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“I hate going to holiday parties,” my friend Miri complained.

“What don’t you like?” I asked.

“I’m not great at mingling, and I don’t like making small talk.”

“Anything else?”

“I get tired of telling people my life history and what I do for a living,” Miri replied.

Do you ever feel like this?

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Networking for a Cause: SOS Children’s Villages Event

I’m very happy to announce my participation in this exciting event, being held for a wonderful cause. Please see the information below to book your place.

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Networking For Success

The Greater Impact of Holiday Networking

“I hate going to holiday parties,” my friend Miri complained.

“What don’t you like?” I asked.

“I’m not great at mingling, and I don’t like making small talk.”

“Anything else?”

“I get tired of telling people my life history and what I do for a living,” Miri replied.

Do you ever feel like this? I know many of us do.

“I think I know the problem, Miri,” I told my friend. You look at these parties as an obligation rather than a golden opportunity.” Miri looked surprised when I suggested she might need an attitude adjustment. I suggested that she should look at these gatherings as a wonderful way to network and expand her circle of social or business relations. Remember, networking is not only who you know, but who knows you.

Here are a few additional tips to help you turn holiday parties into wonderful networking opportunities:

Tip #1: Go in with an open mindset.
Remember everything you have learned about networking as “an attitude”, “a way of being.” Think, “I’m going to meet at least two new people tonight” or “I’m going to get to know at least two people better, or in more depth” (as said by the Baltimore Networking group.) Carry a pen so that you can write information on the back of people’s cards that may be helpful after the party.
Tip #2: Remember names.
To help you remember someone’s name, repeat the name as soon as you hear it – “Nice to meet you, Sandi.” Or find an association, “Max…Yes that is my dog’s name!”
Tip #3: Don’t be embarrassed.
If you forget someone’s name (and most of us do), confess as soon as you realize you’ve forgotten it. We often forget the name in the first few minutes. The longer we wait to ask, the more awkward it is to ask. Keep in mind, the other person has probably already forgotten your name, too.
Tip #4: Make others feel important by showing genuine interest.
People remember the way you make them feel, long after they remember exactly what you said.
Tip #5: “Help! I’m stuck in a boring conversation.”
If you wish to end a conversation, use the “Compliment, Need, Compliment” technique: “Mike, you’ve really done some great things this year. I need to say hello to some other people. I really enjoyed chatting with you.” Other needs might include using the restroom, getting something to eat, or refreshing your drink.
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The Greater Impact of Your Christmas Presence

As is typical for this time of the year, a recent conversation in the ab4a4e4e-530d-44f0-9262-c0a0f81031b8
CNN newsroom centered around the stress of shopping for Christmas gifts.

Needless to say, my colleagues and I discussed a wide range of possibilities, from trying to find the latest video game to the perfect Coach purse.

Our control room director has a young child, and when it came to choosing a gift for his wife, he said he wished he could buy her time!

This triggered a question in my mind: While we spend a great deal of time buying people the perfect gift, do we spend as much time giving them the gift of our attention?

The reality is that what people crave most is feeling validated and listened to. In fact, as M. Scott Peck has pointed out, “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”

So, this holiday, let’s make it a challenge to ourselves to really be PRESENT during the festivities. That entails asking a family member what their biggest challenge is at the moment, or asking an elderly relative what they remember most about their childhood, and then really paying attention to the answers. It also entails meeting the challenge of putting your smart phone away for the entire duration of the meal, and resisting the urge to glance at it if you take your kids outside to play.

I am convinced that if we all spent as much time cultivating our listening skills and being present as we do choosing the perfect gift, we would in fact be giving the greatest present of all — validation.

Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best for the Holidays!!!

Having A Greater Impact Every Time You Communicate

The Greater Impact of Pressing Pause

Do you ever feel so tired that you literally can’t move?

Do you ever wonder if you are experiencing a level of “burnout?”

Do you ever wish the weekend was just one more day and you still had just one more hour of sleep before you had to wake up?

A couple of months ago, I was so overwhelmed with fatigue that I decided to consult a physician.

She had come highly recommended as someone who had a “holistic” approach.

After extensive testing, she came back with a prescription that was so simple and yet so profound, and I wanted to share it with you.

“Between others’ request of you, and your response there lies a PAUSE.”

In essence, Dr. Williams was simply saying STOP immediately saying YES to everything.

STOP feeling obliged to be at every event you are invited to.

STOP over-committing.

STOP running yourself ragged.

PAUSE and think about the ramifications of committing yourself and say, “Is  this activity/person/event important? Am I saying yes for good reason, or should I politely decline?”

As it happens, in our Presentations Skills courses, we teach that a pause is one of the most powerful non-verbal tools you can use. The pause is also the most powerful tool you have to help manage your time, life, and energy.

And so I am taking this pause to wish you a healthy, energized and not over-committed week.

