18 Tips to Move Your Career Forward in the New Year!

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It’s time to set your intentions for the New Year. Here are 18 tips from some of the world’s best career experts to assist you in moving your career forward.

  1. Foster “Interpersonal Wellness”. Leading people is not easy, that’s why Joyce Odidison, recommends regular wellness audits/assessments to improve and inspire individual and workplace wellness.
  2. Be a “Workplace Athlete”. According to Corey McCusker there are 7 key similarities of top performers to professional athletes including a high level of confidence, the ability to concentrate on process as well as the end result, resilience, mental attitude, a sense of challenge/competitiveness, peak condition non-thinking automatic response and the ability to relax.
  3. Spot Signs of “Burnout”. Cheryl Shurtliffe says burnout is most common amongst people who are phenomenal at their jobs. And while there are good levels of stress and bad levels of stress, it’s important to identify the early signs of burnout in yourself or in others around you.
  4. Begin Your “Destiny Discovery” Process. Most people are “chasing opportunities instead of creating on purpose”. According to Michelle Casto there are “6 stages in the destiny discovery process” to assist in moving energy from the head to the heart in order to create intuitive energy alignment.
  5. Release Unwanted Negative “Emotions”. Peggy Kelly-Davies states emotions are generated by your subconscious mind and are indicators and motivators to do something. Becoming Emotional Intelligent therefore starts with self awareness of your own emotions and feelings.
  6. “Play a Bigger Game”. According to Patti Cotton many of us (especially women) play it small by holding back usually out of fear of rejection or fear of loss. And if you can relate, start by identifying where you are playing small and identify the little steps you can take. Incremental steps will “stretch your comfort zone”.
  7. “Prioritize Your Passions”. Signy Wilson says it’s important to “notice when we are over-functioning” and to “stop running on empty”. Because we simply can’t do it all, we should list our passions, cull the list, then prioritize the list and find a way to blend our passions with our daily actions as well as ensure structure for self care.
  8. “Build Meaningful Authentic Relationships”. That’s the result of becoming a master networker. According to Alana Muller networking is not about finding a job or collecting business cards. Networking is about connection, community and belonging.
  9. “Cultivate Your Gravitas”. According to Susan Freeman, gravitas is critical to executive presence and can be cultivated. “Gravitas” is a measure of confidence, decisiveness, a projection of your inner game or authenticity and the missing link to executive presence.” How you act (show up), how you speak (communication) and how you look (grooming and polish) matters.
  10. “Hone Your Skills”. Wendy Weiss says “cold-calling is a basic skill set” which can be learned. It takes 7-12 contacts to get prospects to respond. Most sales people give up long before that. Wendy emphasizes a good process and tracking will get you results.
  11. “Connect to the Wisdom of Your Heart”. According to Dr. Lise Janelle, “the quality of your life depends on the question you ask about your life”. 90-98% of what we do is conditioned response. Our actions/behaviors can be conditioned while our hearts hold the key to love, gratitude, wisdom and inspiration.
  12. “Consider the Financial Impacts”. According to Val Cattelan, strategic financial planning can equate to significant dollar amounts in the long run especially when you consider tax savings and portfolio returns. In addition to a career plan, you need a solid financial plan.
  13. “Make it Better”. According to James Graham people resist change because they view change the same way they view torture. Adapting your mindset to focus on “more or better” is an easier transition. James reminds us to “believe in the magical power of your mind”.
  14. “Enhance Your Brand”. According to Donna Serdula, your LinkedIn profile is your digital introduction, a summary of who you are as well as a projection of your future success. Your LinkedIn link will usually be the first thing that pops up when someone googles your name.
  15. “Develop Resiliency”. Catherine Meyer says there are 4 keys to developing resilience: optimism, stress management, flexibility and openness and the ability to see solutions within your control and influence.
  16. “Experience Facial Intelligence”. Michelle Butt uses the face as a guide to knowing how to interact with others based on their needs and communication preferences. According to Michelle, the face can be a tool to understanding people’s patterns and behavioral tendencies.
  17. “Develop Exceptional Teams”. Dianne Crampton says the leader’s focus should be on team development rather than team building. Team building can have a marginal effect and be demotivating while team improvement can have a lasting effect increasing collaboration and interdependence.
  18. “Boost Your Confidence”. Linda Cattelan says the shadow side of confidence can derail a career. It’s important not to believe the stories you make up. According to Linda, you need to focus on what you can control and influence by getting yourself ready. And there is no better time than the present to focus on yourself and your next career move.

