HOW TO COMMUNICATE CONCISELY:  by Janine Lum (findings:  Forbes)

Becoming a good communicator takes practice, consistency and effort, and definitely a skill that we cannot afford to overlook.

“Don`t communicate to be understood; rather, communicate so as not to be misunderstood.”  Dr. Lund from Forbes Successful Business Communication

For clear communication it is imperative to understand the way we interpret communication from others and the way we interpret messages, which are based on three principles: - FACIAL EXPRESSIONS / BODY LANGUAGE  (55%), VOICE TONE  (37%) & THE WORDS ONE SAYS  (8%).  Here are some very interesting statistics on this topic.

These statistics are the averages across both men and women together, but that if you looked at women alone they would even give greater weight to the facial expression and body language and even less on the words. This tells us that it is critical that we become very self-aware of how our body language is speaking to others as well as the tone we use. One thing I recommend is to keep a small mirror by your office phone so that when you are on the phone talking to people you can look in the mirror because it makes you more aware of the facial expressions you have, which makes you smile more, which in turn ends up coming through in your tone of voice over the phone. It works wonders on how well others interpret you from a phone call.

Success in business is greatly impacted for better or worse by the way in which we communicate. Happiness in our personal lives is also greatly dependent on this very same skill. (Just ask any married couple)!

How To Have More Time - (by Janine Lum)

Time is what we all want most of, but use least effectively!  Screen time is my aversion, we spend way too much time on screens - phones, ipads, PC's, TV and it seems we never get away from having square eyes! 

Time is free  - but it's priceless.  You can't own it, but you can use it!  You can't keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you've lost it, you never get it back.  (Quoted by Harvey McKay).

Here are my top tips to acquire & utilize your time more effectively:-

1.  BE ORGANIZED - Prioritize work into more streamlined and systematic order.  For tasks that don't add value, simplify or eliminate and focus on those tasks that should be higher up the priority list and aim for greater use of productivity.

2.  BE REALISTIC - About what you can fit into your schedule and divide your tasks into more important matters first.

3.  BE RESULTS DRIVEN - Concentrate on achieving results, not just on staying busy.

4.  SOLVE PROBLEMS - In advance during downtime so you don't waste time on finding solutions when you are busy.

5.  OUTSOURCE - tasks that you don't have time for, don't enjoy doing, find mundan or can easily be done by others to ease the burden.  ie. Virtual Assistant, Cleaning, Washing Car etc.  Don't forget to ask for help!

6.  RESEARCH / READING - Skim through less important content to focus on chapters / content that is most crucial.  

7.  AIM FOR NURTURING RELATIONSHIPS -  Good health, relationships (work and personal) and exercise all provide us with great benefits, spending quality time with friends, family and work colleagues is vitally important to work, life, balance.         TIME IS THE ONE THING WE CAN'T BRING BACK, utilize it well!

 

Three Major Shifts in Thinking that will help you Tackle Big Entrepreneurial Goals More Easily!     (By guest contributor Amanda Blesing)

 
As women we are living and working in exciting times.  Right now, there is a huge spotlight on gender diversity and encouraging women into senior roles, into industries that have been the purview of men traditionally and even into the entrepreneurial space.  
 
However it would appear that women don’t need much encouragement when it comes to wanting to set something up for themselves.  In both Australia and the USA increasing numbers of women are setting up small businesses. Sometimes this is in addition to their paid employment and sometimes it’s in place of their regular salaried employment. 
 
Either way, women are beginning to carve out their own piece of the pie and quite clearly want a say in how their financial and personal freedoms turn out, that is not quite as reliant on other people’s good luck or poor planning. 
 
The gender salary gap in Australia currently sits at about at 18.8% (which is worse than it was 30 years ago) and the more senior you go the gap widens to up to 45%.  ANZ Bank has recently capitalised on this quite cleverly with some very slick media and advertising that estimates that this gap pans out over the span of a career to around $700K. So it’s no wonder women want to do something about this.  
 
So as we women are starting our own business ventures we need to learn different ways of behaving, thinking and being in order to be happy and successful in our new ventures.   The old approach of waiting for feedback from someone else, or waiting for your CEO or boss to tell you what to do next, or relying on the Board to dictate strategy simply won’t cut it in a more entrepreneurial world.  And the reality is that in traditional paid employment comes the benefits of sick leave, annual leave and temp staff to cover you for when you can’t make it in to work – yet frequently when you first head out on your own, those things are seen as a luxury and will feel like they are coming out of your own pocket. 
 
