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  • feedwordpress 00:24:03 on 2017/12/01 Permalink
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    Dog Whisperer 

    My friend’s dog hates me. This really bothers me because I have never met a dog that didn’t like me or vice-versa. In fact, my husband calls me a dog whisperer because dogs seem to naturally gravitate toward me. Just last week, a woman was walking her dog on the beach. I was walking the other way when her dog abruptly turned around and started following me.

    Dog whisperer.

    Another friend’s dog is so excited when I come by that he presses himself against me and moves with me like glue stuck to cardboard until I leave.

    Dog whisperer.

    There is a dog I know who has NEVER left her owner’s bedroom overnight, yet she slept on the floor beside me in the guest bedroom when I stayed over.

    Dog whisperer.

    You get the picture.

    So, now you understand why I don’t understand why my friend’s dog doesn’t like me.

    Her name is Rosie. She’s a Jack Russell Terrier. She appears to have a personality disorder. Several times a year, I stay with my friend who lives in another state. When I arrive at her home, Rosie carries on like a maniac until her owner calms her down. Once I’ve been inside for a few minutes, she does a complete 180 and can’t seem to get enough of me, in a good way. She sits on my lap. She kisses my face. If I get up, she follows me around. I begin to feel like a dog whisper again.

    Then it happens. Another 180. Most recently, I walked into the kitchen to assist my friend with dinner and bam! She snarled, bolted after me, jumped on me and bit my thigh. No blood, but I was a little freaked out. The owners apologized profusely, saying they can’t understand what happened and they put her in her cage. Time out for Rosie.

    Once out after a long scolding, she cowered back to me and tried to make friends, but still nursing my thigh, I refused to make eye contact until the next morning. Thinking Rosie, the Impaler was still in her cage, while everyone was sleeping, I made my way downstairs for coffee. There she was. Loose. 14 pounds of anger staring me down. I walked toward the coffee maker. She followed behind. I took my coffee into the family room and sat down. She sat on the floor in front of me, snarling ever so slightly under her breath. I tried to talk nicely to her and she started barking. Fortunately, she woke her owners up and they took her away.

    I started thinking about it and wondered, why do I care if this dog likes me? Admittedly, it’s probably because I’m afraid she’ll bite me again. However, there is a great analogy to be made when it comes to the workplace.

    At work, most of us want to be liked. We want the boss to notice our effort and good work. We want colleagues to want to work with us. Acceptance. Respect. Appreciated. Most of us want that. Yet the reality is, we can’t and won’t be liked by everyone. If we spend all our time trying to get everyone to like us, we risk worrying more about what other people think instead of being true to ourselves.

    Leaders don’t have to be liked by everyone to be great leaders. Think back to some of your bosses. You probably liked some of them. They were personable and fun to be around, but they weren’t necessarily strong leaders. Others may have been difficult or abrasive; not the kind of people you wanted to socialize with after work. Yet, they may have been strong effective leaders who you trusted and respected. That’s the key.

    All day long we use products that we trust. For example, you may own an Apple computer. You don’t like, or dislike CEO Tim Cook because you don’t know him. Yet, you would never buy anything else. You trust Apple. You respect the company’s ability to make a solid product that works for you.

    Johnson’s baby shampoo is another example. There are many baby shampoos available to you, but if your mother used Johnson’s and your grandmother used Johnson’s, you might prefer Johnson’s. You have never met CEO Alex Gorsky and don’t have an opinion of him, but you trust J&J products and respect the company’s longevity and reputation.

    Amazon is also a good example. You may know nothing about CEO Jeff Bezos, but many have great respect for Amazon’s business model and ability to make on-line shopping easy.

    It’s not just products. Think about the doctors or lawyers you’ve encountered. Some lack personality, but they are known for their precision in surgery or excellence in the courtroom. You might not like them, but you trust them to produce the best outcomes for you.

    Trust and respect in business is a good thing. If people trust and respect your product, they will buy from you and recommend you to others. Your business and reputation will likely thrive.

    That was the problem with Rosie and me. I wanted her to like me, but I didn’t trust her. Like a back-stabbing workplace colleague, her unreliable behavior created tension. I was wary and on guard.

