Great Ideas That You Can Bring to the Workplace

Standing out at work can be a bit of a tough ask for a lot of people. On a previous post on the blog, we talked about ’20 Strengths and Struggles for Introverts in the Workplace’. Workplaces are composed of different types of people, and not everyone can be gregarious or good at networking. However, just because the American workplace might test the strengths of introverts doesn’t mean that introverts can’t be a valuable part of the team.

The great thing about working with different people is that you don’t have to be a ball of energy all the time. In fact, Psychology Today has listed different ways that introverts can excel in the workplace, including sharing knowledge and generating ideas. What matters is what you bring to the table, not how. Here are a few things you can bring up at your next meeting that might make all the difference.

New Ways of Connecting

Introverts are known for finding networking difficult, and in many ways that might be true. Networking can feel transactional, and the pressure of having to make connections with people you may not know or even like could put anyone off. But as an introvert, you can use your experience to bring a new perspective on networking to the table.

Tech executive Karen Wickre, who also self-describes as an introvert, has some tips on how to do just that. Simply shifting your perspective — keeping in “loose touch” with your connections and acting as a “giver,” not a “taker” — can help you feel more comfortable when forging connections. Small interactions over the span of your acquaintance can help you keep your relationship going, while not pushing your energy levels to the limit. And the plus side is, this advice can work for anyone dealing with a large network of people — not just introverts.

New Marketing Strategies

Introverts are creative, which means that they can suggest new ways of approaching the same strategies. Take marketing, for example. Marketing is most effective when it’s about forging close, personal bonds with your customers without overwhelming them — something that introverts know all too well. Each interaction with your customers has to feel unique and meaningful, and the more meaningful the interaction the more effective your campaign.

Take direct mail marketing, as an example. It’s not a constant barrage of mass emails or ads like most digital marketing efforts often turn out to be. Instead, it’s highly personal and an individual campaign that can bring in great returns if you know how to play your cards right. Marketing solutions company Triadex outlines that direct mail marketing is effective because of five reasons: among other things, it’s personal, it’s targeted, and it’s accountable — things introverts are very familiar with.

New Avenues for Communication

Introverts aren’t well known for being comfortable in groups; in fact, the exact opposite is true. Constant meetings and personal check-ins can get grating fast, and might not even be as effective as other people think they are. According to Entrepreneur, there are several ways for an introvert to thrive in a workplace, and all it requires is a little bit of creativity.

Take communication channels, for example. The corporate standard is the meeting, whether one-on-one or with a team. But as introverts know, these meetings can get crowded and confusing, and can take away precious work time. Making use of asynchronous communication methods like Slack and emails can actually help employees work more efficiently, as you can check in without interrupting your work. As working environments change and work-from-home policies become more widespread, these channels might even turn out to be the new norm.

New Plans for the Workplace

As an introvert, you may find that you don’t seem to “fit in” with standard office culture, and that’s fine. Rather than seeing this as a drawback or a flaw, you can actually turn it to your advantage. Having a differing perspective allows you to see the weaknesses of a system that others might be taking for granted.

The Huffington Post claims that open plan offices, one of the biggest fads in workplaces across the world, might not be all that they’re cut out to be. The lack of privacy and constant barrage of noise can make getting work done more difficult than it needs to be. Funnily enough, that’s something every introvert is well acquainted with, and might be a helpful thing to mention at your next office-wide meeting.

Challenging Ways You Could Get Ahead in Your Career

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If you want to get ahead in your career, there are various approaches that you might want to take. When you have a desire to get ahead, you can’t expect that things will be easy. You will often need to push yourself if you want to prove that you’re capable of doing more and going further.

Taking on New Responsibilities

Taking on new responsibilities at work can be a great way of showing that you’re capable of doing more. It could be what you need to do to demonstrate that you’re ready for a promotion or might be how you get yourself noticed, although it won’t necessarily mean being paid more.

Get in with the Right People

Networking with the right people is often essential if you want to get noticed at work. If you’re in the background and no one knows your name, you’re not going to get the attention of the right people. You should spend your time getting to know key people.

