Communication Skills

Trade Secrets of a Tech-Savvy Entrepreneur

Stanard, Tiffanie

A word to the wise: If you ever take a meeting with Tiffanie Stanard, make sure you’re fully caffeinated. The marketing and branding strategist and CEO of Prestige Concepts in Philadelphia talks fast, thinks faster—and does what most people consider a full morning’s slate (i.e., sends emails to current, past and prospective clients, updates her to-do list, prepares for meetings and exercises) before she has even arrived at her office. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Communication Skills, Small Business, Innovation Tagged , |

Adam Grant on the Kind of Giving That Gets You Ahead

Grant, Adam 200x238Being Masters-of-the-Universe-ruthless is so last century. Now, most of us know that nice guys (and gals) do come in first, more so than cutthroats, thanks to Adam Grant’s New York Times bestseller Give and Take. And soon, with the February release of his new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, we’ll stop suppressing our maverick sides, too. Here, the Wharton professor talks about the kind of giving that gets you ahead, good karma and the best office holiday gifts. Read More

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Podcast: Strategies to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Carson Tate Life today is busy! We tell ourselves that if only we could make better use of our downtime or multitask more cleverly we’d get ahead of the busyness…but that’s not how it works. In this 30-minute podcast, productivity guru Carson Tate offers strategies to help you work simply AND live fully. Click Play to listen or read the full transcript below. Read More

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Posted in Conference Sessions, Career, Life on Your Terms, Communication Skills, Life Balance, Podcasts Tagged |

Handling Emotions at the Office

Kreamer, Anne Crying or otherwise showing your disappointment, frustration, anger or stress at work can seem incredibly embarrassing. “You feel like a loser for losing control, but there’s nothing to be ashamed about the occasional display of feeling,” says Anne Kreamer, serial entrepreneur and author of It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace. “Emotions are not criminal elements.” Still, knowing how to comport yourself will help in the moment and minimize your regret. Prepare for any future floods with this 5-step guide. Read More

Posted in Career, Speaker Articles, Communication Skills, Job Advancement Tagged , |

What You Really Need to Do to Move Up

Banks,-Gloria-Mayfield-220x300Do you undermine yourself when you talk? If you say “just” a lot (as in, just checking in or this will just take a minute), former Google executive Ellen Petry Leanse says yes. In her LinkedIn blog post, which got a lot of people talking this summer, she claims that women say the word a lot more than men, and that the tendency can undercut one’s clarity and credibility. “Using the word is a way to soften your comments or tone down your strength—no woman uses it when telling her child to take out the trash,” says Gloria Mayfield Banks, a motivational success strategist and trainer and founding partner of Charisma Factor. Read More

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Negotiation Tips That Work for Women

Margaret-Neale-220x300Compared to men, women tend to be less successful at negotiating— especially compensation—not because we’re bad at it. But because “we simply don’t do it,” says Margaret Ann Neale, the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of Getting (More of) What You Want. “We’re socialized to want to be liked, and when we negotiate, we’re perceived as being demanding, greedy and not nice.”

Studies have shown that’s true even if women follow the exact same script that men use. “We’ve all drunk the same social Kool-Aid, so it’s women as well as men who penalize women for asking for more,” Neale notes.

But when you’re open to negotiating, you’ll see that more things in life that you consider unchangeable—at work and at home—can actually be transformed into opportunities to get more of what you want. Use your leverage and be more effective with these five tips from Neale:

#1 Reframe how you think about negotiation. “Move away from thinking of it as a battle,” Neale says, “to thinking of it as an opportunity for problem-solving.” When you expect a fight, you’ll behave in ways that ensure one. “Your body language and your responses will likely encourage a fight as you filter your counterpart’s words and interpret his or her actions through the lens of a battle,” Neale adds. But when you come to the table to help find a solution, the other person isn’t forced to take “the other side,” and together you can reach an agreement that makes you better off.

#2 Raise your expectations. After all, if you don’t think you can improve the status quo by much, you won’t be motivated to enter a discussion. “It’s always easier not to negotiate, so when it comes to pay in particular, it’s important not to underestimate your worth,” Neale adds. Also, keep in mind that salary is just one component of your compensation. More vacation days, the flexibility to work from home, specific resources—they’re all possibilities that up the ante.

#3 Prepare a package of proposals. Come with just a single issue, and there can be only one winner and one loser. “You need to take the time to put together a set of proposals of things that you really want and figure out what is reasonable, what is optimistic and what you will walk away from,” says Neale, who notes that preparation is so important that it takes up two chapters in her new book. “And then pair your asks with solutions to a concern of your counterpart.” For example, when Neale negotiated to join the Stanford faculty, she presented a list of resources—a lab, doctoral student support, administrative support, etc.—that would help her do her job well and help Stanford to stand out.

#4 Tap into your superpower. “When women are negotiating on behalf of others, they are lions,” Neale says. In fact, women do 14% to 22% better than men in mock negotiations when they are representing other people. So when you’re getting negative pushback, especially over salary, don’t think that it’s just your interests on the line. Instead, “think that you’re doing it for all the other women who will come after you—your daughters, your granddaughters, your female friends,” Neale recommends.

#5 Seize opportunities. The best time to make an ask of a superior? Possibly when your boss is having a bad hair day. Definitely hold off on asking for a promotion if he or she is just back from the hairdresser or is wearing a spiffy new suit. Neale’s research found that the more attractive a man or woman feels, the more likely they are to believe that the status quo—specifically, people’s positions—are as they should be. Spinach in your boss’s teeth? Tell her, then dust off that wishlist!

