Monday, March 28, 2011

How to get the Most out of Training Sessions

I have often heard people criticizing training events they have attended, claiming that they didn't get anything useful or of value from it.  Although it may very well be that their particular event was poorly run, it may also be that they did not do what they needed in order to 'get' something from it.  I truly believe that all training events (even bad ones!) will provide you with the opportunity to learn.  However, you need to assume some responsibility for that learning process. 

The model pictured here is one I developed to help participants get the most out of their next training event.  Perhaps it will prove useful to you...

L - Learn

Be clear about your objectives for attending.  Often, people attend a training event without a clear idea of what they want or expect to get out of it.  As a result, they typically receive very little benefit.  This is an investment of your time, if not your money!  Ultimately, you are responsible for your own training.  The clearer you are about what you want to achieve, the more likely you are to find it.

E - Engage

Participate and engage fully!  This makes the material more memorable and helps maintain your energy and focus.  You will only get out of the session what you put in.  If you are not mentally present to the messages being delivered, you will not connect with the information or its potential for you.

A - Attitude

Maintain an open mind and positive attitude.  This leaves you open to discovering new ideas and concepts that will likely take you beyond your initial objectives, enabling you to obtain more than initially envisioned from the training.

R - Retention

Take copious notes!   You will never remember it all and you don't yet know what information will prove useful to you in the future.  The very act of engaging with the material through note-taking also helps to strengthen your connection with it and your remembrance of it.

N - Network

Network with the other participants to take advantage of the full collective wisdom gathered together.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Influence Guru... Kevin Hogan

I admit openly, here and now to a deep, dark secret... I cyber-stalk people.  Yep...  I avidly follow their newsletters, blogs and postings.  This is an exclusive club though, not just anyone is worthy of my time and attention!  Heading my list of stalk-worthy folks for years has been Influence and Persuasion guru Kevin Hogan.  Author of the best-selling book... The Psychology of Persuasion:  How to Persuade Others to Your Way of Thinking and 16 other books, Kevin is the definitive source for information on Influence, Persuasion, Body Language, Covert Hypnosis... 

I recently took advantage of a break in my schedule (okay... so I blocked off the time!), and stepped out of the anonymity of the internet and instead went to meet my hero live at a 4-day Influence BootCamp he was hosting.   I have to admit to some concern that my 'hero' would prove to be something other than (if not less than) I had hoped but...  he was amazing!!!  Down to earth, natural, giving and generous, Kevin shared more information than it was possible to record... and we have follow up webinars still ahead of us because he didn't feel that he fit everything he wated to share into the 4 days!!

Certainly any of you that participate in my training or coaching programs will have the benefit of this time I spent with Kevin and the rest of the BootCamp crew, but you needn't feel you have to wait for those!  Kevin has numerous programs, as well as his books, that you can access on his website, along with his free newsletter - Coffee with Kevin Hogan (which I avidly read!) 

I had him on my recommended list long before I had the opportunity to experience him 'live'...  now he heads the list.  Check him out yourself at...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Personal Power: Tapping into Yours

Understanding the Principles behind the concept of Personal Power, along with your sources of power, are important contributors to your achieving what you want in life. It is often through our sense of powerless in situations that we undermine our belief in ourselves, leading us to work in ways that support others, not ourselves. Reconnecting with our power-base allows us to begin making decisions and taking actions that are in alignment with our interests and goals, leading to greater success and happiness.

First, it's important to understand that we have a number of sources of power, the first of which is the most important - know who you are. Understanding what your values are, what really matters to you, will go a long way toward allowing you to make decisions and choices that uphold them. Without this understanding you will be more easily swayed by others' wants and needs, often pulling you further and further from your own desires.

Additional sources of power include:

Positional power - the role you currently hold will carry with it a certain amount of power. The actual amount is very situationally driven and is also dependent upon who you are interacting with. Your positional power is also driven in part by how visible you are and even what your degree of influence is over the decision makers.

Expertise power - knowledge holds power. If you know something the other party doesn't, and it is deemed important, then you have power in that exchange of information. This does not mean that you should not share your knowledge and expertise with others, but rather recognize the influential impact sharing that information has in building your power base with them.

Connection power - this is the power of your network! Everyone has likely been telling you for years that networking is important but, short of needing it to tap into for a job search, we don't typically assign much value to it. However, if you know someone that would be important for someone else to connect with or through, this has a true perceived value to them and therefore represents a great base of power for you.

Achievement power - they may say that you are only as good as your last win, but don't overlook the fact that those wins carry a cache and do represent a source of power for you. The more 'wins' you've enjoyed the more power you have. This is another good reason why learning to 'toot your own horn' is a positive skill to cultivate. It never hurts to remind people, however gently and subtly, just how valuable you are!

Referential power -This source of power is typically referred to as charisma. Although it may often seem unquantifiable, it has a definite and powerful impact on others and therefore represents an important source of your personal power.

Attractiveness power - although we don't typically want to acknowledge this one, it is true nonetheless (and research supports it!). The more attributes you possess (even physical ones) that others find appealing, the more power, leverage and influence you have over them.

The Work:

Before entering into an exchange with someone, especially those interactions that you know will be difficult, spend a few moments in assessing the status of your sources of power relative to the other party involved. It is likely you will determine that you have more power in the situation than you first thought or felt. Often, spending this time to more honestly evaluate your base of power in the situation helps you to enter the exchange with a greater degree of confidence which, in turn, increases the odds of a positive and successful outcome for you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Secret to Being Extraordinary

I do a fair bit of Personal Branding work with my clients, helping them to not only determine what their Brand is but to refine their delivery of that brand through their actions, presence and results. When asked to define either how they are currently seen or how they would like to be seen few, if any, have ever used the word 'Extraordinary'.

Think about this for a moment though. Wouldn't we all like to be thought of as extraordinary, as special, as unique, as better than, well...Ordinary? How many of us would consciously choose a Brand that defines us as 'ordinary'? Yet, as we shy away from selecting the moniker of Extraordinary, that may be just what we are doing.

Really, the only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the 'extra'. To set ourselves apart from the ordinary, to be extraordinarily good at something, all that we need to do is a little bit more than the next guy, to deliver something extra. Think about this for a moment. How hard would it be, over the course of your work day, over the duration of a project, to give just that little bit more?

Many make the mistake of believing that extraordinary requires some super-special skills or talents, typically reserved for the precious few. In so believing we put the possibility of extraordinary out of our reach, making it appear unobtainable. We therefore create the very excuse that prevents us from striving, from trying. How much more liberating though to realize that extraordinary doesn't require anything beyond what you already possess. It just requires more of it! To stand out from the crowd you need only do what you are already doing, and something extra.

The more fully you embrace this principle of the value of 'extra', of doing just that one thing more, the sooner you will begin to reap the benefits yourself. That little bit extra is all it takes to move you from ordinary to "Extra"-Ordinary.

Go out and make this an Extraordinary day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Frenemies: Are your Friends Sabotaging your Success?

As the song goes... You've got to have friends. As with most other things in life though, not all friends are created equal!

Most of us would consider a friend to be someone we share similar interests with and enjoy spending time with. A true friend though goes beyond this. A true friend is someone that is there to help support you through those difficult life moments and that is there to help you celebrate the joyous ones. They encourage you to strive for more, taking personal pleasure from your successes.

Why then would a friend, especially a 'true' friend, not want to see you succeed or, perhaps more importantly, why might they even work against your success? Research into what Influences the goals of others offers these possible explanations:

Others may have a strong vested interest in you remaining where you are, in maintaining the status quo. Just as we maintain our relationships with others because we 'get' something from them, so too do others have a motivation for remaining friends with us. However, sometimes those motivators require us to remain where we are in order to support (or enhance) their sense of self. In short... Sometimes they feel better about themselves through their comparison to us, on some dimension. If we shift that dimension then it might require them to rethink themselves. If this is undesirable to them then they will do what they can, whether consciously or unconsciously, to prevent us from changing.

Your goal may run counter to their goals for themselves, or possibly even their goals for you. We may see this behaviour from a parent who dissuades their child from choosing a particular career path because it runs counter to the parent's desired career for them. We see this also in friends who have a perspective on what is 'right' for us and who want to save us from making a mistake. Although this may be their conscious motivation, unconsciously their arguments may be driven more by the fact that our goal wouldn't fit well into their plans than because it isn't the right path for us to follow.

We are influenced by some of the smallest, subtlest most unlikely things every day, each having an impact upon how we view ourselves and the world around us. Most of these influencers occur at the unconscious level, making it extremely difficult, if not nigh on impossible, to mitigate the damage. Instead of trying to control the impact of these messages, look to control the environment and the messages themselves.

The Work:

Take a close look at your circle of friends, the people that you spend the most time with. How would you characterize the nature of their involvement with you? Is their influence predominantly positive or negative in nature? Are they quick to work to support your new idea or be the first to tell you why it won't work, why you couldn't possibly succeed?  A good possible indicator is to ask yourself whether you look forward to seeing a particular person or whether you consider it more of a 'chore'. 

Here comes the hard part... If they fall more on the negative side of the equation, consider why they are in your life, why you continue to allow them to negatively impact your goals, successes, and vision of yourself. If you continue to be friends, then it must be because you are getting something from the relationship that you need...

  •  Perhaps you are unconsciously afraid of taking that next step and their lack of support and/or criticism of the plan gives you the justification you need not to 'try'
  • Maybe you harbour limiting beliefs about yourself and your abilities that their feedback feeds into
  • Perhaps you don't feel you are deserving of anything more in your life and they help reinforce that, somehow making 'not' striving for more feel okay
  • Maybe you are afraid of confrontation and are hesitant to let them know that until their attitude shifts the two of you can no longer spend time together

Whether your reason for keeping these people in your life is one of the above, or one of your own, the time has come to decide whether their value to you and your life path has reached it's zenith...and let them go.

Instead,consciously surround yourself with others that psychologically support and push your dreams and goals, people that actively and genuinely want the best for you. When times get tough you want people around you that will help shore you up and weather through. Always bear in mind that we want quality friendships, not quantity! If your relationships don't positively serve you in some way then direct your efforts to finding ones that do because, in the end, that"s what friends are for!