'You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.' Marianne Williamson
 
So to help you get started here are three new ways of thinking that will help you become successful much faster. 
 
1. Stop being busy, start being strategic
 
Okay so maybe you were the star performer at your old workplace, but working for yourself is an entirely different ball game. When you are running your business or entrepreneurial venture you are chief operation officer, chief cook and bottle washer plus you get to design and deliver the strategy.  Do you know how hard it is to think strategically when you are overworked, over whelmed and feeling underappreciated in the early days of your venture?  And when you feel like that, it’s very easy to default back to operational mode  - which is where you feel most comfortable because its where you’ve spent most of your working life. 
 
Additionally as women, we’ve been socialised to be busy, to keep busy, to do things well, not to cut corners, to do things properly.  
 
“The devil makes use of idle hands” was something my Gran would say. “Eek!!”
 
This socialisation not only plays out to keep us busy and/or looking busy, but busy work also wears us out.
 
Sometimes too as women in the workforce we frequently put our needs, desires and wants second to others in our lives. We might be biding our time waiting for kids to leave school, the husband’s fast track career or business idea to come to fruition, or perhaps family obligations.  
 
However, we know from observing highly successful people that doing the job, being operational or putting yourself won’t cut the mustard when it comes to standing out from the crowd or executing big audacious moves. 
 
So stop a moment. Take a breath. Take time to reflect. What can you do that will help you work smarter not harder? What, or who, can you leverage? How can you position yourself so that people come to you, not vice versa?  Stop being busy and start being strategic – and you’ll get where it is you want to go a whole heap faster.
 
2. Build resilience with some failure practice  
 
Who knew that practicing failure could be so helpful?  Certainly not most women that’s for sure!  
 
We socialise our young girls to become perfectionists valuing doing things right and doing things well.  But the reality is that success correlates just as closely (if not more so) to confidence as competence according to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.  And being resilience and/or buoyancy in the face of mistakes and failure is an important part of building confidence.  So think about failure like this:
 
If we are scared of failure we don’t take risks, we play safe, we play small.
If we always colour inside the lines, we end up doing things the way they’ve always been done and there is zero need for creativity. 
If we keep on doing what we’ve always done we’ll always get what we’ve always got.
As soon as we learn to let go, to make mistakes and to go outside the lines, we begin to understand that perhaps the way things have always been done is in fact flawed. The results of many mistakes are frequently not that bad – just different (with a few exceptions such as working in medicine of course).  When we colour outside the lines, new solutions to old problems are easier to see – and maybe that new way of operating that you just discovered by accident fills a gap in the marketplace and could in fact become your big ticket to success anyway.
 
3. Learn to accept rejection 
 
Unless you’ve got a product or service that’s got genie genius (like a never ending packet of Tim Tams), the reality is that in your first year or two, you’ll have to face rejection. A lot. And rejection when it’s for something that you do at a larger organisation is one thing. But rejection of your own ideas, products or services that you’ve lovingly crafted, selected and tended for months, is a whole other ball game.   
 
So instead of resisting rejection – make a game of it like Jason Comely, a freelance IT guy from Cambridge, Ontario did.
 
Jason was terrified of rejection so he designed an approach to immerse himself in his fear in order to lose the fear.  He decided he needed to get rejected by someone at least once per day.   And by making a game of it – by needing to get his rejection, this turned the actual receiving of a rejection on its head. In fact it made receiving a rejection a good thing! He couldn’t wait to ask someone for something because it got him closer to his goal of getting his rejection.
 
“Jason had totally inverted the rules of life. He took rejection and made it something he wanted — so he would feel good when he got it.”
 
So how does it work? Well if you are scared of rejection then you won’t put yourself out there in situations where you will get rejected (i.e. making those sales visits). But if instead your goal is to get 10 rejections per day, then you’ll need to make a whole heap more sales visits as a result in order to achieve your goal – and then you totally lose your fear of rejection pretty fast.
 
Hazel Walker, speaker and co-author of the cheekily named book “Business Networking and Sex” speaks about this same approach in a recent presentation. She shares about the differences in the ways that men an women network and that one of the things women can do to get over our fear of asking for a sale is to turn it into a game of getting lots of “no’s”.  
 
“Women do not connect to the word “power”, yet power has great impact. As women in business we must understand, embrace, and own our power.”  Hazel Walker
 
Because not stepping up, speaking up or giving our big meaningful ideas the credit they are due, can keep you feeling stuck and frustrated – draining us both personally and professionally. By being more strategic, learning to make mistakes and treating the sales game as a getting a no game flips the equation on its head and puts you back firmly in the driver’s seat of your own dreams. 
 
If you missed it  - 10 game changing practices to keep you firing at your best.
 
Amanda Blesing is the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and  art of amping smart and savvy. 
 
She mentors busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
 
She also works with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so.
 
If you enjoyed this article please head on over to www.amandablesing.com for more or sign up for her e-newsletter right here.
 

 

How to have a winning profile  (by Janine Lum)

With the advent of digital and social media, personal and professional branding has never been more important to demonstrate your credentials and has the power to provide you with favourable recommendations.  Branding used to be a term that only related to a product or company, but the power of social and digital media has changed all of that.  Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are great resource tools to elevate your profile, but can be limiting with content.   HR and recruitment agencies are using Linkedin and social media to ascertain a personal's professional and personal profile now in order to see if they fit the professional mould of a particular skill set required.

A constructive website and blog can really differentiate who you are in a particular industry and what you stand for. Branding recognition starts with using your name as a reference in blogs, tweets, website and # (hashtagging) name references to pop up in top results pages of search engines.  Linkedin is still the most professional way to build your profile and have others provide glowing recommendations, best of all its FREE!  

There is a fine line with sharing too much personal information when utilizing it for business, I still go by the old value 'less is more'.  Make sure your content is informative, interesting and relates to business.  ie. Bikini photos and ''look at me out with celebrities at a night club" probably won't solidify your position in the corporate world as a justifiable business post.  Social media should promote relevant discussion and any anti-social behaviour should be discouraged.  Untag yourself from any unflattering posts if you are concerned.  Building a strong network with a compelling website, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Instagram etc. is a powerful tool to elevate your following!  

The risk of ignoring your professional network (by guest contributor Jane Benston)

Most of us recognise that having a strong professional network is an important element of achieving our career goals and aspirations.  But how many of us actually make time to develop, nurture and grow our connections.  It is all too easy to get busy being busy in a rush to get everything on the “to do” list done, while neglecting the benefits that come from truly connecting and sharing with other professionals. 

Research by the McKinsey Leadership Project has found that “People with strong networks and good mentors enjoy more promotions, higher pay, and greater career satisfaction.  They feel a sense of belonging, which makes their lives meaningful.” 

So clearly this is important.    

How strong is your professional network? 

  • Who is in your network?

  • How connected to them are you?  Could you seek out their professional advice or support?

  • Is your network made up of people both within your organization and externally?

  • Do you have a network of others within your profession to draw on to solve problems?

  • Do you have a mentor or a circle of trusted advisors?  Do you keep in touch?

  • How do you support those within your network?

Building your network is something that you need to work at and prioritise.  Imagine the benefits that would come from putting aside time every month to stay in touch and be available to help others.  You will be rewarded with stronger relationships, solutions to problems, keeping abreast of important information and the joy that comes from being of value to those in your network. 

Then there is the hidden job market that is suddenly available to you through those who know what you are good at and what you want from your career. 

My own networks were an invaluable source of advice, support and connections when I started out in business.  Friends, family and professional colleagues generously helped me to find resources, provided introductions to potential clients and were there for me to celebrate the wins and pick up the pieces when the going got tough.  

The idea of networking fills many with fear and trepidation. The good news is that the strength of your network has less to do with networking and much more about developing relationships.

By focusing on two-way, genuine and mutually beneficial relationships, the idea of building your network will go from being a daunting task to be avoided like the plague, to being a fulfilling, fun diversion from the day to day grind. 

A diverse network of friends, colleagues and associates is key to supporting your professional development and growth and to impact your sense of personal fulfilment.  By ignoring this critical element of your career growth, you will miss out on the potential benefits: inspiration, information, contacts, informal mentors, support, encouragement and potential job opportunities. 

Alone we can be strong… but together we can be stronger.  Surround yourself we people to support and help your growth, clear the pathway for opportunities to emerge and challenge you to strive for even more than you think is possible.

Who are you going to connect with over the next week, remembering that this is as much about what value you can add to them as it is about how they can add value to you?    

