Develop These Self-Management Skills to Elevate Your Performance

Have you ever wondered what others think about your performance? Consider the people who have an active interest in how well you perform. This includes clients, partners, and even the way your reputation is viewed by those who would work with you in the future.

Are you presenting yourself as someone who gets results or are you unconsciously showing that you don’t have the ability to get the job done?

With more people working remotely, it’s important to develop necessary self-management skills to achieve key goals. This piece provides seven self-management skills needed to elevate your performance. Follow these tips and you’ll not only improve performance, but you’ll get the attention of those who are watching.

[1] Develop the Ability and Willingness to Hold Yourself Accountable

If you want to excel in business and life, then it’s important to develop critical self-management skills. One important self-management skill to develop is the ability and willingness to hold yourself accountable. If you say you’re going to do something, then make sure it gets done. Take ownership of your goals and the work needed to achieve them. In this video, I’ll share a tip on how you can easily hold yourself accountable to personal commitments and achieving your goals.

[2] Learn to Set Better Goals

Successful people know the importance of setting the right goals. Think about the people in your life. How many frequently set New Year’s Resolutions only to let them to fall to the wayside by Valentines’ Day? That’s just one particular goal but more than likely those people set poor goals the remainder of the year too. Here is a quick tip for constructing better goals.

[3] Improve Time Management by Eliminating Distractions

Every day we are bombarded by distractions. We live in a world filled with noisy disruptions, shiny objects, and frequent interruptions. Everywhere we turn, there is someone or something trying to steal our attention. This episode provides a quick coaching tip to improve time management by eliminating daily distractions that keep us from focusing on priorities. Apply these tips into your daily life to develop better self-management skills and increase productivity in business and life.

[4] Ask These Questions to Increase Motivation

Some people are motivated by external drivers such as money, praise, or purchasing material items. Others are motivated by internal drivers such as feelings of satisfaction, fulfillment, or personal achievement. It is also possible to be motivated by both depending on the situation. Have you ever thought about your personal drivers and what motivates you to achieve your goals? This episode will provide important questions to ask yourself to increase motivation.

[5] Learn to Move Forward by Adapting to Change

In this episode we discuss moving forward by learning how to adapt to change. As stated by Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” We’ll talk about developing flexibility by reframing the situation. In other words, learning to view the situation from a different perspective. The proverbial phrase, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” is a perfect example. The situation might not be ideal, but you can still make the most of it. Learn to be flexible and adjust course as needed, while continuing to drive forward towards your goal.

[6] Develop Coping Skills to Manage Stress

Playing at higher levels typically means having to deal with increased levels of stress. It naturally comes with the territory. Take a proactive approach to dealing with stress by utilizing coping skills and having healthy outlets to channel negative energy. Effective coping skills could include activities like listening to music, going for a walk, reading for pleasure, or exercising. In this episode, you’ll learn a simple coping skill to effectively manage stress and other unwanted negative emotions that can be used in all areas of life.

[7] Maximize You Growth with this Daily Habit

Learn how to maximize your growth by instituting a simple daily habit. If you want to sharpen your professional skills and grow as an individual, then it’s important to develop the habit of daily learning. Invest in your future by dedicating 30 minutes every day to learning something new. Advances in technology have afforded people the opportunity to learn from world class leaders and mentors any time of the day in a manner that is most convenient to them. Learning has never been easier.

Develop these seven self-management skills to get the results and recognition you deserve. Subscribe to the Daily Minute with Rich podcast and video series to receive tips delivered directly to your inbox.

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash


5 Ways to Be More Assertive in Daily Communication

Assertiveness is having the ability to recognize one’s own wants and needs, and the willingness to act on them in a clear and respectful way. It also means being able to recognize and express your feelings, views, beliefs, and personal choices in a firm and decisive manner.

This piece will focus on five ways to be more assertive in daily communication. Let’s begin by briefly identifying three distinct communication styles.

Aggressive communication style – These individuals are only concerned with themselves and getting what they want. They might resort to tactics like manipulation, guilting, bullying, or acts of force to get what they want.

Passive communication style – These individuals put the wants and needs of others before their own. They have difficulty saying “No” even if it brings inconvenience or hardship their way. They always have to please others.

Assertive communication style – These individuals have clearly defined wants and needs. They can confidently express their feelings, views, beliefs, and personal choices. They are firm, yet respectful, when making decisions even if it means saying “No” or disappointing someone.

What Do Your Personal Boundaries Say About You?

Curious to know what your personal boundaries say about you? Better yet, have you taken the time to set clear boundaries in your life? Being assertive means having the ability to clearly define and state your individual wants and needs. This includes having the capacity to express feelings, points of view, beliefs, and personal life choices in a respectful manner even when they differ from those nearby. Setting clear boundaries is a way of separating the things you choose to allow from all the things that are not allowed.



