Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tip#1: Know Yourself

Beginning this week read a weekly "tip" right here from "82 Tips for Thriving in the Workplace." The booklet, divided into nine sections, starts with "Self-Leadership," establishing the foundation for all the other tips and, quite frankly, your life. Apply these tips at work and home for a happier, more fulfilling life.

Do an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses. Become aware of how you positively affect your environment and identify any personal changes you can make.
Not sure? Ask a trusted friend or colleague.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Confident Conversation

If you like this entry, be sure to click on link below to get on this free subscriber list about communications skills. It's really worth the trouble! I've added my suggested tips in purple.


1. Connecting and dis-connecting skills. "I can engage others in conversation and also disengage tactfully and easily." Ending a conversation gracefully can be as challenging as finding the right "ice-breaking." For example if you are at a networker or party and wish to end a conversation with someone, you could say "It's my goal is to meet five new people tonight and it was very nice meeting you. Have a great evening." Shake hands and move on. Or if you wish to resume the conversation at another time, say so.

2. Attending and listening skills. "I can pay close attention and listen carefully and accurately when others talk to me." Listen to understand, not to identify.

3. Questioning skills. "I can manage a variety of question types that help me learn about people and what they feel and know." (For example, open and closed questions, indirect questions, and "if" questions.) Open-ended questions allows your conversation partner to give a fuller response by providing you with more information which is valuable if you are trying to get to know someone. For example, "What do you like about your profession?" vs. "Do you enjoy your profession?"

4. Content and knowledge skills. "I add to my knowledge about many subjects and can relate to the varying topics and interests of different people. As well, I have fresh, accurate knowledge to share." Read, go to lectures, listen to talk radio.

5. Descriptive skills. "I have a good vocabulary and use it to create word pictures to help others understand what I mean. I use analogies and examples and stories to make my talking interesting and clear." This can take practice if you're not accustomed to speaking in metaphors. Google "metaphors" and see what comes up.

6. Body language skills. "I am able to use my face, voice, and body to add interest, variety, and emphasis to what I say." Research shows that over 55% of communication is nonverbal. Some reseachers say it's over 90%. Whichever, it's a lot! Pay attention to your posture, gestures, and facial expressions. And don't bore your listener with a flat tone. Spice it up with moderate highs and lows.

7. Adaptation skills. "I am able to adjust my manner of relating when conversing with people of different gender, age, and background." (Being able to do this requires flexibility and a high acceptance level of human differences.) Communication is not about what you say; it's about what is heard. Be sensitive to differences.

Loren Ekroth © 2005 Loren Ekroth, Ph.D. is a specialist in human communication and a national expert on conversation for business and social life. His articles and programs strengthen critical communication skills for business and professional people. Contact at Check resources and archived articles at

Monday, August 15, 2005

Is Your Personal Corporation Growing?

Is Your Personal Corporation Growing? Earl Nightingale

Every person is, in reality, in business for himself or herself in that each is building his or her own life regardless of who happens to write his or her paycheck. So for the purpose of this message, think of yourself as a corporation. You hold the office of president of this corporation, and you're responsible for its success or failure. You and the members of your family are stockholders in your corporation, and it's your responsibility to see that the value of the stock increases in the years ahead.

If your company is growing, it will have a tendency to continue to grow. In other words, you're doing things right. Conversely, a company that is going backwards or shrinking has a tendency to continue to go backwards or shrink until acted upon by an outside force. All responsible company officers know that unless the company is growing, it's developing the first signs of death. As the head of your personal corporation, you must realize that this same law applies to you as well.

However, a person has a tremendous advantage over even the largest corporation. Think of any large multinational corporation. Can it double its production in a single day? Of course not. Can it double its sales in a single day? Of course not. It would like to, but its growth must be gradual and steady because of the interconnecting complexities of operating such a large organization. Yet a person can double, triple, quadruple his or her effectiveness in a month or less. It's like comparing the movement of a single scout to the movement of a great army.

Can you grow and improve as a person at least 10% a year? Of course you can. In fact, experts estimate a person can increase his or her effectiveness anywhere from 50% to 100% and more within 30 days.

