Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Connection – The Object of Conversation

Conversations with friends

Connection, not just conversation is Key

Conversations should flow naturally and smoothly.  Relax and be yourself.  The more you are fully engaged and genuinely interested in both the topic and the person to whom you are speaking, the more comfortable it will be for both parties.

 

Key – It is called conversation, not monologue.  Both parties should be participating.

 

How to start a conversation

 

Every conversation is an opportunity for connection.  The people in front of you may or may not be your ideal client, but they may know the perfect client for you.  We are all connected to everyone else by six degrees of separation.  (“Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.”)

 

Questions

 

Questions are excellent conversation starters.  Allison Graham’s article “Hate Small Talk” said, Mastering small talk will help you find common ground to create a mini-bond with new contacts. Small talk may feel trite and unimportant, but it’s the small talk that leads to the big talk.”

 

What questions can you ask which will stimulate conversation and connection?

 

  • What brought you to this event?
  • When you’re not working or networking, what do you enjoy doing?
  • How did you happen to start in your line of work?
  • What organizations do you belong to?  (social, professional, service)
  • What are your vacation plans for this year?  (or holiday plans)
  • Name something positive which happened to you lately.

 

If the conversation lags but you really do not want to end it, be creative.  You know what interests you; keep moving from topic to topic until you find what interests them. Establishing common interests creates connection.

 

Appreciation

 

Comment on an attractive shirt or tie for a man or a blouse or shoes for a woman.  Be genuine.  Men like to be complimented on their attire as much as women do.

 

Mentioning a special award or accomplishment they or a member of their family has recently received is always a positive.  If you can take a photo of them receiving the award or a clipping from the paper and enclose it in your personalized printed note card, it makes a memorable gift.  Your thoughtfulness creates an emotional connection.

 

One of my clients gave me a gift of notepads with my company logo on them as a Thank You gift.  PrintPlace creates custom printed notepads.  These pads become a constant reminder of the appreciation of the giver and a reminder of the high quality of the printer.

You only have to connect emotionally if you want them to remember you.  People remember how you make them feel more than they remember your words.  Note cards create emotional connections; thoughtful notes are excellent follow up reminders of your conversation.

 

What Not to Say

 

Avoid Foot in Mouth Syndrome

 

Intense discussions about work, politics, religion or sensitive social issues are taboo – totally unacceptable.

 

Don’t always have to be right.  I once dated a man who said he was “often wrong but never in doubt.”  Even if you know you are right, this may not be the time to push the issue.  You will not win points.

 

When is it Time to Move On to the Next Person?

 

Body Language

 

Shifting feet, glances around the room and disengaged behavior in the conversation all say “It’s time to move on.  This conversation is over at this time.”

 

Smooth Transitions

 

If you are the one who desires to move on, offer to introduce them to “Ms or Mr X.”  It is a smooth transition and will most likely be viewed as helping them.

 

If you have made a solid connection, ask when they would like to get together for a cup of coffee and continue the conversation.  This is the perfect time to offer your business card.  Pull out your smart phone and coordinate calendars for your follow up meeting.  Make a note of the follow up time, date and a conversation note on their business card.  Ideally, they will make a similar note on your business card.

 

Be conscious of focusing genuine attention on them.  Ask engaging questions, make eye contact, give a firm but not crushing handshake, confirm common values and interests, listen and be appreciative.  Remain aware of body language both positive and negative.  Connect emotionally.  Make a smooth transition out of the conversation just as you made a smooth transition into the conversation.

 

 

 

 

Emotional Roller Coaster Solutions

Holiday seasons can be an emotional roller coaster.  Black Friday ads permeated the air, clogged your inbox and assaulted you from printed publications stuffed into your mailbox.  Today it is “cyber Monday” ads.  The media is telling you to BUY BUY BUY for the upcoming gift giving season.

 

Holiday lights and decorations appear in our neighborhoods, stores (some stores even start their Christmas displays before Halloween) and every public area.  We are told to be happy, excited and spend with exuberant abandon.

 

This is a tough economy.  People are out of work or underemployed or simply struggling to make the financial ends wave at each other.  The goal of actually making the financial ends meet and have money left over is simply not a reality for far too many people.

