Posts Tagged ‘Face to Face’

What to Do with Labor Day Blues

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Interview Stress

The workplace is a lot like high school. It’s fraught with angst about being in or out, being smart or not, and being liked or not liked.

According to new research, employees are not into liking each other. They are not making any effort to build relationships with each other.

They are there to do a job or at least put in the time, go home and maybe find something better while grazing on LinkedIn or dozens of other job sites.

It turns out the workplace has become “transactional” for almost all employees. There’s an expectation that it’s simply a matter of time before you leave voluntarily or are asked to leave. So there’s a disincentive to build real relationships with your co-workers, to dig in and really get to know one another.

Back in the day, there were bowling leagues, picnics, families becoming “family friends,” and a kind of comfort in seeing the same folks everyday. In essence, the workplace was a second home for many employees.

Now, the expectation is that you will be at that job for a limited time, until something better comes along. Or, it’s a matter of time before you are told your job is no longer part of the strategic vision. “You are out,” to quote Heidi Klum.

It’s hard to be a free agent, in essence signed to a day-to-day contract. It’s hard to bond, and become an enthusiastic team member. It’s even harder if you are working from home or a remote location.

BTW, it’s equally hard to lead under those circumstances, although I bet you find it hard to sympathize with your boss.

There’s something even more insidious about this new relationship to work – or more aptly: the lack of a secure relationship to work and co-workers.

Stress. Impermanence. Insecurity. Instability. Resentment. Anger.

The best way to assuage these very real feelings is to make the effort to bond to your co-workers. Say hi and really find out how they are doing. Ask what they did over the weekend. If they live in proximity to you, ask if they want to shoot pool, grab coffee or take a yoga class with you next weekend.

Build your network of people, and I don’t mean just on social media. Build relationships with people who work with you.

This will raise your emotional state, and create a personal sense of stability. Real relationships with co-workers make any kind of work more satisfying and stabilizing. Make and keep ties with those who come and then go. And those at all levels.

Almost every night that I work late enough to see our maintenance staff, I feel better. They are a father and son team. I always ask how they’re doing, we talk about stuff, and they always play with my monster-sized dogs (yes, my dogs come to work). The son always tells me to be safe on the road home when we pack out for the night.

Over the holiday weekend we ran into each other, as I was heading for the beach. I felt like I was seeing family. That sense of surprise, a happy jolt, a hug and on with the day, feeling tethered to such nice people.

Consider hugging a co-worker today. Just a side-hug: in an appropriate gender neutral way. Or, at least give a fist bump when you hear what they did when they weren’t laboring on Labor Day.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

Take The Long Way Home – Here’s Why

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

lifestyle-rbu-woman-coffeshop-with-tablet-photo-largeIf you always do what you’ve always done, you’re probably going to get what you’ve always gotten. Job seekers and other people with vision or ambition can’t afford to waste a moment of their travels. Even the ordinary commute can be changed-up to increase the potential for a positively life-changing connection.

Two little rules: Take out your ear buds and make eye contact. And, one biggie: practice a ready hello and a simple greeting that telegraphs you are friendly.

Mine is: “Hello and how is your day going?” That’s my personal take on my number one most recommended trigger talk for people who want to expand their network. If you’re not familiar with my communication system, I help people develop lots of simple, easy to remember bits of conversation so the toughest things in life are on automatic. Like meeting new people.

Trigger talk is something you choose to say that’s natural for you. In this instance, it’s a simple question that’s all loaded up in my brain’s “Look: a new person!” file. That’s what I mean about a phrase being “on a trigger.” The sight of a new person triggers my brain to do a specific sequence, no decisions (hence no hesitation).

When I see a new person, I have an overpowering, reflexive mechanism that makes my eyes smile, and pops these words out of my mouth:

“Hello and how is your day going?”

Trigger talk can get a lot more complicated. In presentations, you may have whole portions of product knowledge or success stories on trigger.

But, this greeting is the fundamental building block of communication. It works to increase your network. It’s not amazing, difficult or otherwise expert-level communication.

I thought a lot about the power of my greeting, and what I want people to know about me right away. With my greeting, I’m telegraphing a little kindness, a little curiosity and a little openness (all parts of my personal brand). Once you like your greeting, practice it by saying it aloud; imagining the everyday situations where you find yourself with strangers. The grocery store. The train. The walk with your dog. A new lunch place. You get the idea.

Your greeting is like your business card; it should reflect your brand.

Go where you have not been before. Greet.

I’ve had all kinds of people answer me. Some famous, some less famous and some went on to become my clients, employers, employees, investors, partners, vendors and friends.

It’s always enlightening when they respond with some specific details about their day. At that moment, my job is to just listen. My brain is trained to check its file cabinets to see if I’ve got anything stored that connects with what they’re saying. Sometimes, I don’t. So my follow-up trigger talk pops out, typically one of three choices.  “Wow, that’s a lot.” “Wow, I’m glad to hear it.” Or “Wow, I’m sorry it’s not a great day.” That “wow” gives my brain time to process what I’ve heard, so the right thing comes out of my mouth.

