Thursday, September 27, 2018

AMP Up Life & Business


"We need to invest in technologies that amplify human capacity, not replace it."
~ Reid Hoffman
American Businessman.
 (b. 1967)

To amplify is to enhance intensely.

In life and in business, we can amp things up in many ways, and in particular, we can focus on upping the AMP in the areas of:
Accountability
Motivation, and 
Productivity

Accountability is most important to be engaged with yourself. Accountability works when goals are set, action is taken, results are assessed, and either credit or change is accepted/implemented. Once goals are set, share them. Accountability is twice as effective when you include others who believe in you, understand your focus, and want you to succeed...and will ask the straight-forward questions to keep you on track while encouraging you to keep advancing.

Motivation is internal, and is to be a source of "push" when things are challenging and when things are going smoothly. Motivation is that inner voice that says "Yes, I can!" when things, situations, people, or anything is pushing back. Over the years, it has been shared that my belief is that people are motivated, and in that motivation, they are driven primarily by two of four factors: Time, Money, People, Opportunity. Two of those four are the reason individuals say yes or no, stay or go. Motivation, and knowing yours allows you to make decisions that are aligned with your life and business.

Productivity is about results and outcomes. Productivity is found when effort is compared to capacity. What is yielded out of applying energy and expertise is what is produced. Being productive is not the same as being "busy". Busy means someone is active, is doing something, and yet busy does not means anything is being accomplished or moving forward. Productive times may be full and active, yes, and yet in that full, active time, there are solutions, resolutions and advancements in goal achievement.

If you want to level-up, think about AMPing it up with a check in on your ACCOUNTABILITY, your MOTIVATION, and your PRODUCTIVITY as you enhance life and business intensely!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Answering Questions Effectively When Presenting

There's No "Great Question"

In a meeting or presentation, on the phone, over video, or in person, welcome questions when you are the expert/speaker/presenter.

Let people know that you are open to questions (rather than saying "Hold your questions until the end."), and when you get one, resist saying "Good question". "Good question" is an old trick for buying time. When a speaker says it each time, it is clearly insincere, and if a speaker says it often, it sounds like judgement of the question or person.

Here are three steps to effective question answering:

1) Use "Th..." words when someone asks a question. Saying "Thanks for asking" or "That's something I've explored" gives acknowledgement and appreciation for the interaction.

2) After that, address the inquiry directly and clearly.

3) From there, ensure you did, in fact, answer the question by asking "Did I provide what you were seeking"? or "Was that information what you wanted?", or "Did that answer provide what you sought?", or "Did I answer your question?". These confirming questions allow the person making the inquiry to ask more and/or confirm that you provided what was sought.

If you don't know the answer to a question, state that, write it down, and give a time and day when you'll have the answer for the person. Allow others to know if they want the answer, too, to provide their contact information to you for being copied on the answer. And then, research the answer and provide it by the time you offered!

Questions are a way for you to engage, grow and learn in presenting, so welcome the ask, and provide answers professionally for impact!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Accepting a Compliment/Recognition

"You look so nice!" "What a terrific presentation you made!" "How amazing are you with trivia!?!?" These compliments are only true recognition when they are acknowledged and accepted.

Too often, people deny, ignore, argue, self-deprecate, question, deflect, de-value, and/or doubt the input or displace the credit. While that may be a form of humility to some, for the complimenter, it feels like straight rejection. Instead of any of those forms of not accepting a compliment or recognition, simply consider one, or all, of the following in response:
"Thank you."
"Thanks so much!"
"Thanks for noticing!"


Following the acknowledgement and acceptance, either leave it there or ask the complimenter a question about him or her so that you can move on in a conversation.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Shift From Change to Progress

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
~ George Bernard Shaw
Irish Dramatist.
 (1865 - 1950)

Often people are uncomfortable with change. And, typically, people appreciate the benefits of progress. While all change doesn't guarantee progress, nearly no progress would be possible without change.

So, when you are thinking about change, reposition your focus to the progress it may ultimately yield. And, if you are considering change that impacts others, please position your attitude, approach, language and vision on those results.

