• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Self Publishing Your First Branded Book is Easier Than You Think

    Establishing a trusted personal brand starts with great content. Writing about your expertise is more possible than ever with a self published book. While traditional publishing is still a good option you, as an author, do not have the availability of marketing your own work.

    A personal brand’s reputation online is built through a strong message. This is in turn can open the doors for more opportunities. With a well laid out plan, a professional design and precise editing your book is built on authority, and answers the pressing questions of your target market.

    How can your brand make self publishing work for you? Through understanding your niche and writing books that are both professional and appeal to the needs and desires of your community.

    A compelling topic will certainly get noticed along with a working with a professional editor and developing a smart marketing plan. In order to be effective there are a few key strategies to use:

    How to successfully publish your brand’s book

    There are several ways to create more visibility for your next publication.

    • Find out who your target market is – Who will your book will appeal to? You can discover this through your social media statistics as well as your website’s data in order to gain a better understanding of who is interested in your brand. Through this process your brand can learn more about your audience’s pain points, which improves your chances of being seen among thousands of other publishers online.
    • Start the marketing process before writing – The marketing strategy of your book should come well in advance of actually writing it. Build up your social platforms along with your blog with an engaged and interested audience — these will be the initial fan base you will be appealing to. This will build anticipation and an interested community before your work is even published.
    • Decide on the format – Once your book is edited and designed the next step is to decide whether this will be in print, as a eBook, or provided in both formats. This will depend upon your initial budget and the type of audience you are appealing to.

    Your brand can be the go-to resource for your target market with your own book publication. By using the right resources and methods you can successfully build a strong marketing plan and image online that is just as professional as working with a traditional publishing house.

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    Pay Attention

    We’ve heard this since time immemorial.

    From the time we were in kindergarten and first grade all the way through college and into our professional careers.

    Pay Attention

    One of my favorite movies is “Inside Man” where the main character Dalton Russell, played by Clive Owen, says something near the end of the movie.

    He says:

    “Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself.”
    ~ Dalton Russell

    Then he follows it with very crisp, cogent, and concise instructions for what you should pay attention to.

    Where he details The 5W’s – The Who, Where, What, Where, and Why.

    If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.

    I wrote How to use POP on the Job  where the The 5W’s play a critical role.

    He knows precisely what he is Paying Attention to and uses The 5W’s to help us know too. You may want to try this model to focus your attention.

    You are what you pay attention to

    I have said for years that I can tell you everything you want to know about someone and specifically about what they prioritize, by looking at their calendar.

    Which is really just another way of saying “you are what you pay attention to”

    Everyone only has 24 hours in a day. Everyone can only do so much in those 24 hours. Choose Wisely!

    See Plan Your Days … or Else for more about paying attention to the time you have. Hint: 86,400

    If you want to stand out in your career … pay attention. Manage your time and your calendar wisely.

    There is no judgment here

    The point of this post is NOT to tell you what to pay attention to. It is also NOT to judge on anything that you prioritize and you pay attention to.

    It is merely to point out this somewhat obvious fact that we are what we pay attention to.

    What are you paying attention to?

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    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding, Success Strategies

    Who Is Really Deciding to Hire You or Not?

    Years ago, I had a large office in the Wall Street area with a personal secretary screening my phone calls, opening mail, taking dictation, and managing my calendar. Since then of course, the business world has changed. The next phase had executives sharing a pool of secretaries using floppy discs working on word processors. That was followed by an administrative assistant supporting at times an entire group.

    Whereas years ago the hiring process and the hiring decision were the exclusive domain of the executive, nowadays—since so-called teamwork has become a major part of the work environment—hiring decisions are often shared and thus made by several team members. That process supports the concept that a group decision is better than an individual decision. As a result, the process has become convoluted, protracted, and not necessarily better—in my opinion.

    Today’s job market is flooded with lots of very qualified candidates chasing very few openings. The way hiring happens has also changed. Technology has infiltrated the process, and today’s submission of one’s candidacy is purely mechanical. Nobody sees the candidate’s skills and qualifications unless the hiring manager’s keywords match those on the résumé or LinkedIn profile, and only then is the original document viewed. Once that happens, several candidates get selected for the next step in the process.

    To save time and money, a short phone or video interview, or screen, is the next hurdle candidates face. It’s usually accomplished by someone junior in the human resources department who in most of the cases does not fully understand the hiring department’s particular needs. If an external recruiter is the intermediary between the candidate and the hiring company, then the recruiter’s financial motivation is playing a significant key role. That’s because recruiters work for the company paying their commissions.

