, listen carefully, and pay attention when you meet a new person. Deliberately take the time for more than an exchange of names.

3. Use the person's name in conversation. Use it often. Repetition builds memory.

Remembering names is crucial when networking and interacting in the business world. Like mastering any skill, practice makes perfect. Be sure to... practice, practice, practice.


Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Weekly Meetings?

Friday, February 22, 2013

A participant recently asked me how to effectively manage meetings when there are several conflicting personality types.

There are many factors to consider when facilitating a meeting.

1. Seek input and agreement on ground rules. Discuss protocol around managing time, handling conflict and appropriate meeting behaviors.

2. Model an accepting attitude. Try drawing out everyone's perspectives and feelings instead of rushing to judgment.

3. Resist the temptation to save time by settling for majority opinion or compromise. Consensus is necessary for lasting and meaningful outcomes.

These tips will ensure a more productive and successful outcome. Keeping an open mind is crucial in today's changing business world.


Successful Leadership

Friday, February 15, 2013

The topic of Successful Leadership continues to be pertinent in organizations around the world. The following blog post is one that was originally posted in 2010. The sentiments remain the same for organizational success in today's work environment.

A question we are often asked: I am taking a new management position. How do I lead my new team in a way that respects their individual preferences yet helps us achieve our goals?

Tero says: The first thing you can do as a manager is learn about each team member. Try to schedule some time with each member to get to know them. In the course of your conversation you may wish to ask questions such as "How do you best manage your time and prioritize work when completing projects? What portions of projects do you feel most successful taking on with respect to your ability to contribute? What kind of input or assistance will be helpful to you to perform at your best?" By asking questions like these and asking them to give you examples from their past work life to illustrate, you will get a picture of how to leverage their preferences for team productivity.

What have you experienced in your role as a leader?


Your Attire, Your Career

Friday, February 8, 2013

Does your overall professional look impact your career? Absolutely! The "Casual Friday" trend has turned into an everyday norm.

When contemplating what is appropriate to wear to work consider the notion a casual look = a casual attitude. Is that the attitude you should and need to have when making important business decisions? Is that the career path that will lead you to success?

Your visual messages precede anything you say or do, and those visual messages can greatly affect your level of impact and your SUCCESS.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Analyze your garments. Figure out which ones need to be altered and commit to tailoring.
  • Ensure that your clothing is pressed and in good repair.
  • Focus on first impressions because they form lasting opinions. Shoes are one of the first things people notice, so always put your best foot forward.
  • Consider contextual dressing. What is the context/activities of your day and the people with whom you will interact? Once this is decided, dress accordingly.
  • Commit to focusing less on minimal dress code standards and more on maximum visual presence.

So when considering your business attire, keep in mind that the perception others have of you occurs in the first few seconds of interacting. With that perception, 55% is based on your visual message. Make it count!


How "Irritators" Can Ruin Your Sales Call

Friday, February 1, 2013

What are irritators? Irritators are things that are said or done that offend another person. Make yourself aware of irritators and make a conscious effort to eliminate them from your own vocabulary and behaviors. Following are a few examples of irritators:

  • People tend to get offended when someone tells them what they should do or what they ought to do.
  • Sentences that begin with yes and are followed by but are offensive and negate the yes.
  • When someone says "to be honest" it throws into question the honesty of the rest of the interaction.
  • Phrases such as "generous offer", "fair price", and "reasonable arrangement" have little value in persuasion and often cause annoyance.


How to Create the Environment During a Sales Situation

Friday, January 25, 2013

In today’s busy business environment it can be difficult to get meetings on the calendar and build valuable relationships. So when you are able to get that important meeting scheduled it is crucial to use time effectively.

Here are some strategies to help create a positive environment before, during and after a sales or negotiation situation:

  • Be respectful of time. Develop a schedule and stick to it.
  • Minimize phone and personal interruptions.
  • Conduct the meeting in a comfortable room without physical barriers such as desks.
  • Sit at a 90-degree angle to the other party.
  • Offer the other party sincere compliments.
  • Make frequent eye contact.
  • Use non-verbal encouragement (nodding, smiling, etc.).
  • Show understanding and empathy when the other party expresses frustration or shares negative information.
  • Follow-up.
  • Answer all questions.


Tips for Keeping Your Audiences' Attention When Presenting

Thursday, January 17, 2013

When giving a presentation there are several factors to keep in mind. Your challenge as a presenter is not only to make the audience want to listen but to help them understand, remember and act on the information.

The next time you give a presentation keep these tips in mind:

First, think about learner prep. Studies have shown that preparing your audience for the learning experience enhances their learning readiness.

Second, consider posture and movement. Did you know that movement can make your audience members more alert? When you sense their energy levels dropping, invite them to stand up and move.


Tips On How To Successfully Build Rapport

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It is a human tendency to reciprocate an act of kindness, gift or gesture. In sales or negotiation situations consider offering sincere compliments and provide the other person's favorite coffee or beverage. Create an environment conducive to the other person's comfort. Go the extra mile in professional communications before and after the negotiation. The following activities are rapport-building:

  • Giving thanks
  • Making recommendations (social networks like LinkedIn encourage people to recommend each other)
  • Providing positive reinforcement