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Posted in blog, Speaker Articles, Communication Skills

Office Diplomacy: When Personalities Clash

Heen-SheilaEver work with someone passive aggressive? Thin-skinned? A shouter? Unless you’re the cameraperson who films melting glaciers for Nat Geo TV, you probably know how frustrating—sometimes even maddening—it can be to deal with a difficult personality. “It’s challenging if it’s your boss, of course, because you feel constrained by what you can say or do,” says Sheila Heen, a faculty member at Harvard Law School and co-author of Thanks for the Feedback. “But it can be just as hard for managers, since having authority over people doesn’t mean you have the power to make them change.”

‘Person’ Pet Peeve

Often the personality who most pushes your buttons is the one who’s least like you. For Heen, that’s the type who cast themselves as victims. “I try to be empathetic, but I can become impatient,” Heen says. It’s natural to want to tell them how they’re contributing to the situation, “but in the moment, they just want an audience—not problem-solving advice,” Heen says. She has found that in this case, as in most others, a more effective strategy is to talk to the person later. “Say that you have ideas for how he could have more control over the situation, if he is interested,” Heen says. “The key is to leave it as an open invitation, so that he comes to you when he’s ready to do something to improve the situation.”

Conflict-Avoidance Advice

The more you understand a person, the better you can relate. Here’s Heen’s take on six difficult types you’re likely to encounter as a boss, colleague or underling:

The thin-skinned “Being highly sensitive to feedback is just the way some people are wired,” says Heen. “It’s like being tall or short—they can’t help it.” Her recommendation is to have a conversation with the person. “Say that you were surprised by how upset she seemed last time and ask her to coach you on how to offer suggestions to her when you have them,” Heen says. “She may say she agreed with your comments and was just mad at herself or that you made them in front her boss—whatever she says, you’ll learn a lot.”

The perfectionist “The challenge with this type is that they have one standard of expectations for any given task, and it requires their 110 percent,” Heen says. Her advice: When giving that person an assignment, be specific—“I just want the quick and dirty, so don’t spend more than 10 minutes on this.” If it’s your boss, ask for direction: “I can pull this together by tomorrow if you want a rough outline, or I can give you something polished and more final by Friday—what’s your preference?”

The passive aggressive This personality doesn’t know that what they’re really thinking or feeling is leaking out, so the best way to engage with them is to call them out on their snarkiness. Just say, “I sense that you’re frustrated, so tell me why,” Heen recommends. They may respond with relief—“Really? I can tell you how I feel?”—or they may give you a knee-jerk denial. “In that case, the goal is just to plant the seed that you welcome their input, and hopefully over time, with your encouragement, they’ll see that they can talk freely with you,” Heen adds.

The blamer This is actually a more angry version of the victim, Heen says. The type just doesn’t see his role in the problem, and simply blames others for his missed deadlines. So, again, the solution is to keep helping him see what he has some control over—“If Jane didn’t respond to your email with what you needed, you should pick up the phone.” If he’s still throwing down excuses for blowing through deadlines, you could bring the whole team together—or put in a request—to discuss what everyone, including the blamer, is contributing to the problem and needs to do differently to get a different outcome.

The shouter Point out to this person that she’s yelling, and she’ll probably say the circumstances call for it. She won’t think it’s what she does all the time because she really can’t hear herself. “The part of the brain that’s dedicated to hearing language—both meaning and tone—turns off when you talk, which is why it’s surprising to hear a recording of yourself,” Heen explains. If it’s a colleague or underling, you could, in the spirit of helping her, offer to record her the next time she raises her voice so she can hear herself. Or if it’s your boss, you could tell her that she’ll get a better response from you if she lowers the heat.

The gossip Though this type is just looking for attention, it’s important to stop his behavior because it poisons the office. Change the subject or gently suggest that the damning rumor he’s repeating may not be the whole story. But if you’re going to say something more pointed, Heen advises doing so in private. “Make the observation that you’re worried about the impact of feeding the rumor mill, and that it makes you wonder sometimes what’s being said when you’re not around,” Heen says. The person may then go tell his allies what you said—but they may, in turn, tell him they agree.

Sheila Heen will be leading the sessions, “Understanding the Science and Art of Receiving Feedback to Negotiate What Matters Most” and “Pioneering Pay Equity: Strategies to Bridge the Gap, Own Your Value and Negotiate Your Worth,” at the 2015 Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Communication Skills

How to Set Boundaries Without Feeling Guilty

Loder, VanessaHow to Set Boundaries Without Feeling Guilty
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
1:00-1:30 PM (EDT)

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Posted in Teleclass Signups, Life on Your Terms, Communication Skills Tagged |

Self-Promote without Feeling Like a Show-off

Berger, JonahOf course your work should speak for itself, but you can’t assume it’ll always be heard and appreciated. “People are busy, they don’t have time to pay attention to everything—and sometimes even good work gets overlooked,” says Jonah Berger, Wharton School professor and bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. “Don’t over-claim, but also don’t be ashamed to be a good spokesperson for your accomplishments.” Here, Berger’s advice about wielding the megaphone, so you can talk yourself up—and feel good about it. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Communication Skills Tagged |

Podcast: Get Smarter About Thinking Clearly with Elizabeth Thornton

Thornton, ElizabethHave you ever over-reacted to a situation? Do you sometimes take things personally that really are not meant that way? Have you ever misinterpreted the tone in an email and then responded with “tone?” How often do you judge other people unfairly? Read More

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