If we think or talk about "we must change", or "we need change" or "we have to change", we put people, including ourselves, in a place of no choice and/or lack of control. You, and they, will feel put upon and may do things out of compliance.

Instead, should we share about progress, and how the progress will benefit each person, and paint a picture where it is clear that each person who buys in will have a place in that picture, in that future, then people get committed to the actions it takes to get there.

Insist on change, and some will come along based in fear and ultimately minimal action and compliance, and yet project progress, and watch many get committed and join the progress in a way that shares in the action and the success that follows!

Monday, August 20, 2018

How "Maybe" is Worse than "No"!

Telling someone you might be there, or providing a "maybe" as a reply is not only not an answer, it is downright thoughtless in regards to the person asking.

A "no" is not rude. A "no, thank you" requires no other explanation.

A "maybe" means the person asking is left wondering. He or she cannot plan or move forward, rather that person has to follow up with the person replying "maybe" to get a solid response...needlessly taking up time due to the carelessness of planning on the other person's part. If you are not sure if you are going to atttend, say something like "Due to a potential conflict, I'll say "no" for now. If there is a change in plans, when is your final RSVP deadline, if it is not now?" If it is right then, be okay with that - the other person doesn't want to be in "I'll try-ville" or "Maybe Town" or "We'll see-ville" until you make a decision.

When you use "No" instead of "Maybe", will you possibly miss out on opportunities because your time could become free later? Yes. Will you risk getting a reputation of being indecisive, non-committal and thoughtless? No. And, based on that, please stop using "Might", "Maybe" and other distant options in order to position yourself and others for committed experiences!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Deliver a REAL Introduction


Believe it or not, an engaging introduction can be an important part of a powerful presentation. And, a bad introduction is often a sad start for a presenter who has to first recover from the introduction, and second has to attempt to engage an audience after that recovery.
 
An effective introduction should be REAL, meaning the introducer simply, and only covers the:
 
Reason for the talk/presentation/training. Welcome people, and let them know what the topic is.
 
Examples of the importance of the topic. State 2-4 reasons someone will want to listen to the presentation.
 
Acknowledgement of the speaker’s credentials and name. Share 2-4 relevant facts about the speaker that will enhance the presenter’s credibility and pique the audience’s interest. Clearly and confidently state the name of the speaker/presenter last, with a pause between the last comment and the first name and a quick pause between the presenter’s first and last name.

Leading of the applause. As soon as you finish the presenter’s name to the audience (which is done while facing the audience. You then turn to face the presenter as you start to applaud loudly and rapidly to indicate others can follow (and they will!).
 
An example of “keeping it REAL” for an effective introduction is:
 
Welcome to the Presenting Powerfully workshop (R)! It is important we learn to present confidently and professionally, learn tips and tools for connecting with the audience, and that we get our messages across effectively (E). Our speaker comes to us as a 10-time published author, former corporate regional and national leader, and a member of the National Speakers Association. Please welcome your expert on presentation prowess, Debbie Lundberg (A). Applaud immediately (L).

Deliver a REAL introduction and/or write a REAL introduction for yourself, if you are the speaker, and no longer will bad introductions, or worse yet, the reading of a full, long bio, be the start to any presentation!
 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Presentation Prowess: Know and Own Your DEMEANOR!

"I have fun out there on the court, smiling, laughing, trying to have good demeanor."
~ Stephen Curry

Whether you have experienced seemingly overwhelming fear or distracting nerves, your confidence will come from your interest, your preparedness, and your handling of the situation. Confidence will also likely come with time. With time being of the essence, let's tackle what you can impact and own yourself through your DEMEANOR:

D - Decide you believe in you. After all, the audience wants you to succeed, and whoever hired or asked you to speak believes you are a great choice.

