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Present a Professional Image While Working from Home

Posted February 7th, 2011

Maintaining a professional image while working out of your home can be challenging. But it is a challenge that can be overcome with a little planning. You will need to create a professional “mental image” and, as much as possible, a professional physical space.

Start by getting dressed. Your dress will affect your mental attitude. I have read articles saying that as long as you are focusing on the client it doesn’t matter what you are wearing. This may be true, but creating “work-time” cues is great for switching gears into business mode. And getting into business mode is important regardless of whether or not you will be on the phone today. A full suit is not necessary, just real clothes. Business casual clothing says “competent professional”, while a bath robe and fuzzy slippers say “cozy Sunday morning.”

Now that you are in business mode, have a schedule. Define your “business hours” in advance and STICK TO THEM. It’s fine to break up your work hours with a chunk of personal time, just make sure you have defined this ahead of time. Try not to vary your business hours too much from day to day. Clients need to know when they can reach you “in the office.” At the end of each business day plan the next day, including which hours are for work and which are for personal time.

During your “regular business hours”, make sure other household members understand you are working and not to be disturbed except for true emergencies. This is easier if you can separate your personal and work space. If you can possibly swing it, have a separate room with a door you can close. This room can be multi-purpose, but should be used for only one thing at a time. If your office turns into the family room at night, turn off the computer and put away your files before switching into family mode. If you have to work late, your family will need to have another space they can occupy for those hours.

Make sure you close that door or have some other kind of signal for quiet when you are making sales calls. This is critical! If you want a potential client to believe that you will be giving his project your full attention, you can not have proof to the contrary screaming in the background. Obviously if you have children in the house you cannot expect 8 hours of absolute silence. But even small children can understand that there are short periods of time when no loud noise is allowed. A fun sign with a cartoon saying “Shhh” or something else simple can help them remember. Once you have an established relationship with a client, he is more likely to be understanding about the occasional family noise.

Speaking of phone calls, have a business phone line with voice mail (NOT an answering machine). Many telephone providers do not allow residential lines to be used for business. Not to mention, nothing looks more unprofessional than a residential caller ID on a business call.

If you absolutely cannot afford a business line right away, get a virtual phone number. I like the Onebox service from j2 Global (www.onebox.com). With this service, you get both a local number and a toll-free number, voice mailbox and fax service. You can set the system to ring to any phone, or even several phones until you answer one. You even have the option of having a real live person answering the call and then forwarding to you, as if you have a secretary. There are several service levels and prices are very reasonable.

Return calls with a cell phone if you do not have a business line. Cell phones are so ubiquitous today that nobody questions a business person returning calls from “on the road” with their cell. Nobody needs to know that you are actually at home in your office.

Really the most important thing is your attitude. A professional attitude can overcome most of the potential pitfalls of working at home. And remember, EVERYBODY loses clients. If your little one caused a failed sales call, it’s not the end of the world. Remind him (gently) of the quiet-time policy and move on. Your next call might just be your dream client.

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10 Body Language Tips for Female Leaders

Human Resources IQ
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

There are two sets of body language cues that followers look for in leaders: warmth (empathy, likeability, caring) and authority (power, credibility, status). Although I know several leaders of both sexes who do not fit the stereotypes, I’ve also observed that gender differences in body language often align with these two groupings. Women are the champions in warmth and empathy, but lose out with power and authority cues.

All leaders are judged by their body language. If a female wants to be perceived as powerful, credible, and confident, she has to be aware of the nonverbal signals she’s sending. Women unknowingly employ behaviors that reduce their authority by denoting vulnerability or submission.

Here are 10 body language mistakes that women leaders commonly make.

1. They use too many head tilts. Head tilting is a signal that someone is listening and involved—and a particularly feminine gesture. Head tilts can be positive cues, but they are also subconsciously processed as submission signals. Women who want to project power and authority should keep their heads straight up in a more neutral position.

2. They physically condense. One way that status is nonverbally demonstrated in a meeting is by physically taking up room. Lower-status, less-confident men (and most women) tend to pull in their bodies and minimize their size, while high status males expand and take up space. So at your next meeting, spread out your belongings; claim your turf!

