Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
We're often told that if we want to get ahead in our careers, we must learn to promote ourselves.
But this is often an uncomfortable thought — partly because we may be shy when it comes to talking about our accomplishments and partly because we've heard others do it and come off as obnoxious blowhards.
But experts say you can find a way to convey your abilities that will feel comfortable and put you on a path to greater success.
"The biggest mistake people make when trying to promote their accomplishments or abilities to others is not projecting a belief in their abilities," says Chief Executive Kim Garst of Boom! Social, a personal branding and social media consulting firm. "If you do not believe it, it is hard to get others to buy into your value. If you do not value your time and knowledge, neither will others."
The problem can become even more challenging when a worker is inexperienced or young, says Alexandra Levit, author of They Don't Teach Corporate in College.
"The key is enthusiasm," she says. "If you emphasize your passion when describing an achievement, people will think you're just excited about it. An excited person appears earnest, and it's hard to be critical of someone earnest."
Garst considers herself is an introvert and understands how uncomfortable some people may be in talking about themselves. She says she has turned to Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, to learn lessons such as asking people about themselves and learning to listen carefully.
"You will be surprised how much easier it is to share information about yourself when you are simply responding to what they have shared with you and revealing your thoughts, successes, goals, etc.," she says.
Try out your promotional efforts on your boss first, Levit suggests.
"It's OK if you mess up and start bragging because your boss is supposed to know about everything you're doing and can't fault you for keeping him informed," she says. "But when informing everyone else of your successes, be as subtle as possible."
Forward e-mails praising your work to your manager, disguising them as "modest FYIs" and making the success seem as though it had been a team effort, such as using "we" instead of "I," she says.
Even if you don't have a lot of experience, you can talk about things you've done through volunteering, after-school jobs or even campus activities, Levit says.
"It's all about showing how you contributed to the success of the organization by leveraging important transferable skills like project management, marketing, finance and client relations," Levit says.
Using social media is a great way to promote yourself without being overbearing, Garst says. She suggests some ways to do that:
1. Be helpful. "People can tell when you actually care about them and when you are just out for you," she says. "Help others without the expectation of reward. Share your knowledge. Give advice, tips, etc."
2. Make it about them. "How are you helpful or useful to your audience?" she asks. "What problem do you solve for them?"
Garst suggests making a list of ways to make a difference. If you worry about over promotion, look at the list to remember how you help your audience.
3. Build relationships. You must be willing to devote the time to build a relationship with your audience.
This means you have to engage, respond to questions on social media and through e-mail and be present to allow people to communicate with you, she says.
"This does not mean that you have to sit in front of your computer 24/7," she says. "Respond when necessary and always give appreciation to those who are promoting you."
4. Be brave, positive and pleasant. "Actions are what people pay attention to," Garst says. "How you handle a positive or negative situation can define you in so many ways."
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
You can make a bad situation worse when talking to your boss after a poor performance review.
Think for a few seconds before saying anything.
"The first mistake we make is to respond emotionally. We are human and we need to be loved," says Laurie Ruettimann, a human resources consultant. "A poor review hurts our heart and cracks our ego; however, you cannot explain your way out of a poor performance review.
"Just like the Olympics, your performance has been assessed and you cannot sway the judges. It's not a debate," she says. "By the time you hear your review, it's too late to fix it."
If you receive criticism, pay attention to the feedback, says Alison Green, author of the Ask a Manager blog.
"Too often, people get so focused on how to defend themselves — or even just on panicking — that they forget to really listen to what they're being told about what they need to do differently." Green says. "Understanding your manager's concerns is crucial to a good outcome here. ... Listen and ask enough questions that you truly know what you're being asked to change."
The tough part: Honestly consider what you're being told to determine whether criticisms of your performance are true, she says. Figure out what might be causing problems if you want to move forward.
"Honestly, it's not enough to address the deficit," Ruettimann says. "You must improve your performance and exceed expectations in order to redeem yourself."
Your best bet: Immediately apologize for your poor performance, make a plan (read the rest here)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
Do you trust your co-workers?
Do you trust your boss?
Does anyone at work trust you?
These are questions we may not ask ourselves consciously, but they are key in determining success in our careers.
"I think what makes trust in the workplace a little bit different is that the stakes are usually higher day to day in terms of pushing for profit and everyone is trying to maximize their own gain in the workplace," says David DeSteno, a Northeastern University psychology professor. In other words, your colleagues are likely focused on themselves, not you or anybody else.
In deciding whether we should trust someone, many of us rely on a person's reputation, DeSteno says.
That's not a good idea.
"Reputations are not a good predictor" of what someone will do, he says. Research has shown that even the most honest people are willing to cheat if they feel they can get away with it.
Furthermore, when questioned, the people who cheat will claim they did act fairly, he says.
"Your mind is always making calculations between what is good for me in the here and now versus what it's going to do to me in the long term," DeSteno says.
Figuring out who is honest and when can be difficult in today's workplace. In DeSteno's new book, The Truth about Trust: How It Determines Access in Life, Love, Learning, and More, he discusses how to look at trust based on research.
Among his tips:
• Look for several cues. Don't rely on one nonverbal cue, such as shifty eyes, when determining someone's trustworthiness.
Instead, look for cues that express a more general representation of someone's internal motivations and thoughts.
• Don't blindly trust your gut. "Your intuitive (read more here)
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Think back to when you were in kindergarten and you’ll probably agree you were a creative kid. Whether it was building a Batmobile from toilet paper rolls or performing a one-act play you wrote with your dog, you displayed creativity freely and abundantly.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
If you ever feel as if the demands of your job and your industry are moving too fast to keep on top and maintain your sanity, you're not alone.
Rapid technology changes, worldwide competition and increasing demands from employers can make even the most confident worker a bit shaky.
That's why self-directed learning is gaining momentum. Workers can find online resources to learn about everything from project management to marketing, helping them learn when the time is best for them.
Instead of taking days or even weeks to try to figure out a problem on their own, they also can tap into an online expert to give them information in a matter of minutes or hours — for a fee.
"I don't think schools are going away, but new tech provides another option to learn," says Ken Howery, a PayPal cofounder and now founder and partner with Founders Fund.
Last year he was part of a $2 million investment in an education start-up called PopExpert.
PopExpert provides hundreds of experts that meet one on one through video sessions and charge a per-hour rate for services. But PopExpert goes beyond job skills, also targeting workers' well being.
Howery says he personally uses PopExpert meditation instructor Kenneth Folk.
"I have worked with Kenneth in person when he's in San Francisco, and nothing is as good as in person," Howery says. "But still, video is way better than a phone call."
Folk is listed on PopExpert as available for instruction at $125 a session. But other sessions, such as meeting with a productivity expert, may cost only $37 for the first session, the site reveals.
For Satya Twena, fashion entrepreneur and fine milliner in New York City, the decision to tap into a social media-expert from PopExpert came about after she realized that her in-house social-media hire wasn't delivering for her business.
The expert Twena chose spent about an hour researching her company's social-media strategy and met with her online to show her how she could put in place a better social-media effort.
"I found out what we were not doing. By finding this expert, I believe it (read more here)