Blog Archives

Ask the right questions


Are you a master at addressing new people you meet, engaging them by asking the right questions? Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas, in their book, Power Questions emphasize that focused questions will help you build relationships and win more business.

It makes sense. Most people are flattered when you express an interest in them. When you ask open-ended questions of a new acquaintance or  of a new client, you set the stage where you can actively listen letting the person opposite you  do the talking. Listening is a powerful tool when you take the effort to absorb and synthesize what you are hearing.

Here are several useful tips from Power Questions they the authors refer to as the Socratic Approach:

Instead of “telling”, ask.
Instead of “being the expert”, encourage others to share their expertise.
Instead of “controlling knowledge”. Obtain the experiences of others.

Now for the one I like the best:
Instead of “showing people how smart you are”, “show others how smart they are.”

So, the next time, you are meeting someone new, see what you can learn about your new acquaintance by asking the right questions.


The Effective Manager

I generally shy away from management books for they tend to put me to sleep.  For a new manager or any manager who would appreciate some management tips, Work Happy by Jill Geisler is a one of those rare management books well worth having a look at.  If you are short on time, simply peruse the chapter headings to decide on the segments that interest you.   Even the headings are quite illuminating.

I have always believed that to be a good manager it was important to know yourself well and to be willing to face up to the good, the bad and yes the ugly aspects of your personality.  Looking into the mirror and glaring at the blemishes is surely a bold thing to do.  So, the chapter, Manage Yourself, So You Can Lead Others is a good one.  Can you face up to your weaknesses and work on them?  Are you able to see things as others do? Or, as a manager do you know that you are always on view as if in a glass fishbowl?  So, keep in mind your staff will not be very forgiving of your bad mood or bad hair day.

I must say that the very last chapter says it all.  Giesler, writes in the title of this chapter (15), For Great Bosses, It’s Always About Values.” She focuses on the values of integrity, humanity and levity.  With “levity”, we must not forget to have fun.  Lastly, what will be your  legacy as a leader and how would you like to be remembered?

To me, it’s all about the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Networking for the Sake of Networking

Are you on Linkedin or Facebook?  And, do you have lots and lots of friends or connections?  Some of us may feel the pressure to be well-connected with volumes of people online.  But, does the quantity of contacts really mean anything and what is the point?  So, with our abundance of contacts, where has that taken us, anyway?

Long before the existence of Linkedin and Facebook , we maintained business card and Roladex files.  To me,  just going through the motion of collecting names, phone numbers, and business cards without putting much thought into it,  didn’t work well back then and it really doesn’t work well even in today’s online world.  My simple brain told me years ago that someone had to have a compelling  reason to do you a favor as in returning a favor or expecting something of value in the future.

Gordon Curtis in his book, Well Connected sums it up more eloquently than I have.  Here’s the essence of it.

Curtis says, you have to target the right person and apply the right approach, . Both parties need to reach an outcome that is beneficial to both of them.  A-ha.  So, I wasn’t too far off.  He states several criteria necessary in order for networking between two parties to work.  The keywords he uses  are ” like-minded”, “obligated”, “motivated” and “able”.  Without those, it’s highly unlikely someone will do anyone else a favor or enter into a deal.

Networking to achieve results requires a well-planned strategy.  So, develop your objectives and desired outcomes. When you identify potential networking candidates, learn something about them, figure out how you are going to reach them (necessary introductions) and what you are going to say.  Down the road, even look for ways you might reciprocate in advance.

For a more detailed explanation about how to network more effectively, I highly recommend the book, “Well-Connected.”

It’s Better to Give Than to Receive!

Remember the old saying, It’s better to give than to receive?  That simple expression can apply to so many  aspects of life.   

I believe it can even apply to the practice of networking these days.  We all know that networking in business circles is the rage in the quest to find contacts and leads to grow a business.   Anyone can work a crowd by going around saying, “Hi Joe, my name is Mary, I am the sales manager of XYZ.  Need any widgets, these days?”  Admittedly, such an introduction sounds a bit crass and you might not win many friends  with a line like that. I am sure you can picture the stereotyped used car salesman whose only objective is to close the sale and run.  The shortrun is all that counts in that situation.

Instead, a better strategy is to focus on establishing a rapport and even forming a bond with someone you may have only  just met.   That’s just a start.  Then, share information, offer expertise, and provide suggestions. It will should show that you are more interested in goodwill than making a quick sale.   Remember,  the saying, It’s better to give then to receive”. 

It can even apply to the management of a business web site, or blogs, Facebook and more.  The practice of  sharing helpful  information with  customers or contacts will go a long way to establishing meaningful relationships.  When used effectively, you will very likely gain even more customers and more business.

Quick Access to Demographic Information

Are you looking for some quick demographics about a particular city in the U.S.?  City Melt offers a quick profile and it’s so easy to use.  Beyond, median household income and median home value, education levels,  find key features,weather data/graphs, and even trends in energy costs.  This would be a great site to use for some practical relocation information.