3. They act girlish. Everyone uses pacifying gestures when under stress. They rub their hands, grab their upper arms, and touch their necks.Women are viewed as less powerful when they pacify with girlish behaviors (twirling hair, playing with jewelry, biting a finger).

4. They smile excessively. Smiling can be a powerful and positive nonverbal cue—especially for signaling likeability and friendliness—women should be aware that, when excessive or inappropriate, smiling can also be confusing and a credibility robber. This is especially true if you smile while discussing a serious subject, expressing anger, or giving negative feedback.

5. They nod too much. When a man nods, it means he agrees. When a woman nods, it means she agrees—or is listening to, empathizing with, or encouraging the speaker to continue. Excessive head nodding can make females look like a bobble-head doll. Constant head nodding can express encouragement and engagement, but not authority and power.

6. They speak “up.” Women’s voices often rise at the ends of sentences as if they’re asking a question or asking for approval. When stating your opinion, be sure to use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.

7. They wait their turn. In negotiations, men talk more than women and interrupt more frequently. One perspective on the value of speaking up comes from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who—when asked what advice she had for up-and-coming professional women—replied, “Learn to interrupt.”

8. They’re overly expressive. While some movement and animation adds passion and meaning to a message, women who express the entire spectrum of emotions often overwhelm their audience (especially if the audience is comprised primarily of males). So, when you want to maximize your authority—minimize your movements. When you appear calm and contained, you look powerful.

9. They have a delicate handshake. Women with a weak handshake are judged to be passive and less confident. So cultivate your “professional shake.” Keep your body square to the other person—facing him or her fully. Have palm-to-palm contact with the web of your hand touching the web of the other person’s. And, most of all, shake hands firmly.

10. They flirt. Women gain likeability, but lose the competitive advantage in a negotiation when they flirt. In a UC Berkeley study of sales, flirts are offered 20 percent less, on average.

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Nine Ways to Elevate Your Presentation and Speaking Skills to Black Belt Level

Marketing Profs.com
Mitch Joel, January 24, 2011

Let’s say you know the standard speaking tips, tricks, and fare. You’re good… you can get by. But how can you elevate your speaking to the next level?

Over the past few years, I’ve spoken at a lot of events. Beyond just speaking (and getting better at it with practice), I share the stage with different types of speakers with different speaking styles. It’s the nuances that determine who the masters are.

So if you’re just getting started presenting to audiences, or you need to hone your technique, or you’d like to really up your game in the new year, here are some of the more important nuances that will take you from an everyday speaker to a star that people want to see.

And, by the way, these tips apply to marketers whether they’re speaking in an auditorium or presenting in a boardroom.

1. Limit the technology
All too often I see people with laptops, PowerPoint, DVDs, cued CDs, props, and more. Kill it. You don’t need it.

If you use slides that can augment what you’re saying, great—but you don’t need it, and you should not rely on it. People are coming to learn from you. Know your content to the point that even if your slides don’t load or the video doesn’t play, it should not matter.

Expecting the audio/visual to know all of your cues and the intricacies of your presentation is putting way too much reliance on the AV (and the AV guy). On top of that, asking for videos or music to play from the stage kills your story and flow: It’s like when an actor calls for a line.

Also, having a lot of gear makes the organizers nervous (“something could go wrong!”), and might make you, the speaker, seem like you’re high-maintenance.

2. Kill the Internet
Whether it’s a hard-line or wireless connection, going live to an Internet connection is a bad move. Don’t do it.

If you really need to play something from the Web (like a video), use a video downloading program and embed the video into your presentation. If you want to show a website, do a screen capture beforehand and embed it into your presentation.

3. Don’t switch screens
A lot of speakers download videos but wind up toggling between their presentation and the media player. Don’t, because it kills the momentum. If your presentation software does not allow you to embed video, switch to one that does.

4. Invest in a remote
Too many speakers advance their slides from the keyboard, or they rely on the AV team to supply a remote control or to advance the slides for them. Invest in your own remote presenter.

