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Beatriz Rodriguez, the Chief Diversity Officer at the Home Depot, says that the ability to accept feedback in a calm, gracious, and accepting way is essential if you are going to get ahead professionally.

She goes on to say that women can be particularly sensitive when it comes to receiving feedback. She suggests that women should not only say “Thank you” when someone takes the time to volunteer feedback, but that everyone should actively seek it. 

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Atlanta Jewish Times article: Mother-Daughter Style Spans Continents

“Mother Nadia Bilchik and daughter Julia Kesler, are as colorful, outspoken and accomplished, and as different as they are alike.”

Read the full article at the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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Career Caffeine/Interviews Own Your Space: Confidence, Competence, Charisma

Does Your Response to Feedback Help or Hurt You?

Beatriz Rodriguez, the Chief Diversity Officer at the Home Depot, says that the ability to accept feedback in a calm, gracious, and accepting way is essential if you are going to get ahead professionally.

She goes on to say that women can be particularly sensitive when it comes to receiving feedback. She suggests that women should not only say “Thank you” when someone takes the time to volunteer feedback, but that everyone should actively seek it.  Ask for notes after a meeting or completion of a project.  You will be surprised how much great advice and guidance you can receive if you just ask.

The best thing you can do is say “Thank you” and then proceed to discuss what you can do differently.  Not everyone who delivers feedback is skilled when it comes to the tone of the message, and as a result, we often get defensive. The key here is to see feedback as a gift. This may take practice as our natural inclination is to justify our actions. But remember, the giver of the feedback usually just wants to be acknowledged, and to know that you are taking the necessary action to rectify or avoid repeating the outcome.   

Also, next time you are on the receiving end of constructive criticism or what I prefer to call “re-directive” feedback, press pause before you respond. Enjoy my conversation with Beatriz below.

Having A Greater Impact Every Time You Communicate

Take the Bored Out of the Boardroom: 3 Tips to Manage Meetings In-Person and Virtually


 When you mention meetings, most employees roll their eyes at the sheer waste of time of these far-too-often scheduled get-togethers.

So why do organizations continue this ritual and what can we do differently?

Here are three keys to making the most of your meetings in person and virtually.

Maintain Momentum

No meeting should ever go over the allotted time. To prevent this, let participants know time is limited and you would appreciate their full cooperation. This is what I refer to as the “initial condition”. 

Your vocal tone should reflect a sense of urgency and communicate to participants that you expect their full attention for a finite amount of time. This is also a good time to ask people to stay off their mobile devices. If the meeting is virtual, urge participants to pay full attention and avoid distractions. 

It is much more effective to do this at the start of the meeting rather than to chastise participants halfway through.

Should an issue arise that can derail your meeting, graciously explain that for the purposes of time you would appreciate moving on, but will take note of the concern. Doing this is commonly referred to as the “parking lot”.  Please remember that people appreciate having their parking validated, so don’t forget to follow up if you have promised to.

Invite Participation

We all know that the chance of buy-in is greater if individuals feel they have taken part in decision making. The same is true of meetings. Ask questions, welcome comments, and where appropriate when asked a question, see if someone else in the group would like to answer. 
If the meeting is virtual, at the start of the meeting ask everyone to say their name before commenting.

Manage Dissent

It can be difficult if you feel your meeting is being hijacked by a challenging question or comment. The key is to remain calm and assume “positive intent” on the part of the questioner.

Leadership Presence Networking For Success

Do You Come Across As Needy?

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak at  TEDxEmory. The overall theme was What Makes Your Heart Beat? My topic was Owning Your Confidence: How to Overcome Nervousness and Exude Confidence in High-Stakes Situations. I discussed several practical techniques to help you excel in even the most stressful of situations. They are practices I’ve developed over many years of being on television and speaking professionally. 

The first technique is learning to build a Positive Emotional Memory Database ™ and the second is the significance of mastering your listening skills and how doing so relates to building confidence.  Technique #3 in how to Own your Confidence is the ability to come across as relaxed and self-assured rather than desperate and needy.

It’s the difference between “I appreciate your time and have something to offer you” and “I desperately need this opportunity and I need you to help me.”

This sense of desperation undermines our goal which is to communicate our competence in a calm, relaxed manner.

Alvin Toffler said it best. “The less you need something the more power you have”  

The lesson here is, even if you want something desperately, you have to remind yourself that not getting it does not define you. You have to remind yourself that your entire life does not hinge on this one moment. While it may feel like it is the very end of your life if you are rejected, the truth is it never is. 

It is this mindset that is critical to adopt before high stakes situations. The sense that it would be great if I got this opportunity is perfectly fine. However, the sense that my life will be ruined if I don’t is counterproductive.

So next time you are going for an important job interview, giving a presentation or simply having a conversation with someone you perceive to have more power than you, remind yourself that all of life does not hinge on this one moment. 

Having A Greater Impact Every Time You Communicate Leadership Presence Own Your Space: Confidence, Competence, Charisma

OWN YOUR CONFIDENCE: Overcoming Nervousness in High-Stakes Situations

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak at TEDxEmory. The overall theme was: What makes your heart beat? And my topic was Owning Your Confidence: How to Overcome Nervousness and Exude Confidence in High-Stakes Situations. I discussed several practical techniques to help you excel in even the most stressful of situations. They are practices I’ve developed over many years of being on television and speaking professionally around the world.  

While neuroscience describes what happens when we get stressed and nervous as fight, flight or freeze, it doesn’t necessarily give us practical advice on how to overcome these moments. And that’s where my techniques come in.

The first one is building what I call a Positive Emotional Memory Database™. This is essentially a mental library where you store memories of experiences that make you feel confident, and you can “check out” or “access” any time.

Think of moments from your past when you feel you really excelled. Maybe it’s a presentation where you came across as particularly confident, or a meeting where you shared an idea that was well received. Make a mental note of those experiences so they can be readily called to mind during stressful moments.

Its important plan ahead rather than wait until a high-stakes situation arises. And you can start now:  Take some time today to think of several noteworthy experiences you’ve had that made you feel like the best, most confident and competent version of yourself. Recalling those experiences beforehand, when you are relaxed, will make it easier for you to bring them to mind later when you’re about to walk in to a job interview, give an important presentation or start a critical conversation. 

Remembering occasions in your past when you accomplished what you set out to do – when you interacted successfully with a group or manager, or got a promotion– will remind you that you do indeed have what it takes to excel. And this, in turn, will boost your confidence so you can do it again.

And what’s more, neuroscience supports this practice.  As we repeatedly access these positive thoughts, neural pathways are created in our brains.  This makes us more likely to continue thinking positively about ourselves in the future.

This first technique you can begin implementing today. Stay tuned for the next one!

Leadership Presence

The Greater Impact of Truly Listening

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak at  TEDxEmory . The overall theme
was What Makes Your Heart Beat? My topic was Owning Your Confidence: How to
Overcome Nervousness and Exude Confidence in High-Stakes Situations. I discussed
several practical techniques to help you excel in even the most stressful of
situations. They are practices I’ve developed over many years of being on television
and speaking professionally around the world, and I will be sharing them all with
you here.

Last week, I explained the importance of building a Positive Emotional Memory
Database ™. This week, I want to discuss the importance of mastering your
listening skills and how doing so relates to building confidence.
When we think about demonstrating self-confidence, we often call to mind an image
of ourselves expressing an opinion or sharing an idea without doubting ourselves.
But showing genuine interest and really listening is equally critical.

When we show genuine interest in what others are saying, they tend to respond in a
positive way, letting us know either verbally or non-verbally that they feel heard
and understood. This positive feedback, in turn, help us to feel more confident, and
that helps us to respond and speak in a more self-assured way.
So how do we practice effective listening? Here are a few tips.

1. As psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck says, set yourself aside. Be present in the
moment, and try not to become distracted by your own wandering thoughts or the
next items on your to-do list. Scientist Bill Nye reminds us to listen, knowing that,
“everyone you meet knows something you don’t”.

2. Ask open-ended questions. This gives the other person the opportunity to
elaborate on the subject matter they’re talking about, and to explain their thoughts
in greater detail. It will also give you a better idea of where they’re really coming
from, and what’s truly important to them about the topic you’re discussing.

3. Don’t make it about you. Providing a brief anecdote from your own life to show
that you relate to the other person’s experience can be helpful. But it should be
short, and you should quickly bring the conversation back to the other person’s
experience.

4. Listen with the intention of understanding what the other person is saying, not
with the intention of formulating your own response.
Try implementing these tips during a conversation you have today, and stay tuned
for the next technique!