Whether you are at the start of your career, mid way through your career, or at the tail end of your career, vow to make this year your most successful year ever.

If you would like more information on this topic contact Linda at 416-617-0734 or email linda@resultscatalyst.ca.

How To Enjoy This Holiday Season!

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Are you feeling like the year is drawing to a close faster than you expected? Are you running out of time hoping you get everything done on your holiday “to do” list? Are you stressed and worn out? Well, perhaps it is time to stop, take a deep breath and rethink how you are spending your valuable time.

  • Take a hard look at your “to do” list. Is it full of “must do” or “should do” vs “want to do”? What’s on the list that you can stop doing right now? What’s on the list that you can get someone else to do? Ensure your time is spent doing the things you most value and enjoy.
  • Simplify wherever you can. Perhaps you can stop exchanging gifts with some of your friends or family. You can cut back on the number of greeting cards you mail out or stop altogether. You might consider sending electronic greeting cards instead.
  • Start a tradition. I love decorating my home for the holidays but my husband doesn’t get excited by the work involved in getting our home decorated. So, several years ago I started a tradition with my dad. He comes over to help me decorate my tree(s) and helps me with the outdoor lights and garland and whatever I need done to complete the decorating. We have a great father/daughter visit laughing and talking and then end with a nice cup of coffee and some cookies. I wouldn’t trade this time with him for anything. He’s 84 years old and still loves to come over and help.
  • Spend time with loved ones. At some point over the holiday season I’ll bring out the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and we’ll watch it as a family. We make popcorn, curl up on the couches and then settle in to watch the movie together. The holidays are about celebration. Make sure you take the time to celebrate, laugh and have fun with the people you most care about.
  • Start a gratitude journal. It’s a great time of year to reflect on all your successes and accomplishments throughout the year as well as a great time to reflect on all the people in your life that you value and appreciate. In addition to writing about it, be bold and let them know, you will feel great and so will they.
  • Engage in physical activity. If you can make the activity a group activity that’s even better. A friend of mine rents an ice rink every year and invites all his friends and family for a skate and some hot chocolate. It’s a terrific way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile as well as being a fun and active way to enjoy the holidays. Just think-you could organize a toboggan party or a bowling party to work off some of that holiday food.
  • Relax. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed make sure you take the time to relax and re-energize. Read a book, take a warm bath, or sleep in.

So before the year is over, stop and take some time to truly enjoy the holiday season and do whatever is most important to you. I wish you and your families the very best this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

5 Best Strategies To Stand Out And Land Your Dream Job!

interview date Lately, I’ve been assisting with the recruitment of new employees for a small boutique firm. Sorting and sifting through over 250 applicants for only 2 jobs has been an interesting and revealing exercise. I’ve noticed many mistakes in every stage of the recruitment process from how an applicant submits their interest and resume, to the phone screening process through to the in person interview.

If you are interested in standing out as a candidate, here are my 5 best strategies to help you avoid some derailing, yet common mistakes:

1. Be strategic about which jobs you apply for. The job market is highly competitive. Applying for any and every job is not the right strategy. Make sure your strengths, skills and experience are in alignment with the job description and the requirements of the job. Don’t waste a recruiter’s time and energy if you do not meet most of the job specifications but you really want to work for the company. A better strategy might be to network with employees within the organization until the right job comes up that matches your strengths, skills and experience.

2. Make it easy for a recruiter to pick you out of the multitude of job applicants. First impressions really do count. Your LinkedIn profile should include a professional looking headshot, summary and highlight relevant past experiences and education. However, remember even a great LinkedIn profile is not a substitute for a resume and quality cover letter. Make sure you have a well written and succinct resume that is also attractive to look at. Customize your resume and cover letter to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a creative marketing role, use your creativity. I once observed an applicant submit an infographic resume in response to a marketing role resulting in her landing an interview.

3. Don’t make the recruiter do your work. I’ve noticed applicants use minimal effort to apply for jobs online. I’ve seen scanty online resumes or no resumes, relying on LinkedIn profiles alone. Always include a full resume and where possible submit a cover letter which summarizes why you are applying for the position and why you are the right candidate for the job. This requires that you also do some research about the role, the organization and perhaps even the hiring manager. The better prepared you are, the greater your chance of landing the interview and the job.

