Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘executives’ Category

Coffee Talk with Colleagues: Loose Lips Sink Ships

In business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, gossiping, leadership, office politics, people skills, professional behavior, professional development training, sales, training, Uncategorized on January 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm

“Let’s have cawfee, we’ll tawk!”  How many of us frequently grab that cup o’ Joe with a colleague, for that quick, yet productive meeting?  A good idea unless the jazz, low lights and chocolate-y cupcakes encourage the conversation to spin out of control.

Recently, at a mid-town Starbucks, I overheard a man and woman (both of whom were wearing expensive-looking suits, holding the very latest Smartphones, and sipping double espressos) talk about the utter hatred they had for their boss, about how they weren’t earning enough commission and how when the market got better they would both look for other jobs.  She said, “Bill, I can’t believe you feel this way, too!”  He said, “Oh yeah, I’ve felt this way for years.  Maybe it’s good to finally talk about it.” I thought, the only way either of them is going to be safe sharing this information with the other is if they are siblings or spouses. But they weren’t, because the woman discussed her plans to be with her family for Easter and the guy mentioned his fiance and their upcoming wedding. Before they got up, they agreed not to share each other’s feelings, and on terms for a client meeting for which they were teaming-up.  I felt for them because the tension and strain of the work environment was affecting their morale, leading to this discussion.

Without even knowing it, this inappropriate sharing of feelings is likely to become the undoing of any real trust between them, over time.  He could become her boss, she his. They could get a new boss whom she likes but he doesn’t.  You just never know how circumstances will change.

Having a cup of coffee with a colleague can enhance a good working relationship because those few moments away from the daily numbers-crunching grind to have a rich, aromatic daily grind, can inspire open communication, information sharing and improved negotiations.  That being said, the step out of the office can also loosen one’s inhibitions and potentially jeopardize work relations.

This is why conference rooms were built. People don’t typically conspire to blow-up the boss or talk about their job interviews or affairs after a meeting has ended.  No one can fault you for wanting to be the consummate professional.  So, here are some tips to keep yourself on track and in the mind-set of doing business when out of the office:

1. Be the listener.  In case your associate is mouthing off, you can nod your head to show understanding and sympathy without engaging in the negativity.  Tell your partner that you are sorry to hear about these problems, but that you don’t feel you are in a position to discuss the situation. Suggest that an impartial, third party be consulted for support.

2. Start talking about the business at hand. Gently drive your partner back to the thing you came to discuss by asking for input and suggestions.

3. Openly watch the time.  Say something to the effect of, “I only have another 10 minutes, what haven’t we covered?”

4. Confirm your neutrality. As you are leaving, wish your associate a peaceful resolution and reaffirm your interest in working on this and future projects together.

It is so tempting to gossip when you feel you have found someone who sides with you. But there is tremendous danger in engaging in conspired negativity, and from my experience, ALL gossip leaks, even among friends.  So, take the high road; you may even encourage the gossip to end.

Happy communicating,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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You’re 50 and Your New Boss is 30. Now what?

In assertiveness, baby boomers, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, diversity, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, generation x, generations in the workforce, gossiping, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, millennials, networking, office politics, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, training, Uncategorized, working with a younger boss on September 1, 2016 at 10:15 am

I’m a Baby Boomer, born in 1959, and I’ve had this experience.  I was once VP of a sales department, having been overlooked for the open SVP slot.  A woman, 10 years my junior, became my boss.  I immediately read what I thought was fear in her eyes and I did what I could to show that I supported her. For several months she kept telling me, “You’re great!  What would I do without you?” Then at around the three month mark, she fired me. Not based on my performance, not because I was acting out against her.  I asked her point blank, “Why?” and her response?  “You’re not a fit.”  You can imagine what that felt like!

Not all younger boss scenarios end badly, although they may be challenging. If you’re currently reporting to someone who’s your junior, and there’s tension around this reality, then this article’s for you.

