Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Speak Your Mind!

Imagine that you’re about to enter the boardroom and you know that the president of your company is going to oppose the idea that you’re bringing to the table. You know though, that your idea will work, because you’ve seen it work before, yet you’re new at the company and aren’t quite sure how you’ll be received? How do you present your idea without sounding like a naysayer?

Or, you’ve got some bad news to share with your spouse. You’ve agreed to go on vacation but you’re now being told you have to work during that time. How are you going to present your side when you know how upset your spouse it going to be. How can you phrase it to cushion the blow?

What about at work? Perhaps there is someone who is more outgoing, more aggressive than you and seems to always come up with all of the bright ideas. You want to appear to be an eager and hard working employee who is making a great difference and bringing value to the company, yet you feel that the other personalities in the room squash yours. How can you get a word in edge wise and how can you get your brain to think of these remarkable things on the spot and do it without sticking your foot in your mouth and telling the other employees what you REALLY think???

Here are a list of ways to make sure that you’re prepared to make a good impression on those who you communicate with.. .even in sticky situations!

Realize that there are always going to be difference of opinions, and learning to present your views in a way that is non confrontational is definitely something worth learning! Make it your goal to remain respectful always of others in every situation if possible.
Hear the others out. The old saying rings true, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Ask questions about the others opinions and ideas and really seek to understand where they are coming from. Seek to clarify any points you might not grasp at first. Use words like “share with me/us what you like about this idea….”

Understand other peoples’ motives! They want to feel good! Does that mean the person wants to look good? Do they want to sound brilliant? Do they have a reputation of being creative? What ever it is, endorse the positive. Tell them that their ideas are good, or smart or creative and that you understand why they feel the way they do.

When it’s time to bring up your idea- chose your words carefully!
When you present the ideas, make sure you’ve understood and endorsed them, then suggest some other alternatives… “Here is one idea that I’ve seen work…. Or .. “in addition to what we’ve already discussed, here are a few more ideas that I’ve researched and would love to share with you.”

Lastly; PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! If you’re not getting a chance at speaking your mind or if you’re great at sticking your foot in your mouth, do what the pros do: PRACTICE BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!! If you can find out the subject of the meeting in advance, do it. But ALWAYS come prepared to the meetings with something brilliant to add to the group or to the person. If you’re being drowned out, then practice projecting your voice and looking like you have authority about it. Additionally besides HOW you speak, think about WHAT you speak about! Always think about bringing VALUE to those you communicate with. And PAPER IS POWER! If you can leave behind some information in the written form, you’ll have left a great impression!

Learning to engage with others quickly, easily and effectively takes time and a bit of planning to make it sound or appear as smoothly as the pros. But if you do learn to communicate easily under difficult situations, your co-workers, friends and relatives will respect you and appreciate your efforts and will want to celebrate you, and not just tolerate you!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hanging out with the Techies

Today my husband invited me to lunch with his techie team. Well actually, I invited myself to his lunch because one of the guys he works with that I wanted to meet was celebrating a birthday. So, my husband was fine bringing me along with the 10 guys and one gal to the Mellow Mushroom in Winter Park. I wanted to meet Ryan Price because he leads several conferences in and around the Orlando area for Blogging and for networking purposes in the technical fields. We have emailed back and forth and I thought today would be the perfect time to meet him in person.. on his birthday!

What an education! Between the 10 of them talking about Blogging, video software, I-Phones, Twitter, techie conferences, social media thrown in with some programming language and Project management, my head was full after about and hour!

But it was so fun! As a novice to technical language but someone who soaks it all up so I can stay up on trends, it was a blast to hang out and listen to them. They’re programmers who have a personal interest in social media as well as doing it for their jobs.

For me, it was so much easier hanging with them for an hour than reading a techie magazine, and easier to pick up on the language. They gave me content for an upcoming business article and ideas for others.

Hanging with those outside your own industry can give your own creativity a boost and sharpen your own knowledge about something that might be out of your comfort zone but that is interesting.

What a great lunch! I’m definitely planning on spending more time with these guys as they banter during their lunches about hot technical advances in the field of social media. Stay tuned to upcoming blogs and articles for the OBJ on this fun topic!