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Network Your Way to Your Next Job

By Bigg Success Staff
December 06, 2007

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 Career Builders

You may have heard of the three keys to buying real estate – location, location, location. Successful job searches may have a common denominator as well – network, network, network.

We often think of networking as something we do at formal events. Perhaps your Chamber of Commerce sponsors an event where you focus on handing out your business cards. It’s like we have to put on our “networking hat” or we don’t think about it.

Successful networkers, though, realize that networking isn’t reserved only for these situations. Networking is simply meeting new people and reconnecting with those you already know. It’s just relationship building.

We recently discussed 37 networking at your holiday parties ]on a recent Bigg Success Show. Those tips are great for any event where you’re meeting new people. Here are some additional tips for networking your way to your next job:

  • Have a networking mindset.
  • Networking is marketing. What do they say about marketing? Marketing is everything you do or say, right? So, you should realize that you’re networking all the time, whether or not you think you are. People are forming opinions of you.

  • Get the word out.
  • The circumstances of your job search may require you to be somewhat discreet. However, tell everyone you think is appropriate about your job search. Don’t make the mistake of pre-judging someone’s ability to connect you. For example, your hair stylist may hear about changes at a company before it hits the news.

  • Socialize.
  • People often withdraw when they find themselves between jobs. They should do exactly the opposite. For one thing, you need the support of your friends at this time. For another, you never know who you might meet. This goes along with the previous point. Let people know that you’re looking.

  • Entertain entertainment.
  • Attend games, concerts, lectures, and other events. Look for events where you’ll be able to mingle with people with whom you have a common interest. What’s the worse that can happen? You spend a few hours doing something you enjoy!

  • Join clubs.
  • At the very least, join. Better yet, become a leader. That’s a sure way to get noticed! Whether a service club or a professional organization, you’ll meet great people and develop valuable skills.

  • Volunteer.
  • Is there a cause you’re passionate about? Get involved with the local organization. Good things often come from doing good things. You’ll meet people with similar interests. Giving people. People who just may help you, too. What a great side benefit!

  • Attend organized events.
  • They’re not the only networking you should do, but they still serve a useful function. Attend functions sponsored by your local Chamber or any other organization that hosts such get-togethers. Bring plenty of business cards!

Networking is just relationship-building. Follow these tips and you’re likely to find a job that hasn’t even been advertised. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a job interview knowing that you have an “in” – and no competition!

(Photo by: acerin)

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Stretch Yourself Anew

Yesterday, we discussed how to live without being perfect. We told you to practice the
33 “75% solution”] so you have more time to enjoy life. Today we’ll discuss how to stretch yourself anew.

Let’s face it – we’re all busy. As we age, our careers get more demanding. We have more family responsibilities. Real life gets in the way of stretching ourselves in new ways. We want to give you four questions to ask yourself to rediscover joy in your life.

Question 1: What’s something you used to love to do?
There are things you used to do that got pushed aside – not intentionally, but accidentally. Something had to give. We have a friend who loved music when he was younger. Recently, he bought a guitar and started playing again. He loved it! Now he’s in a band and has an amazing collection of valuable guitars!

Question 2: What class, outside your major, did you really enjoy?
Or another way to think about it – was there a class you always wanted to take? Another friend’s job involves a lot of analysis. In college, he took a creative writing class as an elective. Now he’s taking another writing class at his local community college. He loves it! He says it’s a complete escape.

Question 3: What do you have sitting around the house?
You may have to dig deep, but there are probably remnants of old hobbies somewhere in your house. Why not break out the tools of your craft? Mary-Lynn says she has rediscovered paint-by-number. She’s learned to keep her brushes clean and in plain sight. That’s her reminder to enjoy this favorite activity from the past.

Question 4: What did you used to read?
Take a trip to your local library or bookstore. Browse the magazine section. What strikes you? George used to subscribe to a couple of fishing magazines. Now, he’s rediscovered fishing with a new twist – it’s a great time to relax and reflect, even if he doesn’t catch anything!

Stretching yourself by recalling those things that used to bring you joy rounds you out. You’ll find it helps your career and your family life. You’re more interesting. You’ll have new energy. You may even find a clue that will take your career and your life in an exciting new direction.

Our quote today is by the great writer and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”

Take an old idea and make it new again. Stretch yourself and expand your mind. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss building self-confidence. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Leadership Lessons From Fallen Leaders

By Bigg Success Staff
Novemeber 25, 2007

Career Builder

We’re told to learn from our mistakes. It’s even better to learn from the mistakes of others. Recently, there’s been a slew of turnover in senior-level positions in Corporate America. Here are six lessons in leadership that you can learn from their very public departures.

  • Deliver daily
  • Doing your job well is the first step to earning the respect of others. If you want to be a leader, you have to show people that you’re a goal-getter, not just a goal-setter. Otherwise, how can you expect them to do otherwise?

    You can’t rest on your laurels, but you also shouldn’t get discouraged if you fall a little short of the mark. Seek to win every day, but remember to 7 get over today tomorrow.]

  • Hold yourself to the highest standards.
  • Nobody respects a phony. You can’t expect others (especially subordinates) to behave differently than you. You have to walk your talk.