I recommend the Logitech Professional Presenter R800. It has a range of up to 100-feet (which is a lot), but it also has a built-in digital timer that gives you a silent vibration when you have five minutes left and when your time is up (which is helpful if you present for different lengths of time). If you want something a little more discreet, try the Honeywell Power Presenter. It has the basic buttons and is very small.

The benefit to owning your own remote is that you will be comfortable with it; as a result, your slide transitions will be more seamless and professional.

5. Don’t point
Many people who use a remote presenter tend to point it at their laptops, the screen, or the confidence monitor on the floor. Pointing the remote is useless; it looks silly and draws the audience’s attention away from you and toward the technology. Pressing the buttons harder doesn’t help either.

6. No inside baseball
Don’t talk about your technical challenges, such as the bad audio from the microphone. Don’t discuss anything that has to do with the production or presentation of your talk. Focus on two things: the audience and the content. Talking about anything else is a distraction and it’s not important to the audience.

7. Stand your ground
It’s fine to pace, and it’s fine to stand still. Whatever you do, make sure to stand your ground. Don’t close up—be open. One of the best ways to “stand your ground” is to go to the center of the stage, and to the front of it, as soon as you are introduced, then do (at least) the first five minutes of your presentation just standing there. Much like a comedian, actor, or musician, you should come out of the gates strong and own your content.

8. Don’t use notes
No reading. The best tip I have: Know your content. Having notes and reading a speech is boring and a little inauthentic. Sure, some of the greatest Presidents read their speeches from teleprompters. I get it, but I wouldn’t do that if I could avoid it. Do your best to know your content: Just remember your “who, what, when, where, why, and how” questions, ask yourself each question in your mind, and then answer aloud to the audience.

Here’s how. Let’s say your topic is Twitter for business. Ask yourself these questions in your mind, and then answer them aloud:

  • Who should care about Twitter for business?
  • What do I need to know about Twitter before jumping in for my business?
  • When is it best for a business to use Twitter?
  • Where is the best place to learn more about Twitter for business?
  • Why should any business care about being on Twitter?
  • How can my business get started?

If all else fails, use those questions as your framework or model. Whatever you say will be better (and more interesting) than reading something you wrote a few days ago. Remember, speaking is not reading.

9. Use a clip-on microphone
Holding a mic in your hand is an art form. I’ve never been able to master it, and I’ve rarely seen someone pull it off well. It’s better to have your hands free. Get a clip-on mic (also known as a lavalier microphone). If you don’t own your own, ask the event organizer to arrange one for you a couple of weeks prior to your presentation.

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10 Tips for Maintaining a Professional Image Online

howstuffworks
Nathan Chandler, January 14th

Although search engines provide some sense of order to the Internet, this online frontier is still a wild place. There are billions of people using the Internet, both for entertainment and for professional purposes. Not everyone keeps up his or her professional image in the most effective way.

There are no rules for standard professional behavior online, but there are some basic steps that will make you look more like an expert and less like an amateur, no matter what field of work you’re in. It’s called online reputation management, and it impacts you and every other working professional.

Whether you like it or not, you probably already have a significant online presence. Between government documents, newspaper articles and self-generated content, it’s not hard for others to dig up information about you. And whether those people are potential employers, co-workers or casual acquaintances, it’s generally a good idea to put your best foot forward on the Web.

For example, although social networks like Facebook were designed more for casual socializing, more and more human resource managers use these sites to screen potential employees. You must realize that personal Web content can have an effect on you professional life.

Also be aware that if there are photos, videos or other types of evidence of your inappropriate behavior online, it’s not necessarily the end of your career. You can take a few steps not only to mitigate the damage, but also put a better spin on your reputation.

And if you have a knack for spin and harnessing social media, you may even be able to turn a potentially disastrous online revelation into a positive professional development. That’s called demonstrating your ability to maintain a positive attitude, overcome adversity and succeed in spite of obstacles — a trait that employers and co-workers appreciate very much.