Work Overtime

Putting in a couple of extra hours is a good way to get yourself noticed. If you’re paid hourly, it could also mean some handy overtime pay too. However, make sure that any extra hours that you’re putting in aren’t disrupting your life too much.

Working the Night Shift

Working the night shift can also be useful if you want to get ahead at work. It can show that you’re willing to do what it takes to advance your career. It also often means less competition with coworkers.


Infographic Design By Bradley University

Take The Leap! How To Successfully Change Careers

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Stuck in an unfulfilling and uninspiring job? Are you ready to take the leap into a new career journey but don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled a list to help you take some of the anxiety out of starting a-fresh and get you well on the way to successfully changing your career.

Fine-tune your CV

Cover letters are a necessary evil. While they can be tedious and time-consuming to do, they really are the best way for you to showcase your skill-set and sell yourself to your employer. Although it may be tempting to send out a standard blanket text CV, it is something recruiters really dislike and may see your resume heading straight into the recycling bin. Use your professional profile as a way to familiarize yourself with the job description and what the company is looking for in a candidate, then use this information to clearly demonstrate why you have the correct skills and expertise that makes you the best fit for the position.

Back To School.

Heading back to class may be the right decision if you are thinking of making the move into a new industry. While it may seem daunting – especially if you graduated years ago, putting the time in and investing in your career is bound to pay off. It gives the green light to employers, signaling that you have been willing to gain the industry-specific knowledge that you need and that you are taking your transition seriously. Thinking of getting a diploma in Costume Design or itching to tackle an IT apprenticeship? There’s a wide array of choices to be found online and you can choose a course that best suits your lifestyle.

Get Out There And Network

When you’re looking to transition into a new role, it’s sometimes useful to reach out and meet people face-to-face. Networking can seem daunting, but with many of today’s vacancies being exclusively recruited from inside the company first, it may be worthwhile if someone within your industry can put a face to the name. This is also a great opportunity to meet some key-players and schedule informational interviews. These informal interviews are a less-pressurized way to meet those within your industry, learn valuable tidbits and glean some helpful advice from those who are already where you want to be.

Gain Some Experience

Volunteering in your chosen field can be a brilliant way for you to determine if the new career path you’ve chosen is actually right for you. While everything may look good on paper, there’s nothing better than experiencing what a typical day in your new career will look like, in real life. It’s also an organic way to build relationships with other people within your industry circle and make a name for yourself before applying for a full-time job.

Which Career Skills Do You Want To Master?

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When it comes to your career, you’re always going to want to make sure that you’re in control and on the right path. But that’s often so much easier said than done. Because we all often find ourselves just falling onto a life path. You’ll do what others want you to do, you’ll move to where others want you to do, you’ll put others’ needs above your own. And that’s just natural. But, at some point, when you realize that you want to be happy, you know that you need to make your own choices. And this is always the case when it comes to your career. Because it is YOUR career and you deserve to be happy in it! To do that you may want to start working on yourself and the key skills you have to be able to get to where you want to be. But what are they?

Self-Believe & Confidence

So first of all, you may just need confidence. Maybe you have no self-belief? Maybe you feel like an imposter? Then, you need to start believing in yourself. These tips on The Luxurialist may help you to build more confidence in your career. This could be to be able to push yourself and grow in your current career, or to be able to believe that you can change paths and have the career that you’ve always dreamt of.

Writing

When it comes to skills that can help you to develop in your career, writing is a popular skill that many want to work on. Because most jobs require a ton of writing. From emails and reports to analysis and even things like blog posts or social content – there’s a lot of writing that you may do on a daily basis. So, maybe you want to be more eloquent, or be able to develop your written communication methods to strengthen your career prospects.

Public Speaking

From here, you’ve then got public speaking. And we all know that public speaking is one of the aspects of life that most of us hate. Yet you may need to do it in your job at some point. So maybe you want to improve your public speaking skills now, so that you can make use of them later? Because overcoming this issue can help you to progress in your career.

