Monthly Archives: July 2013

Slow Down to Accelerate

Our family lived in Toronto for 9 years. For the first 6 months, I was so pleased when I would call someone and by the time that I finished saying “Hi so-and-so” they were already responding with “Hi Sharon”. Caller ID was not the vogue yet so I felt so special that they recognized me so quickly. How did you know it was me so fast?” I would ask. The answer was always “your accent”. “What accent, I sound just like you do” Hmmmmm

Two other times in my life I have been told that my speech is distinctive. The first significant time was also in Canada. On the launch team for a first of kind product in the country, it was an exciting time and one where my USA experience was often referenced. In one particular meeting with the SVP of the division, I was presenting my ideas on the qualitative and quantitative research strategies that I was responsible for spearheading. I was SO excited. My hands were moving, my lips were grinning ear to ear and I was excited to be telling the story and responding to the questions. At the end of the meeting, the SVP pulls me aside and says slowly and seriously:

  • Your ideas are fabulous. You understand our objectives and have a great handle on how to approach the business
  • Your energy is contagious
  • However when you speak so quickly, I can barely keep up with you.

With a big grin on his face, he said: “If I am digesting the details to put your second suggestion into place and find myself coming out of this mind-set to hear you speaking about the fourth suggestion, we both loose. I am the big guy here. I cannot admit that I missed a step and need you to go back and explain something to me again. LOL. Seriously, please speak slowly. Make sure that I am with you every three-to-four sentences. In whatever way you must, get the input of the audience and the senior most member of your audience more often so that you know when best to move on to discussing the next suggestion. ”

I will never forget that moment and I do a pretty good job stopping myself whenever I find myself racing through a presentation that I find super exciting. Self: Speak slowly

The second time in my life that I have been told that my speech is distinctive took place a few weeks ago. My mind was racing and I was determined to have an uber-efficient day. With a pre-scheduled exploratory telephone call, I took the call ready to learn and to share. Some 6 minutes into the conversation, I was told” “Sharon, I know we have spoken at the ….  Association meetings however I am having trouble placing your face right now.” In front of a computer, logged onto Linked in, I soon appeared on the screen of my colleague “Sharon, of course, I know you and remember you. Are you okay? You sound very tense. Did I say something to make you uncomfortable? When we spoke in person, your smile radiated energy and I was thrilled to speak with you. It is my pleasure to help you. Is everything okay with you today?”

Wow. I was shocked. There was a lot on my mind. And, one particular comment she made diverted my attention to how best to approach the particular challenge. This person did me a huge favor by telling me that my voice had betrayed me. Huge eye-opener!

I will never forget that moment. I am currently looking for a wonderful visual to keep on my desk that is guaranteed to make me laugh. Perhaps I will also use the long recognized mirror – on – my – desk trick, while further alternating between standing and sitting just to keep all senses active.  Self: Deep breath. Speak in a manner that displays on-going confidence and enthusiasm.

Guest Blogger @AARPNY. Tweets all mine

GIGO Networking

GIGO stands for Garbage in – and – Garbage out. It applies to the integrity of the data that you analyze, the food you prepare, and the gardens that you plant. Quality inputs have a higher chance of generating quality outputs.

How do we apply this in our daily lives? You walk into a restaurant and the bathroom is spotless, the air smells faintly of lavender….nice. And the assumption is that: yes, the kitchen too must be in good shape.  I am excited to eat in this restaurant.

How about when you move into an apt, a home or a dorm room? Did the previous resident leave it clean or are you finding the dust bunnies everywhere and an unmatched paint color left on the wall where some big piece of furniture previously sat. I remember doing the walk-through for the first home we bought in Bergen County, New Jersey.  You could smell the lemon-fresh Pinesol the minute you entered the home and every toilet had the scrubbing bubbles still perky and peaked. What pride, what TLC….the previous owners were moving elsewhere. The contract read broom-swept. These were people who cared about their surroundings even after they left. The message was “Welcome to this home.”

Shaping the next phases of my life, what message do I leave when I walk out of a meeting? Besides the professional capabilities that I bring to the table, do I come across as someone that would be fun to work with? Would I be empathetic to my associates? A team player? A quick learner?

A smart person can learn a new skill; a difficult person…. no matter how smart will be a diversion to the group.

How do we apply this to networking?

  • Be nice
  • Be generous
  • Be sincere

We cannot get an employment offer from every potential interview, nor can  we become the new best friend of everyone we meet…..however we can  leave a memory that says: That’s a good person. If I can help them out, I will…..

And, when you can do that, all the other advice about networking has a chance of succeeding.

Ricki Lee Jones said “You Never Know When You’re Making a Memory”

Guest Blogger @AARPNY. Tweets all mine