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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

Pierre Khawand

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How Women Can Get Ahead at Work: Develop Your Voice

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Dec 05, 2014 @ 10:51 AM

Pittman.headshotby Marilyn Pittman, Voice Coach at ScreenPresence

Women for the most part do not have the deep low registers that men do. In a professional setting, especially one in which women are a small minority, we sometimes have to fight to get heard. Yet when we raise our voices, we don’t necessarily get more respect or attention. Many of us don’t know how to use our voices to engage the listener and lead the team.

Developing your voice and your presentation skills of all kinds, for that matter, requires training and technique. Start with knowing your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to maximize one while you fix the other.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I remember to breathe when I’m making a speech or presentation?

  • Do I get people’s attention and keep it?

  • Do I sound nasal and high-pitched, or do I sound authoritative?

  • Do I speak with confidence? Do I feel confident?

  • Do I vary pitch and rhythm when speaking to sound dynamic?

woman speaking work resized 600

Photo by dfid (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Once you can identify your weaknesses, you can begin to chip away at fixing them. Recording your voice whenever you can and playing it back to yourself will help you hear your voice how we hear it.

Also, finding good public speakers to emulate will help you develop your ear so that you can be a better coach to yourself. Do they vary the pitch and rhythm and emphasize the right words? Do they seem authentic and engaged? Do they project the volume of their voice enough? How’s their diction, is it crisp? Paying attention to these variables helps your ear distinguish between what voice commands attention and what doesn’t.

When it comes to your own voice, notice how you talk when you leave voice messages. Experiment with playing them back before you send them if you can, and pay attention to the clarity of your speech and thoughts, as well as the tone in your voice.

When you’re preparing for a speech or presentation, or even just a meeting with a few people, make time in your schedule to rehearse it out loud, practice it, finding the pauses and the meaning of words. Record it and listen back, pretending you’re in the meeting or audience. Keep at it until you’re satisfied that you sound cogent, present, committed to the content, and confident in your manner. When it’s show time, do something fun or relaxing just before you go on or enter the room. Stretch out the facial muscles, do a few tongue twisters, sing, hum, laugh. That’s right, laughing helps you stimulate the endorphins or pleasure chemicals so you can present from a more relaxed and confident place.

Ready to use your voice more effectively at work? Contact Screen Presence for a consultation: bizpresence@gmail.com.

Resources & Workshops/Webinars

Topics: career, guest bloggers, leadership

How to Create a Professional Image in Social Media and Online

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 02:47 PM

Marianne small headshotby Marianne Wilman, Founder/Principal of ScreenPresence

If a professional photographer is responsible for the images you use on your social media profiles, that was probably a smart move. You’re also in a tiny minority.

Most people find a photo taken of them by a friend, family member, or even a smartphone “selfie” shot that they don’t absolutely hate, and use that image. Others might go for something arty or mysterious, but it may not be eliciting the intended response.

Here are some tips for improving your social media profile images, and presenting a professional image of yourself online:

  1. Don’t use the same image for all your social media profiles. As we know, the intended purpose for LinkedIn is different than Facebook or Twitter, and your image should reflect this fact. For example, your LinkedIn photo should look appropriate for your line of business and career. Does it?

  2. Review your pic and ask yourself what it says about you. Your image will dictate how people are going to perceive you. If you’re not sure what the image projects, ask a friend for feedback.

  3. Change your profile image regularly. If you haven’t changed your profile pic since you first signed up for a service, now might be a good time. Actively updating your images keeps you interesting. On LinkedIn it will also trigger a post saying, “Kate has a new photo” – so it might be worth doing just for the incoming compliments!

Most profile pics could do with some image editing help, such as brightening, cropping and color correcting.  Rules of thumb include being able to see your eyes and avoiding the bobblehead look by including at least your shoulders. So, if you’re not ready for a new image you might start by re-working the one you already have.