Know Your Priorities and Say No to Everything Else

Have you taken the time to set clear boundaries in your life? Being assertive means having the ability to clearly define your individual wants and needs. This includes welcoming the things that interest you and being able to comfortably and confidently say “no” to things that aren’t a good fit. If you have trouble saying “no” to others, then this episode will give you an easy-to-apply tip that it sure to help.



Are You Clear on Your Own Self-Worth?

When you know how valuable you are and what you deserve in life, then it becomes easier to attract the things you want. It also makes it a lot easier to say “no” to the things that don’t serve or interest you. Getting clear on your own self-worth is a powerful way to boost self-confidence, self-esteem, and will encourage more activities that promote self-love. Do you want to be happier in life and create greater life fulfillment? Take a step today towards realizing your worth as an individual.



Keeping Your Cool for Better Communication

No matter who you are, it can be stressful and stir unwanted negative emotions when having difficult conversations. In a recent DMWR episode we talked about saying “no” to activities and offers that don’t interest or benefit us, which can lead to feelings of anxiety. When we experience these unwanted negative feelings, communication can suffer. This episode talks about ways to keep calm during stressful situations to bring about better and more effective communication.



Everyday Steps to Be More Assertive in Life

For many passive communicators, the idea of being more assertive in life is a desirable goal but can seem like a destination that is a long way off. Here we will discuss everyday situations that will provide real-world opportunity for you to practice asserting yourself.



Use these simple tips to practice communicating in a more assertive way and start seeing dramatic changes in your life.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash


Make this Pandemic the Reason You Publish Your First Video

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects worldwide. You know this. I know this. We all know this. It has affected every area of life for billions of people and, for many of us, doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. The sad reality is we all know at least one local business that couldn’t sustain the catastrophic loss and made the heartbreaking decision to close its doors permanently.

During this time, we’ve seen many service-based businesses transform day-to-day operations and products, or pivot entirely, in order to survive these darker times. We’ve also witnessed certain industries modify their service and adjust to the circumstances to effectively wait out the storm.

A good example of visible brands who have done their best to modify how they operate would be some of our favorite talk shows, such as The View, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert billed as A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah billed as The Daily Social Distancing Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. The hosts and their respective production teams have proven once again that in this age of technology all we really need is good internet connection and a little ingenuity.

While it’s no secret that many of these show hosts have openly expressed frustration due to limited resources and creative opportunities, not to mention seeing more than a handful of technical difficulties and on-air snafus that would have normally been edited out, this could also serve as a glimmer of inspiration for many small business owners. The reason is, because most people think of talk show hosts as being television superstars. However, being a star on camera is a heck of a lot easier when you’re on a legit soundstage with an entire team of professionals handling all the technical details. It’s a completely different story when that same person is forced to record from the attic or spare bedroom and has to multitask handling the bulk of operations.

If these television heavyweights can put together enough content to cover multiple segments spanning anywhere from 20-40 minutes on a daily basis using only their laptops and smart devices coupled with downloadable software and free social media apps; then there’s no excuse for entrepreneurs who are hesitant to use these same readily available tools to communicate with their customers. Starting out, this could be a very simple three-minute video delivered on a weekly basis for the purpose of informing customers and building awareness. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be elaborate and this can be easily incorporated into your online marketing strategy.

For those that have been on the fence with video content creation or have been reluctant to start for one reason or another, then let this worldwide slowdown be the exact opportunity you’ve been waiting for to begin. Time is no longer a factor because the pandemic has afforded most of us more than enough time on our hands. As mentioned above, many nationally recognized and admired talk show hosts have openly shared their previously limited expertise with technology and the need for a crash course in software and social media tools if they had any hope of staying connected with their fans. They’ve also laughed about the many glitches and blunders with their makeshift home studios. If they can do this to reach their millions of viewers nationwide then you can do it to reach the people in your online sphere.

To help get the ball rolling, let’s focus our attention on three main areas.

[1] Choose content that your audience wants to know about.

Take a moment to think about those frequently asked questions that you receive. These could be common questions about your particular service, the industry in general, or typical problems and pain points of your ideal customers. Imagine someone approached you to ask one of these very common questions. How would you respond to address the individual’s concern? More than likely, you’ve answered this question so many times that providing a well-thought response would be second nature. Well, that’s all you’re doing with these informative and content rich videos for your audience. The only difference being that this conversation will be rehearsed and recorded for public consumption.

Typically, I’ll have my clients write down ten frequently asked questions or common problems their customers face. That’s all we need to begin. Once you have these ten key points written down, then it’s time to take a closer look at how you’ll structure and deliver the information.

[2] Choose a format that can be easily applied. Here are three basic video styles.

Q&A –Pose the frequently asked question at the beginning of the video and then provide your expert answer. Be sure to include supporting information for the sake of clarity. Remember your viewer probably doesn’t have your extensive background and knowledge base so keep it simple.

Did You Know –This informative style can be causal and even conversational as you express your message. You’ve probably started thousands of friendly discussions like this over your lifetime. Use this format to build awareness with your audience.

How to –Just as it sounds, this format shows the person how to do something. It may sound counterintuitive because you’re essentially teaching the person how to do something, that you would normally be paid to do. But that’s the beauty of it. By doing this, you are teaching the viewer how to do an easier and smaller job, perhaps even one that you wouldn’t have the time to do, which establishes credibility and proves you are an expert because you just solved the problem in front of their eyes. Empowering your audience to learn more about your work establishes trust and builds rapport, plus it increases the likelihood that they will return for more direct assistance when they need help solving those bigger and more complex issues.

[3] Press the red button.

The final piece is to actually record the video. You are the expert. You know the material. Take a deep calming breath and start recording. If you need a small notecard nearby to stay on track, then use it. If you mess up and need to record it again, then keep trying until you’re satisfied with the final product. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be professional. Practice makes progress. Like anything in life, the more you do it the better you’ll become. In the beginning the videos might take a little bit longer until you find your flow and delivery style. This will come in time. Stay focused on the objective, which is to create a premium piece of original content that will educate your audience and provide an opportunity to engage in a personal and direct manner.

Creating original content like this allows you to build value and stay connected with your audience. It provides a platform to demonstrate your skills and expertise. You won’t need to tell them that you’re an expert because you’ll be demonstrating your proficiency right in front of them. Actions speak louder than words and this will prove how good you are with every new video published.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this pandemic will be going away anytime soon and the medical experts emphasize the need for flexibility and frequent adjustments. But you can use this time to differentiate yourself as a proven leader in your market by creating video content that attracts your ideal customers. Keep the conversation going by engaging with viewers and build your online community. Use this opportunity to turn misfortune into the golden ticket that strengthens your business and keeps customers coming back for more.

This article originally published on Entrepreneur


Position Yourself as a Pro Worth Knowing on Social Media

Spend more than five minutes on the social media channel of your choice and you’ll find no shortage of experts clamoring for attention and boasting the secret formula to creating immediate celebrity status.

This type of marketing is attractive to new entrepreneurs, who may not know any better, and certainly appeals to those looking for short cuts. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to attain instant name recognition and fast track success?

The reality is there isn’t a short cut. It takes effort. Rather than wasting time trying to rout out magic pills, focus your attention on tried-and-true formulas for getting people to become interested in you. Pick up a copy of the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and apply his teachings. Originally published in 1936, the masterpiece is as relevant today as the day it was written. If you’ve already read it once, then read it again. It’s just as good the second time around.

One of the first things that struck me while reading Carnegie’s words many years ago was that the themes weren’t complex at all. In fact, many of the guiding principles outlined throughout the seminal work were ideas we learned as children.

When it comes to using social media for business purposes, there are a few fairly simple ways to get people interested in you and what you have to offer. In the spirit of keeping things simple, here are five ways to position yourself as a professional worth knowing.

[1] Project the right image

Think about the way you want to be perceived by others. How do you want them to see you? Your answer should guide the way you present yourself. If you’re like me then, as a child, some caring adult repeated the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover,” which is a good principle to live by. But the reality is that we still make judgements about others every day. These snap judgements can be based on any number of things such as appearance, affiliations, or the language used in posts and on profile pages. To make a positive first impression when connecting online, it’s important to project the right image. Choose a professional looking headshot as a profile image and be mindful of the wording used in communication.

Imagine only having ten seconds to make a dynamic first impression. If your ideal client goes to your website or social media profile right now, will the person be impressed? Does your page project the image your ideal customers are looking for or is it repelling them away?

[2] Level up your connection game

When meeting someone for the first time in real life, common courtesy is to extend a friendly greeting or welcoming gesture and offer a short introduction. Do the same thing in the digital space. After connecting with someone on social media, send a brief personalized greeting to thank the individual for connecting. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but should be genuine. This can be easily achieved within three sentences. Put a little extra emphasis on the social component of your social media experience. This is also an opportunity to make a great first impression.

[3] Build a relationship based on value

People buy from those they know, like, and trust. The way we develop business relationships is no different from any other type of relationship. While the context and circumstances may differ, the approach is the same. First we become familiar with the individual, then establish common ground, and finally develop confidence in the person having our best interests in mind. This is a process and can take time depending on a person’s criteria for developing relationships.

Don’t try and sell your products and services the moment you connect with someone as this can come off pushy or insincere. This is like asking someone for sex upon first meeting. While you may not get a slap in the face for trying to sell your product, it’s likely to make a bad first impression.

[4] Respect boundaries and privacy

In the digital space, a person’s email address is a highly valuable piece of information. It marks a direct line of communication to the individual. A person could miss an ad or special promotion on a given platform but sending content straight to the person’s inbox gives the recipient an opportunity to view the information when it’s most convenient. However, this is a privilege that should be given by the potential customer not taken by the business.

For example, most social platforms include a “contact” area or button that provides the profile owner’s email address for private connection. While the user has posted this information to welcome direct communication, it doesn’t grant permission to be unknowingly added to a marketing list without proper consent.  Good intentions are not an excuse for adding someone to a mailing list without their knowledge. Show that you have their best interests in mind by respecting boundaries and earn the privilege of marketing your brand directly to the individual.

