July 28, 2009

I Hate Public Speaking

Until recently, I used to believe “speaking is just not my thing.” Being an effective communicator is arguably the most important quality a worker can possess. Anyone can improve his or her oral presentation skills. You just have to work at it.

In Tim Koegel’s book, The Exception Presenter, he states, "Delivering an exceptional presentation does not guarantee a win every time. But you should never lose because your presentation was less than exceptional."

Today, I’d like to share the insights I’ve learned with you.


Organizing your presentation

1) Tell them what you’re going to tell them
2) Tell them
3) Tell them what you just told them

Arrive 1 hour early

1) 40 minutes to prepare yourself (PowerPoint, notes, last minute details, etc.)
2) 20 minutes to mingle with the audience (learn as many names as you can)
3) Drink tea or warm water before you speak to loosen up your throat

Here’s a 60 second introduction to get you started

1) If you remember just one thing as you leave here today, remember this…
2) State your objective
3) Tell them your position
4) What the end result will be
5) Transition with the next step

The Presentation

1) Focus on the message and audience, not yourself
2) Imagine the audience with a remote control (15 - 30 second attention span)
3) Engage the audience by trying to make eye-contact with everyone
4) Smile and move around
5) Speak, pause, breathe and speak again

Anyone can become an Exceptional Presenter. It’s about having the right focus, preparation and execution. Take advantage of these tips and remember, every time you speak, it’s a free commercial about you!

July 21, 2009

Is Entitlement a Bad Thing?

In his book "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell defines entitlement as asserting yourself with people in authority. His statement forces us to take a deeper look into the stereotype of Gen Y Workers feeling entitled at work. Let's look at the positive side of entitlement:

Being entitled means you have self-respect.
If you don't respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you? When you have self-respect, others can sense it. Being treated with respect starts with how you treat yourself.

Being entitled means you view yourself as special.
Gen Y is motivated to make a difference in the world. The United States is also the most individualistic-driven country. Each person has unique talents that are waiting to be maximized. The key to increasing productivity is finding where each worker "fits" within the organization. Think: the right strength in the right place at the right time.

Being entitled means you are worthy of attention/interest from others.
Part of succeeding in the corporate world is being "noticed" for the right reasons. If you don't do something "extraordinary" to stand out from the crowd, don't expect to ever be promoted. As an employee, give management a reason to look. It you believe you are deserving of your supervisor's favor, back it up with results and you will position yourself to be an irreplaceable asset to the company.

Entitlement at work can be a good thing.
Gen Y Workers: Expect great things and perform accordingly!

Managers: Challenge your workers to higher levels of performance!

July 13, 2009

Turning Japanese

Last week I returned from a trip to Japan with my family. Little did I know that I would be inspired by the Japanese culture. Observing their values made me think hard about my own business and professionalism. Here are some questions that I asked myself and the insights I took away from the trip:

Japan's transportation system is extremely efficient.
Their subway and train setup is unmatched. Amidst the crowded, hurried travelers there is a calming sense of order maintained. All the transportation is punctual, therefore dependable. Instead of worrying about "traffic," you can literally calculate your journey to the minute. People on escalators stand to the left, so those in a rush can walk fast on the right side. There is an effective way to get from Point A to Point B quickly.

Key Question: How efficient are you?

Every time I walked in or out of a store I was greeted.
It actually got annoying after a while because all of the employees would do it relentlessly. Whether eating at a restaurant or window shopping at a store, workers would wait on my every move (regardless if I would purchase anything). They treat each person with respect and I was humbled by their superior level of customer service.

Key Question: How would you rate your "customer service"?

One thing that stood out to me was Japan's cleanliness. Their restrooms are cleaner than most restaurants in the US. Their subways are immaculate. Even though there aren't many trash cans visible, people do not litter. There are workers that sweep the sidewalks, parks and bathrooms persistently. They tend to the little details and present their product with pristine care.

Key Question: What "brand" are you communicating?

No matter where you are in your career, there are great lessons to learn by observing "cultural" success. In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, he defined success as "a function of persistence, doggedness and the willingness to work hard." Yes, we need opportunities handed down to us, but the part we can control is how much effort we put forth to accomplish the goal. The more effort you put into bettering yourself, the greater the reward will be in the end.

July 8, 2009

10 Quick Ways to Motivate

by David Javitch - Employee Management
  1. Praise the employee for a job well done--or even partially well done.
  2. If an employee is bored, involve that individual in a discussion about ways to create a more satisfying career path, including promotions based on concrete outcomes.
  3. State your clear expectations for task accomplishment.
  4. Ensure that the job description involves a variety of tasks.
  5. Ensure that the employee sees that what she’s doing impacts the whole process or task that others will also be part of.
  6. Make sure that the employee feels that what he/she is doing is meaningful.
  7. Provide feedback along the way, pointing out both positive and negative aspects.
  8. Allow for an appropriate amount of autonomy for the employee based on previous and anticipated accomplishment.
  9. Increase the depth and breadth of what the employee is currently doing.
  10. Provide the employee with adequate opportunity to succeed.

July 7, 2009

Movin' On Up!

Skills of an Effective Leader
Climbing the corporate ladder takes time, but what gets overlooked are the skill sets that need to change with advancement. You cannot take current skills to a new position and expect to be successful. Here is what it takes to succeed at the next level:

Technical Skills
Frontline Management

Frontline Managers have excellent technical skills. They model how to complete tasks. Others look to them as "experts" in their field. Their main responsibility is to do their job at the highest level. They teach workers how to execute assignments efficiently.

Leadership Skills

Middle Management

Middle Management gets results through others. Instead of being the "expert", their responsibility is to lead teams and individuals. The focus switches to managing, empowering and coaching employees. Middle Managers delegate tasks to others based on their strengths. They observe employee performance, then give constructive feedback. Middle Managers lead workers by modeling integrity and taking initiative.

Strategic Skills
Senior Management

Senior Management are the visionaries of the company. They track past data, analyze current trends and optimize future plans. Senior Managers collaborate with, but assign leading employees to Middle Management. Scheduling meetings become an effective way to gather information and evaluate the direction of the business. Senior managers focus on growing the business.

Tenure and experience is not enough to take you to the next level. Learning the necessary skill sets help you become more effective in your role. Transitioning up means delegating old tasks and acquiring new skills for the betterment of the company. When being promoted, be ready to step up to a new challenge. New positions demand that we continually grow forward!