Category Archives: Work

Feels Like (Virtual) Team Spirit

My article, Feels Like (Virtual) Team Spirit, was recently published in Issue 6 of The TeleWorkers Digest.

With more and more companies using the latest technology to find efficiencies in the recession, far-flung, “virtual” teams are becoming a part of many people’s work day., Therefore, I thought it was important to put together a top ten list of the most effective strategies for building, and maintaining, virtual team spirit—the spirit that builds trust, and encourages concrete results.

1. Gather ‘round and go around
We all know a picture is worth a thousand words so sharing pictures of team members is critical. Still more valuable is posting them on a one-sheet that’s a diagram of a clock face so members can say, “This is Ellen at 9 o’clock” thereby saving team members from having to scroll frantically through members’ pictures to remind themselves who’s speaking. This method counteracts disembodied voices on conference calls, and helps prevent “hiding” by participants.

2. One may be lonely, but it’s also the most effective number
On conference calls, if even one member of the team is in an office by his or herself, the remainder of the team needs to be separated from one another—even if they are in the same offices. This can seem like a pain to arrange, but anything else leaves the person working solo feeling still more isolated.

3. Sort through the holidays and ho-downs
If your team is international, building trust is about more than the time zone in which they’re located. Many countries celebrate different holidays, start work later, stay longer, etc. Additionally, some Asian countries have a policy of working on Saturdays that needs to be acknowledged and factored in at the outset. If you work this out in

advance, you can even gain efficiency by working out the ideal schedule for “handover” of work.

4. Establish your “note-passing” policy
The same way it is distracting to a teacher and fellow students to have two people passing notes in class, it is distracting for two people to be IM’ing or emailing during a call. (And please don’t think others don’t notice. They do.) My recommendation is that the only use of IM or email during a call would be to alert others to a technical breakdown.

5. Version 2.WHAT?
Few things are more maddening than scrolling through six versions of a document—each with a very slightly different draft name– trying to figure out who touched it last. My suggestion is begin with V.01, for version 1, and move on from there. This will, at least, take you through V.99 before you need to recalibrate. A great add-on is to adopt the protocol that “whole numbered versions” (e.g. V2.0) are “client-ready”, whereas fractional numbers (e.g. V0.23) are still works in progress.

Read the remaining 5 by downloading the issue here.

 

REMINDER: 10 Things Women Can Do Today to Wow Tomorrow Webinar TODAY

10 Things Women Can Do Today to Wow Tomorrow

Thursday, November 4, 4pm EST/1pm PST

Join author and WomenOnBusiness.com contributor Frances Cole Jones and learn (at least!) 10 practical, immediately applicable changes you can make today to guarantee you are more effective tomorrow, including:

  • How to ensure you are projecting your most authoritative self — in person, on the phone, and on the page
  • The proven formula for selling anybody, anything, anytime
  • Ways to gracefully handle interruptions, circumlocutions, and the occasional (preposterous) interjection

To RSVP for this online event simply send an email to frances@target-marketing.org

Frances Cole Jones is the President of Cole Media Management and author of “How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in any Situation” and “The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World.”

Attention Job Seekers: Frances has also created an app for the iPhone and iPad called “Interview Wow.” She is always happy to answer questions; and can be reached atwww.francescolejones.com

Positive Push For Profit

By MICHAEL MINK of Investors.com:

Fostering a happy work environment isn’t a luxury or a soft skill. It’s a necessity to maximize a company’s bottom line, says Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” based on 10 years of research.

To ensure optimism in the workplace, follow these steps:

Change your mindset. Don’t limit happiness to something deserved only after meeting a goal. Prioritize it now, Achor says. The reason? Happiness is a precursor to success. He points to studies showing that optimistic salespeople outsell negative counterparts by 37%.

Seed happiness. Write down three things you’re grateful for each day, with at least one being work-related, Achor suggests. Say them out loud at night. Also consider: meeting with an old friend, watching a funny video, reading a favorite blog or looking at your vacation pictures. Such moves “actually increase the success rates of our work,” Achor said.

Keep relationships strong. Achor cites decades of research showing social support to be the single greatest contributor to personal happiness.

“I found the greatest predictor of success during stress and challenges is the quantity and quality of your relationships,” he told IBD.

Raise the bar. Work effectiveness is dependent on how much possibility employees see in their jobs.

