Posts tagged: listening

Listen My Children And You Will Hear…

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?Barry Goldwater 1981

I’m not here supporting one political party (I’m an independent) or religion or school of thought. I’m here to ask each of us to look inward. We often say, “they” are wrong, “they” should speak up/be quiet. “The government” should do more/less, defend me, help me, support me, stop them, arrest them, defend them.

But the truth is we are “they.” We are “the government.” This is America; it is up to us to change things we don’t like: vote, participate, read, discuss, listen, ask, accept responsibility. Democracy requires work.

It doesn’t matter what religion we are. What God we believe in. Where we grew up. What political party we support. What matters is that we stop blaming and start figuring out how to participate in solutions. Think you are not part of the problem? Try this.

Find someone whose opinions are radically different than yours.  Pick a topic that you agree you disagree on. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Each of you take 5 minutes to explain your position. The other person takes notes. The listener’s job is to reiterate the speakers key points. That’s it. You don’t have to discuss it further. Now talk about something else. Kids, whatever. What we all need is practice listening to each other.

Each person can then pick one point the other made, and think more about it. I’m not asking you to change your opinion. I am asking you to think about the other person’s point.

Imagine the world if we could teach our children this simple (not easy) skill.

Photo credit: Words As Visuals: Unity

Leadership: Handout or Hand Up?

As leaders do we see ourselves as coaches, mentors and teachers or as managers, bosses and the person “in-charge.” The distinction may be subtle but the influence you may have on people and the results you drive may not be subtle. In the book, “Leaders East Last,” (title derived from the Marine Corps where enlisted men always eat first), Simon Sinek says, “whether a leader puts themselves or their people first, determines if they are worthy of our love and loyalty. Leadership is a decision not a rank.”

Many people think that the ‘younger generation’ is lazy and entitled. I say every generation has this type of person. I see so many 20-30 somethings doing such great things; I hope you see them that way too. I loved this article, “Meet 6 Entrepreneurs Who Use Tech to Change the World.” Each young entrepreneur is doing something simple to solve a problem. My favorite is HandUp started by a young woman named Rose Broome.

“HandUp is direct giving for homeless people and others in need in your neighborhood. Your donations are redeemed for basic needs like food, clothing, and medical care through our partner organization Project Homeless Connect.”

Like all start ups, this one will have critics and bumps along the way. What I like is that Rose didn’t just give the homeless woman a dollar and forget her. She’s looking for a way to help stabilize her situation. It may be a handout right now, but hopefully a hand up is on it way too.

Photo credit: photo leroys

Selling Ugly is Never Pretty

http://s3.amazonaws.com/estock/fspid11/15/81/71/9/ugly-animals-pigs-1581719-o.jpg

“When you have to sell ugly, sell the result.” **

You know the expression, “a face only a mother could love”? This little piggy is beautiful in her mother’s eyes. The good news is, we’re all beautiful to someone. “Selling ugly” means selling something that, on the surface… doesn’t seem great.

Selling sexy is easy; selling results is hard. If you spend more time understanding what the ‘customer’ (potential employer, someone who’s buying what you’re selling, etc.) needs… it will be more reasonable to assess your strengths versus that end.

In life, we all have those moments of doubt… when you and I need to convince someone (including ourselves!) that we’re wayyyyy more attractive than we might appear at first glance. In this case, we need to sell on the results we can deliver – not on our outward appearance. Maybe our experience isn’t a perfect fit for the job that’s open. Maybe we think we have  too much or not enough education. Maybe we think we’re not pretty, thin or rich enough… whatever.

The truth is you are a perfect fit for someone, someplace. The question is, do you understand what you can DELIVER? Can you be more fun, more creative, more interesting? Can you design it, deliver it? Can you hit sales targets, hire better, add integrity? What goal do you have and does that goal match the person/organization you are trying to sell?

Even if we’re not quite as difficult a sell as the hairy pig… focusing on results will nearly always get us closer to the prize.

** thanks to Chris Brogan

Photo credit: Hairy Pig   JLplusAL

Because Every Job is “Temporary”…Confidence is Key

Confidence is defined as “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” Where does your confidence come from?

If it’s from your work and you’ve been forced to make job changes then your confidence might be rocky. But if your confidence comes from self-awareness and continuously updated skills… then you might be feeling ok.. no matter what your employment circumstances are.

