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Reading List: Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, Katie Yezzi

Why read this book? If you question the value of practice in your career, this is a MUST read. Many of the rules will show you how to set up practice routines for skills where the solution is not obvious. Rules most applicable to accelerating your career experience include: #1 Encode Success, #4 Unlock Creativity . . . With Repetition, #7 Differentiate Drill From Scimmage, #9 Analyze the Game, and #10 Isolate the Skill.

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.

Reading List – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Why you should read this book? You will dive deep into the science of habits and learn how to harness the power of habits to accelerate your career experience. Duhigg, an award winning business journalist, also explores institutional habits and the idea of keystone habits that can be used to turn around organizations like Alcoa, the Fortune 500 manufacturing company, or products like P&G’s Febreze air freshener.

Using sales and negotiation skills in your own career

There are many opportunities in your career to employ the same underlying skills used by the salesperson at the car dealer or the telemarketer who tries to convince you to switch television services. If you’ve convinced yourself that you are not in “sales,” how will you recognize these opportunities as just that—opportunities? Still not convinced? Take a look at the following lists and decide how many of these situations you’re likely to encounter over your career.

Sales

  • Selling your skills in a job interview.
  • Pitching your ideas to a client.
  • Selling your work product—making the case that your report/ presentation/analysis/design is better than your colleague’s.
  • Demonstrating your organization’s potential value to an angel investor.

Negotiations

  • Justifying a salary increase.
    Seeking an internal job change.
  • Convincing your manager that you deserve a promotion.
  • Persuading your boss that you’ve earned some additional vacation.
  • Requesting access to a training program or reimbursement for a part-time MBA.
  • Making the case for you to work flexible hours.

If you are not in a formal sales function, you probably have no training in negotiations or sales skills. It’s up to you to become familiar with the basics so that you can sell yourself, your work, and your ideas or to negotiate with managers, clients, and vendors.

This post was adapted from Carer-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 6: Sales and Negotiation Skills.

How does your role relate to sales in your organization?

Do you understand how your role relates to the sales function of your organization? Remember “sales” includes the delivery of goods or services. For example, if you work for a non-profit that runs sports camps for at-risk, inner-city youth, “sales” might include the programs at the camp. If you work for a national political campaign, “sales” may include a voter-registration drive or a town hall meeting.

Even if your job function doesn’t directly involve sales, when you are a part of any business organization that sells products or delivers services, it is important to have a high-level understanding of the sales function or the way your organization delivers it’s products or services. e sales function is the engine that drives every organization. Delivering products or services to customers, clients, and constituents is at the core of the mission for every company, government agency, school, or non-profit organization.

Sometimes even the smartest new professionals don’t realize that everything they do in the workplace is related to sales or the delivery of a service.  That service may include healthcare, government regulation, entertainment, or consulting. If you’re in a marketing role, you’re providing your sales team with the materials they need to sell or market a product. If you write for a print magazine, your stories help sell your magazine’s brand to advertisers.

This post was adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career.

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

Practice Your Delivery of a Speech or Presentation

Practicing a speech or presentation is the key. Here four tips for improving your delivery.

  • Practice a full-length speech using a video recorder at least ten to twenty times. How many times should you practice? The answer is simple: As many times as it takes to master your content.
  • Ask someone to count the “ums,” “ahs,” and “likes” you use. These are filler words and they can kill a good speech. Be comfortable with the sound of silence. Or, use a video/voice recorder and count the filler words. You may be surprised.
  • Visualize your audience and the room in which you will de- liver your speech.
  • Prepare for possible interruptions and distractions such as a ringing cell phone, a microphone or PowerPoint failure, or people who arrive after you’ve started.

This is Part 2 of a post about public speaking and presentation skills. Read Part 1 here.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career

Why Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Matter to Your Career Success

You may be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t speak effectively, no one will know it. Your managers, peers, colleagues, customers, clients, and investors will judge your skills and abilities by the way you speak.

If you are one of those people who are deathly afraid of public speaking, you are not alone. Many studies say that people rank the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. Jerry Seinfeld said it best: “At a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” You may say that it isn’t fair or accurate to judge a person’s professional abilities by the way they speak in public, but that’s the way it is. Many things in the working world aren’t fair. Like it or not, you will be judged by the way you speak.

You might hope to avoid public speaking as part of your job. If you chose to be an accountant, software programmer, or in- vestment banker because you believe that as long as your debits and credits balance, your software functions, or your deal closes, you won’t have to speak in public. That could not be farther from the truth.

Job function doesn’t matter. Your role in an organization doesn’t matter. Your ability to express your ideas, thoughts, and opinions verbally will have a great impact on your career. You will still need to sell a product or service to a customer, rally your team to take action, persuade a business partner to adopt your viewpoint, convince an investor to invest, or argue your case before a jury.

Next week, read Part 2 of this post, “How to Practice and Improve Your Delivery”

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career