[5] Deliver a clear message

Pick a niche and stick with it. Avoid trying to be a jack of all trades. Remember, when you try to help everyone then you end up helping no one. If you’re a health coach, then focus on giving tips that will help your audience create and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’re a relationship expert, then offer advice that couples can use to strengthen their love for each other. If you’re a chef, then share recipes that will tantalize your viewers’ taste buds. Don’t be a health expert on Mondays and a cryptocurrency advisor on Tuesdays, as this will only confuse your audience.

In the event that you have multiple unrelated areas of expertise then separate the messages by giving each its own distinct website or social media presence. This way when viewers land on your page they will find the specialized content they are seeking rather than having to sort through a smorgasbord of information.

These tips are easy to remember and simple to employ. Incorporate them in your daily online experience and start positioning yourself as a professional worth knowing.

This article originally published on Entrepreneur

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash


How to Strategically Engage Your Audience to Expand Your Social Media Biosphere

There are millions of social media users. There are over four billion daily internet users. These days it’s vital to business growth and longevity to have a social media presence. But just being on social media isn’t enough.

Over the years, I’ve known countless business owners who set up their social media account under the Field of Dreams mentality. Do you remember that fan-favorite movie? If not, here’s a recap. A farmer (played by Kevin Costner) is tending to his crops when he hears a mysterious voice from the cornfield that says, “if you build it, he will come.” Long story short, the farmer listens to the voice and builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. Eventually this magical baseball field becomes populated by the spirits of great players who come back to the land of the living just to play ball. Once the word gets out, people start coming in droves to watch these legends in action.

That’s the difference between movie magic and real life. In the movies we always get that desirable happy ending. However, that isn’t necessarily the case in real life. Sure, anybody can start a business but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be profitable. Likewise, anybody can create a social media profile for online visibility but that doesn’t mean that people are automatically going to “like,” “follow,” or “subscribe” just because your page exists online.

You’re going to need to put a strategy in place and this is where I can help you.

First things first. If you’re expecting people to pay for your services and products, then it’s up to you to provide solid proof that you are deserving of their hard-earned money. You can start doing this by positioning yourself as a recognized and trusted expert. Let them see that you take your business seriously. Project this air of professionalism in your branding, image, and messaging.

Here are three ways to optimize your social media strategy and start building your online biosphere.

1. Get Clear on Your Audience
Where can you find your audience?
Where do these people hang out online?
Which channels are they primarily using?
Can you find them easily?

There are so many social media platforms to choose from that it’s easy to get lost and confused. Remember, you don’t need to be on every single platform. Unless you have a big marketing, budget and can afford to have a large team of people managing multiple accounts then focus your attention where it matters most. Master one platform before moving on. Don’t be a jack of all trades.

2. Engage with Your Audience
There’s nothing worse than seeing a business failing to interact with its audience. (Okay – there are worse business practices and faux pas to be guilty of, but this is still pretty bad.) Spend A few minutes each day responding to comments, answering questions, and building relationships with your audience. Don’t become fixated on the numbers. Focus on quality over quantity.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs complaining that they don’t have enough followers. These people want thousands of followers while ignoring the hundred of people already there. If you can’t speak to a small room, then you’ll never be able to communicate to a packed arena.

3. Be Yourself
Authenticity goes a long way. Don’t mimic others. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Just be yourself. It’ll make things so much simpler than trying to maintain a façade just to impress others.

Incorporate these three tips into your social media strategy and make it a regular practice. You don’t need to be on social media all day long. Manage your time wisely. Engaging with your audience a few minutes a day will go a long way to building a strong online following and community.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash


3 Ways to Share Your Message and Be Seen as an Authority Figure

As an entrepreneur, communicating your message effectively is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business. This is how your potential customers will learn about your business and the services you offer. This is also how existing customers will learn about advanced services, new products, and special offerings.

People buy from those they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.

First, they must know that you exist in this ever growing and crowded business space. If they’ve never heard of your business, then how can they buy from you? To be frank, they can’t. It’s that simple. This is why you need to start sharing your message with existing and potential new customers on a regular basis.

Once these people are aware of your business, then you must give them an opportunity to like you. I’m not talking about a superficial “like” on Facebook. I’m talking about a level of active interest and attraction to your business. You’re cultivating a relationship. Think about the relationships in your life. There are some people you really like and enjoy being around but there are others that you avoid. Sharing your message with the right people will help you build a relationship that will lead to a win/win for you both.

Finally, you must establish and build trust. You want them to invest (money) in purchasing services and products but you must show them that you are worthy of this investment. They must firmly believe that you have their best interests in mind and that you can help solve their problems and make life easier. As noted above, authenticity is key. Integrity is a big part of this. That’s why it’s important to project yourself as both a knowledgeable authority figure but also a trustworthy and upstanding entrepreneur.

Here are three powerful ways to communicate your message and position yourself as an authority figure:

If you enjoy writing, then blogging is a highly effective way to begin positioning yourself as a recognized and trusted expert. This can take many forms. Launch your own blog or submit your work to be featured on established websites and online magazines. You can also share content across social channels. Believe it or not, you can use social media for more than just sharing cat videos and taking online quizzes to find out which Star Wars character you are.

Do you enjoy speaking on camera? If so, then vlogging is for you. Most major social media channels allow for video recording and publication. Currently many even have recording capability built into their platform features. As a vlogger, you can prerecord and edit the content to your liking or shoot a video on the fly and upload instantly. The most daring and confident will also enjoy using the Live Broadcast feature, which allows the user to engage with the audience in real time.

The podcast industry is booming right now. Get interviewed as a featured expert or launch your own show and define yourself as the go-to source of information in your niche market. Did you know that people who listen to podcasts are more likely to earn over $75,000 a year? A majority of listeners are avid fans, meaning they consume multiple episodes a week and listen through most of the show. These listeners are interested in learning and growth and have the means to invest in professional services that will help them attain their goals.

There are many cost-efficient options for new podcasters who are looking to get into the industry without spending a ton of money up front. Even if you’re not interested in hosting your own show, there will be a never-ending supply of great niche specific podcasts that you can pitch to be featured as an expert guest.

I go into greater detail on this subject in my “How to Get Featured on PodcastsMASTER CLASS where I’ll take you step-by-step through the entire process and show you how to properly research and make selections based on key demographics, design your media kit, and create your perfect pitch not to mention all the details in between.

Whichever medium you choose, focus on the path that resonates best with you. Select one or make it a combination to reach a wider audience. The important thing is that you play to your strengths so others see you in the best light and you can begin to position yourself as a credible and respected authority figure.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash


5 Ways to Communicate with Purpose

Living in these times we need true leadership more than anything. We need this on the world stage, within our local communities, and at home. Real leadership isn’t about having a fancy title, big office, or the amount of authority we hold. It’s a conscious attitude, demeanor, and ability to bring out the very best in those we serve. This includes the way we go about engaging with others.

To be an effective leader one must develop strong communication skills. Human beings are social creatures, so it only seems fitting that we learn to develop these skills to use in our daily lives. The guiding communication principles employed in the corporate setting to motivate the team before the big product launch are the same ones used to get your four-year-old to clean up his toys before bedtime. The main difference would be the manner in which you communicate the intended message.

Here are five things you need to know about communicating with purpose:

1. Be a Good Listener
Being an effective leader means having the ability and willingness to address the wants and needs of those in your charge. It means putting aside pride and ego for a moment and allowing the other person to speak.

During this time we must listen – to listen – and actually comprehend the meaning and intention of the message being conveyed, rather than simply waiting for our turn to retort.

2. Be Authentic
Be open, be genuine, and be who you really are. Nobody likes an authority figure who wears a mask or comes off as being fake. People aren’t stupid and they can easily spot an imposter. Don’t be afraid to admit your flaws, after all, you’re only human. Show who you really are and people will respect and love you for it.

3. Make Your Intentions Clear
Say what you mean and mean what you say. State what you want clearly and appropriately. Whether you’re directing a subordinate or collaborator on next steps of the project, redirecting a young child to encourage appropriate behavior, or having those private and more intimate moments with a partner; choose direct communication over ambiguity. Never assume the other person knows what you want.

Maybe you feel that the other person should know and perhaps you can even provide ample justification to support your stance, but at the end of the day those are simply your feelings and that doesn’t necessarily correlate with the reality of whether that person actually knows. That being said, do yourself a favor and make your intentions clear from the beginning.

4. Speak to Empower
Think about the people around you. There are countless individuals who look to you for advice and turn to you for suggestions. Not to mention the fact that there are probably many others who quietly observe your behavior but may be too timid to ask for help.

Maybe they’re currently going through some trial or tribulation that you’ve already overcome, yet they are embarrassed to ask for help. Become a keen observer of the world around you and provide words of encouragement following a job well done. Praise the individual(s) responsible or the team as a whole and make the celebration about their efforts not about your ego.

If you notice someone struggling, then offer guidance while still allowing the person to take responsibility by tending to the completion of the task. Doing so will empower the person with regard to the current situation and boost confidence for future obstacles.

5. Lead By Example
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, “well done is better than well said.” Don’t be a man who only talks of the things he will do. Be the man who takes initiative and does them. Allow your actions and deeds to speak for you.

Make sure to walk your talk. We’ve all witnessed that person whose words and actions weren’t congruent. That person didn’t maintain the “lead by example” motto but rather the hypocritical stance of “do as I say and not as I do.”

If you’ve ever known someone who operated from this position then take a moment to think about what was actually being communicated. Whatever it was, it probably wasn’t anything good. Be the man whose actions and deeds are conveying the right message to the intended recipient.

Incorporate these simple practices into your daily life and start communicating in a more purposeful and meaningful way. Be mindful of the fact that I chose to use the word “practice” for a reason. These are things that we must do consistently to perform with clear and conscious intent.