Networking & Communications

Then, you’ve got the idea of getting better at your networking and communication skills. Maybe you want to do trade shows, with Steelhead Productions sets, so that you can grow your business? But you need the skills to actually get the most out of those experiences? Then you need to start talking to people in your industry, and just get comfortable with communicating.

Financial & Analytical

And then there’s the idea of improving your skills and knowledge with money and numbers. This is something that can be largely beneficial to almost anyone – no matter what industry or role you’re in. Because you’re going to deal with numbers at some point. Being able to analyze in the workplace is also so important. Here, teaching yourself about different analytical software is so important. But you could also look to take a course in financials to get a little stronger in this area.

3 Ways To Slay Your Next Interview

Resumes don’t get you hired, interviews do.

A solid resume is like having a driver’s license. It doesn’t mean you’re a good driver, but it qualifies you to be on the road.

As the traditional resume fades out, the need for strong interview skills becomes even more important.

Here are 3 ways to prepare for your next interview:

1. Do Your Research – This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. Viewing the company website, about us page and mission statement is a good place to start, but not enough. Search LinkedIn for current employees from the company, connect and ask them about their experience. While you’re there locate the recruiter posting the position and request a connection to increase your chances of your application being seen. Do informational interviews with workers in similar roles. Look on Glassdoor for company reviews, both pros and cons. Browse their social media presence to observe the culture and what current issues are being discussed. There’s too much public information out there to go into an interview blindly. Finding a role that fits today is as much about the cultural fit as it is about being your “dream job.”

2. Improve Self-Awareness – One question you’re guaranteed to be asked is “Tell me about your strengths” or “What is your greatest weakness?” (sometimes both) This comes down to how well you really know yourself. If you have a hard time answering either of these questions you clearly didn’t do your homework. No matter what role you’re applying for your strengths and weaknesses shouldn’t change. In fact, if you truly want to be remembered illustrate your strengths in a past example then spin your weakness into a strength. If you’re having trouble articulating what you do well take the StrengthsFinder assessment. It will give you 5 things you excel at and their belief is there is no such thing as weaknesses, just overdone strengths. The most successful leaders in any industry are self-aware. Let that marinate in your mind for a second.

3. Lengthen the ConversationWant to know when your chances of landing the role decrease the most? When your interview ends quickly. The dynamic of a strong interview can be dictated by you the interviewee IF facilitated right. Most applicants focus on answering the questions right, but once you realize it’s a conversation it becomes more about engagement than sheer information. There’s usually a point where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. This is your time to shine. Questions such as, “How did you find this company? What does a successful candidate look like in this role? What’s a great cultural fit here?” takes the focus off you and reveals what they’re truly looking for in a fit. The last position I got hired for included 4 interviews, the first 3 being fairly short (thought I was out of the running), but the final one lasted 90 minutes in which I was offered a contract on the spot. Treat your interviews like grabbing coffee with a friend. The more you have to talk about the less it is about what you say, but how you say it that people remember. Let’s be honest, if the interviewer(s) don’t like you, even if you’re a strong candidate, there’s no way you’re getting hired. Being likable won’t land you a job, but it also can give you a leg up on the competition.

Interviews can be tough, but your mental preparation can make the greatest difference. Like most things in life, practice may not result in perfect, but it sure makes for better. Remember confidence is built over time. Follow the steps above before your next interview and expect the best outcome to happen!

Turning The Page Forward On A New Chapter In Life

If you were part of a 4 x 100 relay team which leg would you run?

I’d be first out of the gates. I love the start.

When running a relay it’s common sense to not look back or you risk getting passed up.

But how often do we look back on our lives and dwell on mistakes, misfortunes and plain ol’ bad luck?

At a certain point, asking “why” something happened is the wrong question to ask.

Instead turn the page and focus on what’s in front of you.

One of the reasons I chose coaching as a career was because I hired one earlier in life. I loved how my coach worked on my agenda, goals and pace. Experiencing that from the client’s seat made me want to switch chairs so I eventually did.

Coaching is about the future, finding solutions and asking “how.”

Any time making a career transition it’s going to be tough starting over from scratch, but your mentality towards that change will make or break you.

Did you know it takes 200 applications to land a job on average, but only 10 connections via networking to find something new?

That means you have 20x better chance networking than job hunting to start your new career! #stopapplyingstartnetworking

There’s always fear of the unknown, but it’s more invigorating to chase after that shiny object than chase your tail.

Imagine driving on the freeway. How much time is spent looking ahead vs. in the rear view mirror (mostly for cops)? That analogy works for life.

Don’t waste your time looking back when you can be moving forward.

Starting a new chapter in life is about attitude. It’s what you can control 100%.

How Bad Examples Fuel Change

Every moment is a learning opportunity, even the bad ones..

When I started as an entrepreneur I knew networking was crucial to success so without hesitation I joined my local Chamber of Commerce. The first event I attended was in the patio of a local eatery dressed with free food and drinks.

There were two types of people there: veteran members who stood on the sidelines talking to each and newbies like me introducing myself to anyone who wasn’t in conversation. Reciting an elevator pitch, handing out business cards and trying to sell myself was my approach. I remember it being quite loud there so 50 business cards later I left forgetting who was who and quite hoarse from the night’s interactions. After I got home, decompressed and evaluated the event I questioned the purpose of it.

A month later I figured maybe I just had a bad experience and went to the next event in an office space. Less food, quieter ambiance and more intimate. But the results were the same. As I introduced myself to members, I felt judged. Did I need to earn their respect immediately by telling a recent conquest? It seemed like it would take a while to penetrate the walls of folded arms, so I decided to leave.

I said to myself, “If this is what networking is, I don’t want to do it anymore!”

A few years later I was in a slow season of business and knew I had to drum up some new contacts, but didn’t know how. As someone who loves to organize events, I knew what components both needed to be present and absent for actual “connecting” to happen. I met with a friend and shared my vision for this new type of networking event and he encouraged me to try it…so I did.

Career Synergy was a 90-minute, monthly networking event hosted at a local coffee shop after hours on the first Tuesday of the month geared towards young professionals. How did I decide on these details? Surveys and market research.

What I wanted: speakers rich with life experiences they wanted to share, scheduled small groups times during the meeting and a dedicated informal “connecting” time after the event (not before).

What I didn’t want: loud music, free food/drinks and unstructured networking before the event.

How I measured success: 25 events total ranging from 10 – 45 people. 90% of attendees stayed 30 minutes after the events to mingle with each other. I made friends and partnered together in events to this day.

The shift for me happened when I stopped complaining about past examples and created my own solution.

Once networking became a lifestyle instead of an “event” the quality and quantity of my connections increased.

To this day I set a goal to connect with at least one person a week over the phone or in-person (that’s with a full-time job, plus email is too easy of an option).

Your career is more about who you know than what you know, but if you focus on improving bad experiences there might actually be a business idea waiting to be launched!

Bad examples will occur, but the question is: will it sour you or fuel you to change?

Why Punctuality Makes My Blood Boil

boiling-point

Time is the most valuable currency, not money.

Everyone has the same amount, but we don’t use it the same.

Even before I was married and had kids, being on time mattered.

Efficiency is one of my top values and working smarter means maximizing your time.

But at a deeper level punctuality is about respect.

If time is the most valuable currency, being late means you’re wasting someone else’s time.

It’s time you can’t get back.

My roots were planted by my mom who is extremely reliable. When I was a kid if I asked her to do something and she committed to it, it would get done. It’s had a huge influence on my personality.

In the workplace punctuality is part of your reputation. When you’re late people notice. In fact I’d argue it’s a sign of integrity.

If a meeting starts at 8 AM and you’re late, it’s a slap in the face to the host.

Nobody’s perfect so an occasional slip up is fine, but habitual offenders become labeled.

Even since I joined the corporate world, I’ve continued to network online (LinkedIn), via phone and in-person on my lunch breaks. It’s more than a goal, it’s part of my lifestyle. The worst way to ruin a first impression is to show up late. I do my best to be early or on time.

So what if you lack punctuality?