    Many people do the opposite. They hope nobody sees them breaking the rules. They think that nobody will notice if they cut corners. It doesn’t work. You will certainly destroy people’s trust if you fail to apply this lesson.

  • Show respect to get respect.
  • You can’t expect anybody to respect somebody who treats him or her like a nobody. People won’t follow people they don’t respect. Genuinely value the unique talents and personalities of those around you.

    Develop a deep appreciation for skills you don’t have. You need people with those abilities more than someone with your own expertise.

  • Take a genuine interest in others.
  • You have to take an interest. And it must be genuine. Otherwise, it’s worst than not showing interest at all.

    This is a basic lesson in human interaction. Show people that you’re interested in them. Listen. Relate. They will support you because they like you. Now they want to see you succeed.

  • Connect at different levels.
  • Strive to connect with people above and below you in your organization. Get to know your boss. Really understanding his or her challenges helps you make an impact. Ditto for you subordinates. Serve them by understanding.

    If you’re not a senior-level manager, try to understand their point-of-view. Doing so helps you understand the big picture. If you’re not on the front-line, be sure to make some friends there, too. You’ll understand the challenges faced by the people on whom everyone else depends for their job.

  • Feed the feedback.
  • Seek advice from anywhere and everywhere you can get it. Welcome people’s suggestions. Thank them each and every time they offer one.

    People love to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Eventually, you’ll find a few who have particularly valuable insight. Let them know. Give them credit. Watch them support you even more!

    Find at least one mentor – inside or outside the organization, or both. You want someone to whom you feel accountable. Someone who can bounce ideas off without worrying about any repercussions.

There are lessons to be learned from fallen leaders. Expect more from yourself than you expect from others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be the role-model for others you want for yourself! Make these six lessons a part of your daily life and you’ll find people lining up to follow you.

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The Role Of Role Playing

In our last blog, we told the story on storytelling. We discussed finding the right yarn and offered tips on telling your tall tale well. 14 Hear the story.]

Today, we’ll discuss how to use role playing, both professionally and personally.

We’re not pretending to be the have all and be all of role play discussions here. We’re talking about a specific use of it. So let’s define what we mean when we say role play:

Practicing human interaction before you actually do it.

Rehearsing in your mirror is better than nothing, but it’s not role playing. With role playing, you’re going to have a mentor, a peer, or a buddy. When done right, it’s a much richer experience than simply rehearsing.

Practice makes perfect.
Imagine an athlete who never practiced. Or an actor who never rehearsed. Would you expect them to rise to the top of their profession?

So why do we think it’s any different for us? It’s not. By role playing, you’ll enter situations with more confidence, because you’ve been there before. You’ll face less stress and perform better. You’ve made the unfamiliar familiar.

Simulate the situation.
Create the exact same environment. Come as close as you possibly can to setting up the same circumstances you will face in the actual situation. This really needs to be done with you and another person face-to-face. You can role play over the phone (especially a phone call), but it’s much better in person. Let’s look at some examples of situations that you might want to role play.

Annual review / ask for a raise
Are you going to be sitting or standing? How about your boss? Most likely, you’ll both be seated around a desk. So when you role play, sit around a desk (or something you can pretend is a desk).

Sales call
You’ll probably be standing, at least at first. Practice your greeting while standing. Practice down to the handshake. You want a handshake Goldilocks would like – not too hard, not too soft.

Service call at homeowner’s residence
Practice ringing the door bell. What if the door bell doesn’t work? Practice knocking. Where will you stand as the homeowner opens the door? What will you say?

You can use these same techniques personally. For example, if you’re a parent, you may want to role play an important conversation with one of your kids. Personally or professionally, role playing is a great preparation method. Practice it, then do it.

Our quote today is by the great tennis player, Arthur Ashe.

“One important key to success is self-confidence.
An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

Willingness to prepare helps you succeed. Role play your way to a great day.

Tomorrow’s the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. So we’re going to talk about ‘taters. We’ll ask, “What kind of ‘tater are you?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Review: Geek Gap

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

Bigg Book Review

The Geek Gap: Why Business And Technology Professionals Don’t Understand Each Other And Why They Need Each Other to Survive

Book by Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin 

Technology and business pros (“geeks” and “suits”, respectively, in this book) often find working together to be a challenge. Bill Pfleging, self-proclaimed geek, and Minda Zetlin, representing the suits, have written this insightful book to help you understand the other side.

As the use of technology continues to proliferate, you’ll find that knowing how to close the gap between the two worlds is a critical skill.

First, seek to understand
In this book, you’ll find a specific example of Steven Covey’s general principle – “seek first to understand” – as discussed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The authors assert that geeks like to solve problems, while suits rely on influencing people. Through numerous examples, you’ll come to understand the other side, so they can understand you.

Then, learn to value
Suits view technology as a tool to accomplish their goals; geeks see technology as a “living, breathing thing.” These diverse points-of-view strengthen your organization.

Whether you’re a geek or a suit, you’ll find practical suggestions to help you learn to value the complementary skill sets of your co-workers. That’s a skill that will help you advance in your career.

Final note
While this book reports to be about geeks and suits, it’s really a book about working with people who think differently than you. If you want to improve your ability to communicate with others, we think you’ll find this book useful.