4. Practice phone and email etiquette. Often it’s the little things that make a difference in landing you the job you want. Let’s start with making sure you spell check your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Details matter! When engaging in email or online conversation with a recruiter or prospective employer use more formal email etiquette, including proper salutations, grammar and effective written communication skills. This is not the place to use “texting” language or abbreviations. During phone interviews, make sure you capture the interviewer’s name and use their name when asking or answering questions. People love to hear the sound of their name. It not only lets the interviewer know you are someone who listens but it also says you care. In a recent assignment, only 2 out of 20 applicants interviewed used my name in the phone interview. Both advanced to the in person interview stage. Lastly, always follow up a phone or in person interview with a thank you email. Not only is it good manners, but it’s another opportunity to make a good impression and gain share of mind with the recruiter or hiring manager. And because most interviewees don’t do these simple things, you will stand out.

5. Show up as your best self. So you’ve finally made it to the in person interview stage. Make sure your shoes are polished. Many hiring managers look at the shoes first. Sounds strange, but it does say a lot about your attention to detail. Shoes don’t lie. As for attire, I recommend at least one notch above how you would normally show up for the job. It is better to be over dressed than under dressed. Example, an applicant showed up to an interview in dress pants, dress shirt with the top button undone and a loose tie around his neck. He was being interviewed for a wealth management role where everyone wears a suit to the office. Unfortunately, he was ruled out before he even opened his mouth.

If you want to stand out as the ideal candidate, take the time to be strategic in your approach and in the interview process. That means careful planning and research, preparation, practice, and attention to detail. With a little extra effort you can stand out amongst the other candidates, and that little extra might be just enough to land you your dream job.

Manage Your Emails! Don’t Let Them Manage You!

emailManaging daily emails continues to be one of the biggest challenges for busy managers and career professionals. Yet, the ability to quickly read, absorb, process information and to action what is relevant is an emergent skill for successful professionals today.

Here are a few tips to help you manage your emails:

Reduce the frequency of checking your inbox. Consider only checking your email once or twice daily at specifically scheduled timeslots for a limited time allocated. Just because people can get in touch with you by email or text instantly doesn’t mean you have to be available instantly to respond. Determine what’s reasonable within your company or department and then be consistent and organized about when and how you respond to your emails.

Utilize “rules”. Your email management system may have a “rules” feature to allow you to stream your emails into specific separate file folders. Set up separate file folders by project, or by a particular person. It makes sorting and scanning a breeze.

Touch incoming emails once. After reading the email; delete it, file it, forward it, action it or flag it for a future date and remove it from your inbox. Leaving it in your inbox will only clutter your inbox making it difficult to find or deal with later.

Be a good role model for others. Get in the habit of practicing good email etiquette. Label the emails you send to others to make it easier for them to read and process your emails by using abbreviations in your subject lines followed by the topic. For example: FYI (for your information), URG (urgent), ACT (action required), CC (copied). Ask your colleagues and direct reports to do the same. It will be much easier to handle incoming emails in an effective and timely manner.

Don’t be part of the problem. Don’t clog other people’s inboxes by copying everyone you can think of on an email. If you do have to forward an email to someone, make sure you summarize why you are sending them the email, or highlight the key points you are drawing their attention to. This will save them time reading through the several pages of forwarded email.

Set boundaries or guidelines. Let direct reports and colleagues know what you wish to be copied on and what you don’t. Establish some guidelines for how you will keep others informed or how you wish to be kept informed, email isn’t always the best way or the only way to communicate.

Practice effective communication. Don’t assume email or texts will be your best or fastest way of communication. Determine the nature, sensitivity and context of the communication and then determine if it’s best to call, email or meet face to face. It’s way too easy to send a quick text or email but sometimes that can create issues that weren’t there in the first place.

Managing emails can be a nuisance but it is manageable. Make sure you are contributing to proactive manageable solutions rather than being part of the problem.

