“Conversation cleanup – The way you communicate at work may be hurting you.”

June 21st, 2016

We may have some annoying communication habits “that are driving people crazy.” It’s probably time to address them. Author Kat Boogaard (Inc.) discusses “eight common faux pas” in her article, “Conversation cleanup.” Here’s a brief intro to each one, and you will find more information in the article itself at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

  • Constantly Interrupting. We all have one thing in common when talking. We want to be listened to. So if you’re one of those people who tend to jump in and interrupt or – even worse – try to complete people’s sentences for them, you need to…”
  • “Multitasking. Conversations deserve your full attention, not the halfhearted glances you’re willing to give them when you manage to rip your focus away from your iPhone screen. Multitasking is a habit we’re likely all guilty of, but…”
  • “Using Qualifiers. ‘Don’t take this personally, but…’; This might be a bad idea, but…’; I know what you’re thinking, but…if you tend to overuse them, you may be driving people up a wall. Why?”
  • “Equating your experiences. Someone is explaining a difficult problem he is currently facing. You immediately respond with ‘I know exactly how you feel,’ and then launch into your own long-winded tale … that’s not really relevant. It’s important to remember…”
  • “Floundering. We’ve all had to deal with those people who seem to just ramble on endlessly without a point and appear to be talking simply because they like the sound of their own voices. … When you decide to speak up, make sure…”
  • “Avoiding direct contact. …The never-ending assortment of communication tools available today has made us less willing to actually talk to one another. So before hitting send on a message, …”
  • “Waiting instead of listening. As my mom always loves to tell me, ‘There’s a big difference between hearing and listening!’ And when you’re having a conversation with someone, you should be actively listening. That means…”
  • “Using filler words. ‘Hey, Jason, Umm, I’m just checking in on that, uhhh, report to see if you think you’ll, like, have that done by, like the end of the day.’ This is perhaps the toughest bad verbal habit to break. … But…”

 

It’s time to tune in and address our conversational issues. For great advice before your next conversation head to:   http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

Letter from a Veteran

May 28th, 2016

On Memorial Day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the US military. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday in May. It originated after the Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, was established to commemorate the signing of the Armistice Treaty in Versailles in 1918 to mark the end of WWI, the Great War. It is celebrated on November 11 each year. It was changed in the United States to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans.

Both Memorial Day and Veterans Day are significant days to take a moment to remember and honor all of our armed services men and women, both past and present, who fight for our freedom.

Here are reflections and observations of one veteran who served during World War ll.

Letter from a Veteran – November 12, 1944

More than seventy years ago, one of the first women to serve in the military observed Veteran’s Day.  She reflects on this and other experiences in her letters home. Mollie’s War is a memoir that features letters Mollie wrote to her sister, Beck, while stationed in Europe. “It describes the life of a WAC enlistee who would serve in England when it came under attack, France weeks after the invasion, and Germany after VE Day.”

“Here is my mother’s letter on the first Veteran’s Day in newly liberated Paris,” says Cyndee Schaffer, author of Mollie’s War, The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe.  www.mollieswar.com

Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, Cyndee’s mother, was one of the 150,000 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps (IWAC) during the Second World War. Of those, about 8,000 served in the European Theater of Operations.

Letter from Mollie from newly liberated Paris

Here are a few paragraphs from Mollie’s letter home.

Paris, France, 12 Nov.1944.

“Dear Beck,

…Must tell you about the Armistice Day Parade here in Paris. I still recall the ones we used to go to—you, Jackie & myself—but this was really the “cat’s meow.” It started about 6 AM—maybe not actually but there were gendarmes (or draculas as we call them with their all-enveloping capes) & G.I.’s, too, directing crowds that early, lining up the streets near the Arc de Triomphe, along with the great numbers of people who probably ran back to get sandwiches & hustled back to regain choice spots from where they would have an advantageous view of the celebration. And, Beck, I think the parading or celebrating was still going on this morning.

Florence (another WAC) & myself left the office at 10:30 AM & we made a “bee line” for Champs Elysees (one of the main streets in Paris that runs into the Arc de Triomphe). Honestly the people were packed like sardines (trite but true). Florence & I were standing on tip toes but couldn’t see very much. All of a sudden I felt my feet leave the ground & I had a most wonderful view of marching soldiers. I turned around as I felt myself being put gently back to earth—it was the captain! I thanked him & both Florence & I laughed. We walked farther on & we decided to stand back near the buildings away from the crowds along the streets. We did have a better view. We saw Churchill go by in a car but weren’t quite sure. However, when we heard the people shouting “Vive Churchill,” that confined it. Besides I had said to Florence “I know we have a long range view of the parade, but no one but Churchill’s cheeks are puffed out like that!”

The one minute’s silence at 11 AM brought to mind the folks back home—wonder when we’ll be coming home. I know, Beck, it won’t be too soon. …” You can read the full letter from Paris here: Mollie_Letter_Home_Veterans_Day.

Letter to Mollie from Joe

“ ‘My mama wore combat boots’. When you are the daughter of a WWII WAC, that statement resonates with you,” Cyndee says. “Yes, my mother wore combat boots and that brought a legacy with it. The one outstanding quality throughout my mother’s letters and the letters that were sent to her was the fact that everyone wrote such beautiful ones. Here is probably the most touching letter, the one from Joe. I tried to find him when I was writing the book but I could not.” Here’s just a few of his thoughts.

“Salmunster, Germany

Sept 5th 1945

“My darling sweetheart – no that’s too informal, Dear Sergeant Molly – no that’s too G.I., Dear Friend – nope too cold, I know… Hi Callahan!

“You see, I told you I’d drop you a line (or should I say a note because good l’il WACs stay away from those bad boys with “lines”?) I finally caught a ride home but it was the next morning after the dance about 10:00. I spent the night in the transit barracks in Frankfurt. It was much too cold and dark to try those 60 kilometers home. I got home in time for dinner so I didn’t miss much time hitch-hiking on the road.

“I wanted to tell you though—thanks, honey I had a swell time. I only hope I didn’t scare you too much with all that chatter. Actually, I’m not such a talkative fellow as I may have seemed. But you can’t really understand what being at that dance meant to me. Honestly it was the first American dance I’ve been to since I came overseas twenty months ago. I was as happy as a lark and I guess I showed it a little more than somewhat?” …

“…Be a good girl. Work hard but most of all, stay as sweet and as kind as you are.

“Yours always.

Joe”

You can read the full letter from Joe here: Joe_Letter_to_Mollie_World_War_II.

More than seventy years may have passed as we observe this Memorial Day, and we will always remember our veterans.

 

Business “Referral Engine,” Meaningful Mentoring & “Decluttering your Mind”  

May 12th, 2016

Get ready to increase your business referrals, develop meaningful mentoring relationships, and “free your mind” to move on in life. We all appreciate new insights and rewarding information, and these resources can help you address the challenges in your life.

The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsch, author of Duck Tape Marketing. “The secret to generating referrals lies in understanding the ‘Customer Referral Cycle’ – the way customers refer others to your company, who in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.”

Besides explaining how to generate referrals, Jantsch offers examples of “referral-specific campaigns, as well as workshop action plans that help you dramatically increase your referrals and business success. http://referralenginebook.com/

Starting Strong – A Mentoring Fable, Strategies for Success in the First 90 Days, by Lois J. Zachary & Lory A. Fischler. Zachary is president of Leadership Development Services and director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence. Fischler is senior associate for Leadership Development Services and the Center for Mentoring Excellence.

In Starting Strong you will discover what “really good mentors do to make a difference, how they engage their mentees, create good conversation, and keep it going.” Zachary and Fischler also explain how “mentor and mentee move past the idea of ‘advice’ and into a trust-based relationship that generates real learning.”

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118767713.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKRH4PDbNHo

► “Decluttering your mind,” by Jeannette Bessenger, The Washington Post. ‘Let go of the need to be right’ and 9 other ways to give your brain a spring cleaning.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-spring-clean-mind-family-0419-20160414-story.html

Here are Jeannette Bessenger’s 10 bullet points for “freeing your mind and freeing your life,” and you will find the great advice in the article itself.

  1. Mind your own business.
  2. Let go of the need to be right.
  3. Stop blaming, shaming and complaining.
  4. Stop trying to please and impress everybody.
  5. Clean up unfinished business.
  6. Forgive someone.
  7. If you’re in the wrong, make it right.
  8. Let go of perfectionism.
  9. Let go of self-limiting beliefs.
  10. Stop mismanaging your emotions.

