Bud Bilanich http://www.budbilanich.com Your Career Mentor Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:03:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 When It Comes to Building Strong Work Relationships You Have to Sweat the Small Stuff http://www.budbilanich.com/when-it-comes-to-building-strong-work-relationships-you-have-to-sweat-the-small-stuff/ http://www.budbilanich.com/when-it-comes-to-building-strong-work-relationships-you-have-to-sweat-the-small-stuff/#respond Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:03:11 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6304

Tweets  121 – 140 in my career mentor book, Success Tweets, deal with the importance of relationship building.  You cannot create the life and career success you want and deserve if you don’t build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life.

All too often however, your interaction style can have a negative impact on your career success.  A couple of years ago, I came across an article by JT O’Donnell called “10 Signs Your Interaction Style Is Messing With Your Career:” Check out these 10 signs that indicate that your interaction style is messing with your career…

  1. You feel like nobody is paying attention to your requests at work.
  2. Colleagues have informal meetings without you and then tell you the results and how they directly impact your job.
  3. Your boss dismisses EVERY idea you present to her.
  4. Co-workers always  agree with you when you voice your concerns, but then you hear they said something entirely different to your boss.
  5. You have no close friends at the office.
  6. You’ve been told you aren’t “management material” yet.
  7. People get really quiet and don’t have any answers or comments when you speak.
  8. You don’t get selected for any team projects or special assignments.
  9. People love to tease you about how “honest” and “funny” and “shameless” you are at the office.
  10. You’ve been fired.

If your interaction style is messing with your career, you want to begin building strong relationships at work.  Tweet 123 in Success Tweets says, “Use every social interaction to build and strengthen relationships.  Strong relationships are your ticket to success.”

I’ve learned that little things make for strong relationships.  In other words, sweat the small stuff because it’s the small stuff that will help you build and maintain strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people who can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.

A couple of years ago, I previewed a DVD on relationship building called, Little Things Mean a Lot.  The DVD is based on the work of Brigid Moynahan, founder of The Next level Inc.  She is a well-known and highly recognized speaker and trainer.

Ms. Moynahan says that when it comes to relationships, it’s important to sweat the small stuff.  She says that we send micro-messages in all of our interactions with other people.  Micro-messages are the signals we send to one another through our behavior.  While micro-messages are often small, their impact can be enormous.

Micro-messages can help or hinder your relationship-building efforts.  Micro-affirmations help you build and maintain strong relationships.  Micro-inequities hinder your ability to build and maintain strong relationships.

These are important concepts that deserve a closer look.

Not surprisingly, micro-affirmations are micro-messages that we send to other people that cause them to feel valued, included, or encouraged.

Micro-inequities are micro-messages that we send to other people that cause them to feel devalued, slighted, discouraged or excluded.

You need to consciously avoid micro-inequities and consciously send micro-affirmations.  Ask yourself, “When do I feel excluded, disrespected and devalued?”  In most of these cases, you have been the recipient of a micro-inequity.  The way you feel when you experience a micro-inequity is the way others are likely to feel when you engage in micro-inequity behavior.  That means you should refrain from using these behaviors in your interactions with others.

Then ask yourself, “When do I feel included, respected and valued?”  In most of these cases, you will have been the recipient of a micro-affirmation.  Work hard to incorporate behaviors that are micro-affirmations into your daily interactions with others.

When you focus on sending micro-affirmations and avoiding micro-inequities, you will be better able to build solid, lasting relationships with the people in your life.  And strong relationships are an important key to your personal and professional success.

The career mentor point here is simple common sense.  Successful people build strong relationships with the important people in their work lives.  They adopt an interaction style that facilitates, rather than hinders their relationships.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 123 in Success Tweets.  “Use every social interaction to build and strengthen relationships.  Strong relationships are your ticket to success.”  Build and strengthen relationships by sweating the small stuff.  Focus sending positive micro messages – the small things that show another person that you value him or her.  Avoid “micro-inequities” – behaviors that demean people in small ways.  Instead, focus on “micro-affirmations” – behaviors that encourage others and build their self-esteem.

That’s what I think about how to build strong relationships.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always thanks for reading my musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets ExplainedThe first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://SuccessTweets.com to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.




