Posts Tagged ‘career development’

Increase Your Influence – Before the Meeting Even Starts!

Pamela Jett, CSP

Slide1Would you like to be taken more seriously by your leader?  Are you looking to enhance your influence and make a bigger impact on your organization’s goals and objectives?  Are you seeking to attain the attention, authority, and respect you have earned? Would you like others. especially your leaders, to see you as a motivated, engaged, and high-value team player who is ready to take on even more opportunities?

If so, meetings and other group conversations present a fabulous opportunity to shine.  Chances are, you are doing the basics:

  • You are well prepared.
  • You participate readily and with confidence.
  • You follow-up on your action items.
  • You are supportive and open-minded to the contributions of others.
  • You stay focused on the subject at hand and don’t engage in disruptive behaviors.

However, are you making the most of the opportunity to shine even before the meeting starts? Here are some powerful strategies to leverage.

  • Words to choose and words to lose. Stop using the phrase “I have to go to a meeting” and change it to “I get to go to a meeting.”  When you use the phase “have to” it makes it sound like it is something you don’t want to do.  It can give the impression that others choose for you and you are not empowered or in charge of your own choices.  It might even signal to some that you have a “victim mentality.”  When you make the small change and start to say “I get to” you send a message that you are excited and are glad to be part of the meeting.  You sound empowered, positive, and engaged.  This is a small change that can make a big difference in how you are perceived by others.  Be intentional in your word choice because words matter.
  • Get on the agenda.  Not every meeting or conversation has an agenda (although most meetings ought to if they want to be effective.)  When there is an agenda, maximize that opportunity.  If you have a proposal you want to make, a question you would like to pose, or solution to a problem, or any other meaningful contribution you want to make during the meeting, contact the person running that meeting and ask for some agenda time.  They may not give it to you. However, simply asking shows that you are engaged and ready to participate proactively.  This is especially important if the person running the meeting is your leader.  Don’t wait for them to assign you something.  Be proactive.  Ask yourself, “what meaningful contribution to this meeting can I make?”  And, ask for agenda time if appropriate.  Even if you opt not to ask for agenda time, asking yourself “what meaningful contribution can I make?” can help position you to participate in a meaningful and impactful ways. When I work with executives who are looking for their team members to enhance their communication skills, one of the #1 requests is “please help my team members take more initiative, take more ownership, be more proactive.”  Get on the agenda and you will be demonstrating leadership abilities and be seen as more proactive and engaged.
  • Arrive early.  There are many good reasons to be slightly early to every meeting.  You minimize the risk of arriving late due to be waylaid in the hallways.  You increase the chances of getting a good seat in the room. You will be seen as reliable, respectful, and engaged.  And, you can leverage those few minutes to your advantage.  Put away the cell phones (even if you are standing in the hall waiting for the conference room to be vacated by the previous occupants) and engage in conversation with others who have arrived.  Stop texting and introduce yourself to people you may not know.  Ask a colleague how a project is progressing.  Make small talk.  Look people in the eye.  Smile. Be friendly.  Be professional. Be present.  You will create a memorable impression by having short conversations with those around you. Building your professional network is important and meetings are a great place to do so.  Get to know people and you can easily do that in 5 minutes or so when you arrive early.

Meetings present a tremendous opportunity for you to shine.  Make the most of the opportunities you have to communicate in a confident, professional, and engaged fashion.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.

 

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Are You Driving Your Leader Crazy?

 

stressed leaderIn my work with C-Suite level executives and other leaders I often have candid conversations about what they appreciate in their employees and what drives them a bit crazy about their employees. Here is a quick look at a few of the “crazy makers.”

  • Not getting to the point fast enough. While most leaders genuinely want to listen to their employees and sincerely care about their employee’s opinions and ideas, they are also typically pressed for time and need employees to make it quick. You might be driving your boss crazy if you are not focused, if you beat around the bush, or give too much irrelevant (from the boss’s perspective) detail. Get to the point. Be direct and focused on sharing key points. That will get you heard.
  • Not having “enterprise” perspective. Perspective matters. Do you view things simply through the lens of your own experience? Do you tend to view things solely through the lens of your current position or job description? If so, you might be driving your boss crazy due to lack of “enterprise” perspective. While good leaders understand that you might not have access to all the information and details they have and that you might not have the same “enterprise” level perspective they do, leaders are looking for people who can see beyond their own job titles or experiences. They value employees who think and communicate about things that make a difference to the big picture – enterprise level thinking. If you can tie your contributions to big picture goals or enterprise level thinking, you will gain more attention, authority, and respect.
  • Not having confidence. Hesitation when you speak (including “ums” and “ahs”), hedges such as “kind of” and “sort of,” and/or constantly asking for permission or approval instead of taking initiative can give the impression that you are not confident. You might be driving your boss crazy if you use a weak or approval seeking communication style. Great leaders are always looking for those they can groom or those who are ready to take the next step. Don’t sabotage your success simply by not communicating in a confident manner. Purge your communication of weak or wishy-washy language and be seen as someone with tremendous potential.