    To be seen as a leader and build trust at work, consider these seven simple steps:

    1. Be open. When people speak to you, listen. Accept their ideas and suggestions even if you don’t implement them.
    2. Tell the truth. Honesty is still the best policy. Constructive feedback is more productive than critical feedback.
    3. Stay issue oriented. I once had a boss who made everything personal. Focus on issues and solutions instead of personalities.
    4. Be aware of body language. Look people in the eye when they are speaking to you and you are speaking to them. Avoid fidgeting, closed gestures such as arms crossed, hands behind the back or in pockets. Avoid checking your texts and emails when someone is trying to have a conversation with you.
    5. Ask probing questions. Asking questions suggests that you know you don’t have all the answers and are interested in ideas and opinions of others.
    6. Strive for consistency. That means don’t tell one-person layoffs are due to budget constraints and then tell someone else it was because of poor performance.
    7. Gossip is not for grown-ups. If you want to be trusted, then zip it. Keep what others tell you to yourself.

    Like dogs, who quickly decide who they like and who they don’t, people can often sense if someone isn’t trustworthy. It may be the words they use, non-verbal signals they send or even their appearance that determines our reaction even when we don’t really know them.

    Maybe that’s where Rosie and I broke down. We don’t really know each other. Perhaps when I went to the kitchen to help my friend, she perceived I might cause harm. Or, when sitting on the couch, maybe I moved too quickly threatening her space.

    Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe I should take the high road and give Rosie the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, but I don’t think so. I may never figure out why that dog doesn’t like me, but the next time I visit my friend, I’m going to respect Rosie’s space and hope she’ll respect mine.

    Like a worker who spends too much time trying to please, I’m expending too much energy wondering why Rosie and I don’t connect, when there are still plenty of dogs who like me for me.

    To them, I’m still a dog whisperer.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:26:31 on 2017/11/26 Permalink
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    Don’t put words in someone’s mouth. 

    I agreed to do a radio interview about challenges that small businesses face. Only, when the hosts called a few minutes prior to the live interview, I knew I had probably made a mistake. They were throwing out a few F-bombs, trying to sound like shock-jocks and clearly knew nothing about my new book or business, which was why they invited me on their show. I realized it was their shtick and given we teach people how to turn communications to their advantage, I was confident, perhaps over-confident, that I could handle it.

    It started out well. I interjected tips to become a more compelling communicator, specifics for small businesses and provided examples that I knew listeners would relate to. Then, one of the hosts asked: “what is the biggest challenge in your business”?

    I replied that the challenge for all businesses, large or small is to stay current and relevant. Specifically, I explained, as technology changes by the second, it’s tough to keep on top of everything. I said that’s why it’s important for business owners to have partners and reach out to others who can help.

    That’s when she said: “So, what I hear you saying is that you don’t feel relevant anymore.” What? Did I say that or was she putting words in my mouth? Rather than appear defensive, argumentative or repeat her negatives, I responded like this.

    “We pride ourselves on being relevant because we work hard at staying current and constantly reinventing ourselves, challenging ourselves so we are the best we can be for our clients.” I reiterated that it is critical to stay on top of change and look for new ways to address client challenges. I said, “We are constantly creating new content, materials and how-to-videos to stay current.”

    That’s when she said she’d like to offer me advice about my business. I am always open to advice and learning something new, but I was a little leery to accept it from a radio host who put words in my mouth and I wasn’t sure even knew what we did. However, I was on live radio so I said “sure”.

    She told me that I should hire young people right out of college and have each one of them shadow the coaches who work for me. Considering our coaches have extensive communications experience, multiple awards and provide communication guidance to senior executives, I wasn’t sure why she was offering this suggestion.

    She said the young people could learn from the experienced people and say what they say. I explained that knowing what advice and guidance to provide comes from experience, not following a script or repeating someone else’s words. Then she suggested they could improve our social media footprint to which I said, “We’re very active on social media. Is there something you observed that we can do better?” She hadn’t visited any of our social media channels but said she was offering this advice because “You said you didn’t feel relevant”.

    I wanted to blast her and hang up, but that would have become the focus of the story and I would have appeared argumentative. Instead I said “Please don’t put words in my mouth. That’s what you said, not what I said”. She started to interrupt and this time I cut her off. It went something like this.