Are you communicating clearly?

This piece was originally published on The Good Men Project

Photo by Product School on Unsplash



11 Things to Never Say During Your Performance Review

Between the feeling of being thrust into the spotlight, the one-on-one setting with your manager and the gravity of what’s at stake, performance reviews can feel pretty uncomfortable. And when you’re made to feel uncomfortable, sometimes you aren’t always the most conscious of (or careful with) your words. But if there’s one time that you want to communicate effectively, it’s then. After all, your performance review is often the one chance you get to push for a raise, secure a promotion or even save your job.

To make sure that you don’t unintentionally sabotage yourself, we’ve put together a list of things that you’ll want to avoid saying. Steer clear of these words, and you’ll be that much closer to passing your performance review with flying colors.

1. “That wasn’t my fault”

It’s human nature to defend yourself. But when it comes to your performance review, check your ego at the door.

“Now is not the time to go into a long explanation about why a mistake wasn’t your fault… Even if it’s the truth, it makes you look unprofessional, vindictive and lacking self-awareness,” says career coach Jena Viviano. “Instead of saying it wasn’t your fault say, ‘I appreciate the feedback and that is definitely something I’m working on for the future… Now probably isn’t the time, but perhaps we can schedule another time to discuss.’ This gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts, come to the table calmly and pragmatically explain the incident.”

2. “Yes, yes, yes”

While you don’t want to dismiss your manager’s feedback, being too quick to say yes isn’t the right move either.

“‘Yessing’ your manager to death might seem like a good way to appear agreeable, but nothing could be further from the truth. True leaders are not yes people nor do they like to surround themselves with yes people,” says Scott Stenzler, founding partner of recruiting firm Atlas Search. “Research shows that yes people tend not to think independently, can be intellectually dishonest, lack sincerity and often add little to no value to the organization.”

Instead of simply “yessing,” show your manager that you understand and acknowledge their feedback.

“Let your manager finish their thought. Don’t eagerly chime in before they finish speaking — instead, pause momentarily to make sure they’re done, which has the double benefit of indicating that you’re carefully considering their point, and only then let them know you agree,” Stenzler recommends. “But most importantly, be sure to follow it up with all the reasons why you agree.”

3. “You said/you did…”

It’s communication 101 — when discussing a sensitive topic, never lead with “you” statements. In a performance review, this might include statements like “you said I was going to get a raise,” “you didn’t clearly outline expectations,” etc.

“’You’ statements can come across as accusatory and blame ridden,” says Jen Brown, Founder + Director, The Engaging Educator. “Instead of ‘you,’ focus on ‘I’ — I understood, I’m confused, I’d like to discuss.”

4. “But…”

Going one step further, adding a “but” can be even more antagonizing.

“When you couple a ‘you’ statement with the word ‘but,’ you’ve created an argument,” Brown says. “For example, if you said… ‘You said [x], but I think [y],’ you’ve elevated your own opinion above the other, leading to a confrontational situation” — the last thing you want during a performance review.

To get your point across in a non-confrontational manner, you only need to make a small tweak.

“Instead of ‘but,’ the word ‘and’ works just as well,” Brown says. “Taking the above example again, the conversation could sound like: ‘I heard you say [x] and I’ve been thinking [y], can we discuss this further?’ [This] will open conversation instead of elevating one opinion above another.”

5. “It was really a team effort”

Lots of people have trouble taking a compliment. But if there’s one time you don’t want that to happen, it’s during your performance review — your number one moment to prove the value that you bring to your company.

“Although it’s important to give credit where credit is due, it’s equally important not to deflect your personal accomplishments to other people,” says April Klimkiewicz, career coach and owner of bliss evolution. “If your supervisor is congratulating you on a job well done, say ‘Thank you! With the help of the team, I was able to accomplish the goals we set forth. I’m very proud of this accomplishment.’”

6. “This isn’t fair”

This phrase is better suited for the elementary school playground than the office.

“Aside from sounding like a child, the idea of something being ‘fair’ in the workplace is pretty subjective and emotional,” Brown says. “Think about why you feel it isn’t fair. Use specific language to define what isn’t fair — and if you keep getting back to ‘It isn’t fair,’ maybe you have hurt feelings.”

“These are valid — just be sure to temper the emotional response with facts, especially in a review,” Brown continues.

7. “Can I have a raise?”

Let me be clear — your performance review is absolutely a great time to make your case for a raise, but asking for it point-blank like this is probably not going to convince anyone.

“Now is not the time to say you need a raise. Now is the time to prove and show you deserve a raise. There is a big difference,” Viviano says. “Come to your performance review with a clear understanding of your accomplishments and how they’ve provided results for the company. Then when it comes for you to speak during your review, talk about the things you’ve accomplished that you’d like to highlight.”

Once you’ve proven your value, you can talk about why you deserve a raise.

8. “That’s not part of my job description”

It might not be written in your job description, but if you want to be seen as a top performer, going above and beyond to help from time to time never hurt.

