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/

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.

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

SOCIAL MEDIA AT WORK – TOP 10 TIPS

There are a lot of rules about the use of social media in the office. Some are formal rules while others are less formal, but no less important.

1. Keep messages professional—related to your work, your organization, or your industry.

2. Use casual language, but use proper English that is clear and concise.

3. Share news links, trends, and other relevant information.

4. Interact with colleagues, clients, customers, and followers.

5. Avoid slams and unprofessional language.

6. Post only appropriate photos and images. If you are not sure, don’t post.

7. AVOID USING ALL CAPS AND EMOTICONS. It can be an- noying and look unprofessional.

8. Understand the terms of use for each social media site you use for professional purposes.

9. Find examples from social media experts in your industry and learn from them.

10. Be cautious about sharing information that may be sensitive, confidential, embarrassing, or illegal. Again, if you’re not sure, don’t post.

 

Adapted from my book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 4: Business Writing. Click here to download 2 chapters of the book for free. Available on Amazon today.

Texting Do’s and Don’ts in the Workplace

Texting may be acceptable when you:

• Want to schedule a meeting or check someone’s availability.

• Are asking or answering a simple, single question, espe- cially when only a yes or no answer is required.

• Have an emergency that has kept you from work.

• Will be late for an appointment or meeting.

Don’t text when you are:

  • Having a long, two-way conversation. You should pick up the phone or talk face-to-face.
  • Writing long, complex questions or long answers.
  • Angry, aggravated, annoyed, or upset—the messages you send could be misunderstood For example, what does it mean if I include this emoticon 🙁 in my text message? Am I sad, upset, angry, or irate?

 

Adapted from my book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 4: Business Writing. Click here to download 2 chapters of the book for free. Available on Amazon today.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Powerpoint – 7 Tips

Although Microsoft PowerPoint is a useful tool and the standard for most presentations, its overuse can do more harm than good. Avoid common pitfalls by following these suggestions:

  1. Use separate slides to emphasize your key points.
  2. Include no more than two-dozen words per slide.
  3. Never read directly from your PowerPoint screen. Don’t use the words on the screen as a crutch.
  4. Choose a font large enough for your audience to read without binoculars.
  5. If you have a lot of details to convey, provide a separate document (printed or electronic) after the presentation.
  6. Don’t overload your PowerPoint presentations with links to videos, cartoons, music, or other graphics. If you include any of these features, thoroughly test the technology and have a solid back-up plan if the internet connection fails.
  7. If you turn off all the lights, your audience may nod off. Instead, turn off only the lights nearest the screen, so the en- tire room isn’t dark.

Adapted from my book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 5: Public Speaking & Presentation Skills. Click here to download 2 chapters of the book for free. Available on Amazon today.

Reading List – The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Why read this book? This is a superbly written parable whose main message is that in business, as in life, it is better to give than to receive. The Go-Giver is both inspirational and aspirational as you build your professional network. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Adapted from my new book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 3: Professional Networking. Click here to download 2 chapters of the book for free! Available on Amazon today.

Reading List: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Why read this book? Written by the international best-selling author and leader in professional development, Eat That Frog will help you jump- start your professional development (or any other task in your work) with twenty-one proven methods and techniques. These methods are integral to accelerating your career: #7 Focus on Key Result Areas, #10 Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time, #11 Upgrade Your Skills, #13 Identify Your Key Constraints, #21 Single Hand Every Task.g your career: #7 Focus on Key Result Areas, #10 Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time, #11 Upgrade Your Skills, #13 Identify Your Key Constraints, #21 Single Hand Every Task.

Adapted from my new book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of A Successful Career, Chapter 2: Accelerate Your Career Experience. Click here to download two chapters of the book for free!