You have a choice: talk about it or be about it.

Words are cheap. Actions are what matters. Don’t tell me, show me.

Most people believe being busy is a badge of honor. I disagree.

The more successful you become, the more in control of your time you should be.

Value your time by meeting with less people.

Value others’ time by showing up on time.

Valuing time means respecting others’.

What Networking Is And What It Isn’t

network

When I started my business almost 10 years ago I thought networking was something I had to do…so I did.

After joining my local Chamber of Commerce, attending two events feeling exhausted and unproductive I quit.

If this was what networking was, I didn’t want any part of it.

It wasn’t until 5 years ago I decided to create my own network event and quickly I learned the following:

What Networking Isn’t

Attending Events: Most networking events are focused around bars, loud music and free food. Not only is it hard to carry on a conversation in that setting, but you’ll find most people in two places – in small cliques with whom they came and/or near the free stuff. Last time I checked those aren’t ideal conditions for conversing.

Elevator pitch: Be prepared to tell someone what you do in 30 seconds or less. Even if you accomplish that feat, do you really believe someone is going to buy what you’re selling or hire you because of your answer? There’s no harm in professional clarity, but the result won’t end in a transaction.

Passing Out/Collecting Business Cards: Networking isn’t a competition. The distributor/collector of the most business cards loses. Contact information only comes in handy when a prospect is already looking for something you’re offering BEFORE they talk to you. Most attendees at networking events are looking/offering similar things. If you leave with less of your business cards or a collection of new ones, you haven’t accomplished much.

What Networking Is

Following Up: Networking is 10% the initial contact and 90% what you do after. Meeting someone is a lead, but following up makes them a potential connection. Marketing 101 says it takes the same message seen 7 times to sink in. No matter how charismatic you are, building a relationship takes time. If you’re not in it for the long-haul, you won’t get the results you desire.

Selling Yourself: A caveat a friend of mine said to me concerning networking is “if I like the way someone thinks, chances are I’ll keep in contact with him/her.” During a conversation you should be focused on selling you, not your product or service. Relationships have more to do with liking a person than any technical knowledge. Be likable. Share what you’re passionate about. Live with the results.

Connecting: The term networking has a negative connotation. It sounds like an exclusive club reserved for extraverts. In reality connecting is open to all. In fact, I’d argue that if done right introverts have an advantage because of their listening skills. Like dating, connecting happens over several interactions. My advice? Connect with as many people as possible and your odds start increasing in the numbers game.

Scott Asai is a speaker/coach that has been developing leaders for 20+ years – athletes, companies and individuals. His focus is helping people develop leadership skills to advance in their careers. Scott tends to attract a large audience of Millennials and Introverts to his programs/events. His professional background consists of: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach.

The University of Networking

Caerleon-Lawn-21

When I look back on my college career it was a waste of time and money.

This doesn’t mean college isn’t valuable (although that’s debatable), but it comes down to personal expectations.

Will college prepare me for my first job?

Will it provide me with the real world skills I need to succeed?

Does it give me an advantage over the competition?  

Answer: none of the above.

College is what you make of it. Looking back I should have cared less about passing my classes and more about who I was talking to in them. I’m not saying a classmate could get me a job, but they may be able to connect me to someone who could.

It wasn’t until several years later I learned the value of networking. Success always comes back to who you know. The smartest people aren’t always the most successful, but the most connected ones are.

Don’t confuse networking with manipulation. True networking is building a relationship. First impressions matter, but trust and rapport happen over time.

All my business mentors and professionals I respect have tremendous support systems around them. The right connections open doors you can’t.

You and I crave connections, we just don’t think of it in business terms. For example, if you have a better idea than an existing one instead of studying the competition, connect with them. If your solution is that great, customers will come to you.

I make it a goal of mine to reach out to new and re-connect with existing contacts weekly. Not because it’s something to check off my to-do list, but because I value knowing more people.

Focus on quality over quantity and networking becomes more about fostering relationships than increasing your connection count. Technology has allowed us to connect with people we would never have access to before. Take advantage of that and follow up.