Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for December 2010

D is for . . . Do it!

Unless we transform speculation into action, unless we DO IT, nothing happens. 

How often have you had a great idea, a vision or dream of who you want to be, what you want to do, or where you want to go? How often have you realized this vision? Taking a leap of faith into your future can feel terrifying, and exhilarating. A friend and colleague of mine is experiencing this journey and loving every minute as she reaches her goal.

Decision: Making the decision can be an epiphany. A chance meeting gave Lisa the confidence she needed. She decided to plan a different future for herself. Taking the leap into the world of freelance work and giving up her job seemed like the right thing to do. Making that decision was pivotal. Unless she planned the direction to achieve her goals, her decision would stay just that: a decision. So what next?

Direction: Plan the steps to take you to your goal. Be open to opportunities. Lisa was working in her friend’s studio on the banks of the Thames. The peace and beauty of the environment inspired her. The atmosphere motivated her to plan the next step of her journey – the name, place and direction of her business. Having decided what she wanted, Lisa then put into place the when, where and how. Now what?

Do it: Make the phone call. Have the challenging conversation that rockets you into your future. Take a risk and act on your instincts. As long as you are doing what is authentically you, you are being true to yourself, your values and beliefs, what have you got to lose? Let go of all the excuses that stop you from acting. As Nike says JUST DO IT.

Remember: Ideas without action stay inert. Nothing changes without you playing an active role.

Tip: In order to act positively you must be in a positive frame of mind. Post your testimonials where you can see them, source a key memory of a time when you felt great, do something that inspires you.

Technical: To be successful, act like a success. The more you do it the more you believe it and so do others.

Caution: Think before you act. Doing without direction leads to disastrous results.

Finally: Having the courage to DO IT can make the difference between existing and living the life you love.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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Flash!  News Break!  Hold the front page!

YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION.

“What?!” I hear you say, “Is that it? Tell me something I don’t already know!”

I would if I could and the truth is I have yet to discover any new and exciting concepts when it comes to interpersonal communication. In this arena it’s more like the tried, true and tested, with the possibility of a fresh approach.

However, what I have discovered is that we often forget to apply that which we know works best.

People who are perceived as ‘warm’ are considered to be less threatening than those who come across as aloof or ‘cold.’ But what exactly does it mean to be ‘warm’?

A study was conducted to understand how body language sends ‘temperature’ messages. Volunteers were videotaped as they participated in 5-minutes conversations. Each participant was subsequently asked to assess the degree of warmth or coldness they thought they projected. The researchers then showed a silent videotape of the interaction to a group of observers who were asked to evaluate the conversationalists in the same way.

The observers reported that smiling, nodding and showing physical attention indicated warmth. Coldness was perceived by body language that did not attend to others, a lack of smiling and extending their leg (while seated).

Interestingly, the volunteers being rated did not perceive these behaviours as indicating coldness in themselves. They were unaware that this was the image they were projecting.

So, the message is, pay attention to your ‘temperature signals.’ We will be judged based on how we behave. And, if people respond to you negatively you may find yourselves, as the researchers say, ‘unpleasantly mystified’!

(R. Gifford, “A Lens-Mapping Framework for Understanding the Encoding and Decoding of Interpersonal Dispositions in Nonverbal Behaviour,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, no. 2 (1994): 398-412)

If you want to make a positive first impression make sure you do the following:

  1. Smile!
  2. Adapt your behaviour to the situation
  3. Introduce yourself and include others in the conversation
  4. Actively invite people to join you
  5. Draw out others by demonstrating an interest in them
  6. Ask open ended questions pertinent to the person or event
  7. Open a conversation by being engaged in the moment
  8. Smile!

If you act on these ‘golden rules’ you will appear socially skilled, comfortable to be around and easy to engage … and you’ll make a ‘wow’ of an impact!

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

A small dose of negative thinking can help you see things from a different perspective. A short, sharp ‘no’ can re-ground you when required. While a positive, optimistic attitude is necessary to forge ahead, an opposing viewpoint reins you in giving you the chance to review your thinking, assess your proposals, and determine your approach. You might say that negativity serves as the brakes to your positivity accelerator.

       The Critical Eye. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) highlights 2 preferences available when making decisions – thinking and feeling. Those who prefer thinking have the ‘critical eye’: looking at a situation from the outside, weighing up why something may not work. Identifying possible problems in advance ensures a smooth, enduring and positive outcome.

       Constructive negativity. Everyone makes mistakes. Pointing them out is essential to improve a situation. Make the criticism constructive; focus on the behaviour and avoid blaming the person, unless you want to create a negative environment. Only complain when you can offer solutions to the problems.

       Specify how much time you’ll devote to negativity. Give yourself a limited time to spend on negative thinking. 5 – 10 minutes should be enough. During that time immerse yourself in negative thoughts. When the time’s up let go of all negative feelings, attitudes, words, and behaviours. Take off the negative cloak and replace it with a positive one. Explore the optimistic options and move on.

