Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, outLOUD!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Success Through Confidence Series Part 30: How To Ask A Co-Worker Out

You think you’ve met the man/woman of your dreams – and they work in your office. Some people say that it isn’t wise to mix business with pleasure. But if works for you and your both have feel a mutual connection, approach it with these pointers in mind:

1. Check your corporate policy. Is dating a co-worker prohibited altogether? If so, you are jeopardizing your job. Other companies have policies that allow co-workers to date as long as both parties sign a "Relationship Agreement" release to abdicate liability.

2. Take it outside. Try to organize a group outing or event, and invite the co-worker you're interested in. If she accepts, you're already a step in the right direction. If not, please don’t force her. If she isn't interested in a coffee outing after work with the gang, chances are she's even less inclined toward dinner for two. Take the hint.

3. Ask only once. If you do hit it off outside work, now is the time to venture an offer for a one-on-one outing. Keep the conversation light, and suggest something casual, like dinner or a movie. If he says no, do not ask again later. If he seems a little hesitant, take that as a no-he may not want to hurt your feelings, and may make excuses. Drop the subject and hang on to your dignity. Groveling is not attractive. Remain friendly.

4. Think hard-you still have to work with this person. If things go sour (or go nowhere), you still have to see and interact with her daily. Be prepared for that before you start, and adopt the attitude of maturity.

5. Choose one. If you like one person, that's great. Go for it. If you're planning to systematically ask out every person you work with, you deserve to be fired.
Bear in mind that you're always opening yourself up to harassment suits and even termination. Handle it correctly, however, and workplace dating can lead to great things.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Success Through Confidence Series Part 29: Standing Up & Speaking Out At Work

Office politics is a disgusting thing and it can be pretty cruel. Many people get taken advantage of simply because they are afraid of standing up for themselves. It can be intimidating to confront difficult situations at work.

A large number of people don’t want to be considered rude or disrespectful, so they accept things that happen and don’t speak up when they’re frustrated. Eventually, they end up quitting and moving on without ever having tried to be assertive.

There are ways to be assertive and professional and it is a delicate balance but one that is well worth the effort.

Before you get excited thinking that you can get people to fear you, remember that being assertive does not mean being pushy, confrontational or rude. It simply means being straight-forward and strong. If you have an idea, opinion or problem to address, being assertive tells others you mean business. Here are a few tips to help you be more assertive without upsetting others or harming your reputation at the office.

Being assertive doesn’t mean you will always get your way. You must still make reasonable requests and expect that sometimes you’ll get exactly what you want and sometimes you won’t. Compromise and negotiate.

If you have a problem with someone or something, don’t beat around the bush. Don’t gossip with others, or write mean things on your blog. Confront the situation head on by speaking with the people directly involved.

It is much easier to take advantage of someone who seems meek and submissive than someone who appears poised and self-confident. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by those in authority. Maintain a self-assured image even when in doubt. Always be professional but stand your ground. Set appropriate limits and learn how to say “no” when necessary.

If you’re feeling stressed, take a few minutes in private to breathe deep and re-focus yourself. Be cautious of sharing your feelings with co-workers as it may come back and bite you in the future.

It’s much easier to be assertive when you remember that you are a valuable member of the organization you work for. Your presence and contribution are important. They didn’t hire you to blend into the background. Let your voice be heard, show your personality and be strong. Don’t be afraid of being assertive. It is definitely possible to do it without upsetting others or looking aggressive. If done in the correct way, being assertive will help you build a powerful reputation in any business.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Success Through Confidence Series Part 28: Your First Presentation

Never underestimate that organization is the most essential aspect of oral presentation. It clarifies your argument and helps the audience remember what you say. It also helps you, the speaker, easily manage the delivery of your presentation so that you can gracefully adjust to unforeseen developments.

A good introduction focuses the attention of the audience on the speaker, and outlines the thesis and support so that listening for each part of the speech is easy for the audience.
These are some basics:

Hook: Your first sentences are the most important. It is your chance to capture the audience for the entire presentation. Start your presentation with a short anecdote, quotation, fact or any other device that is topical and will interest your audience.

State the Significance of Your Topic: Inspire the interest of your audience by telling them why your subject matter is of significance to them.

Conclusion: Your conclusion should give the audience a sense of closure. You might return to your “hook,” pose questions for further discussion, or suggest future inquiries that would further illuminate the topic.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Success Through Confidence Series Part 27: Conducting Your First Meeting

How to conduct your first office meeting is the kind of question filled with anxiety, bitten nails, and the inevitability of Murphy’s Law – that anything can and will go wrong. Yet in spite of all the things that can go wrong, by concentrating on getting a few key components right you will be able to make a good impression and score enough brownie points to cover over a multitude of blunders and problems.