Interested in more time management techniques, check out my Time & Self Management Package

Preparing For Your Mid Year Or Year End Performance Review

By Guest Author Lorraine Moore

make things happenIt is that time of year – your mid year review with your boss. You have much influence over that conversation. Rather than procrastinating or dreading the discussion, you owe it to yourself to prepare and submit information to your leader in advance of the review. (Unfortunately some leaders do not gather feedback before establishing a rating. This is poor leadership behaviour and all the more reason for you to take the initiative and provide input.)

Prepare:

• This is your opportunity to self promote; to share results your leader may not have been aware of. In companies with pay for performance cultures, articulating your results may have a bearing on your rating, bonus and overall compensation.

• It never failed to amaze me when employees told me they were “too busy” to prepare and provide their boss with content for their review.

Don’t mistake activity with results:

• You were really busy this year? Find me someone who was not. Being busy has become a badge of honour in North American companies. As a leader, I rewarded results, not busyness.

Provide data – quantify your results:

• E.g. saved $ through effective negotiations; reduced risk; your department expenses are under budget

Cite examples and answer “so what?”

• Don’t presume that your boss understands the positive implications of a given outcome. If you brought the project in early, state the benefits, e.g. freed up resources (people and $) to work on other projects; contributed to positive customer perception; saved money on contract staff, etc.

Was it one of your key objectives or KPA (Key Performance Areas)?

• Sometimes people are quite excited about something they invested much of their time in. However, if it was not aligned to one of your KPAs, you may not want to elaborate.

• Similarly, if you had spectacular results in an area that is part of your key goals and/or aligned to your role and responsibilities – highlight it!

Management is not leadership:

• Who on your team have you grown/developed this year?

• Who have you mentored?

• Where did you innovate and improve? What were the benefits to the company?

Demonstrate your commitment to the success of the entire company:

• How did your actions, a decision or results benefit your team, the division or BU (business unit) or parts of the organization?

• Show that you operated with the best interests of the entire organization in mind, not simply your own results.

Make it timely:

• Ensure you provide your leader with information well in advance of them finalizing ratings.

If this was useful, share it with others; pass it on to your staff.

About the Author:

Lorraine Moore is President of Accelerate Success Group, a management consulting and leadership coaching company focused on inspiring individuals and leadership teams to action, personally and professionally. For more about Lorraine Moore visit: www.lorrainemoore.ca

My Most Devastating Career Moment

nextI was at the top of my game. My career was on an upward trajectory and everything was going well, or so I thought. I was deemed high potential and in line for the next promotion. In fact, I had already had my round of internal interviews and I was not only told I was the best candidate, but I was told that I would be getting the job. The promotion I so patiently waited for was finally imminent. But then, I heard nothing, and when the announcement was made my name was not mentioned. Another candidate got the job; I was devastated. My mouth dropped and all I kept thinking was “what happened?”

There are so many ways I could have reacted to the situation. I was hurt, my ego bruised, I was grossly disappointed, and I felt like I had somehow done something wrong to justify being passed over for my greatly deserved promotion.

When I finally gathered my thoughts and feelings, here’s what I decided to focus on:

THE FACTS: It would have been easy to make assumptions about the situation. I could have told myself: “They changed their mind”, “They didn’t think I was good enough”, “There is a better candidate”, “I don’t deserve the promotion”. Instead, I needed to get to the bottom of the situation. What happened between when I was told I had “the job” to the time the announcement was made? Why did the announcement come out announcing someone else’s name? I didn’t want to make any assumptions about why I was being passed over. I enlisted my current boss and my human resources representative to make some calls on my behalf to help figure out what happened. As it turned out a very competent candidate was returning from maternity leave and needed placement. The screw up was in neglecting to let me know that the plans had changed.

MY RESPONSE: Throughout the ordeal I kept my composure, remaining calm and controlled. It would have been easy to have a “hissy fit” or to get angry. However, I simply wanted to understand the situation and close some of the communication gaps. I decided to take the high road and keep my emotions in check and not make this about me and how being passed over was making me feel. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you most certainly can control your response and that makes all the difference.

THE NEXT STEP: Once all the communication loops were closed and it was confirmed that I was indeed not getting that job, I had to regroup and determine my next career steps. I was ready for the next career opportunity and wanted to make sure I wasn’t idly waiting for something to happen to me. Through internal networking efforts I found my next career opportunity, and that job turned out to be one of the best moves of my career.