Avoiding these “crazy makers” can lead to greater success at work and a leader who views you as a confident, business savvy, and effective communicator.

For more powerful communication resources, visit Pamela’s success store.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.

You might also enjoy:

Boost Leadership and Communication Skills with the Power of Perspective

Stop Undermining Your Credibility with This One Word

Trigger Understanding – Not Defensiveness

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3 Keys to High Caliber Communication – Are You Using Them?

words_have power_SQHave you ever noticed that some people seem to naturally communicate in a confident and engaging way without coming on too strong or being a pushover? Do you know professionals who are able to present their ideas and solutions in ways that get attention, authority and respect while others seem to flounder or fail to persuade?

Would you, or members of your team, like to  communicate in a more compelling fashion for greater credibility, influence, and impact?  If so, the upcoming webinar “High Caliber Communication” is a fast-paced and content-rich program you can easily access.

The live broadcast is on February 18, 2016 at 12:00 PT (1:00 MT, 2:00 CT, 3:00 ET.)  Every registration comes with a complimentary downloadable version of the live event, so no need to fret if the live broadcast time doesn’t work for you.  You can learn (and review) at a time that is convenient for you!

In this hour-long event, we will discuss 3 very important things high caliber communicators do differently from average communicators.

High caliber communication is:

  1. Positive
  2. Future focused
  3. Specific

Learn how to integrate these 3 key factors into all types of communication.

Boost your communication effectiveness and drive results

  • Discover the words to choose and the words to lose to give more effective directions, instructions, and delegation for enhanced results.
  • Master the art of feedback that moves people, even poor performers, to behavior change and improved performance.
  • Enhance your ability to ask high caliber questions that uncover hidden barriers to success and high performance.

Leverage High Caliber Communication for Enhanced Leadership and Career Success

  • Learn what high caliber leaders and communicators know about the relationship dimension of communication and make that insight work to boost employee engagement no matter your job description or title.
  • Uncover 5 communication bad habits that might be sabotaging your leadership and credibility.
  • Discover how to effectively communicate your value to your organization, without being pushy.

Pump up personal and team productivity with high caliber communication.

  • Stop the tyranny of the trivial. Master the art of setting limits and boundaries to focus on strategic goals and objectives.
  • Enhance your critical thinking and decision-making skills and start getting (more) credit for contributions.
  • Keep teams on track and on target with better communication during meetings and group conversations.

Whether you are a seasoned leader or a team member looking for enhanced career success, high caliber communication skills can be your ticket to success! Join us February 18, 2016.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.

You might also enjoy:

3 Easy Phrases to Use in 2016 to Communicate More Effectively

What Not to Say: A Guide to Keeping Your Foot Out of Your Mouth – Webinar!

Leader’s Toolkit for Difficult and Disciplinary Conversations – Webinar

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Self Talk For Emotional Control (part 2)

Keys for Better Self-Talk During Emotionally Charged Situations

by Pamela Jett

Key #2 (part 2 of 3)

We previously learned that self-talk during emotionally charged situations is more effective if you plant the desired behavior (I am calm) in your mind instead of the undesired behavior (I am not angry.)

i am strongHere is key #2. Make your self-talk in the present tense. For example, instead of saying to yourself “I will be patient,” say, “I am patient.” Even if you don’t feel patient in the moment, tell yourself you are.

Using “present tense” self-talk helps you engage in the desired behavior right at that very moment.

Key #3 coming soon!

For more tools to stay calm, cool, and collected during emotionally charged situations, register for Pamela’s webinar series Conflict and Confrontation: Critical Skills at Jettwebinars.com or by clicking here.

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Self-Talk for Emotional Control

talk Keys for Better Self-Talk During Emotionally Charged Situations

by Pamela Jett

Key #1 (part 1 of 3)

We all tend to talk to ourselves, especially during emotionally charged situations. If you are looking to stay more calm, cool, and collected during emotionally charged situations, your self-talk can be a great tool if it fits a few key criteria.

