Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘interpersonal skills’

Not Fighting Back is Exhausting and Rewarding

In anger management, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, communicating, communicating by phone, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, Detach and Breathe, diplomacy and tact, disagreements, fight or flight, Gurus, interpersonal skills, professional behavior, Uncategorized on April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

A few years ago, I was challenged by a very difficult client in a fairly visible, corporate position. She would routinely drop the ball on important details and cause mayhem in accomplishing tasks. She bullied and blamed others for problems that she caused. When confronted with a problem (of her making) would say, “Do you know who I am?” (Oh yes, she did!) Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of stress just to ensure that my service to her company was successful, beyond, and in spite of her.

So there I was, someone who touts herself as being an expert in interpersonal effectiveness, and I was failing to build a bridge of trust and rapport with this person, despite all efforts. And after dealing with her for so long, I frankly disliked her so much that it felt too insincere to want to build rapport. Yet, I had to remain professional.

In the midst of all this, she sent me an urgent email to call her ASAP. Taking a deep breath, I called. She then reprimanded me for failing to read the details of one of her emails, berated me for writing back without having done so, and projected onto me her own feelings of being so out-of-control by claiming I was chaotic and acting like a wreck.  Rage boiled and I could feel the sizzle in my brain. I thought I was going to explode and tear her fragile sense of importance into little tiny shreds. (That would have been my old way of coping with someone like this.) But no, I decided to walk-the-walk and model what I teach others to do.

I noticed several things happening as I was holding back my anger and thinking about what to do. First, I know that the act of thinking clearly during high-levels of negative emotions uses more stored glucose than the release of intense emotion. As a result, I found myself getting physically and mentally exhausted. The FIGHT response, my automatic protector, had a full tank of cortisol (stress hormone) at its disposal. My pre-frontal cortex (executive brain) was working really hard to find my way around these feelings and take charge of the conversation. And that was the good news. I had been working to build muscles to think when stressed, and had access to it. I simply used my mantras, “Detach and Breathe” (I wrote an article about the importance of using mantras to manage stress) and, “My feelings are none of her business.” They worked!

Once I got my emotions under control, I used a technique that David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute refers to as “Choose Your Focus.” The idea is to stay out of the DRAMA, PROBLEM and even DETAIL and move up the ladder to where constructive dialog can occur. The areas of focus are on the PLANNING and SOLUTION. So, here’s what the conversation sounded like:

CLIENT: “You need to calm down. If you had read my email you wouldn’t have had to write so many. This is absurd and it cannot continue this way.”

ME: “I think we’re talking about a breakdown in communication, and that’s fixable. So, if I understand correctly, we still need to determine the dates for the training.”

CLIENT: “Yes.”

Once she agreed, I held to the facts, and followed up the conversation with an email. It’s really that simple looking in; you just don’t go down there with the other person. But the effort to keep calm is zapping!  She will never know how much energy I spent keeping myself in a neutral and thinking place.

As challenging as this situation is, I see her as my Guru keeping my skills sharpened. It is so true that “Your Most Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher.”

Calmly yours,

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.

That Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher

In aggression, assertiveness, business relationships, career, communicating, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, gossiping, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, Uncategorized, Winning, working with a younger boss on May 25, 2016 at 1:24 am

The most challenging people are our greatest teachers. We can use our reactions to them to start taking control of ourselves.

You’ve got a challenge in the office — that thorn in your side, or actually, more like a knife in your gut.  You dread every minute you have to interact with this person. You have dreamed about ways to get rid of him or her, coming up with some ominous fantasies that have words in it like, “extermination.”  Or, perhaps there’s such a lack of trust and respect that you believe s/he’s going to attempt to hurt your job or career.

On a day-to-day basis you find yourself snapping, yelling, arguing.  You and your enemy go at it freely. Co-workers are warning you that they’re sick of your complaining, but you’re stuck deep in the mud. When you do find someone else with whom you can commiserate, you share war stories and eat up valuable work time letting off steam behind closed doors.

Maybe you’ve even tried the exact opposite approach– showing too much appreciation, flattering him or her, praising this person to the point where you feel nauseous and certainly disingenuous. And, it’s still not working.

Good news!  You’ve been blessed by having this individual cross your path.  Let me explain.

Recently, an ambitious 20s-something, whom we’ll call Joe, told me about his boss’ executive assistant — a woman in her mid 50s (whom we’ll call Gina).  Joe was beside himself with exhaustion because Gina refused to return his work on time, or if at all, despite the fact that it’s part of her job.  Gina’s attitude is profoundly bitchy and argumentative.  It reduces Joe to arguing, yelling and then finally backing off. Since their boss won’t intervene or help Joe, Joe ends up doing the work himself.  Even worse, despite complaints about Gina by others, the company refuses to let her go or even send her to anger management courses.

Joe, being exhausted and frustrated, realized that he was about to throw away a great job for this co-worker.  Instead, he came to me to learn how to deal with Gina. Here was the process we used to help him realize he was being given a tremendous opportunity to learn from her.

1. Look at yourself through the other person’s eyes.   She is twice his age.  Been with the company for years.  She reports to Joe’s boss and yet is being asked to support Joe, who is of a lower status. This might seem unfair to her and her tenure. She doesn’t care about his success.  She’s tired of helping the young kids with their grunt work who never ask what she thinks.

The exercise of guessing of what might be on her mind opened up Joe’s mind for change. This made him more sympathetic to her. He decided that he was done screaming, fighting and seeing her as his enemy.

2. Analyze the lesson. What did Joe learn?  That Gina was his Guru.  She was the impetus for him to become more self-aware and aware of others. She helped to prepare him for dealing with difficult people in the workplace and it got him to pursue skill development. Gina was Joe’s mirror. The reflection showed him just how bad his behavior could become in the face of an opposing force, and he didn’t like himself for it one bit.

3. Accept what we cannot change. Joe’s plan was to continue seeking Gina’s assistance, as it was his right and her job. If she said no, he would accept it and move on.  Because he was done fighting with her, he was willing to do the work himself without getting into a verbal brawl.  Joe’s self-esteem rose for having the control to accept what he couldn’t change.

Think of your challenging person as your greatest teacher. Whatever negativity he or she is bringing up in you, IS IN YOU to begin with, and is merely having an outlet.  The question is — what about you is being reflected back?

If you’ve become someone you can’t respect as a result of someone else’s behavior, you are being given a golden opportunity to grow, without ever trying to win or change the other person.  We can only ever control what we say and do anyway, so might as well use the situation to teach us how to detach enough to control ourselves.

These ‘difficult’ people are catalysts for our transformation. They may initially bring us to our proverbial knees, but we can choose to get back on our feet.  Thank these “villians” my friends, they are our greatest allies.

Enjoy the lesson!

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.

Detach & Breathe

In aggression, assertiveness, body language, business relationships, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, gossiping, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, negotiating, non-verbal signals, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, working with a younger boss on October 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

Many people have been asking me lately about how not to overreact emotionally, aggressively or undiplomatically in a work environment when things go wrong (usually caused by someone else, of course!).  People also want to know how to stop those unconscious non-verbal signals that tell the truth about what they are really feeling in the face of not being able to say it.

I have such a simple, yet excellent solution that it almost seems silly.  But it works.  It’s called, “Detach & Breathe.” It’s something I came up with to save myself in a highly stressful work environment years ago. I had been struggling with a manager for two years, battling over his way vs. my way.  As a result, he had begun to cut me out of important decisions and it forced me to realize that my stubbornness was what had been hurting me. I had been so intent on being right that I had not allowed him to be ‘the boss.’  Lesson in letting go of having to be right, in the face of being smart!

One day, during a usual confrontation, I realized that I was battle-fatigued and had put my job into jeopardy.  He had authority and that was that. I had to let go of the idea of protecting “my turf” and doing things my way, despite the fact that he didn’t know as much about my job as I.  I said, “Rich, you know what, from now on, I will defer to you and I give you my word.  I’m done fighting and I want to show you that I support you.”

I went into my office and wrote DETACH and BREATHE on post-its and placed them at eye level on my computer.  For the next few weeks he’d tell me how and when to do something and before any response I would DETACH AND BREATHE and then say, “Yes.” Well, by the third week, he started giving me the latitude do just go ahead and do things my own way. He began to include me in decisions. He was done trying to capitalize on his authority because I had stopped fighting it.

So go ahead! It’s effective! Detach & Breathe when you:

1. Feel yourself getting angry, hurt, teary; if the emotion is intense and its display could hurt the perception of you.

2. Begin taking things personally, which is affecting your ability to think and act objectively.

3. Find you are struggling for power with a co-worker.

4. Want to condemn someone else and are ready to snap, yell or scream.

Besides, what else is there at this point?  Quit, get fired or have a stroke?

Place the words DETACH and BREATHE on two separate post-it notes and have them visible at all times.  Eventually the brain will automatically sound them off to you, but you must keep at it!

The only thing we are truly attached to is what we think and believe.  We must first look deeply within to see how these attachments are negatively impacting how we react.  Once we can detach, we are free.  I mean really free.

Sympathetically yours,

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.

How to Stay Out of an Argument

In arguments, avoiding arguments, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, disagree agreeably, disagreements, fight or flight, interpersonal skills, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, negotiating, office politics, opinions, passive-aggressive, personal development, personal growth, stress hormones, tone of voice, Uncategorized, women, women in the workplace, women working on September 30, 2014 at 5:05 pm

“I hear what you’re saying, but…you’re wrong!”  How many times have you used that phrase?  How many arguments have you started as a result? Arguments are unforgiving. You can’t take back what you say. It’s like trying to apologize to the glass you dropped on the floor.  “I’m sorry,” won’t glue the pieces back together.

And why argue over opinions anyway?  They are just concepts; there’s no actual turf (other than the ego) that arguing defends. The threat we feel when we argue kicks off the “fight or flight” mechanism. The body becomes flooded with stress hormones and the thinking part of the brain literally shuts down.

So, if you’ve been getting caught up in opinion wars, you have not been thinking clearly or objectively.

Some helpful tips to help you stay out of an argument:


Stop Trying to Win

Think of others’ opinions as experiences that are connected to emotions. So, when you try to discredit or win, you are essentially saying, “Hey, your experience doesn’t count.” Experiences are valid proof of why people feel the way they do, which is why people can justify their opinions. Let it go.

Never Say “You’re Wrong”

It is not respectful to send someone’s opinion down the garbage shoot. Look for one aspect of the person’s opinion you can agree with:

Clarify what you’ve heard. “You said that dogs are too much work so you don’t like them as pets.”

Agree on a point.  “I can understand that as a busy person, it can be too much to really enjoy the company of a dog.”

Do not insert BUT or HOWEVER.

Add Your Opinion
“I have found a way to balance my schedule so that I can enjoy my freedom and my dog.”

Just the Facts, Please
A great way to prevent getting emotionally charged is to use facts to replace feelings. Instead of, “Dogs are the best creatures in the whole world!” say, “Research suggests that when people have dogs, they live longer, healthier lives.”

And the Final Word Goes To…
Both of you. If you let go of the need to be right and make it your goal to give the other person the latitude, you will create the space to be heard.  This method creates equal footing on the matter, mutual respect and a well-avoided argument.

Peacefully yours,

Jackie

You can also find this article on Womenworking.com.

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.

Bully for You; How to Stop Being an Office Bully’s Target

In aggression, assertiveness, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, bullying, business relationships, career, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, NeuroLeadership Group, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, Psychology Today, self-esteem, Uncategorized on January 6, 2014 at 1:55 am

If I may be so bold, unless you wish to be, you are not in your job to be anyone’s “punching bag” or the butt of sadistic manuevers to undermine you or your work.

If you’ve been spending countless nights worrying about how to deal with your bully, or asking yourself what you did to deserve this creep in your life and are experiencing a downturn in your productivity and/or desire to stay in your job, you may be interested to know that there is actually something you can do that is neither vengeful nor in any way harmful to any party (I know, revenge would feel so sweet!) and in fact can be a nice boost to your self-confidence.

First, let’s take a look at bullying.  According to Psychology Today, “Bullies couldn’t exist without victims, and they don’t pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear….” Does this sound like you?  But, you may ask, “Yeah, but I’ve still done nothing to deserve this.” Psychology today states that, “Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of two-year-olds isn’t handled well.”

Sadly, you are dealing with a person who is emotionally stalled and you are simply playing in the wrong sandbox.

Bullies are not exempt from feeling threatened. In fact, self-esteem and status are directly linked to behaviors that make people react as both threatening and threatened and this type of reaction mainly comes from a perceived loss of status.  David Rock, author of “How the Brain Works,” and “Quiet Leadership” describes that, “Status means we are always positioned in relation to those around us:  literally, where we are in the ‘pecking order.'” Dr. Rock, CEO and owner of the NeuroLeadership Group and co-founder and executive director of the Neuroleadership Institute, is a pioneer of brain-based research and its application for creating positive, organizational change. His work has proven that as social beings, we react to social threat as if we are experiencing physical threat; as if our survival is at risk.  He has identified the five core areas that trigger unconscious threat reactions and shows us that through awareness and a mindful approach, that we can shift from threat to what he calls ‘a reward state.’

These five areas are:  Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.  (Dr. Rock has many published articles that are worth reading on the subject.  I recommend, “SCARF:  a Brain-Based Model for Collaborating with and Influencing Others.” ) But, for the purposes of helping you with your bully, here’s what I think you should know:  you can raise your own perceived status without lowering your bully’s, and in doing so, create a more peaceful dynamic.

1. Align and Engage. You must stop making yourself right and the bully wrong.  By focusing on what makes you different you are causing yourself to feel more isolated. Part of Dr. Rock’s SCARF model is that Relatedness has much to do with feeling good. Allow yourself to tell your bully that you can see his/her point of view and can even agree to it (only if this is the case – don’t be fake!).  This may trigger the sensation that you are lowering your own status, but you aren’t.  You are showing how BIG you really are.

2. Keep Your Feelings to Yourself.  There are times when transparency is very important to the health of a good working relationship.  This is not one of those times. Empower yourself with this mindful and silent phrase, “My feelings are none of his/her business.”  This means that if you are feeling panicked and want to cry out in the name of unfairness, stop! Even the slightest comment from someone who’s not a bully (but is playing with status as a high card) can make us feel bullied.  There is a senior member of a team that I’m on who was assigned a huge project (working with a previous employer of mine) and I was not included on the project.  When I suggested that I could offer history and help he said, “No, they only want to work with me.”  I was enraged and felt my status drop with blunt force.  It felt blindingly unfair. I almost told him to…well you know what that is…how unfair this was, blah blah blah.  Instead, I said to myself, Jackie, these feelings are none of his business. I detached immediately, feeling empowered by my self-control. I said, “I’m happy for the team and I know you’ll do a great job.”  He smiled and thanked me.  Most importantly, I took the high road.

3. Get Mindful.  Ask yourself what is it that kicks you in your pants around status, or any of these other social factors.  What kind of conditioning do you have that is still plaguing you?  It’s your job to discover what makes you tick and where you need to grow. Read about it.  Talk with a professional.  Ask for support. Stop blaming the bully and start taking responsibility for the victim, that is, you.

4. Become Influential. Pretend you are there to cultivate the talents of this bully (not by offering any feedback or advice; as per Dr. Rock, this could trigger a status alert and backfire!).  I mean to support this person in becoming more productive and create a window for his person to behave in a way that will accelerate his/her career.   For example, congratulate your bully on something well done. Do it publicly. Be specific.  Acknowledge what is good.  There’s a chance that this bully is starved for recognition.  This is not about ingratiating yourself as a lowly servant begging for a crumb!  Imagine feeding a starving child something nutritious.  You have the power!

5. Value The Lesson. I’ve written about this very topic before. That Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher!  How do you use this situation to propel yourself forward? What is your strategy from here?  It’s really in your control, having nothing to do with controlling another person.

6. Do Right.  You are a player in a hierarchical structure that is designed for its own survival, not yours. Fairness is one of the five social factors that Dr. Rock describes and it can kick us in our proverbial pants when we feel things aren’t fair. We’ve all seen it; huge salary vs. experience discrepancies, nepotism, lay-offs, closed-door policies, etc.  It’s the inherent dysfunction that ravages every organization where leaders lack self-awareness and actual leadership skills.  So you learn what it is to engage others, to raise the morale, to play fair and to be a good team-leader.  It’s a phenomenal opportunity to leverage your autonomy, and create rewarding outcomes.

I know…none of this is easy.  But as my Popop used to say to the very aggressive, sometimes bullying little ten-year old me, “The first one who yells loses.”  Your bully is losing whether you join in or not, so really there’s no threat to you.  Just focus on the greatness in you both and the rewards will follow.

Happy Connecting!

Jackie

(Note:  if you are experiencing any form of severe bullying, that is, being threatened, harrassed, and intimidated, you must report this to your management and to your human resources department.  Please use your best judgment and stay safe.)

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 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.

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.

What Would Dale Carnegie Think of Humanity in the 21st Century?

In business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, Dale Carnegie, effective communicating, executive coaching, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, networking, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, sales, Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Dale Carnegie’s 30 Human Relations Principles were available to the world in 1936. They were introduced in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which still reigns as the almighty in guiding people to value and act with humanity.  I owe Mr. Carnegie so much personally for how his brand of goodness has changed my life for the better, and will continue to be his champion until I leave the planet.

Not that I can pretend to know if he would have tweaked his principles for a world in which texting has replaced an actual conversation, but I will try to imagine what additional principles he might have added on to include the world we now live in. Assume the first 30 principles are still in tact, as is.

31.  Turn off hand-held devices when in the company of another human being.  Engage!

32. Be respectful, compassionate and responsible in honoring diversity: race, gender, sexual-orientation, ethnicity, culture, religion and politics.

33. Use cell phones in public only for emergencies.  Honor others needs for peace, quiet and space.

34. Ask for help when you don’t understand.  People love feeling that they have something to offer.

35. Offer personal help and support whenever and wherever you can.  You can forever change someone’s life with the smallest action and also become part of the “Pay it Forward” cycle in which someone will come to your aid.

36. Be generous about introducing people to others in your network.

37. When in a conversation, make direct eye contact and listen to understand.

38. Take full responsibility for your own feelings — never blame others for your circumstances.

39. Recognize the greatness in others and allow them to influence you.

40. Apologize, even when you have inadvertently hurt another’s feelings.

41. Build and look to work with teams of smart, devoted, dignified people who have complementary strengths to your own.

42. Say what you mean, be honest, and clear about your intentions.

43. Read the first 30 principles over and over and over.

Happy “Winning Friends and Influencing People,”

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.

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.

Job Seekers: Be Ready to Respond to a New Interviewing Strategy

In business pitching, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, interpersonal skills, interview questions, interviewing skills, job seeking, jobs, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, Uncategorized on June 3, 2010 at 9:25 pm

“On a scale of 1-10, how lucky do you consider yourself to be?”

Can you imagine being asked this on a job interview? Well, according to my colleague, Susan Goldberg, of Susan Goldberg Executive Search Consulting, this type of question is a new trend happening on interviews. Her point is that now in a down economy, old interview questions such as, “If you were an animal what type of animal would you be,” which were designed to help the prospective employer get a sense of an applicant’s attributes and value system, are now being eclipsed by questions that help the company see if the applicant is a cultural fit. Ms. Goldberg wrote an insightful and in-depth article explaining this shift and the new landscape, to help people prepare for the current trend in interviews. She’s got tremendous expertise in helping people connect to the right job and the article’s worth reading.

Here’s the link to her article:  www.womanaroundtown.com/working-around/latest-trends-in-interview-questionsthe-“it”-factor-is-the-“fit”-factor

For more information about Susan Goldberg’s services, please visit her website: www.susangoldbergsearch.com

Please keep in mind that a well-conceived and concise pitch that proves your credibility and the unique value that you bring to your prospective employer is always critical in making positive impact and distinguishing you from all others. Other important factors include body language — good eye contact, a motivated handshake, good posture and lots of enthusiasm in your voice all contribute to getting that job.  You can read more on developing your pitch in my article, “Mastering The 60-Second Elevator Pitch.”  Here’s the link: https://pointmakercommunications.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/mastering-th-60-second-elevator-pitch/

So, when they ask you how lucky you consider yourself to be, look ’em straight in the eye, tell them a number that rings true and feed them the personal and professional experiences that prove that you are a charm they cannot be without.

Happy interviewing,

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.