With Whom Do You Eat Lunch?

I’m a big proponent of connecting with colleagues, both inside my company and outside of it, during lunch. It’s a finite time, we all need to eat, and we can chat about a relevant topic to each of us in that time.

(Photo by Cynthia Price)

(Photo by Cynthia Price)

However, I have a new approach to lunch, which comes from hearing Polly LaBarre, a founding member of Fast Company and the editorial director of MIX, talk about looking through my “rolodex” and inviting the weirdest or strangest person to lunch once a month.

She was actually referring to Tom Peters, who recommended inviting a weirdo to lunch once a month.

The term weirdo is loosely defined, and the premise is that by inviting someone to lunch who is different from you, you will learn something.

“A person who is equipped with questions and curiosity will attract more attention than the close-minded,” LaBarre said.

So I hope you will view it as a complement if you get a lunch invitation from me.

 

Skype to Success

Students today often “meet” with college counselors via Skype. I have interviewed candidates for positions in my office via Skype. I use Skype to set up interviews between experts and reporters.

Skype is an application that allows you to video chat or conduct voice calls from computers, tablets and mobile devices.  Calls are free or low-cost, which makes the application especially invaluable for global conversations.

Skype is a great tool, but if you have not used it, you will want to practice.

A few tips to keep in mind:

Look at the camera, not the screen. The best way to ensure that you do this is to put a sticky note beside the camera that reads, “Look here!” Otherwise, you will be looking down throughout the interview.

Don’t think out loud. This seems obvious, but because the person is not in the room with you, it’s easy to form your thoughts out loud and then begin to answer the question that was asked.  Unfortunately, the person interviewing also heard you thinking out loud.  You do want to make all the key points you would if you were in the room with the interviewer.

Don’t overuse certain words. We all have words we use too frequently, and you will want to be cognizant of that during your Skype call. Overusing “like,” “you know,” and “exactly” will become noticeable and annoying during the call.

Answer questions concisely and directly. Once you have answered the question, stop speaking. Even if there is a pause, wait for the other person to acknowledge your answer or ask the next question. You do not need to fill the silence.

Avoid distractions. You will want a background that is professional. Silence your phone and move to a room that is not near street traffic or an elevator.

If you would like some great tips for mastering a television Skype interview, check out this blog by my colleague Cameron McPherson of The Hodges Partnership.

How to Add Value, Inspire Creativity

Balloons

(Photo by Cynthia Price)

How do you add value and inspire creativity?

The obvious answer is to shake things up and not do things the way you always have.

That means applying a new set of organizing principles, according to Polly LaBarre, a founding member of Fast Company and the editorial director of MIX.

She says the new organizing principles include:

  1. Coordination happens without centralization.
  2. All ideas compete on equal footing.
  3. Power comes from sharing not hoarding.
  4. The wisdom of the many trumps the authority of the few.
  5. Novel viewpoints get amplified
  6. Mediocrity gets exposed
  7. Intrinsic rewards matter most of all

“Leadership is not a function of where you sit, but of what you can do,” LaBarre told an audience at the 2014 PRSA International Conference.

“I’m here to argue for the power of inquisitiveness over uncertainty,” LaBarre said. “Do you ask more questions than you give answers?”

She recommended developing a list of questions to always ask people. The questions should be playful and open you up to creativity.

Her parting advice: “Try walking a little more stupid and with a whole lot more questions.”

Cynthia Price Communique Plans

Capture2014Happy 2015!

Today is the start of a new year, and a new plan for my blog. I have been publishing twice weekly (sometimes more, occasionally less) for the past five years. It’s a labor of love and learning. Through my blog, I have discovered how much joy it brings me to share what I am learning and to help others.

With that in mind, I am scaling back my blog to one posting a week so I may focus my efforts in other areas, including:

  1. Furthering life coaching skills
  2. Creating a book that is a compilation of the best of my blogs
  3. Writing my novel.

That is a lot to tackle in one year, especially with a full-time job. I am not focused on completion, but rather on advancing each one. By mid-year I will assess how I am doing and decide what my next steps are.

I want to thank each of you for reading, commenting and encouraging me throughout the years. In 2014, according to WordPress, this blog was viewed about 5,000 times. A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people so if my blog were a NYC subway train, it would take about four trips to carry that many people!

My new friend Tiffany Ervin led to the most popular blog post, “Doing What It Takes to Pay the Mortgage.” She offered great tips at the 2014 NFPW Conference, which I then summarized and posted as a blog.

I’m looking forward to 2015, and hope you are, too.

As always, I encourage you to comment, share ideas and hold me accountable.

Thank you for another great year!

Three Words

Recently I spoke to a career group. Each person in attendance was asked to identify him or herself and then use three words to describe their career and their search. It’s a great exercise because you have to be succinct.

And if you listen carefully, you can also determine whether you stand out in the crowd. Unfortunately, many who spoke that day used words that everyone else uses. Words such as communicator, results driven, deadline oriented can identify lots of people.

Take a moment to think about the three words you would use to describe yourself and your career. Are they original? Do they make you stand out? If not, keep trying.

Now do the same exercise and write down three words that you want to define yourself in the new year. Think about the goals and resolutions you have made. Narrow that list to three words.

Keep those words handy as you navigate the year.  At year’s end, those should be the words you and others would use to describe you.

 

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