Even when you know you are ready, and you feel you have done everything right, things can happen so that you are passed over for promotion. Know what you can control.

Top 10 Networking Strategies To Advance Your Career

business handshakeWhether you are a corporate employee, self employed professional or entrepreneur, climbing the ladder to success can be easy if you are committed to consistently following a few simple networking strategies in your career.

One of the most important skills I learned as I progressed in my career that still serves me well today is the art of networking. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, referrals can make up 80%-90% of new business revenues. Networking is both a competency and a process that you need to hone in order to be successful.

Here are 10 of my favorite networking and business tips which I’ve learned throughout my corporate career and which I consistently incorporate on a regular basis to help me be a successful entrepreneur as well:

1. Build Your Networking Muscle – Practice networking by attending lots of different networking events. You will meet many interesting people and contacts, some of which will become great clients, colleagues or friends.

2. Develop Thick Skin – Get comfortable hearing the word “no”, over and over and over again. It will build your character and make you tenacious about your career goals.

3. Be Nice to Everyone You Meet – I had a boss once who used to say “be nice to the people on the way up because you never know when you’ll be meeting them on the way down”. The key message is “don’t burn any bridges and be genuinely nice to everyone”.

4. Be Giving – Give your time, your advice and especially your referrals. It will all come back to you in positive karma and rewarding business connections.

5. Grow Your Relationships – You are only 4 or 5 people away from anything you ever want or need. All you have to do is ask.

6. Communicate Regularly – Maintain regular and consistent contact with the people in your network. One of my most successful communication tactics is to periodically meet with people in my network face to face. It’s much more personal and much more fun too. When you can’t meet in person then a phone call or personal note works well too. Of course, I’m also on various social networks including and especially “LinkedIn” which is awesome for career professionals.

7. Keep it Simple – Look at where you are spending your time and your precious energy. What is generating you the best results, those are the activities you want to continue doing and do more of. Get rid of the time and/or money wasting activities.

8. Build Rapport – Are you a people magnet or a people repellent? What are you projecting outwardly? Make sure others see you as a positive, warm and friendly person they would like to interact with. Make sure your positive personality and outlook is attracting relationships and not pushing them away.

9. Set Goals – If you have a clear vision of where you are going, the rest will fall into place. Make sure you decide on what you want short, medium and longer term and in every area of your life.

10. Access Available Resources – There are so many resources available to support you in whatever you wish to do. Build a strong support team which includes family, friends and colleagues. Read books like The Power of Women United, an inspirational and informative book on networking. Join networking groups in person and on-line. Get connected and stay connected.

Networking is about connecting with people, building and nurturing relationships, sharing information, tapping into the hidden job market, learning about career opportunities, pooling resources and expanding your contacts. Networking is about connecting with people not collecting people. It is truly a life skill whereby you build, nurture and maintain quality mutually beneficial relationships over your career and your lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about networking, career and business building strategies or about the many ways you can successfully attract your goals, dreams and aspirations, please contact Linda directly at linda@resultscatalyst.ca.

20 Career Tips To Make 2015 Your Most Successful Year Ever!

success aheadIt’s time to set your intentions for 2015. Here are 20 fabulous tips from some of the world’s best career experts to assist you in taking control of your career and making this year your best year ever.

1. Engage in the “Power of Stopping”. According to Susan Freeman, a daily centering practice can reap you huge rewards in terms of calm and peacefulness. It can also improve your relationships with others.

2. Be a “Reflective Leader”. According to Deborah Colman corporate environments today can be chaotic and require a level of interdependence with others. It’s important to know how to “navigate and respond vs react” to whatever situation comes up.

3. Learn how to make the most of “Reciprocity”. Gary Ford says most people have a fear of rejection and while “everyone wants to be more persuasive”, “often we are only hinting” at what we really want.

4. Begin the process of “Self-reflection”. Kim Ades says it’s important to “surface our beliefs” and to “look at our thinking”. She refers to this as “thought management” and is an advocate for daily journaling. Regular self-reflection can accelerate change.

5. Recognize “Common Behavior Patterns”. According to Sylvia Lafair, there are “13 common behavior patterns we learned as kids” and like it or not, “we bring these behaviors to the workplace”. Recognizing these “behavior patterns” in yourself and in others, will “help you deal with office politics and conflict in the workplace”.