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Wednesday is World Book Night USA http://www.budbilanich.com/wednesday-is-world-book-night-usa/ http://www.budbilanich.com/wednesday-is-world-book-night-usa/#respond Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:06:16 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6300

Wednesday, April 23 is World Book Night USA.  World Book Night is one of my favorite days of the year.  For the past three years, I have been a World Book Night book giver.  I love books and reading.  World Book Night gives me an opportunity to spread my love of reading to other people.

Here’s how World Book Night works.  Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties, and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.

After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.

Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography.

This year I will be giving away copies of 12 Years a Slave.  Last year, I gave copies of The Handmaid’s Tale.  The year before, I gave copies of The Book Thief.  I love all three of these books.  World Book Night gives me an opportunity to share them with 20 other people.

I’m a World Book Night book giver because I believe in the power of reading.  Reading for pleasure improves literacy, actively engaging emerging readers in their desire to read. Reading changes lives, improves employability, social interaction, enfranchisement, and can have a positive effect on mental health and happiness. Book readers are more likely to participate in positive activities such as volunteering, attending cultural events, and even physical exercise.  And, as a career mentor, I know that reading helps people become well-rounded and informed citizens – qualities that pay off big time in the career success sweepstakes.  Besides that, books are fun—and they can be life-changing.

Members of the MyCareerMentor.net site know that I believe that lifelong learning is an important key to life and career success.  Reading widely is the best way to become a lifelong learner.  I read fiction – mysteries mostly, history, biographies, business books, political books.  Reading has not only entertained me, it has educated me.  Much of what I know about the world has come from the books I’ve read. I am a better person, better businessman, better citizen and better human being because I read.

I am a World Book Night book giver because I want to encourage other people to read.  Read for the sheer pleasure it brings you.  Read to become more informed.  Read to boost your life and career success.

Look for me on Wednesday.  I’ll be roving the streets of Denver, giving away free copies of 12 Years a Slave.  I’d love to give you a copy.

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Your Chance toLook Great and Help People With Cancer Thrive in the Workplace http://www.budbilanich.com/your-chance-tolook-great-and-help-people-with-cancer-thrive-in-the-workplace/ http://www.budbilanich.com/your-chance-tolook-great-and-help-people-with-cancer-thrive-in-the-workplace/#respond Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:46:56 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6298

Besides being your career mentor, I am a cancer survivor.  So I am proud to work with Cancer and Careers (www.cancerandcareers.org) a Cosmetic Executive Women foundation that empowers, educates and provides essential tools to people with cancer so that they can thrive in the workplace. Cancer and Careers is the only organization of its kind in the world.  I will be a speaker at their conference in New York City on June 13.

Cancer and Careers has partnered with QVC to present the 2nd annual QVC and CEW Present Beauty with Benefits two-hour live TV broadcast this Thursday — THAT’S TONIGHT — April 17th from 8-10 pm (EDT.) http://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/supporters/beautywithbenefits

During the QVC broadcast event, viewers will be able to shop from a selection of donated products from 19 prestige beauty brands and 80% of the purchase price of the merchandise will benefit Cancer and Careers. In 2013, the first QVC and CEW Present Beauty with Benefits generated more than $984,000.

I hope you watch – and buy something! Please forward this email to anyone whom you think may be interested.

Just click on this link — http://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/supporters/beautywithbenefits — for more information on the event.

Your career mentor,



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8 Qualities You Need to Create Your Life and Career Success http://www.budbilanich.com/8-qualities-that-employers-look-for/ http://www.budbilanich.com/8-qualities-that-employers-look-for/#respond Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:03:32 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6293

As a career mentor, I’m always looking for ideas to help my members move ahead in their lives and careers.  A while back, I saw an article on TLNT.com on the eight qualities employers most want in their employees. It makes for some interesting career success reading.

Below, I’ve paired these eight qualities with tweets in my career advice book, Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less Check it out…

Being a team player (chosen by 71 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 137 – Do your job. Give credit to others for doing theirs. Everyone likes to work with people who share the credit for a job well done.

Fully focused on satisfying customers (chosen by 68 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 99 – Get the job done with what you’ve got. Don’t worry about what you don’t have or would like to have.

Motivate and engage others in their jobs (chosen by 65 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 121 – Get genuinely interested in others. Help bring out the best in everyone you know.

Success in achieving your “critical few objectives” (chosen by 62 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 31 – Plan how you will achieve your goals. Then do whatever you hto do, not what you want or feel like doing, to achieve them.

Work smart (chosen by 60 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 82 – Learn faster than the world changes. In a world that never stops changing, you can never stop learning and growing.
  • Success Tweet 34 – Treat failures as the tuition you pay to succeed. Learn from your setbacks and failures. Use what you learn.

Work hard (chosen by 57 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 96 – good truly is the enemy of great. Don’t settle for good performance. Today, good performance is mediocre. Become a great performer.

Add value to the organization (chosen by 52 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 83 – Master your technical discipline. Share what you know. . Become the go to person in your discipline in your company.

Contribute to improving the bottom line (chosen by 48 percent of surveyed companies)

  • Success Tweet 85 – Always be on the lookout for new ideas. Find opportunities where others see obstacles.

There is some great common sense career advice here. Take a look at these eight qualities. Do an honest assessment of yourself. Which ones describe you? Where do you fall a little short? Keep doing what you do well, and figure out how to improve in the ones where you fall short.

Please take a minute to share your thoughts on these ideas with us by leaving a comment in the space below.

By the way, you can get a free copy of Success Tweets by going to www.SuccessTweets.com.

Your career mentor,


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7 Tips for Dealing With Negative People http://www.budbilanich.com/7-tips-for-dealing-with-negative-people/ http://www.budbilanich.com/7-tips-for-dealing-with-negative-people/#respond Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:48:51 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6290

As a career mentor, I’m a big believer in the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people.  Positive people help build your self-confidence and help you on your journey to life and career success.  Many of the members of my career mentor site tell me that while they get the importance of surrounding themselves with positive people, they really need my advice on how to deal with negative people.

Tweet 50 in my career advice book Success Tweets goes to this point.  It says, “Jettison the negative people in your life.  They are energy black holes.  They will suck you dry; but only if you let them.”

I also realize that this is easier said than done.  Sometimes the negative people we encounter are in our family, sometimes they are coworkers.  No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with negative people, we all have deal with negative people on occasion.

Here are seven bits of career advice on dealing with negative people from Lori Radun.  I like these tips and do my best to follow them in my life.

  1. Let the negativity pass.  No one is in a negative mood 100% of the time.  Don’t argue with people when they’re in a negative mindset.
  2. Give positive – not negative – attention to negative people.  Often their negativity is nothing more than a cry for attention.
  3. Focus on the positive.  Look for the positive in the situation. It can be difficult to find, but there is something positive in almost any situation.
  4. Ask negative people to elaborate.  Often, negative people speak in absolutes – “always” or “never.”  Asking for specific examples can help you take some of the negativity out of the situation.
  5. Don’t try to change a negative person.  Let him or her vent.  You don’t have to agree with what he or she says, but you can tone down the negativity by just listening.
  6. Avoid negative people if you can.  As I’ve mentioned above, sometimes you have to interact with negative people.  However, do your best to minimize your contact with them.
  7. Keep your own negative thoughts and behaviors in check.  You can choose your attitude.  Choose to be positive.  Be grateful for the positive things in your life and you’ll be better equipped to deal with negativity when it pops up.

I like all seven of these points, but I particularly like Point 2, Give positive – not negative attention to negative people.  Tweet 105 in Success Tweets says, “Conversation tips: be warm pleasant, gracious and sensitive to the interpersonal needs and anxieties of others.”  This is doubly true when it comes to dealing with negative people.  They need kindness and support too.  Sometimes your kindness may be just what they need to deal with their negativity.

Tweet 106 in Success Tweets says, “Demonstrate your understanding of others’ points of view. Listen well and ask questions if you don’t understand.”  This is another way of providing positive attention to negative people.  How do you show provide positive attention to a negative person?  Lori says “You must listen to what he or she is trying to tell you.”  Great point.  Engaging, listening, and asking questions shows a negative person that you are paying attention.  Often, that is all the positive attention they need.

The common sense career mentor point here is simple.  We all have to deal with negative people on occasion.  When it comes to dealing with negative people, successful people follow the career advice in Tweet 105 in Success Tweets.  “Conversation tips: be warm, pleasant, gracious and sensitive to the interpersonal needs and anxieties of others.”  Inviting negative people to participate in a conversation in which you really listen to what they have to say is an important, but often overlooked conversation skill.  When you invite a negative people to join a conversation about what is bugging them, you give them positive attention and help them deal with their negativity.  If you want to become adept at dealing with negative people, follow all seven of the tips above but focus on point 2 — give them positive – not negative attention.  Engage negative people in conversation.  Your relationships with them will improve, and you might help them deal with some of their negativity.  This simple common sense career advice can make your life a lot more pleasant.

That’s my career advice on dealing with negative people.  What do you think?   Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success.

Your career mentor,


PS – You can download a free copy of Success Tweets at www.SucessTweets.com.

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10 Steps for Becoming a Dynamic Presenter http://www.budbilanich.com/10-steps-for-becoming-a-dynamic-presenter/ http://www.budbilanich.com/10-steps-for-becoming-a-dynamic-presenter/#respond Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:23:51 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6288

As a career mentor, I’m often asked for my advice on communication skills. Last week I did a post on listening.  Today, I’d like to focus on public speaking.

All successful people are dynamic communicators. All dynamic communicators are highly skilled public speakers. But fear of public speaking is an affliction that holds back many people. Toastmasters International is a service organization dedicated to helping people learn to speak well in public.

I have done workshops for Toastmasters groups all over the country. I always enjoy these workshops because I get to work with highly motivated people. All of the Toastmasters I have met are interested in developing their public speaking skills in order to build their life and career success.

Here are the Toastmasters 10 tips for successful public speaking. Read closely, this is great career advice…

1. Know the room. Be familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
2. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.
3. Know your material. If you’re not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech and revise it if necessary.
4. Relax. Ease tension by doing exercises.
5. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear, and assured. When you visualize yourself as successful, you will be successful.
6. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative, and entertaining. They don’t want you to fail.
7. Don’t apologize. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you may be calling the audience’s attention to something they hadn’t noticed. Keep silent.
8. Concentrate on the message — not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties, and outwardly toward your message and your audience. Your nervousness will dissipate.
9. Turn nervousness into positive energy. Harness your nervous energy and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.
10. Gain experience. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need.

The career mentor point here is simple common sense. If you want to create the career success you want and deserve, you need to become a dynamic communicator – in conversation, writing and presenting. The Toastmasters International 10 tips for successful public speaking are a great place to begin your journey to becoming a dynamic presenter. Joining and participating in a local Toastmasters chapter is the next logical step. You can conquer your fear of public speaking. You can even become a great public speaker – but like anything else when it comes to career success, you have to work at it.

That’s my career advice on becoming a dynamic presenter. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.

Your career mentor,

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Listening Can Help You Become Indispensable http://www.budbilanich.com/listening-can-help-you-become-indispensable/ http://www.budbilanich.com/listening-can-help-you-become-indispensable/#respond Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:11:58 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6281

As a career mentor, I’m constantly reading to make sure that I can bring my subscribers new and insightful information.  My friends at Walk the Talk have come out with a new book, Indispensable!  It has a lot of great information in how to make yourself indispensable in your job and career.

I’m a fan of the folks at Walk the Talk.  They have published four of my books.

  • Leading With Values
  • Solving Performance Problems
  • Your Success GPS
  • Building a Dream Team

Send me an email telling me which of these you’d like and I’ll send it on to you for free.  Put the words, “Free eBook request in the subject line.”

Back to Indispensable!  Pages 68 and 69 offer come great common sense advice on how to become a great listener – and listening is a great way to build strong relationships, a key ingredient for your life and career success.

Here’s what David Cottrell and Robert Nix, the authors of Indispensable! have to say about listening.

  • Stop what you’re doing and focus on the other person.
  • Smile. Demonstrate that you want to be there and you are happy to listen.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Think about what the other person is saying, not on something that might be on your mind.
  • Don’t interrupt or complete the other person’s sentences.
  • Acknowledge that you are listening with appropriate facial expressions.
  • Ask questions to follow up: “Tell me more about…” or “Why…?”
  • At the end of the conversation, offer a positive comment.
  • Remember key thoughts that came up so you can follow up on them later.

“But everybody knows that,” you say.  Maybe so, that’s why these are common sense ideas.  But as the US Steel pencils my dad would bring home from work used to say, “Knowing’s not enough.”  You have to put good ideas to work.

So do yourself a favor and incorporate these listening behaviors into your repertoire.

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How to Build the Strong Relationships That Will Help You Create Your Life and Career Success http://www.budbilanich.com/how-to-build-the-strong-relationships-that-will-help-you-create-your-life-and-career-success/ http://www.budbilanich.com/how-to-build-the-strong-relationships-that-will-help-you-create-your-life-and-career-success/#respond Wed, 09 Apr 2014 11:22:49 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6279

Strong, lasting mutually beneficial relationships are an important key to your life and career success.  But building these types of relationships can be difficult.  As a career mentor, I’m often asked about how to create strong business relationships.

To help you understand how to get a relationship started on the right foot, I turned to Ann Marie Sabath, a business etiquette expert.

Here are Ann Marie’s seven tips for getting relationships off to a positive start.

  1. Use a greeting and form of thanks in the first 12 words you speak.
    “Good morning, Mr. Smith. Thank you for taking time to meet with me today.”
  2. Make the connection by asking individuals something they shared with you the last time the two of you spoke. “How was your trip to Seattle last week?”
  3. Be proactive rather than reactive by being the first to say hello.
  4. Acknowledge people when they are within three feet of you with eye contact, a smile, a nod or a verbal thank you.
  5. Remember the power of a handshake at the beginning of a conversation and when departing.
  6. 6.       As you leave a conversation, mention something you heard the other person say during your encounter. “It’s been nice talking to you. Have a safe trip back to Chicago.” 
  7. Anytime you visit with someone for more than 15 minutes, send a thank you. It will demonstrate your attention to detail and will be the beginning of your relationship development process with that person.

If you follow these seven rules consistently and constantly, relationship building will become second nature to you — and that’s a good thing.

Check out Ann Marie’s website, www.ateaseinc.com for more helpful business etiquette advice.

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Think You’d Like to Work from Home? Read This http://www.budbilanich.com/think-youd-like-to-work-from-home-read-this/ http://www.budbilanich.com/think-youd-like-to-work-from-home-read-this/#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:44:24 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6277

Lots of people tell me that they would like to work from home.  I’ve been doing this for over 26 years and it works for me.  But it may not work for you.

As a career mentor, I’m always looking for information that can help my readers.  Recently, I came across an article in the Sunday Denver Post called Five Signs That You Would Hate Working From Home that explains why you may not be cut out for working from home.  Here are my thoughts on these five signs.

  1. You have Work FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – this can happen when you’re physically separated form coworkers and colleagues, making you feel out of the loop.  If you need to be up on the latest, working at home may not be great for you.
  2. You crave interaction – if you’re somebody who gets energized from being around people, you may find that working from home is lonely and isolating.  Extraverts can have a difficult time working from home.
  3. You’re easily distracted – working from home gives you freedom, but it also comes with lots of distractions — family, laundry, redecorating.  If you’re not disciplined, you can get far behind on your work.
  4. You’re not a self starter – to work from home successfully, you have to be able to focus on the important things you have to accomplish. If you can’t set direction for yourself, you won’t do well working from home.
  5. You lack work-life boundaries – this is the opposite of being easily distracted.  When you work from home it’s very easy to work too much.  The work is always there.  I’ve found myself in my office working very early in the morning, very late at night and at meal times.  You have to know when to disengage

Working from home is great for some people – not so much for others.  These five warning signs will help you decide if it’s for you.

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Use Stories to Make Your Presentations Come Alive http://www.budbilanich.com/use-stories-to-make-your-presentations-come-alive/ http://www.budbilanich.com/use-stories-to-make-your-presentations-come-alive/#respond Fri, 04 Apr 2014 11:17:18 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6275

Your ability to create and deliver dynamic presentations is an important key to your life and career success.  Many careers have been made on the strength of one or two great presentations.

Stories are the best way to make your presentations come alive.  We all learn through stories. If you learn how to use stories effectively, you will become a great presenter – and get on the fast track to the career success you want and deserve.

I’ve come up with a simple three-step formula that anyone can use to create powerful stories that will help you make your point.

  1.  Identify your truth – something that in your heart of hearts you know to be “true.”
  2. Think of the critical experiences you’ve had that have led you to this “truth.”
  3. Shape those experiences into a story that you can tell at the drop of a hat.

Here’s an example of how I have used this formula. It’s a real story I often tell – especially when I am doing a talk on the importance of putting yourself in another person’s shoes.

“One of the things that I know to be true is that if I am going to be a good communicator, I must meet other people where they are, not where I would like them to be. Let me tell you how I know this.

 “Several years ago, I had an assignment to conduct a team-building session for a manufacturing plant manager and his staff. The client was a friend of mine. I knew him well.

 “I arrived at his office about 5:00 the afternoon of the day before our session. He said, “Do you have an agenda for tomorrow’s meeting?”

 “I said, “Well, first we’ll do A, then B, followed by C. We’ll finish up with D.”

 “He said, “Do you have an agenda?”

 “At first, I thought he hadn’t been listening to what I just said, so I repeated myself: “First we’ll do A, then B, followed by C. We’ll finish up with D.”

 “He said, “Yes, I know. That’s what you just said. Do you have an agenda?”

 “At that point, it dawned on me that he was looking for a printed agenda. I said ‘No, but we really don’t need one. I’ve done a lot of meetings like this. It will go fine.’

 “He said, ‘I’m not comfortable winging it.’  So we created an agenda using PowerPoint.

 “The next day, the meeting went off without a hitch. We followed the agenda that I had in my head and he had on the PowerPoint slide. Everyone agreed that it was one of the best meetings of this type that they had ever attended.

 “As we were debriefing I asked my client what he thought of the meeting.

 “He said, ‘It was a great meeting, but I think we were lucky because we were winging it.’

 “That frustrated me. I wasn’t winging it.  I had carefully mapped out the meeting in my head.  I knew what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to accomplish it.  I didn’t say anything to the client at that point because I didn’t want to damage my relationship with him.

 “On the flight home, I thought about what happened. He thought we were winging it, and I thought we were following a well thought-out plan. The difference – he needs more structure than me. The piece of paper with the agenda was very important to him and his sense of order. To me, the paper wasn’t necessary, because I knew in my head what to do and how to do it.

 “It became clear to me that if I want to influence not just this client, but anyone, I need to adapt my communication style to theirs.  From that day on, I modify my communication style to meet the needs of the other person.  I realized that I want to be influential, I need to adapt my communication style to others, not expect them to adapt their style to mine.

 “This was a valuable lesson for me.  By adapting my style, I become more influential and powerful.  It may seem as if I’m yielding, when in fact, I’m taking charge of the situation,”

 The story above illustrates how you can use my 1 – 2 – 3 formula to construct a story that you can use to make a point.  First, identify your truth – something that in your heart of hearts you know to be “true.”  Second, think of the critical experiences you’ve had that have led you to this “truth.”  Third, shape those experiences into a story that you can tell at the drop of a hat.

In this case, here’s what I know to be true – effective communicators adapt their communication style to their audience.  I know this to be true because of the incident I described above (as well as several other experiences I’ve had in my career).  I can tell this story any time I want to make a point about the importance of adapting your communication style to your audience.

The next time you are asked to do a talk, use this formula to illustrate the main point you want to make.  You’ll do a great talk and but yourself on the fast track to the career success you deserve.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people are great presenters.  Stories make presentations come alive.  They are not difficult to create.  Follow my 1 – 2 – 3 formula for creating and telling great stories.  .  First, identify your truth – something that in your heart of hearts you know to be “true.”  Second, think of the critical experiences you’ve had that have led you to this “truth.”  Third, shape those experiences into a story that you can tell at the drop of a hat.

That’s my career advice on how to create the stories that will brand you as a great presenter.   What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


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