However, if you are ready to hire a photographer to capture a picture of you for your website or your social media profile there are several things to consider. It’s easy to imagine that you’ll show up looking your best and the photographer will do the rest. That’s one approach, and you may get the result you’re looking for, especially if you’ve chosen a photographer for a specific shooting style.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be working with a photographer who has come recommended but you know little about, figure out what you really like for a self-portrait so that you can communicate your preferences in advance.

Take a look at photographs of other people on their company websites or on LinkedIn and consider the following:

  • Do you prefer images that are shot within a professional environment or those taken in nature?

  • Do you respond to naturalistic photographs or do posed images do more for you?

  • Do you like images with blown out or abstract backgrounds, or do sharper backdrops appeal more?

  • Do standing or sitting poses speak to you?

It’s possible to pick and chose. You may be a company owner who prefers a standing, posed image taken on a beach with a soft background. Or you may be a manager who relates to professional looking images taken under studio lights with abstract backgrounds.

Take a look around and observe what you’re drawn to. This will inform the conversation you’ll have with your photographer about the location for the shoot. “People are more particular about what they like and don’t like than they want to believe,” says Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson.

Recently we worked with a client, Ronda, who was interested in an updated headshot. Ronda had previously been an actress and a singer but has for many years been working very long hours in Learning and Development at a Fortune 500 company. It’s a job she’s great at, but she was ready to re-capture her inner creativity and project her more theatrical side back out into the world.

In the pre-shoot call with Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson and hair & makeup pro Sarah E. Hyde we discussed the feel for the image. Ronda’s keywords for the shoot were “inviting,” “magnetic,” and “twinkle.”

Here’s Ronda, before and now:

rondav3 2

Ronda looks great in both the before and after images! So, what’s the real difference here?

Sarah says that in the “Before” image Ronda doesn’t look professional, “It looks more like she’s just had a cocktail with friends!” Ronda’s hair is flat, her lips are shiny. In the “Now” image we’ve smoothed out her hair and gone with a modern looking blowout. In terms of makeup, Ronda looks clean, fresh and dewy. Sarah enhanced Ronda’s best feature, her eyes, framing and defining them but not overpowering them, and she went with a matte lipstick. With her mouth closed Ronda is more serious, and she looks friendly, warm and approachable. “There’s more depth and self confidence in the new image,” Sarah says.

Stefanie notes that the lighting in the Before image is flat and the image has been taken with a flash: “There’s glare on her lip, nose and face and there are bars behind her head. It’s not a professional image,” Stefanie says. “There’s dimensionality, depth and warmth in the Now image. The eye goes directly to her, and it feels like she’s really looking at me.” The cleaner background, softer lighting and hair and makeup also accentuate Ronda’s beauty.

So, how did we do?

“I feel like you captured the real me… it is so reflective of me, both inside and outside,” says Ronda.

Creating the right image of you may be as simple as editing a photo you already have. Or it may be time to go further and have an image made by a professional photographer skilled at capturing the essence of you. It’s easy to lose oneself in the business world, so honor yourself with an image that represents who you are now.

For more information, visit Screen-Presence.com. If you're interested in a headshot consultation, or a full business makeover for 2015, contact Marianne at bizpresence.gmail.com

 Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: career, social media

7 Easy Ways to Make Your Business Writing Stand Out

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 11:39 AM

describe the imageby Lynda McDaniel, Your Inspired Writing Coach, and People-OnTheGo Faculty Member

We all suffer from TMI these days—too much information makes us skim and skip as we read. That means in business writing, we need to grab our readers’ attention to keep them reading.

Try one or all seven of these easy ways to hook your readers:

1. Write from your heart. Writing has changed. Over the past four decades, the accepted style of writing has morphed from the stuffy corporate-speak of the ‘80s to the slap-dash texting of the 21st century. A good balance is somewhere in between—a style that is more conversational and personal—though still professional.

2. Tell tales. “Let me tell you a story.” That’s how the late Steve Jobs often started his presentations. He understood the power of story and used it to capture attention—even before he told the first story! Stories come in different shapes and sizes, from case studies and lengthy chronicles to similes and short anecdotes. Whatever form they take, stories captivate us, in part, because they take us out of our critical left brain so that we’re no longer on the sidelines listening—we’re right there with the storyteller.