E - Eye Contact. Look at the audience. Let the audience know you want to see them. Being connected through your eyes will give you insight (no pun intended), and eventually calm you through that feedback. Stay engaged with one person through a full thought/sentence in order not to look jumpy. Do not look over the crowd, as many early public speaking instructional suggested. People can tell you are not making eye-contact, and either judge you as 1) aloof, or 2) scared...neither of which are good for you! Move on from one person after a thought is completed, so as not to appear you are having a personal conversation, and/or that you are alienating everyone else. Additionally, you want to move on to include everyone in the audience and never give one person the stalker-effect where you keep hanging on them throughout a full segment or talk. Work eye contact in reverse if someone is being disruptive or talking with someone during your presentation. Resist the "dagger eyes", and instead, move close to the disruptive audience member without eye contact or comment...even sit on the table where the person is acting out, and watch/hear how the disturbance will be softened or stifled, without a word or becoming the "school marm" asking for silence.

M - Managing the Room. Talk with others as you check out the space. Walk around during your presentation. Make sure everyone can hear your voice. By stating something like "I take it you are assertive/professional/bold (your choice) enough in the back to let me know if you cannot hear me. I like that about you!" shows that "moxumility"Ô again by showing the moxie to mention it and the humility to offer a solution. It's even better than asking people sitting in the back "Can you hear me in the back?" If you are comfortable with your materials and your projection, you may want to lower the volume to draw people in, and then raise the volume to make key points and show emphasis. As long as you can picture, feel and hear your voice filling the space and the minds of the audience, you can do it!

E - Enthusiasm. Being enthusiastic does not mean you have to be loud; nor does it mean you should be loud. Enthusiasm is a confidence in you and your topic, a respect for yourself and your audience, and an energy that exudes from you that can be read...and even be contagious! A smile and sincerity are your two best assets in showing enthusiasm, and allowing others to appreciate your style.

A - Appreciate your opportunity to speak. Acknowledging your excitement/enthusiasm is not only okay, it is encouraged. Being too laid back can present as cockiness instead of calm. Say something like "Thank you for including me". Be sincerely appreciative of your opportunity. People want others they connect with to do well.

N - Normalize your situation. Eat well, be rested, wear what is appropriate, comfortable, and is true to the audience, activity and you. Have a mantra for your mental calmness. (I use my personal brand sometimes, and other times I simply repeat "You are engaged, you are engaging, they deserve the best you!") Whatever you connect with that is a fit for repeating internally that is positive and focused, is a healthy mantra for you.

O - Offer intonation in your voice and movement in your presentation. Pace and tone changes that are not too wishy-washy or high pitched both offer variety, and therefore keep people's attention.

R - Relax yourself naturally. Meet a lot of people prior to going into the room or up on stage. Be "that person" who is welcoming, friendly, and approachable. Breathe deeply before going "on". Keep breathing intentionally and deeply (watch the noise if you have a lavaliere microphone!!) to keep your voice and pace in control. Have room temperature water close at hand, and ensure you hit the restroom before your presentation (one, to go to the bathroom, and two, to check your appearance).

Your DEMEANOR is your style. Let your demeanor convey your nerves as confidence, and your eagerness as energy, and let your passion for your presentation wow the audience in a way that is respectful, rewarding, and warrants a terrific response!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lift Others Up!

"We rise by lifting others."
~ Robert Ingersoll

When you hear something you enjoy, or see something you like, how often do you make the effort to share that feeling with the person, or people who created the experience? And yet, wouldn't that lift that person's spirits, and perhaps make his or her day?

The act of making an effort to say thank you to those who make things happen, even if it is "their job", has far more rewards than the seconds or moments it takes to express your appreciation.

Make an effort to be uplifting once each day. While at first, you may find you are looking for something worthwhile, soon, should you make it a habit, you will see, find, and even subtly encourage, these actions on a regular basis without much effort at all!

Lift others up, and watch how you feel lifted by the observations, the experiences, and the sharing of gratitude with others!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Audience Engagement When Presenting

Participation and More

A talk or presentation is typically best with engagement of the audience, and that means participation of some sort.