First Person Public Relations looks forward to your feedback.

Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information

April 6th, 2016

Are you a public relations pro or citizen journalist who wants to share a newsworthy subject with an editor or producer (“gatekeeper” to your targeted audience)? Then you should know how to approach them because they want to hear from you.

Pitch letters target a specific publication or media outlet (local newspaper, radio or TV station), explains David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, latest  5th Edition.

Scott elaborates on his “How to Pitch the Media” bullets.

  • “Target one reporter at a time.
  • Use the tip line if the media outlet you are targeting has one.
  • Help the journalist understand the big picture.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Try newsjacking! (use current events as hooks)
  • Explain how customers use your product or work with your organization.
  • Don’t send email attachments unless asked.
  • Follow up promptly with potential contacts.
  • Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street – journalists need you to pitch them.”

Scott also quotes a newspaper editor: “The single most effective thing people do is watch and read my stories and send me personalized, smart pitches for stories that I am actually likely to cover.”  In other words, your pitch should reflect your familiarity with the medium and reporter.

Learn how to effectively connect with your target audience through pitch letters “social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases & viral marketing to reach buyers directly” in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

For even more information on pitch letters, check out the First Person Public Relations blog post: “Pitch Letters Attract Media Interest, http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=487

Find targeted consumers and focus marketing for optimal results – at your library

March 4th, 2016

Your goals, as you focus your marketing activities, might include finding a perfect location for your business site – one where many people in your target market live and work nearby and would value your products or services. Or, you might want to identify consumers who are interested in the opportunities you offer even when location is not relevant for purchase. But, how do you find potential consumers?

While it’s necessary that businesses identify their target consumers and how best to approach them, accurate market segmentation information and mapping tools are not always easy to uncover.

Fortunately, your public library offers many business resources and services that lead to success.

“We helped a patron who wanted to open a Montessori school but didn’t know which location would be optimal. Through market segmentation and mapping information, we identified a neighborhood where many young children and other preschoolers lived within five miles and would be interested,” explains Bruce Brigell, Coordinator of Information Services for the Skokie Public Library in Illinois.

 “Another entrepreneur, who owns a travel business that includes cruises and other travel possibilities, asked for feedback. Where consumers lived wasn’t as important as their travel interests and information for a mailing list. We worked on that and were ultimately able to provide them with a targeted mailing list.”

Two of the library’s many business resources include ReferenceUSA and Social Explorer. “While you can go directly to the Library’s website — skokielibrary.info/resources/research — to use these resources, librarians are also able to generate lists and reports for patrons not familiar with the products,” Bruce says.

ReferenceUSA offers a variety of business and residential data sets that will help your business marketing strategy.  Included are categories such as consumer interests, purchasing habits, demographic and social profiles and other relevant data that enables you to develop accurate mailing lists or visualize where targeted businesses or consumers are located through ReferenceUSA’s Heat Map utility.

Social Explorer is another rewarding research source for market segmentation, offering demographic information at geographic levels from state or county wide to school district or block group. “Social Explorer applies data that is presented every 10 years by the U.S. Census, as well as the American Community Survey, which is an annual statistical survey from the Bureau, “Social Explorer and ReferenceUSA can complement each other, or you can just refer to one, depending on your interests and goals.”

Social Explorer tracks ethnicity, income, education, and other variables by town or by groups. “We can print out maps or offer information in table form,” Bruce adds.

Recently, the Skokie Public Library obtained access to the Experian BusinessIQ service to provide business credit reports to Skokie residents and businesses. The reports provide risk and financial stability scores as well as payment histories for businesses in the United States. Experian reports are available by request to the Reference Department at the Library.

These and other library business services and resources can help you launch and grow your business, consider all options, find targeted and interested consumers, and focus your marketing for optimal results.

Entrepreneurial Spirits from Teens to Seniors

February 1st, 2016

Entrepreneurs usually start their own businesses because they see opportunities and needs in the marketplace that trigger their interests. Or, they work for an organization that values their entrepreneurial savvy and contribution to company goals.

The entrepreneurial spirit can also apply to individuals facing the business of everyday life. They see alternatives, take initiative, make sound decisions, create new strategies or techniques, and assume the risk of innovation when exploring approaches to life’s challenges.

Meet some entrepreneurs who reflect all ages and stages of life experiences, from pre-school motivated kids with ideas, to baby boomers and older who thought they had retired but then took new directions. Some teens and seniors partner with each other. It’s Leap Year!

►Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?

 What’s the Best Age to Launch a Start-Up? Founders Young and Old Tell Us

http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/09/whats-the-best-age-to-launch-a-startup-founders-young-and-old-tell-us/

 The 11-year-old fashion designer behind “Mo’s Bows”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2013/08/06/the-11-year-old-fashion-entrepreneur-behind-mos-bows/

►Are You an Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Spirit of the Entrepreneur – These 5 characteristics will take you far as you start your business.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/190986

 8 traits of successful entrepreneurs

http://www.mbda.gov/node/337

 ►Entrepreneurial Kids & Finance Prodigies

Kid Entrepreneurs

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/kid-entrepreneurs

 http://quicken.intuit.com/support/help/fun-with-finances/9-young-entrepreneurs/INF16221.html;jsessionid=HmlFgPi4k6yDT+Y1eNVJlA**.p39-2

Entrepreneurial Adults

 Older Entrepreneurs find new niches and potential in start-ups

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-11/older-entrepreneurs/53483890/1

8 Over 80

http://www.inc.com/8over80/

Here’s to your “passion, positivity, adaptability, leadership potential and ambition.” Feel free to share your entrepreneurial experiences with us.

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Share your story and experience on First Person Public Relations!

How to Grow Your Business in 2016

December 30th, 2015

Ready to grow your business but not sure how or where to start?

Check these resources to help you find unexplored opportunities, clarify mysteries, mistakes and challenges, discover new niches and relationships, and learn more about your personal and professional potential.

Let’s get ready to make the most of 2016, Leap Year!

► 6 Keys to Growing Your Business in 2016

http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/growing-your-business/

► 8 Steps to Achieving Your Loftiest Goals in 2016

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254059

►Top 5 Secrets to Grow Your Business

https://www.psprint.com/resources/secrets-to-grow-business/

► 5 Tried & True Ways to Grow Your Small Business

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/strauss/2014/03/23/ask-an-expert-5-ways-to-grow-your-small-business/6738321/

Happy New Year!

Sally Chapralis

New Year, New Job, Your Personality

December 9th, 2015

After getting together with family and friends during the holidays, many people start looking for new jobs in the new year. As you chat with others, including colleagues at work and those in a volunteer setting, encourage their feedback on your personality type. It could make a big difference as you explore rewarding professional possibilities.

Two books offer incredible information and insights into personalities and complementary jobs that would make a great fit and careers you might not have known about or considered.

►50 Best Jobs for Your Personality, 3rd edition, by Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D. As the book explains, you will find “nearly 270 Job Descriptions for 6 Personality Types, 130+ Best Jobs Lists, Including Jobs with the Best Pay, Fastest Growth, and Most Openings. Personality types include Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. Best jobs are organized by earnings, growth, education level, and more.”

►Do What You Are, 5th edition, by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron and Kelly Tieger. This book helps you “Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type.” You will learn more about “how you process information, make decisions, and interact with the world around you – and discover the career that is right for you.”

If you’re not sure about your personality type and potential, these books offer new possibilities and focus. If you know your type but don’t fully appreciate the opportunities waiting for you, they will help you discover a new you in a new year, which in 2016 is a Leap Year.

If you want to share your personality/job search experience, we would be delighted to feature you in First Person Public Relations!

Mentoring — Top Tips to Mentors

November 12th, 2015

When you successfully mentor, both you and your mentee grow and develop, and you will discover rewarding experiences and new opportunities.

To help you understand the mentoring process and its potential, Dr. Lois J. Zachary, President, Leadership Development Services, LLC, offers Top Tips to Mentors. The Center for Mentoring Excellence is a division of Leadership Development Services. http://centerformentoringexcellence.com

Top Tips to Mentors

►  “Listening is critical,”  Lois explains. “You should not talk more than the mentee. Mentoring is about the mentee’s growth and development. Don’t make assumptions without checking them out first. You might jump to incorrect conclusions if you do. How good are you at listening, asking questions and clarifying your mentee’s perspectives?”

