June 2010

This Summer, Work Smarter, Not Harder

“Work hard and you will succeed”. With that maxim in mind, many of us spend long hours in the office struggling to get ahead in our careers. But is working harder the only way to get the results we want? What if instead of working harder we start working smarter and were even able to achieve better results with less effort?

Working smarter means being clear about our goals and what we set out to achieve. It also requires that we spend more time planning and thinking ahead rather than just diving headfirst into every new project.

Here are a few tips that may help you learn to work smarter rather than harder over the summer.

#1 Distinguish the times when you are productive from the times when you are just busy

We are most productive when we spend time building our careers or businesses. Therefore, it is vital that we identify those activities that really do add to our productivity and devote the majority of our time to them.

#2 Think and make choices

Spending most of our time on activities that produce these tangible results forces us to re-examine the tasks we select as our top priorities. Making the distinction between important tasks and those that can be put off until tomorrow is key to staying productive and maximizing our time.

#3 Learn to say “No”

The sad truth is that most people are afraid to say “no” to colleagues or clients for fear of appearing lazy, unreliable or even rude. Learn to say “no” now and you’ll have more time later to devote to those activities that have the biggest impact on your career or business.

Finally, it is important to remember that most people achieve 80% of their results from just 20% of their time. Knowing this and saying yes to those tasks that lead to the biggest results is fundamental to making the most of your time and energy.

To enjoy this summer, start working smarter instead of harder.

June 2010: Anthony Robbins in Rome

Experience an extraordinary training event and bring your most important personal and professional ambitions to life.

Hi-Performance is pleased to present UNLEASH THE POWER WITHIN, a three-day seminar with Tony Robbins taking place in Rome from June 24th to 27th, 2010.

Anthony Robbins, world No. 1 in the field of peak performance coaching, has been teaching global leaders, businessmen and world-class athletes his strategies for success for over 30 years. His clients include Bill Clinton, Quincy Jones, Serena Williams, and many others.

For more information about the event visit www.hiperformance.it/anthonyrobbins/en, call +39 06.36005152 or send an email to info@hiperformance.it.

How to Communicate with the Media

Communicate with the media requires an understanding of what today’s journalists are looking for. To make a journalist your best friend and get invaluable free media coverage, you need to be prepared.

With more than 10 years of Czech and foreign media experience, Cristina Muntean, former deputy editor-in-chief of the Czech Business Weekly, is here to help. Her know-how can help you prepare to deal with the media in English, Czech, French and Romanian.

You can reach her at cm@mediaintel.cz.

June 17-19 ICF European Coaching conference in Paris (www.eccparis2010.com)
June 22 Public Speaking Training: Present to Win or Prepare to Lose
June 24-27 Anthony Robbins in Rome (www.hiperformance.it/anthonyrobbins/en)
June 29 Power Lunch: Emotional Freedom
July & August Summer Break

Are You a Good Communicator, or Just a Good Speaker?

For thousands of years, people have used public speaking as a means of persuasion. Today, public speaking continues to thrive as the dominant form of communication in all parts of society, from politics to education to business to government and law.

Many people attend workshops to learn the fundamental rules of public speaking and presenting in front of a large audience. But how many of us apply these lessons to our everyday communication practices? Not the water-cooler chit-chat or catching up on yesterday’s scores, but the emails and phone calls and discussions we have that drive our companies or personal agendas forward.

When you know how to communicate effectively in those situations, your self-confidence increases and you develop stronger relationships that improve both your professional and personal life. And since communication affects every aspect of life, our challenge is to become more competent communicators by learning to interact in ways that are appropriate and effective.

We can do much of that by applying the disciplines of public speaking to one-on-one communication. Of course, unlike a prepared speech, we don’t always get to plan everything we want to say in casual situations. But, as with a formal presentation, it’s still important to know your audience, what message you want to convey, how best to convey that message, as well as be able to assess whether your message was understood.

Once you know these things, you have a foundation on which to communicate effectively. Then it’s a matter of doing your homework, creating the right message, using the proper delivery system, and assessing feedback.

To get started, let’s follow the advice of author and leadership authority Stephen Covey, who suggests “beginning with the end in mind.” Knowing the goal of your communication – the result you want it to have – allows you to focus on the other important criteria for effective communication.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE STARTING TO COMMUNICATE

  • What do I want this message to achieve?
  • Who is my audience and what do they need to know?
  • What is my message and what tone will make it most effective?
  • What is the best communication channel for my message?
  • How will I know if my message has been understood?

Knowing your audience – not just what their job is or their relationship to you, but also their motivations and mindsets – can be critical to communicating effectively. Advertisers know this very well, and spend a great deal of money researching their audiences to make sure their messages are delivered in exactly the right way.

It’s even more important for you, since you are going to see the people you communicate with on a regular basis, and all of them (yes, all of them) can affect your future. So you are responsible for communicating with them in clear and effective manner. To achieve this, you need to consider not only what you will say, but also how it will be received.

FACTORS THAT AFFECT HOW A MESSAGE IS RECEIVED

  • The words you use
  • The tone of your message
  • The timing of your delivery
  • The recipient’s mood

Many messages have been sunk by words and tone, and more than enough has been said by others about those two factors. Timing, though, can be just as critical. For example, if you need something important taken care of before the week is over, communicating that after lunch on Friday is not likely to produce the desired result. Even if it does, there will certainly be lingering repercussions.

Your recipient’s mood will also play a large role in how your communication is received. It’s always best to get a feel for that, especially if what you need to communicate is of a serious or censorious nature. No matter how careful you are with your words and tone, a person who is stressed or in a bad mood is not going to hear you the way you expect them to.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE?

In addition to the factors already discusses, in order to maximize your communication opportunity you need to choose the appropriate communication channel.

For simple and quick information email is often now the most practical channel. However, for more complex issues, email might lead to more questions. Picking up the phone or engaging someone face-to-face might be a better choice in those circumstances. The telephone might also be an option for more personal exchanges, because your voice imparts tone that written communication often cannot.

The most challenging communications, such as negotiations or reprimands, are best handled face-to-face, so that all feedback channels are available and you can adjust your words, tone and body language to greatest effect. Keep these factors in mind when deciding which communication channel is best:

  • How much detail you need to provide
  • The sensitivity and emotional content of the subject.
  • The receiver’s communication style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, detail-oriented, global)
  • How much time can or is the receiver willing to devote to your message

HOW CAN YOU BE SURE YOUR MESSAGE GOT ACROSS?

Without feedback you can never be sure that people have understood your message. One of the quickest feedback methods is to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers – some people prefer to be polite rather than to be honest.

The most “honest” feedback is usually shared though body language. According to Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, 55% of our communication is done via our body. Our bodies are the most important source of clues to the effectiveness of our communication, because they reveal things unconsciously. By carefully watching the facial expressions, gestures and posture of the person you’re communicating with, you will be able to notice:

  • How engaged they are with your communication
  • Whether they understand you or don’t fully grasp what you are trying to say
  • Whether they agree with you or not, and will respond as desired

As a speaker, understanding your listener’s body language can give you an opportunity to adjust your message and make it more understandable, appealing, or interesting. As a receiver/listener, the way the person speaks and moves can tell you a lot more about what the other person is saying. You can then ask questions to ensure that you have, indeed, understood each other. In both situations, you can better avoid miscommunication.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Becoming a competent communicator requires discipline and ongoing practice. You must be motivated to modify your current ways of communicating, learn more about the communication process and continually apply your knowledge. Not only will you then be able to send the right message in an appropriate manner, but you will also better understand the messages you receive.

It’s not so hard to do and it will eventually become second nature for you. The end result? Increased self-confidence and stronger relationships that will improve both your professional and personal life.