Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Santa...

All I want for the holidays:
  • 2 mornings to sleep in
  • 2 dinners I don't cook
  • An elf to clean my fridge of the groceries I didn't have time to cook since Halloween
  • Seven lucky lottery tickets winning a minimum of $20 each so I can go out for a 3rd dinner
  • My son to clean his room to the point where he no longer sleeps on the couch because he can't find his bed
  • A ghost writer for when I forget to post a blog
And for all of us to build relationships in our community that enrich us - from our mentoring to our need for a coffee with a sympathetic ear.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Time? who has time?

Do you ever notice how, in our mad rush to clear up our 'to do' lists which are there to free up our time to get to the important stuff, we seem to lose time?

Messages go unread/unanswered; phone calls seem like impositions; even the simple task of grocery or errand runs goes by the wayside of ordering in or doing without.

Maybe because those lists are not really helping?

I heard a marvellous speaker the other day who pondered if the lists are not a futile attempt to control outside influences when we should be focused on simply controlling ourselves. What she meant was that we don't actually gain time by organizing what life is throwing at us; we gain time by choosing only to do what adds value.

One of my mentorees suggested that some menial tasks (like updating or rewriting a resume) has to first be understood as adding value or else it ends up on a list. True - so hopefully mentors can explain value for their suggestions! :-)

However, with time so precious, look at your list the way I'm viewing mine: If I could only do 3 things today, which three would my manager/team pick? Or my family?  And which three would I choose? Tomorrow I might do one from everyone's list... today, I'm realizing my three reflect the best for most of them.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Those with a glass half-full see rejection as a lesson from which we can learn. Those with the glass half-empty see rejection as a broken rung on the ladder or another shovel full deeper for the current rut.

Either way, rejection can be a tough thing to swallow. (how's that for 5+ metaphors in 3 sentences?!)

Rejection can be a job not offered, a project on which we're not included, a mentor not found, a "no" for a request.... Rejection is anything where a someone cut us off.

"No" is a fact of life;  we don't get only green lights. However, some rejections are because of lack of preparation.

Before you ask for the "sale", ask yourself:

  • Does everyone have all the information they need to come to an answer?
  • Why might someone say "no"?
  • Will a "no" be a final answer or can we ask for the reasoning and perhaps meet it? (can we even meet it in advance ...see 1st bullet...)
  • If they say no, what are the remaining options? Do we need to put some contingency plans in place?
  • Have we made it easy for someone to say "yes"?
  • Do they understand the what's in it for them (if they say "yes")?
There is a great parenting book that postulates that most of the time, when parents say "no", they really mean "not now" or "it's inconvenient" or "I'm uncomfortable".  Which makes a "no" to be negotiable. In a professional situation, we say "no" for some of the same reasons. Which means we could cut rejection by a significant amount if we offer answers to the spoken and unspoken concerns before requesting our answer.

We're still going to get rejected for reasons outside of our control.... but first let's make sure we've covered all the aspects we can control.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No name tags please, I'm allergic

Yes, I know that - for those of us who can't remember names to save our lives - name tags are a necessity.
But other than being a prompt, there are more reasons why name tags should be left off the event toolkit.

1 - Everyone already knows who the *stars* in the room are. (if they don't, pick them out by the large crowd of folks vying for their attention)

2 - There are probably a dozen "Susans" or "Jims" in the room; we need to find a more compelling reason to be remembered.

3 - I don't want someone to look at my tag; I want them to first look at my face.

4 - Name tags clash with the good jewelry and shouldn't be stuck or clipped on good wool jackets.

5 - Name tags don't help break the ice or start a conversation.

6 - Imagine your grandma in a name tag. Doesn't work, right?

7 - Kids don't wear name tags and they all manage ok.

8 - People will try to remember your name if they want to remember you. Chances are they'll also take it away on a business card at that point.

9 - If you're going to stick a word on me, make it descriptive instead. "Scoffs at Convention" would be better than "Hi, my name is..."

10 - Life doesn't come with name tags. The hospital ties on on you so they don't misplace you but friends and family take the trouble to learn your name.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hello, my name is...

A local artist had a great cartoon in a coffee shop last week: it was Batman, carefully sticking on his "Hello my name is.." tag. What a great comment on both personal brand and a professional culture that insists on labelling us at events like lost kindergarten kids.

Life doesn't come with name tags. Thank goodness - they clash with the good jewelry.

Your smile, your handshake/hug. your clothing and your greeting contribute more to how someone will (or won't) remember you than an label or clip-on tag.

It doesn't matter that someone doesn't know your name. The name tag isn't a shortcut to a good introduction. The name tag doesn't make it easier for anyone to talk to strangers.

Networking is like dating... we  meet someone at a party (bar, baseball game, etc.) and wander up to them because they seem interesting. Why should someone connect with you professionally? Know what you have to offer to your community and the rest falls into place.

Maybe if events had us describe ourselves in one word or two on a name tag that would be a great ice breaker! "Hi, so you're Nervously Networking? I'm Collaborative & Decisive!"  Who says we have to write our names?.....