Here you are, sharp as ever, valuable as hell, and watching your peers leave (voluntarily or by being pushed out).  Inevitably, you are wondering what’s going to happen to you and your job. Plus, you have this younger person as your boss. From your perspective, you might be tolerating what you see as the bumps and blunders your manager goes through to gain respect and be an effective leader (only to show signs of vulnerability and feelings of inadequacy). Just think of how threatening it must feel to manage someone older than yourself!

You may be observing that he or she likes to run things a bit loosely. This person is likely to want more contact via email and text and less in-person contact. Your manager might be in a state of unconscious incompetence (which is another term for, not knowing what we don’t know) and may think your view on leadership is antiquated.

The truth is, good leadership is ageless. That being said, your younger boss comes from a different era, and has generational tendencies for which you should be aware.

Here are some traits associated with our younger colleagues, the ones about whom I am referring.  They likely born after 1975 and before 1987.  (The full span of “Generation X” is 1965-1981 and of “Millennials” is 1982-2000).

Techno-literate

Grew up embracing diversity and informality

Want to achieve balance between fun and work

Self-reliant

Enjoy a lack of rigid structures

(*Source: The Generations, Gary Trotta’s Training Games, Inc.)

Some of these tendencies are a breath of fresh air! So, what to do when there’s a conflict or you feel critical of your boss’ ways? Try to see things from your boss’ perspective. Imagine you’re 30 again and people the age of your parents report to you. Threatening, maybe a little? Much to prove? There’s a really powerful interpersonal dynamic that can become an opportunity to show your ability to dance with change, with people of all ages, and with the demands of the job.

When you see them struggle, offer assistance without being obsequious, pedantic or passive-aggressive. Just be you with all of your experience and wisdom.  Ask about your manager’s vision for the department and the role he or she sees you playing in it.  Occupy your space with confidence. Show interest in your boss’ perspective and demonstrate respect.  Become curious and enthusiastic about working together.

Besides, what are the options?  Just walk away? Fight the system?  Disregard the new manager’s responsibility for you?  We Boomers have been through a lot and we know that change is inevitable.

If we can accept what’s happening, grow with it and be a role model of flexibility and integrity, we can lead our younger managers to victory.

Enjoy the ride,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to Make a Positive, Succinct Point When Presenting

In business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, messages, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, speech preparation, speech writing, training on September 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Remember the end of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech?   “Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Imagine if he’d said it like this:  “Don’t misunderstand the role of being an American citizen. You can’t sit back while your government works to make you secure.   You have to step up to the plate, be proactive and support the whole.  We’re counting on you, and we’re in this together….or else.”

Not so good. Right? Certainly no one would be quoting it nearly 50 years later.  His actual words inspired and challenged people — giving them a fine reputation to live up to and a good cause to work towards.  A winning speech!

This is a great example of delivering a compelling point while conveying a positive message. It must be memorable and give listeners something to respond to; an action with an inherent value to them for taking that action.  We want to get buy-in and be perceived as leaders, too.

Generally, people absorb messages when they’re short.    Here’s the difference:

a. Don’t smoke — you’ll die too young from a devastating cancer of the mouth, tongue, lungs or brain. You’ll shorten your life, you’ll contaminate the air and give others health problems from second hand smoke.

b. Avoid getting cancer. Don’t smoke! You can live a long, healthy life.

Which message would you be able to quote?  Isn’t that what you would want your listeners to be able to do with your message?

Here are a few steps in preparing your positive, succinct point:

1. Identify the point of your message. This is frequently something you’d like your listeners to do, change, or follow-up on. Do you want them to take your advice, remember something you said or take on a challenge? Write that one thing down.  Make it ONE thing only.  The action you want them to take is the point of your speech.

2. Use this core point to gather information such as, facts, personal examples, anecdotes, to reinforce your point. Use this information to enhance and drive home your message.

3. Create a value proposition.  Your point must have a value to the audience or you will lose your ability to make impact.

When you deliver your message, here’s the order for making a succinct point:

a. Share your examples, anecdotes, facts, etc., rich with detail that ties your point to your message.

b.  State your point.

c. Make it clear to the listener that there’s a value to him/her for doing what you suggest.

Think not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience!

Go get ’em!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Fish Rots from the Head Down

In ages in the workforce, avoiding arguments, baby boomers, bad boss, career challenges, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, employee engagement, engagement, executives, generation x, generations, generations at work, GenXers, leadership, managing, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, Millenials, people skills, personal development, personal growth, professional behavior, stinkin' thinkin', team-player, work-related problems on May 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Phrase of the day: Employee Engagement.  My metaphor: The Fish Rots from the Head Down. If you, a Baby Boomer (1946-1964), at the senior leader to C-level, have stinkin’ thinkin’, the rest of your organization will rot from under you.

Many high-level Baby Boomers think of the younger set of GenXers (born late 70s – early 80s) and Millenials (1982-2000) like this: “These entitled, spoiled kids who graduated with honors think they’re going to be VP right out of the gate!” I had to work my way up the ladder and prove myself, and they have to bite the bullet and do the same.”

Research now tells us of many reasons employees leave their companies.  Some of these include:  a lack of belief in senior leadership, lack of enthusiasm or clarity about the company’s mission and poor communication with direct managers. So leaders cannot risk leading with the mindset of ‘pain leads to gain.’

In fact, GenXers and Millenials don’t appreciate the sentiment. Whether empowered from early on by us, their Baby Boomer parents, or that there is significance to being born at the start of the Age of Aquarius, they are impatient to get to the top, to make a stamp on the world. Why? Because they grew up watching a young generation of talented grads become techie multimillionaires and they have been preparing to make their mark too. We Baby Boomers didn’t have those types of super-hero young, role models. Our role models were ‘The Establishment’. We’d never seen anything like what’s happening in the last two decades. We were ambitious, but we believed we had to work our way up in a linear, long-road haul to the top, as our Veteran parents and bosses (pre-1945) did.

My not-so-humble opinion on the matter: Stop rotting. If you haven’t moved beyond the 1980s work ethic and are holding young employees to these old standards, you are creating dysfunction in your company.

As challenging as this may be, it’s about becoming flexible. Here’s how to stop your head from spoiling the rest of the company:

  1. Encourage employees to spend a small percentage of their time – on your watch – creating projects they feel passionate about. Give them ownership of something meaningful to them, as long as it is in line with your company’s mission. Hey, it could open up possibilities for your business you had never anticipated!
  2. Don’t embarrass young employees for trying to bring new ideas to you. You’ll make them feel important if they feel heard.  This can encourage commitment and loyalty.
  3. Set boundaries, just make sure they are fair to all. Never play favorites.
  4. Keep cultivating your own skills. And although we can never evolve certain parts of the brain, parts that want what’s comfortable, we can build new neural pathways that can open-up our thinking and beliefs to embrace the NOW.
  5. Do what you can to learn about GenXers and Millenials. Understand their socioeconomic, psychological and cultural experiences. Become interested and make their life experiences matter to you.
  6. Be compassionate towards yourself. Everyone talks about managing others through change, but who manages you through this change (at this third quadrant of your career)? Fortunately, or unfortunately, you have to do it. (You can always hire a coach.:))

With Empathy,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Your Audience Always Wants to Know, “What’s in it for me?”

In business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, managing, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm

WIIFM.  You know, the radio station, what’s in it for me?  That’s precisely what audiences are thinking when they have to listen to a presentation. One of my most trusted mentors once said, “No one comes to hear a presentation wondering if the speaker slept well the night before, had an easy commute and a good cup of coffee. Audiences are thinking about themselves.  Not you.  So stop thinking, worrying and focusing on yourself.” I repeat his words with great compassion for you!

To effectively sell your idea, concept, product, or service, you must get buy-in — and that only happens when your audience understands how your point relates to them. With this in mind, be careful not to stand in the way of communicating your point.

