Xerox – Let’s Say Thanks

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This is a Football…

 The story is now legend of Vince Lombardi’s first practice session after his team suffered a significant loss. Players and coaches were wondering what area of their team would become the focus of the practice. Would it be the defense, the offense, running, passing or kicking? No, Lombardi said they were going to focus on the basics. He held a ball in his hand and said “gentlemen, this is a football”.

Sometimes we need to think about the basics that drive the circumstances surrounding us. It is often too easy to tinker with one particular aspect rather than getting back to basics. I believe that avoiding the basics is likely a habit we develop so that we can ignore the real cause and effect. While the effect is the outcome we now question, the cause is more difficult to find.

The good news is that we can get back to basics simply by taking a pause. Stop the frenzy of the day and reflect on how we got here. No need to over-analyze, but do peel back the layers of detail that might otherwise cloud our thinking. Get down to basics.

Is it a relationship issue? Could it be a problem with a perception or value judgment? Am I responsible? All tough questions; yet ones we must consider so that we can overcome the circumstance that has happened.

Power Networking Ideas

This month at JMS we are going to be focusing on networking and relationship building. Feedback I routinely receive says that most people struggle with the basics of getting out and doing effective networking.

During November, we are going to:

  • Hear from several great speakers about their tried and proven methods of building a better networking experience.
  • Look at effective tactics for handling various individual or group situations.
  • Try to reduce the “oh my gosh” factor.
  • Help you be more comfortable with networking.
  • Beef up the ways to identify better networking targets.

In preparation for this, I want to clarify some information about the classic “elevator pitch”. If you have been at JMS for a while, you have heard me say I hate the 10-30 second “elevator pitch”. I have been campaigning all over my LinkedIn network recently to both spread this word and entertain feedback.

Here’s the result.

  1. Most respondents agree totally with my claim that the “pitch” needs to be killed, especially when speaking one-on-one. I’ve received an overwhelming consensus that – “ding dong, the pitch is dead!”.
  2. However, there is room to consider what you will say when asked to stand in front of the group and say SOMETHING. Here is where a great two line statement comes in with a BANG! We’ve been talking about personal branding. If you can say your value proposition in two sentences, you will dazzle any small group.

So, all of that said, here is a revision to the JMS “policy” on elevator pitches.

  1. When engaged in person with another networking person, i.e. one-on-one (or OK, two-on-one), try to build rapport with simple dialogue. Ask questions. Let the spotlight land on the other person(s). Just offer small bits of your story; enough to prompt further dialogue. Let them ask you questions. The goal is to make a connection; relate to the person. Offer help and ideas. Demonstrate your worth with content of discussion, not boilerplate junk.
  2. Work to prepare a solid two sentence message that speaks of the solution you will bring, not the case history of the road you have travelled. Leave the listeners wanting to know more. Be memorable, but be brief and to the point.

Finding True North

Ask a room full of people to close their eyes and point North. When everyone opens their eyes, fingers are pointing all over the place. (Try this some time; it’s a great ice breaker).

The message is that “north”, while being geographically available for specific identification and location using the right equipment, can conjure various meanings depending on one’s perception. 

During life changing moments our perception of our own true north can be equally confusing. For people who find themselves in career transition, I coach and teach the concept of resetting your true north. Perhaps re-set is not the perfect term, but what I mean is that you should get back in touch with that center of your being. Revisit the core values, goals, and beliefs you once held dear. Allow time to rekindle a fire that might have burned low or even worse, burned out. 

When you find that true north again, any decisions you make about the next chapter of your life will have far more meaning and purpose.

LinkedIn HandsOn

With today’s live, computer lab workshop, I have now delivered over 2,000 man-hours of LinkedIn training. If you have not yet been to a session, check it out and get on board. Our next live session is Wednesday, October 21.

LinkedIn HandsOn Workshop

Today was the first edition of my newest workshop format, live laboratory experience using your personal LinkedIn account for training and learning. The outline still followed my book “12.5 Ways to Get Ahead on LinkedIn”. The workshop used that outline to make each attendee’s profile stronger and more effective. The good folks at Houston’s campus of BelhavenCollege were our hosts. We used their computer resources to allow attendees live access to LinkedIn.

This very informative and interactive format will be available as a weekly series beginning October 15 from 9:00AM to 11:30AM. For more details, visit www.askJMS.com, then click “shop JMS”. Hope to see you there.

If the Phone Doesn’t Ring It’s Me

Jimmy Buffet wrote some great lyrics with this theme. While he was trying to entertain, there is a more divine message here for those who look to God and trust in His ways. Often we struggle each day for direction, purpose, and meaning. Things happening around us do not always make much sense. In the storm we reach out and ask God ‘why’? Yet so many times, He seems like He’s not there because we do not sense a specific answer to our pleas.

However, the thing we may count as a lack of response is merely God watching and waiting. You see, He is always there. He knows every ounce of trouble you sense and feel. He allows those moments to be used for greater good. He is refining us in these times of challenge and trial. We are promised He will never allow more than we can handle. He knows each one of us and faithfully protects us even when we cannot hear His response.

If you are one who has cried out recently, just know and imagine God’s loving voice saying “if the phone doesn’t ring, it’s Me.”

Are you pregnant?

When you hear the question “are you pregnant?”, what comes to mind? The key word might be expectation. I recently shared this topic with my group at JMS. The concept and question is one I credit to Tony Evans. Getting ‘pregnant’ creates a certain kind of expectation. What will it be? How is my life going to change? Etc. etc.

For those in job transition, there is a kind of pregnancy happening. Male or female does not matter. You cannot help but start to wonder about the expectation of what is to come. People need to grab a firm vision of this next chapter of life. The best approach is to establish a good, solid vision of the outcome you hope to achieve. Instead of letting events and circumstances swirl around you, take the time to do a little vision mapping. Create a mental picture of the outcome you want. Then start performing your work.

Professional athletes do this as part of a regular regimen. Why shouldn’t you? Oh, by the way…congratulations on getting pregnant!

“Sun Spots” in Today’s Hiring Market

Lots of buzz asking the question “is the recession over?” If we focus just on area hiring trends, I would say the answer to that question is “I am not sure”. What I am seeing is something I choose to call “sun spots’ of hiring activity. That means there are flares of activity here and there with no particular pattern or consistency. At JMS we have seen a steady stream of success stories with people landing I new jobs. However, there is no trend to indicate this market or that industry solidly returning to form.

The conclusion for now is that any job seeker should stay busy trying to work a personal plan for landing their next job. If you do not have a plan, get one. If you wrote a plan and it is not working, get some help making changes to the plan. “Doing the same thing expecting different results is what? Insanity.” If you need help with any of this, join us at aslkJMS.org