April 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation: Leadership presence

Jane was considered for a general manager job. She brought experience in the field and a well-known success rate in handling controversial clients in her previous organization. The challenge for Jane in the new organization was that her lack of presence eroded the confidence of the leadership team. They were concerned that future board interactions would be ineffective.

The Solution:

Jane needed polish in her communications and presence approaches with senior leaders. In her previous smaller organization, she worked mainly in the trenches. Her combination of wardrobe and grooming choices (hair style and color) hurt her presence. Jane needed a personal brand and quickly became excited about developing one. The new Jane eventually exuded a brand of leadership presence, effective listening skills and a sensitivity to adapting to different communication styles.

The Outcome:

The senior leaders immediately noticed the changes in Jane’s appearance along with the way she handled difficult situations. She created strong client and board relationships and earned a promotion to a general manager!

The power of a handshake – What does your handshake say about you? Do you know?

March 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation: Practice makes perfect

Last month Emily broke down her subject matter with examples and stories. How do we get her to open and close her class each time with a “wow” so they want to come back to the next class and filled with excitement about learning?

The Solution:

Emily is shy, introverted and does not like practicing. We video-taped her doing an easy interview that ran about 20 minutes. Emily found that she liked herself. The tape erased all fear that she would be horrible in front of an audience. We then began taping her open and close for each of her classes. We moved on to quick ten-minute clips of her classes. We shot some on the Go to Meeting platform or Emily sent the clips to me. We reviewed them with an eye to see what worked and what needed strengthening. Emily began to gain more confidence and began to work through class bumps in timing and questions.

The Outcome:

Last year, her evaluations ranged 2.5 to 3.5 (with 5 the highest and 1 the lowest score). The evaluations measured teaching style, time management, clarity of deliverables and class engagement. This year, at midterm, her scores ranged from 3.5 to 4.5!  Emily will work on the 3.5 marks which mainly reflect timing issues. The Dean is quite pleased and Emily herself is thrilled. Most importantly, she and her students are finally engaged.

There is not a soul who does not have to beg alms of another, either a smile, a handshake, or a fond eye. Lord Acton

March 2017 Monthly Tips

Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time. George Bernard Shaw

March Tips For Communication & Image Success

Tip for Organizations:

Question:
We have a team member struggling to deliver on critical projects. Deadlines are missed and it is always someone else’s problem. How do we handle this?

Answer:
It is best to ask this member what the team can do help. Offer solutions and ask for recommendations. Always use the 3 to 1 rule: share three things done well and a fourth one that needs improvement.

Communication Question:

Question:
What are some tips to engage an introverted audience?

Answer:
Adding an experiential learning piece to your presentation will engage the audience. Arrange the seating to group folks together and have them answer questions among themselves. Employ quizzes and open ended results to engage your audience.

Presence  Question:

Question:
Are beards and mustaches acceptable in the work world for men?

Answer:
Beards and mustaches have become more mainstream in the business world. However, it is important that they are well groomed and maintained. Close cuts to the chin for the beard and trimmed daily mustaches. At all costs, avoid letting food become a part of the facial hair!

The Art of Business and Social Interaction®

Question:
How dressy is a black tie optional for men and women for a business social event?

Answer:
Typically a black tie optional for a week day (Wednesday or Thursday) business event is less dressy than one on a weekend. The reason is that folks work the next day. Men can opt to wear a tux or even a dark business suit. Women can wear a short cocktail dress or dress business suit with skirt or pants.

February 2017 Monthly Tips

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. Henry Adams

February Tips For Communication & Image Success

Tip for Organizations:

Question:
Our team meetings have been challenging. They often run out of time due to intense dialog and interruptions are common. How can we stay on agenda?

Answer:
Allot time for each agenda item while making sure the agenda is not overly ambitious. Establish ground rules, especially regarding interruptions.

Communication Question:

Question:
How do I stay calm during a heated conversation?

Answer:
Recently a colleague asked the same question. My advice is to avoid the cha-cha-cha (back and forth while upset). Realize that proving a point is more about being heard. When you see they cannot hear you, breathe once and suggest to table the conversation for now.

Presence  Question:

Question:
How can I always look and feel sharp?

Answer:
Iris Apfel – “If you are wearing a good hair style and great shoes; nothing else matters”.  The first thing someone sees is your face. Then they look down to see your shoes. Ensuring these two items work makes the rest of you to look put together.

The Art of Business and Social Interaction®

Question:
What are some good ways to warm up my voice before I speak in a meeting or present to a group?

Answer:
Find some tongue twisters on line and exercise your voice and mouth prior to speaking. Always make it a practice to use your voice before an event.

February 2017 Business Case Study

The Situation: Engaging the Audience

Emily is a researcher and teach lead in a class for new associates about the critical elements in her expertise. The evaluations have not been positive during the last two years. Emily realizes her lecturing does not inspire class engagement even though she was taught to lecture this way. Senior leaders are concerned and stress that changes are needed.

The Solution:

Emily is a respected PhD in her field. Our goal for her is to break down her subject matter into chunks that will engage her audience by using stories and discussing things allowing the class to experience each research element. We worked on a redesign of her visuals (more pictures – less words), a strong session open / close and on ways to secure audience participation. Also, Emily wants to have fun with the class and learn to answer questions more succinctly. If an question requires a longer explanation, she could discuss it after class.

The Outcome:

Participant evaluations and comments now indicate they are energized by the classes! Emily finds herself really enjoying them, too. She is also gaining the confidence as a teacher to be more flexible in the classroom and adjust, if needed, because of timing constraints or if more time is needed for questions. The senior leaders are pleased especially about hearing the positive remarks from the participants!

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.