Tero Blogs - 2014 | Tero International, Inc.
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2014 Tero Blogs


Getting the Most from Your Presentation

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Engaging an audience during a presentation is often a difficult task. People process information differently and retain more information depending on their learning style.

We are constantly learning. Learning new words, names and random information every day. This is why it is crucial to incorporate different styles of presenting your information and accommodate for everyone.

People learn in three different ways:

  • Audio (25% of population): Learn through what they hear.
  • Visual (35%): Learn through what they see.
  • Kinesthetic (40%): Learn through what they do.

We can certainly learn through all three styles, but everyone has a predominant learning style. As you can see, 40% of the population is made up of primarily kinesthetic learners.

Why then, do we see a lot of presentations where the audience remains inactive throughout?

Most presentations have a presenter and a PowerPoint - both can be used for audio and visual functions. By not incorporating our third element of learning (kinesthetic), a portion of our audience could walk away with less information.

Next time you are preparing a presentation, try and find time to include at least one hands-on activity to get the kinesthetic learners going. This is also a great way to break up your presentation and give the audience a "breather".


Ssttrreettcchh

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 is all but over now as we move into late December and have predictable thoughts like, "I can't believe this year is almost over" or "Where did the time go?".

As we sit (or stand) in disbelief that we are moving into 2015 already, ask yourself about 2014, specifically your goals. Did you accomplish all that you had hoped for? Where did you fall short? Did you even set goals?

Setting goals are important whether it is a daily goal, weekly goal or other. Right now is a perfect time to look at what you have accomplished this year and what is on your agenda next year. For those out there that failed to achieve a set goal, what happened? Did you set your sights too high or not put in enough effort?

Having goals above your capacity are important in your personal and professional life. Sometimes we comfort ourselves by setting an easily attainable goal. By setting "stretch goals", where there is a definite chance of failure, we develop and grow tremendously. If and when we do fail to accomplish these stretch goals, it is important not to change these goals and rather to reevaluate how you will reach it the next year. Confucius once said, "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps."

Review your process of reaching that particular goal. If you tried to sell 1,000 cakes this year and fell short, how do you plan to accomplish that goal next year? Maybe you marketed through word-of-mouth exclusively. Should you consider a different marketing medium? Maybe it was a matter of capacity and you were not able to produce 1,000 cakes in a given year. It may be time to hire additional staff or look into a more efficient process, while maintaining quality.

The intent is to create a goal high enough that if you fall short, you are still pleased with the outcome. The same goal will leave you hungry to tackle it next time with a new and improved perspective.

Put in place at least one stretch goal in 2015 and see where it takes you.


Purposeful Meetings

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Think about the last meeting you attended. Did you find the time valuable? Accomplish the goals of the meeting? Were there any goals to begin with?

We spend a great deal of time in meetings throughout our life. If the time is wasted, we may as well be in our bed hitting the snooze button several more times. Meetings should have a purpose or goal and everyone involved needs to be aware.

A lot of times, it may seem that we have meetings to schedule additional meetings; getting lost in an endless cycle. We can cut down on the number of meetings and how long we spend in them by keeping in mind three general points:

1. Understand the meeting's purpose and goals. Why are we together? Distribute an agenda to the group (if appropriate). Create an environment to support the purpose of the meeting.

2. Bring appropriate information or materials.

3. Be on time.

These are extremely simple points and are often times forgotten. By respecting these items as an individual and communicating to your group as a whole; meetings are sure to be more productive and save valuable time that can be used elsewhere.


Stress Solution

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Did you get a chance to take the Stress Test in our last blog? A short questionnaire designed to assess your vulnerability to stress. Stress can come in many forms and from many directions.

We do not always know the cause of stress; only the fact that we feel stressed. What we do know, is stress is vital in our performance and productivity (as discussed in The Stress Effect). However, we can get to a point where stress is overbearing and hinders our performance and productivity. This is the point where we need to slow down and evaluate ways to mitigate stress.

According to the National Foundation For Cancer Research (NFCR), there are five ways to reduce stress every day:

1. Plan ahead. Stress can build up if you procrastinate your "To Do List." Try to accomplish small tasks each day leading up to your "big day." Small things like choosing your dress can be stressful if done last-minute.

2. Know your limits. Being overwhelmed with extra commitments can impede your daily responsibilities. Be sure to practice saying "no" and avoid overcommitting. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and be sure to get a healthy amount of rest.

3. Try to eat nutritious foods and limit sweets during a day. As tempting as it may be, consuming large amounts of unhealthy foods can contribute to decreased energy levels, not to mention feelings of guilt later on. Try to choose alternative options like whole grains, fruits and vegetables filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants, and lean meats during your day. Still enjoy desserts (if mood requests), but keep it in moderation.

4. Let things go. Nothing's going to be perfect. Relax and enjoy time with family and friends, even if a pie burns or your team loses. Reconcile the situation, move on, and forget about it!

5. Exercise. Exercise is not only a great way to stay fit, but it increases your endorphin levels and helps keep you stress-free.

Do you exercise any of these tips regularly? Do you see any tips that need more attention? Think about ways to incorporate these tips in your daily schedule.

Start incorporating one today and see how much of a difference you feel.


You're Stressed, I'm Stressed, We're All Stressed

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What stresses you the most in your day-to-day? The traffic to work? Unpaid bills? The 2-year old screaming at Olive Garden?

We looked at why stress is necessary to performance and efficiency in our last blog. Stress can be our friend when talking in terms of our "comfort zone". If we have too much stress or too little stress; we will find a decrease in performance and efficiency.

Not everyone is the same when it comes to our vulnerability to become stressed and is definitely a factor to consider if we are feeling overwhelmed and out of our comfort zone.

Let us assess our own level of vulnerability to stress through this quick test. Determine how often each statement applies to you. Use the following scoring guide to rate each item.

1 = Almost Always   2 = Often   3 = Sometimes   4 = Rarely   5 = Never

1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal per day.

2. I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at least 4 nights a week.

3. I give and receive affection regularly.

4. I have at least one relative I can rely on within 50 miles.

5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.

6. I smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day.

7. I drink fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks a week.

8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.

9. I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses.

10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.

11. I regularly attend club or social activities.

12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.

13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.

14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, teeth).

15. I speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.

16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems: i.e., chores, money and daily living issues.