Further information:  www.Janebenston.com     Jane Benston is a consultant, coach, facilitator and blogger in the field of human behaviour and leadership


The Perfection Trap

 

With the pressures of today and self-imposed limitations we place upon ourselves competitiveness has never been more apparent in the workplace or society.  Reality TV shows pinpoint contestants against one another causing conflict, controversy and an unhealthy pursuit of ‘’winning the game at all costs”.  The pursuit of perfection can sometimes lead to our downfall, perfectionists often have a greater fear of asking for help than others. 

There is nothing wrong with striving for high standards, but self-blame and criticism of ambitions when not achieved can be detrimental to feelings of unworthiness,  failing to achieve goals.  Conversely appearances can be effected, the images of celebrities / models in magazines are often airbrushed to the point where they don’t even look like the same person.  An obsession with being the best can sometimes sabotage true levels of success, as unhealthy perfectionism can lead people into procrastination – taking longer to complete tasks and refusing to do something if there is an element of doubt that it can’t be done to their ‘standard’.   Long term damaging results can lead to low self-esteem, moodiness and eating disorders.  Harsh criticism is not the optimal way of achieving the best in someone or yourself, after all we all make mistakes and nobody is perfect!

 


Beautiful Confidence!  

During a study conducted a few years ago, cosmetic company’s surveyed women around the world asking what they thought made other women ‘’beautiful’’ - was it Great Skin?  Fabulous Hair? or Winning Smile?   The findings were as enlightening and less attributed to physical appearance than first thought.  The overwhelming response was that physical appearances weren’t true measures of beauty at all.  In fact, many said that if a woman is kind, caring and CONFIDENT she is beautiful regardless of her looks.  Confidence is the key to being comfortable within yourself and generating warmth to others.   We often devalue ourselves in everyday situations – ‘’Im having a bad hair day”,  “I look fat in these pants”?  “I am not good enough” etc.  These thoughts eat away at our confidence and our ability to be the best we can be.   Confidence and self belief are very infectious.   

Recognize your insecurities and be kind to yourself.  Sometimes the voice in the back of our minds is our biggest setback, harboring self-doubt, making us uncomfortable, ashamed or discouraged.   Whatever negative experiences, it’s never too late to implement confident and positive thoughts.  Talking over problems with others can be therapeutic and you may be surprised at how many others relate to similar feelings of self-doubt.  Focus and understand that you need to resolve each issue before moving on, change doesn’t happen overnight.  Self-acceptance and moving onwards and upwards from negative situations help give us clarity,  even the most confident people have insecurities and no one is perfect, challenges will always be ahead us.  Often insecure feelings come and go and constantly change.  Reflections are sometimes very different to reality. 

Identifying your success and discovering things you excel at give us a sense of purpose.  Take the time to focus on your  talents and strengths and give yourself credit for it!  Find things you are passionate about and enjoy, adding a variety of interests to your life will not only make you more confident it will increase your chances of meeting compatible friends and work colleagues.  Conversely faking confidence can actually make you believe it too!  Pretend you are a completely confident version of yourself and surround yourself with confident people to propel you into that line of positive thinking.  Don’t forget to accept compliments graciously and say “Thank you” with a smile rather than “Really, are you kidding?”.   Dress with style, confidence and comfort, not flashy or trashy!

Being thankful for what we have and finding inner peace does wonders for our confidence, often insecurity and lack of confidence comes from not having enough of something which can be emotional validation, money or a thriving career etc.  By acknowledging and appreciating what you do have combats the feelings of being unsatisfied.   Be positive as difficult as that may be in challenging times!  Speak positively about yourself, your future and your progress.   Help others by being kind to people around you and making  a positive difference in other people’s lives and a positive force in the world, boosting self-confidence immensely! Findings - Herald Sun Weekend & wikihow.com

  

 

How to Network Effectively

The art of networking is one of the most powerful tools to advance your personal and professional life. This skill can help you land your dream job, obtain a promotion and connect with leaders in your industry by building real relationships, actively maintaining them, and giving as much as you take.

Networking is not just a tool, it is an investment and you need to trust people you are doing business with. Networking can be intimidating, particularly for those who are shy, make sure you are visible, plan interesting things to talk about, it is all about practice - the more you do it, the better you will get. In this competitive market, networking can open up new opportunities and creating a diverse network can be just as important as large networks to cultivate long standing relationships. 

It is vital to know the right people who can get you places that you might not reach otherwise. The right resources can also accelerate your networking such as professional associations, online networks and social media services. Above all networking isn't just about passing out business cards, doing the hard sell or asking people you don't know well for favours, the key to successful networking is to remember to support one another. Everyone likes to do business with people they actually like!

How to Network Effectively