    Decision Making

    Decision making is a complex process because several parties have a say and a stake in it. For example, sometimes the human resources department representative’s opinion carries significant weight, and other times the rep is merely a paper trail processor. Sometimes a candidate is interviewed by several people in addition to the final decision maker. Those others, too, have a say—because hiring managers want to show their support of their teams by demonstrating their collegiality—but to what extent those other opinions matter is probably variable. And what happens when a hiring manager favors a particular candidate but several others who’d be future peers of the candidate show resistance? In addition, in most cases hiring managers know the thinking and mentality of the person they report into, so what happens if their own opinion is opposed regarding the type of person who should be hired?

    A recent large survey was conducted among human resources professionals and hiring managers. The survey clearly found that by far, the number one factor in the hiring decision is the fit factor—meaning, the determination about whether a candidate will fit into the culture of the company. Fully 100 percent of the respondents said so! But what is this culture that’s referred to? Who defines it? Who interprets it?

    Some companies use exclusively behavior-based or situation-based interview questions. The tenet here is that past performance is a good indicator or predictor of similar such performance. I wonder if those companies can decisively demonstrate that by practicing this theory, they become able to hire and retain a higher-caliber labor force.

    Ultimately, of course, it is people who make the final decision about which candidate to offer the job to. The interview process is certainly not a science but an art. Can that art be learned in order to improve one’s chances of being hired? Well, I’m sure you know the answer to the old riddle that asks, Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?

     

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    How Quality Presentations Can Give Your Career a Boost

    When was the last time you were required to give a presentation? Can you remember? Presentations are not limited to groups of people sitting around a speaker — they’re part of your everyday life. Each time you pitch an idea, discuss solutions with a client or interact with colleagues, you are presenting. Delivering a low-quality presentation can drive away potential clients, limit promotional opportunities and waste time.

    Here’s how mastering the art of giving excellent presentations can propel your career forward.

    You’ll Gain More Self-Confidence

    As you hone your presentation skills, you’ll captivate and engage a more significant portion of your audience. Your confidence will naturally begin to grow as you rehearse your presentation and become more comfortable with the subject matter. Eventually, you’ll relax when speaking in front of larger groups about your ideas. This confidence will then carry over to other areas of your life, such as communicating with co-workers or pitching solutions to a client.

    The next time you sit for a job interview or apply for a promotion, you’ll have the speaking ability you need to sell yourself as the best candidate. Interviews are another form of presentation. Your potential employers will be attracted to your confidence, and you’ll increase your odds of landing the job you want.

    Your Articulation Will Improve

    Successful presentations immediately grab an audience’s attention. If a speaker takes too long to set the stage for their thoughts or pitch, the audience may lose interest in the topic. Once an audience checks out, it can be difficult — if not impossible — to get them back. Rather than risk this pitfall, practice stating your ideas in a concise matter. After you’re familiar with getting down to the point of what you wish to say, you’ll avoid going off on tangents or rambling.

    As you improve your articulation skills, you’ll naturally improve your communication skills. You’ll have an easier time conveying your point of view to your co-workers. Clients will better grasp your recommendations and supervisors will appreciate your direct approach.

    You’ll Become Better at Reaching Your Target Audience

    Part of delivering a quality presentation is having a firm grasp on your target audience. Before you begin to develop a presentation, take a moment to reflect on who you will be presenting to. Is the presentation for internal co-workers or external clients? Will you be speaking at a conference where the audience has a firm knowledge base? Evaluating your audience will help you determine the subject matter they will find the most relevant.

    Learning to read and assess the information most relevant to your target audience is an invaluable skill. Chances are, your clients are busy people. Instead of wasting their time — and yours — you’ll be able to provide them with tailored services or products that best meet their needs. Investors, supervisors and co-workers will also benefit from this approach, as you’ll be able to provide specific, relevant information in their areas of interest.

    You’ll Be Seen as an Expert

    Think back to the last presentation you heard. Did the speaker talk confidently to the audience, or did they stumble over their subject matter? To be seen as an expert, you must speak like an expert. The more time you spend practicing your presentation skills, the easier it will be to speak naturally with more confidence and to articulate your ideas better. Your audience will begin to see you as an expert.

    Coming across as an expert has advantages with current and prospective clients, too. Everyone wants to purchase products, services or take their advice from an expert — ideally, an expert who is confident in the capability of what they are offering or discussing. Being passionate about your subject area doesn’t hurt, either. Enthusiasm is contagious. Speak passionately during your next presentation, and you’re more likely to achieve your goals.

    You’ll Improve Your Communication Skills

    Strong presentation skills will carry over into your everyday life and improve your communication skills. Think back to the last time you attended a speech. Did the speaker actively engage with the audience and try to answer their questions thoroughly, or were they dismissive and short? Failing to engage an audience can turn them away from you or your company. Actively listening to and addressing questions from your audience will pique their interest and grow their trust.

    Active listening is a critical component in excellent communication. Practicing this skill during the question-and-answer session of a presentation will help you listen more fully to your clients. In turn, you’ll be able to address their needs more accurately. Co-workers also will also benefit from active listening. You’ll reduce the amount of time spent in meetings and improve your relationships.

    The skills you develop while delivering a presentation can carry over into other aspects of your life. Take the next step in launching your career by developing the skills to give a quality presentation every time.

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    Posted in Career Resources, Education, Skill Development, Success Strategies, Workplace Success

    Why You Still Need Business Cards Infographic

    Venngage, the infographic creator website, created a great infographic for my previous blog post “Why You Still Need Business Cards“. This week I wanted to share this infographic with all of you and again highlight the importance of having business cards for everybody.

    Business Card Infographic

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    Posted in Brand Yourself As, Networking, People, Skill Development

    Two-Step Remedy For Resting B*tch Face

     
    There are more resting bitch faces (RBF) in business then there are bitches.  If you want to be a workplace leader you have to rearrange your facial expression.   Same goes for resting fart faces (RFF) in men. 
     
    Both female and male boomers and millennials send a message they don’t intend when they unconsciously adopt a sour face that doesn’t match their attitude. And they hinder their career advancement and leadership effectiveness. 
     
    The RBF (and RFF) is unmindful sagging cheeks with corners of the mouth turned down. That gives you a look that others see as censorious, unapproachable, or like you are permanently bugged and bummed by something and someone; mad and are plotting revenge. 
     
    But you can change that response in two steps: 
    -First, pull your facial cheek muscles up toward the eyes a half-inch.  That turns the corners of your mouth up slightly.  
    -Second, open lips apart a quarter-inch like when saying the word ‘cheese-whiz’ or ‘eggplant’.  
    That two-step combination of corners of your mouth up and lips apart a little gives you a look that others see as approachable, interested, attentive, non-judgmental, and self-confident.  
     
    Right now stop and take a selfie with your face as you started reading this article then a second selfie after you rearrange your facial expression. (The corners of your mouth turned down or turned up, it’s your choice.)  But you must keep the expression consistently whether you are mad, sad, glad, scared, frustrated. It’s a leader’s ‘game face’.
     
    With Boomers gravity pulls the facial muscle, eyes, and jowls downward into a giant frown. With millennials their faces also adhere to gravity as the head is directed to the iPhone and the face left completely blank. Both groups need to retrain facial check muscles into an expression that is awake, alert and alive looking vs the negative appearing resting bitch face or resting fart face
     
    I’ve heard all the justification for not rearranging your face:
    “My face is just in repose.”    (Fine if you are alone, behind closed doors.)
    “It’s my natural expression.”   (No, you learned it from a parent, teacher, boss.)
    “This is just how I look.”   (Not unless you chose to.)
    “I’m smiling on the inside.”   (Then do it on the outside too.)
    “I’m just not a peppy person.”   (Nothing to do with pep; everything to do with taking responsibility for your effectiveness.)
    “I can’t fake it.”   (For most people their RBF is fake, it’s not how they are at all, it hurts their leadership ability, and they can’t figure out why working so hard isn’t enough.)
    In my latest book, The Leadership Mind Switch (McGraw-Hill, 2017) co-authored by Kylie Wright-Ford, we engaged in over a 1,000 conversations with C-level executives and found that being “kindly confident” is one of the qualities required to lead in the new world of work. They describe kindly confident as: comfortable in your own skin; sureness in self; and understanding that other people’s opinions, attributes, and knowledge matters as much or more than their own. And leaders show “kindly confident” with a suggestion of a smile garnered from lifted facial cheeks with lips not too open or too closed.
     
    Research has shown your influence will go the way the corners of your mouth are turned: 
    -New York University sponsored research shows happier looking people are judged to be more trustworthy. (Something required of a leader.)
    -University of Kansas research found cracking a smile even when you don’t feel it reduces the body’s stress response.
    -University of Maryland research found emotions influence your face conversely facial expressions influence emotions.
     As a leader, if you can’t smile more, at least frown less, because over a short time your expression gets sealed into a permanent facade of extreme displeasure and you look naturally cross and no one wants to follow that. It’s as one man told me, who has the resting fart face, “Once people get to know me they really like me, but they never get to know me because I scare them off with the way I look at them”.
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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Why Use Professionals When Job-Hunting

    So, what is career coaching? Many people nowadays use the term career coaching, but they’re not sure they understand its meaning or whether they’re using it in the right context. Any kind of coaching consists of the practice of supporting an individual or a group that has the objective of reaching a predetermined goal or goals. Coaching is a very broad term encompassing a variety of types such as business, career, conflict, executive, personal life, religion, and sports coaching.