“Almost every job description ends with, ‘and other duties as assigned.’ Stating that some function is not part of your job description can make it look like you’re trying to shirk work,” Klimkiewicz says. “Instead, be a team player and let your supervisor know you were not clear that particular duty was expected of you, but now that you know, you’ll be taking it on.”

9. “What about so-and-so?”

There’s a time and a place to bring up concerns about a colleague to your manager, but your performance review isn’t it.

“When you talk about people who aren’t there, you’re avoiding the relationship in front of you. It’s really easy to talk about another person when they aren’t there,” Brown says. “Instead of deflecting, think about why you are bringing someone else up. Are you apprehensive? Are you trying to avoid the real meat of the situation? Reflect on the why and address the real issue.”

10. “I know”

Again, recognizing the feedback that your manager gives you is crucial, but a statement like “I know” can come off the wrong way.

“This can sound defensive to your supervisor when they are trying to give you constructive feedback,” Klimkiewicz says.

“Keep in mind that ‘I know’ can be heard as ‘so what.’ And if you say ‘I know’ enough, then you run the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, which is not a good look,” Stenzler adds. In addition, “if you recognize there’s an area where you can improve, but acknowledge it by only saying ‘I know,’ then all you have accomplished is making it clear that you see there’s a problem but don’t care enough to find a solution,” he says.

Instead, Stenzler suggests “[coming] to your performance review prepared with a clear set of actions which you have implemented, or plan to implement to remediate that weakness. Be prepared to explain why some things worked and why others didn’t. Your manager took the time to prepare for the review, you should, too.”

11. “I’m not good at that”  

Performance reviews are all about growth, and phrases like this show an unwillingness to change and develop.

“In Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking book Mindset, she teaches that the most successful executives are the ones who are able to move slightly outside of their comfort zone… Our clients, the companies we place people with, always report a higher rate of success hiring professionals who employ a growth mindset,” Stenzler shares. “Let your manager know that you are willing to take on new responsibilities and are prepared to put in the hard work to grow into increasingly challenging roles within your organization.”

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Your First Instagram Video is Only 60 Seconds Away

A while back I conducted an informal survey of entrepreneurs in my network using Instagram. The reason is because I saw a lot of these people using social media for business purposes, but I also noticed a good amount who seemed to be absent online. Many of these individuals took that first step and created a profile to promote their business but seemed to fall off soon afterwards. The bio area stated: “owner of (such and such) business” but that was extent of it. Aside from a few random quotes, shared content from industry gurus, and a handful of photos from a past training there was nothing in terms of showcasing expertise or building value with their audience.

Since I’m a curious guy, I decided to reach out and open up a dialogue to find out what’s going on and why they weren’t sharing their message online.

Here are a few of the responses received:

  • I’m afraid to mess up
  • I want to but I talk myself out of pressing the record button each time
  • There are so many other people more qualified than me
  • I’m afraid of criticism
  • I always choke when it comes time to speak in front of people
  • I know I’m good but I don’t consider myself an expert
  • I always lose my train of thought when I’m speaking
  • I don’t know how to deliver my message in under 60 seconds and still make an impact
  • I get too stressed out
  • I get nervous and always make mistakes and then I get frustrated
  • I’m afraid people will laugh at my videos and not take me seriously

Do any of those statements sound familiar?

If you’ve had similar thoughts and realize that this is what has been stopping you from sharing your message with your audience then let me reassure you that you’re not alone. These examples were taken from actual comments made to public posts on my Instagram profile as well as a few private follow-up exchanges through direct message.

The good news for you is, if any of these are still holding you back then that stops today because I’m going to give you a simple method that you can use to overcome these and many other obstacles.

Please note that the specifics of this article are directly related towards Instagram’s standard sixty-second video format. However, this basic tactic can be easily modified and used as a foundation for most other short form video content that you want published across social media.

Standard Instagram videos have a 60-second time limit. A few years ago, Instagram rolled out their IGTV platform that allows users to upload much longer content but for our purposes we are going to focus solely on creating these shorter videos that fit nicely within the 60 second limit. Though brief, this window is just enough time to clearly express a direct message to the viewer without feeling the stress often associated with not knowing what to say next, which makes it a great place to start for entrepreneurs just getting into developing video content.

Sharing your message on Instagram gives you the opportunity to deliver incredible value for your audience and build brand authority. Being new to sharing original content, you can find comfort in the fact that “having enough to say” will never be an issue. Everybody, regardless of experience, can speak for 60 seconds on a given topic. And if you want to be technical, simply starting each video with a warm welcome and closing with a friendly salutation is going to eat up about 7-10 seconds alone, which means now you only have to focus on 50 seconds of actual content!

Is your mind blown yet?

All of a sudden that big hairy scary monster seems just a little less frightening now.

We know that we only have 60 seconds to work with – minus any time for your smiling welcome in the beginning and wishing your audience well at the end – so how do you create a video that your people will find valuable and want to keep coming back for more?

