BLOG ARCHIVE

And this is relevant to me how?

If you want people to care about what you're telling them, frame it in a way that's relevant to them. Whether you're telling a story, writing an email, or pitching an idea, if you don't tell people why you think they should care, they'll likely tune you...

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Communicate authentically—OK, but how?

In an MBA class I teach for the University of North Carolina on business communication, I ask my students to identify the characteristics of strong executive presence. Every time, they identify something along the lines of "I don't know, they seem...

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Are they not hearing you? Make them listen!

There's no question: Some people just aren't going to be interested in what you're saying, no matter what—and that's their issue. But if people aren't listening, or if you're not connecting with them when you communicate, you shouldn't automatically assume...

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Boy, that feedback stinks!

I spend a lot of time helping clients hone their feedback delivery skills. And while I share with them a model of putting together and communicating thoughtful feedback for the receiver's benefit, we don't usually spend very much time talking...

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If it bears repeating, it bears repeating

In business communication, while some repetition works extremely well to get your message across, too much of it makes you sound "repetitive" to your audience. Striking the right balance for repetition is something you might need to develop an ear for, but...

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3 Keys to a good workplace apology

Many people find it hard to give feedback to others at work. It can be tough to summon the courage to give it, and you have to do it right for it to land as you intend. If nothing else, it can just feel "awkward." Recently, as I read an article from...

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Don’t avoid conflict. Practice it!

Conflict in a team is a sign of business communication gone wrong, right? Not necessarily. Yes, sure—some conflict is toxic. And yes, most people avoid conflict, but the highest performing business teams have learned to use conflict constructively to create optimal...

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Negotiation lessons from the car dealership

My wife and I had occasion to shop for a new car recently, and she happily handed the reins of the negotiation process over to me. I gladly took on the responsibility, not because I'm a natural born negotiator—although I guess I hate it less than the average...

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The key to handling conflict at work: Listen!

I often coach clients around giving and receiving feedback in the workplace, which already represents a tough enough conversation for most of us. Throw a dose of conflict into a work conversation, though, and it's usually enough to send people running in avoidance.  ...

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Get to the point of your email, please!

Are you familiar with the pain of reading emails that take too long to get to the point? Or maybe you're writing those emails yourself and want to stop!   In this article I'll show you how to get to the point of your email messages quickly so that your audience is...

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How to make ‘your story’ a great story

Let's say you've set up a networking meeting or an informational interview with someone you're interested in talking to. Pretty soon after you start talking, they're going to say something like: "So, what do you do?" or "Tell me a little bit about yourself."   This is...

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Stop boring people with your story

I realize the title of this article sounds harsh and accusatory, but I wanted to grab your attention—something you want your story to do, by the way. But what I really want you to think about is how you can start making your story—and really ANY story—more efficient...

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5 Networking tips for people who hate to network

I often hear from my coaching clients how painful networking is for them when they're trying to look for that next job or advance their careers.   Sometimes networking is painful for them because they're introverts and they see it as something that taxes their energy...

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Life is short: Start living with intention

I recently got some sad news. In fact, my entire high school graduating class of 1987 did. One of our former classmates died suddenly last week. He was in his mid/late 40s, and the cause of his death is unknown at this point.   He was an incredibly talented guitar...

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How professionally independent are you?

This month, as the United States celebrates its national independence, I've been giving some thought to something I call professional independence.   professional independence: the feeling that you can do what you want to do for work, regardless of circumstances...

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Are your beliefs about work making you unhappy?

Lately I've been thinking about the strongly held beliefs we can have around the subject of work. Specifically the ones that creep in and wreak havoc with our peace of mind when we're not feeling particularly fulfilled at work.   It's a good idea to identify those...

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5 Transition Tips from a Quinceañera

I recently attended the Quinceañera party that my best friend from high school threw for his daughter Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee) and came away with valuable insight about how to effectively deal with significant transition.   If you don’t know, a Quinceañera is a...

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How well do you know what you really want?

Often we live with a feeling of vague dissatisfaction. We achieve, we win, we climb the ladder, and still we may be in a sort of fog where it feels as if it's not enough. And perhaps this makes us feel guilty, or ungrateful, or uninspired.   But there's a way out....

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Next-Level Question Exercise

During the next two weeks, think about something you know you want, and ask yourself the following question, at least three times: “When I get that, what will I have?”   For example, if you're thinking you want a different job… Q:  When I get a different job, what...

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What I learned from being fired

When I was 25 years old, after taking a year off from my engineering career to study music in Los Angeles, I went looking to re-enter the “working world”. I ended up getting a job in my home town of San Juan, Puerto Rico. But what sounded like a great situation at the...

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Three steps for framing up your vision

In a recent blog, I wrote about vision and how we can often start with a fuzzy, blurry, vague idea of what we want. And how that's OK. The important thing is to start creating some movement toward a vision of what we want, even if that vision is not fully in focus.  ...

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A foggy vision: not a bad place to start

People think of starting businesses for all sorts of reasons. You might think it represents the freedom to work only the hours you want. Or the possibility of unlimited earning potential. Or you might have a vision of “working for yourself” and “being your own boss”,...

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Feeling stuck? Allow yourself to need help

Whether you’re in business for yourself, or working for someone else, there’s no shortage of ways to feel stuck.   Maybe you’re spinning your wheels on that process improvement project that your manager recommended you take on to increase your “visibility” during...

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Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t

So many of us have been, at one point or another, dissatisfied with some aspect of our lives—whether it be our job, some part of our family life, our health, or our financial situation. And probably the first thought that comes to mind, when we feel pain related to a...

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Do You Know Your Purpose? – Part 3

Having a Personal Purpose Statement is the best way to make sure your life, work, and the ways you spend your time are aligned with that Purpose.   In Part 1 and Part 2 of this "Purpose" series, I discussed how satisfied and fulfilled we feel when we're "on Purpose"....

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Does How You Walk Reflect How You Live?

I recently attended a coaching retreat where, at one point, we were invited to take 40 minutes to go outside, take a walk, and consider the following question:   "What impact do you wish to have on the world?"   The only other instructions were: (1) be by yourself,...

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Do You Know Your Purpose? – Part 2

In a Part 1 of this blog series, I talked about the concept of Purpose. How we all have a unique Purpose, and how it's to do what makes us feel truly fulfilled and satisfied in life. Today, I want to delve a little deeper into Purpose—what it is and why it could be...

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Get Used to Coming Home Happy and Fulfilled

Far be it from me to say that Doug and Carrie Heffernan, the main married couple of the sitcom King of Queens, should serve as role models—even if watching reruns of that show is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Still, every now and then Doug and Carrie can give...

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Do You Know Your Purpose? – Part 1

I talk a lot about Purpose in my coaching. Not too long ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about the tagline Shift Into Purpose that I use for my coaching business. She told me, “I’m not sure I like that tagline because... what are you saying, that I have no...

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