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I do this really embarrassing thing where I don’t post regularly to my blog. Figured I would blog about it. If you have a blog (or you’re thinking about starting one), you need to add new posts at least once a week in order to be effective!

Are you trying to keep your name in front of your online network, but you don’t want to start a blog? Take advantage of your social media profiles and do a status update, at least once a week! An easy way to do this is to share an article of interest, or let your network know what you’re up to in the professional world. One example is telling them about a recent seminar you attended, or any type of event. This is especially important for job seekers or someone trying to grow their business.

A lot of us are scared of bombarding our network with too many posts, but once a week is unobtrusive, yet helps keep you in front of important people. How often do you write new posts?

 

 

 

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My last post was intended for job seekers, but this is something for all business/sales people to remember. Your (potential) customers need to know what is so great about working with you. What is your unique selling proposition, or USP?

Let people know why it’s a great idea to choose you!

I mentioned the book The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon in my last post and want to share one aspect of the book that has been very applicable to my work and life.

At one point towards the beginning of the book, the main character gets the idea to ask his children “their success of the day. He explained that it could be something great that had happened to them that day or something they were proud of” (p. 54).

Since reading that, I have used this with clients and people in my life. As an example, I worked with someone who was feeling disconnected from their father. Instead of the typical, “how was your day,” my client asked, “what was the highlight of your day?” By asking that, the two of them were able to have a more substantial conversation than they had been having recently.

The best part of this exercise is that it immediately brings positive energy to the conversation and you can watch someone’s face light up as they speak. It also helps two people connect in a way they may not be used to, and can become a daily ritual.

If this sounds different from your nightly routine with your family and friends, I encourage you to give it a try!

As a follow-up to my last post, I want to address how to stay positive over time. It’s easy to get caught up in a new way of thinking, but then slowly ease back into your old habits as times get tough, and life gets in the way.

One thing I learned from Tal Ben-Shahar’s presentation is to get in the ritual of writing down what you’re grateful for. You might find that doing this every night feels like a bit much, but a few times a week could be just right. This is an exercise that I encourage my clients to do, especially job seekers. It helps you stay in a positive state of mind when life can feel very frustrating, or just maintain your positive outlook.

Another great tool for learning to focus on the positive is a short and fun read called The Energy Bus. A friend of mine learned about this book at a conference, and it reminded him of my work as a coach. I find that this book gives you the tools to change your mindset (in an entertaining way), and apply the principals to your work and personal life.

These are just a couple tools that I find to be very effective for changing your mindset. How do you maintain positive energy in the workplace?

From my Organizational Psychology education at MSPP and various presentations I have attended over the last year, I have learned about the importance of positive psychology. I am happy to see how prominent it is becoming in psychology, and its gradual move into the business world. It gives us the opportunity to let go of what isn’t working, and focus our energy on what is working. Some highlights include learning about Marcus Buckingham and his belief in focusing on strengths, learning and using Appreciative Inquiry, and attending an incredible presentation by Tal Ben-Shahar through HRLF. These are people and tools that are definitely worth learning about if you’re not already aware of them.

When I am career coaching, I help my clients identify their strengths and what they enjoy to do (ideally, they are one and the same!), and then help them find a career where they can use these the majority of the time. We all have to spend some time partaking in activities that are considered our “weaknesses”, but it’s important to spend most of our time using our strengths. This ensures that we are energized and engaged in the workplace, and don’t waste time working in areas where we may never excel.

Have you taken the time to identify your strengths? How often do you get to use them during the workday?

For many companies, “productive meeting” could be considered an oxymoron. I have sat through a few of these types of meetings myself, and I’m sure that I’m not alone.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case. I am currently reading Rework, by the founders of 37signals. Something that really struck me is how these guys measure meeting time. It’s not just an hour of meeting time, it’s actually multiplied by the number of people in attendance. Hopefully this will help you reconsider who actually needs to be in your next meeting, and how long it needs to last.

They also suggest conducting your meeting at the place where the problem is happening, instead of in a conference room. (this is of course assuming that meetings are happening only when they need to, and for a specific purpose) Meeting in this way ensures that the process is efficient and productive.

We’re at the point where people are starting to go on summer vacation. School is out, and we’re close to the 4th of July. What are your summer plans?

As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to get bogged down with daily tasks, and move away from creativity and innovation, which are so important for your business. Don’t let this happen to you! Having time for these is essential for your business to continue to be successful.

Going on a vacation and actually stepping away from your business is ideal. We’re able to return to work with a fresh perspective and new ideas. In addition to actually going away, make sure to build time into your day for thinking. You can brainstorm, think about where you want your business to go, or just read for fun. A friend of mine worked for an advertising agency where creative directors were able to play ping pong at the office when they needed to generate new ideas. What’s your creative outlet?

Does humility have a place in the business world? I would like to think that it does, however, I think there needs to be a balance between being modest and overconfident. Both of these qualities are essential at different times.

Many of the job seekers that I coach seem to struggle with having to talk about their accomplishments. To show their stuff, they really need to sell themselves during the interviewing process. A lot of people are not comfortable with this, but quickly learn that they need to be if they are not going to be passed up for job opportunities. How will the interviewer know how successful you were in your last position if you don’t let them know? Searching for a job does not seem to be the best time to be humble.

Aside, from the example above, I do believe that humility has a place in the business world. Executives getting their hands dirty and showing their employees that they are not too good for the small tasks is a great example. By supporting employees and showing them appreciation, leaders are able to create a healthy and happy work environment.

How comfortable are you with asserting yourself and talking about your accomplishments? Are you able to step down and get your hands dirty?

I recently presented with Dave Wilson of Hirsch Roberts Weintstein LLP on Social Networking in the Workplace for SBANE. Employers have a lot to consider, and we discussed some important aspects of social media for businesses.

Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are experiencing significant growth, and employers need to think about how they want to embrace social networking in their organizations, if at all. Some companies take full advantage of the power of social networking, some restrict its use and others ban it completely. Common concerns are related to productivity and company exposure. Implementing a company policy on social media will help with any potential issues.

Social networking has a lot of advantages for an organization, as long as it is used properly (or within the guidelines of a policy). First, it is a great way to promote your brand and gain exposure. One way to do this is through a Fan page on Facebook, or by adding your company onto LinkedIn.

Another advantage is having the opportunity to engage with customers, once you’re on these sites. There are different ways to do this, but a couple of examples are quickly responding to their positive or negative feedback, and showing your appreciation for their business. Social networking offers a fast and efficient means of communication.

An organization can benefit from embracing social media, but there has to be a balance. The protection of clients, employees and the company’s reputation always have to be considered. Any policy that is put into place needs to be fair to employees and prevent unnecessary exposure to the company.

We’re almost halfway through the first month of the year…how are you doing in terms of sticking with your resolutions? Are you right on track or have you already forgotten about what you said you would do (or not do, as they case may be) ?

In my last post, I talked about identifying your values, and making sure your resolutions are aligned with what’s important to you. This is a great time to check in and see where you’re at, and possibly tweak your resolutions.

Resolutions that you will stick with are created by looking at what you want in your life, and not from what you “should” be doing. Think about this as you’re evaluating the resolutions you have made.

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