Even if you don’t have any personal behaviors to conceal from professional colleagues, there are plenty of ways for you to maintain and burnish your online reputation. Keep reading to see specific tips for creating a reputable online persona.

10: The Best (or Worst) Stands Out

The Internet doesn’t censor your life or filter out items you don’t want other people to see. When anyone (including potential employers) plugs your name into Google, the search engine’s algorithms deliver the most relevant results.

Relevance is determined by obscure and proprietary secret algorithms. However, the more links that lead to a specific bit of content, the more likely that content will be ranked higher in Google results.

In other words, if the most popular content associated with your name is pictures of you, extremely inebriated and half-dressed at a party, the more likely that content will reflect poorly on your online reputation.

Part of the solution is to load the Web with professional-looking content that reflects well on your name. Keep reading and you’ll see ways to make your name stand out, but in a good way.

9: Professional Perception is Reality

People who initially find you on the Internet have only that content by which to judge you. Humans generally take initial impressions to be the reality about another person. So, if the information they see about you is slick, well-informed and professional, researchers are more likely to have a positive opinion of you.

You can take steps to help shape that impression. Use a professional e-mail address (not a free account from Gmail, Yahoo, or other providers). Carefully re-read e-mails and blog posts for grammar and spelling before you upload them.

Realize that the more time and effort you put into online content — in other words, the more you value that content — the more likely that other people will value it, too. On the other hand, people immediately spot fluff or inconsequential content and move on.

Worse yet, they will fixate on salacious or dramatic content that’s embarrassing. You want to avoid that kind of content when possible. Instead, present a perception of your professional demeanor whenever possible.

8: Defend Your Reputation

Be proactive in guarding your privacy and your reputation. This process can be time-consuming, but dedicating time every week to finding and removing dubious content is well worth the effort.

For example, if someone tags a questionable photo on Facebook, you can remove the tag yourself. If you can’t remove the tag, nicely ask your friend to do it.

Or, if an acquaintance creates a blog post with stories you’d rather not share with the entire world, ask him or her to remove offending details. It’s better to address this issue with friends than with your work colleagues.

Don’t expect someone else to do this work for you. Be extremely leery of companies that want to charge you a fee to supposedly remove your name or associated content from Web sites. It is virtually impossible to entirely remove content from the Web. The Web is a worldwide network, and no country’s laws can compel a site to remove specific content, even if that site is hosted in the United States.

In the rare instance a lawyer or judge could convince a site owner to remove content, that content would just be distributed to many other sources. In short, there simply is no reining in content on

It’s your reputation. Defend it vigorously.

7: Protect Passwords and Other Vital Information

On the Web, protecting personal information is of utmost importance. Passwords unlock everything you’ve stored online. If a malicious stranger has access to your accounts, a whole range of horrible events may happen.

Targets may become victims of identity theft. Some have financial resources stolen or manipulated.

Still others have their computer accounts hacked — then the hacker blasts the victim’s entire e-mail contact list with scam e-mails that attempt to exploit the target’s friends and professional acquaintances. Even if his or her colleagues sidestep the hacking attempt, they’ll not look fondly on the victim’s lack of cyber smarts.

So do what you can to minimize these risks. For instance, don’t use an easy-to-guess password. And don’t enter passwords into public computers if at all possible. Lack of monitoring means hackers can use public computers to harvest passwords and account information.

And although all e-mail services offer them, be leery of password security questions (name of your high school, mother’s maiden name and other information) as hackers can often quickly dredge up this information with a simple search. With the answer to your security problem in hand, they’ll worm their way into your online life and cause problems you can’t anticipate.

6: Control Your Branding

Managing your professional reputation isn’t all about avoidance and prevention. You should also think of your online reputation as a product that constantly needs to be marketed in the right way.

Join professional sites, such as LinkedIn, create a business fan page on Facebook and write a blog. Connect all of them together through links and favorites lists.

As you create this content, be consistent with your message and your profiles. Use the same slogan, logos and fonts with every kind of content. A coherent message will cut through the Web’s clutter and even perhaps overshadow the things you don’t want professional acquaintances to see.

