• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Developing Your Personal Branding Story

    Today it’s not about just having an online presence, but rather how your personal brand is perceived. In order to create a trusted image it is important to develop a story around your message and design.

    How can your personal brand create a unique persona that stands out? Your brand story development will come from target market research, and a clear focus on where you want to see your business. In order to create loyal brand ambassadors you need to focus on the qualities of your company and how this benefits your community.

    Branding is all about meeting the needs of your prospects, and presenting a message that is original and compelling. There are several ways to attract followers to your personal brand through your story.

    Steps to Building Effective Brand Storytelling

    Creating an image online that shows the personal side of your personal brand starts with active engagement with your audience. Use these steps to better reach them:

    • Craft a mission statement – You can define your message even further in terms of expressing to your community who you are and what you stand for, and what you can do for them. This should all be included in your mission statement with a clear understanding of what your business is about.
    • Provide a background or history – People love to connect with brands on a personal level. Share stories about the inner workings of your company along with customer testimonials. As your audience can relate to you they will be more inclined to share what you have to offer.
    • Stay active on social media – You can use social media to learn more about your market, network with influencers, share important news and updates, announce new products and services, and expand your brand content. Active engagement on social media can improve your customer service. Remember that in social media the conversation goes on without you. Your brand will be perceived as trusted as you respond to your fans and followers.

    Developing a compelling story for your personal brand is a great way to connect more with influencers and leads. Draw in your target market with a personalized message that strongly represents your company’s mission and values.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    How Soon Should You Update Your LinkedIn Profile

    You just started a new job. You are bursting at the seams.

    You want EVERYONE to know. But … Are you wondering:

    After starting a new job … How soon should you update your LinkedIn profile?

    Of course … You are excited. You really want to tell everyone.

    However, give yourself two weeks.

    Yes, two weeks.

    When you start a new job you definitely want to let the world know that you started and you want to share that news on LinkedIn. However, you will have a lot to do in the first two weeks in your new job.

    Respect the job you took (and your contacts on LinkedIn)

    Take Two Weeks

    The people that need to know you started a new job will figure it out quite quickly. You, your manager, your peers, and those are really close to you. They will all know that you started a new gig. They will also know to respect that time so you can really focus on getting a great start in your new job.

    Updating your LinkedIn Profile

    When you do decide to update your LinkedIn profile – put in the information about your new job, your new title, and anything else that you think is relevant or salient.

    Food For Thought – Set your LinkedIn Profile to update your whole network. That way, everyone you are connected with will know. Normally, I suggest turning this option off so you don’t spam your connections with minor changes. But this is big news. Share it widely.

    When you press enter be aware that your update will go out to your entire contact list (if you have it set up that way) and this is fine. Your friends as well as people you know across your network will start to send kudos and congratulations to you. Which is also fine and expected.

    Updates Lead to Questions

    Many will also ask questions that you want to answer. You want to share your great news. Of course, this is a good thing. However, you don’t want to take that time in your first two weeks on your new job to respond to those comments and kudos. Not because they don’t deserve a response, but because you’ll be focused on your new job. You’ll want to take those first two weeks to insure you are really kicking everything off smoothly and in a strong fashion.

    Added Bonus – You can use these two weeks to send thank you notes to the companies that DIDN’T get your services. See The Power of the Pen

    This is not to shut you down

    This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your LinkedIn profile. All I’m suggesting is that you take two weeks. By then you’re settling into the rhythm of your new job and you’ll be able to respond in a reasonable timeframe to the kudos and accolades that your friends will inevitably be sending you.

    By doing this you’ll be able to really enjoy the comments and respond to people in a manner that they won’t think you are ignoring them. And, this small step of taking 2 weeks is just one more way you’ll stand out in your career.

    Congratulations on your new job. I look forward to hearing about it in two weeks.

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    Posted in Career Development, Success Strategies

    The Elevator Pitch Checklist

    A recent article of mine covered most people’s lack of efficacy in practicing their elevator pitches at job search networking meetings. I wanted to follow up on that and prove my tenets, so I brainstormed with a group of trusted associates—all of whom are in transition—and we came up with some “best practices.” Following are our findings. Based on this information, you’ll be able to rework your own pitch and then practice it when networking. I promise you’ll see results instantly.

    • General Guidelines

    It’s most important to realize that different circumstances require different pitches. Otherwise, your elevator pitch will be perceived as canned and out of context. Make sure it’s memorable, because if it isn’t, you’ll simply sound like everyone else. Try introducing an element of surprise or some humor. The pitch has to be brief and to the point, so that people don’t tune you out. And it has to have a positive tone. No one’s interested in why you’re in transition.