    Career coaching revolves around job-related issues. Many people use the expressions career coaching, career counseling, and career consulting interchangeably but without really understanding the differences between those terms. In fact, among the three terms there is a fair amount of overlap.

    A career coach asks lots of questions to diagnose issues that need attention, focuses primarily on the client’s agenda, and works with the client on the skills needed to achieve the objectives. The process is brief and commonly accomplished via short sessions and sometimes even via phone or video such as Skype, Zoom or alike.

    A career counselor provides answers and information. It is logic that drives this process, which uses standardized assessment tools. Counselors typically meet with clients face-to-face at regular, predetermined time intervals.

    A career consultant resolves problems by meeting frequently with clients at the consultant’s workplace, and the engagement is project based.

    Even within career coaching there are subspecialties. Some coaches specialize in helping clients learn how to apply job search tools; others cover aspects of clients’ marketing of themselves; and still others teach social media presence and the use of LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. I myself am a career coach specializing in preparing clients for interviews. About 70% of my work consists of performing mock interviews with clients, but a goodly portion also helps clients with myriad other career-coaching issues.

    For some job seekers, the cost of career coaching can be a significant barrier. Career coaching is of course a service—one that is purchased the way similar professional services are. For instance, most people see a doctor when they’re sick; or they hire a lawyer when they need legal counseling; or they have their tax filing prepared by an accounting professional if they don’t know how to do it.  Many people use a career coach to explore future career options, find a new job, improve leadership skills, change jobs, or create a healthier work-life balance and enhance their experience in their position.  Several factors affect the cost of such services.

    Career coaching is a profession similar to the professions of plumbers, electricians, accountants, and so on. All of those professionals invest in their careers in order to support themselves, and so, they rightfully expect to be compensated financially by clients or customers.

    In my opinion, the cost of career coaching should be made explicit at the outset; and the most expedient way to announce it is via the coach’s Web site. The cost should be made transparent because clients have the right to know up front what they’ll end up paying for such a service. I’d be very suspicious if the cost is not spelled out. What is there to hide? What other surprises can a client expect? Frankly, job seekers should not engage career coaches without checking out whether such coaches have been recommended by others. And I’d question the quality of a coach’s services if no testimonials or LinkedIn recommendations are available.

    In researching career-coaching costs, I’ve found it interesting that sessions vary in length from 45 minutes to 50 minutes to 60 minutes and that charges vary, too—from, say, $50 to $695 per session. My advice is that a prospective client look not at cost per session but at total cost and then compare that with how the client would profit from the service.

    Above all, what would the likely outcome be if such a service is not used? By working with a career coach, clients speed up the job search process, work with a pro, get unbiased feedback, stay on track, and, by the end, will have learned how to negotiate a better compensation package that would cover the cost of the career coaching—often severalfold!

     

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    Why Soft Skills are Important for Your Career

    We are living in the tech world and it is obvious that everybody should have basic technical skills. Unfortunately, technical skills solely are not enough, if you want to move up the corporate ladder. You should also have great soft skills. Think of a manager who cannot explain what he wants from his team or doesn’t listen to his employees. Obviously, this manager cannot lead his team effectively plus he won’t be a good role model for others. Therefore, in addition to technical skills, one should have soft skills as well. Below you can find the 3 most popular soft skills that everybody should possess.

    Communication Skills: We need to communicate with other people to do business because we need to pass along information to them and more importantly, we need to transfer this information correctly. Therefore, having good reading, writing and listening skills is very important in today’s corporate world. Good listeners understand the necessary information correctly and ask questions if they need to clarify a point. Good writers pass out the information to others properly and good readers do not miss any important points while reading the information.

    Problem Solving Skills: This is one of the most sought after skills. Every day we come across with many problems because this is the nature of doing business. People who don’t give up when a new problem arises and can come up with possible solutions to solve that problem are the ones that will become successful and be one of the future leaders of tomorrow.

    Time Management Skills: We juggle with many different tasks each day and unfortunately, these don’t come one by one. Sometimes we need to prioritize what we are working on and schedule our tasks accordingly. That is when having good time management skills really makes the difference. Also, having good time management skills allows us to complete more in less time so we can have more free time to work on other tasks.