Have your colleagues and clients view the content you create and review your services or goods, or offer testimonials to your expertise. Do not undervalue the power of honest reviews and testimonials. Likewise, don’t ask your friends to lie in reviews. Not only is this unethical, but smart Web surfers will quickly spot fake reviews.

Perform other proactive tasks. Search for your name and your business name regularly. In other words, monitor your reputation. Create Google Alerts for your name and business to see what people are saying.

When a customer or peer offers criticism, don’t lash out in anger. Respond respectfully to negative reviews and do your best to correct the problem.

5: Use an Alias

t’s not a bad idea to create a space between your professional and personal lives when you’re online. An online alias is a good way to immediately distance your personal life from your career-minded online identity.This tactic will keep most people from finding your personal items to begin with. In most cases, a casual surfer shouldn’t be able to connect your professional name to private, personal alias. Best of all, embarrassing content is connected to your personal alias instead of your professional name.

However, if the worst happens and your good name is smeared across the Web in a way that destroys your credibility, you may need to take drastic action. The best way to fix a ruined reputation is to clean the slate and create a new name to use online, not try to undo what you’ve done with your given name.

You can reestablish profiles and content across the Web using a slightly different name, perhaps using your middle name as your first name. Then you can more carefully safeguard this identity as you move on with your life.

4: Establish Your Expertise

As you work to manage your reputation, be active online in ways that reflect well on you as a professional. You can pump up your reputation in unlimited ways.

Blog about topics that interest you and that establish you as an expert on a relevant subject. You don’t have be the world’s top expert — just a well-rounded, trustworthy professional who puts thought and value into online content.

By providing valuable information that readers appreciate, you attract people who will re-post your information (with credit) and link to the content you created. This all drives more traffic to your content, whether it’s a Web site, blog or other resource, and pushes your site closer to the top of Google results.

This betters your online reputation in a big way. What’s more, search engine results will list your positive accomplishments ahead of more personal items.

3: The Internet Never Forgets

Be smart and think ahead when you post content online. If you post something questionable, you can bet that someday, someone will find it. Google and other search engines are only getting better at digging up and delivering accurate search results.

Adopt the attitude that if you post something to the Internet, it’s there forever. Even if you delete an original post deriding your boss, there’s a very good chance that a copy of that message has been duplicated and transferred to other parts of the Web.

For example, even though a Web site is no longer functional, you can still view cached copies that Google stories years after the site is shuttered. The same goes for your blog and even e-mail messages.

Not everyone is happy about the Web’s long memory. Some experts are pushing for data to have a so-called expiration date that obliterates data once it has reached a certain age. However, expiration dates or related technologies are probably years away, meaning your own vigilance is your best protection.

2: Prepare for Potential Employers

Studies show that the majority of HR managers perform Internet searches prior to interviewing job candidates. If they link unprofessional content to your name, you may be crossed off of a list of interviewees.

However, studies also show that HR pros also take embarrassing online information with a large grain of salt. They know that context is important and that there may be a simple reason that your off-color video clips somehow gained a high Google ranking.

With that in mind, understand that an interviewer may question you directly about unprofessional online content. That person may just want to know if you understand how easily this kind of online information can affect your real-life opportunities. Express that you’re concerned, too, and explain the steps you’ve taken to avoid future embarrassments.

Don’t be surprised if an interviewer pushes even further. Some HR managers will go so far as to ask candidates to load their MySpace or Facebook profiles in the middle of an interview [source: Rosen]. If that’s a chilling thought, be sure to scour your profiles and delete unbecoming information in advance.

1: Privacy is Still Real — If You Want It

These days, embarrassing photos, stories and outright violations of privacy are so common that once the initial shock wears off, the online community offers a collective shrug. Many tech pundits and journalists then proffer two perfunctory statements — this kind of thing happens to everyone eventually, and thanks to the Internet and ubiquitous camera technology, privacy doesn’t really exist anymore.

These kinds of over-generalized statements simply aren’t entirely true. The more content you blast onto the Internet, the more pieces of your personal puzzle you’re offering to complete strangers.

In other words, don’t throw your arms up in exasperation and totally give up on the idea of controlling your online image. With a little personal restraint and friends who respect your efforts to manage your online reputation, you can keep damage to a minimum and really put a shine on your expertise in the process.

For more on professional behavior and the Internet, read on to the next page.

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11 Do’s & Don’ts of Video Conferencing Etiquette

Inc.
Nicole Marie Richardson, January 13th 2011


1. Do be courteous to other participants
Be punctual and introduce yourself before speaking so that everyone knows who’s talking and can address you by name. Take note of the other speakers so that you can also address them by name. Lastly, turn off the sounds on your smart phone and absolutely no texting.

2. Don’t make distracting sounds
Your focus should always be on the person or people at the other end of your video conference. Avoid typing on your keyboard, turn off all sounds on your phone, and close yourself into a room with no or minimal background noise.

3. Do speak clearly
A audio check should be done before the virtual meeting begins to ensure that everyone can hear you. Know your material – uncertainty will cause you to mumble. Speak naturally but slowly and pronunciate each word.

4. Don’t shout
Avoid screaming. If someone can’t hear you, then adjust the level on the microphone and make sure it’s not covered by your clothing or something else. Yelling will cause viewers to turn down their volume and potentially miss what you have to say.

5. Do keep body movements minimal
If you’re someone that talks with your hands, practice keeping them put. Hand movements can distract your audience. Also, keep head movements to a minimum as well as jerky movements forward or back.

6. Don’t interrupt other speakers
Wait for an opening in the conversation before putting in your two cents. Cutting other speakers off is rude. Another option is posting pending questions by instant message so that every comment is addressed.

7. Do maintain eye contact by looking into the camera
Keep your focus on the camera. The worst thing is having your audience look at the top of your head because your typing or looking down at notes – or worse – at your Blackberry.

8. Don’t carry on side conversations
Chances are if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, then you shouldn’t do it in a virtual one. That includes tuning out of the present conversation to talk to someone else sitting next to you, on the phone, in an IM chat, anywhere and anybody not in the current meeting.

9. Do dress appropriately
Striped shirts or shirts with intricate patterns do not transmit well on camera, because they are visually distracting. Red, white and black are also poor choices. Go for a pastel or other light colored shirt.

10. Don’t wear noisy jewelry
Jewelry should be small and simple. Big jewelry can be distracting to those tuning-in and it can also bump against your microphone. Also, stay away from dangling ear rings and shiny eyeglass frames.

11. Do be yourself and have fun!
Relax and have a good time. Be lively, break the ice with a joke, and make viewers laugh. It’s uber easy to tune out in a face-to-face meeting, so imagine how easy it is in a virtual one. The more fun you interject, the more people will stay focused and interested in what you have to say.

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How to Be Liked Instantly

Huffington Post
Lisa Haisha, December 31st 2010

It’s been said that everyone can light up a room — some when they enter, and others when they leave. Which type of person are you?

Have you ever wondered why certain people can walk into a room and light up the atmosphere with their presence? Or why when certain individuals speak, their listeners become spellbound, while someone else talking about the same subject is met with yawns?

If you want to be the kind of person whom others instantly like, trust and listen to, you need to understand some of the keys to communication, magnetism and listening.

Three Levels of Communication

Every time you communicate with someone, you are sending three distinct messages. They are:

  1. Verbal Messages: the words you say
  2. Paraverbal Messages: the way you say your words
  3. Nonverbal Messages: your body language

It doesn’t matter whether you are communicating in a business or personal setting, these three communication factors are always present. The better you manage each, the more likely that people will be drawn to you.

Verbal Messages

The exact words you use will determine how someone reacts to you. Words that are critical, blaming, judgmental or accusatory turn people off and tend to create a negative mindset in the listeners. To draw people toward you, use uplifting language that is succinct, clear and truthful. The more positive your words are, the more people will like being around you.

Paraverbal Messages

How you say your words — your tone, pitch and pacing — sends a clear message to people, regardless of the actual words. In fact, research shows that paraverbal messages account for approximately 38 percent of what is communicated to someone. In other words, your feelings and how you say something can change the meaning of your words. Therefore, monitor your feelings as you talk to others. In general, when people are angry or excited, they tend to speak faster and with a higher pitch. When bored or feeling depressed, people tend to speak very slowly and monotonous. When feeling defensive, people tend to speak abruptly. Even more important, listeners believe your paraverbal messages more than your verbal ones.

Nonverbal Messages

Your nonverbal messages include your posture, gestures, facial expressions and spatial distance. These subtle but powerful messages account for 55 percent of your communication, so they have the ability to either draw people toward you or repel them from you. When you speak and have a facial expression that is filled with enthusiasm, energy and approval for the other person, he or she will feel compelled to listen to you. Additionally, when your posture and gestures reflect inclusion, such as facing someone directly, making sustained eye contact and keeping the upper body “open” without crossed arms, you create a feeling of unity.

Have a Magnetic Presence

In addition to being adept at verbal, paraverbal and non-verbal communication, people who are liked instantly tend to possess a magnetism so potent that they can effortlessly make a dynamic impact. The fact is that nothing reveals more about you to others than your vibratory frequency that radiates from your being.

We each have a magnetic field that draws us to the people, experiences and things that mirror our state of consciousness — our thoughts, perceptions, opinions and beliefs. This relates to the old saying that we become what we think about most. Realize that everyone is creating their outcomes in their life, either consciously or unconsciously.

To improve your magnetism so that you can draw people toward you, you need to recognize the inherent talents you have that make you unique. This helps you better understand your purpose in life, which is necessary for any kind of success.

With your purpose firmly in place, you can begin to visualize the perfect scenario — how you want people to react when they are with you. Visualization is key to manifesting the desired outcome in your life. Once you have the image clear in your mind, meditate on it. Meditation enables you tap into your authentic self. At that point, your magnetism instantly improves.

Listen to Learn

Finally, to be instantly liked, it’s vital that you listen to others. Constantly talking about yourself, interrupting when people are talking and seeming uninterested in the other person with your gaze wandering will cause people to avoid you. Remember that most people (whether a friend, family member, co-worker or even a dissatisfied customer) want nothing more than to be heard. That’s why those people who are skilled listeners are often the most liked.

Realize that listening involves more than just hearing someone’s words. True listening means that you are attempting to understand the other person, that you respect his or her thoughts even if they are different from your own, and that you are willing to see things from the other person’s point of view (even if just for a moment). Yes, doing all this demands a high degree of mental focus on your part. But if you suspend judgment and listen with your heart, you can overcome many communication challenges and forge true friendships.

So the next time you are listening to someone, resist the urge to interrupt. Don’t listen with the intent to rebut someone’s remarks. Rather, listen to get the whole story, reflect on their words and then formulate your response. The more you can thoughtfully listen, the more people will be willing to open up to you.

Make People Feel Special

Because most people enjoy talking about themselves, encourage them to do so. Find out the other person’s interests, and make it a point to talk about those things. For example, if you’re going to a party at a filmmaker’s house, study up on filmmaking. Go see one or two of his or her movies, or at least Google the person to learn more about his or her projects.

The bottom line is that most people like you when you make them feel special. And that’s exactly what these communication, magnetism and listening techniques will enable you to do — make others feel special and important. As Cavett Robert, founder of the National Speaker’s Association, said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The more you show people you care about them, the more they will like you.

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Dress to Impress, UBS Tells Staff

Wall Street Journal
By Elena Berton with contributions from Anita Greil

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First impressions count. This is the message Swiss bank UBS AG is sending its Swiss retail banking staff with a 43-page code dispensing advice on how to impress customers with a polished appearance.

Echoing rules applied at Swiss boarding schools, UBS’s guidelines go beyond a list of dress “do’s” and “don’ts” by providing hygiene and grooming tips often dotted with aphorisms worthy of fashion and beauty magazines.

The move is part of a test UBS is carrying out in Switzerland across five pilot branches. It follows a recent advertising campaign aimed at re-establishing confidence in the Swiss bank’s brand and mending relations with clients.

Swiss bank UBS released a detailed employee dress code with suggestions on perfume and eating habits that is raising eyebrows across the internet. WSJ’s Elva Ramirez discusses the controversy.

The UBS Dress Code: Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s For women:
  • Wear your jacket buttoned.
  • When sitting, the buttons should be unfastened.
  • Make sure to touch up hair regrowth regularly if you color your hair.
Do’s For men:
  • Store your suit on a large hanger with rounded shoulders to preserve the shape of the garment.
  • Schedule barber appointments every four weeks to maintain your haircut shape.
Don’ts
  • Eating garlic and onions
  • Smoking or spending time in smoke-filled places
  • Wearing short-sleeved shirts or cuff links
  • Wearing socks that are too short, showing your skin while sitting
  • Allowing underwear to be seen
  • T ouching up perfume during or after lunch break
  • Using tie knots that don’t match your face shape and/or body shape

As if taking a cue from style manuals, which often stress the importance of well-cut basic outfits in neutral colors, the bank expects its retail banking staff to wear suits in dark grey, black or navy blue, since these colors “symbolize competence, formalism and sobriety.”

Short skirts are off limits for female staff, who are told the ideal length should reach the middle of the knee. Showy accessories and trendy spectacles are a no-no. The document isn’t short of handy grooming tips.

“Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick … will enhance your personality,” the code says, while advising women not to wear black nail polish and nail art.

The hair-care section notes studies have shown that properly cared-for hair and a stylish haircut “increase an individual’s popularity.”

On the other hand, designer stubble is out of the question for men, as is excessive facial hair.UBS’s advice for men even extends to underwear, which should be of good quality and easily washable, but still remain undetectable. Black knee-high socks are preferable as they prevent showing bare skin when crossing legs, it says.

Strong fragrances are unadvisable in the presence of customers, along with garlic and cigarette breath, the code says. The solution: “Avoid garlic and onion-based dishes.”

Accessorizing for male staff excludes items like bracelets and earrings, but wearing timepieces is encouraged, since wristwatches suggest “reliability and great care for punctuality.”

Male employees are also warned about using hair dyes to mask their advancing age, since the “artificial color contrasts excessively with the actual age of your skin.”

UBS spokesman Jean-Raphael Fontannaz acknowledged that the code may appear very detailed and “in line with Swiss precision,” but pointed out that these guidelines were originally set up for temporary staffers who may be new to working in a banking environment.

He said the dress code may be rolled out in all UBS’s branches in Switzerland if the test proves successful. “Even so, only around 1,500 [employees] would be affected, less than 10% of our staff in Switzerland,” Mr. Fontannaz added.

“The goal is for clients to immediately know that they are at UBS when they are entering the bank,” he said. “After the test phase we may implement the dress code, or adapt it, or not use it at all.”

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Confidence Inside and Out: The Marriage of Communication Coaching and Hormonal Research

By Laurie Schloff , Senior Coaching Partner, The Speech Improvement Company
November 28, 2010

As a business communication coach, I am jumping for joy over a recent study which proves that purposely looking confident produces positive physiological changes. Harvard Business School Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy and Andy Yap, a PhD student at Columbia, reporting in Psychological Science, demonstrated that striking a power pose is not just a superficial fix. In fact, learning and using new body language quickly leads to increases in testosterone, a hormone which contributes to feeling assertive and strong, and the decrease of cortisol, associated with stress feelings and reactions.

Most clients want to be more confident and influential looking. Luckily, coaching for more effective gestures, movement and stance is the easiest of all the communication interventions. (I’ll also throw in my term for helping clients SIT strong- “sitz”, a twenty degree lean to show interest, with hands wide apart on the table to take up space.)

Now we can tell our clients that changes in nonverbal behavior leads to immediate positive internal changes as well. Now, we know that colleagues and bosses who describe clients as more effective and in control as a result of coaching are not just perceiving an enhanced stance, but an enhanced testosterone level as well. How rewarding to say to clients who change their leadership and influence image though coaching:
You’re looking—and feeling quite the powerhouse!

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