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You may have heard the saying that “90% of life is just showing up” It’s something I say to myself whenever I cross the threshold of the gym or attend a neighborhood committee meeting.

The question is, do we really show up?
There is a big difference between physically being somewhere and really participating actively.

This applies to everything from being at work to social interaction.
I am so tired of going to social and professional events where people are showing up physically but not mentally.

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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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The Greater Impact of Doing More Than Just Showing Pp

You may have heard the saying that “90% of life is just showing up” It’s something I say to myself whenever I cross the threshold of the gym or attend a neighborhood committee meeting.

The question is, do we really show up?
There is a big difference between physically being somewhere and really participating actively.

This applies to everything from being at work to social interaction.
I am so tired of going to social and professional events where people are showing up physically but not mentally.

Last week I was having a conversation with a family friend, or at least I thought it was a conversation until he literally started texting while I was mid sentence. He did it as if it was perfectly acceptable and normal. Resisting the urge to grab his phone, I graciously excused myself and walked away.

I didn’t take it personally or start questioning my ability to engage, but what I did do was feel incredibly sad. I was sad that as a society we have become so alienated, sad that so few people really want to get to know each other beyond superficial niceties, and sad that virtual engagement has become so seductive.

Of course I am as guilty as anyone of being dependent on my device. The only difference between me and family friend is that I am conscious of my addiction and the sabotaging impact it can have on interpersonal relationships.
So as you read this, think about the last event you attended, be it personal or professional and then ask yourself whether you “just showed up” or actively participated.

In other words were you fully present or was your mind elsewhere. Were you actively engaged or were you on your phone?

All I ask is that from this moment on we all work not just on showing up, but really showing UP with energy, interest and respect. Let’s kick it UP a notch!

Having A Greater Impact Every Time You Communicate

The Power of Storytelling

In an age of information overload where we are constantly having to compete for attention, the ability to tell stories that have an emotional and intellectual impact is a critical skill.

Think about the last meeting or presentation you attended or Ted talk you watched, what did you remember, what did you repeat?

The story! Especially if the story related to you or triggered you to reflect on your own similar experience. In fact, stories well told have a thousand times more impact than a fact or statistic.

I recently spoke to  MBA students at Emory’s Guizeta Business school on Storytelling Mastery and I wanted to share some of the tips and techniques of using stories to persuade, influence and inspire.

Begin by looking back at your own experiences and start to build inventory of situations where you were triumphant and successful or conversely when you felt you could have done better. Both successes and failures are great material for storytelling as long as you can share what you learned from the experience and how what you learned can benefit your audience.

While personal stories are often the most compelling because they evoke emotion in both the story teller and the audience, telling other people’s and organizations stories of success or failure can be equally effective.

 The key to effective Storytelling is to focus on your P.A.L:

The  POINT you are trying to make;

The very best  ANECDOTE/STORY you can tell to illustrate the point; and

What you intend the audience to LEARN.

As with all presentation and communication skills it is also critical to focus on delivery. This includes effective use of inflection, eye contact, facial expression, gestures and pausing.

Please let us know if you are interested in a keynote or workshop on Storytelling Mastery to Persuade, Influence & Inspire.

Leadership Presence

What’s YOUR Style? How Personality Style Impacts Communication

Understanding your unique personality style is critical to mastering your communication skills. Equally important is your ability to assess others.

With this in mind, here are some key observational tools you can use in making your assessments.

Are you fundamentally fast-paced and outspoken, or do you tend towards being more thoughtful and observant? If you are confused by this question, then think about the last meeting you sat in. Did you immediately contribute your ideas, thoughts or opinions or did you wait patiently until others had spoken? Alternatively, did you not speak up at all because you weren’t sure your opinion mattered, or you were concerned that it may not be well received?

It’s important to understand that neither behavior is good nor bad; it’s simply a primary style of operating. The key here is to determine if your style is assisting you or sabotaging you in some way.

The second question concerns your priorities, and in that case, it is helpful to make use of the analytical tools of DISC, a widely used behavioral and personality assessment model based on the work of Dr. William Mouton Marston .

Do you prioritize relationships over transaction or task, or do you tend towards being more analytical and skeptical? Once again, neither is positive or negative, but simply an additional tool to understand yourself and the individuals you interact with.