Own Your Space: Confidence, Competence, Charisma

Is Your Relationship with YOURSELF a Help or a Hindrance?

Isn’t it fascinating that while so much goes right, our minds will still focus on the one thing that doesn’t? If you are anything like me, you chastise yourself endlessly when things don’t go perfectly.

That’s what happened to me recently, when a guest I had booked left the CNN set just just before his second interview. It turned out his phone was off, and he hadn’t seen my texts giving him his updated schedule. It was a departure that I should have been aware of, but didn’t notice because of a momentary distraction. Afterwards, I went over and over what I could/should/would have done differently. It was only when a colleague said “these things happen, there’s nothing else you could have done, so stop beating yourself up,” that I paused and reflected on the fact that in reality I was being cruel to myself.

While I firmly believe that accountability, ownership and self reflection are a critical part of professionalism, expecting yourself and the world to be perfect can be energy-sapping and counter-productive.

So, I ask you, what are you upset with yourself about? Perhaps it’s time to accept that by nature we are not perfect beings and the world is a far from perfect place.

Clearly, I am writing this to myself as much as to you. You can’t only like yourself when things go smoothly You also have to have compassion for yourself when the inevitable glitches happen!

Think about where you are at right now,  this moment. Are you  feeling all is right in your world, or are you feeling you could’ve should’ve done things differently? I urge you to be kind to your imperfect self. Nobody can be superhuman and perfect all of the time, and often it’s the mistakes you make and the detours that you take that are your best teachers. 

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The Greater Impact of Googling Yourself

I wanted to share the following blog with you that I wrote with Lori Milner about the importance of googling yourself, and understanding the digital brand you’re projecting.

Forget what people say about ‘vanity searching’ or ‘ego surfing’, to google yourself is neither about vanity nor ego. If you’re serious about your professional presence, about owning your space in the virtual world as much as you are about owning it in the physical world, googling yourself is an absolute necessity.

Whether you like it or not, it’s becoming standard practice for companies to google potential employees. In fact, it’s the first port of call before an interview is even conducted. If a company believes that your online persona doesn’t represent who they are, the chances are that you won’t get the opportunity to represent yourself in person.

And don’t think you’re safe from on-going online background checks even if you’re already gainfully employed. Increasingly, companies are placing more and more weight on how well their employees reflect the brand’s ethos online.

The dire consequences of negative posts or unprofessional profiles on the web are not just reserved to the highly publicized storms we’ve all heard about. It happens on a far less public scale too. Like the woman who was recently denied an internal promotion because the company felt that her Pinterest page contained some ‘suspect’ images.

If you’ve never googled yourself, do it now. Especially since Google has just made it easier for you to find out how you are depicted on the internet. Its new feature, a shortcut to personal account information that appears when you’re logged in and conduct a search of your own name, also makes it easier for you to manage privacy and security controls. You can edit what others see about you, and even ask to receive email notifications when your name is mentioned on the web.

People who are not conscious about their digital reputations are often surprised by how much information there is about them on the internet – and by how little of it is relevant to their professional profiles. Social media has become such an integral part of our culture and psyches that we almost feel obligated to document our lives and share it with others online.

However, if your virtual presence is dominated by what you had for lunch, what the weather is like, and how you can’t wait for the next weekend or day off, you have some work to do.

If navigated skillfully, the world of virtual interaction has a lot to offer. Despite its potential disadvantages, it’s a wonderful way to connect, to find others, and be found. There are plenty of smart opportunities that you can exploit to expand your professional presence, your network and your prospects.

In our coaching, we recommend LinkedIn as the channel of choice for professionals. It’s a rich source of knowledge sharing and an incredible platform to network and gain exposure. It is also a place where you can highlight who you are and position yourself as a thought leader through the articles that you publish, the content that you share, and the conversations that you contribute towards. 

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, did it really fall?’. The modern day version is, ‘If you did something amazing and never posted it, did it really happen?’ Use LinkedIn to promote the successes in your career. Don’t ever shy away from the opportunity to show people your true value – because if you don’t tell them about it, you’ll probably never feature on the radar of people more influential than you.

Social media can be a very useful tool when it’s utilized with caution, respect, and accountability.

Always remember that everything you post can instantly boost or sabotage your personal brand. As soon as something exists in digital format, it is out of your control, so if you’re ever in any doubt, use Emma Sadleir’s ‘billboard test’. Imagine a giant billboard with your picture, your full name, and the company you work for. It’s there for all the world to see. Now imagine that what you’re about to post will appear on that billboard too. Do you still want to say it?

And once you’ve posted some of the intelligent things you have to say, once you’re done updating your LinkedIn profile and created an on-going plan for sharing and publishing content relevant to your career, once you’re done googling yourself… google yourself all over again.

Every six months.

Keep your digital reputation in check. Your career will thank you for it.