How to Nail Your Next Virtual Presentation

Delivering a memorable, high-caliber presentation is no easy feat, especially when the stakes are high. As the Covid-19 pandemic pushes more work into the digital world, business owners and leaders are experiencing the added challenge of creating presentations that engage and inform their teams and customers from a distance. But without a thoughtful plan for design and delivery, many of these presentations will, unfortunately, fall short of expectations. Based on my past and current experiences delivering online presentations — from workshops and courses to webinars and even keynotes — I’ve learned that the most powerful… Read More

Are You A Mind-Changer?

Originally appeared at Inc. It’s not easy to win people over. Whether you’re pitching to a skeptical investor, negotiating with a tough client, or sharing feedback with your team, the act of persuading others can drain time, emotion and resources — and doesn’t always produce a favorable result. People often resist information that doesn’t conform to their tastes or views, making it difficult for competing messages and ideas to break through. But according to Wharton professor Jonah Berger, we’re going about persuasion the wrong way. In his new book, The Catalyst, Berger argues that our default ‘push’ approach to persuasion,… Read More

Are You Listening To Your Team?

Originally appeared at Inc. While leaders may do their fair share of talking — delivering feedback, communicating goals, and managing crises — a critical attribute of good leadership is listening. Listening well can help you understand other people’s attitudes and motivations, which is essential in building cooperative and productive relationships, as well as discerning which relationships you’d be better off avoiding. Some leaders are naturally good listeners. When others speak, they eliminate surrounding noise and distractions and engage fully with the person talking. For everyone else, there’s hope: Like most skills, listening is a learned behavior that can… Read More

Keep Calm and Manage Change

Originally appeared at Inc. Change is a constant in every business, but managing through change can be highly volatile. Whether it’s the arrival of new management, disruptive technologies, or customer tastes, leaders must act decisively to pivot with the market while allaying fears and pushback from team members who cling to legacy thinking and behaviors. How effectively leaders respond to these challenges could be the difference between their company becoming Blockbuster or Netflix. As a communications speaker and consultant, I’ve noticed that the most skillful and sensitive leaders take a coach approach to managing change cycles. They demonstrate empathy but provide the right amount… Read More

Why Your Goals Should Be FAST, not SMART

Originally appeared at Inc. Leaders are responsible for setting and managing goals for their teams. For most people, this means following a well-established process of designing SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This approach has been used by many leaders to execute strategy and track performance, but is the conventional thinking on goal-setting doing enough to communicate each team member’s promise and potential? According to researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, SMART goals undervalue ambition, focus narrowly on individual performance, and ignore the importance of discussing goals throughout the year. Instead, they recommend that… Read More

Turn Feedback Into A Partnership With These Conversation Prompts

Originally appeared at Inc. When was the last time your feedback felt like a partnership? Getting others to accept feedback can prove challenging, especially when it’s critical. Negative feedback triggers a primal threat response, leading others to become defensive, angry and self-conscious. It can weaken their overall effectiveness at work. And it might even cause them to prioritize relationships with those who affirm, rather than challenge, their positive self-view.  Whether it’s provoked by a heightened state of stress or the pale of rater bias, our resistance to feedback runs deep. That aversion cuts both ways. According to a… Read More

Humbler Ways To Make A Bold First Impression

Landing a new job, especially a promotion, can be an exciting career move — but not without its share of complications. This can be particularly true for leaders whose zeal for racking up early wins can be perceived as threatening to those who don’t know them or their intentions, setting up these leaders and their teams for potential conflict and friction.  Instead of waiting for acclimation, new leaders can take control of their own image with deliberate and proactive actions that demonstrate humility and earnestness — qualities that go a long way… Read More

Beating Unconscious Bias At Your Next Performance Review

Unconscious bias can get in the way of effective feedback and performance reviews. Here’s how to fix that before it’s too late. Measuring employee performance can be a daunting task, especially for managers who feel they lack the skill and time to evaluate the capabilities of others. The challenge of assessing work and delivering feedback is made harder by the subtle but significant biases we carry around in our heads. These cognitive traps can cloud our judgment and complicate decisions about pay and promotion. While a number of my clients have taken… Read More

Brainwriting vs. Brainstorming

brainwriting

This article originally appeared in Inc. For decades, leaders have relied on brainstorming to solve their toughest creative challenges. But simply throwing teams together with hopes they’ll produce a breakthrough idea is counterproductive.   Not only does brainstorming often lead to conformity, but decades of research show that people tend to produce fewer ideas than they would working alone. And while certain adjustments can help, it’s time we gave brainstorming a much-needed fix. Instead of everyone talking at the same time, try to get everyone writing at the same time–an idea generating process called “brainwriting.” Bump Up Ideas With brainwriting, individuals are given time… Read More

How To Spot Your Your Next Hire In 10 Seconds

hire

This article originally appeared in Inc. Hiring the right person for your business or team is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make. The effects on resources and morale can be significant: According to a recent survey by Robert Half, the high costs of even one bad hire include time lost to training, increased team stress, and diminished faith in the leader. It may even cause illicit activity to spread. And while due diligence helps, interviews that rely on heavily scripted and surface-level questions often fail to predict how someone will actually behave on the job. Here’s… Read More