Archive for April, 2011

WIIFM? First, Listen

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

People are so overwhelmed by things changing in their lives and their work that we can count on them begin distracted while we are trying to communicate. Whether you are leading a training session or a meeting, over half the people are preoccupied with other thoughts.  Some are already gearing up to argue with you.

Our tendency is to talk more and to talk louder to get their attention. We need to deliver our message realizing they hear it through their “What’s In It For Me?” filter.  Anything that will touch my wallet will elicit an emotional response.  We need to talk just enough to deliver your message, and then stop talking so we can listen.

Listen for the concerns behind the blunt or badly phrased question.  Listen for what they fear behind the sarcastic tone in their voice. Respond first by ensuring that you heard their question by summarizing and asking them to confirm that your summary is correct.  Then offer the  clarification or additional information they requested.  If the answer is unknown, say so and ask for their help in finding the best solution. Too many of us launch into a rebuttal which may add further anxiety rather than address their concern.

It takes courage to listen when Change impacts our comfort zones.  We stand a greater chance of reducing the resistance when we communicate honestly and encourage the dialogue.

More on encouraging the conversations in the next blog.

What are your thoughts?

Free Resources to Learn/Upgrade a Skill

Monday, April 18th, 2011

No matter what your role in the organization – executive or candidate – many people are finding that they need to learn a new version of a technology, or a greater proficiency in a another language in order to enhance their careers. Using the resources below you don’t have to attend a ‘class’ or reveal that you don’t know how to do something. You can make your work easier,  be more productive and able to take on more interesting assignments!

Education-Portal.com Look under Open Courseware, Free Courses for business, technology, science, liberal arts (languages). This site also includes helpful job search tips.

Freeskills.com Over 650 free tutorials for IT and other technology.

Jobmonkey.com/careertraining/office Need to learn Excel or update other MicroSoft tools?  Find links to learn Word, PowerPoint, Access, Project, SharePoint and more.

GCFLearnFree.org For anyone who wants to improve your technology, literacy and math skills.

Plan B – 5 things to do if your office temporarily shuts down

Friday, April 1st, 2011

What are you doing as federal employees and all the contractors and others dependent on federal agencies anxiously await Congress to approve a budget?

I hear many are doing nothing at all; business as usual. Some don’t think it really will shut down. Others believe if they don’t plan for it, it won’t happen. And for some, their work isn’t the kind that can be adjusted.

If Leadership is in denial, then you can only plan  for yourself and your own career health. You can use the time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Some will get a few “honey-do’s” done.  But it’s also a prime opportunity to make some in-roads into managing your career.

Be aware (especially Teleworkers) if you find yourself with unplanned time off, you will not be able to use your work computer… for anything. The IT folks will be able to track your footprint.

1) Before you leave, print out your resume to refresh and  update so it’s ready when/if you should need it.

2) Participate a professional meeting that you might not have otherwise been able to attend

3) Take some free webinars or tutorials

4) Set up some coffee dates to maintain and expand your network

5)  GovLoop is encouraging and helping to coordinate a massive volunteering effort

So if there there isn’t a shut-down, stick to Plan A.  But if there is, don’t get caught empty-handed.

Abundance in the job search?

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Now that sounds like I’m in my own la-la land.  But Jason Alba started me thinking with his blog:

http://www.jibberjobber.com/blog/2011/03/31/rethinking-abundance-mentality-job-search-version/

The concept of abundance has been around in many forms throughout many civilizations. Some may know it as ‘living with intention’ or ‘positive thinking.’

When it comes to job search, our emotional strength is critical to maintain endurance and mental health. With so much competition  making the job search even more challenging, its easy to fall into a mindset of scrambling for scraps.

I challenge you to stop. Stop your rat race for a few minutes.  Change your physical environment (if inside, go outside) to find something different to see, hear, and smell.  Take a really deep, slow breath.  Take a few more: slow and deep.  This should get you feeling a little more energized and clear-headed.

If you weren’t anxiously looking for a job, what else could you do with your skills and knowledge? Who needs the talents and perspective you offer?  What do others come to you for over and over again?  Dissect your skills and, like a word jumble puzzle, see what new ways you can combine them. An objective person can help with this. Next look around at the world to see what other groups or organizations could use the various combination of your talents. Use your down-time to keep these talents sharp (or sharpen others) with volunteer activities.  It will also help you answer the question, “What have you been doing since your last job?” but also might help make new connections and leads.