Communicating with “Those Idiots”

I was on the phone with someone the other day and found myself getting more and  more annoyed the longer the conversation went on.  Does that ever happen to you?

I had to catch myself, take a deep breath and allow myself to hear the message the person was trying to communicate. Our communication styles weren’t synching up and I was falling into the trap of not listening because the person’s words weren’t landing on my ears in the way I needed to hear them.

When that happens, we tend to initially judge the other person as ‘an idiot’.  We may think cruel things like “What’s wrong with them?”, “Why are they so cold?”, “Why don’t they get to the point?”, “Why are they so flighty?”

In reality, they’re probably just different than us.  If you’ve ever had any of those thoughts, here are some tips to help you understand and deal with people who think, communicate and behave differently from you.

1. Recognize that not everyone is wired the same way you are.
Our diversity is what allows us to solve problems and stay entertained by the human race.  Imagine how boring it would be if everyone were all the same.  How happy does Seven of Nine really look here?

2.  Take a deep breath and be patient.
We’re almost all in a hurry these days. If you are under a real time limit, politely let them know.  If not and it seems like they’re rambling, gently ask them questions to help them stay on point.

3.  Listen for the underlying message.
The person is telling you something for a reason – even if it’s not apparent to you. Repeat back what you’re hearing to make sure you’re tracking with them.

4.  Ask for what you want.
If you need more or less information, let the speaker know that.  We have varying needs regarding levels of information, relationship orientation, social interaction and pace.

Also, if you are the speaker, recognize that the way you are comfortable communicating might not be effective for the person you’re talking to.  It’s just as important that you be cognizant of the perspective into which you speak, especially if you’re trying to get something out of them.  Stay tuned for how you can be more effective in getting your message across and getting more of what you want.

Social Networking: Mystery, Madness or Money

Do you tweet?  Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo?  Does the thought of having yet another networking venue send shivers up your spine?

Are your tweeting and linking the hours away, but not seeing any results?

Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you remove the mystery, reduce the madness and ultimately make money from your social networking efforts.

1.  Remove the mystery

Starting a profile on most platforms is relatively easy.  Four of the ones I use the most are shown right under my Greeting message above.  I also use Plaxo. So if you’re just getting started, connect with me.  Just click on the Plaxo link above or any of the icons below my greeting.

Start simply.  Enter both business and personal information.  The key to social networking is leveraging the ‘social’ aspect.  People want to know you, not just your business.  Once you’re in, look for people you know who are already on that platform.  Most sites make it easy for you to do that.  Once you’re connected to others, you can connect with their friends and associates.  (You’ll probably know some of them. If you can customize your introduction, a personal note will help ‘grease the slide’.

2.  Reduce the madness

As in real F2F (face-to-face) life, you could spend hours every day networking online.  Don’t let yourself get consumed.  Don’t feel compelled to join every site that people invite you to.  I have profiles on 16 sites, but don’t use them all. Set aside 15 minutes a day to tweet or update your profiles.  Just pick a few to start with.
What to say in your updates?  Share a great idea you heard, your plans for the day, a success you had, a success someone else had, an inspiring quote, a triumph for your child.  Make comments on other people’s profiles.  Again, use a good mix of business and personal.

Also consider automating the process.  There are tons of tools & resources like tweetlater.com to make the whole social networking thing less labor-intensive.

3. Monetize your efforts

Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about for us business owners, isn’t it?  Don’t expect to put dollars in your pocket immediately though.  Social networking is about building relationships with people, getting connected on a deeper level.  It is through building solid relationships with people first, that you’ll be able to later on, introduce items or services that you think might help them…but only after you’ve gotten to know them.

Consider it a little like dating – you probably wouldn’t ‘pop the question’ on the first date would you?  Don’t do it on the social networking sites either.

That’s just a primer (or reminder) for those of you who are relatively new to this arena.  Stay tuned.  As I mentioned in the video and the welcome greeting above, I’ve got tons more resources on this topic to share with you, so pay attention and don’t miss out, ok?

Clutterlessness: Access to Power

I have to confess…OK, this is a bit embarrassing….My office is sometimes in shambles. When I return after a series of meetings with multiple project folders and an action item or two for each, I haven’t always been disciplined about sorting through everything before calling it a day.

It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t think straight anymore. I hated being in my office. I felt confused and tired and finally I’d had enough!

I spent a good part of the weekend clearing out old files and making room in my file cabinets to store some of the piles that had been accumulating on my desk, bookcase, floor and…You get the idea.

I filled up half of the recycle container and salvaged enough paper that had only been printed on one side to last for months of printing. If felt as though the fog had lifted.

I was actually surprised and delighted with how easy it was to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard.  Over the last several months, working with my coach and mastermind group, I’ve organized my energy around three primary topics.

I speak, train &coach on:

  • Leadership & management
  • Sales & marketing
  • Personal effectiveness

So as I went through folders, it was immediately obvious what needed to be retained and what could be tossed.

Why am I telling you this? Well, whether you’re a neat-nick whose desk is always clear or more like me, it’s important to periodically take stock and release the things in our lives that no longer serve us.  The purging process clears the mind and heart I believe and opens us up to receive more goodness in our lives.

While the sky is grey in the photo, the rainbow to me symbolizes a brighter future…the doorway (or skyway) to new opportunities, better times, unlimited potential and unseen possibilities.

Here are some tips for clearing away the clutter in your life…

Buy a label maker if you don’t have one

My label maker was one of the most fun and productive tools I used in this cleaning process.  Papers that didn’t have a ‘home’ found one in a folder with their ‘name’ on it.  Printed labels will make the folders easier to find in the future, saving even more time.

Make a commitment and set aside a few hours

It had been so long since I last did this, it took several hours.  Make sure you  have enough time to devote so that you get an experience of satisfaction with the progress you make.