As a manager, help people recognize their greater potential. “Find out the strengths of the people on your team, and help them leverage those daily,” Achor said.

Delegating responsibilities helps managers and instills confidence in the staff, says Frances Cole Jones, author of “The Wow Factor.”

Open right. If you’re scanning the world for negatives first, you miss out on the positives. Achor suggests starting meetings with something positive. Frame work situations as positive challenges, not threats.

Fight stress. After two hours of concentrated work, brain functions slow. Achor recommends taking five minutes of recovery.

“You’ll feel more positive and see a big jump in your concentration and productivity,” he said.

Praise generously. When leaders increase recognition by one instance per day, a team’s productivity skyrockets, Achor says.

“Expressing gratitude is not only wonderful in the moment, but can elevate your overall sense of happiness,” said Walter Green, former CEO of Harrison Conference Services and author of “This Is the Moment,” a book about the power of gratitude. “Those who are acknowledged and appreciated feel valued, but those bestowing the praise reap tremendous benefits as well.”

Albert Schweitzer, the humanitarian who lived from 1875 to 1965, said: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”

Recognize special people. Make a list of individuals in your company who have made a significant contribution over the long term, Green says. Make bullet points of the things they’ve done, using them as talking points.

Go the extra mile. When communicating gratitude, don’t be ordinary. Avoid that regular lunch, Green said: “Think of a different way to communicate it, because it’s a different message.”

He suggests reinforcing and memorializing the moment with written praise. “Showing gratitude doesn’t have to cost much money, it doesn’t have to cost much time, and the impact can be extraordinary,” he said.

Read the Original Article >

Follow the Lead of the CEO

Recently published on the Help My Resume blog:

Follow the lead of the CEO. Yes, it might feel outdated, but he or she is the one writing your check. If he or she is in asuit, you need to be in a suit. If he or she prefers adress shirts and slacks, plan to prefer them, too; ditto, T shirts and jeans, etc.

No one in the C-Suite wants to be anxious about taking you into a meeting with potential clients. They also don’t want to be worry that you are going to have a wardrobe malfunction in an internal situation.

Note, too: If your boss doesn’t dress down on Friday, you don’t either (if you want that promotion)

Finally, in addition to clothes being too casual, you can also have hair that’s too casual Get it out of your face. Tidy it up.

 

 

 

14 Questions You Should Never Ask at a Job Interview

Originally published on TheJobVault.com:

Scored a job interview? Congratulations! Want to stay in the running and make it past the first interview? Then avoid asking these alarmingly common deal-breaker questions. We all know how important it is not only to intelligently answer the hiring manager’s questions, but also to ask our own questions (so we seem engaged and interested). Some questions, though, should never be asked in a job interview:

How much does the job pay?
This is by far the top pet-peeve question for hirers. They want to think that you’re so in love with the job that money isn’t such a big issue for you. “Raising the subject of money during the interview stage may give the impression, rightly or wrongly, that all you care about is money, as opposed to working as part of a team and giving your heart, soul, and first-born child to the corporation,” says Todd Moster, a Los Angeles legal recruiter.

Salary is the elephant in the room that no one acknowledges during the interview phase, says Moster. You’ll get a chance to discuss pay once you get an offer, but you may not get an offer if you discuss pay first.

What is the benefits package?
Ditto. If you don’t love your career, it will show in your interview. Take a few minutes to take a free career interest test if you want to know your best career fit.

What are the hours? “This is the question that makes me cringe more than any other,” says financial-industry executive recruiter Paul Solomon. “Try 24-7, like every other position these days. Wall Street managers don’t want a clock watcher, so when I hear that question, I know the candidate won’t be the right fit.”

How much vacation time will I get? If you want to give the impression that you’re more interested in time off than working, ask this question. Otherwise, save it until after an offer has been extended, recommends Cathleen Faerber, managing director of The Wellesley Group, an executive search company.

Salary is the elephant in the room that no one acknowledges during the interview phase, says Moster. You’ll get a chance to discuss pay once you get an offer, but you may not get an offer if you discuss pay first.

What is the benefits package?
Ditto. If you don’t love your career, it will show in your interview. Take a few minutes to take a free career interest test if you want to know your best career fit.

What are the hours? “This is the question that makes me cringe more than any other,” says financial-industry executive recruiter Paul Solomon. “Try 24-7, like every other position these days. Wall Street managers don’t want a clock watcher, so when I hear that question, I know the candidate won’t be the right fit.”

How much vacation time will I get? If you want to give the impression that you’re more interested in time off than working, ask this question. Otherwise, save it until after an offer has been extended, recommends Cathleen Faerber, managing director of The Wellesley Group, an executive search company.

What is your policy on drug use? Believe it or not, this isn’t an uncommon question, says sales and leadership coach Dave Sheffield. “The funniest part of this question is that the interviewee sees nothing wrong with it,” he says.

How did I do? Sure, you want to find out if you’re a contender after an interview. “But asking that question puts an interviewer on the spot, and they’re rarely in a position to answer,” says Frances Cole Jones, the author of “The Wow Factor.” Plus, it makes you sound unprofessional. She suggests an effective alternative like, “So what are my next steps?”

No questions: “By far the worst question is the one you never ask: Not asking any questions during an interview shows a lack of interest or comprehension, or can make you look desperate, someone who will take any job under any circumstances,” says motivational speaker Barry Mather, the author of “Filling the Glass.” “Nobody wants someone nobody wants.”

Also on Monster+HotJobs:

10 Ways to be Taken Seriously at Work

I was recently featured in an article on MSN Career by Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder.com Writer:

When you think of the term “executive,” what comes to mind? Most likely, words like successful, professional, hardworking, composed, smart, admired and well-spoken pop into your head.

Want your co-workers to associate those same terms with you? Then follow these tips for being taken seriously at work.

Dress professionally

Though we’ve all been raised on sayings like “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” in the professional world, presentation counts. There is a certain level of expectation when it comes to dress in the workplace. We expect to see executives in business attire, and consequently, we associate those who wear business attire with positions of power.  So if you want to be taken seriously at work, start dressing like it.

According to Frances Cole Jones, author of “The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World,” the dressing professionally rule applies on Fridays, too. “If the C-suite level is not dressing down on Fridays, I recommend you follow their lead and remain in professional dress on Fridays,” she says.

Choose appropriate hairstyles

For women, Jones advises “Having your hair hanging in your face will always make you look younger/less authoritative than you are.” Pulling hair back or putting it up will help you to look more professional.

For men, this means keeping hair short and neat by getting a regular haircut.

Continue Reading >

It’s Auto-Reply, Not Auto-Pilot

In preparation for going on vacation, many people turn on their email “Auto-response” function. Perhaps because vacation is so close—and they’ve already begun inhaling the heady fumes of their SPF 50—they neglect to give these messages the time and care they must have in order for their best self to be present when they, in fact, are not.

Alternatively, some people travel quite a bit for work. Stressed, rushed, thinking two cities ahead, they whip out an auto-response whose terseness lands in others’ in box like a slap.

“Perhaps…’ you’re thinking, “or perhaps Frances is making too much of a small thing. Can these messages really have that much of an impact—or even be that different? After all, all I’m saying is I’m out of town.”

Yes, they can. As an example, I’ve included below messages from three different marketing managers, all of who work for the same company, and were out of the office for the same time period and the same reason (to meet with me.) I found the difference in their tone, and my subsequent reaction to them, noticeable:

  1. I am out of the office until Friday, February 26th. If your matter is urgent, please contact me at (Tel Number here.)
  2. I will be in NY until Friday, Feb. 26. If you need immediate assistance, please contact (Assistant’s Name) at (Tel Number here.) Thanks!
  3. Thank you for your message. I am currently traveling on business until Friday, February 26. I will be checking email periodically. Should you need an immediate response, please contact (Assistant’s Name) at (Assistant’s email) or (Assistant’s telephone number) You may also reach me on my cell phone at (Tel Number here.)

 Best Regards,

 (Her Name Here)

I think we can all guess which I preferred.

What, then, do I see as mandatory for inclusion in your auto-reply?

  1. Thanking someone for their note
  2. Including by when you will return to the office
  3. Stating your policy for responding during your time away
  4. Offering an alternate method of communication. If you don’t have an assistant, the following phrasing is nice: “I am traveling until (include date here.) During this time, I will only have intermittent access to email. Rest assured that as soon as I receive your message, I will respond.

The fact that you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re off duty. Taking the time to personalize this automated function ensures that those who are working while you’re away will be pleased to see you on your return.

Frances Cole Jones

It’s Auto-Reply, Not Auto-Pilot Video

How to Wow With Your Voicemail Video