    “You invited me on your show to discuss the challenges that small businesses face and based on running my firm for two decades, you asked me to provide solutions that may be helpful for your listeners. Instead, you are twisting my words, offering your own advice when you seem to have no real understanding of our business and I clearly made a mistake accepting your invitation. So, we can end the interview now or you can allow me to speak to the challenges of your listeners.”

    There was silence and more silence until she said, “Oh sure, go ahead”.

    Assuming you know how someone else feels or what they think can backfire on you especially if that someone calls you on it. Sometimes, it’s not even what the person is saying, but rather how they are saying it. What if she had asked, “Do you ever feel irrelevant?” Or what if she had said, “Have you had specific experience that made you feel less relevant and what did you do about it?” That takes someone off the defensive and they will likely respond less defensively. Assuming how someone else is feeling and projecting your words onto them will shut down any communication.

    In an article about divorce published in Psychology Today, author Michele Weiner Davis says, “The words we choose can mean the difference between loving, constructive conversations.” She says, “It’s important to say what you want to say in a way that someone else can hear you and not become defensive.” Even if the person thinks you are over-reacting to what was said, she advises backing up a step or two and trying again, using different words.

    The same is true in business. Asking questions prompts two-way conversations and indicates you are truly interested in someone else’s opinion.

    Eventually I did discuss the challenges I believe small businesses face. Here are my top three:

    1. TECHNOLOGY

    Keeping up with technology, having the right systems in place to prevent breaches and having the right tools available to market and grow your business remains a top challenge. Making the right choices and having the right partners is critical.

     

    1. IMPROVING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

    Improving customer experience and staying current to keep your customers is key. That means launching new products, creating new content and being open to change to deepen existing relationships and create new ones.

     

    1. ATTRACTING NEW TALENT

    Looking for ways to attract people with skills that can contribute to the business and be a good match for clients. It’s also important to make sure those who have worked with you for a long time continue to feel valued and appreciated.

     

    When the interview was over, surprisingly, the host said, “That was a great interview, thanks for the advice.” Trying to be gracious, I thanked her in return. The interview wasn’t great because of me. It was great because she stopped talking, started listening and stopped trying to assume what someone else was thinking.

     

    We had a real conversation that was focused on helping her listeners.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 14:45:01 on 2017/11/20 Permalink
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    6 Ways To Feast On Learning 

    feast-on-learning

    I decided to pull out this Monday Motivator from 2013 because it is a favorite of mine, still holds true and in fact, I believe it to be truer than ever before. Since I wrote this in 2013, I have expanded my mind to the worlds of:

    • Focus instead of multitasking
    • Engagement instead of entitlement
    • Being revolutionary
    • Being resilient
    • Collaboration
    • Creativity and innovation
    • The dangers of a digital world
    • And so much more!

    I have dug deep into each of those topics and am excited about every one of them. But I’m not only the student, I am an advocate for each area and firmly believe in the concepts. I hope you enjoy reading the following.

    I have always been hungry to learn. Or I should say, once I finished high school I gained an appreciation for learning. I went right into the workforce after high school and fortunately landed good jobs early in my career. I was exposed to and worked with some very bright executives. I was intrigued by the business world and how people acted and interacted. I observed their behaviors and listened to how they spoke. My hunger for knowledge grew stronger and stronger. I was also blessed during my younger working years, to have 3 outstanding executive mentors who I supported in various industries. I was a sponge and soaked up everything they had to offer. I was off to a very good start.

    Well, that continued as years passed and I am still hungry to learn. As the saying goes, “The more I know, the more I need to know.” I learn from the savvy executive assistants who attend my training programs, the executives who hire me, and from anyone I come in contact with as I travel the country. My vision is broadened as I meet people when I travel and attend industry conferences.

    I hope you will be an every-day student; don’t ever be so full of yourself that you stop learning.

    I know Thanksgiving is right around the corner so for this last full week before the holiday, here are some actions you can take.

    1. Observe the people you interact most with at the workplace. What actions do they take that you admire? What don’t you like that they do or say? What makes them shine above other employees? Is that a trait or traits you can work on?
    2. Listen! Stop all the distractions when people are talking to you or are in near range. What words do they use that make them stand out? Do they use creative language or ho-hum talk? Are they clear and concise as to what they want to communicate? What can you learn from them to enhance your own communication skills?
    3. Purchase one book this week that will expand your mind and vow to finish before the end of this year.
    4. Every day this week, use one new word that you want to add to your vocabulary.
    5. What can you learn from your immediate executive? What does he or she do really well that you need to improve upon?
    6. Are you staying up on the current trends in your organization?

    I wish you a great week and a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    Joan Burge

    Feast on learning and take advantage of our Black Friday Sale!

    Star Achievement Series Trainer Kit – $1,295 (reg. $1,495)
    Online Learning Programs – 40% Off
    Executive and Assistant Partnership Bundle – 50% Off
    Purchase any of Chrissy Scivicque’s products and receive the webinar Setting Healthy Boundaries in the Workplace for FREE ($49 value).
    Word Trippers Subscription – 40% Off

    Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY17 at check-out.

    BONUS! Make a purchase during our Black Friday Sale and be entered to win 2017 Conference On Demand ($499 value). 

    The post 6 Ways To Feast On Learning appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:03:10 on 2017/10/23 Permalink
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    Tap into the Power of “3” in Your Writing 

    writing_tipsby Barbara McNichol

    Our society loves “3”; we remember things in “3s”; we’ve learned it from kindergarten when we were told to hop, skip, jump and stop, look, and listen.

    Businesses gravitate toward “3” when they create marketing taglines. Look at these examples:

    • Reduce, reuse, recycle (recycle guide)
    • Buy it. Sell it. Love it. (eBay)
    • Grace, space, pace. (Jaguar)

    How can you improve your writing by tapping into the power of “3”? Consider this example from a newsletter. The rewrite flows better because of the three-part rhythm brought into play.

    Before:
    You are free to choose, create and live the life you want if you are willing to investigate, make changes, update your protective strategies, be honest with yourself, and invest in what it takes to continue growing. (37 words)

    After:
    You are free to choose, create, and live the life you want. (12 words)

    That works if you are willing to investigate, update your strategies with honesty, and invest in continuing to grow. (20 words)

    Also, notice how the long-winded sentence of 37 words was broken into two shorter sentences with breathing space between. Ah, much easier for readers to follow.

    How can you tap into the power of “3” in your writing? Keep this question top of mind with everything you write.

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administration professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource so you can quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent weekly resources in your inbox, including a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Details at www.wordtrippers.com/odi

    The post Tap into the Power of “3” in Your Writing appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:56:26 on 2017/09/19 Permalink
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    Assistants . . . Looking for an Amazing Gift Idea? 

    Gift_baskets

    Are you planning a corporate event at a beach resort? Or maybe just looking for a unique gift for your favorite client or special employee? As an assistant who has to occasionally (or often) search for client or holiday gifts, I know how hard it is to find a unique gift. It seems like the same old “stuff” pops up.

    Well, I was fortunate to have Martha Liberti reach out to me a few months ago and tell me about her beautiful, customized Beach Bag Gifts. Seaglass—Beach Bag Gifts offers a designer beach bag stuffed (and I mean stuffed) with beach essentials (towels, beach blanket, water bottles and sun lotions) and wrapped with a handmade bow and real starfish! The finished product is a very classy way to say “Thank You.” Or “We greatly appreciate your business.”

    The Beach Bag Gifts sets are very carefully packaged. I can personally attest to that as Martha donated 3 for giveaways at our Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence this October. I was amazed how everything was perfectly intact. And the bags are even more gorgeous in person.

    Quick background on Martha: Martha was born and raised in the northeast. She had an early career in the medical field. Then married a wonderful man Gaetano, had 3 children and became a stay-at-home mom. In 2014, they moved to Florida in search of a better quality of life. Inspired by the beautiful beaches and exotic sunsets, Martha followed her passion of gift making and giving and a new business was born.

    I hope you will be as inspired by Martha’s beautiful work and check out what she has to offer at www.seaglass-bbg.com

    beach_bags

    The post Assistants . . . Looking for an Amazing Gift Idea? appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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