 

If you are not in an ideal emotional relationship or even in an acceptable emotional relationship, holidays can be an emotional drag.

 

What do you do?  How do you handle the holidays in a healthy emotional mindset?

 

Holiday parties abound.  Every organization seems to promote their holiday party.  Holiday parties frequently come with adult beverages – sometimes excessive adult beverages.  Alcohol is a depressant.  You may have heard someone call those beverages “holiday cheer.”  If you are feeling up and happy and festive, they may be holiday cheer.  Caution.  If you are feeling down, a few drinks, or a few too many, can plunge you even further down.

 

What can you do?  Am I telling you to avoid parties or curl up in a corner, hide from life and pretend that the holidays do not exist?  No, of course not.  There are things you can do.

1.    Arrive at the party a little late and stay a short time rather than the entire time.

2.   Be certain you eat something.  Food helps ease the effects of alcohol (if you choose to indulge in an adult beverage.)

3.   In my early twenties I discovered the strategy of sipping an orange juice or a ginger ale with a slice of lime.  Other guests were comfortable because we all had a glass in our hand.  Later if someone offered me a glass of wine, I was perfectly fine to have one.  One throughout an evening was perfectly acceptable.

4.   Steer clear of the David and Debbie Downers.  Grumpy bears and angry, critical people can send your mood plunging down at a rapid rate.

5.   Spend time with upbeat people you enjoy speaking with; spend time with the people who encourage you and bring you up.

6.    Go help someone less fortunate or a friend who needs an emotional lift.  Concentrating on bringing them up will help you stay up yourself.

 

Emotional solutions for the holidays

Positive ways to deal with negatives

Here are only a few ideas to keep a firm grip on your emotional sanity and even bring it up a few notches.  The book Emotional Ice Water  is packed with helpful ideas to boost your emotional spirits.  It is written in an enjoyable story form; you can relate to the true life stories.  More than anything, you will appreciate the positive solutions you can implement into your life immediately.

 

Don’t let the roller coaster of emotions over the holidays or at any point in your year get the best of you.  There are positive ways to deal with negative situations.

 

For more information on overcoming negative feelings and situations, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Purchase Emotional Ice Water.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

How important is your competitive advantage?

Develop your Competitive Advantage

What is your competitive advantage?  Why would people choose to do business with you instead of your competition?  We are in the midst of a challenging economy in United States as well as many other countries right now.  Competitive advantage is even more important now than at any other point in my lifetime, perhaps yours as well.

 

 

If you are an investor, you may be thinking, “How does this relate to me?  This is my market.  There are more sellers than buyers right now.”  True.  If you are the seller, how do you attract that ideal buyer or investor?

 

Fine tune your competitive advantage

 

What is the value, quality or delivery you offer which is superior?  An investor wants to know what you have to offer now; they will build on their additional advantages.  Unless you have something intriguing to offer, they are on to the next opportunity.

 

So what if they don’t invest in your business?  Developing a stronger competitive advantage will make your business more profitable in the interim.

 

Do you believe you have an excellent product or service?  If not, improve it until it is excellent.

 

How to improve your competitive advantage

 

Interview your current customers.

 

  1. What do they like about your company or product?
  2. What do they NOT like? (Not a fun question but very informative.)
  3. What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

 

Interview your competitor’s customers with the same 3 questions.

 

Interview prospective customers.  You will be amazed at how powerful it is to ask them what they want rather than endeavor to sell them something.

 

Now do something with this valuable feedback.  No, not stuff it in a folder to be reviewed at some distant point in the future.

 

Research how other companies have overcome these “dislike” issues.  You are probably not the only one to ever face these challenges.

 

  1.  Contact your mentors or icons in the industry.
  2. Search for information.  Use the internet as well as current print publications.
  3. Visit some of your competitors or purchase a product from them.
  4. Do a blind test and purchase from your own company.

 

Take a vendor to lunch.  Ask their experience with how other companies handle similar situations you deal with in your day to day operations.

 

Ask you CPA.  They work with other companies.  Look outside your industry for ideas

 

Form a plan to improve your competitive advantage

 

  • Find a way to build on your current advantages.  Emphasize them in your marketing

 

  • Compile all of your research information into an organized format.  Brainstorm.  Use the “How can I” approach rather than “That won’t work.”  A positive attitude does wonders.

 

  • Make a list of actions to be taken.  Prioritize the list and add a timeframe to each.

 

  • Take action.  Start the plan immediately

 

Competitive advantage is even more important now.  Adopt the attitude of Amazon in 2008.  The CEO called the key staff together and said “There’s a big recession coming.  Let’s miss it.”

 

Whether you are a seller, buyer, investor or customer, competitive advantage is paramount.  Take action to make your advantage outstanding in the marketplace.  Your employees, customers and bank account will thank you.

 

For more information on competitive advantage, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

The Connection Objective of Networking

“People buy more from those they know, like and trust” has been stated repeatedly through the decades even though the originator of the quote is unknown.  How do people get to know, like and trust you?  One of the fastest ways is through networking.  Personal face-to-face contact allows the listener to hear the words, tone of voice and observe the body language.

 

Why take the time to network?

 

Networking requires time, energy and genuine attentiveness.  If you think you can’t spare the time to network, consider that you will receive more value for your soft-money investment than you would by spending the equivalent amount in actual hard-money dollars.

Benefits of networking                                                                 

Connections are key to Networking

Connect emotionally

  • Increased sales
  • Larger transaction amount per sale
  • Higher closing ratio
  • More repeat and referral business
  • Community awareness
  • Greater perceived trust

“The more solid relationships you build, the more credible you are. The more your credibility grows, the more people will hire and recommend you.”  Can you afford NOT to network?

Websites, pop-up ads, online banners and pay-per-click ads all tout the benefits of your business.  Once you make face to face contact, you become a personality.  You have the opportunity to form a connection.  Now your business card has a face and a voice attached.

Your brochure becomes an extension of you, the person, not just any business.  Dan Kennedy attended a trade show with the specific intention of purchasing a generator.  He visited several booths and received their brochures.  Kennedy said, “If you took the name off the top of the brochure, the features listed were interchangeable.”  Your business has competition.  Without the personal contact, your business may blend into the masses.  When you make a personal connection with a person and hand them your brochure, your personality intensifies the value of your business.  Online does not have the personal touch of a smile and a handshake.

With networking you increase the value of all of your marketing, but especially the printed marketing materials you hand a prospect during your conversation.

Disadvantages of networking

  • It takes time to drive to and from events
  • To be effective, personal contact requires you to listen
  • Some expense is involved – transportation costs and beverage costs at the event

How to Network Effectively

Create a plan

  1. Go alone.  You will talk to more people.
  2. Make a list of specific individuals you would like to contact and pertinent details to be discussed.  Refresh the list after each event adding new names and recording the results of the contacts accomplished.
  3. Set an objective for the event.  Are you seeking investors, education, inspiration, connections or clients?
  4. Ask insightful questions. Attentively listen to people and demonstrate that you care about what they are saying by asking them to expand on their points of wisdom.
  5. Add value by introducing them to others who would be important connections for them.
  6. Make a note on their business card to remind you of the conversation and the person.  (Consider making the front of your card high gloss for visual appeal and the back of the card in a finish which permits writing notes.)
  7. Relax.  You are attending to make connections not bowl people over with a sales pitch.  Networking is not to close the sale but to make the connection for a future appointment.
  8. Speak casually at a slower pace and lower tone.  You are not there to collect a handful of cards, but to have genuine conversations.
  9. Be brief.  People love to talk about themselves.  You are there to learn more about them.  Interestingly enough, they will be more impressed by your genuine listening and attention to them than if you spouted volumes of information about yourself.
  10. Follow up after the event.  Send an email, make a telephone call, and send a handwritten note on your personalized business notecard stationery.
  11. Understand the tremendous value of networking.  The critical keys to effective networking are to go with a focused mindset and plan to be conscious of making genuine connections.  Be attentive and engage in genuine conversations.  Demonstrate your intention of helping others.  Make notes, future appointments and follow up.  People do business with those they know, like and trust.  Increase your connections with networking.

Understand the tremendous value of networking.  The critical keys to effective networking are to go with a focused mindset and plan to be conscious of making genuine connections.  Be attentive and engage in genuine conversations.  Demonstrate your intention of helping others.  Make notes, future appointments and follow up.  People do business with those they know, like and trust.  Increase your connections with networking.

Competitive Advantage or Perish

Product benefit list

Your competitive advantage is your quality, value, delivery or service.

Marketing is designed to present your competitive advantage to your target client.  When you know what problem your product or service solves, your research begins.  The next step is to determine who has that specific problem and how can you reach them.

Do you have an excellent product or service?  Why isn’t the world beating down the doors to purchase from you?  The answer may be your competitive advantage.  What is a competitive advantage?

There have always been a plethora of companies who offer similar products and services.  How many brands of toilet tissue, orange juice or automobile tires are in the marketplace?  If you are in a niche market all alone, fabulous; however with the access to the internet, your competition could be anywhere in the world.  Ideally you will develop some positive variation of the business which would make customers choose your product instead of your competitors offering.  How do you do that? You create a competitive advantage.  Your competitive advantage may be changing the quality, value or delivery.  Your advantage could be your customer service, your speedy delivery, or even the convenience of purchasing.  If price becomes your only advantage, beware.  One price war with a large company and you could be devastated.

BI (before the internet), the majority of your competition resided within less than 100 miles of you.  Now you either compete on a massive scale or pack up and head home. At one time speech coaching was a face to face customer basis.  With the arrival of Skype and web cameras, your speech coaching client could be in France.

Your advantage should change the behavior of the customer.  Entice them to want to come to you and do business with you.  How do you do that?  Offer a benefit to them.  Spend some time speaking with them and discover the problem they would pay to have solved.  Once you know their pain, you know exactly what product or service to offer from your product line which will solve their problem.  They can’t and won’t purchase from you until they know what you have to offer.  Job number one for a company is to be certain their target market knows what they have to offer.

How can you extend your reach to “touch” more customers?  Enlist your employees in the process.  It is in their best interest for you to be successful.  Pay checks do not continue to flow out from unsuccessful companies.  Offer unique incentives to employees to assist in promoting the company.  Supply them with the latest marketing promotional materials; keep them informed and “in the loop.”

Once the customer knows you have the solution, it is a matter of selecting the ideal solution from your product arsenal to solve their problem.

Your competitive advantage must do something positive for the product or the customer.  Be specific about the benefits of your product.  Carefully avoid listing features; describe benefits.  A lady sat at my kitchen table recently attempting to sell me her line of skin care.  She recited a long list of ingredients.  Ingredients are features.  If she had said, “Elaine, use this face cream and it will reduce your wrinkles by 30% in 10 days.”  If she had given me that benefit, I would have purchased on the spot.  People buy on benefits, not features.

It is not truly a competitive advantage until your employees or customers take action.  Children react on rewards or penalties.  Employees and customers follow the same pattern of reacting to consequences.

Conduct interviews with current customers, past customers and potential customers.

What do they like?

What do the not like?

What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

What would they pay to have which they do not have right now?  You may be asking yourself what is the difference in the last two questions.  The difference is a “nice to have” which they may or may not be willing to purchase at this time or a “need to have” which they will absolutely pay for right away.

Competitive advantages are improvements in quality, value, delivery or service.  What is your competitive advantage?  If you don’t know, start creating one.

For more information on competitive advantages, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Time Efficiency

 

Use your time wisely

Are you spending your time in the most productive manner

What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do: reduce Tasks, Increase Results, and Save 90 Minutes a Day by Laura Stack reminds us that a well-crafted printed message can be far more valuable than a sit down meeting. Think how much time you could save for yourself and your entire team if you did not have to travel to and from a meeting.  Your time could be used far more productively and profitably with a well-crafted printed message.

Planning a meeting to schedule a meeting or hold a meeting which does not need to occur are examples of wasted time

We all have busy lives – career, family, social and perhaps even personal obligations.

Despite our overactive “yes” gland and the overly optimistic “I can do that” attitude, there are a finite number of hours in a day.

What are your priorities?