It’s a task made easy when you use the Sticky Note Method, and YES, it’s as simple as it sounds. Your video will consist of the amount of information that you can fit comfortably on a regular sized sticky note. That’s right. All it takes is a commonly found sticky note available at any office supply store and the ability to write a few key bullet points to stay on track.

Here it is in a nutshell:

STEP 1: Jot down a few key speaking points on the reverse (sticky) side of the post. As a personal preference, I prefer to keep the sticky portion on the bottom.

STEP 2: Fix the sticky note to the backside of your phone or mobile recording device so that you can read the bullet points. This will also help to stay focused and avoid rambling or getting sidetracked while speaking.

STEP 3: Press the red record button and make it happen!

If you mess up the first time and need to do it in two takes, then do it in two takes. If you need three takes to nail it the way you want it then do it in three takes. It doesn’t matter how many takes you need to get the premium product. The only thing that matters is publishing a solid piece of video content for your audience.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

We all have to start somewhere. Make this your beginning point and get started today. Pretty soon you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll be creating awesome videos off the cuff in no time at all.


You Can’t Make a Difference Sitting in Silence

You have a unique message to share. As you’re reading this right now, I can safely assume that you are on a mission to make a big difference. You want to make a difference for yourself, your family, and in the world. This is why you started your business. Regardless of the specific industry, you provide valuable services and goods that will transform the lives of those who receive them. You made the decision to carve your own distinct path in order to make an impact in the way that you see fit, and ultimately, leave a legacy that will bring pride to your family.

However the desire to make a difference isn’t enough. In fact, coupling this well-intended desire with valuable services and products isn’t enough either. It’s only a starting point. The simple reasoning behind this is because you can be the finest at what you do and have the absolute best intentions to do good for others, but if nobody knows who you are then it will all be for naught.

If you are to truly make a big impact by helping others then it’s paramount that you share a clearly defined message with the right target audience. Otherwise, how could these potential customers truly benefit? The answer is – they can’t.

Put yourself out there. Don’t sit quietly in your little corner of the digital marketplace. Silence isn’t serving. Isn’t it about time for you to step into the spotlight?

The following selection includes three key areas to focus on as you shift from sitting in silence to standing in the spotlight.

  1. Get clear on your mission.

You and I can both make a big impact but we can also have two completely different ways of going about it. Gain clarity on your distinct path.
Who do you serve?
What problems and pain points do these people have?
How do you solve this problem?
What key strengths can you tap into to optimize your efforts?
What makes your business unique when compared to others in your industry?

  1. Take action by sharing your message.

People buy from those that they know, like, and trust. The only way to ensure hitting these critical points is by creating an open dialogue with the audience to establish and build a meaningful relationship. Discuss how your services and products solve the painful issues and problems of your valued customers. Share powerfully relevant stories, such as your own personal triumphs overcoming similar issues or the testimonials of happy clients.  Be consistent with your efforts by creating an ongoing conversation. If you’re not making an effort to communicate with your audience then they’re not going to be able to learn about the important services and products that can help them.  When you’re not doing this, rest assured that your competitors will be ready to step in and fill the void in your absence.

  1. Position yourself as a recognized expert.

One way to do this is to actively seek out opportunities to be featured in the media. An example would be subscribing to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) in order to lend your particular expertise and insights to reporters working on related stories. The reporter’s job is to deliver relevant information and important details to the reader but this requires proper research. The HARO online forum provides journalists the opportunity to connect with the experts who can help answer questions or offer additional information for the benefit of the reader.

Another thing you can do is start pitching media outlets for interviews, leveraging the publicity as a visible and regular part of your marketing strategy. If you’re just starting out, then focus your attention on podcasts and web shows because these will be much easier to land than mainstream sources like TV and radio. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t pitch the more traditional media outlets, but they are generally more selective with guests to be interviewed and typically only feature those with status and established credibility. If you’re still building your media profile then concentrate immediate efforts to getting on podcasts and web shows. This will be an easier and more receptive avenue to launch yourself in the short term so that you can bolster the credibility mainstream media demands.

It is now more affordable than ever to host a podcast. What once required extensive knowledge and a substantial monetary investment can now be realized with downloadable apps and commercially available equipment that can be modestly purchased by the average consumer. As of 2018, Apple confirmed there were over 550,000 podcasts and some sources believe that, only two years later, the number has already crossed the 1,000,000 marker. That is huge growth and it doesn’t seem to be slowing, which is great news for entrepreneurs who want to step into the spotlight and be seen as an authority figure in their industry. If that’s you, then take advantage of this tremendous opportunity and make it a reality.

This is no time to remain silent. Open up the lines of communication with your audience and strengthen your relationship. Don’t expect them to figure it out all on their own. Share your message. Show them why you understand their struggles by talking about relatable success stories. If you truly want to make a bigger impact in the world then now is the time to step up and be vocal.

The mic is on and the spotlight is aimed at center stage.

Are you ready to step up and say something meaningful?



Photo by Maria Krisanova on Unsplash