►  “Try to walk in the mentee’s shoes. Different generations see the world differently. They have different experiences and interests. Ask questions so that you can understand your mentee’s perspective.  In conversation, check things out. Say ‘I am assuming…’  Or, say ‘I’m curious about…’  Your mentee will appreciate that you’re trying to understand where they are coming from.

►  “Mentoring is mentee-driven, so clarify your role and mentee expectations, and as you move along in the process, make sure you’re on the same page.”

►  “Hold yourself accountable for supporting your mentees and helping them develop a vision and a goal for the future. At the end of every mentoring session, ask the mentee if the feedback you provided was relevant and useful.”

►  While you are helping and supporting your mentee, “look at mentoring as an opportunity for self-development and growth,” Dr. Zachary explains. “Always consider how you can become a better mentor. It will help you become more effective with co-workers and strengthen your skills as a leader.”

► “Your mentees must leave with the capacity, competence and confidence to achieve their goals.”

The potential for your growth and development, new personal insights and lessons you will learn as a mentor are transferrable to many situations as you consider your potential – and whether you might seek a mentor for yourself.

To subscribe to the Center for Mentoring Excellence monthly eletter: http://conta.cc/1Qe4vCC or text MENTORING4U to 22828 on your mobile device.

 

 

Job Hunting — Think Like an Employer

October 22nd, 2015

“The short list of candidates all have the ability to do the work, so what makes the difference? Whether employers know it or not, intuitively they are always looking for a candidate who meets or exceeds their expectations in these six qualities [presented as PADMAN]:

  • Presentation
  • Ability
  • Dependability
  • Motivation
  • Attitude
  • Network”

In their book, The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job – What Employers Look for Whether They Know It or Not, authors Debra Angel MacDougall and Elisabeth Harney Sanders-Park offer new perspectives and approaches, dozens of specific tips, examples and resources that lead to rewarding opportunities.

For example, “from the employer’s perspective, presentation is not just a matter of looking good; it’s about looking, sounding, and acting like the employer.”  Do you have the right presentation, one that is consistent with the company’s culture, team spirit and customer expectations?

In your pre-interview research, “target companies with images similar to your own, and adjust your presentation so you will easily fit into a company’s image.”  The authors also address the many “common employer complaints and mistakes in interviews.

When you’re job hunting, you may “think ability is the most important of the six PADMAN areas. In reality,” the authors explain that  “ the lack of ability may get you screened out, but it’s usually one of the other five areas that get you hired. … Only in the case of technical jobs for which there are few people with required skills is ability the final reason you are hired.”

What does dependability really mean?  Most people think it’s about coming to work every day, on time. However, employers want to know if   “you will work in the company’s best interests. Can they  trust you with their money, customers, secrets, products, and reputation?. … Employers want people they can depend on to follow instructions, produce the quality and quantity of work required, meet deadlines, and stay until the job is done.”

How would you define your motivation?  “From an employer’s perspective, motivation is not just about taking initiative, doing the extra or being ambitious – it’s about using all that to help them achieve their goals.”  Thus, have you done your homework?

Before the interview, review the company’s mission and goals in every area, including the industry or field the company operates in. Besides searching the Internet, talking to staff and customers,   consider your professional experience from different perspectives and share  relevant examples. If, at the end of the interview, you are asked if you have any questions, make sure you have some. For example, you can clarify the company’s goals, priorities and challenges and how you can contribute.

Consider your attitude. Authors MacDougall and Sanders-Park explain that  ”from the employer’s perspective, attitude is not just being friendly and respectful; it’s about fitting in.”  Employers want to know if you will complement  their culture,  team members  and customers, and do you have a strong work ethic.

While “different employers value different attitudes, there are some that all employers value.”  Do you have a strong work ethic, which includes your commitment to stay until the job is done…sometimes five to ten hours more per week?  So if you’re asked about this during an interview, explain your availability and areas of flexibility.

What may come as a surprise to job hunters is how important their networks are to potential employers. Your network includes industry contacts, membership in associations and clubs, social networking sites, online groups and connections, as well as references and referrals. Employers appreciate your ability and skills, but often more important is your potential to increase company potential and profits through networking.

The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job “will challenge many of your beliefs about job searching…and prove you are the ideal candidate for their job.”