An author I admire, Darmesh Shah, wrote an excellent article titled,  “Nine Qualities of Truly Confident People.”  He describes confidence as, “quiet: a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.” Note that the article doesn’t describe confidence as bravado or swagger; but the ability to listen, to be wrong in front of others, to freely ask for help and shine the spotlight on others.

I would add two things to his list: knowledge and discipline. People who are confident usually are disciplined. They get more done than other people because they understand what’s important. In addition, they keep their skills updated. They don’t make excuses for why they don’t know things… they work hard.

If you are looking for a new resource to help you in your journey to career confidence.. check out CareerRealism - their tag line.. “because every job is temporary” … speaks to the modern condition. Most of us don’t like change, but there is one way to be sure that you can cope and that is to create it.

Be confident. Be happy and go with the flow. Change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key.

Photo credit:  3 WCAP boxers medal  photographer

Is Job Hunting Really Just Sales?

If you are successful in sales, you’ve either had training or you’ve learned what works through trial and error . For the rest of us (90%!), we don’t really have any idea how to sell. Sure,we may have personal communication strengths that make us more or less persuasive, but without training, we’re flying blind.

As job hunters, we can learn a lot of from the steps to effective selling; especially if we think of finding the job we want as a similar process: prospecting, qualifying, negotiating and maintaining the relationship and we think of closing a prospect at each step along the way.

When sales people are required to make ‘cold calls’ — that is, talk with someone without an introduction… they use a process that can be helpful to job seekers. Check out …Cold Calling: How to Ask for an Interview.

Excellent sales people learn:

— not everyone is a fit for what they are selling

— not to take disinterest or rejection personally

— to focus on value and building relationships for the long haul

— to stick to the process and follow through

What separates a good sales person from a great one is how they:

— understand their target (research and listening)

— focus on the value of their offering to that particular customer

— are politely persistent in their follow through

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter where you are in your job search process… I guarantee you will learn something valuable by learning more about sales. Take a great sales person to coffee or lunch and pick their brain about staying even, goal setting, follow through, etc. It’ll be money well spent.

Photo credit 1: borissey  working women3

Image credit sales process graph: Peaksalesconsulting

10 Steps to A Happy Life

These steps are based on my years of experience of doing it wrong; so I have it on excellent authority… my own happiness… that if you follow these steps … you may not be ecstatic..but you will be in a a better place.

1.  Sit quietly for 5 minutes a day

2.  Stop whining (you live in the wealthiest country in the world)

3.  Stop gossiping (including judging other in our own minds or out loud)

4.  Be grateful (write down 5 things you’re grateful for 2x a day, no repeats for 30 days)

5.  Learn new stuff – especially stuff that is hard

6. Find someone to help (outside your family)

7.  Shut up and listen (for a change)

8. Exercise your body and willpower daily

9. Walk tall, smile, be gracious

10.   Be grateful — this is really the key to everything.

At the most difficult time of my life, I kept a gratitude diary. Once a day I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for…and I couldn’t repeat anything. After 3 months I had incorporated gratitude into my daily thinking. That was nearly 20 years ago and I still reflect on all my gifts everyday.

Those tremendously sad years gave me the one thing I needed most – a way to enjoy every day – no matter what is happening around me. The idea and accompanying serenity are yours for the taking.

Photo credit: Partners in Community Development

Feedback: Electric, Real-Time, Nasty or True

I work with companies on multi-generational workplace issues  because I heard so many complaints about the “younger generation’s” poor “communication” skills. Gen Y employees may be different in many ways other from other generations; but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or wrong — they’re just different.

One common complaint I hear is that younger employees want to give and get “constant feedback.” Most of us oldsters are uncomfortable with this. Being stoics, we think everyone ought to just ‘get on with it.’

When Jimi Hendrix (my favorite musician of all time) burst onto the rock scene and created new sounds with his guitar…including standing in front of a wall of amplifiers.. many people thought it was awful… the rest of us… thought it was awesome. A new kind of musical sound was born… music to some… noise to others.

So it is with workplace feedback. Let me introduce you to Cleargears.com, take a quick video tour here. Conceptually, these tools allow your workforce to provide you (bossman or bosslady) with regular feedback and in turn, allows you to understand whether your feedback is being accepted and implemented. Wow – what a concept. Real time feedback. Making you uncomfortable? Get ready – this is the world is headed.