According to the DISC personality assessment, people fall into four basic categories, with different levels of each category depending on their priorities, life experience, and job title amongst numerous other factors.

People who are both fast-paced and outspoken and who prioritize tasks over relationships are described as having the traits of a D or Dominant personality.

Those who prioritize relationships over task, and who also exhibit outgoing traits fall into the I or Influencer category. I also like to describe this category as Socializers, because they tend to be very friendly and find conversation with a stranger effortless.

The C or Conscientious personality assessment describes individuals who are more thoughtful and observant with a focus on accuracy and detailed execution of tasks. Another word I use for individuals who prioritize accuracy and details in their day to day work is that of a Thinker. If you fall in to this category you tend towards being hyper focused and get frustrated if there is a lack of detail or if you are rushed at the expense of getting things right.

The fourth category is that of the S or Steady. These individuals display a combination of concern for others with a generally more thoughtful demeanor.  Again please note the word “generally” as these four personality styles (Dominant, Influencer, Steady & Conscientious) exist in as many combinations as there are people.

Please note I say tend towards, because each person is nuanced and while you may recognize yourself in some of these descriptions, we are seldom only one or another, but a blend. What’s essential in exploring and understanding your personality style is that you understand what motivates you, but equally what derails you.

For example, if you tend toward the Dominant style, you may come across as aggressive, autocratic and demanding when under pressure.

While Influencers have a great deal of initiative and are often extremely creative, without self-awareness they may come across as over enthusiastic or lacking focus.

The Steady style is an integral part of any team, but may be too conciliatory and feel taken advantage of rather than confront a situation.

The High C or Conscientious individual may be superb at ensuring accuracy, but again could derail if there is too great attention to detail and not enough to the bigger picture.

Whatever your innate style or combination of styles, the question remains, how good are you at managing both your strengths and detractors? In many cases, your response depends upon the circumstances, and the way you function in the workplace does not lend itself to simple answers.

Indeed, at the end of it all, the greatest tool we have in navigating our careers is to continue developing our knowledge of self. So congratulations for reading this because you are already well on your way.

Having A Greater Impact Every Time You Communicate

Tone Your Ask

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you ask, you may not always get what you want, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get” 

You’ve probably heard it said that you won’t get what you truly desire if you’re not prepared to ask for it. But for many of us, knowing how to ask for what we want in a way that makes a positive impression – and ultimately gets us the response we’re hoping for – can be challenging.

My friend and founder of Global EXEC Women, Virginia Bradley, cheekily poses the question, “How big is your ask?” Her point is that you can’t be afraid to ask for what you want and feel you deserve, no matter how big or far-fetched it may seem. Don’t shortchange yourself by asking for something that’s too small. Reach for the real prize.

That said, it’s important to understand how to present your “ask” in a manner that’s likely to encourage others to feel inclined to say “yes.” Here are a few tips:

Start with authentic praise

Say you need help with public speaking. Think of a colleague who is particularly skilled in that area, then approach him or her and begin by saying something along the lines of, “You seem so gifted at making powerful presentations, I was wondering if you might have any tips for me. I’d be grateful for your advice.” Acknowledging their talents – rather than simply demanding their help – will make them feel seen and appreciated. And that means they’ll be more likely put in the time and effort to support you.

Don’t come off as entitled

People receive requests for help and support differently. Sometimes, it can feel like a boundary has been crossed if what you’re asking for seems like too much. While you don’t want to hold yourself back from asking for what you really want, be sure to give others a chance to offer just as much as they feel comfortable with. In all likelihood, they’ll offer you more if you do them that courtesy. For example, when someone says to me, “Nadia, you work at CNN, and I really want a job there. Can you do something to help me get an interview?” I usually just refer them to the online job board. But if someone says instead, “I’d love the chance to work at CNN, any advice or suggestions you may have would be much appreciated,” I actually feel much more inclined to go out of my way to help, because I feel like my boundaries have been respected. The second approach comes across as far less demanding.

Positivity is key

You’re more likely to get a positive response to your request if you project confidence. If you doubt yourself, others will pick up on that, and they’ll begin to have doubts, as well. Visualize yourself asking for what you desire, and receiving a “yes.” Imagine how it will feel. Olympic athletes often use this technique – they visualize themselves winning important competitions. It will help to put you in the right mindset, so you can approach the conversation with a sense of self-assuredness.