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Showing posts from January, 2014

No, Talk Ain't Cheap...Sometimes It Costs $7,875

     We've all heard about the rant that made Robert Sherman a household name these past couple of weeks among sports fans.  As a talented corner for the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, he went off in an interview with Fox Sport's Erin Andrews after the last playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.  Although he had supporters, most people felt his behavior was out of control and unprofessional.  The majority of us have had at least one experience in our lives when we reacted rashly based on a situation when emotions were running high.  We've most likely regretted those words after further thought whether we apologized for our behavior or not.  Because those words aren't often well thought out, they can oftentimes cost us.  They cost us in broken relationships, lost opportunities, and even in real dollars.  Sherman found himself having to pay a $7,875 fine just for talking too much.  That's not a lot of money for a star pro athlete, but it is a waste nonet

The Power of the Written Word Online

     My 12-year-old son asked me the other day why he had to learn to write well.  He wasn't asking out of curiosity.  It was more of a rhetorical question because he didn't want to do his English Language Arts writing assignment.  I was trying to encourage him to expand his vocabulary through further reading and writing.  He claims that his generation speaks in "text terms" and don't have to learn to write full words and sentences.  Thus, the challenge of educators and parents in this new age of rapid-fire information exchange and social media.      Since writing interactively on social media is a major part of teens and tweens' lives and that of adults as well, writing effectively is even more important.  With all the shortcuts and abbreviations used in writing online, making sure the written message has clarity and appropriate tone is essential.  Understanding what a person is trying to say in written form loses some of its luster.  Unless you're a ski

Communication Styles: Is Yours Trending?

      Being a competent communicator is essential in every aspect of life.  Whether it's a manager learning to direct his team, a wife trying to convince her husband, a salesperson trying to persuade a client or a pastor trying to inspire a congregation, knowing how to bring a meaningful message to an audience (collective or individual) is important.  Yet, most of us tend not to treat it as such.  We communicate as we do without much concern for how what we say, write or show comes across to others.  As a result, we miss the mark.  The way we miss the mark is in where the message fails.  Did it offend?  Was it unclear?  Was it inaccurate?  Was it unconvincing?  Was it misunderstood?          Since we communicate in a variety of ways, it is important to the communicator to help the listener hear his message clearly and without failure.  Our style dictates the success of that message hitting its target.  If one style is to be direct, then we should get to the point with precisio

A Dozen Ways to Tell Your Boss No

     In basically every training class I do on communications, I get people who are reluctant to manage up.  In a few cases, the direct, decisive communicators establish early on in the relationship their boundaries and preferences to their boss.  Those bosses who can respect other people's limits tend to listen without feeling threatened or disrespected.  But generally, workers tend to treat their superiors as demigods and themselves as powerless servants who shouldn't speak up for fear that they'd be punished for having an opinion or for pushing back in areas where they are overwhelmed or uncomfortable.  I get asked, "What do I do when my manager piles all of this work on me, and I can't get it done by his unreasonable deadlines?"  Among other things like how they manage their time, I usually ask if they've had a discussion with their manager about their workload.  The common response:  "Oh noooo, I can't do that.  He's the boss.  You don

Five Words for Female Professionals--Final Word

     The New Year is in its infancy, and so many days and months are ahead of us to get our goals realized.  It's exciting to think of the great things that are on the way, and a little unnerving to consider what struggles and trials await us for they will surely come.  Since we are intending to shape our own destiny, hopefully we can overcome our challenges without being deterred.  If we take our time and are intentional in all of our efforts to succeed, we can get those things we strive for.  It will require that we stay focused and dedicated to our personal mission.  Therefore, we need to practice perseverance.  That is your final word:  perseverance.      You may be fired up right now early in this year to set goals and achieve them.  You might feel determined and have a clear vision of where you ultimately want to be.  Most people feel that way at the beginning of the year.  But as time moves on, the desire fades, and we fall back into life as usual.  We find reasons why w

Five Words for Female Professionals--Fourth Word

     Over the past year, I had to accept the hard fact that I can't do everything in my business on my own.  I had to build connections with other people who could help me provide a greater range of services.  I can and have coached my clients, but I had to find a certified coach to relieve me and take over my coaching requests.  I needed additional help from an instructional designer in constructing a new leadership training program I'm rolling out this year.  I needed a business mentor and coach to help me consider my business model and to think strategically.  I needed to build alliances.  And that's word number four:  alliance.      I knew dynamic women who could fulfill these needs so I contracted with them for help.  We barter services sometimes.  We negotiate discounted fees sometimes.  We support each other.  We all need to find people who we can build strategic alliances with so that we can be effective in what we do.  Women need to practice this type of collab

Five Words for Female Professionals--Third Word

    You should be feeling bolder by now.  And your mind should be clicking through specific steps you must take to make 2014 your most strategic year yet.  Though what I share in these posts this week or specifically directed at women, men can benefit from them as well.  Men tend to be more strategic than women in their thinking as evidenced by the dominance of them running Fortune 500 companies.  They have taken the bold steps to start businesses and run businesses that are largely successful and that most of the world recognizes.  With their support, more women could run large corporations as well.  Without their help, women have to understand the power we posses in the unique ways we are wired to accomplish the same successes but in our own ways.  We have to believe we can do it.  What we can see in our mind's eye will help us to trek courageously to that end.  Therefore, the third word in the "Five Words for Female Professionals" is vision.      Being able to see viv