6. “Move your Career Forward.” If this is the year you are looking for a new role or job, then Dana Manciagli recommends you “start with a goal, develop a plan and create a candidate packet”. Traditional resumes are simply not enough to get you the interview.

7. Hone your “Perception Management”. Do you know what impression you are making on others? According to Judi Walsh, you “can measure your level of influence and develop a distinct foundation”. This “distinctness” will set you apart from others.

8. “Manage Up”. According to Cecile Peterkin, “leaders don’t need a title”. “Managing up is about developing a solid relationship with your boss, keeping your boss informed and knowing your boss’ priorities and management style”.

9. Complete your “LinkedIn Profile”. According to Melonie Dodaro, “one of the best ways to stand out is to complete your LinkedIn profile”. Your LinkedIn link will usually be the “first thing that pops up when someone googles your name”.

10. Use the “Power of Your Voice”. Carla Kendall suggests you “speak from your gut not from your throat.” 38% of what you are communicating is communicated through your voice. Pay attention to your quality, tone, pitch, rate, and volume.

11. Get good at “Self-Promotion”. According to Regina Barr, “Self-Promotion is not bragging”. It’s important to “get comfortable talking about yourself”. Barr says “find 2-5 contributions/success stories that you can describe in a meaningful way”.

12. “Grow Up Your Gifts”. Shahmeen Sadiq says “at earlier career stages, we often use our gifts/strengths/talents in overcoming obstacles, managing threats and outperforming our peers to get ahead”. “At later stages, it’s important to “grow up” our gifts to create desired outcomes with ease, grace and elegance”.

13. Achieve “Work-Life Satisfaction. “ According to Nora Sudduth, it’s not about finding balance, it’s about achieving fulfillment. This “shifts responsibility from the employer to the employee to define your values and priorities and to find space for what you value most”.

14. “Practice Safe Stress”. According to Lori King “healthy stress can make you more alert, focused and even productive”, while unhealthy stress can immobilize you, “inhibit your ability to relax and reduce performance”. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga can help manage stress.

15. Stop Avoiding “Difficult Conversations”. Sylvia Plester-Silk says “one of the keys to success in life and business is building trust. As a leader, having conversations about difficult topics is an opportunity to build trust through deeper understanding of another person.”

16. Develop Your “Leadership Effectiveness”. According to David Town, a great place to “begin to understand your current leadership effectiveness is a personal assessment tool”. An assessment can increase your self-awareness and help close the gap between where you are currently and where you’d like to be as a leader.

17. “Understand Who You Are.” Anne Dranitsaris says that while “past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior” you need to also “take into account the unique differences in personality and how the brain is hard-wired to function.”

18. Find a Job You Love. Kathi Miller-Miller says if you’ve been fired, “skip the blame game”. Kathi says it’s important to “take care of yourself, avoid negative people” and recognize that you are not alone. This is a terrific “opportunity to find your passion”.

19. “Don’t Lose Your Soul”. According to Sondra Sneed, “you are more than your job”. It’s important to “know your life’s purpose or your job won’t produce a career path”. “There is a part of you that is your job, but you are so much more than that”.

20. “Invest in Yourself”. I say there is no better time than the present to invest in yourself and in your career potential. You can no longer rely on your employer to prepare you for your next role or promotion. Consider hiring a professional coach to assist you in developing a career plan, hold you accountable or to support you on your career journey.

Whether you are at the start of your career, mid way through your career, or at the tail end of your career, vow to make this year your most successful year ever.

If you are interested in hearing more from each and every one of the above career experts, join us for the 2015 Catapult Your Career Success Summit: http://www.resultscatalyst.ca/catapult.html

 

7 Tips To Survive And Thrive This Holiday Season

red presentAre you feeling like this holiday season is coming faster than you expected this year? Are you running out of time hoping you can get everything on your personal and professional to do list done in time? Well, perhaps it is time to stop, take a deep breath and make sure you are set up to enjoy this holiday season.

Here are some tips to help you not just survive the holiday season but to really thrive this season:

1. Know your priorities. Take a hard look at your “to do” list and be critical. Make sure you are spending time on your most valued priorities, whatever they are. For me, that means ensuring lots of time spent with friends and family over the holidays. It also means I go full out during the month of November on my professional responsibilities to give me space during the busy holiday season.