History is filled with people who exceeded their previous performance to an almost unbelievable extent. People in management and in production who multiplied their effectiveness many times. Students who moved from failing grades to straight A's and the Dean's List. People in sales who found they could, through the proper management of their abilities, minds, and time, sell as much of their company's products in a single month as they had previously sold in an entire year. Think about what that means.

If you waste even an hour of productive time every work day, it adds up to 250 hours a year. That time wasted could shut your corporation down! You can earn nothing with the doors closed. What is your time worth an hour? Multiply this by 250 and you can see what you're throwing away. Now whether your employer pays for this wasted hour or not is unimportant. Life will not pay for it. How much are you worth right now, today, as a corporation? What's your value today, to yourself, your family, your company? If you were an outside investor, a stranger, would you invest in this corporation? A company growing at the rate of 10% a year will double in size in about eight years. What attention are you giving to the growth of your personal corporation?

© 2005 Nightingale-Conant Corporation

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Circles of Personal Influence

The following comes from an email subscription I receive from "Better Conversations" written by Loren Ekroth.

Your old friends may be killing you. That is, killing your spirit, your creativity, your dreams. When I lived in Hawaii I learned a Japanese proverb that said "The nail that stands up highest gets pounded down." This is similar to the "crabs in the bucket" teaching story, remember? When one crab tries to climb out of the pail, other crabs pull him back down.
We Become Like Our Closest Associates
Business philosopher and seminar leader Jim Rohn puts it this way: "We become the combined average of the five people we associate with most." Check this statement against your own life experience. Most likely the five people you spend most time with reflect your interests, values, politics, quality of conversation, habits, and financial situation. After all, "birds of a feather DO flock together," do they not? One solid conclusion from years of research on group behavior is that deviation is punished. First the group tries to persuade a deviant to the right way of thinking (the group's way) and, failing that, excludes or even shuns the person holding contrary beliefs or acting differently. So it is that if you spend most of your time with the same people, chances are you'll think like them and act like them – if only to stay in their good graces.
Time for a Change?
Now, do you really like spending time with these same people? Do you admire them? Do you emulate them? Do they challenge your thinking, help build your self-esteem, inspire you to new visions of possibility? Or, as happens frequently, are you with them purely out familiarity and convenience, of habit and inertia? Do these people contribute to your life, or do they keep you stuck in old thinking?
Our Polarized Society
One of the reasons our society has polarized is that many people band together only with others of like mind. They reinforce each other in their clubs and churches and workplaces and resist and reject alternative points of view. Without diverse contacts, they remain ignorant of the experience of those of different backgrounds. My view is that isolating or privatizing oneself injures the society at large and the processes of genuine democracy. (For a deep exploration of this issue, see Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000).

The Rewards of Diversity
In my life, one of the richest experiences was spending two years as a draftee in the U.S. Army. There I was mixed in with young men from every region of the country and many different backgrounds. Draftees included blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, and Eastern European political refugees. Among my fellow soldiers were two lawyers educated in elite universities, a gold miner from Alaska, some sharecroppers from the South, a small-time gangster from Boston, and three accountants from Hawaii. Propinquity in the barracks forced us to talk and work together and help one another. For me, I found great value in spending two years in the salad bowl of diversity, and that experience informed and influenced my future life decisions for the better.
Some First Steps
You do not have to create a whole new set of associates to find alternative points of view. You could locate a
Conversation Cafe or a Socrates Cafe in your community, or you could start one with instructions from these websites. As well, you could create a master mind support group of 5-6 people to help you with your endeavors. You can find detailed information on master mind groups in Jack Canfield's recent book, The Success Princples.

Loren Ekroth © 2005 Loren Ekroth, Ph.D. is a specialist in human communication and a national expert on conversation for business and social life. His articles and programs strengthen critical communication skills for business and professional people. Contact at Check resources and archived articles at

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Live from New York - Audio Testimonial

Live from New York, David Andrews, Executive Vice President of the Center for the Advancement of Women, leaves feedback in a voice mail regarding a four day off-site meeting I recently facilitated.

this is an audio post - click to play