Here are a few ways to positively engage your audience:

  • Meet people prior to the talk, or greet them if you already know them
  • Walk around the room
  • Make eye contact
  • Ask a question and raise your hand as you are asking, so the audience knows you want their input
  • Ask a question with "Who'll be the first to guess at..." so people know their guesses are okay, and then, when someone answers, repeat the guess and thank him or her without judgement
  • Ask "Who wants to start us off?" and wait, rather than "picking on someone to answer something
  • When someone starts responding, when he or she is done, ask that person "Who would you like to hear from next?" so that you are not calling on someone
  • Use a fun object, or even a wadded up piece of paper as the talking prop that when someone has it, she or he has the floor - let people know you throw the object to, not at, others
  • Call people by name
  • Be sincere in your interaction
  • Make the effort and have fun (without making fun of anyone other than yourself)

When you choose to engage your audience in positive ways, they feel safe, enjoy, and tend to want to be a part of the information sharing with you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Resisting Regret!

"Speak when you are angry - and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret."
~ Laurence J. Peter
Canadian Writer.
 (1919 - 1990)

Regret is powerful. Regret is costly. Regret has no positive value. Regret has options.

Should you find yourself in a place where you feel bad about something you said or did in the past, or, should you find yourself sensing a bad feeling or remorse about something you did not say or do in the past, give yourself a chance to not live in regret. Accept that your behavior negatively affected you, a situation, or others around you. You may sense guilt, self-doubt, your worthiness, and even think you cannot overcome it. You can, you will, and you may even learn from it!

Consider the following approaches instead of, and in replacement of, regret:

1) Turn regret into a reset! Let yourself feel - your feelings are legitimate, real, and they are yours - you need not ignore or suppress them immediately.

2) Turn your regret into a reality check!

Gain a perspective of the past, and know that there is where that behavior lives/lived.

3) Turn your regret into a resolution! Gather a sense of moving forward,and resolve to live in the present as you move ahead.

4) Turn your regret into a recognition! Realize what you have done incorrectly and apologize for it to those impacted (with no excuses or rationalization).

5) Turn your regret into reassurance! Share what you have learned and make a commitment to yourself and others not to make the same misstep again.

6) Turn your regret into release! Forgive yourself ad release the guilt and negative self talk, as it is not doing anything positive for you (or anyone else).

7) Turn your regret into re-engagement! Make yourself available for openness, vulnerability, learning and more - with all your heart, and all your hope that people will accept your regret turnaround readily and with resounding support!

With these seven simple, reasonable approaches, you will not be looking back, and yet, if you did, regret would be in the rearview mirror!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ask, Don't Assume


With technology making staying in touch readily available and accessible, and that can be great, what isn't great is when someone assumes how to contact you and/or pay you.

 

When you meet someone with whom you want to engage, ask him or her "If it is appropriate, I'll follow-through on our conversation...would you prefer a call, text or email?", and then use that preferred method.

 

Similarly, when paying for services or splitting a charge with someone, ask what form of payment works best, as there are many, so saying something similar to "Okay, so I owe you $XX, and I'll get you that by tomorrow. Do you prefer Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, or ApplePay?" is smart, as not everyone uses all forms of payment, and if not set up, have hoops to jump through to access what is rightly his or hers.

 

Asking, and not assuming, works well in life in general. Respecting preferences and noting choices makes for good rapport-building and good relationships, so in contact, payment, and other things, do ask, don't assume!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Phase Out Some Phrases...

"Silence is better than unmeaning words." 
~ Pythagoras
Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of the Pythagoreanism movement. 

Words matter.

The use of words becomes as much as a habit as brushing our teeth, and if we do not consider that meanings change over time, and the implication of what we say (and how we say it) have an impact on others, we may be sending the wrong message...unintentionally.

Here are some words and phrases to please consider phasing out. These are not pet peeve words, rather these tend to conjure up negative or off-putting ideas for some/many, and while not everyone will find them problematic, wouldn't it be nice to avoid the potential and amp up your effectiveness anyway?

Phrases to Phase Out      Replacement Verbiage
We'll just agree to disagree
While we may not agree on this, let's respect each of us has our reasoning and neither is wrong
Kind of
(nothing - simply be specific)
You don't understand

You need to
Would you consider?

I am counting on you to...
Relax/Calm down
What can I do to assist?
Obviously
Some find/agree...
For those of you who know me, I am...

I'd like to introduce you to...
I am


Please meet
It is what it is
Here's where we are, and here's the approach I am taking
I don't care
Whatever you prefer/Your preference works for me

By shifting your phrases, you ensure others, and you, know where you are, where you are going, and you have clear messaging for moving ahead!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Compete with Yourself, Not Others

"Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed - there's so little competition."
~ Elbert Hubbard
American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. Raised in Hudson, Illinois, he had early success as a traveling salesman for the Larkin Soap Company.
(1856 - 1951)

When people ask about being competitive, it conjures up ideas of being cut-throat, win-at-all-cost, aggressiveness for some. Instead of that image of what can be quite negative, shift to the positive and think of competition as being your best.  Your best you is the best competitor in sports, life, business, attitude and actions!

If we set our sites on "beating" another person or company in a sport or business conquest, we can feel demeaned if we don't "win" or can lack compassion and humanity in how we attempt to "not lose". External competition for records and opportunities can be very positive...as long as they don't get personal in the way that the person is lost in the goal.

How to keep things competitive, positive, and personal in the way it is about achieving yourself and not exceeding another person is accomplished by setting goals that relate to self and individual actions. Knowing where your strength, your weight, your medical numbers, your work output, your relationships, and more are now, and assessing them for satisfaction 1st, and potential 2nd, creates a now and later effect, meaning, you have a baseline, and then you can set a goal.

Striving for a goal where you can "win" in spite of nobody else "losing" is a health-minded approach to competition. So go ahead, take a look in the mirror, record where you are now, and get competitive...with yourself, make a plan, achieve the goal of being the best you!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

TAKE Criticism Well

Some people provide feedback, and most, who offer us "advice" sadly, provide it in the form of criticism. Even if it is constructive, sometimes it can be hard to swallow!

When you get either feedback or criticism, instead of defending it, TAKE it well, meaning, implore the approach of:

T - Thank the person or share "That's something I hadn't thought of"
A - Ask for clarification or an example if it's not clear
K - Keep calm & focused on how you can learn/grow from this
E - Explain in terms of feedback what you'll do

Once you learn to TAKE criticism, it become useful, and not so much of critical from the other person as it is a consideration on your side!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Meet People Where They Are

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed." 
~ Carl Jung
Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies. 
(1875 - 1961)

While it can be hopeful to anticipate someone's potential, and reflective to think about what we used to do when we were in a similar position historically in our career/life, it is a challenge, at times, to meet people where they are...and not where we think they are, or where we wish they were!

Personally and professionally, being willing to see people for whom they are, and for what they are doing, serves us well. While that is a simple concept, doing it is not necessarily easy, as we can be overly optimistic, overly pessimistic, or simply unrealistic.

Before determining what to say or do with someone in any situation, remember to see him or her for the person he or she is, and not what you want them to be or hope they'll be. That can be time consuming...and even lead to the proverbial tongue-biting! Ways to accomplish "meeting people where the are" include:
1) Consider the situation & the options
2) Consider what the person wants to do and not do
3) Discuss options openly (not in a directive way)
4) Ask for reasoning and share yours
5) Offer perspective through stories
6) Keep the others from harming themselves or others in their decisions/actions
7) Let the person make his or her own mistakes and make for his or her own success

Meeting someone where s/he is will allow for leading with empathy while allowing others to grow!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Control the Controllables!

Life is a series of choices. How we respond to things and people is a choice. We can control ourselves and our responses.

We cannot control others, the weather, or much else,a nd that does not mean we are out of control or uncontrollable!

We can choose to be mindful of our perspective, expectations, joys and disappointments, and that will impact our outcomes. Our outcomes are within our control when we embrace the idea that we control how situations and personalities impact us. Decide to control the controllables within you, and in effect, you are deciding to let go of those whom, and that which, you cannot control!

Control the controllables...choose to control YOU!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Making Amends

You made a mistake. You said or did something you regret. You were self-centered, or thoughtless. And, now, and perhaps for a while, you owe someone you care about an apology.

