Build Your Leaders

Archive for the ‘women’s leadership’ Category

How to Win People Over

July 1st, 2013

Jackie Onassis had it, so did Pamela Harriman. Hugh Downs and Bill Clinton have it, too.

Charm can be a communicator’s secret weapon. With it, we can communicate with anyone.  We can win others to our side.

By using these five tips, you can put the power of charm to work in your own life.

One: Focus.  Nothing is as important in developing charm as the ability to communicate with a person as if he or she was the only person in the room.

Someone asked Queen Victoria once whether she preferred the company of Benjamin Disraeli or William Gladstone. She answered that when she dined with Gladstone she felt he was the most interesting man in England, but when she ate with Disraeli she felt she was the most interesting person in the world.

Like Disraeli, we can put our egos aside and focus on the other person. We can make a conscious effort to put others’ wants and needs before our own, and one way we can do it is to ask questions.

“Questions are the sparkplugs of conversation,” says Nicholas Boothman in his book, How To Make People Like You.  Through questions, we learn where another’s passion lies, and when we show interest in another’s passion, we are well on our way to establishing rapport.

Questions are only as effective as our ability to listen, and key to listening is providing feedback. “Feedback,” says Ken Blanchard, co-author of the The One-Minute Manager and other motivational books, “is the breakfast of champions.”

Tony Alessandra, Ph.D., is his book Charisma, offers these four suggestions for providing proper feedback:

  1. Offer verbal responses such as “Hmmm,” “Really?” and “Wow.”
  2. Provide acknowledging gestures such as smiling, nodding and leaning forward.
  3. Make clarifying remarks that restate the speaker’s points.
  4. Establish eye contact.

Eye contact is also important in establishing credibility. In one study, speakers who are rated “sincere” looked at their audiences an average of three times longer than speakers ranked “insincere.”

Two: Help people feel good about themselves.  Find something – anything — you can like about a person. People can sense if we like them.

Begin by looking at people with empathy, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. F. Scott Fitzgerald is reported to have once said that the greatest gift you can give anyone is to see him or her exactly as he wishes to be seen.

Three:  Smile.  Pianist and comedian Victor Borge once described a smile as the “shortest distance between two people.” Anyone can smile, but a sincere smile shows in our eyes and can light up a room.

Four:  Remember the details. Charming people remember the details. Charmers remember names and those other details most of us are quick to forget. Keep notes if you need help remembering.

Top salespeople maintain customer files. By referring to their files, these salespeople are able to refresh their memories and demonstrate a personal interest in their clients’ lives.

Five:  Be energetic, enthusiastic and positive. People who possess personal magnetism are usually self-confident optimists. Be upbeat, sing praises, and freely give appreciation.   Energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude are contagious.

In summary, charm can be learned, but it still must be earned. Sincerity and warmth cannot be faked; they must come from within. When we are naturally charming, we are at our communications best.

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What Women Say It Takes to Succeed

December 3rd, 2012

Smart companies are waking up to the unique skills that women bring to the workplace. Not only are women smart, many have an empathetic communications style that makes them natural leaders.

The international staffing agency Randstad recently conducted a survey on women’s insights and perspectives on work and employee engagement. In this report, respondents ranked “flexibility” and “adaptability” as top skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace. In fact, more than 51 percent reported these skill-sets as the top two most important, followed by knowledge of technology” (37 percent) and teamwork (35 percent).

Do you agree?

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Just Do It!

November 8th, 2011

Several years ago, I was in New York sitting with a sick friend for seven days. I was staying in his apartment in Long Island City, yet spending as much time as possible in the Manhattan hospital while he underwent chemotherapy.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was anxious about the trip. What frightened me was using the subway to go between the apartment and hospital. As many times as I’ve been to New York, I used the subway rarely, and never alone.

My friend e-mailed detailed directions, and another friend coached me. “Take the Seven train to Grand Central Station, then change trains to the Four, Five, or Six to Union Square.” The directions seemed simple, yet I was still scared.

When praised for his bravery in battle, General George Patton once said, “Sir, I am not a brave man; the truth is I am an utter craven coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands, but I have learned early in my life never to take counsel of my fears.”

Some of the best advice I’ve heard on overcoming fear is to just do it anyway. That’s bravery. There’s a wonderful quote from the 2000 movie Bounce, “It’s not brave if you aren’t scared.”

What frightens you, and how could you benefit by being brave and just doing it?

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Stop Your Inner Critic Cold

June 29th, 2011

A great tip for cooling off your inner critic. Here’s a tip from Men’s Health magazine for those of us who have hyperactive inner critics. Studies show you can slow negative self-talk by rapidly sweeping your eyes from side to side about twenty-five times. “It stimulates both sides of the brain and briefly disrupts your thinking patterns,” reports Matthew McKay, PhD, clinical director for Haight-Ashbury Psychological Services in San Francisco and author of Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life.

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