     Adaptability Skills: Adaptability gives us flexibility because people who can adapt to any situation easily are usually flexible. Thus, they don’t afraid of change and instead, they embrace change. This is a very required skill in today’s world because everything around us is changing very fast. Also, people who have high adaptability skills have usually positive mindsets and don’t get upset with anything very easily because they are confident at achieving anything that is thrown at them.

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    Posted in People, Personal Branding, Skill Development, Success Strategies

    Attract the Right Audience and Influencers with an Authentic Brand Persona

    The quality of your connections far out weigh the quantity when it comes to building a personal brand online. In order to create more visibility for your brand it is important to forge relationships with the right niche and influencers.

    How can your personal brand attract a targeted audience online? Through content and communication that speaks to those who will be interested in what you have to offer. With a focused approach you can grow your networks and eliminate followers who will not be brand supporters.

    Today’s online world is all about building a reputation through authentic relationships that will last over time. There are several ways to attract the right fans and followers to your personal brand’s website and on social media.

    Building Authentic Relationships online

    Attracting the right audience for your personal brand starts with a clear focus and strategy. Use these steps to make better connections:

    • Get away from selling to your audience – More consumers are using technology such as ad blockers to get away from direct advertising. This old sales method simply doesn’t work in a time where people are looking for trusted brands to purchase from. Use your content as a tool to provide a reason for them to want to know more about your company.
    • Check out your current networks – Do an audit online to find out who your true fans are and to weed out any spam followers and referrals. Start connecting with influencers in your target market whom you can build relationships with as these people will be most likely to recommend your brand later on.
    • Be selective with social media – In order to maximize your productivity you will need to learn which social networks your audience is engaging in the most. If you spread your efforts too thin over many different platforms you are then missing out on a more focused, and personalized approach with a select few.
    • Spread the news – Once you have made better connections and have promoted other influencers the time will come when you will have a guest writing opportunity or a shout out for one of your service or product launches. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network to let them know what’s happening in your business — but keep in mind this can only be done after you have established trust and support for what they offer as well.

    It is important for your personal brand to build authentic relationships in order to reach an Internet savvy audience who rely on appealing content and trusted reviews. By paying attention to what they need you can make better connections that will grow and produce quality recommendations.

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    Why Use Professionals When Job Searching

    A recent visit to a public restroom made me smile. I was hoping nobody saw me smiling, but it was quite humorous. In this recently remodeled restroom, everything was automated. To wash my hands, I placed one hand under a U-shaped pipe, which squirted soap. I then moved my hand under the faucet, and water flowed out. When I then needed towels, I waved a hand in front of a paper towel dispenser, and a towel rolled out. Yes, I could have placed my hands under an automatic dryer too. Such advanced automation made me smile and started me thinking, Why can’t the job search be so simple? And indeed, when searching for a job, we find that almost everything is still done manually.

    Yes, you need to create a résumé. Yes, most people ask their friends to just “look at it” and suggest improvements. No, your friends are not professionals, but they can still offer you advice. My suggestion is that you get a professional resume writer to assist you. It will cost you some money, but would you have your car repaired by your friend who’s an amateur? And when you get really sick, would you consult your friend who typically gives you health-related advice? If you post your résumé and nobody calls, that means your résumé is lacking. A well-written résumé that highlights years of significant accomplishments will get reaction. If your résumé is written in an intriguing way that arouses curiosity about how you achieved your results and how you could do the same for others, then your phone will ring. When passing billboards on the highway, do you notice them? Some of them you may still remember.

    And then comes interview preparation. So you think that since you’ve gotten jobs in past, you can be good at it again? Really? Today’s extraordinarily competitive job market rewards only the very best. There’s no gold, silver, and bronze here. Gold or nothing! So think again about your need of a professional for preparing for that interview. As a career coach, I help job seekers every single day. In the past I used to think that the more senior an executive is, the less preparation the person needs. Not so, I found out. At times even though executives might be more articulate than average, many of them—just like nonexecutives—still neither understand nor know how to apply the strategy of convincing an interviewer that they represent the ideal candidate.

    The only automation within a job search consists of the various alerts one can set up so that when certain keywords appear in a job posting, the job seeker gets alerted. Try setting up an e-mail alert via indeed.com.  You can also use Google Alert for specific keywords etc.  I’m hopeful that technology will evolve to make the job search easier and more automated. Until then, job seekers have to do things manually, and my advice is to get professional help.  Those of you associated with the real estate industry know the expression FISBO.  This is the pronunciation for the acronym FSBO which means for sale by owner.  These are the do it yourselfers.  People not using real estate agents do save on commission.  But how long is their house on the market?  Do you know the tactics how to negotiate for a better price?  Be smart in whatever you decide doing.

     

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