Keep items you’ll use the most, the closest to where you work

Prime real estate is right around your desk.  Keep only those projects you’re working on RIGHT NOW on your desk.  Files you access regularly can be nearby.  Things you access only rarely can be in file cabinets

Put on music that moves you

I find music energizing and uplifting.  Have you ever noticed how much faster your workout routine seems to go when you’re listing to your mp3 player?  The same dynamic helps with the clean-up process as well.

Label the storage boxes for easy retrieval of those items

I’ve seen some people whose clean up process is to take everything not needed right away and stick it all in a box..  Then they shove the box into a closet or garage with no label for later retrieval  When they need to find the item, they don’t know if it’s in the box from last week, last month or the several from last year.  Big time wast.  Put similar items in the box then label it.   f

Remember to drink lots of water

Our bodies need water to thrive.  When we’re focused on a task, however, we forget (or ignore) those faint yearnings for refreshment. I LOVE water, yet I can hear myself sometimes say “in a minute” and before I know it an hour has passed and I’m even more parched.  Listen to your body and respond when it talks to you.

Take breaks more often than you think you need to

Do something completely different.  Sing, play music, go for a walk. Set time frames for your efforts.  “I’ll work 1 hour on purging this file drawer”   “I’ll spend 30 minutes filing these receipts” Be disciplined and focused but resist the urge to keep your nose to the grindstone for too long.  You’ll drain your brain and your body unnecessarily.

In the future, before filing a project away, throw out the interim emails and sticky notes

As I went through my files, I found many emails and sticky notes that were important at the time, but that were completely irrelevant once the project was complete.  If you puge the files as you ‘close out’ the project, you’ll save yourself lots of time later on.

Purge yourself of relationships that are no longer serving you

People can really drain you.  If there are people in your life that you dread being around, stop being around them.  If you’re in groups, teams or a family where it’s difficult to avoid them, set boundaries for the behavior you’ll tolerate.  You ARE in charge of your life and if you’re suffering silently, you need to stop.  Either drop the relationship or take responsibility for altering its direction.

Whew! That was a lot. The bottom line is…Just do it!

Making Your Business Feel So Good

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to see Chuck Mangione who was appearing at one of the local casinos. He put on a great show and ended his performance with one of his most popular tunes, “Feels So Good”.

I started thinking about what it meant to have one’s business ‘feel so good’. Many business owners I know are working hard and yet, not quite feeling as satisfied as they’d like.

I believe there are five keys to happiness and success as it pertains to creating the business of your dreams.

1. Doing work you love
2. Working with clients you love
3. Having clients who love you
4. Making the amount of money you love
5. Having an impact you love

That may sound easier said that done. I’ve elaborated on these tips on to make your business feel so good.

1. Doing work you love

Most business owners go into business because there is something they are gifted at or love doing.  They then get consumed with running their business and it takes  over their life.  In the beginning, they wear many hats: service provider, sales person, bookkeeper, marketing strategist, administrative support.  They wear themselves ragged. If things go well, eventually they think about hiring someone to help.  But many people think they aren’t able to hire someone or fear that they’ll lose control or quality if they delegate and let go.

I’ve spoken about this before, but it bears repeating.  Stick with what you love.  Just this week, I made a list of things I found myself doing that drain my energy and brain power.  Yes, I CAN do those things, but doing so wears me out.  I’ll be searching for people to add to my team even if they only work a few hours each week.  Each of us have a gift and it’s better for us and for our business when we stick with spending our time exercising those gifts.  That will make us feel good!

2. Working with clients you love

In the beginning, we tend to work with ANYONE who is willing to pay us.  But the most successful people have taken the time to articulate who their ideal client is.  They know demographic information about their ideal client (gender, age, education, income, etc.).  They also know psychographic information (personality, likes, hobbies, temperament, etc.).

When you work with clients you don’t like, they rob your energy and make you dread ‘going to work’.   If you have clients that are draining you, fire them!  Identify your favorite clients then resolve to fine more just like them.

3. Having clients who love you

When you work with clients you love, you’ll be at your best.  You’ll understand them, serve them.  Dote on them even.  You’ll provide an extraordinary level of service and delight them with your efforts.

As a result, they will love working with you.  The relationship will continue to blossom and grow.  It will be easy to be happy around them.   They will treat you well.  They will tell their friends.

4. Making the amount of money you love

Clearly, having sufficient business revenue and profit levels to enable you to pay yourself consistent with the lifestyle you envision is the key.  When you focus on doing work you love, you’ll excel at it and will become a client magnet.  When you work with clients you love, they’ll love you back and recommend their friends to you.  When those things combine, voila! Revenue goes up.

Make sure you’re investing money in products and services that will help you grow your business and run it more efficiently.  If cash flow is an issue, barter for services with others who are willing to do the same.  Get the help you need.

Ramp up your perception of yourself.  Don’t undervalue what you provide your clients.  If you have doubts about your value – get over it.  Ask you clients what they love about working with you.  Listen to what they say and incorporate their feedback in your marketing and sales efforts.  Offer new products and services that highlight your gifts.  Then look for clients who can afford to pay you what you’re now coming to realize that you’re worth.

5.  Having an impact you love

Nothing does more for your confidence than delivering your gift to your target market (or anyone for that matter) and receiving feedback that it helped transform someone’s life.  But first, you must know what your legacy is: what impact you want to leave on the world.

When you’re clear about that legacy, it will shape the conversations you have.  It will guide your actions.  It will lead you to populations that need your gift.  You will be fulfilled.

When you accomplish these 5 things: doing work you love, working with clients you love and who love you back, making the kind of money and impact you love, your business will “Feel So Good” and so will you!