Possible podcast interest?

I’m thinking about starting a new podcast focused around “Life Switchers”—people who have made a major change in their lives such as going from being a corporate drone to a business owner, or from a high-level executive to a school teacher. I’m not sure of the frequency right now. It could be once a month or once a week. I think episodes would probably run about 20 minutes in length. Would you be interested in hearing interviews with such folks? I already have one episode recorded and a few more lined up.

I would appreciate your input with the poll below. If, for some reason, it doesn’t show up because of your browser settings, you can go to the poll here.

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Why communication skills matter to everyone

Hired!

I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I remember a friend telling me about the local newspaper having two openings at the time. They had 104 positions in the newsroom at the time. For those two openings, they received 120 resumés.

If you don’t already know it, resumés are not really for getting a job; they are for eliminating candidates. If you make it through to the interview stage, you are qualified for the job, and so is everyone else who makes it through. I’m not saying the skills are unimportant. I’m saying that if they’re talking to you, it’s a given that you have the skills (at least on paper). So the decision about whom to hire will hinge on other factors. Continue reading “Why communication skills matter to everyone”

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Book review: Say yes and benefit from this book

One of the major rules of improv comedy, of which Avish Parashar is an expert, is that whatever your colleagues throw at you, you should say yes to it and develop it. Saying no stops the action. It’s a little harder to see that “yes, but” is just a form of no, but in effect it is.

Say “Yes, And!”: 2 Little Words That Will Transform Your Career, Organization, and Life! lays out the contrast between “yes, but” and “yes, and,” and makes a quick case for the huge difference it makes in attitudinal and practical terms. It then proceeds to develop those insights in great depth and apply them to several areas of life.

An important idea for me out of this book is that we say “Yes, but” so much because it works, in the sense of getting some immediate result. We can miss the downside, though: it stops the scene, the action. It stops development. It stops progress. We say it because we’ve gotten some reinforcement from the immediate results, without ever seeing the long-term results that would have come from “yes, and.”

Plus, “yes, but” is safe. It doesn’t involve risk. On the other hand, “yes, and” is effective. Throughout the book, Avish shows how “yes, and” is more effective, especially in the long run, than “yes, but.”

Also throughout the book, Avish is careful to point out that he is advocating neither mindless agreement, nor becoming a pushover, nor even avoiding “yes, but” altogether. “Yes, and” is a mindset, not a rule. The idea isn’t to turn you into a clone of Jim Carrey in “Yes Man,” but simply to remember to be open. (And, I would add, it enables you to genuinely and warmly say no when you need to, without beating around the bush.)

Avish simply believes “and” is superior, and he suggests three considerations for saying “but.”

  1. Say “yes, but” later.
  2. Put the positive after the “but.” (Managers are told to start with something positive, mention whatever criticism they have, and then finish with something positive, often called the “criticism sandwich.” Research tends to show it doesn’t work very well. (http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/the-criticism-sandwich-a-stale-idea-1). What does work, according to Clifford Nass, the Thomas M. Storke Professor at Stanford University, is starting with the negatives, followed by a long list of positives–sort of a criticism deep-dish pizza. Parashar’s principle here, fits that bit of advice.)
  3. Use “but” to come up with alternatives–really another way of saying “yes, and.”

In developing his thesis, Avish hits on a topic that is close to my heart: communication. He says good communication is at the heart of success (I would agree), and says, “‘Yes, And’ is the simple tool you can use to increase the quality of your communication and make it as effective as possible.”

I definitely recommend reading this book more than once. Its deceptively simple approach has many nuggets of practical wisdom that you can mine over several readings.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book. That doesn’t matter. I calls ’em like I sees ’em, and would say so if I didn’t like it.

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Students need to get a jump on social media

Social Media Trends for 2012
Creative Commons License photo credit: HonestReporting.com

It’s easy to assume college students have social media all figured out. Experience shows, though, that while many are savvy about Facebook, they may not realize they need to build a social media presence in other avenues before graduation rather than after. Sue Murphy notes in her article Social Media Success Tips for Students two particular areas that seriously need attention while a student is still in school but looking to the outside world.

Many students believe they don’t need to worry about getting their profiles up on LinkedIN until after they graduate. But nothing could be further from the truth. You need to get on there. Now. LinkedIN is one of the best places to connect with the kind of companies and people you want to eventually end up working for. And the only way you’ll be able to find and connect with them is to start building your profile there.

She also builds a case for starting a blog–and she’s not talking about a chatty personal journal you share with the world.

Continue reading “Students need to get a jump on social media”

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