The first key is to talk to yourself in the positive, not the negative. Plant the desired behavior in your mind instead of the undesired. For example, say:

  • I am calm. NOT I am not angry.
  • I am patient. NOT I am not exasperated.
  • I am a professional. NOT I am not a hothead.

Neuroscience teaches us that brains don’t process in the negative. So, pump up your self-talk’s effectiveness by communicating in the positive.

Key #2 coming soon!

For more tools to stay calm, cool, and collected during emotionally charged situations, register for Pamela’s webinar series Conflict and Confrontation: Critical Skills at Jettwebinars.com or by clicking here.

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3 Simple Skills to Improve Your Communication (part 3)

by Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s no secret, communication is the #1 skills set professionals at every level ought to be polishing.  Research reveals that 80% of problems in most workplaces are caused by poor communication.  Whether you are a support staff person, a mid-level manager, or a C-suite level leader, better communication skills will help you achieve your goals and make a positive difference.

So, how can we begin to communicate more effectively starting today?  By following a few simple rules.  In previous posts I shared that rule #1 is to communicate in the positive and rule #2 is practice future focused communication.  Here is rule #3.

Communicate with an “Effective” Focus.  Almost every person I know, myself included, likes to be right.  We like to get in the last word.  We like to win.  We are tempted to say “I told you so.” We don’t like to admit when we are wrong. And we often struggle to apologize.  Many of us dig in our heels.  We become stubborn.  We might be a “my way or the highway” type of leader.  We even become difficult to work with and for.  This approach to communication can have severe consequences:

    • Conflict can escalate or turn destructive.
    • Minor issues can cause major relationship damage.
    • Even inconsequential things become a battle.
    • Relationships can suffer, teamwork suffers, and turnover increases.

One simple way to alleviate these consequences is to focus on effectiveness instead of being right.  A focus on effectiveness means that sometimes we sacrifice our need to be right in order to achieve a greater good or higher objective.  One simple way to do this is to replace the phrase “I disagree” with “I see it differently.”  “I disagree” sets up an “I’m right – you’re wrong” dichotomy.  “I see it differently” doesn’t create that dichotomy and is less defense or confrontation producing.

Communication is a vital tool for our success.  And, by following these simple rules for better communication, you can be a better communicator today!

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3 Simple Skills to Improve Your Communication (part 1)

by Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s no secret, communication is the #1 skill set professionals at every level ought to be polishing.  Research reveals that 80% of problems in most workplaces are caused by poor communication.  Whether you are a support staff person, a mid-level manager, or a C-Suite executive better communication skills will help you achieve your goals and make a positive difference.

So, how can we begin to communicate more effectively starting today?  By following 3 simple rules.  Here is rule #1.

Rule #1 – Communicate in the Positive.  So many of us spend time communicating in the negative.  Think about it.  How many of your conversations, especially if you are in a leadership or supervisory role, revolve around what went wrong, errors that need correcting, what you don’t want employees to do?  For many professionals (and even parents) negative communication is the norm.  “Don’t do that.”  “This is incorrect.”  “You’ve made a mistake.”  When we as professionals are bombarded with negative messages several things happen:

    • We can start to feel unappreciated which can lead to disengagement.
    • We might stop taking risks or trying new things because it isn’t safe to fail.
    • We don’t enjoy coming to work and might start to show it with a bad attitude.
    • We don’t do the right things because we’ve been told what not to do, but not what to do instead.

This last consequence points to the solution.  The next time you are tempted to tell someone what “not to do” ask yourself “what do I want them to do instead?”  And, communicate that!  Stop telling people what not to do and start telling them what to do instead.  This is one of the easiest way to begin to communicate in the positive, today.

Continue reading Pamela’s blog for rules #2 and #3.

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You Might Be Driving Your Boss Crazy If…

by Pamela Jett, CSP

In my work with C-Suite level executives and other leaders I often have candid conversations about what they appreciate in their employees and what drives them a bit crazy about their employees.  Here is a quick look at a few of the “crazy makers.”

  • Not getting to the point fast enough.  While most leaders genuinely want to listen to their employees and sincerely care about their employee’s opinions and ideas, they are also typically pressed for time and need employees to make it quick.  You might be driving your boss crazy if you are not focused, if you beat around the bush, or give too much irrelevant (from the boss’s perspective) detail.  Get to the point.  Be direct and focused on sharing key points.  That will get you heard.
  • Not having “enterprise” perspective.  Perspective matters.  Do you view things simply through the lens of your own experience?  Do you tend to view things solely through the lens of your current position or job description?  If so, you might be driving your boss crazy due to lack of “enterprise” perspective.  While good leaders understand that you might not have access to all the information and details they have and that you might not have the same “enterprise” level perspective they do, leaders are looking for people who can see beyond their own job titles or experiences.  They value employees who think and communicate about things that make a difference to the big picture – enterprise level thinking.  If you can tie your contributions to big picture goals or enterprise level thinking, you will gain more attention, authority, and respect.
  • Not having confidence.  Hesitation when you speak (including “ums” and “ahs”), hedges such as “kind or” and “sort of”, an/or constantly asking for permission or approval instead of taking initiative can give the impression that you are not confident.  You might be driving your boss crazy if you use a weak or approval seeking communication style.  Great leaders are always looking for those they can groom or those who are ready to take the next step.  Don’t sabotage your success simply by not communicating in a confident manner.  Purge your communication of weak or wishy washy language and be seen as someone with tremendous potential.

Avoiding these “crazy makers” can lead to greater success at work and a leader who views you as a confident, business savvy, and effective communicator.

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Best Way to Train a Dog to Stay?

by Pamela Jett, CSP

I was listening to Pandora radio today (the “not commercial free” version) and heard a funny ad from State Farm.

The best way to train a dog to stay?  Start with a lazy dog.

In addition to making me chuckle, it also made me think about leadership and communication in organizations.  We all know that one of the best ways to get the results you want from people is to, of course, be clear in your communication regarding desired outcomes, expected behaviors, etc…   We also know it important to provide training in various areas, especially soft skills, to help people achieve.  When we, as leaders, invest in the skills of employees it is easier for them to give us the desired results.  Equally critical is to do what you can within your sphere of influence to ensure that you have the right people in the right jobs or assigned the right tasks.

This means knowing your employees.  Having an understanding of their talents, strengths, and abilities and doing what you can to use those skills when assigning tasks, delegating responsibilities, and even placing people in positions or jobs.  People are far more likely to succeed when the tasks they are assigned are in alignment with their natural strengths and talents.

The best way to get results from employees?  Assign them tasks that are a good fit.

This approach will make communication easier and more effective.

 

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A Powerful Assertiveness Secret

by Pamela Jett, CSP

 

I ran across an interesting research study this morning that posits reaffirming your core values helps you perform better.  People who thought deeply about their most important personal values committed 44% fewer errors in a button-pushing task than others, says a team led by Lisa Legault of Clarkson University. Self-affirmation appears to alert people to their mistakes, allowing them to improve performance. Past research has shown that self-affirmation also offsets the ill effects of mental depletion and boosts self-control.

I also believe that self-affirmation helps professionals be assertive, especially those who tend to struggle.  Here are a few thoughts on self-affirmation and assertiveness:

  • Assertive communication is communication which respects the rights of both parties.
  • Assertiveness is not aggressiveness (communication where one party disrespects the other.)
  • Assertiveness is not passiveness (communication where one party disrespects themselves to try and make others happy.)
  • Assertiveness is a choice.
  • Assertiveness is not always the best choice.  Sometimes it is wise to choose to let something slide or not say anything (passiveness) because it is simply not worth it.  Choosing to be passive on occasion doesn’t make you a passive person, it makes you wise. However, sometimes it is “worth it” and the cost of not rocking the boat or letting things slide can be too high.  That is when assertiveness is critical.
  • Assertiveness is often difficult or stressful because when we choose to stand up for our own thoughts, wants, feelings, and desires we run the risk that others may not “like us” very much – at least in the moment – and that can be scary for some people.
  • Personal Mission Statement can help us gather the courage to choose to be assertive.   One of my favorite thought leaders is the late-great Stephen R. Covey, the author of the best-selling 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and one of the things that he taught me was the power of a Personal Mission Statement.  A personal mission statement is a written representation of our highest values.  It is a written affirmation of what matters most to us.  When we take the time to write a Personal Mission Statement we are investing effort and energy in self-affirmation.  When we are crystal clear as to what matters most to us, it is easier to decide to be assertive, especially if what we are deciding to be assertive about is directly related to one of our highest values.  Stephen Covey taught me that my Personal Mission Statement can serve as a sort DNA upon which all future decisions can be based – even the decision regarding when to choose assertiveness, even when that choice is tough.
I have a Personal Mission Statement and I know it has helped when life has thrown me some tough decisions.  Or, when I’ve simply had to decide what communication approach to take.  Assertiveness is not always easy.  However, having a Personal Mission Statement can make choosing assertiveness easier.

Having a personal mission statement helps with assertiveness for one simple reason.  It isn’t always easy to be assertive.  Other people don’t always “like us” when we are assertive

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