    • Content

    Announce your name at the beginning and again at the end. Make sure people hear you and get the name. If you say it fast the way we normally do, people won’t get it or be able to remember it. Following your name, identify your position—or the position you want to get. Create a point of reference for your role—for example, chief financial officer in a small company.

    • Tone of Voice

    Here’s where you have to sound enthusiastic. Here the word sound has the literal meaning. A voice too loud or too soft won’t work. Also, some people speak faster than normal when under pressure. A normal speed is best. And voice modulation where appropriate increases likability and interest in you.

    • Facial Expression and Body Language

    People judge others based on what they see, and most people have their own personal biases. However, it’s universally agreed that professional attire and an overall professional look are most helpful for promoting your own interest when networking. A genuine and broad smile means the same anywhere and in any language. Above all, make good eye contact with the audience, but don’t move your head like a panning security camera, either. Project positive body language by standing erect. Don’t shift your weight from leg to leg.

    • In Summary

    Creating an effective 30-second elevator pitch is not as easy as it seems to be. In those 30 seconds, you need to introduce lots of content and then act it out—a feat that for some is very difficult. But with some improvement and then several live repetitions, anyone can do it. Good luck. You’ll feel tremendously successful once people tell you how well you’ve done.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Three Strategies to Improve Sales Success

    Excitement always increases when we are about to meet with a prospective client. We imagine the best of all worlds coming together in one meeting. But many times reality arrives in the middle of a meeting when it seems that we are on a collision course with the other party. Knowing how to avoid similar situations as well as how to handle them will turn the negative experience into a positive one.

    Should you be struggling with sales although you are doing everything as trained to do, there may well be a missing piece. Most training will walk you through a routine to apply to everyone you meet. But not all people are made the same and certainly do not think alike. The goal then becomes learning who each person is and to familiarize them with who you are and hopefully find a meeting of the minds.

    People want to know you before they know what you sell.

    The downside to most training is that people are handed scripts. Very few have the foresight to use only the highlights of the verbiage as possible talking points. ‘Possible’ is the keyword because frequently ‘none of the above’ applies.

    1. Enjoy lively in-depth conversations with prospective clients.

    If on the first meeting the suggested talking points do not apply, that’s okay. It is far more important to build the rapport to be asked back for a serious conversation. Use first meetings as getting acquainted events versus a rush to make a sale.

    2. Let your guard down by being professionally personal.

    No one likes speaking to a robot or someone seemingly without a personality. Allow the conversation to go off track to relay an experience that relates to the dialogue. Your personality will shine through. You begin to differentiate yourself from your competitors and establish a genuine personal brand.

    3. Be truthful.

    Most people shudder at the thought of admitting when they aren’t familiar with a term or a concept. Once again, the honesty differentiates you from everyone else in your field. Apply the truth to every aspect of the conversation. In the end, the first sale doesn’t matter. What does make an imprint on your success is to be invited back for additional sales plus the provision of glowing testimonials and referrals.

    If you are in fact struggling with sales, there is nothing to lose by trying something new. Consider throwing away the talking points as suggested to have free-flowing conversations. Try it for a week with everyone you meet. Take note of the reactions and how the tone may be different than before.

    Should you notice a change for the better, incorporate the new style into your meetings. The test will be in the flow of new sales in the coming months. Give it a six-month trial period to substantiate whether the experiment works well. Put your stamp of originality on the new approach to experience the flow of the Smooth Sale!

    Sales Tips

    1. Examine what works well.
    2. Analyze what doesn’t seem to be working as it should.
    3. Try new strategies.
    4. Experiment with the opposite of the usual.
    5. Observe reactions of intended clientele.
    6. Put your personal touch to the conversation.
    7. Ask for feedback on how you may improve.
    8. Experiment further by implementing the better advice.
    9. Share with others the best of what you find to work well.
    10. Celebrate success!
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    Posted in Career Development, Success Strategies

    Get Smart About Supply Chain: How to Cut Costs in Logistics

    Your company’s supply chain covers everything from ordering and storing raw materials to managing your finished inventory to fulfilling orders and ensuring they get to the buying customer safe and sound. With so many different steps in the supply chain process, it can become overwhelming to manage.

    If you’re not properly overseeing your supply chain, costs can begin to inflate. Without clear systems, processes and budgets, you may easily find yourself spending way too much money on your supply chain and logistics.

    Cutting your supply chain costs may actually be easier than you think. If you feel like you’re overspending in your logistics department or you just want to save your business as much money as possible, here are a few smart cost-cutting ideas you should try.

    Create a Detailed Timeline

    Last-minute decisions can lead to mistakes, missed opportunities and high costs. If you don’t have a clear plan of when items should be produced, shipped and delivered to your customers, you’re likely to take on some unnecessary costs before the shipment is completed.

    Create a detailed timeline that follows each and every product from start to finish. Know how long your products will take to manufacture, when an item will need to be shipped to be delivered on time and what you can do to reduce those costs. If you take the time to consider the small changes you can make in your timeline, you can free up ample room in your budget.

    Use a Multitasking Supplier

    Your suppliers are a major part of your business’s success. But if you’re buying different items from suppliers all over town, you can run into additional costs. When there are too many areas you need to collect supplies from, your supply chain becomes longer, you have longer lead times and you will end up paying more.

    Work with suppliers who can provide you with multiple things you need. Companies with multiple capabilities can help you reduce time and can even save your company money. Multitasking suppliers can also reduce the chance of mistakes and eliminate additional supply transportation costs.

    Have a Backup Plan

    While you will want suppliers who can provide you with the majority of what you need to create your product, you don’t want to have all your supplies coming from one location. If your supplier does not have any competition, they may want to jack up their prices, knowing it could be more of a hassle for you to find a new supplier.

    Having multiple suppliers can also ensure your business runs smoothly if there is ever an issue between you and one party. If you have multiple suppliers, your production won’t stop if one goes out of business, you can’t come to an agreement or they raise their prices outside of your budget.

    Run a Lean Operation

    A company is lean when they do not have frivolous or unnecessary additions to their processes. For supply chain, a lean operation includes operating at full capacity, keeping little raw material sitting in inventory and properly forecasting future purchases and demand. While a lean operation is not always easy to run, it can save your company a decent amount of change.

    To start, look at where your company could be more efficient. Are you frequently sending out half-empty shipments? Are your facilities or storage units underutilized? Cut back on the things you don’t need and rearrange items or processes until you’re making the most of your space and assets.

    Only Use One Platform

    Instead of using multiple platforms to perform different tasks, keep all your information, needs and product details in one place. Be sure this platform is accessible to anyone who may need the information.

    Operating on just one platform can reduce mistakes, missing information or duplicate activities. When you have fewer platforms to flip between, there is a smaller chance of an order going missing, getting sent to the wrong location or being forgotten. If you have fewer mistakes, you’ll save time, money and headaches for your employees.

    Consistently Review Your Demand Needs

    No matter how long you’ve been in business, your demand will probably change from time to time. Certain seasons or years may be busier for you while other times may bring you fewer orders. If you’re operating on the same supply chain plan all year round or from year to year, you’re probably wasting a good chunk of money.

    You should be doing research on your demand consistently throughout the year. Make adjustments to your supply chain periodically throughout the year to reflect your research. Track your projections and your actual orders until you have a better idea of what your demand looks like.

    Consider Outsourcing

    While outsourcing your supply chain management would mean another expense for your business, it may actually help you become more efficient and make more money. For smaller businesses that may not have the funds to keep a full supply chain team in-house, outsourcing logistics can take the stress off your shoulders and give the work to a professional.

    Outsourcing your supply chain management can also reduce the number of mistakes your company experiences during the fulfillment or shipping process, saving you precious time and money. If you feel like supply chain is something you just don’t have time to master, consider outsourcing at least a part of it.

    If you’re not paying close attention to your supply chain, it can easily get out of control. The more mistakes you make, the more money you need to pay to keep your customers happy and ensure they’re getting the products they’ve purchased.

    Getting smart about your supply chain is one of the best ways to reduce costs and improve your efficiency. With these tips, there’s no reason you should still be struggling to streamline your supply chain process.

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    Posted in entrepreneurship

    Can Career Assessment Tests Help You?

    Whether you are at the beginning of your career or have many years of experience in different fields and still not sure what to do for the rest of your life, taking a career test can be helpful in expediting your process of identifying a new career. Career tests are great for eliminating career mistakes and assisting you choose a new direction for yourself. There are however, facts to keep in mind about career tests and below you can find these.

    • Career Tests Do Not Point You One Specific Job: Many people are looking for short-cuts to find the right job for them and unfortunately, career tests cannot tell you one specific job that is right for you. Each profession has many different variables and it is very hard for a test to assess all of these. However, career tests can give you advice by showing different career options according to your skills and interests. Remember, this is not a math test and there isn’t only one right answer. There may be many right answers which you haven’t considered before.
    • All Career Tests Are Not the Same: There are three different types of career tests and they all work differently. These are; personality, interest and ability based tests. An example of a personality based career test is Myers-Briggs. It tries to understand how you live your life, make judgments and perceive information. It assesses whether you are an Extrovert or Introvert (E or I), Sensate or I(N)tuitive (S or N), Thinking or Feeling (T or F) and Judging or Perceiving (J or P). Then, it gives you the combination of these choices as a result. Interest based tests, as the name implies, assesses what you are interested in and tries to match these with career paths. Ability based tests tries to figure out your skills and what you are good at to show you different job options.
    • One Career Test is Not Enough: Since all career tests are not the same, doing one career test is not enough. It is best to do at least one from each test type and then look for the overlaps in your results. Also, it is very important to give honest answers to questions in order to get the most accurate results. The validity and reliability of the test is another key aspect that needs to be considered.
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    Posted in Career Development, Career Resources, Job Search, Success Strategies

    Simple Steps to Build Your Personal Brand’s Author Platform

    book-25155_640Both digital and traditional publishing are a great way to build a fan base for your personal brand. It takes the right research and planning to make this successful in a very competitive environment for your niche.

    Are you working on a book this year? By focusing on the right target market and staying diligent in your marketing efforts you can attract readers to your brand.

    Next to blogging a book can help improve your visibility as well as become a sales generator for your personal brand. A professional website that captures leads along with great content to showcase your knowledge and expertise is essential.

    How to launch a successful book publishing venture for your brand

    There are several ways you can make a name for yourself and establish authority as an author.

    • Dedicate a domain for your name or book – Many brands continue to write a series of books thus making it necessary to mold your branding around your name rather than just a single publication. Choosing a specific domain name on a self hosted platform will help your audience recognize your name and presents a professional persona.
    • Publish regular blog content – A website is not enough to showcase your brand’s book. It takes a build up of an audience who is interested in what you have to offer to be successful. Make a plan to connect a blog and publish there at least two times a week. Once you have a solid list of subscribers you will be able to leverage these contacts to spread the word before your book is published.
    • Share to social media – We all know how important it is to have a presence on the major social networks. But equal to this is to actively share and engage with your community on a regular basis in order to establish trust and authority in your niche. As you approach your fans and followers in a meaningful way you will open the door of opportunity once you have an official publication being released.
    • Join groups online – There are a variety of social networks that allow you to network with like-minded professionals without the need to sell your book to them directly. By building relationships in these places your brand can participate in what they are offering, which can create guest blogging opportunities and an interest in your company.

    When it comes to publishing for your personal brand it’s essential to maintain a human element that is up to date with the latest technology and trends online. As you build your marketing strategy plan ahead of time at least a year in advance to your book being officially published.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    What’s Your Personal BHAG for 2017?

    Have you set yours yet?

    If yes, how’s it going?

    If not, now is a good time to consider your BHAG for 2017.

    What is a BHAG?

    If you read the seminal book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins this will not be a new term to you. If you haven’t gotten around to reading it yet … because you are making all your BHAG’s real … that’s OK.

    A BHAG is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

    BHAG’s can be anything you want them to be. Typically, in a business they are related to the business at hand. Even though they might be focused on the core business at hand they should be … as the acronym implores … they should be Big, Hairy, and Audacious.

    Business BHAG’s are often long term thinking … 10, 20, even 30 years out.

    What about Personal BHAG’s?

    The idea of a Personal BHAG can be much closer on a time table.

    It’s up to you, but I think a yearly Personal BHAG is a worthy challenge.

    Every year you should consider at least one Personal BHAG

    If you want to do more than one that’s OK. However, the idea is to commit and go all in. For example, if you want to learn a new language. What will you do to make that happen? Will you take a class? Will you move to the country? What will you do to make it happen?

    Challenge Yourself

    There is no limit to what you can assign as your Personal or Professional BHAG.

    Dream Big. Think Big. Act Big. You can do it!

    Whether it’s Double the Revenue of your company, Start a New Business, Run for Office, Write a Book, Travel to Someplace, or whatever you can dream up.

    One factor to keep in mind is Accountability. Make sure you put markers in place to know you are on the right path. Also, it can be helpful to enlist your friends, family members, mentors and colleagues into your BHAG journey. They can lift you up and help you see your next marker when the challenges seem insurmountable.

    Remember to Thank your friendly guides along the way

    Putting Your BHAG’s into Play

    It’s going to be hard. It’s going to tax you, push you and exhaust you.

    And, you’ll be better for it.

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
    ~ Lao Tzu

    Imagine the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you complete your BHAG. That just might be enough to get you started. Now, it’s time to put the wheels in motion.

    So, what’s your Personal BHAG? What’s your Business BHAG?

    When will you get started?

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    Posted in Career Development, Success Strategies

    Why Employees Should Think Like Freelancers

    man-439040_640Being your own boss. Working from your couch. Taking as much holiday as you want, whenever you want it.

    To the desk-bound employee, going freelance can seem like the ultimate dream. Until you look into it, and realize how much hard work it is. Constantly hustling for clients and worrying about making rent this month? Suddenly, that morning commute doesn’t seem so bad. As an employee you might be working for someone else’s vision, but at least that someone else will still pay you if you come down with the flu.

    But just because you’re not a freelancer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever act like one. Taking a little time to invest in yourself will allow you to grab many of the benefits of freelancing without ever leaving the employee safety blanket.

    Here’s how:

     

    • Appoint Yourself CEO of Company Me

    Not literally. (If you start handing out those business cards in the staff room it’s going to get a little weird). But visualizing your professional self as a business helps you to focus on planning and implementing a clear career trajectory in the same way companies develop and follow business plans.

    Think about your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Where do you want to be in the next year, five years, fifty years? Be ambitious in your aims, but realistic in your timeframes. Then, work out exactly how you’re going to get to those stages. There’s likely to be significant obstacles to overcome: perhaps you’ll need to undertake extra education or training, or even need to switch careers entirely.

    It takes time to save up for a new degree or find a new job. But by planning ahead you give yourself the time and opportunity to make whichever changes are necessary for you to get to where you want to be.

     

    • Think of Your Company as Your Client

    Businesses may value and invest in their employees, but their ultimate priority is the well being of the company. Employees should have the same mindset.

    Always remember that your focus is your own goals and interests. This doesn’t make you a bad employee; on the contrary, workers who are striving for personal achievement tend to work harder, take on more projects, and succeed more. Whether you’re aiming for an internal promotion or cultivating the skills and experience which will make your CV shine when job-hunting, you’ll need to become a star employee to get there. And star employees are very good for business.

     

    • Negotiate Greater Flexibility

    Being able to manage your own work time and space makes you more productive. Fact.

    Anyone who has ever tried to complete an important project in a noisy office already knows what many employers are belatedly catching onto – allowing flexible working is good for business.

    In this digital age, more and more employees can complete at least some of their work away from the office. If you fall into this category but your company doesn’t offer options for flextime or remote working, propose a trial project to your boss. Ensure that you don’t just get more done but that you compile proof that you got more done, and then present these statistics to your employer. The trick is to make them see it as something that will benefit them, not just something that will benefit you.

     

    • Build a Portfolio / Personal Website

    Almost all freelancers will have a personal website, and often a portfolio of their work, which they can show clients. Even if you’re never planning to leave your current employer, you should follow suit.

    Personal websites make you look professional. They are also a great way to impress client, especially new or prospective ones. Moreover, compiling your achievements and best work means it’s easy to keep track. If you’re looking for leverage to gain an internal promotion, it’s handy to have all the facts on hand, especially in a visually spectacular way.

    There are multitudes of free, easy-to-use websites designed to help everyone set up their own website and/or portfolio. A quick Google should point you in the right direction.

     

    • Keep Learning

    It’s not just job-hunters who should keep updating their CV and skimming through job postings. The best employees are constantly improving and adding to their skill set. One of the most effective ways to do this is to locate gaps in your knowledge and work to fill them.

    Regularly compare your CV against job specs for similar roles. Are any of them asking for expertise you don’t have? Could learning a particular software program or other skill boost your current work abilities? Have a look at job specs for the level above you as well.

    Once you’ve identified your areas of weakness, work on strengthening them. This could even be done within the office – if you present a business case to your employer about why the extra training would enhance your productivity, they may support or even pay for you to undertake it.

     

    • Keep Your Options Open

    The world is constantly changing, and the world of business changes with it. Just because you aren’t currently planning to leave your current job doesn’t mean that some unforeseen future event won’t force your hand.

