Tag Archive for career advancement

Speaking Strategies to Create Memorability While Working Remotely

A Forbes article cites a survey done by Prezi, the cloud-based presentation platform company, that 70% of employed Americans, who give presentations, agree that presentation skills are critical to their success at work.  Even though employees acknowledge the career boost great speaking skills afford, few love to present.  In fact, the Book of Lists cites fear of public speaking as the #1 fear people have, ahead of snakes, heights, and death!  Perhaps you have developed some skills around speaking but now with department meetings, quarterly meetings and conferences going virtual, you have not translated those skills on to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other platforms.

As many of you know, in my career, I have given over 3,000 presentations and spoken to over 100,000 women.  I know what it takes to create pizzazz in a presentation and how to impact your listeners.  You must learn how to morph those same skills online to create the same pizzazz.  One of the bizarre behaviors I have observed in watching virtual presentations over the last six months is the belief that because they are online, the standards of excellence have changed.  Yes, working from home can give you the illusion that everything is casual.  Smart women know that is NOT TRUE!  In fact, smart career women know that they must fight that perspective.  Preparation, practice, and pizzazz are even more important now.  It is so easy to disappear from the forefront of your career when working remotely.  You must seek every opportunity to make an impact on your career trajectory. 

Clean up your act!  Looking like you just rolled out of bed for a presentation is a career killer. Even though your commute is from your bedroom to your basement doesn’t mean you can have the luxury of rolling out of bed 5 minutes before a meeting.  You still need to do the same readying for your day that you did before the pandemic.  Plus, you often do not have the other trappings of success when you are presenting online.  You are not speaking from the front of the room, on stage or standing.  All three of those behaviors give you some instant credibility.  However, if you can give your virtual presentation standing, do it. You will have more tools to seem forceful, credible, and confident.  Pay attention to what your viewers will see of you on a screen.  Whether it is the jacket you wear, the necklace that frames your face, or the hairstyle that looks kept, this attention to detail will make an impact.  Even if you have ratty jeans on your bottom half, the part of you the world sees will send a message of confidence, credibility, and command. 

Make your voice an asset.  Online presenting demands that your voice convey seriousness, lightness, and variety of other tones.  It has been obvious lately, that many people have forgotten their voice is key in conveying their message.  Practice ahead of time by recording yourself.  If you could not be seen, would your voice send your intent?  This is even more critical when you are screen sharing.  Slides can get old fast if your voice does not keep things lively.

We know that your listeners have more distractions to their attention span at home than they ever did in a conference room.  Your “audience” members have kids, barking dogs, crazed cats, partners, dishwashers, doorbells from delivery drivers, chirping birds, just to name a few.  You must be different, interesting and attention getting.  Make sure you check out Kay’s Consulting Corner for some specific steps you can take to put some pizzazz in your delivery.  Whether you will be presenting from home for the duration or just until we kick the pandemic to the curb, remember, presenting online can be your asset or your albatross. 

If you know that your online presentations could be more impactful, but you are just not sure how to get there, remember for September and October you can get presentation coaching at a 10% discount.  Call me at (513)561-4188 or email Kay@highheeledsuccess.com to get this process rolling.

Silencing the Inner Critic for Career Success

Is your career being driven by that nasty little voice in your head?  Much has been written about how negative self-talk is damaging to your self-esteem.  A stronger light needs to be shown on the career damage you can do.  You may call these behaviors cognitive distortions, stinking thinking, or negative self-talk. Regardless, the result is the same – career self-sabotage.  Here is my promise: these behaviors can be managed and you can experience a career boost as a result!  Is that enough of a promise to keep on reading?

What kind of distorted thinking are we talking about here?  Check out the short list below and ask yourself if you are in the habit of thinking or saying any of these:

  1. All-or-nothing thinking: You look at things as either black or white.  You are either the most skilled marketing professional in the world or an incompetent who should have never been hired. 
  2. Negative filtering:  You remember and focus on your mistakes, the things that go wrong or your weaknesses to the exclusion of any positives.  There was one typo in your report and you can only remember this.  Never mind that your boss praised you for the insights and pragmatic action plan.
  3. Jumping to conclusions:  You try to mind read others or predict the future around which you have little information.  You were not on a list for an upcoming meeting and you are sure that means your department does not see you as valuable. 
  4. Catastrophizing:  You take the smallest problem and follow the potential consequences to the worst possible outcome.  After you were not on the list for the meeting, you assume not only do they not value you; firing is in your future, probably by the end of the day. 

P.S. This is a short list; there are many more distortions that may be your undoing. 

If you don’t manage these behaviors, “Danger, danger, Will Robinson.”  (If you are too young to recognize this TV reference,  Google it) Here are just a few of the possible rotten ramifications:

  • Blowing mistakes out of proportion
  • Creating an environment where you limit your necessary risk-taking
  • Taking responsibility for events that are not your fault
  • A focus on your weaknesses versus your strengths
  • Intense procrastination

Does this sound like a prescription for success?  No, I don’t think so either.  You need a perspective of positivity that impacts your risk-taking, creativity, timeliness, innovation, and confidence.  In your defense, these behaviors are often an attempt to protect oneself.  One assumes this type of thinking prepares you for the worst.  The bad news is this does not work!  Instead of preparing you for the worst, it adds stress to your life and work.

One of my clients, we are going to call her Marti, came to me initially to work on getting a new job she was seeking.  She had been working on her resume for over a year, because in her eyes it would either have to be perfect or don’t put anything out there.  If she did not get an interview from a particular application she would quit for months, as it was apparent NO ONE would ever hire her and she would be stuck in her current job for the rest of her life!  It became clear quickly that cognitive distortions had been holding her back. In our coaching, she began with the simple four steps you will see in Kay’s Corner and then we ramped up with additional techniques.  In three months she was on to a new job.  This is feasible!

If you know this behavior is like an anchor around your neck, here are some quick life rings to catch:

Check out the book:  Self-Esteem:  A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning.

Then read the four steps in Kay’s Corner.  If you recognize that Cognitive Distortions and other negative learned behaviors are making career advancement like sailing in rough waters, please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com.