Making amends is not easy, and yet here is a simple approach to the challenging experience:
1) Think about the other person and not simply you
2) Approach the other person in private, and even schedule time with him/her
3) Be sincere
4) Share that you erred and you are owning it
5) Apologize for the act and your actions - not how the person interpreted the situation or might feel, and ASK for forgiveness and a fresh start
6) Expect nothing, and accept whatever the person shares
7) Be grateful for getting to voice your view, and give the other person time to process

Stay focused, humble, willing and open as you attempt to make amends in order to be true to your relationship, the other person, and to yourself.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Value of Vulnerability

"When you stop caring what people think, you lose your capacity for connection. When you're defined by it, you lose our capacity for vulnerability."
~ Brene Brown
American Professor at University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation - Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.
(b. 1965)

Often leaders are described as charismatic, smart, visionaries, and vulnerable. Sadly, many of us work, yes, work, at not letting anything detract from our impression on others as someone who "has it all together", meaning there is nothing that can shake us, and that things are nearly perfect! The reality is nobody is perfect, and nothing goes perfectly all the time. We have fears, disappointments, missed opportunities and more. We are human, and as humans growing, we are vulnerable people.

Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability and exposure provide an opportunity to find strength, to bond with others, and to learn from situations and people. Vulnerability is real, and really important.

Sure, sharing everything is not appropriate. Sharing some things - challenges and past experiences, ways you've overcome push-back and set-backs, and choices you've made, all allow others to get to know you and get a chance to potentially learn from what you've experienced.

When you think you'll look foolish, "less-than" or weak, remember that sharing in a positive, non-complaining, realistic way, that is vulnerability, and that is leadership. There's great value in that. So, be a leader and be vulnerable!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Expressing Appreciation in a Note

"Thanks" is nice, and "Thank you" is great, too. Still, saying words of gratitude are not the same as sending words of gratitude.

Yes, say your thanks at the time of your experience, post gratitude (and even a photo) on social media, too. And then, consider sending a hand-written note to the person or people who have impacted you with a gift, a kind word, including you at an event, or even simply the way s/he has presented him or herself at a meeting or talk.

To make the best impression in the note, please:

Start with a greeting and the person's name (we don't use names very often any more)
Skip starting the first sentence with I (makes it about you and not the recipient)
Offer something special you gained from him/her
Close with an uplifting message
Sign it following a sign-off, such as "With gratitude" or something else
It's not ever to late to show appreciation, and while someone receiving the note two days to one week following your exchange is recommended, dig out those nice notecards and get moving! Here's an example:

Hello Joe!
What a spectacular evening it was Friday! Thank you for including me at your table of so many wonderful leaders.
It will be pleasure to follow up with each of them to share how much we each appreciate you.
With gratitude, make it a productive and enjoyable week!
Fondly,Debbie

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy People Experience Challenges

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
~ Albert Schweitzer
French-German theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician.
(1875 - 1965)

Too often people look to others for their happiness. Happiness does not come from others, or from external influences, rather happiness comes from within.

Happy people are happy. Happy people choose to be happy. They laugh, they smile, they share in the joy of others, and they are happy for the success of people who are thriving!

Still, happy people experience challenges. Happy people get disappointed. Happy people get down, and happy people get distracted. The difference in happy people experiencing these challenges is that happy people know they are challenges, categorize them as such, and they allow themselves to get, grieve, process, and flow through the emotions that come with the challenges. Happy people, truly happy people, do not act like all is okay, or fake their feelings. They may only share them with a few, and yet most importantly, they are honest with themselves about what is happening and how to overcome and learn from what is in front of them.

So remember, you may see a happy person with a look of concern or disappointment, surprise or dismay, and yet that same happy person will show resilience and belief in what lies ahead instead of staying where they are for that moment. They happily traverse the rough waters to get to higher ground and moments of joy. They choose to be happy, and therefore, they are. Choose happiness in the up and down times. Choose happiness in the celebrations and the defeats. Choose happiness in life!