Put On Your Confidence Cape

Positive Attitude-Personal Development-Professional Speaker

Have you ever heard of Power Poses?  This term was introduced by Amy Cuddy and her now famous 2012 TED Talk.  It’s a concept that fascinated me and I was curious to see if it would work.

Here’s how it goes: When you find yourself in a stressful situation, stop and strike a pose like Wonder Woman.  You know what I mean – hands on hips, feet shoulder width apart, head up.  The idea is to hold this pose for two minutes and it can change your attitude.  According to Amy Cuddy, standing in a powerful position like this will actually have an effect on the cortisol levels in your brain.  You will feel more confident, assured and determined. 

Of course, you may feel a little strange striking the Wonder Woman pose while in your office or living room surrounded by people you know, so try it behind closed doors, like in a bathroom stall or empty elevator.  The idea is that you will emerge feeling more powerful and confident. 

Amy Cuddy also introduces several other poses you can use as well, some sitting down and others standing up.  Play around with them and see if they help you.  To learn more about her research, view her TED Talk at: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.

 So the next time you are going to that job interview, getting ready to conduct a meeting of your peers, or trying to get up the nerve to ask for that first date, try one of the Power Poses.  I’ve done a few myself and it really does make a difference.  What have you got to lose?

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Overworked? Overwhelmed?? Sound Familiar???

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I walk into my office and there it is, staring me in the face, almost laughing at me…piles everywhere, otherwise known as:  My Massive TO DO List.  So many times I feel so overwhelmed that I just turn around and walk out the door.  I don’t know where to start, so I do nothing.

We all have them, there’s no denying it.  Maybe your piles are like mine scattered all throughout your office, maybe you have color-coded them and filed them in your computer, or maybe you’ve downloaded one of the many apps on your iPhone.  But no matter where you keep them, they always seem to be lurking in the background, reminding us that we don’t have enough hours in the day.

So what can you do to gain control?  Well, I’ve come up with three easy techniques that have helped me master my piles – at least, most of the time:

Learn to say “no.”:  Stop adding to your never ending list of things to do.  There is always another book to read, another webinar to watch or another podcast to listen to.  But the real problem is that you already have so much great information from the past books and webinars and podcasts you’ve invested time and money in.  Take that hour and apply it to all that valuable information you already have sitting in those pretty color-coded files.

Make a file folder for each day of the week:  Label them Monday through Sunday.  Then, as something comes up that you need to accomplish on a specific day, put it in the appropriate folder.  This has helped me immensely.  I check my day folder each morning and it helps to keep me on track for the day.  There, right in front of me, is my “to do” list for the next 24 hours.  I can stay focused and it keeps me from chasing the next shiny object.  Pick a file holder that is fun and inspires you.  Check out the office supply stores -I’ve seen some lovely ones there.

Celebrate your small successes:  Many times we are so focused on the big projects and what we didn’t get done that we get frustrated and overwhelmed.  But what if we celebrated our small successes along the way, like making it to your appointment totally prepared, or serving a dinner that was actually pretty good.  By celebrating our small accomplishments, it gives us the courage and belief to tackle the bigger ones.

I can’t lie – I still have piles, but by using these three “tricks,” I find them more manageable and I’m not driving myself crazy.  Give these a try and let me know which one works best for you.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

You can see it in the distance.  Sometimes the road looks foggy, even a little scary, but you know you have to follow it if you want to reach your destination, your goal, your dreams.

Just like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep moving forward in spite of your fears, your self-doubt and your self-imposed excuses.

In my last three blogs I’ve shared some unique and out-of-the-box tips on networking, but none of that will help you if you don’t follow-up with the people who can lead you to your destination.  So here they are, five specific actions to take after meeting that person you believe can help you:

 1.   Don’t ask the expert to do the meeting scheduling. When you ask someone to meet with you, send them specific dates to consider.  If those dates are not available to them, they will send you options.  The most important thing is that you’ve started a conversation. 

2.       Make the meeting convenient and maybe even active. If you are asking for an hour coffee or lunch, choose a location that is convenient to the person you have asked to meet with you.  Even better, if you think they are open to it, ask to go for a walk.  They say that some of the best deals are made on the golf course, so why not the trail path?

3.       Go with a prepared list of questions.  Before you even meet, think carefully about  what you want to learn from this contact.  Make a list of questions so no one feels like their time is being wasted. 

4.       Find out what you can do for them.  Always end the meeting by asking what you can do to help them.  It could be business related, like introducing them to a valuable contact.  Or it can be personal, like telling them about the best restaurant in town.

5.       Always thank them more than once. In this day of instant everything, send a thank-you email or text immediately.  You know what else is amazing? A handwritten thank you note. Because very few people do this anymore, it will really make you stand out.

Give these follow-up tips a try and let me know how it goes.  You’ll be amazed at how one thing leads to another.   And one day when you find yourself in front of Oz, you will realize that even though the path was scary at times, it was also loads of fun.

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Tips Tricks & Techniques to Make Networking Fun

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Since we’re on a roll here, let’s continue this series on networking.

I’ve heard from so many people that they really dislike face-to-face networking.  It makes them feel intimidated and uncomfortable and they just don’t want to do it.  This made me wonder:  how can we turn the tables, flip the switch, and think differently about networking. 

I came up with five simple steps to make a game out of it – to actually make it fun.  So here are some tips, tricks and techniques to try.  Now remember, the key word here is “try.”  Pick and choose the techniques that are right for you and your personality.  I’m going to challenge you, though, to step out of your comfort zone – that is the only way you will grow.

So here we go…

1.       Get to the networking event early.  This may sound really simple, but many people show up in time for the speaker, then leave immediately after.  That is NOT networking.  By getting to the event early, you will feel less intimidated because there are fewer people there.   Then you can really focus on who you want to meet and start a conversation with.

2.       Don’t tell yourself “no”.  Many times my inner voice starts screaming: “no one wants to meet you, you have nothing of value to offer, no one will listen to you…” If this ever happens to you, STOP and hit the delete button!!!  There are enough people out there already telling you “no” so don’t become one of them.  Instead choose your three greatest attributes and repeat them to yourself over and over again.

3.       If it feels comfortable to you, wear something that stands out.  I often wear my red boots because people will compliment me on my boots.  It’s a great conversation starter.  Anyone can wear something that’s a little different – maybe a different colored shirt or tie or blouse.  It will make you stand out from the crowd.  Try it and see if it works for you.

4.       Smile.  It’s a powerful show of confidence which people respect and are drawn to.  Smiles are contagious and the simple act of smiling makes people feel better.  No matter who you’re approaching,  there is no stronger opener.

5.       Remember the #1 rule – LISTEN.  Meeting people is about making their lives better.  Whether you give them a smile, a new job or anything in between, there is a way to help everyone.  Listen and learn about what matters to them.  People want to tell their stories.  Be the person who is excited to hear them.

I encourage you to try all five techniques.  After all, how do you know which ones will work best if you don’t test them?  Let me know if you have a favorite. 

Now go out there an have some fun networking!

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