17. I do something for fun at least once a week.

18. I organize my time effectively.

19. I drink fewer than 3 cups of coffee, tea or cola a day.

20. I take time for myself during the day.

Total points (to get your score, add up the figures). This number will give you an estimate of how vulnerable you are to stress. Here is what your score means:

  • Score between 30 and 40 indicates moderate vulnerability to stress
  • Score between 40 and 50 indicates high vulnerability to stress
  • Score between 50 and 60 indicates serious vulnerability to stress
  • Score over 60 indicates extreme vulnerability to stress

What can you do to lower your score on high stress items? We will provide information on how you can reduce stress in our next blog.

Test developed by Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith of Boston University Medical Center


The Stress Effect

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There is no way you have gone "x" amount of years without experiencing stress at some point. Think about the stress in your life and how it affects your day-to-day living. We do not even want to think about it, right? Just the thought of stress, makes us stressed. Stress may not be as bad as most of us make it out to be. We need to take stress in moderation; much like shopping, drinking or eating ice cream.

Each of us functions best within a certain range of stress: our personal comfort zone. Awareness of the signs that indicate whether we are in or out of that zone is a valuable tool in time and life management.

In 1908, Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson of Harvard Physiologic Laboratory discovered the following effects of stress on performance in what has been named Yerkes-Dodson Law.

Up to a certain level:

Increased stress = increased performance and efficiency

However, if stress increases beyond this level (above personal comfort zone):

Too much stress = decreased performance and efficiency

The study further revealed that:

Too little stress = decreased performance and efficiency

Most of us are aware when we are functioning within our comfort zone. Typically we feel energized, remain calm under pressure and find work enjoyable.

However, recognizing the signs and symptoms that indicate we are functioning outside of our comfort zone is not always as clear.

Next week we will evaluate our level of stress and gauge if we are inside our personal comfort zone.


A Tale of Two Business Cards

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Believed to originate from tradecards in Europe in the 17th century; business cards have always been viewed as the formal and professional way to exchange contact information. Even with cell phones and the buffet of social media options; the business card is still very much intact.

Business cards are an extension of ourselves and the companies we work for. Below are two examples of business card exchanges; try and put yourself in the shoes of the receiving end of these situations and think about how you would feel:

Scenario #1: You are approached by a man or woman at a social event and had a great conversation; you realize you both graduated from the same college, have kids around the same age and enjoy skiing. When you go to exchange contact information, they dig around in their pocket for quite some time and hand you a crinkled, worn-out card. What is your impression of this individual? Does this affect how you perceive them?

Scenario #2: Now imagine you are approached by the same man or woman at a social event and had an equally engaging conversation. You then go to exchange contact information, where they pull out a stainless steel business card case, full of crisp, (seemingly) fresh out of the box business cards. How do you feel about this individual? Does this affect how you perceive them? How do they compare to the person in Scenario #1?

Both scenarios had the same individual involved, same conversation and only one difference. It is easy to see how a 10-15 minute interaction can be ruined in a matter of a minute. Next time you are giving out your business card, remember these points:

  • Present the card with the print facing the recipient so the recipient will not have to turn it around to read it.
  • Don't give out a business card that is defective, out of date, or soiled.
  • Carry cards in a card case to keep them fresh and protected such as in a handsome leather case.
  • Before attending an event, always put a supply of cards in your suit pocket for easy access.
  • Don't pass out your cards like flyers at a hardware store opening. Handing your card out indiscriminately will make you appear pushy and unprofessional.
  • Don't force your card on anyone or offer it early in a conversation. Junior executives don't give or request cards from senior executives. Let the senior executive request your card, and only then should you present it.


Please Tell Me Your Name Again

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tell me this is how most conversations look when you meet an individual for the first time. With our hand out, looking into their eyes, all the while smiling; we more than often start with the standard, "Hello, my name is..." and are greeted with a standard, "Hello, I am...". This of course is followed by the exchanging of "It's nice to meet you" and so goes the conversation.

How many of us in the 5, maybe 10 seconds of exchanging names, forget who they are talking to completely? It is extremely easy to do this and can happen to anyone. Remembering someone's name is vital to any relationship and can make all the difference in the world. People want to hear their name and it shows that you care about the other person enough to remember. In a world when we are overwhelmed with information to process, how can we possibly remember everyone we meet?

Remembering names is a lot easier than one would think and the below bullets will explain specific formulas you can use in order to become an expert.

  • 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 any negative message about not remembering names.
  • Slow down, listen carefully, and pay attention when you meet a new person. Deliberately take the time for more than an exchange of names.
  • Use the person's name in conversation. Use it often. Repetition builds memory. "There's a coat rack just inside the door, Jim.<"/li>

  • Look at the person's face. Most of us can recall faces better than names. Associate the name with the face.
  • Use a personal connection such as someone else you know with the same name. "That's my middle name."
  • Ask the person to spell his or her name. "Is that Steven with a 'v' or Stephen with a 'ph'?"
  • Tell the person what you have heard about him or her. Acknowledge talents or specific contributions. "I understand that this Business Protocol Workshop was your idea, Mark."
  • Show enthusiasm. Let your tone of voice and body language indicate a degree of happiness that you have met this person.
  • Focus more on the person and less on yourself. Focus when you meet someone and when you say good-bye.
  • If someone doesn't remember your name, come to the rescue immediately. Extend your hand, smile, and say your name.
  • If you can't remember someone's name: Put him or her at ease rather than focusing on your own embarrassment. Extend your hand, smile and say your name. The other person most likely will then say his or her name.
  • Never say, "I can't/don't remember your name." Say, "Please tell me your name again."


Hello, My Name Is

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at a networking event? Felt you did not know who to talk to or what to talk about? We have plenty of opportunities to network in our lifetime and should take every chance that comes our way. Through Chamber events, Breakfast Clubs or even going out to the grocery store to pick up dinner; there are numerous possibilities to connect with someone. What can we do to make "small talk" easier for ourselves and the person we are meeting?

We should focus on the small things first and build upon there. Below are some great pointers and thoughts around what the structure of your conversation should look like:

  • Open conversations with a sincere compliment or with a question that encourages conversation.
  • The best questions are open-ended, not ones that can be answered with a yes or no response. Questions that begin with who, what, where, when or why are usually good questions.
  • In addition to asking questions, it is important that you also respond to questions. While responses should not be windy and boring, they should provide insight into you, your goals, your strengths and your interests.

Here are some additional quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Be well-informed
  • Focus on the other person and less on yourself
  • Don't interrupt
  • Do listen
  • Think before you speak
  • Always close a conversation before walking away from the other person

On paper, these bullet points look easier than they actually are and will surely take time to develop. The sooner and more often you put these tips into place, the more effective you will become.


Preparing Yourself for Change

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We all have routines throughout the day. Whether it is having our Starbucks in the morning, reading the daily newspaper or taking the dog for a walk. These are comfortable to us and do not require any thought because they become an unconscious habit.

This is why it is so difficult when something in our environment changes and we experience the unknown. This is defined as change and is never easy for us to accept and often unexpected. We must learn to embrace change because it will ultimately result in growth. What can we do to make this transition easier?

A great way to visualize change and to understand why it is necessary, we must weigh out the pros and cons.

Consider this example:

Your boss and mentor have asked you to give a presentation to the executive committee. You are incredibly nervous about speaking publicly - in fact it usually makes you ill. However, your boss has told you that it would not only help your department, it would be a good chance to get your name and face in front of people in charge of promoting emerging talent. You weigh the pros and cons with an eye for short and long-term effects.

Change - Immediate & Strategic Cons

  • You won't sleep for days - 2
  • You will be nervous/ill - 3
  • You could embarrass yourself - 5
  • Total - 10

Change - Immediate & Strategic Pros

  • You will help your boss/dept - 4
  • You will gain exposure with upper management - 6
  • New connections - 6
  • You've received presentation skills training - 5
  • Total - 21

When you assign a numeric value to weight each of the pros and cons in terms of importance, you can see that even though it will be nerve-wracking and you risk the possibility of embarrassing yourself, the risk is a good one. If you do a good job, you will have helped your department, your boss/mentor and yourself.


How to Successfully Contribute to Your Team - Create an Operator's Manual

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Have you noticed that almost everything you invest in comes with a manual that provides detailed instructions on operation and use? From clothes to large and small appliances, to electronics, to toys and so on, manufacturers provide a useful resource for getting the best from the item you've invested in. Care instructions and warnings are also provided to ensure that you refrain from doing something that will cause serious or irreparable damage.

Wouldn't it be nice if the people you invest your time with came with instruction manuals? As a member of a team, each of us makes an important investment of our time, energy and creativity - for better or for worse. Getting the best out of teams means getting the best out of each individual. How can you know how to bring out the best in others? One key is in learning what makes each person on the team tick - and what ticks them off.

Writing an operator's manual on yourself is a good investment of your time for two reasons:

1. It will cause you to look at yourself in a new way and become more accountable for your actions, reactions and behaviors.

2. It will provide others who work with you with a useful tool to bring out the best in you - and warn them about your hot buttons.

Begin preparing your personal operator's manual by conducting a self-assessment. When are you at your best? When are you at your worst? What energizes you? What drains you? What are your hot buttons? What are signs that would indicate you are under stress? What are your greatest strengths? What are your development areas?

After you have conducted a self-assessment, share your thoughts with your team members. Solicit input from people who know you well.

Armed with this valuable information about yourself, write a one-page operator's manual that contains tips about working with you. Consider the following questions as you write your operator's manual:

  • At my best, I...
  • Under stress, I...
  • Tips for communicating with me.
  • Tips for providing me with feedback.
  • Tips for working on projects with me.
  • My hot buttons are...

Invite others to write operator's manuals on themselves and find an opportunity to share the insights to build stronger team dynamics.


Leading a Virtual Team: The Importance of a Team Charter

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How can you be successful leading a virtual team? A Tero Graduate's team spans from coast to coast! She asked how to make her team effective despite the distance between them.

A team charter is a great way to begin. A charter hammers out the details of communication and focuses first not on what the team will do, but how they will do it.

A few questions the team should ask include:

  • How frequently are you going to communicate?
  • How will you deal with time zones?
  • What ground rules do you want to establish for conference calls and emails?

Working together to establish who your team charter will be will eliminate confusion, maximize communication and begin to establish trust and reliability.

Read the September 25, 2014 Tero Blog for additional information on team charters.


How to Successfully Lead Virtual Teams

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A question we often receive in regards to team building in organizations today is, "What is the number one requirement for success on a virtual team?"

Like other relationships, it is trust. The problem is that trust is more challenging to develop virtually.

A team leader needs to manage first impressions for trust to develop quickly. Figuring out ways for team members to share who they are as people is essential and is more than just sharing titles and business roles. Facilitate rapport building and useful dialogue.

Although it may feel like a waste of time, the task the team is challenged to carry out must come second to team building in order to get the best out of the group.


Team Charter: Advantages & Considerations

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Team Charter clearly describes the team's purpose, operating guidelines, responsibilities, measures of success and scope of authority.

Your Team Charter has many benefits:

  • Focuses the team.
  • Helps build the team.
  • Reduces conflict.
  • Creates team identity.

Purpose

Why does our team exist? Who do we serve?

Responsibilities

What do we have to do to accomplish our team's purpose? What activities are we responsible for?

Boundaries

What limits have been set for us? What kinds of decisions can we make? What kinds of decisions do we need to get approval for?

Ground Rules

How will our team make decisions? How will we resolve conflicts?

Meetings

How often and how long will we meet? Where and when will we meet? Who will serve as the meeting leader? How can we build off each other's contributions and ideas? How can we do things differently or more efficiently?


Check Your Ethics

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harvard Graduate School Professor of Cognition and Education, Howard Gardner, believes there are practices business leaders can engage in to take a "check" on the ethics of their efforts. Gardner states we should ask ourselves "What kind of a person, worker, and citizen do I want to be?" After examining the answer to that question, Gardner promotes doing the following four activities periodically to stay on the right track.

Try at least two of Gardner's suggestions. What did you learn about your work? What did you discover about you?

In order to stay on the right track, Gardner advises business leaders to:

1. Believe staying on the right track is essential for the good of the organization, especially during difficult times.

2. Take the time to step back and reflect about the nature of your work.

3. Undergo "positive periodic inoculations", being forced to rethink what you're doing.

4. Use consultants, which should include a trusted advisor within the organization, the council of someone completely outside the organization (an old friend), and a genuine independent board.


What Defines Business Ethics?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When you type business + ethics in your browser, you get a laundry list of names of well-known business leaders who have quickly gone from fame to shame as they stumbled and fell off the corporate ladder. What causes their fate - none other than a breach in ethics. The individual situations causing such a descent differ greatly, but the reasons resonate a similar theme. Leaders make choices and/or decisions giving benefit to short-term personal gain yet risking long-term personal and organizational reputation and success.

To systemize, defend and recommend concepts of right and wrong behavior is the nature of ethics. Although we more commonly associate a breach of ethics with leadership, a leadership role is not the only position that holds the power to systemize, defend and recommend.

You could argue position offers greater opportunity to determine and defend what is "ethical" and perhaps get away with it. However, we all systemize, defend and recommend behavior. If not for an entire organization, for our department and most importantly ourselves.

The term ethics originated from the Greek word ethos, which means "character". The kind of character we possess is determined on a daily basis through our personal ethics, the behaviors we systemize, defend and recommend as right. What defines you and your ethics?


Tips on How to Handle Inappropriate Conversations in the Workplace

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Do your colleagues talk about politics, religion or other sensitive topics? Do you feel trapped and don't know how to respond appropriately?

Respecting the rights of others to hold their own beliefs does not require you to engage in uncomfortable conversations. Nor does it demand that you silently stand by and listen - which can communicate agreement.

Politely excuse yourself by using the magic words that will get you out of any conversation, "Excuse me, I have to go to..."

In a professional setting, discussion around sensitive topics is risky, regardless of the views presented.


Time Management Tools

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

John F. Kennedy

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

Select tools that fit your personal style and incorporate easily into your current work flows.

Regardless of the tools you select, choose only one vehicle to house them. Many lists and loose pages, combined with electronic planning tools, can get lost and add to disorganization.


Your Time - Your Life

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Most of us know we need more balance in our lives. In a recent survey, more than half of the respondents said they would take less money to have more time.

Begin today by planning a life strategy with goals based on healthier and more balanced living.Where do you want to see yourself one year from today? Select one or two areas of your life that you would like to see major changes in.

  • Describe that situation.
  • Now, imagine yourself having actually achieved the vision you described.
  • How do you feel?

Jot these thoughts down on a piece of paper and hold yourself accountable.


How to Evaluate Your Time Effectively

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Last week we provided information around time management and how to log your time. Productivity and efficiently is critical in today's fast paced work environment. Logging your time allows you to realize where you are spending most of your time. The next step is to evaluate it:

  • What activities or individuals are demanding the most of your time? Are there patterns?
  • What interruptions are you experiencing?
  • What time of day are you most and least productive?
  • What are your procrastination patterns?

The "fires" consuming time are activities that are both urgent and important. Evaluate the fires you recorded in your time log for patterns. Devise a system to catch them early or prevent them in the future. By attending to important activities before they become urgent, stress decreases and productivity increases.


Time Management Tips

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Do you feel you wear many hats at your job? Do you feel torn on tasks and priorities? If you answered yes, you are not alone. The good news is - we have tips that will assist you in managing your time and daily tasks.

Many people are in jobs that have unpredictable elements that cause chaos to a well-planned day. Begin by keeping a log of how you spend your time. Live your life in 15 minute increments for one or two days to see where your time is spent. With an accurate time log, you will be in a good position to analyze your day and make improvements. Also, consider blocking time in your calendar and turning on your "Do Not Disturb" so others know you are not available.


Your Civility Transformation

Thursday, July 24, 2014

After just one incident of workplace incivility, check out these results:

  • 48% of affected employees intentionally decrease work effort.
  • 47% intentionally decrease time at work.
  • 80% lose work time worrying about the incident.
  • 63% lose time avoiding the offender.
  • 78% admit their commitment to the organization declines.
  • 12% actually change jobs.

It's time to think carefully about how your organization aligns with civility. How would your work culture be transformed if you and your organization conducted yourselves all day, every day in the following way?

  • Assume everyone has the best motives.
  • Listen to all perspectives without interrupting, and incorporate those perspectives into decision-making.
  • Ask questions to discover answers - NOT to defend or demean.

Source: "The Cost of Bad Behavior, How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What To Do About It" by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath


How to Handle Questions during Your Presentation

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Handling questions can be intimidating at times. However, if you master this skillset appropriately it offers several opportunities. Questions can help to ensure your message has been received as intended, clarify any misunderstandings and reinforce important points. To make the most effective use of questions requires considerable skill and planning since your response can make or break the training session.

Create the Environment

Effective presenters will have established a climate of trust and respect from the very beginning of their presentation. Participants will feel free to ask questions throughout your talk without fear of embarrassment.

Encourage Questions

Always cue audience members that you will be taking questions. Then, when you ask for questions, use a technique that assumes there are some such as, "What questions do you have?" Be sure to wait a little while. It takes people a moment to reflect on what you've said.

No Questions


How many times have you sat through a talk where the presenter wraps up by saying "any questions?" fails to pause and then responds with, "I guess I must have answered all your questions so I'm done?" There are several reasons why people have no questions. The least likely is that you have already answered them. It is more likely that they are afraid of looking stupid, they are tired or bored, or they are confused. Fortunately, most of them can be overcome by good planning, knowing your audience and creating a positive environment. If there really are no questions, be prepared to ask your own. You might say, "A question I often hear is..." and then answer your own question. Others will follow.


Oust the Zingers

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Have you considered how ONE person's interpretation of off-color humor may disrupt an entire workplace's sensitive and safe zone you have worked very hard to create? Here's how you, as a leader, can proactively prevent the harmful effects of humor that goes too far.

  • Set the ground rules and values early in your organization. For example, if sensitivity is one of your agreed upon workplace values, it will be easier to explain why off-color jokes are not always received as intended.
  • Think of ways to energize and appreciate your coworkers who may normally be the source of these jokes, so they do not become isolated.
  • Ensure, as a role model, you carefully monitor your own humor in all interactions. The credibility of your words and leadership stem from your ability to walk the talk.


Two of the Most Important Words in Networking

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Has conversation ever dwindled at a networking event and you just don't quite know how to appropriately wrap up your current interaction so you can move on? Two words, from a specific technique of business etiquette, will give value to all parties and will send a polished and professional closing message: "Excuse me." This can be followed by:

  • "I have to...however it has been so wonderful speaking with you."
  • "It has been great to see you."
  • "I am so glad I had the chance to talk with you."

After these closing words, don't forget to wrap up the conversation with a handshake. Follow these steps to maximize your networking success.


Singing to the Tune of Success

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ever heard the saying "music heals"? Tero agrees that music can be part of the cure to advancing presentation experiences. Even if you can't find the beat, 80 - 95% of your fellow coworkers find that listening to music boosts recall and understanding, especially in supplementing the mood for the task at hand. For background music, Baroque may be an excellent choice. To generate excitement, try an adventure movie soundtrack. When storytelling is needed, select a classical or romantic song with peaks and valleys so the motion of the story is enhanced by the movement in the music.

Interested in other genres shown to successfully improve learning in various work settings? Reggae, Latino, pop, jazz, New Age, big band, waltz, rap, rock and soul have all provided positive outcomes.

Do not be afraid to think outside the box within your work culture. Pull in all the resources around you to strengthen your learning and delivery, and you will be singing to the tune of success.


Capitalizing on Your Visual Aids

Thursday, June 12, 2014

You do not need to walk the path alone. To be perceived as an exceptional presenter, capitalize on your visual aids. Research indicates a 200% learning improvement, 38% retention increase, and 25-40% reduction in time needed to explain topics when you effectively utilize visual aids.

Here are three crucial ingredients for you to capitalize on your visual aids, not just use them:

  • Stand up - A study at the University of Minnesota demonstrated people are willing to give 26% more money for the same service if the information presented was delivered standing up.
  • Use color - Greens and blues soothe; yellows fatigue the eye. Using color in visual aids results in 50-85% more effective selling.
  • Talk to the audience, not the visual aid - Motion to the visual aid, but know you will not connect with your audience until your eyes are back on them.


Present With the 5 Senses

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You may be thinking superior presentations are about being heard. Now challenge yourself to contemplate that presentation components can also be touched, tasted, smelled and seen. What doors have just been opened to enhance your next presentation? Let's focus on this holistic view of the cure to being perceived as an extraordinary presenter.

When you think about the setting of your presentation, allow for an environment in which you may incorporate aroma and taste into the experience. Certain floral odors have been proven to stimulate olfactory glands and improve learning by about 30%. Similar results are found with peppermint, lemon and cinnamon.

In the avenue of taste, proper nutrition is critical. Tyrosine, an amino acid which boosts alertness and quick thinking, is found in proteins such as yogurt and fresh fruits. Sugar, when eaten with carbohydrates (doughnuts, for example), suppresses learning, but when combined with protein (as in trail mix) elevates brain power. Knowing this, you may wish to integrate taste into your presentation.

The 5 senses are present for your exploration. Improving each of these sensory experiences maximizes your opportunity to connect with your audience.


Cut the Filler Words - Focus on Eyes

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Have you - um - ever been at - er - a presentation where - uh - you were completely - eh - distracted by - like - filler words? These tiny words can creep into a presentation and completely shatter the meaningful message the speaker has worked so hard to send. We've got good news if this applies to you or someone you know. There is a powerful fix you have access to each time you speak, and it involves your eyes. We call this part of the cure to being perceived as an outstanding presenter the "Focus On Eyes" component.

Focusing on eyes has everything to do with making each thread of dialogue in your presentation an individual conversation with someone in the audience. This means that before you open your mouth to speak at any time, you choose ONE person to make eye contact with. Then, for the length of approximately one or two sentences, you deliver your sentence to that specific person. Only after you have concluded your thought may you break eye contact with that person and find another set of eyes.

"Focus On Eyes" creates a natural pause which gives audience and presenter an opportunity to ensure ideas are clear, organized and adequately absorbed before moving on to the next point.


Seek the Cure to Presenting Information Effectively

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Would you like the cure to being perceived as a confident presenter? No matter who you are or what your background is, you possess the power - right now - to be perceived as a fearless presenter. Would you like to see part of the prescription?

Let's get you started with 3 simple steps to take immediately:

  • Organize yourself by making a checklist of necessary supplies and packing for your presentation ahead of time.
  • Arrive early to the presentation so you dramatically increase your sense of confidence and control.
  • Greet your audience at the door; this greatly reduces "the unknown."

Think you can handle it? By inviting yourself to control all possible factors ahead of time, you are well on your way to being perceived as a fearless presenter.


Create the Best Interview Team to Select the Best Candidate

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Have you ever thought about how assembling the optimal interview team influences the selection of your best candidate? This talented team involves many individuals from the organization while minimizing complexity of the process. No one person has the most important role, and there are three main roles to play.

  • The host is the primary contact for each candidate with regard to providing primary logistical information about the company and the interview. This person checks in on the candidate during breaks to make sure they are comfortable and also follows up every interview with a thank you card regardless of whether the candidate is selected or not.
  • Three is the magic number of people in the role of direct interview team, all of whom should be familiar with the applicant, the position, and the questions needing to be answered. One person consists of the position's supervisor, one a coworker familiar with the position, and one an individual outside the department with whom the position interacts.
  • Senior managers, tour providers, and other mingling coworkers are also critical to the success of this process by comprising the welcoming team role.

Within the competencies your team has determined to be the most critical, each team member should score candidate competencies. Examples of how to score are in a 4-point numerical rating system (unacceptable =1 to perfect fit = 4), a plus/minus rating system (unacceptable = - - to perfect fit = + +), or a temperature gauge rating system (unacceptable = 40 degrees to perfect fit = 70 degrees). This scoring is done individually then as a group on a chart, ensuring the most organized and effective candidate selection possible.


Quick Tips to Win Your Top Performer

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Adding a new team member is a two-way process. Part of the trick to successfully drawing top performers to your business is treating them like top performers from the onset. Follow these quick tips in an interview to demonstrate to your next top performer that you are the best fit for them in addition to them being the best fit for you.

Let the interviewee talk:

  • Don't let yourself or your electronic devices interrupt
  • Give the interviewee the chance to turn good listening into focused answering
  • Make frequent eye contact

Create a welcoming space:

  • Use nonverbal encouragement throughout the interview
  • Sit at a 90 degree angle to the interviewee
  • Record only key phrases

  • How to Hire Exceptional Performers

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Estimates regarding the cost of a bad hiring decision run from one-third of the annual salary to several times the annual salary. It would surely pay off not only financially, but also in the ability to trust your company's culture and success, if you invest appropriate energy in hiring only top performers. What is the most effective way to determine who will be a great organizational, job, and motivational fit? Research has shown that requesting specific behavioral examples from the interviewee is a great tool to demonstrate capacity.

    An exceptional outline which will boost your interview team's success is found in the following chronological components:

    Request a specific behavior example.

    • "Describe a situation when..."

    Guide the candidate to select a relevant behavioral example without disclosing the competency assessed.

    • "...you worked on a team."

    Rationalize a theoretical negative situation briefly first, then request an example of negative behavior.

    • "Occasionally we all have to... Tell me about a time..."

    Follow up an example of a result with questions about detailed context to reduce candidate exaggeration.

    • "What was your role?"


    Your Blind Spots: Science and Solutions

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Enormous effort - subconscious and conscious - is required to realize your potential for success. Not only does information you take in travel first to your intestines (the very real "gut" reaction), then through your heart (producing an electromagnetic field 5,000 times greater than that of the brain), and lastly to your brain for cerebral processing, but you also have a natural filter allowing "unimportant information" to slip through your consciousness.

    This natural filter, your Reticular Activating System (R.A.S.), is a network of neurons in the brainstem which deems certain information important and everything else nonessential, much like how an athlete can block out the cheers of a large crowd. The R.A.S. is, therefore, extremely important in your ability to focus. At the same time, it leaves many blind spots - or "scotomas."

    Can you think of any blind spots you may want to prompt your R.A.S. to recognize that currently hinder your potential to succeed?

    To avoid blind spots, you must decide what you are looking for and invest effort into keeping this "essential information." Equally as important to success is your ability to see other people's blind spots with whom you partner, do business, or in other ways interact.

    Here are three tips to get past others' blind spots and bring awareness to a problem or solution you wish to make known to them:

    • Find out what's important to the other person.
    • Ask what urgent goals does the other person have?
    • Ask how can I tie my objectives to their goals?


    Self-Awareness - How Culturally Aware Are You?

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    There are many factors that color our communications, interactions and how we are perceived. National cultural values are one of many things that determine our expectations, how we may choose to act in a situation, and, most importantly, how we react to any given person or situation.

    For instance, in the U.S., a national cultural value is efficiency. Have you ever found yourself feeling anxious or mad because the fast food line doesn't move quickly? Or when you don't get an immediate reply via email or phone? The value of efficiency is triggered daily, and we act in ways because of it, react in ways because of it and expect people to do things in a certain way because of it.

    If we explore and learn about national cultural values we were imprinted with, we become self-aware. Self-awareness changes things. It allows us to think before we act. It allows us to interpret situations in light of our values. It prevents us from being immediately judgmental.

    If we take the time to learn what cultures other than our own value, we are able to decode business interactions and communications. We can predict what their expectations might be. We can appeal to what matters most to whomever we are doing business with and link it to what matters most to us. In doing this, we color our communications in a way that creates a collaborative rather than divisive relationship, leading to far better results.


    Three Tips to Your Cross Cultural Success

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    When Mc Donald's tried to roll out their business model in places other than U.S., it did not initially work. Their initial attempt was to roll out the same model that worked in U.S. They found out quickly people in India did not appreciate a Big Mac, and in France customers liked beer rather than a milkshake.

    McDonalds learned to suspend judgment, reexamine their model in light of the culturally different customer and challenge any bias in order to achieve success. They did not change who they were or what they stood for, but they adapted their model to appeal to what was valued in the new environment.

    When it comes to cross cultural competence, we will all do a better job if we remember those same three things in our interactions with people who are culturally different than us.

    • Suspend judgment
    • Reexamine values in light of the different context
    • Challenge bias

    The golden arches may be the same around the world, but what's inside is different. That is "food for thought" for each of us!


    Sales: The Ultimate Personality Assessment

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    All customers should not be treated equal - well maybe equal but not the same. Each customer differs in how he or she prefers to communicate, gather information and make decisions. Gaining an understanding of how to identify different personality types will help you get a sense of how to tailor your sales approach to match your customer's preferences, which will demonstrate you are someone who is genuinely interested in providing solutions to your customer's needs rather than simply making the sale.

    Let's look at two examples of customer personalities and best responses.

    Someone who operates with a tendency for intuition and feeling may be more easily excited by the possibilities for the future and how the product will affect people involved. If you are working with this kind of customer, consider:

    • Describing how the product or service will help people grow and realize their potential.
    • Describing possibilities for his or her future (personalized).
    • Showing how the product or service will help them enhance their relationships.

    By contrast, customers who are driven by practical realities and logical conclusions may respond best to a sales strategy focused more on:

    • Sticking to the facts.
    • Demonstrating how to use the product accompanied by a positive cost-to-benefit ratio.
    • Answering all questions carefully and thoroughly.

    The critical factor looming between you and your success is your willingness and ability to be constantly flexible and astutely aware from the beginning of each interaction.


    Take the Question Quiz!

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    1. Which of the following is NOT an open-ended question?

    a. Walk me through an example.

    b. Is that a problem for you?

    c. What bothers you about this?

    d. Why is this important to you?

    e. Please help me understand by providing more specific detail.

    If you said "b" you are off to a great start! Open-ended questions (which often begin with who, what, where, when, how or why) can provide you with valuable insight into the thought processes of the other person when you are gathering information about a customer.

    2. Effective open-ended questions do which of the following?

    a. Get to the bottom of specific needs

    b. Direct thoughts

    c. Give you, the questioner, little time to think

    d. Decrease the probability that the other person will reciprocate and listen to you

    Answer: "a" and "b." Asking questions is an art we need to focus on developing quality relationships with clients and customers. Using inquiry is an opportunity to discover and find ways to authentically connect.

    3. True or False

    Closed-ended questions (questions that solicit yes/no/one word answers) are never helpful.

    False: Closed questions are useful for checking understanding. However, it is easy to use closed question far too often; they can prompt the other person to deduce that you are more interested in what you are thinking rather than what your customer is thinking.


    Master the Sales Puzzle

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    In a recent article published in the Des Moines Business Record, I introduced how sales assumptions are shifting to elicit a change in how we approach sales. We consider:

    If...

    • around 90% of society continues its decades-long negative perception of salespeople

    And...

    • effective selling is changing to be perceived more as effective influencing versus reward/punishment

    And...

    • HR professionals to technicians to administrative assistants to Executive Directors are all trying to improve how they influence others

    Then...

    • you likely want to ensure you are equipped with the best sales skills possible

    Because...

    • those able to sell and influence with excellence and understanding have great potential to lead us into the quickly changing future!

    Would you like to begin now?

    Unscramble the following steps for success into what you believe to be the best chronological option:

    1. Evaluate Options and Make Decisions

    2. Build and Preserve Relationships

    3. Generate Options

    4. Identify Underlying Interests

    If you said 2, 4, 3, 1 you are correct!

    Among the most common problems people make in sales is speaking too soon and too often, rather than listening to find needs and fears the other party has before constructing a plan. The good news: you are constantly faced with choices to improve your sales skills. What are the pieces to your sales puzzle?


    Charging Your Leadership Battery

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    To optimize leadership potential another way, let's focus on what we can do to maximize our own leadership potential.

    One of Tero's critical components of leadership is maintaining consistent positive energy and ability to inspire optimism in other people. This cannot be done unless your personal self is fully charged. Consider your ability and willingness to control the following as influencers of your own positive energy:

    • Getting 7+ hours of sleep each night
    • Keeping your body strong
    • Taking small, frequent breaks throughout the day
    • Emotionally accepting situations of adversity
    • Participate in fun activities each week
    • Celebrating your own as well as others' small achievements
    • Hiring and interacting with others who have positive attitudes

    If you can instill pride and comfort within yourself, the task of creating physical and emotional space for those around you to also experience those facets of living is exponentially easier. Take charge of your positive energy today.


    Ready, Aim, Lead

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Two of the most imperative qualities utilized by a leader are diagnosis and flexibility. Instead of blindly aiming, great leaders build patience to assess and adapt to various stages other people are in. For example, in any context and for various reasons, someone you know may be willing, unwilling, able, or unable to complete a given task. Situational leadership calls for you to then step into whichever of the following leadership roles is most appropriate for the situation:

    • Teacher (Directing) - another person may be unable and unwilling; this may require anything from clarifying corporate culture to demonstrating industry-specific skills
    • Counselor (Coaching) - someone may be unable but willing; if distracted by a family problem, for instance, it is crucial to create a safe environment for another where mistakes are not harmful and empathetic listening is encouraged
    • Cheerleader (Supporting) - an individual or group may be able but unwilling; celebrate small successes with the other party such as when they give a great presentation
    • Champion (Delegating) - this is for the able and willing; as a leader, recommend this talented person for special assignments and introduce them to key people for advancement

    Regardless of the position you select as most helpful at the time, remember that the one leadership position in which you will always find yourself is role model. Even when you do not do something quite the way you would have liked, you have the opportunity to point out your own mistakes and make them right.


    Leading to Maximize Potential

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

    We continue the discussion of lowercase "l" leadership, which is crucial when facing any alteration to the status quo. Compare the following critical components of leadership - based on Learning to Lead, 1997 by Warren Bennis and Joan Goldsmith - to what you or your organization currently practice. Bennis and Goldsmith suggest that these three characteristics are the most compatible for developing human potential, which is exactly what is needed from everyday leaders whenever you experience any form of change:

    • Vision
    • Empowerment
    • Non-Stop Learning

    Regarding vision, make it consistent and figure out how to mobilize it by actively understanding all people involved.

    In considering empowerment, make certain everyone knows their value in the organization and is given adequate agency.

    Because you live in an age where creative thinking is treasured and also competitive, encourage yourself and others to move beyond solving problems - find them.


    What Is Everyday Leadership?

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Have you ever been frustrated because you did not feel you were placed in a 'leadership' role when you deserved to be? These large 'L' Leadership roles carry titles and prestige. Many of us think of management and Leadership (with an uppercase 'L') as essentially synonymous.

    Let's reframe the topic: Have you ever had to deliver bad news, calm someone, simplify a problem, inspire another, or persuade an audience? If so, you have had the opportunity to be a leader with a small 'l' - an everyday leader. These leaders are imperative, and occasions to utilize small 'l' leadership abound.

    In examining the skills used in lowercase 'l' leadership, there are tremendous opportunities for connecting leadership to customer service. In fact, these two roles are much more closely related than are leadership and management.

    1. Both leadership and customer services are intangible.

    2. Both require high labor content that is heterogeneous - or which varies from goal to goal.

    3. Production and consumption of both leadership and customer service are inseparable, as they are found in moments of relational interaction.

    If you're up for the challenge of everyday leadership, find 5 opportunities to apply relational leadership skills in the next 24 hours.


    Using Your Emotional Toolkit to Influence Outcomes

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    To get you thinking about ways to improve your influencing skills, write down three things that can negatively impact an outcome. Examples are...

    • Telling you what to do

    • Saying, "Yes, but..."

    • Sounding insincere in compliments that are paid

    Next, note three factors that create a much more positive environment when influencing outcomes. Here are some ideas:

    • Your negotiating partner sets aside all distractions and respects the time limits that you have together

    • They sit next to you rather than across from you

    • The other party asks clarifying questions and summarizes without judgment

    The components you brainstorm which lead to feeling more positive are equally as important as being cognitively prepared to influence. Emotions in influencing others are the keys which allow you to truly engage; in fact, research has shown that removing the part of the brain which controls emotion is more detrimental to interactions than engaging parts of the brain controlling cognitive thought. The good news is you can choose which emotions you access in influencing before you even begin.

    1. Choose an emotion you wish present in your influencing situation

    2. Imprint this emotion in order to access it when desired

    3. Test this imprinting trigger to ensure it allows you to tap into your desired emotion and stay there until you choose to disengage

    4. Utilize the trigger as needed for positive influencing outcomes


    Steps to Positively Influence Outcomes

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    To positively influence outcomes, preparation is a must. Whether you are finding a solution to a customer request, procuring a product or service from a vendor, or carrying out a team project, there are three preparatory steps which, when followed, will greatly boost your ability to reach a win/win outcome.

    1. Know your values.

    Identifying your own interests and biases requires asking yourself, "Why?" five times to challenge your current position. This will help you see where your values lie behind your stance.

    2. Understand what the other party's underlying interests are and why.

    No matter how unbelievable another's position seems to be, to them it makes perfect sense. Instead of immobilizing yourself by simply thinking they are wrong, be the other party in a mini role play and obtain five of their motives. This step requires research and valuable objectivity.

    3. Be the third party observer.

    Put on your judge's robe and record five outcomes that could occur down the road. Having foresight and being able to articulate various options before judging fairness to your own party demonstrates ability to creatively think and work openly through the issue. Your care in respectfully communicating these findings and continuing the listening process when an interaction occurs will give you both a favorable starting block from which to move forward.

    These three steps will assist you when positively influencing others and can make a difference in your interactions.


    Catchy Titles

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

    In 1927 a report titled "A homogeneous Universe of constant mass and growing radius accounting for the radial velocity of extragalactic nebulae" was published in the Annals of the Scientific Society of Brussels. The author was George LeMaitre.

    Born in Belgium in 1894, LeMaitre was a Jesuit Priest, an astronomer, and a professor of physics. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe which he described as the "hypothesis of the primeval atom" in 1931. He also referred to his theory as "the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of the creation".

    If you are struggling to figure out the relevance of this cosmological physics genius and his scientific theory to your presentations, consider the awareness that was generated for LeMaitre's idea when it was rebranded as the "Big Bang Theory". With three simple words, the idea resonated with a broader audience. More than 100 years later it is still widely recognized in circles extending far beyond the scientific community.

    The next time you are preparing to present your great idea to an audience and your goal is to be memorable, invest some time in developing a catchy title.


    Do You Appear Promotable?

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    Looking and acting the part are critical to your success. This blog post offers tips on how to appear more promotable on a daily basis.

    Did you know 55% of everything you communicate comes from your appearance and your body language?

    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.

    Your Posture:

    • Broadcasts to others how you feel about yourself.

    • Communicates to others how much you value them.

    • Can create trust and demonstrate inclusivity.

    Your posture broadcasts your perception of yourself and communicates to others how much you value them. How does your posture communicate trust? Neuro-linguistic programming is the body of science that studies the signals our bodies send. Your nonverbal communication is signaled by your posture. One of the things that neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has proven is that people trust symmetry. When humans are faced with a symmetrical object, it triggers in the brain trust. When you have your arms open and relaxed at your sides, you signal trust to those around you.

    Corporate Dress and Professional Image:

    Your visual messages precede anything you say or do, and those visual messages can greatly affect your level of impact and success. Does your image and appearance convey your desired message and goals? People who are comfortable with their image are more likely to be self-confident, effective in work and social situations, and more self-assured in their relationships.


    How to Create a Positive Professional Image and Personal Brand

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    Based on verbal and non-verbal cues from interactions with your key constituents, what can you infer that others perceive as characteristics of your professional image and personal brand?

    Start by answering the following questions:

    What do I want my key constituents to say about me when I'm not in the room?

    For example, research shows the most valued qualities are capability, humility, caring and trustworthiness.

    What am I concerned that my key constituents are saying when I'm not in the room?

    All experienced professionals will face some combination of these 3 threats to identity:

    • Predicaments - events which reflect poorly on your competence.

    • Devaluation - by associating with or belonging to certain groups.

    • Illegitimacy - sometimes based on a positive or negative stereotype you cannot overcome.

    Thankfully, you have control over "social identity-based impression management" to create a personal brand you are proud of.

    This means not only can you control your posture, disclosure and job performance, but also strategically present yourself in a manner that highlights your desired professional image and minimizes undesired professional image. Here are some initial ideas to get you thinking about how to shift your social impression and subsequently your personal brand:

    • Social media presence

    • Group involvement

    • Community leadership initiatives

    This blog is based on Mallory Stark's Q&A with Laura Roberts from Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge Publication


    Ants and Personal Branding - How Do They Relate?

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

    If you were told that you, as a driven professional, should model your personal brand off ants, what would you think? Let's look and see what you both have in common.

    Ants have tremendous inner strength relative to their size, and they maximize success by actively engaging their senses constantly, not only with their antennae but in their ability to cooperate with fellow ants. Driven professionals establish their personal brand by being so confident in their own values and skills that they can focus on living with extreme relational awareness and care toward others.

    Scary the similarities that can be found!

    How can you maximize using your senses to construct the most powerful personal brand? Here's how you can differentiate yourself and your personal brand.

    • Practice a tall and open posture in all environments; your brand is also for yourself, not just an audience!

    • Open your palms to face up in gestures; this has been psychologically proven to boost trust.

    • Walk slowly and assuredly, both literally and figuratively. Appearing rushed detracts from your open presence.


    Performance Review Prep

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

    Discussions of performance review or promotion require time and preparation. Not only does 55% of everything you communicate come from your appearance and your body language, but how you think about yourself and how others think about you are also incredibly important when you are striving to promote yourself. In combining these ideas, you might consider an approach that begins with self-assessment and involves thinking outside the box:

    Review your accomplishments.

    • Pull out a copy of your job description and compare it to your job performance. Are they aligned? Exceeded?

    • Do your actions demonstrate emphasizing hours worked or achievements made; how are achievements defined?

    Write a self-evaluation.

    • How many dirty coffee mugs/moldy pennies/used tissues are sitting on your desk? Does that portray a positive perception?

    • How well does your Facebook page reflect the person you want to be seen at work?

    Gather input from people around you before your performance review.

    • Not only can you collect letters of recognition, certificates of achievement, notes from coworkers, etc. but how have you contributed overall to your work culture?

    • Are you someone who not only motivates yourself but also others?

    Set goals for yourself.

    • What actions can you take or changes can you make to influence your company in way that will be great?

    • Are your goals meaningful, measurable and manageable?

    Predict obstacles before they happen.

    • How can you demonstrate foresight in a beneficial way?

    • Can you articulate ways in which your success and the success of the company may rely on some modifications?

    Once you have thoroughly collected tangible resources and great insight, it is imperative that you walk confidently into your performance review with a smile and open ears. Constructive communication is necessary during your performance review. Therefore, the more willingness to understand and creativity in thinking, the more likely you will reach win/win outcomes and demonstrate a distinguished professional who deserves to be promoted.