Steve Jobs Telling Storiesphoto by Matt Yoshe (Creative Commons)

3. Tie your articles, reports, whatever you write, to current events. When you can, write about how your subject relates to what’s going on in the world. Is it in sync with or in opposition to a current trend?  Does it offer a solution or an opposing view?

4. Practice. Writers love to tell this joke:

A writer and brain surgeon meet at a cocktail party. The brain surgeon sips his martini and says, “I’m planning to take next summer off and write a book.” The writer nods. “What a coincidence!” she says. “I’m planning to take next summer off and do brain surgery!”

Writing is a profession, just like being an engineer, doctor, or teacher, and it takes time to perfect. Keep practicing. Your writing will get better and better.

5. Observe. Remove those ear buds, take the bus, walk instead of drive, hang out where people buy your product or service, listen in the lunchroom, eavesdrop at cafés, go to a library, pay attention. You’ll be amazed at the anecdotes and inspiration you gain.

6. Capture your ideas. Carry slips of paper, buy a small (and refillable) notebook, or record on your cell phone. Don’t assume you’ll remember creative ideas and inspiring observations.

7. Think like your audience. Get out of your own head and get into the minds of your readers. If you’re writing to:

• Support staff: Make sure you know what they’re thinking, not what you want them to think.

• Clients: Survey them to get on their wavelength.

• Potential customers: Get back to “beginner mind” and write to them from that perspective.

And here’s a bonus tip: Read voraciously. Read writing that inspires you, and by osmosis, you’ll become a better writer. What a fun way to make your business writing stand out!

This blog is excerpted from Lynda McDaniel’s latest book, How Not to Sound Stupid at Work: 52 Writing Skills to Turn Ordinary Business Communications into Extraordinary Career Boosters

 Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: business writing

9 Rules for Emailing by Google's Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg (TIME, 9/24/14); summary + commentary by Melissa Sweat, Online Community Manager

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Oct 02, 2014 @ 04:44 PM

Heard about our summary+commentary (s+c*d) format? Learn more!


Rules for handling email at work

Last week, Google Executive Chairman and past CEO Eric Schmidt and former Senior VP of Products Jonathon Rosenberg released their new book, How Google Works. In it, they give a robust, inside look at the company’s culture, from talent to innovation to how to deal with disruptions. Sharing management and business insights at both the macro and micro levels, the book offers a rare “how to” into Google’s success.

At the day-to-day micro level, Schmidt and Rosenberg have specific rules for email and how to avoid the “foreboding” email often causes. They’ve shared these in a recent TIME article, 9 Rules For Emailing From Google Exec Eric Schmidt. A few, include:

  • Respond as quickly as possible.

  • Constantly clean out your inbox.

  • Make following up easy with a label.

  • Email should be handled in “Last In First Out” (LIFO) order.


The article offers great email advice, notably on cleaning out your inbox and labeling. “Inbox zero” is possible. People-OnTheGo has a similar system of categorizing emails as “Today,” “Tomorrow,” “Waiting For” (and you can handle easy items right away). We differ about responding quickly. Do be quick and brief, but don’t have email up all the time and check it constantly. This greatly decreases focus and productivity.


How about you? Do you handle email with your own unique system? Are you struggling on a daily basis with email or distraction? Do you agree or disagree with the ways to manage email suggested here? Please share your thoughts in the section below, or tweet us @pierrekhawand.

Productivity Webinars You Might Enjoy

Topics: time management tips, productivity, information overload, email management

4 Steps to Be a Productivity Champion at Work—Right Now

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 12:31 PM

Pierre Khawand 100x100By Pierre Khawand, People-OnTheGo

The modern day workplace is overloaded with distractions and technological temptations that dramatically reduce our productivity and results at work. Our brains simply can't recover and maximize our efforts from these "start-and-stop" work habits taking over our day.

Ask yourself: When was the last time you sat down at your desk, undistracted, and accomplished 40 minutes of continuous, uninterrupted work?

describe the imageYou're not alone. Countless professionals simply haven't been trained in the art—and science—of workplace focus. And while it can seem challenging, changing your work habits doesn't have to be hard.

Here below, I've outlined five steps you can take, right now, to become a productivity champion at work.

1. Prepare.

Create a distraction-free zone at work. Make sure your desk is free of clutter. Shut down email, social media, even your smartphone (or set it to silent, if you need it on for emergencies.) Hang a sign on your door to let co-workers know that you're in a "focused session," and when you'll next be available to collaborate. These quick and simple preparations will help set you up for success.

2. Focus.

Now that you've made your environment free of distractions, you're ready for your first focused session. Set a timer and challenge yourself to focus for 30 to 40 minutes. Don't let yourself get distracted by technology, your thoughts, or another task. Focus on one thing at a time. If you happen to get distracted or are interrupted, try to get back to the task-at-hand as quickly as possible. You can do it! The timer will help hold yourself accountable and encourage you to cross that finish line.

describe the image

3. Collaborate.

Success! You've just completed your first focused session. Now it's time to collaborate. Take 10-15 minutes to check email, social media, or collaborate with your co-workers, if needed. For managers, this is a great time for your to make yourself available or check in to your team.

It's important to "come up for air," after each focused session, so that you can assess if any priorities have changed, or if you need to bring in any stakeholders to help you complete your task or move to the next phase. Working much longer than 40-minutes at a time will not improve your results—in fact, results have been shown to drop off after 40 minutes of focus! You need to take a rest, regroup, and recharge.

4. Play.

Take 5 minutes or so to break, stand-up, stretch, meditate, eat a snack... Whatever it takes to re-engergize and prepare again for the next focused session. If you're just starting out, make sure to reward yourself for accomplishing your first round of focus, collaboration, and play!

5. Bonus!

Be can advocate for workplace productivity—where you work, and beyond. Vote for "The Results Curve: Focus, Collaborate, Play!" to head to SXSW Interactive 2015! Voting runs through end of day 9/7/14.

Click to vote now.

Topics: time management tips, productivity

The More You Cook, The Better You Look (and Feel)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 @ 05:14 PM

Jennifer WelandBy Jennifer Weland, Owner, Evolve Fitness & Coaching  

Did you know...

  • The typical restaurant meal averaged across breakfast, lunch and dinner has 1,128 calories? That’s over half of the recommended daily intake for women.

  • The average restaurant meal has 58g of fat? That’s 89 percent of what you should be eating the entire day.

  • The average American eats 22 tsp of sugar a day, much of it from processed foods and canned/bottled beverages? The recommended daily allowance is just 6 tsp.

Relying on packaged, processed, store- and restaurant-prepared foods makes it really difficult for us to know exactly how many calories and how much fat, salt and sugar we’re eating every day. No wonder so many people are struggling with extra pounds and a variety of health problems that come from too much fat, salt and sugar.  

healthy cooking recipes

Food (quality and quantity) is the biggest factor in the number on the scale and in our overall health. In the spirit of the Less is More blog, I want to encourage you to eat out less, and cook at home more. By preparing your own food, you have so much more control over the quality of the ingredients, the size of the portion and the elements used to flavor your food (salt/sugar/fat versus spices and herbs).  

One Public Health Nutrition study found that people who cook at least five times a week are 47% more likely to be alive 10 years later compared to those who rely more on processed foods.  

Cooking for yourself offers some other benefits we may not typically think of, but that are important as well:

  1. It’s usually cheaper. Restaurants typically mark up their offerings to 3 or 4 times what the raw ingredients cost.

  2. You safely handle and prepare your food (and you know there aren’t bugs or rats in your kitchen). It’s not rare anymore to hear stories about lack of food safety or contamination. In your own home, you control the handling of food.

  3. You get to spend more quality time with family and friends. Preparing meals and eating them with family and friends gives you more time to connect over something positive and healthy.  

  4. You can be more self-reliant. If you have no idea how to cook, it leaves you pretty helpless, doesn’t it? Learning basic things and then branching out as you grow in skill and confidence will leave you less dependent on others—family, friends, the food industry, grocery store or restaurant industry to feed you.

So why don’t more people make their own food? My clients tell me they don’t cook at home because: they don’t know what to make, they can’t seem to find good-tasting options that are also healthy, they believe they don’t have the time, or they don’t think they have the skills to make their own food. Do any of these resonate with you?  

And while I can’t really teach my clients (or you) how to be more skilled in the kitchen, I can help with sharing good-tasting, healthy options that don’t take a ton of time and aren’t overly complicated.  

That’s why I created the Flat & Happy Recipe Guide: Delicious Meals for a Flat Belly & Happy Body. With more than 100 healthy recipes for every meal—including dessert—you’ll have plenty of options to choose from that are good for you and that you’ll actually want to eat. Healthy options for condiments, seasonings and salad dressings are also included. All you need to do is choose what looks good to you.  

Get the Flat & Happy Recipe Guide now in PDF, for Amazon Kindle and in iTunes.  

About the Author

As the owner of Evolve Fitness & Coaching in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer Weland works with clients locally and across the nation through her fitness and nutrition programs. She is certified as a Personal Trainer from the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), a Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a Fitness Nutrition Specialist from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and is a Certified TRX Instructor. Jennifer comes from the corporate world, so she knows just how tough it can be sometimes to get in the activity and exercise we all know we need to, and she also knows why it's so important to our overall health and well-being.  

Jennifer facilitates the Move More to Accomplish More webinar and workshop for People-OnTheGo.

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: wellness, productivity

5 Ways to Manage Conflict at Work You Can Use Right Now

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, May 20, 2014 @ 03:22 PM

Lorraine Segalby Lorraine Segal

Many of us shudder with fear or dread when we hear the word “conflict.” We would do anything to avoid it, sidestep it, ignore it, or somehow fix disagreements without actually dealing with them.

Unfortunately, conflict is an inevitable part of human interactions, at home or at work and it won’t go away just because we, understandably, would prefer not to deal with it.

Sign up for our free webinar with Lorraine Segal, June 5, 2014 at noon PT, "Effective Strategies to Manage Conflict at Work."

Tips for managing conflict at work

The good news

When we accept the reality of conflict, it is absolutely possible to learn techniques and ways of thinking that help us manage and even resolve conflict with co-workers, bosses, or employees. It can take practice, support, repetition and willingness to integrate and use these approaches well, but my clients, and I vouch for their effectiveness.

Here are a few effective strategies and mindsets to get you started:

    1. Accept that conflict happens.

    Conflicts will arise. You don’t need to blame yourself or another for a disagreement. This helps you keep an open mind to focus on solutions.

        2. Manage your own emotions and responses.

          Are they saying or doing something that sends you through the roof? Chances are the intensity of your reaction has to do with past experiences, not just the current problem. Becoming aware of what is getting triggered, and then separating the past from the present situation, will help you stay calm and present.

            3. Make the first move.                                                              

            Be willing to make the first move toward resolution, even if you think it is their fault and they should be the first to act. Do it anyway, and you will get the benefit.

                4.   Be willing to listen.                                         

                  Each of us has our own way of framing and describing our experience. When we recognize that they have a different story about what happened, and become willing to listen to and understand their perspective, we can see more clearly how we got embroiled and how we might resolve the conflict.

                    5.   Take responsibility for your part.

                    Did you make a mistake that affected someone else, lose your temper, or hurt someone’s feelings? This is human and inevitable, as well. If you can acknowledge your part, instead of reacting defensively, it can defuse conflict. This does not mean taking all the responsibility, but sincerely recognizing what you did wrong.

                      The rewards of mastering conflict skills

                      It takes a lot of practice and willingness to become aware of your assumptions about the other person, and to change your behaviors and ways of thinking about conflict. But making these changes will reap rich rewards—including peace of mind, more energy for your work and your life, and better interactions with those around you.

                      Get good enough at it, and you may be seen as the “go-to” person for helping others with their disagreements, which is an excellent leadership ability. Individual communication/conflict management coaching or classes can offer support, rehearsal, and guidance for strengthening these crucial skills.

                      Click now to sign up for our complimentary webinar on 6/5/14 with Lorraine Segal, "Effective Strategies to Manage Conflict at Work."

                      Lorraine Segal (M.A. TESOL) was a tenured community college professor for many years before she found her true passion for helping people communicate better, resolve conflicts, let go of resentments, and forgive themselves and others.

                      Now, she is a communication and forgiveness specialist, a certified conflict management coach, a mediator, and a teacher. She has her own Sonoma County-based business, Conflict Remedy, offering individual and group coaching. She also teaches communication and forgiveness skills at Sonoma State University and St. Joseph’s Health Life Learning Center. For more information about Lorraine and her work, visit her website: www.ConflictRemedy.com.

                      Topics: human resources, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, team work, leadership

                      Leadership Advantage in the Modern Workplace

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 03:50 PM

                      Valencia Rayby Valencia Ray, M.D.

                      Women do have an advantage in leadership style in today’s workplace, not simply because we are women, but more so because “heart” behavior, such as showing another person empathy or exercising better listening skill is becoming more socially acceptable as exemplary leadership behavior. Yet, do not men have a “heart” as well? Judy B. Rosener in the Harvard Business Review article “Ways Women Lead” postulates that characteristics generally considered to be “feminine” accounts for why women are succeeding in the 21st century workplace. “Macho male” leadership styles tend to lead to disengagement in today's world.

                      -> Sign up for our free webinar Thursday, May 1 at noon PT, Leadership BEYOND Gender: Transform Limiting Mindsets to Become an Engaging Leader.describe the image

                      Let me be explicit here for a moment. While I know that our language implicates “feminine” as being only of the female or woman, I find it striking that the functional qualities of our right-brain parallel qualities that our language defines as feminine or female. Yet, human beings – men included – have a right-brain hemisphere. Perhaps we need to rethink the etymology of “feminine” and realize that with the clearer understanding of the roles of the brain hemispheres, our tendency to define behavior along gender lines may be antiquated. Our brain capabilities give us the ability to act as we need to in order to evolve and adapt to our environment. Could it be that we have artificially segmented and categorized behaviors unwittingly according to gender, when really it is culture that has determined what is “feminine” versus “masculine” behavior? That true biology as related to the physiology of our brain has much greater flexibility than this?

                      For the sake of males who are leaders in today’s world where empathy is valued, I would think that looking at behavior based upon our brain’s ability to respond should supersede outdated definitions that connect behaviors along gender lines. Empathy is a human quality that can be cultivated, not a limited-to-gender quality. Perhaps we can start to recognize that our left-brain and right-brain contain functional qualities that can help us on an individual basis as needed, instead of pegging behavior into gender role-playing. Enough said; something to think about.

                      The opportunity for leadership development is to allow each individual human being social access to their whole brain as needed, and as uniquely expressed by their unique personality. I believe it is fear and the need to conform that is at the root of so many people’s behaviors, with the pressure to conform to gender stereotypes being one of the most pervasive in our workplaces. One’s behavior may not even feel like authentic expression to him or her. I know; I’ve been there, and I am still growing in self-knowledge. Learning never ends. When I was a “command-control” leader, I felt like a fake, though I would not have admitted it. I was hiding my fear behind aggression, which is a common phenomenon. In light of this, I am drawn to the words of Shawn Anchor, a Harvard researcher, taken from his book, The Happiness Advantage:

                      Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

                      Men who reject empathy and other “right-brain” related traits and continue to push women into gender conformity boxes are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Think of the word right-brain and the word “heart” as interchangeable. Men have access to “right-brained” styles, but they tend to under-develop them. Recall the concept of neuroplasticity. We need to reframe the connotation of the word “heart” because the right-brain is critical to innovation and creativity. Currently we stereotypically attribute the word “heart” only to females in its connotation. Again, do men also have a right-brain? The brain can adapt and, quite frankly, some men’s authentic personality is more prone toward these “heart-centered” traits, if the truth were told.

                      More often than not, the brain is performing as programmed. This prompts us as leaders to change the conversation from one that constantly compares women with men as if their biological sex is responsible. Continuing this old conversation only helps to sustain the “battle of the sexes,” which does not serve organizations or society and is now, in fact, limiting our progress as a whole. This kind of conversation also avoids a critical reality: when made self-aware, both women and men can change. This is good news to those who are willing to embrace change and evolve. This is not about “fixing” our self; it is about learning and growing to reach more of our true potential.

                      describe the imageIn fact, our inclination to cling to stereotypical role-playing models based on gender is at the heart of many of our leadership woes. For example, men limit their leadership ability by clinging to the belief that they must be stoic and repress their sense of empathy and connection to others. This type of behavior limits heart engagement and the ability to inspire others. There is new research demonstrating that men indeed show signs in early childhood development and into adulthood that they have equal ability to access empathy. Women who believe the “woman’s place” is to remain in the background are not very likely to assert themselves when needed, or to voice their authentic opinion without fear of rejection. Needless to say, the ability to navigate change in organizational culture is limited by this type of behavior on the part of the leader. Both of these socially perpetuated behaviors tend to be unconsciously conditioned in us as children and in social contexts, and there is now new, compelling research to support this claim. If we are all going to start performing at our best and living more passionate and fulfilling lives, we will need to move leadership beyond gender. What are your thoughts or experiences?

                      VALENCIA RAY, M.D. coaches and consults for organizations that want to help their leaders and teams perform at their very best. She also helps to restore vision by shining a light on the core issues that keep people from reaching their true potential. She is the author of, Leadership BEYOND Gender: Transcend Limiting Mindsets to Become a More Engaging Leader. To contact Valencia, visit her website at www.ValenciaRay.com.

                      Click now to sign up for the complimentary webinar 5/1, Leadership BEYOND Gender: Transform Limiting Mindsets to Become an Engaging Leader with Valencia Ray.

                      Topics: career, team work, leadership

                      Write Savvy Headlines to Hook Your Readers—and Results

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, Apr 08, 2014 @ 04:03 PM

                      describe the imageby Lynda McDaniel, Your Inspired Writing Coach, and People-OnTheGo Faculty Member

                      The art of headline writing is more useful than you may think. Sure, you’re accustomed to headlines atop your reports and proposals, blogs and articles. But what is a tweet if not a 140-character headline? E-mail subject lines? Headlines in a box. And titles, subtitles, and subheads are simply headlines with a different name. 

                      Engaging headlines are the antidote to TMI—too much information—which has turned us all into skimmers. Captivating headlines and subtitles grab our attention, and engaging subheads make us stop skimming and really read.

                      Let’s explore four ways to help you write headlines that hook readers—and results.writing for business

                      1. Learn from the publishers

                      The publishing industry has spent millions of dollars to discover what makes people buy their magazines. You can benefit from their research by studying the “cover lines,” those teasing headlines that flash like neon at passersby. Below are six of the most popular cover line categories and why they're so effective:

                      • How to - (How to Writer Faster, Stronger, Better) People are eager to learn.

                      • Why - (Why Dogs Love Humans) “Why” is a magnet for curious minds.

                      • Questions - (Why Do Customers Buy?)  Questions draw in readers and offer the promise of solutions.

                      • Statements - (Living in Harmony: A Guide to Creating Community Organizations) Offers, ideas, and information people connect with.

                      • Numbers - (Six Steps to Effective Headlines)  The human brain is wired for numbers.

                      • Controversy - (The Myth of Teambuilding) Stir things up to draw in readers.

                       2. Focus on benefits

                      Think of your headline from the readers’ perspective. How will your content benefit them? Write to them (not only in the headline but throughout your content). For example, 10 Ways to Work Less and Still Get a Promotion.

                      -> Sign up for our two-part Business Writing for Success webinar on April 17 & 24, 2014.

                      3. Use the List of 20

                      The brainstorming technique List of 20 makes you dig deeper, beyond the obvious. If you were writing a guide on how to become a consultant, for instance, you might start with a headline “How to Become a Consultant.” In one respect, that’s not a bad headline—people often start their searches with “how to”—but it registers zero in personality. By number 10 you’ve graduated to “Working Alone to Help Others Work,” but by number 20 you’ve hit your stride with “A 10-Step Survival Guide for New Consultants.”

                      4. Include keywords for SEO

                      Keywords boost the effectiveness of headlines. Consider the bestselling book title How Not to Look Old. It needs (and has) a subtitle packed with keywords: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better. If you need help coming up with keywords, pay attention to the words Google or Amazon suggest in their search boxes. These are popular, powerful words that can boost your SEO.

                      Take the extra time to craft headlines worthy of your article, blog, email or book. Otherwise, you may lose your readers—and those results you’ve wanted to your results.

                      Click now for more details on the Business Writing for Success webinar, April 17 & 24.


                      Topics: business writing, business results

                      7 Public Speaking Tips for Business from Author, Speaker Jenny Blake

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 @ 01:47 PM

                      Jenny Blake has a refreshing take on public speaking—it’s OK to feel nervous! It’s normal!

                      “It was simply my body doing its job—engaging my flight or fight response as a survival instinct during what it perceives as a very dangerous situation,” reflects the Life After College author and now international speaker on the inevitable nerves that came with one of her first, big speeches.

                      Even though, it’s perfectly normal to get the pre-speaking engagement jitters, Jenny is quick to remind, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

                      Join Jenny as she presents at our free webinar on April 3, 2014, "Speak Like a Pro: Practical Tips to Propel Your Confidence, Delivery, and Impact."

                      According to Jenny, speaking like a pro is all about preparation of mind AND body, and knowing how to give yourself a break while engaging with your audience with full authenticity.

                      Here are seven public speaking tips below adapted from Jenny’s writing on the topic:

                        1. Know where you want to take the audience.

                          A great speech involves taking your audience on a journey and inspiring them to action. Go-to quote from Jenny: “How do you want to impact the audience, and what would you like them to DO as a result of your speech?”

                          jenny blake wds speaklikeapro

                            2. Make change happen.

                              The desired outcome of your speech should improve the lives of the audience members in some way. If you’re not making change happen, then there’s no point.

                                3. Get prepared.

                                  Commit your speech to memory over and over again, so it actually moves out of the front of your mind it's become so natural. (Jenny will discuss the brain science behind public speaking more at our upcoming webinar.)

                                    4. Get prepared some more.

                                      Jenny recommends practicing your speech in the morning and at night for one week before your presentation. Practice “sticky” sections until you have them down. Record yourself and listen, or seek feedback from a trial audience, co-worker, or friend.

                                        5. Make the mind, body connection.

                                          Proper sleep, deep breathing exercises, and even pacing will help to quell and channel that adrenaline before the big speech.

                                            6. Have fun!

                                              “The audience wants you to succeed and they want you to be human, not a speech robot!,” says Jenny. During the presentation, it’s important to be yourself. Give yourself a break, smile, and enjoy the moment.

                                                7. Keep strong and carry on.

                                                  The most important thing to remember is that you CAN do it! Even if nerves take over or technical problems occur, it’s still your time to shine by taking your speech to the finish. As Jenny shares, “People will love you more for keeping strong and (awkwardly) carrying on.”

                                                  Register now for Jenny's free webinar, "Speak Like a Pro: Practical Tips to Propel Your Confidence, Delivery, and Impact," on April 3, 2014 at noon PT.

                                                  You can learn more about Jenny Blake in the video below, or by visiting www.jennyblake.me.

                                                   Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: career, Lunch & Learn Webinars, leadership