Thursday, January 29, 2015

Waiting On the External

The mark of mediocrity:

"When X happens, then I'll to do Y."

We are never in control of the world around us and there is never a right time for anything. Waiting until a list of external factors lines up to start something is a surefire way to live a life fueled by distraction and ultimately regret.

Originally published March 2013

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Expectations of Capacity

True leaders ask hard questions. They don’t necessarily love tough conversations, but they don’t shy away from them. And they push you to be better, whether you believe in your capacity in the same way they do or not.

You may underestimate yourself, but a great leader won’t. How we lead needs to reflect this as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When The Rah-Rah Fades

It’s the end of January and, for many, the rah-rah high-energy that a new year brings is fading.

I’m not here to tell you how to get your groove back, but instead that sometimes it’s okay to just have a day. Not every day has to be spectacular, not every day has to be over the top positive and cheerleaderish. A day can just be a day.

It’s important to remember on days like this to take care of yourself and others as though the day were one of your favorites. This doesn't mean acting like a fake-it-till-you-make-it pollyanna, but rather not letting things slide. If you work from home and don't have a specific business-required dress code, dress in whatever way makes you feel most empowered (for some that’s yoga pants and a top-knot, for some that means a dress and heels), eat well, and tackle your to-do list.

The people who make it in the long-term — who avoid burn out — are the ones who allow days to be whatever they are and show up regardless of whether they feel like it or not.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Secrets of Public Speaking :: No. 4

Dress well. This one is perhaps the most controversial, but it matters. Your audience will decide if you are worth listening to in the first three seconds of you taking the stage. Not the first three seconds after you open your mouth — but the first three seconds of you taking the stage. How you look matters — whether you like it or not, whether you think it’s fair or not, whether you think it’s sexist or intellectually stunted or unspiritual or whatever. Your personal opinion on the topic does not change how the human brain functions.

If you want people to take the content of your presentation seriously, you need to look put together and professional. Most of the points here apply to women, but a few apply to men as well:

Get your hair professionally blown out or learn how to do it well yourself. If you’re presenting with heavy stage lights or being filmed, consider professional makeup. This isn’t vain — lighting translates skin pigment differently.

This is one I learned from studying music growing up: if you are sitting on stage, or are sitting on a stool for a panel, the audience can see straight up your skirt if it is not knee-length or longer. People may be too polite to say something about it to you, but they will talk about it.

Pack a back-up outfit. This one I learned the hard way: I had picked up a new dress from the dry cleaner, threw it in my suitcase still in the plastic wrap, only to discover a few hours before my presentation and with no stores yet open that the dry cleaner had shrunk it. I put it on, looked in the mirror and burst into tears: I looked like a sausage. With no other options, I had to wear the dress and was mortified the entire day.

If your outfit or suit gets wrinkled in your luggage, have the hotel you’re staying at professionally steam or press it for you.

Travel in something you can also speak in if your luggage gets lost (including a carry on you may have to gate check) and always carry your makeup in your personal carry on. As a bonus, when you dress better for flights, you get treated better by the airlines.

If you wear a lavaliere or countryman (headset) microphone and you're wearing a dress, choose a dress that has a zipper so that the mic pack can be attached to the back of your bra strap. A quick note here: you may need to give the AV team an advance heads up that this is how you wear your microphone. AV pros who have worked in TV will have no problem with this as it's the professional standard. AV pros who work mainly in hotels — particularly college-aged men — tend to be a bit squeamish with this.

Respect your audience. If you are speaking to a more conservative group, you may want to skip a sleeveless top in favor of one with sleeves. I tend to wear sleeves most of the time when I speak anyway simply because I don't like how my arms look in photos.

If you can, wear high heels instead of flats to speak in, especially if the stage has hard flooring. The sound of your heels clicking on the stage sends a subconscious signal of power to your brain, boosting your self-confidence.

If you are wearing heels, walk the stage beforehand to see where the seams are or if they’ve decorated it with a type of carpeting your shoe will catch in.

Unless you’re speaking outside on the beach, flip-flops are not appropriate.

Your clothes don't need to be expensive, but they do need to fit you. Have them tailored if necessary.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Splendid Sundays Volume 166

A handful of splendid finds from around the worldwide web:

The World Economic Forum at Davos includes daily meditation sessions. "It was perhaps an unusual theme for the power brokers at the event. But many on the panel and in the audience professed that meditation gave them a competitive advantage." [The New York Times]

Age 40: Ain't Nobody Got Time For That. "I let other people be responsible for how they choose to respond to things. I don’t feel guilty for saying no. I don't need to wait for someone to call on me . . . I'm careful what stories I tell myself about the things that are happening." [The Li.st]

The Economist names its first woman editor-in-chief. "Zanny Minton Beddoes, 47, is the first woman to serve in the role of the 172 year-old publication." [Reuters]

Jawbone: The Trials of a 16-year-old can't-miss start-up"It’s true that by collecting information from a willing customer’s body, Jawbone would have tremendously valuable data . . . . Says Rahman: 'the Nest doesn’t know if you’re hot or cold. I will.'"

Noteworthy from The Splendid Collective:

The 2015 Global Wedding Study General Report, the 2015 Luxury Wedding Market Report (budgets of $96,000 or higher), and the 2015 Premium Wedding Market Report (budgets of $31,000-95,000) from Splendid Insights are now available for download.

Currently reading: The Better Angels of Our Nature from A Year of Books. Also read The Boston Girl as well as Day After Night — both by Anita Diamant — this past week.