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Case Study: The Power of Interpersonal Skills

Lynne dreamed of becoming an account manager and noting the initiative she took at work and her unsolicited but spot-on comments, her boss recommended promotion from a support position to working on creative projects.

Eager to be a valuable team member, Lynne contributed what she felt would be killer ideas for campaigns, only to have them shot down sharply and publicly by the team leader, Meghan, who was having difficulty viewing Lynne now as a peer rather a subordinate.

What can Lynne do to shift the course of her ship? Focus on interpersonal or "people" skills. Lynne changed her tact and spent ample time listening, acknowledging and supporting the ideas and opinions of her more seasoned teammates -- first, before offering her thoughts, second. This allowed team leader, Meghan to evaluate Lynne's comments more objectively, and when Lynne was ready to pitch a new campaign, Meghan was all ears.

All too often, new team members go "all in" before taking a moment to understand...

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Case Study: Using Feedback To Re-Frame Situations

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2019

Feedback is essential to getting ahead. Seven years in, Josh loved his job and enjoyed friendships with colleagues and superiors alike—but, over time, noticed others in his department were moving onto more advanced positions but his status didn’t change.

When a better job was posted, Josh applied but was not called in for an interview. What should Josh do? It would help to get feedback. It was suggested that he schedule a meeting with his supervisor, and/or talk with a broad circle of associates. In this process, he should ask what he's doing right—and wrong—and in what areas—he can improve.

That’s how Josh discovered that his extra-convivial style, laid-back appearance, and boisterous behavior in after-work settings led higher-ups to conclude he couldn’t shoulder greater responsibilities.  Had he been more proactive, Josh would have realized that receiving and listening to feedback is key when you want to move up the chain of command.

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Case Study: When Gentleman Manners Won't Do

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2019

A gentleman is a person of moral excellence, but can manners ever be a bit too much? Sean was brought up to respect people and show deference to his elders and those in need, and he's stayed the course, even though society has grown increasingly more casual.

One day returning to the office after an off sight client call, Sean reached out to open the door for his business colleague Kristy. She told him that wasn't necessary, and grabbed the doorknob herself. Was Kristy correct? No!

Kristy believes that when it comes to the workplace, men and women are on equal ground—even when it involves etiquette. But Sean would have opened the door for a male coworker in need, just as he did for Kristy. Good manners are blind when it comes to gender and simple courtesies.

Two factors were at play here. Sean is in his early thirties and has a reputation around the office as being exceedingly well-mannered. In fact, his co-workers and clients often make a point to mention how great he makes...

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4 Fast Steps to Freeing the Butterflies Before Your Speech

If an expert is a person who is known for what they know, and you are said expert, what's causing those butterflies to come to life and make you feel uneasy at the most inopportune moment?

 I'll never forget my first invitation to the stage as a professional. I don't recall it because of the venue, which was famous Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. I don't recall it because of the large audience who were eager to hear me speak. I recall the occasion because I was caught trying to sneak out of the ballpark just prior to having my name announced.

I was simply horrified and felt that I couldn't handle the situation in a professional manner, so I did the next best thing and headed for the exit.

I share that anecdote to let you know that I hear you and I feel your pain. Public speaking can be excruciating if you don't employ key skills to help you shine, to prompt listeners to lean in with interest, take notes at a furious pace or laugh on cue.

Ben Franklin was correct in...

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