Here are some champion tips that will help you to learn how to conduct your first office meeting:

1. You need to have a room reserved that is congruent with the intent of your meeting. In other words, if you are planning on hosting a “get to know you” meeting for your new team, choose a setting that is somewhat casual.

2. On the other hand, if you will be delivering bad news during your first office meeting, you want to choose a room that is dignified and conservative.

3. Make sure you have enough seats for everyone who is expected to attend. Reserving rooms in many offices is as simple as putting your name on a list, but it does not hurt to double check the day before the meeting that the room is still reserved in your name!

4. Have all your hardware in place. There is nothing more stressful to the host of the first office meeting than to be unable to showcase the slides you so earnestly prepared.

5. If the computer does not work, the overhead is broken, the easel and whiteboard have gone missing, and there are no dry erase markers to be found anywhere, you will find yourself sweating and holding a meeting that lacks in impact. The day before the meeting, visit the room where the meeting is held and test all the equipment.

6. Be prepared! How to conduct your first office meeting is by being prepared. Have your material in order, so you can access any file, document, graph or slide at a moment’s notice.

7. Memorize significant passages and figures.

8. Anticipate questions, objections, and disagreements and be ready with answers, suggestions, and compromises.

9. Have a plan and follow it. An office meeting needs to be organized. Too many meetings digress as participants go off on tangents, and secondary issues are being dealt with. Instead, type up and print out an agenda that will be given to each participant.

10. Stick to the agenda! It is best to relegate questions to a “questions and answers” session at the end of the meeting.

11. Thank you participants for coming to the meeting. You will be surprised how many meeting hosts forget to thank everyone for stopping what they were doing to attend your meeting. It is a common courtesy that will go a long way.

Interestingly, one item significantly neglected by those who want to learn how to conduct a first office meeting is the art of follow up and follow-through. Check in with those who volunteered for tasks or to whom you assigned anything.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Success Through Confidence Series Part 26: Recovering From Mistakes

We’ve all made mistakes – there are some of us who decide to correct our errors, learn from it or others who choose to just forget about it. Making a mistake at work can cause problems for your employer and even affect the company's bottom line.

More often than not, it’s not as simple as correcting your mistake and moving on – this might not an option for you. When you make a mistake at work your career may depend on what you do next. Before you panic and rush to draft out your letter of resignation, here are some of the wiser things you can consider:

Be an adult and take responsibility - Admit Your Mistake: Tell your boss about your mistake immediately. The only exception is if you make an insignificant error that will not affect anyone. Otherwise, don't try to hide your mistake. You will look terrible if someone else discovers it.

Have a s solution - Present Your Boss With a Plan To Fix Your Mistake: When you go to your boss to confess your mistake, you must have a plan for correcting it. Present your plan clearly. Tell your how long it will take to implement your plan and if there are any costs involved.

Be accountable - Don't Blame Anyone Else for Your Mistake: Pointing fingers won't help anyone if you make a mistake. Encourage those who may share responsibility to follow your lead in confessing to your boss.

Apologize for your mistake – But Don’t Punish Yourself: There's a big difference between admitting your mistake and beating yourself up about it. Take responsibility but don't berate yourself for making it, especially in public.

Make the effort - Correct Your Mistake on Your Own Time: If you have to spend extra hours at work to correct your mistake, don't expect to be paid for that time. You can also use your lunch hour or come into work early.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Success Through Confidence Series Part 25: Fitting In: What To Do During Your First Week

First day work jitters are normal as most people are nervous about whether they’ll fit into the workplace. The time it takes to fit in varies from one person to another, and job to job. Some people seem to get along well with everyone from the first day, while others take much longer. These are some suggestions to help you along:

1. Open your mouth and ask questions – not personal ones though. You're new and it's better to do something right the first time around than have to do it over.

2. Smile a lot and be friendly. Get to know your co-workers and what their interests are.

3. Use your lunch hours to get together with your current co-workers, although it may be tempting to meet up with your former ones.

4. Figure out who has the authority to give you work to do and who is just trying to have you do theirs.

5. Pay attention to what you hear about others, but don't contribute to it and never pass judgment. You don't want to gain a reputation as a gossip monger.

6. Don't complain about your boss, your office mate, any co-workers, or your previous job.

7. Continue to arrive early and don't rush out the door at the end of the day.

8. Volunteer for projects that will help you get noticed, but don't neglect any assigned work.

9. Keep a positive attitude and an open mind. Your life has changed and it will take getting used to.