    Never get caught unaware. If freelancing is something you think you might want to do one day, or something you could fall back on if necessary, be proactive and start working at it now. Cultivate relationships that could become clients, keep your CV and work portfolio updated, and do some basic research into what you would need to get your freelance business off the ground.

    You may never stop being an employee. But adding a bit of freelancing flair to your work ethic will make you a better and more successful worker; regardless of who signs your paychecks.

     

     

    Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specializing in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs listings for roles. Or; if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.

     

     

     

     

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    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding, Success Strategies

    How to Overcome Your Insecurities

    questions-1922476_640Are you insecure at times? Of course you are, because this is how we keep checks and balances over our daily behavior. As a practicing career coach, I see this personality trait every day. And because about 70% of my clients are in transition, I see it more than others do. I remember that when I was in transition—unfortunately for a very extended time—my personality changed significantly. All of my personal insecurities became dominant over my interactions with others, which is natural because insecurities serve as mechanisms to protect ourselves. It’s too bad that’s the case, though, because in a job interview, one needs to show confidence and not blatant weakness. By the way, a common interview question is, What are your weaknesses? By far it’s one of candidates’ most-hated questions, but we’ll get back to that later.

    Overcoming Unfounded Fear

    For the lion’s share of my professional career, I managed people—lots of people. And for more than three decades, I succeeded in hiding one of my own biggest secrets. I feared talking to large crowds or having to do formal public speaking. But because I was in a leadership position, the duty was unavoidable. I dreaded and feared the moment to an extreme but had to face the music. I’m sure you may have had like experiences. And here comes the punchline: Today, having had close to 300+ public speaking engagements under my belt. I can say unequivocally that stage fright and the fear of public speaking can be overcome. So, what happened in my case? I asked myself. What is the logical answer to such a 180-degree reversal in personality? My only reasonable answer is that in the past, I feared that my colleagues, bosses, and subordinates would find fault with either me, what I said, or what I delivered in my speech and that that would crush the credibility I’d attempted to build with them for a long time. I feared that any faux pas would hold me back from promotions or that I’d be ridiculed and possibly—at the extreme—even lose my job. This is the furthest from the truth. So, what changed?

    Effective Methods

    When I make a public presentation, I prepare for it carefully. Sometimes I test the content and my delivery with a small group. Presidential candidates do that before their own speeches or debates. In fact, they have entire teams of experts to practice with. That same method gives me confidence because practice makes perfect, as they say. And at the same time, I don’t focus so much on the content—because I’ve prepared for that carefully—as on the delivery. I focus on my body language, facial expressions, and relentless eye contact with the crowd. I constantly say to myself that I know people in the crowd are critiquing me and some of them might be upsetting, but at the end of the day, I am the expert on the topic and that’s why I was invited to present. Those thoughts give me the confidence to be myself, smile, at times even crack a joke, or be humorous. It might not always work as expected, but so what? I’m able to overcome their critiques and my fears.

    Overcoming Perceived Liabilities

    In a job interview situation, a common question asks about the candidate’s weaknesses. Most candidates dread the question—mainly because they don’t understand what’s behind it: the interviewer simply wants to find out whether the candidate is honest with an answer, is fundamentally even aware of a weakness, and can articulate it—and, best, whether the candidate can give an example of going about correcting it.

    Do you think you have perceived liabilities when facing an interviewer? Most likely you think you do. Everybody could have potential perceived liabilities in the eye of the interviewer. So, what’s the best way to deal with it? For example, how about when the interviewer looks over your résumé and surprisingly says, “Oh, you don’t have an MBA.” Most people would react to that comment in a defensive way. “I don’t have an MBA, but . . . ” and go on to try to justify it. That’s not what the interviewer wants to hear. A better answer is an acknowledgment of the fact and a welcoming of the question: “I’m glad, Mr. Johnson, that you surfaced this issue. It gives us the opportunity to talk about it.” That way, your reaction is not defensive. Next, make an assumption that ends with a question. “I assume you’re looking for someone with an MBA for the analytic skills they’d have, right?” To that question, the interviewer can answer, Yes, that’s what I had in mind” or “No, what I had in mind is teamwork, for example.” So now you know where the interviewer’s focus is. And your response to that could be something like, “Mr. Johnson, I’d like to give you an example from my professional past that clarifies my extensive involvement with many and diverse teams.” And here you give an example. Simple, right? Of course—if you know how to do it. It’s all about fear control, and when you know how to control and deal with such fear, everything comes out better, firmer, stronger.

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