On a clean sheet of paper draw a large box.  Divide the box into 4 equal squares with one vertical line and one horizontal line.  At the top of the box write the word “Urgent”.  Under the bottom line write the words “Not urgent.”  Just outside the left of the box write the word “Important.”  Outside the right of the box write “Not important.”

The top left box is Urgent and Important.

Top right square is Urgent but not important

Bottom left is Not urgent but important

Bottom right is Not urgent and not important.

Look at your daily activities.  Be aware of your scheduled commitments in the upcoming week.  Start with the upcoming week and record the various time obligations in the appropriate box.  Now look honestly at your week and record the activities you regularly perform which may NOT be recorded on the pages of your calendar.  Which activities are located in which box?  What percentage of your time are you spending in each box?

Don’t forget to acknowledge the time you spend chatting on Facebook, answering emails or perhaps even chatting on the phone or over coffee with friends.  Travel time to and from appointments and daily routines such as television time can slip through the time schedule without proper recording.

Odesk has a program where it records the screen shots of exactly what is happening on your computer screen.  Spending time staring at the screen or cleaning your desk does not count as productive time.  How efficiently are you using your time?

Are you using your time to accomplish the items which are of the highest priority and most urgency?  I hear some of your brains questioning how to determine what is the highest priority.

Peter Drucker, 1905-2005, Austrian born US management guru, writer and seminal business thinker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

If earning a paycheck is important to you, one of your priorities would naturally be to complete the tasks which are the highest priority for your boss.  Knowing your duties, job priorities and the preferences of your boss rank extremely high on the “keep your job” scale, at least during working hours.

What is most important to you?  It is said that you can determine a person’s priorities by looking at their calendar and their checkbook.  What does your calendar and checkbook reveal about your priorities?

If you ask executives about their highest priority, it is not uncommon to hear family toward the top of the list, but upon examination of their calendar, family infrequently receives a time slot.  Be aware of scheduling time for your top priorities in life.  If you run out of money, you can make more.  If you run out of time, you’re done.  Time lost is not recoverable.  Time does have a value.

Clearly defining your most important values will assist in prioritizing your time.  Look carefully at your activities and where you are truly spending your time.  If the time spent does not sync with your priorities, what can you eliminate or at least minimize in order to bring the values into alignment with the time.  Once you align your priorities, you may find that you are doing more of what is truly leading to your goals and wasting less time with the activities which divert you from your goals.

It is not just physical travel time but also mental time which influences your daily schedule and your ultimate productivity.  How will you feel when you have more productivity and less stress?

For more information on priorities and time efficiency, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

 

Relationship Thermometer

If your relationships were on a thermometer, would they register “warm and happy” or “cold and distant?”

Improving relationships and peace

Key to better relationships

The recent issue of Success magazine cd featured an interview depicting our relationships primarily as either a victim or a competitor role.  It went on to say that many of our communication issues and thus communication problems stem from both parties choosing to occupy the victim role at the same time.  “You did this to me.”  “No, I am the one who is wronged.  You need to apologize.”  If both parties are locked into a “I’m right and you are wrong” mindset, how can we possibly resolve conflicts?

It was once said that all wars would end in lightning speed if the politicians who were pontificating were squared off on the front line against each other with live weapons instead of sending our innocent young soldiers to the front lines.  The danger of live bullets instead of sharp words could make a significant difference in the willingness to listen, understand the opposing view and reach a resolution.

This same willingness to listen, care about the feelings and opinions of the other party, and find a mutually agreeable solution could solve innumerable personal and professional misunderstandings as well.

Where are your relationships on the temperature scale?  Are you locked into your position with a closed mind or are you attentively listening to the opposing view with an attempt to understand.

What good could possibly come from stepping out of the “I’m right.  You’re wrong” or “I’m the victim” role and listening with genuine interest and curiosity to the other person?  Fewer unhappy marriages?  Fewer lawsuits? Fewer business conflicts?  Perhaps we would even have more happy, productive employees.  What a concept – healing relationships rather than intensifying conflict.

Unless you enjoy being miserable or making others unhappy, it is certainly a valid thought.  Just for the exercise today, even if it is only for an hour, resolve to listen and understand rather than lash out.  You may be delighted with the outcome.

Raise your relationship temperature into the warm and happy zone on the thermometer.  Listen and attempt to understand the other party   You may actually end the day with a smile instead of a frown and know that you did the same for the other party.

For more information on relationships, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

Relationships

Elaine Love, author of Emotional Ice Water

If you are ready to get out of your own way, you owe it to yourself to read this book

In the book Emotional Ice Water, the tag line reminds us that it is not about what others say and do but what we think, feel and do.  These words of wisdom relate to all aspects of our relationships.  Yes, your reputation may revolve around the opinions of others, but our self-image and our self-esteem must be solidly rooted in a healthy self-confidence and belief in our self-worth.

If we do not believe in ourselves and the value we bring to our relationships, how can we possibly expect others to believe in us?

Picture a salesman walking in to a meeting where his job requires him to effectively present his product.  If he does not believe in himself or his product, it would take a small miracle for him to be able to present with confidence and conviction.  Image the salesman’s inner dialogue.  If he is saying, “This product is far too expensive for their budget.” Or perhaps his or her thoughts are “I wish I had my sales manager here to demonstrate this product.  They do a much better job of describing the features and benefits than I do.”  These self-doubts and lack of confidence in the potential positive outcome of the presentation absolutely transmit to the customer.  Consciously or unconsciously, the doubts manifest; even a semi-aware customer picks up on the negative vibration.

It took me eight months to make my first sale in a high end network marketing company.  Was it the product?  No.  Was it the fault of the company?  No.  Perhaps the blame rests at the feet of my enroller (upline).  No.  The problem centered solidly on my shoulders.  At that point, I did not have confidence in myself and my sales ability.  I was not building a relationship with the prospect.  My lack of confidence in my abilities provided more of a hesitation than an incentive to purchase.

After serious study and personal development, eventually the sales flowed in abundance.  At one point, the results were over $57,000 per month.  What made the difference?  The difference maker was learning to build relationships.

So are your minds asking, “How do I build relationships?  Tell me, I want that level of income.”

Relationships are built by focusing on the prospect.  What do they need?  What is important to them?  How will the product or service benefit them?

When the attention is focused on the benefit to the other party rather than on an attitude of “What is in this for me,” the relationship builds.  When the relationship solidifies, the resistance lowers.

Relationship building is essential in every aspect of life.  Personal relationships deepen when you care more about the other person than you do about yourself.  Do you enjoy having the people you care about demonstrate that they care about you?  Of course you do.

Business relationships work the same way.  Do you enjoy being sold, pressured or manipulated to buy?  No.  People always buy more from those they know, like and trust.  A trusting relationship encourages more interaction.  The tendency is frequently to run from those we do not like or trust.

 

If you desire to improve your life, build your personal and professional relationships.

For more information on relationships, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

Equality in the workplace

Are women really equals in the workplace?  No.  Have women made progress?  Absolutely.  Women have achieved significant advances since the discrimination they faced two decades ago; however, the struggles continue.  Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man with equal qualifications earns.  Even though women now comprise 46% of the total U.S. labor force as contrasted with 20% in 1900, the wage disparity continues.  “The more education a woman has, the greater the disparity in her wages,” according to www.collegetimes.tv/10-surprising-statistics-on-women-in-the-workplace. Progress, yes, but equality is still a dream for the future.

“In our civilization, men are afraid that they will not be men enough and women are afraid that they might be considered only women,”  This quotation by Theodore Reik in Esquire magazine (Reik cited in Merriam-Webster, 1992, p. 268) still depicts the role of men and women in the workplace today.  Females look, think, listen and communicate differently from males.  Business would run much more smoothly if success were based on the job performed and not on the sex of the performer.  However, the interaction between the genders is no so simple.  Gender contrasts in communication styles, attitudes, experiences and behavior automatically bring the propensity for conflict into the workplace.

The conflict, intentional or unintentional, is exacerbated when the individuals interact with sex-trait stereotypes firmly in place.  Conflicts do not exist in the abstract, they exist between people.  Neither the male nor the female management style is always appropriate.  The situation may intensify when one person misinterprets the intention of the other.  “What you heard is not what I meant.”  We each interpret words and situations through our own experience and psychological filters.  Men and women do not think or act exactly the same; hence, the inevitable misunderstandings.  Effective conflict management depends on shared communication.  Sharing information will be more successful if he understands what she said in precisely the way she meant it and she understands his intent in his words and actions.  Rarely does a high level of understanding occur even with the same gender.  Add the complexity of sex-trait stereotypes and the situation intensifies.

If a man declared, “David, you’re first,” he would be commended for his direct authoritarian manner. His declaration would be an exhibition of decisive leadership.  If a woman said, “You’re fired,” she would be described as heartless or worse.  Add the complexity of a man firing a woman or a woman firing a man and sex discrimination rears its ugly head.  Each situation now becomes more complex.  Why?  Women have progressed from the television days of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” in the 1960s; however women are still described as emotional and sentimental.  Women would be expected to deliver the message in a gentler, caring manner; men would be expected to be more direct.

Gender expectations may be partially responsible for the male view of the effectiveness of women in management.  Even though women have made significant progress since Arliss (1991) said the several studies indicate that women are seen as less competent managers, particularly in the judgment of male subordinates.  Are women truly less competent?  I think not.  The male perception may remain firmly ingrained in corporations; however, that does not make it a fact.  Women are fully as capable as men.  Women simply exercise their own style.  Margaret Thatcher’ quote in People magazine saying, “If you want anything said, ask a man.  If you want anything done, ask a woman” still resonates with many women today.  (Thatcher cited in Neely, 1981). Asa Baber echoed Margaret Thatcher’s sentiments with her own endorsement of female capability.  “Every female executive I know works hard. Look, it’s simple.  They’re on trial.  They know they’re setting a precedent.  It’s a lot of pressure” (Baber, 1992, p. 125).  Take a serious look at the accomplishments of Elizabeth Dole as Director of the Red Cross, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.  Male and female management styles, conflict resolution styles and personalities may be vastly different; however, each has an important place in the modern workplace.  Each gender has the opportunity and yes, obligation to learn the strength and effectiveness of each other’s style.

For more information on conflict management, management styles and gender differences, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Deer Lessons

What do you do when you have a challenging or a lonely day?

 

If you are like me, you do something active.  Living in beautiful Colorado offers so many options.  My favorite daily activity is a ten mile walk.  Little Red Riding Hood walked through the woods to grandmother’s house.  During her walk she encountered the big bad wolf.  In my Colorado neighborhood, the wildlife is more likely to be Bambi’s cousins.  Several days in a row a doe and her tiny spotted fawn would be munching on the bushes next to the trail or gliding gracefully across in front of me.

 

Just the sight of the big brown eyes casually observing me would lift my spirits.  There were times I would stop and gaze quietly at her.  She would stop eating and look back without the slightest fear.  Deer must have amazing powers of perception to know when they are not in any possible danger.

 

What does an encounter with deer have to do with lifting your spirits?  First it is the gentle meeting with another living being.  For some people it may be connecting with others on Facebook to extend a greeting, offer a word of encouragement or post a funny picture.  Perhaps make a phone call to a friend you have not spoken to for awhile.  What about the lost art of writing a cursive note to say thank you. (Cursive is such a lost art that my Microsoft Word Thesaurus did not recognize the word.)  When you do something good to make someone else feel acknowledged, appreciated or amused, you not only brighten their spirits but also your own.

 

Depending on your circumstances, getting outside in the fresh air, gentle breeze and soft grass can be refreshing.  Have you considered listening to your favorite music, reading a short inspiration or humorous passage or even reading a chapter in a book?

 

No matter what your preferred method of relief from a challenging or less than enthusiastic feeling, the answer is to do something.  A deep dive into a bowl of chocolate or the snack machine may feel good for a minute or two but the consequences on your waistline and hips last much longer.  Choose your individual preference, but do something.

 

“It is not about what they say or do.  It is about what you think, feel and do.”  This quote from the cover of Emotional Ice Water becomes either a gentle reminder or a kick into action.

 

For more information on maintaining a positive mental attitude, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm