TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL (TM)

When it comes to mastering public speaking, there is no greater resource than Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International offers its members a venue for practicing communication and leadership skills.

Clubs meet regularly and members fulfill different roles at each meeting. There is a proven curriculum of increasingly more challenging topics, techniques, and formats. Fellow club members evaluate speeches for each other. They also give support and encouragement to speakers of all abilities. Toastmasters In- ternational has grown to 14,650 clubs in 126 countries since its founding in 1924.

I encourage you to join Toastmasters. Each club has its own personality, so visit several clubs to nd the one that best suits you. Visit the Toastmasters International website to nd a club near you. https://www.toastmasters.org/

Developing Your Professional Relationships: The Key to Your Professional Success

Developing your own professional network will lead to more success than almost anything else you do in your career.

Developing relationships with people who want to and are able to help you is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources. These are the people who will help when you need it most. is is a long-term investment of your time in building relationships with other people. Your professional network will be developed and maintained over your entire career.

Your professional network will be developed and maintained over your entire career. Actively participate in your network and help others, as you would like others to help you. Maintain these business relationships in good times and bad—while you are fully employed, unemployed, or in between. A strong professional network is as valuable to a  first-year employee as it is to the CEO. It is as important to someone working in a tech start-up in Silicon Valley as it is to the person teaching elementary school. Developing your own professional network will lead to more success than almost anything else you do in your career. It is the key to your professional success.

Building Blocks of Leadership

The skills and concepts in my book, Career-ology, are the foundation of leadership. Think of a great leader and rate his or her abilities on a scale of one to ten against the following skills:

  • Professional networking
  • Business writing
  • Public speaking and presenting
  • Sales and negotiations
  • Organizational awareness
  • Creating a personal brand
  • Developing an executive presence

Chances are the leader you selected rated highly in most if not all of these skills.

You can demonstrate the qualities of a leader without having direct reports. You don’t need a title or an organizational chart either. A true leader is a person whom others will follow regardless of the authority of a title or the incentive of a paycheck. Acquiring and practicing these skills and concepts are an excellent place to begin your journey to becoming an outstanding leader.

LinkedIn Official Blog

There is no better source of information about the most important professional networking platform in the world than the LinkedIn Official Blog. If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, go right to the source. There are hundreds of blog posts arranged by topic and searchable by keyword.

Reading List: How to Really Used LinkedIn by Jan Vermeiren

 

Why read the book? This book is written for a broad audience—from the LinkedIn novice to the advanced user—and includes instruction on using the tool and detailed strategies for creating your profile, building your own professional network, and engaging with groups. You can download a full copy of the book for free and access tools, videos, webinars, and self-assessment tools.

KNOW THE PLAYERS

Every organization is the sum total of its people. I cannot emphasize this enough. To know the people in your organization is to understand the organization. Know the players within your organization and your industry. These people will directly and in- directly influence your career. Study them. Connect with them. Learn from them.

Adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 7, Organizational Awareness

WHAT ARE THE VALUES AND CULTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION?

Discovering the values and culture of an organization is more challenging than researching its history. Values and culture are difficult to pinpoint exactly. Time spent exploring this facet of organizational awareness is well worth it. The values and culture of an organization can impact your long-term satisfaction. You are likely to be more satisfied if your organization’s values and culture are compatible with your own.

Adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 7, Organizational Awareness

What is your organization’s history?

Part of understanding your organization is to understand its his- tory, culture, and values. Researching the history of your organization is usually straightforward. Private organizations may have been covered by the print or online media, so look to those sources for historical information. Check public records for historical information about public companies with financial reporting requirements, government agencies, or other public entities. Research the organization itself and its leadership. e history of an organization is created every day, so pay particular attention to major events in the history of your organization such as a merger, buyout, bankruptcy, a scandal, legal action, natural disaster, or other major event (i.e., September 11, 2001). What impact, positive and negative, did the event have on the values and culture of the organization?

Look for trends, themes, and discrepancies between the organization’s history and its current operations. Is the organization maturing or is it stuck in the past? While the history of an organization is informative, it does not predict the future direction with 100 percent certainty.

Adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 7, Organizational Awareness

Find a Mentor

As you get to know the people in your organization and industry, seek out a few mentors. You don’t have to formalize a mentor-mentee relationship for it to be beneficial. Look for people who have forged a path congruent with your own career goals. If your organization offers a formal mentoring pro- gram, be sure to take advantage of this valuable resource.

Adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 7: Organizational Awareness.

Reading List: The Image of Leadership by Sylvie Di Giusto

Why read this book? In her book, The Image of Leadership: How leaders package themselves for the right reasons, Di Giusto does a masterful job with a very difficult subject — your professional image in the workplace. The author, a Personal Branding Strategist and Image Expert, describes her work as “people packaging” and her book goes deep on all aspects of how one’s appearance speaks volumes about their abilities and potential for leadership.

The Image of Leadership

Di Giusto uses the term, “professional imprint,” which is far superior to “personal brand” in a professional setting. In my book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, I wrote a chapter titled, “Your Personal Brand” and I struggled with the vague and varied definition of that term, as well as, the seeming contradiction of the idea of a “personal” brand in a “professional” context. I considered other chapter titles including “Professional Brand” and “Personal-professional Brand,” but neither seemed to work. I like “professional imprint” because it includes it clearly refers to a professional context and emphasizes the enduring aspect of this concept.

Di Giusto summarizes the concept of professional imprint with a great analogy involving product packaging. From the book:

Chips packaging is always fascinating. . . Not one word, even not a lot of talking and describing the chips can do as much on the package as the picture does. It shows what you get. Period. . .

Yes, there are chips inside, but not those we saw on the outside. Inside, they seem more ordinary, and there are usually many that are broken into little fragments. But we still like them. . . What’s the lesson here? With a perfect appearance on the outside, people are willingly buy into you and might still accept you if you’re not as perfect on the inside. The other way around is invariably much harder. #imageofleadership