A. Don’t Seek Sympathy

Listen to how often speakers stand before audiences and introduce their presentations with a self-deprecating remark, such as, “My computer was down all last week and I didn’t have the chance to practice as much as I’d hoped so I’m not as sharp as I’d wish to be,” or “I’ve just gotten over a cold and am not fully myself yet,”  etc…. NEVER APOLOGIZE to an audience before you start you presentation, folks!  1. You are calling attention to you and away from them.  2. You are giving them permission to look for your flaws.  3. You are asking for sympathy:  they are not going to give you the latitude to be less informative and entertaining. So, please, NEVER APOLOGIZE before, during or after a presentation. Remember: they are thinking of themselves, not you.

B. Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Your point has to benefit your audience, so every time you insert yourself, your needs, your wishes, you lose a connection.  Every word and concept is on behalf of their interests. I have heard many presenters make statements that are ‘me’ based and not ‘you’ based, like:  I want your attention, I need you to follow my direction, my goal is for everyone of you to buy my product.  You get the idea.  Your goals are irrelevant and what you want is pointless.  (The only time a speaker can state what he wants is when he is in a leadership role and has already gotten buy-in and approval.  What he really means is, ‘what we all want.’)  No speaker is spared the burden of proving a benefit. The reasons people are texting, snoring, looking at the floor, whispering to the person sitting next to them, and pretending to listen (you know, eyes are fixed on you the whole time but are unresponsive) is because:  1. They are thinking of themselves. 2. The speaker has failed to prove the ability to meet their objectives, or solve their problems.  3.  The point to them has been lost or hasn’t been made clear.   So, think you vs. me when you speak.

C. Don’t Let Fear or Pride Isolate You

Please don’t let the fear of looking silly stop you from using a wide emotional range that can be playful, humorous, mournful, soulful — whatever makes sense — it reveals the essence and humanity of who you are.  An audience’s quest for WIIFM is the command they have on the speaker to be entertaining as well as informative.  As a trainer and coach I know that the people who do not improve on their presentations are ones that refuse to budge on this; they remain uninteresting, unapproachable and isolated from their listeners. People don’t trust emotionally withholding speakers. Dare to put your own brand of sparkle into it! Dramatic execution helps people understand the point and see its worth.  When you insert natural, human emotion into your presentations people appreciate you and relate to you.  That’s how you build value. If you can look at yourself as the delivery system for your presentation, it might make it easier to realize that your personal needs can not be packaged into your material. This might be hard, especially if you’re already a bit stressed or worried about your presentation skills. You are more likely to get the result you want if you think solely about benefitting your audience than making it more comfortable for yourself.

Happy presenting!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc.,  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bless Those Career Woes; They Have a Supporting Role in Your Play

In bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career, career coaching, career path, career-related problems, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, consulting, coping with pressure at work, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, handling tough boss, inner peace, interpersonal skills, job seeking, jobs, journey, leadership, life skills, life's path, manage stress at work, managing, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, office politics, path, people skills, personal development, personal growth, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, self-esteem, self-help, self-image, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, spiritual journey, training, transformation, Uncategorized, work-related problems on September 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

The world is flooded with consultants, coaches, trainers and lecturers who help professionals become confident leaders, effective communicators, managers of conflict and change, business builders who beat out the competition and who earn lots and lots of money.  The web is flooded with expertise.  Bookstore shelves are lined with words from the wise, those who promise tools for the achievement of massive success.

Why do so many professionals seek this type of help? Because the part of life we call “WORK” is a massive TRIGGER that shakes us up to ask ourselves things like:  Why didn’t I get the promotion? What makes me unique?  What is my vision?  Why can’t I get along with coworkers? How do I motivate others? Am I good enough?  Do I deserve success?

WORK awakens us to who we are, if we dare look beyond the surface. WORK is a playground for enlightenment, for the opportunity to see how we really operate, how others perceive us; to have our fears become magnified and reflect back messages that tell us exactly what is holding us back in our lives.  WORK delivers definitive proof that we have no control of anyone or anything other than what we do and what we say.

The point is this:  the exercise of being in a job, regardless of what it is, or how many times we switch focus — we are on a journey of learning about ourselves.  A career is an outward path to an inward journey.

Along my 23 years in media, I had the same boss over and over again, no matter what the job or the company, with few exceptions.  The boss who would battle me and cringe in my presence and avoid me and and act out in less than professional ways in not knowing how best to deal with me.

I have a big energy and strong drive and I like working independently.  A friend who knows me for 25 years says that I, “Incite a riot,” meaning, that when unharnessed, my energy can be a catalyst that makes people feel uncomfortable.  Those managers who didn’t have insight and self-control used their authority against me.  I battled them and I always lost.  I blamed them and played the perfect victim.  I was miserable.  I couldn’t understand why I kept having the same boss over and over and over.  I couldn’t get off the hamster wheel.

Then one day a dear and insightful friend suggested that I surrender.  That I accept my role, my managers’ roles and respect the hierarchy; to open myself to what being in a corporate world is – playing a function in a company.  That I didn’t own anything, not a stapler, not an idea, not a client – it was all owned by the organization.  I was getting paid for my function and it was a mutually beneficial arrangement.

That’s when I realized what my real job was – to heal.  After much introspection and hard work I came to understand that I was striving for self-preservation and I was using the same modes of coping behavior I had learned as a child.  Some of this behavior earned me great results – lots of revenue for my employers – but the cost was almighty on me, as I was also so high-maintenance.  As a result of the time I spent to analyze myself and build skills in dealing with these work-related situations, I found inner peace and a purpose. I changed careers so that I could help others heal and grow. I designed my life to have the love and support I need.

I now bless those experiences and those managers of mine. I thank them for contracting with me to push me along my journey towards self-actualization.  Without them I may never have healed or found the path I’m on now, which is aligned with who I’ve become.

Our career paths are cosmic gifts that help us move beyond who we are, not because they are designed to, but because they connect us with the teachers and lessons we need to be able to move on. On the surface, it all looks like WORK.  On a higher plane, it’s a spiritual path of enlightenment.

Look at the places of unhappiness at work.  When you hold up the mirror, that is, the unpleasant or negative or threatening circumstances that are taking place at work, what is being reflected back at you?  Take that reflection and think about the play you are starring in called, “MY LIFE.”  These bosses, these co-workers, these situations, have supporting roles in your play.  Let’s give them a standing ovation.

Happy Journeying,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What Does it Mean to Be Assertive?

In assertiveness, business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, managing, people skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 6, 2013 at 11:40 am

It means that you say the thing that must be said in a way that encourages and inspires the other party to listen and respect you. The goal isn’t necessarily to change another’s perspective or to get agreement (that’s the art of persuasion), the goal here is to speak up for yourself, and command the space to be heard.

Here are some quick tips:

  • lead with facts, not feelings
  • be willing to state what’s good about you
  • give-up overly emotional responses for even, calm, predictable reactions
  • ask for what you want
  • say ‘no’ when you mean no
  • speak in terms of the value to the other person for hearing your point
  • do not accept terms that do not work for you
  • accept the other party’s right to differ
  • defer a heated confrontation until both parties are willing and open to hearing one another
  • show respect for the other person’s opinion
  • never disclose too much personal information about yourself (despite a promise of secrecy and confidentiality)
  • openly admit your mistakes
  • dare to be uncomfortable and say it anyway
  • strive for being respected; view being liked as a bonus

Aggressive people may get themselves heard but don’t attract friends along the way.  They are good at winning the battle but even better at losing the war.  Passive people generally do not get heard and go along with others so as not to make waves. This does not engender respect. Passive-Aggressive people are a category unto themselves — a quick way to locate them is to find the source of the conflict in a group; they send out mixed messages and find a way of getting what they want through manipulation.

The true assertive individual is confident, trusted, liked and heard.  Confidence is an appealing quality that others gravitate towards. As a communication specialist, the only way I know to effectively become assertive is to practice these techniques with everyone, everywhere.

Assertively yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mastering The “60-Second Elevator Pitch”

In assertiveness, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, interpersonal skills, leadership, networking, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, selling, Uncategorized on January 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

I sometimes attend a women’s networking group where we are given an outline for how to introduce ourselves to other professionals and the opportunity to practice our pitches several times over.  Some people do this well, but for others the pitch and the opportunity to practice it don’t seem to help them master their delivery.

I’ve been watching people struggle with this and have identified two main areas that need improvement:  1. clarifying and communicating one’s uniqueness and 2. overcoming the insecurity about claiming expertise in one’s field.

So, in thinking about how to help those who are still shaky in these two areas, I’ve come up with this outline for creating a solid 60-second pitch:

1. Your name, your company’s name.

2. Your company’s mission (one line about why your company exists).

3. Your credentials ( ie:  accreditations, certificates, licenses, published works).

This helps you substantiate your value in your field of expertise (and sets the stage for  #4).

4. Your unique value proposition (one sentence about what differentiates you from your competition).

What makes me stand out from the competition…

Why I’m the best at what I do….

5. How what you do benefits your listener (one sentence on the strongest value your listener or customer gets from working with you).

I can help you specifically with…

I can provide a solution for….

Practice, Practice Practice!  I bet you make some solid connections.

Happy pitching!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When Networking for Business, Talk-Up Your Strengths!

In assertiveness, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, networking, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

(Except when you are trying to prove that you aren’t inadequate.)

Here’s what I mean:  I went to a networking function recently and met a zealous young man breaking into the coaching business. He was a main presenter for the event and did a fine job, but when we chatted later, he said, “I didn’t do as well today as I normally do — in fact, most of the time I’m the best speaker at these events. I have awards to prove it.”

Bragging is a form of conceit, but more-so, a compensation for feeling less-than-zippy.  I felt compassion for him (because I know what it feels like to under perform), and think he could benefit from learning techniques in one-on-one communicating. Other than that, I don’t want to forge a business connection with him.

The point is this:  you must come from strength in order to communicate your strengths.  It’s okay to want others to think highly of you, but let them make that assessment.  Humility has a far more commanding presence, anyway!  The goal is to be memorable in a positive way, to communicate your strengths quickly and to seek an opportunity for re-connection.

So, here’s how to humbly state and prove your strengths, while making an instant, positive, business connection:

1. Body language first:  stand arms’ length apart, firmly shake (not break) hands, smile and make direct eye contact.  Say, ‘hello!’ with enthusiasm.

2. Introduce yourself:  slowly state your name, your company and your position, audibly enunciating every syllable.

2. Focus on the other person first:  state something positive — comment on something you’ve seen, heard or read about this person’s body of work.  If you know nothing,  ask what he/she does and what his/her strengths are.  You immediately want to show interest; this proves you have good people and networking skills and will get the other person asking all about you.

3. Ask what kind of help you can offer to the other person.  This generosity will quickly make others perceive you as having true value, and create the opportunity to leverage yourself.

3. Now talk about you:  say something to the effect of, “I’m expert in my field with ‘X’ years in the business and have ‘X’ accreditations, awards…”etc.

4. State one or two core strengths:  these are qualities about you that you can back up with evidence.  My example is:  I help people improve their thinking and make positive impact upon others.  My company is PointMaker Communications. I’m a professional development trainer and coach who specializes in both brain-based coaching (to facilitate improved thinking) and skills-based training– the art of interpersonal effectiveness and communication (public speaking, presenting, pitching, networking and one-on-one communicating).  My accreditations come from Dale Carnegie Training and The NeuroLeadership Group (click on About Jackie Kellso to view my resume).

5. Show gratitude:  thank the other person for his/her time, for listening and learning about you.  Then ask to exchange cards and for permission to make contact.

Many people fear stating their strengths because they fear it will come off as bragging. But it isn’t. You have the right to feel good about the results of your hard work and your sharpened skills.  You have the right to tell others that you are good at what you do. Your business depends on your ability to communicate effectively.  And, when you let others discover you, they benefit from knowing you (or at the least know people who could use your services).

So remember — you must come from strength to successfully communicate your strengths.

Humbly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tips for Hiring An Executive Coach

In assertiveness, body language, business networking, business pitching, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, consulting, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, interview questions, interviewing skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, managing conflict, negotiating, networking, office politics, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, public speaking fear, tone of voice, training on February 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

I remember seeing a Reality TV show in which an executive coach had come in to a small business to fix the business owner’s communication problems with her employees. He immediately started out by saying to her, “I want you to listen to the things your employees have to say.” I want you to consider their feelings.”  He said this directly to her in front of her employees!

This coach made a huge error, in my mind, because the owner hadn’t been included in the decision to do this in a public forum.  The coach tried to enforce change before he had permission to do so. What a coach wants from you is meaningless and should never position what you should do in this way.  I continued to watch this fiasco unfold — the owner seemed overwrought with stress; her face red, her voice tight — she was the opposite of open, flexible and cool.  As she listened to a few criticisms of her, she not only shut down, but became so closed-off that she got up and walked away. Nothing was accomplished.

An executive coach is supposed to be the ally of the executive, and should never provoke an employee-employer intervention unless as planned and executed with the boss.

Your coach should be masterful in communicating all of the benefits to you of changing, growing and challenging yourself. Your coach should be supporting your growth based on your needs and work with you on a timeline, budget and plan of action for your goals to be reached.   S/he should provide leadership based in personal experiences and proof of success that has resulted from a particular expertise.

Coaches should ‘walk-the-walk’ in their own lives in order to effectively motivate others. I once personally knew someone who was getting a certification as a sex therapist who hadn’t had sex in 20 years and hadn’t been successful in having a loving relationship in all that time.  I couldn’t get over the hypocrisy of that!

I also know an executive coach who refuses to work through her fear of presenting. She knows it limits her ability to generate business and express key information, but she defers to her fear. How can she help an executive with a fear of presenting see the value of pushing himself out of his comfort zone?  She doesn’t have to be a presentation coach, she just has to know from experience that the fear doesn’t have to win! Coaches are at their best when they are working to overcome their own resistance to things that will yield good results.

Interview coaches before you hire them. Here are some things to look for:

1. LISTEN.  Listen to how he or she communicates with you. Is s/he asking questions that show genuine interest in you and the ability to understand your needs? Do you feel heard? Is s/he speaking in terms of your needs?  Are you clear about how this coaching method ties back to your outcome?

2. LOOK.  Sit down with this coach and observe signs of non-verbal communication. How’s the eye contact, tone of voice and body language?  Does he or she have the image and attitude of someone who engenders your trust and respect?  Your gut is your best friend. This is why a test session or interview before you sign an agreement is critical.

3. ASK QUESTIONS.  Find out what challenges s/he has overcome. Ask questions about his/her journey and how it led to becoming a coach.  Ask about the training history, methodology, and proof of credentials.

4. ANALYZE FEES.  You have to decide what your budget is and discuss with your coach what the scope of the work together is expected to be.  If your gut tells you that this person or service is not worth the price, then you have to decide if you have found the right coach. Is this coach forcing you to sign a long-term contract that would cost you thousands before you’ve had a first test session?  Do you feel pressured to lock-in sessions at a wildly reduced rate?  Is there a fair cancellation policy or at least a mutually agreeable non-cancellation policy? Have you spoken with prior clients about their return on investment with this individual?

5. AGREE BEFORE YOU SIGN. Before you sign-up for a long process, you must have your coach set reasonable expectations for your development and outline the areas you will be addressing as you progress towards your goals. For example, if you want to improve upon your presentation skills, be sure that this coach has expertise in this area vs. a coach who is expert in organizational design or team-building.  Some coaches are skilled in addressing multiple functions, but be sure to discuss this ahead of time.  The goal is that you feel in control and trust that this person is the right one for you.

Executive coaches are helping many people actualize their goals.  There are so many good coaches out there and most of us have noble ideals as to why we’ve chosen this consultative role. We’ve mostly been in your shoes and have taken risks to deal with challenges head-on. We have cultivated our skills and are always motivated to grow. We feel our purpose is to help and be a role-model to others. But, you must do your due diligence to work with the ones that serve your interests and possess admirable, executive qualities.

Happy Learning!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.