Take a look at Rypple.com; they call it social performance management–  “a web-based social performance management platform that replaces the traditional performance review with an easy and collaborative approach. People always know where they stand and are accountable for achieving their goals.” By the way… so are you.

Whatever the tool and no matter how you feel about providing feedback to your team, I suggest you figure out how to listen better. The future of your organization depends upon it. Remember the shark… survival goes to those who adapt.

Photo credit: Milt. Retirement and Financial Freedom

 

Shake, Rattle and Tweet

I like twitter. I use it for both business and personal purposes. I know, you’re shaking your head right now and wondering how I have time to fool around on twitter.

If you are interested in a great twitter tutorial… check out Charlene Kingston’s free eBook, Twitter for Beginners. You do need to register to get it but I promise you won’t get ANY spam from her and you’ll have a great resource.

I wish I could show you right now the power of real time search. If you follow smart people, leaders in your field, you can learn a great deal in a short period of time. I use it to search for relevant information for my clients. I also search for articles that I think would be relevant to my connections, then I add my 2 cents and post the link to Linked In.

This article helps you to learn how to target your tweets to people by occupation (e.g. attorneys) and location (e.g. city). You can provide customer service or listen to what people are saying about you or your competition. In just a few minutes a day, you can keep up with real time information about your industry.

Just remember that marketing today isn’t about telling the world how great you are… it’s about adding value.  Just because you can easily find a target audience on twitter doesn’t mean you should spam them! (definition of spam: I don’t want it and I didn’t ask for it).

I realize it’s popular to say (and think) twitter is stupid.. and it’s certainly your choice to stop reading this or think twitter is dumb. But it’s the business that is most adaptable to that often wins. Are you adapting?

Image credit: twitter tricks

How to Ruin that Face to Face Meeting You Worked So Hard to Get!

This week I had a couple of meetings like I do almost every week. (Do you meet between 2-5 new people a week?)

First — the good meeting!

One was with a guy I met who has been unemployed for about a year for the first time in his career. I met him briefly after a talk I had given. He confirmed our meeting the day before. Yeah for him. Then he offered to buy me a coffee, I always appreciate the offer. Another yeah for him. (cost him $1.72) He told a story about delivering meals to shut ins as one of the ways he spent his time while unemployed. Triple wow. He even asked how he could help me. Unbelievable.

And now the not so good meeting:

Meeting with someone I had met before and had helped him with something. By 5pm the day before, he had not confirmed our meeting so I did. Ick, not happy. I usually send my cell phone number so in case something comes up last minute.. the person doesn’t leave me sitting there. Hmm, maybe you could send me yours so in case something comes up for me? Nope. Didn’t improve.

In the article, “5 ways to lose your dream job during the interview process” — the same simple etiquette applies. Confirm your meeting, be polite, don’t talk too much, think of ways you can help the other person, don’t be cocky, send a thank you note, etc.

Seems pretty simple to me. But if it’s so simple, why don’t most people do it? I have no idea. Sigh…

Oh, and did you send a Linked In invitation after your meeting?

Photo credit: photo bucket

Be Bold and Great Forces Will Assist You

Each of us has something important to do in this life.

I believe that with all my heart.

When I say important, I don’t mean big… I mean significant. These are 2 very different things. The cool part is that each of us gets to find it. No one else can tell us what it is.

Some of us will find it and rise to the occasion and many of us will recognize it but will let fear or judgement keep us from it.

We can learn a lot about living today from,  the Top 5 Regrets of Dying People.

1) Be true to yourself. This in itself is an act of courage.

2) Don’t work so much. (Millenials already get this and we Baby Boomers criticize them for it instead of understanding their point.)

3) Express your feelings. I know it’s hard, but there are substantial rewards for saying things that you feel deeply.

4) Stay in touch with friends.

5) Give yourself permission to be happy. Even though the pain of changing seems to outweigh whatever we fear we’re facing, we continue to do the same things over and over. Be brave and be happy.

If you don’t know what is holding you back, talk to someone. Reason things out. Avoid gossip and criticism. These are just ways to hide from yourself.

Truly great people don’t think less of themselves… they think of themselves less.

Photo credit: One step at a time