2. Make a plan. “What gets focused on, get’s done.” Having a plan provides structure and focus and ensures you get to do all the things you want to do vs must do. My December calendar fills up long before December rolls around mostly with activities I schedule in advance to make sure the activities I most want to engage in are on the plan. I also free my calendar from professional responsibilities after December 15th to allow me to unplug from work and focus on personal pleasures.

3. Get organized. Avoid last minute gift shopping. Make your gift list early and then pick things up on opportunity. I make a list for everything. The gift list. The list of food for each of the events/dinners we host or contribute to. The “to do” list. I also like to organize whatever I can to make it easier not only this year but in future years as well. Like the Christmas tree ornaments that go into neatly organized boxes and stored away from year to year under the staircase. It takes no time to find them when I need them.

4. Keep it simple. Simplify wherever you can. This may mean fewer gift exchanges or cutting back on the number of greeting cards you send out. This year I purchased holiday plant inserts for my front urns simply because it was faster, easier and freed me up to do other things I value more.

5. Manage your stress. Make sure you get enough sleep and you relax whenever you can. It’s helpful to stick to your regular exercise routine throughout the holidays especially if you indulge in extra food or drink. Think about organizing a fun group activity that will combine relaxation, exercise and family time all in one event like a skating party, a toboggan party, or a bowling party.

6. Set boundaries. Decide in advance what you will say “no” to. Know your boundaries and your limits and simply say yes to yourself by saying no to the things you simply can’t do.

7. Have fun. Remember to celebrate and to have fun. You’ve worked hard all year and this is the time to sit back and celebrate the year.

So before the holiday season is over, stop and take some time to truly enjoy and do what is most important to you. I wish you and your families the very best this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

Build Rapport – Connect In 90 Seconds Or Less!

shaking handsYou walk into a meeting with someone you’ve never met before, you extend your hand to shake theirs and look them straight in the eyes. In that instant you’ve both communicated non-verbally. How do you know if you’ve made an instant positive connection?

Rapport is the process of achieving a level of communication that is uncritically accepted by the person to whom you are communicating with. It’s a magical state where the person listening to you, does so carefully and absorbs your message at an unconscious level.

Why is the process of building rapport so important to know about?

• Rapport is the first step in building strong relationships

• Rapport is established in the first 90 seconds or less

• Rapport enhances your interaction with the other person whether they are a prospect, colleague or client

• Rapport techniques are easy to learn and easy to use

• Rapport is the key to effective and more meaningful communication

• Better Rapport = Better Communication = Better Results

The theory of Rapport is based on a study originally completed in 1970 by Robert Birdwhistle called ‘Kinesics and Communication’. In this study, Birdwhistle discovered that communication is multilevel and multifaceted:

7% is Words

38% is Tone of Voice

55% is Physiology

A staggering realization is that, 93% of what we communicate is not words but rather nonverbal and communicated unconsciously. So, in order to establish effective Rapport with someone, we have to do it at an unconscious level. Understanding this and consciously utilizing the techniques available to establish Rapport allows us to effectively build this unconscious connection.

Here are a few ways you can easily build rapport with other people:

• Pay attention to the other person’s language and language patterns; notice the words they use as well as the tone of voice they use when they speak those words. Often people will use repetitive language. If you can play back some of their own words or in their tone of voice, you will be on your way to building rapport.

• Determine their communication style and communication preference. People will use visual, auditory or kinesthetic words in their language and even in their body language. For example, visual people will point to an image or picture or use words like: “picture”, “vision”, “imagine” or “look” in their language when describing items or concepts. People who are more auditory will be more literal and intentional with their language. While kinesthetic people are likely to be a bit more verbose with their language, get closer to you when they speak and use the language of feelings and emotions. Using the other person’s communication style or preference will make you a better listener and communicator.

• Observe their eyes patterns. The eyes will tell you how they think and process information which will allow you to adjust your approach to match theirs.

• Match and mirror body language, voice, words and even their breathing. The more you are in synch with the other person on an unconscious basis the more engaged they will be in your communication with them.

Using Rapport can assist you in creating instant relationships, strengthen communication and get better results in everything you do.

If you are interested in learning more about the many ways you can establish and deepen Rapport, contact Linda at linda@resultscatalyst.ca or 416-617-0734.