REMEMBER: At its best negativity is a conscious choice, utilised to bring value to problem solving, affiliations, and procedures.

TIP: Constructive criticism partnered with affirmative action ensures a positive outcome; so offer to help with the implementation.

TECHNICAL STUFF: MBTI is a psychometric instrument, based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality development. It explains basic patterns in human functioning and is a highly respected and accurate tool for understanding personality preferences. (See ‘News’ for more details).

CAUTION: If it’s not broken, leave it alone. Concentrate your energy on fixing things that are truly in need of repair.

FINALLY: There can be no light without dark, no positive without negative. Constructively used negativity will keep you grounded, enhance your creativity and improve your chances for success.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

What is happiness? Contentment, satisfaction, intense joy? However you see it, it’s within your grasp. Like generosity, happiness breeds good will and attracts others to you. People like to be with happy people. So, how do you keep yourself and your team happy?

When a sample group was asked, “What makes you happy at work?” some of the responses were

  1. Embracing a positive attitude
  2. Connecting with clients and colleagues
  3. Having my achievements rewarded

Communication, attitude, and reward were consistently reported as important to happiness at work. If you find that your team isn’t feeling very happy, and this is reflecting in their work, what can you do to stem the negative tide?

Keep the ‘half full’ approach to life, remembering that a positive attitude produces positive results. Find out what motivates and inspires each individual and respond accordingly. Communicate clearly and often. Talk to your team – ensure that they know what’s expected of them. Seek feedback and answer questions directly and honestly. Tell your team when they’ve done well and demonstrate your appreciation in a meaningful way. And remember, your clients respond to happy messages, too. Letting them know you value them goes a long way in maintaining a positive working relationship. Do this and you’ll go far in creating a happy environment in which individuals flourish and results are achieved.

REMEMBER: Happiness is not an end result; it is a state of being to help you along the way. Don’t endlessly search for what will make you happy. Create your own happiness. By making your thoughts, words and actions positive you’ll experience happy results. As Aristotle said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

TIP: For inspiration watch Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. Based on a true story, this film demonstrates how determination, integrity, unconditional love and self-belief lead to success. It is a celebration of the state of happiness, which, regardless of circumstances, is accessible to everyone, everywhere. And if that doesn’t capture your attention, Will Smith’s 8 year old son Jaden turns in a stellar performance.

TECHNICAL STUFF: It’s important to get as many happy moments as you can for your health. Your contented mood is the result of endorphins produced by your body. Although research is still being conducted on this subject, endorphins are believed to strengthen the immune system, help you deal with stress, act as analgesics, and postpone aging. So whatever makes you happy – music, laughter, meditation – DO IT! Be happy and live a long and healthy life.

CAUTION: In creating an environment where your team feel good about their work and themselves don’t get over zealous – remember you are not responsible for each employee’s personal happiness. Triggers to individual happiness will vary from person to person so don’t impose yours on others.

FINALLY: Happiness is not a limited resource. It is infinite and available at any given moment. Wherever you are, open your hearts, minds and eyes to all the potential for happiness out there and let it in. You’ll find that happiness is contagious – so when you’ve caught it, be generous, have fun, and pass it on!

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

 So, you finally got the opportunity you have been waiting for, an interview for your dream job. If you want to go into the meeting feeling confident and make a positive impression, follow Kuhnke Communication’s guide for acing an interview:

  • Do your research:  gather information about the company, the job, and what is required of you. Preparation is key.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm. Show yourself off. Hiding your skills and talents doesn’t serve anyone. Tell the interviewers how your talent and expertise can benefit the organisation. If you can, give examples of previous work which showcase your strength and talent.
  • Suggest ways in which you feel you can make a difference to the company. Offer ideas for possible initiatives from which the organisation could benefit. Be cautious here, don’t be cocky, acknowledge you are an outsider.
  • Show an interest in the company’s needs, concerns and challenges. Ask questions. Hold off enquiring about salary, benefits, holidays, etc. If they’re interested in hiring you, they’ll offer that information.
  • Actively listen. This means listening for what’s being said as well as the attitude, emotion and feelings behind the words you hear. This will tell you a lot about your interviewer’s state of mind.
  • Keep your body language open to show that you are engaged. Smile. Look at your interviewers. Avoid fidgeting.
  • Dress smartly. Make sure that your clothes are clean and that your shoes are polished.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before and arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled meeting.
  • Be polite and considerate to everyone you meet. You’re creating an impression from the moment you walk through the door until you walk out. Make sure it’s positive.
  • Finally, follow up with a thank you letter. While email is fine, a handwritten letter makes a more personal statement. Whichever you choose, make sure you send the note of thanks the next day. Remember: how you present yourself if how you’ll be perceived.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher