In this Issue

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Quote of the Month

"People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care." 

Coach's Calendar

14.05.13 Power Lunch: Savvy Networking
21.05.13 Training4Success: The Story Factor
01.06.13 Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge
04.06.13 Power Lunch: Why the mind gets what it expects
11.06.13 Training4Success: Using Narrative to Build Your Brand

Recommended Reads

Mastery
by Robert Greene
 
Can You Afford to Ignore Me?
by Elisabet Rodriguez Dennehy
 

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Volume 12, Number 4 - May 2013

Hello,

How likable are you? 
 
A recent study done in the United States by Accenture reported a troublesome fact, 31% of employees don’t like their boss and even in a climate of business uncertainty, many people leave their positions because of their boss.
 
Most employees who aspire to get promoted to a managerial position look forward to exploring new horizons and challenges, while often completely unaware of the extent of the challenges that both the position and the managerial role present.
 
Often, managers tend to focus on executing tasks and achieving results without acknowledging the people who are responsible for accomplishing the tasks and delivering the results.
 
Regardless of our position and professional responsibilities, most of us like to be liked and appreciated. Furthermore, we are more inclined to do business with people we like and who make us feel good, as opposed to people who don’t appreciate who we are and what we do.
 
All business is personal. In the end, people do business with people. And being likable has become fundamental to professional relationships and ultimately to success.
 
The first step to increase our likeability is to know ourselves and to be aware of how other people perceive us, and to know what impressions they have when they interact with us.
 
The second step is to remember that people are interested in themselves. Although most of us operate in an environment ruled by tight schedules, it is crucial to make time to find out what people like, and to seek to learn more about them: who are they, what’s important for them, and what are their needs and expectations. And then to listen to what they say.
 
Another way to increase our likeability is to look for common interests, as it is possible to find some point of commonality with nearly anyone, be it hobbies, sport, family situations, beliefs, etc. It might take a bit of creative effort, but discovering where interests and passions overlap will pay off.
 
In competitive times, polishing our likeability is a valuable asset. By learning who we are and how to get along with the widest variety of personality styles, we can increase our effectiveness with less frustration and a lot more fun.  Ultimately, becoming a likable manager will ensure that our talented teams enjoy working with us and for us and will deliver the expected results.
 
How likable are you?
 
Karin Genton L'Epée

Karin, I have a quick testimonial (and an update) for you.

Last April if you recall I attended one of your Training4Success workshops. (The topic was "Think On Your Feet".) I took notes that evening, as I tend to do at workshops, for later use if and when the need arises to refer back to them.
 
Well, skip ahead a year later. Two weeks ago I had to give two presentations at XXX about the women's leadership group I was forming: one presentation was for the new Country Leader and his management team; the second was to the managers of the largest business unit in the company. 
 
I was struggling a bit with how to go about the presentation. Then I remembered and went back to my T4S notes from last year, and structured my speeches using the information. It wasn't quite "thinking on my feet" since I did have at least an evening to prepare, but your tips (who am I, what do I want, what is my message, who is my audience) gave me clarity about the purpose of my speech and how to organize it for my audience. The specific structure I used was "Point/Reason/Example/Point".
 
Both presentations were very well received. (The second was even better than the first because I was able to tweak my delivery even more.)
 
In a nutshell, what I always enjoy about your workshops is that I learn something new, and its even better when I have the opportunity to put your tips to use (months, a year later) and they work! Thanks again! :)
 
T.A.

Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge 2013

On Saturday June 1st, Rotary Club Prague International invites you to participate in an excellent team building event on the Vltava River… A dragon boat race!

Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese water sport that is very popular in the Czech Republic. The long boats are similar to a canoe, but with a decorative dragon’s head and tail; and they require a crew of 16 paddlers, a drummer, and someone to steer the boat.

Taking part is easy, as boats, training, life jackets and other safety equipment are all provided by the organizers. There will also be training runs in the morning, before actual racing begins.

It’s great fun, requires no experience, anyone can do it, and you’ll be supporting some wonderful charities in Prague!

You and your company can underwrite a boat to participate in the Rotary Dragon Boat Race Challenge. Or you can just come with friends and family to watch the exciting racing, listen to some great live music, have some food and fun, and more.

When: Saturday June 1st
Where: On the Vltava River at Smichovska Plaz
Who: You and your friends. Boat teams should be 18 to 20 people, some for support

This event benefits Nadace Nase Dite (a children's charity), and Zivot 90 (providing support for the elderly). For more information, please visit www.rotarydragon.cz or email rotarydragonboats@gmail.com


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

For at least five thousand 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 several facets of society – politics, education, business, government and law. 
 
If you were offered the chance to attend a workshop that would enhance your professional life, which topic will you choose? If you are like most people, chances are it would be public speaking, consistently the most popular workshop topic. And, if you are like most people, you have probably devoted more time learning about public speaking than about communication itself.
 
Many people have learned the basic rules of public speaking and presentation skills, and what to do when speaking in front of a group. How many of us, though, apply the same rigor to our everyday one-on-one communication? Not the water-cooler chat or catching up on yesterday’s scores, but the emails and phone calls and discussions we have for the purposes of driving our company 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 – from how we are socialized to the brand of shampoo we use, 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 communication. Of course, unlike the case with 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, and to be able to assess whether or not you were understood.
 
Once you know these things, you have a foundation from which to build your communication. Then it’s a matter of doing your homework, creating the right message, using the proper delivery system, and assessing feedback.  
 
To get started, it’s best to follow the advice of Stephen Covey, author and leadership authority, to “begin 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 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 improve both your professional and personal life. 
 

About Karin

Karin Genton-L’Epée is a business coach with 30 years of extensive professional experience in the United States, France and the Czech Republic. Based in Prague since 1995, for the past 15 years she has developed a range of coaching and training programs for mid- and top-level managers, focusing on leadership development, cross-cultural understanding and effective communication in a global environment. By providing a structured environment that supports people in clarifying who they are and what they want, Karin enables her clients to devise more effective strategies to achieve their personal and professional goals. Thanks to her knowledge, skills and range of international experience, Karin is in demand as a speaker at business conferences and educational institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also a regular contributor to business journals and magazines. She works in English and French and can be reached at karin@coaching.cz.

 
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