About 20% of the time, I hear something that sounds like a good tidbit that a colleague, client or my company might want to interact on. I’ve heard:

“I just made my first big sale!”

“This commute is killing me. I’m thinking of getting a helicopter.”

“I need to spend less time eating and more time getting back into shape.”

That’s three potential leads for three different business people I know. A “wow” plus one or two more sentences: and we exchange contact information.

How can you implement this today? If you normally take the 8:15 train, take the 7:50. If you work at home, pick another destination for your travels. Walk to the far end of the biggest park, or traverse 10 big city blocks and get on a bus to make it back home. Get your bagel at a different stand.

No matter what else is going right or wrong in your life and career: know this. Everyday you have the opportunity to say the one thing that can change your life.

You can always create the opportunity to meet someone new. Do it five times a day, and my odds say you’ll have one new contact worth pursuing, profiting from or perhaps referring and (earning good deeds points).

Take the long cut.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

What’s Wrong With Your Image?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

NRBimage
You may not realize you have an image.
And the image that exists for you may not be ideal. The goal of reputation management and personal branding is to intentionally and authentically put together an image that is coherent, consistent and compelling.

What distinguishes your image from your personal brand or reputation? Your image is more diffused. It encompasses much more about you, although it plays a big role in your personal brand and reputation.

You may be very surprised that how you earn your living is the LEAST important aspect of your image.

I have described my new concept to many of my coaching clients, and they are surprised at what matters to recruiters, hiring managers, and even their bosses and co-workers – much less all their contacts.

So I created a simple way for everyone to think about the image we hold in our heads about you and the other people who pass through our lives, businesses, networking events and more.

I – What are you IMPROVING? What can you say you are actively learning about, studying, seeking more information about, and otherwise trying to add to or modify about yourself? Could be something like learning a language. Or something smaller, like learning good manners for cross-cultural business etiquette.

M – What are you MANAGING? What financial matters, education courses, workload, community commitments, family circumstances, and more are under your control? You are your Chief Life Officer, after all. What would we be impressed to know you manage now?

A – What are you ADVISING other people about? What expertise, knowledge, or special skills are you imparting to others? Do you do some informal or formal mentoring? Could you be a resource on a topic that another person or business needs to know about? Do you use social media to get out that information for free, or perhaps do you exchange services or even do it for free (right now)?

G – What are you GIVING? Where is your social philanthropy, your cause-oriented work, your support for people in need, pets in need, the planet itself or simply in your own family and community?

E – Finally, how are you EARNING your living? What are the large (and small) jobs you have and have held in the past? Do you do more than one thing? That’s so good for us to hear. Perhaps you hold down a full time job and do freelance work in another field. I have a client who manages a small business, she does bookkeeping for it and another company, plus she is a dance instructor. How impressive is that? That’s real multi-tasking.

When you fail to let us know these great things about you, something’s missing from your image. We may overlook you, just because someone else IS prepared to talk about these major dimensions of their life and personal brand.

Pepper your conversation with all these dimensions of your image. If you want to try out this formula for yourself, just jot down your thoughts for each letter, and send your IMAGE to me at [email protected]. Subject line: IMAGE.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

Do You Deserve a Better Job?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

29302409_sYou will not always do what you are doing now. You will go on to as many as seven distinct careers, ten to fifteen different jobs, perhaps a dip or dive into your own entrepreneurial venture and hopefully, some significant philanthropy.

That’s why the thing that you do, what you actually accomplish at work, may not be all that interesting to the people you’ll meet in the future.

It’s likely the job you have now won’t even exist in the future.

What will exist into the future? Your character, intelligence and persistence.

So, if you are seeking something grander than the job you have now: don’t focus on the nuts and bolts of what you do when given the chance to talk about yourself. Recruiters, hiring managers, investors and graduate school interviewers are listening to your stories to ascertain your core values and evidence of your curiosity, focus, friendliness, good manners, and empathy.

We care about the inspiration for your aspirations.

We want to know what’s in that portable device you carry with you all the time: your brain.

So, when you’re asked, “What do you do?” or “What did you do at Acme Insurance?” make sure to follow up your job title, with HOW you do your job. That’s where the secrets about you are, when it comes to your character, intelligence and resilience.

More than any special skill or vast amount of knowledge you’ve accumulated in a field like engineering or a function like social media manager, it’s your ability to articulate your analytical process and decision-making that’s really important.

The big winners in any occupation, profession or venture are people who can crisply say why they act the way they do, and how their behavior has changed as they learned more and held greater sway.

Simply put: the most desirable candidates are brimming with personal insights.

So, spend some time reflecting on the how and why of what you do. Then, be ready to explain how your thinking and working processes – not your duties – are your real assets.

Those of us in your future, want to welcome you to it.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter