Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
from Harvey Mackay:
The conventional wisdom is to be first across the finish line, first in our class in grades, first in line for chow, first for tickets to the Beyonce concert and first to be interviewed by a prospective employer. A, B, C, and D work just fine. E doesn't. You do not want to be the first candidate to be interviewed.
Advertising genius Pat Fallon taught me long ago that ad agencies which pitched new business first or early in competitive reviews almost never won the account. Those who were positioned sixth or seventh in a typical review had far better chances. Give any savvy ad agency an opportunity to select a time slot for a client pitch and they'll always take the last one, the one closest to the moment when the choice of agencies is made. These people make their living understanding human nature. They know what makes people tick psychologically.
Clients tend to dismiss the first pitches they hear as they would preliminary fights on a boxing card. Not to be taken terribly seriously. They're on the card to give them an opportunity to see what's out there, to try out their questions, and sharpen their reactions in preparation for the main event.
The same kind of buildup is used in assembling a concert program. You start with the aptly named "warm-up" acts. They're the appetizers. The headliner is the main course.
A similar pattern emerges in the selection of films and stars for Oscars. Those that win rarely make their box office debut at the beginning of a given year. The strongest contenders are those appearing at year-end. They end up with far better recognition and recall value in the eyes of Academy members.
Want to see true creative ingenuity in action? Watch what happens when a prospective client tries to schedule an agency pitch.
"We wish we could take the Monday eight 8 a.m. slot, but all our account people will be having open heart surgery that day. They should be up and around by Wednesday afternoon, though."
With most openings, the company's job specs are likely to be vague at first, becoming clearer only after they have had the opportunity to interview (and argue about) a couple of candidates. You don't want to be the test dummy, smashed into a wall, so the company can design a better set of wheels for someone else.
If you are going for a job interview, try to learn how many candidates have already been seen. If you ask, and the recruiter dodges the question, consider yourself to be among the first or second entrants, and be prepared with a good, believable reason why a later time would be better. Perhaps a conflicting business trip or prior engagement prevents you from doing an early interview. Particularly in this economy, people are so anxious about getting a job that they are willing to schedule anything at any time, often to their own great disadvantage.
If you can't avoid being first, try to leave the interviewer with something to think about: "I know you'll be talking with other candidates, and it might be hard to remember the first person you talked to, but I'm committed to doing everything I can to work for your company, and I'd like to be asked back for a second interview. These are challenging times, and I believe I can make an immediate impact in strengthening this business. When you bring me back in, I will give you a detailed plan."
I'm proud to have known the late Norman Vincent Peale, who told the story about the eager job applicant who sees a help-wanted ad and rushes down to apply. By the time he arrives, there are at least two hundred people lined up waiting to be interviewed. After waiting in line for some time, he bolts out, runs to the front, where a woman is ushering them in one at a time, and says, 'My name is Bruce Madison and you tell the people who are doing the hiring in there that I'm two-hundred-fifty-third in line and don't hire anyone until they've talked to me.'" He got the job, of course.
Mackay's Moral: The second mouse always gets the cheese.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Me... I often have my laptop and I'm reading emails, or writing blog updates, or doing work stuff.
From the DLM Blog:
Posted: 26 Sep 2010 07:22 AM PDT
Do you ever hear yourself saying "I just don't have time" yet find yourself plopped in front of the TV for the better part of every evening?
As our to-do lists grow so does our stress and anxiety over getting everything done. While we can't add any more time to our day (unfortunately) we can use the time we do have in a more productive manner. Let's face it watching TV isn't that interactive or demanding. Below are 30 simple little ways to make the most of your TV watching time.
Things you can do while watching TV:
- Fold laundry - Plop the basket beside you and fold while you watch.
- Iron - Drag the ironing board and iron out into the living room and turn that mundane task into something that's a little more bearable.
- Give or get a massage - Lay on the couch or get on the floor with your significant other and give a back rub or foot massage. At each commercial break switch it up just to keep it fair.
- Stretch - Get down on the floor and stretch your legs, your back, and your arms. You'll feel great and if you're an avid TV watcher I'm pretty confident your flexibility will improve in a matter of a few weeks.
- Write out a meal plan for the week - Brainstorm some meal ideas for the coming week. You can take it a step further and create a list of go-to meals or meals you can make ahead and freeze.
- Brainstorm for a new business, a holiday, or activities to do with the kids - Don't filter ideas just write them down as they come to mind. Sometimes the best ideas come to us when we're not focused on finding the best ideas.
- Write out your Birthday cards or Christmas cards - Don't wait until the last minute to get your cards done. For most of us it takes quite a bit of time, so doing even a few each evening can lighten the load.
- Put pictures in a picture album - I'm sure I'm not the only one with a tub full of pictures that I don't know what to do with. Grab the tub of photos and start putting them in photo albums. If you want to sort them first, use a few nights of TV watching to do just that.
- Pack the dishwasher - It doesn't take long and even if there is a pile you can do it over multiple breaks. Don't have a dishwasher? No problem. Break one: Fill the sink with warm soapy water and let the dishes soak. Break two (maybe three): Wash the dishes. After that dry them and put them away. Done.
- 10 sit-ups 10 push-ups 10 squats - TV watching is a sedentary sport. Get on the ground and get active during the commercials. It doesn't have to be much just move.
- Take out the garbage - Grab a garbage bag and go throughout the house emptying the smaller bins into it. Take the full bags outside to the garage or back door for garbage day.
- Do a quick reset of the room you're in - Commercial breaks aren't long but it's amazing how much you can get done. Pick up shoes, toys, books, magazines, dishes etc. and put them where they belong.
- Address a letter, stamp it and put it in your bag for tomorrow - Mailing letters is one task that seems to continually slip my mind. Use the commercial break to put your letter or bill payment in an envelope address it and put it in your bag so you can mail it tomorrow.
- Drink a glass of water - If you're like most people you're not drinking as much water as you should be each day. Get a tall glass add ice and fill it with cold water.
- Floss your teeth - This takes very little time and is something most of us don't do often enough. It's a little action that can be great for your health.
- Dust the furniture in the room you're in - Grab a microfiber cloth, an old sock or damp rag and run it over all flat surfaces in the room. Get under the keyboard and the DVD player. Get the top of the TV, picture frames and the backs of your chairs.
- Clean a bathroom - Fill the sink with warm soapy water, spray the tub and toilet, let it soak until the next commercial and it'll clean up super easy.
- Make a sandwich for tomorrow - The key to a smooth sailing morning is to start the night before. Make a sandwich or put together a salad, dole out some yogurt and grab a piece of fruit throw it in your bag for tomorrow and you're set to just head out the door!
- Bathroom break - Enough said ...
- Send a quick email - 2.5 to 3 minutes is usually long enough to get an email put together, if not you could get a good first draft started at least.
- Read a few pages of your book or a blog post - Hit the mute button grab your book or fire up your feed-reader.
- Write your to-do list - Give a bit of thought to what you'll do tomorrow. Think about errands that need to be run, calls that need returning, gifts to be bought and what to have for dinner.
- Choose clothes to wear tomorrow - Run to your room and decide what to wear tomorrow. Choose clothes that fit you well and that you feel great in.
- Let the dogs out - Most dogs will jump at the chance to get outside even it's only for a few minutes. Do it.
- Purge a drawer or filing cabinet - Choose a drawer that's close to where you're sitting and pull everything out of it. Toss or recycle what you don't absolutely need and put items you no longer use, need or like in a pile to donate. Put the remaining items back in an organized manner.
- Make your bed - Even if it's half an hour before bed go and make it. It's awesome getting into a bed that's made the sheets pulled tight, comforter straightened and the pillows fluffed up a bit. Heaven.
- Make a quick phone call - Call your mom, your sister, your brother or friend and make or confirm plans for tomorrow.
- Get changed into work out clothes - If you've settled in for a night of TV odds are you won't be too excited about the thought of exercise. During the first commercial break get changed into your work out gear so by the end of the show you're good to go for a bit of a work out.
- Get a healthy snack - Grab a piece of fruit, trail mix or yogurt. Make healthy choices, keep your snack size to something smaller than your fist to keep you from over-eating and eating mindlessly.
- Press mute and just sit in silence - There are very few moments during our day when we can truly sit back and enjoy the silence. Press mute and just enjoy how quiet and still everything is around you.
Choose one or two items on this list to do each evening and you just may be surprised at how many little extras you can get done.
|Written on 9/26/2010 by Sherri Kruger. Sherri writes at Zen Family Habits, a blog celebrating all things family. Sherri also writes on personal development at Serene Journey, a blog dedicated to sharing simple tips to enjoy life||Photo Credit: SFB579|
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
- Overnite? We take the price of what you bought and add double to ship it.
- 1 week? We take the price and add 50% to ship it.
- Free? Well, here's how it works. We put your package on the conveyor belt, and after about 20 days, when the box stops rolling, we ship it. Like this:
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This week a blog post from Drew:
Posted: 06 Sep 2010 06:26 AM PDT
Put any search term or combination of terms into Kurrently, and instantly receive the scrolling results with Tweets and Facebook status updates organized by date stamp. The results automatically update as you watch.
I tried it with "drew mclellan" and found quite a few Twitter and Facebook mentions that I hadn't caught through the normal tracking methods.
It's been pretty tough to find a way to accurately gauge Facebook buzz but this should help considerably.
Interestingly, the developers have added an RSS option. You'll see it on the search results page. When you click on the Subscribe, a window pops open and invites you to pay as much as you would like, via PayPal, for the subscription.
An intriguing question - what's the convenience of the feed worth to you?
Regardless of the RSS subscription option -- this is a very slick tool. Check it out.
Monday, September 27, 2010
This will have to do for now from the DLM Blog:
Posted: 26 Aug 2010 09:20 AM PDT
When I was just a little younger, I had great big goals and objectives and aspirations for every day of my life. These days, my biggest ambition is to get through each day with grace and peace of mind - to be unflappable and to move peacefully from one task to another with focused attention and a quiet, calm energy.
Simple right? Ok maybe not. However there are steps we can take to at least increase how often we remain calm. Why be calm? Heck, because it feels fantastic. Anger and impatience wear on our hearts and our minds and our families. When we are in control of our emotions, we get more done, we communicate better, and we lead more productive, purposeful lives.
Here are twelve tips for keeping your cool and staying calm amid life's situations – both big and small.
- Strive to not catastrophize
It's easy to dramatize and make something a bigger deal than it is. When you are relating the problem to yourself, avoid the urge to magnify the negative. Strike the words always and whenever. You might feel like Stuart Smalley, but it can really help to re-frame the problem in your mind by saying things like "I can cope," "It's not that big a deal," and "I'm bigger than this."
- Think before you Share
Don't describe or blog or tweet about the problem. Don't talk it over with your friends right away; let it stew a little in your mind so you can settle down a little. Sometimes, well-meaning friends will sympathize too much, which may only add fuel to your fire and get you even more upset.
- Discover metaphors and visualizations that help you stay calm
Here's one that helps me: I try to imagine my problem as a knot. The more I panic and pull on the ends, the tighter the knot cinches. But, when I adopt a singular focus, a calm takes over and I can loosen one strand at a time.
It might also help if you can visualize yourself acting with patience and focus. Lower your voice and try to move as slowly as possible. Speak slowly and softly. Become the calm, unflappable person you see in your mind.
Here's another technique: Do you know anyone whom you would describe as unflappable? Try to think of what this person would do in your situation.
- Note your patterns of exasperation
Are there any specific situations that cause you to lose your cool? Look at specific patterns -- from time of day, to level of stress (or level of boredom), to blood sugar levels. Do you tend to lose it when it's too noisy – or too quiet? Knowing about your own patterns can go a long way in helping you keep your cool throughout the day.
- Realize that you can control your emotions
Reflect on times when you were able to successfully stay calm in a frustrating situation. Maybe it was a time when you wanted to yell at your spouse or your kids, but then the doorbell rang and you were able to instantly shift gears. Consider that you might be able to do this repeatedly, as long as you know your triggers – and some tips for keeping a calm mindset.
- Create a calm environment with peaceful rituals
If calm music soothes you, use it. If silence soothes you, use it. Maybe you'll play some soothing instrumental music or maybe you'll dim the lights and light some scented candles.
When you are coming home from work, give yourself a few moments to calm your mind before you go charging into an evening at home with your kids. Sit in the car for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. Kick off your shoes and sip a glass of water. Rituals can also be tremendously soothing during the transition periods of your day.
- Take care of the essentials
Make sure you are getting enough sleep and getting enough protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. I tend to lose my temper way more often if I'm low on blood sugar. But, get a little protein in me, and it's (relatively) smooth sailing.
Also make sure you are getting physical exercise. A daily workout can give you the physical release that can help you control your anxiety. If I'm feeling particularly stressed, I trade my half-hour run for a half hour of kickboxing. This helps.
Stay away from too much sugar and caffeine and stay hydrated. Drink a tall glass of water and see if you feel better, more calm and alert.
- Focus on the mind and spirit, too
Depending on your spiritual tradition, engage in a routine of meditation or prayer. Practice yoga - or just sit quietly for awhile. Developing peace of mind is a skill that will serve you well your whole life through. Take a meditation class, and learn techniques to help you get control over your monkey mind.
- Distract yourself
Instead of ruminating, find something fun, engaging, and constructive to do. Try to laugh (or laugh at yourself.) Watch a funny movie or read a blog that always make you laugh. When you lighten up, it's a lot easier to keep your cool.
- Take a day off
I always know I really need a day off when I fight like crazy to not take one. If I can force myself to take an entire day away from my work, I always come back more calm, assured, and filled with fresh ideas.
- Don't forget to breathe
When my kids were very small, we helped them to calm down by teaching them belly breathing, and it still works – for them and for me. Diaphragmatic breathing helps you alleviate your stress in the moment and it gives you a minute or two to calm down, often just long enough for you to assess the situation and help you regain your sense of control.
In a good belly breath, your belly will actually rise and fall. To practice, put your hand on your belly. Inhale through your nose and see if your hand rises as you breathe in. Hold the breath for a few counts and slowly breathe out.
- Reflect on quotes that can help you calm your mind
Here are a few that I find inspiring:
"You are the sky. Everything else – it's just the weather." Pema Chodron
"A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe." Wayne Dyer
"It is useless to force the rhythms of life. If I live with the anxiety to go fast, I will not live well. My addiction to speed will make me sick. The art of living is about learning how to give time to each and every thing. If I have sacrificed my life to speed, then that is impossible. Ultimately, slow means to take the time to reflect. It means to take the time to think. With calm, you arrive everywhere." Carlos Petrini (Founder of the Slow Food movement)
"One important reason to stay calm is that calm parents hear more. Low-key, accepting parents are the ones whose children keep talking." Mary Pipher
"Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along." Paramahansa Yogananda
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sometimes I hear complaints from the "older generation" that "those kids don't talk anymore, all they do is text".
Well, since I upgraded my phone to a Droid this summer with a QWERTY keyboard, I am more into texting too. Yesterday, as I was driving, my wife called and wanted me to pick up 2 things at the store, then the list grew to about 8. I told her to send me a text with the list, which made life easier and safer.
But let's talk about talking. Not just talking but conversation. There is an art to it and a skill.
My occupation requires me to be skilled at conversation at least if I want to really be successful.
Even if you don't need this skill for work, there are personal relationships and social situations that will go better if you follow certain guidelines as outlined in this post from the Art of Manliness Blog:
The Art of Conversation
I think we’ve all encountered men who have a knack for good conversation. They can talk to anybody about anything in a laid-back, casual manner that sets people immediately at ease. A complete stranger can walk away from these conversational maestros feeling like he’s known known them for years.
It’s easy to think that the art of conversation is a skill that the gods bestow on a happy few, while cursing most men with turbid tongues.
While it’s true that some men simply have a greater portion of innate natural charm, the art of conversation is a skill in which all men can become competent. You may never have a silver-tongue, but you can learn to converse in ways that make you a valued party guest, set you apart at company functions, impress the ladies, and win you new friends. Below, we provide some tips and guidelines as an introduction (or reminder) on properly engaging in conversation.
5 Do’s of Conversation
Listen more than you talk. Ironically enough, the key to the art of conversation is not in the talking, but in the listening. Ask those you converse with interesting and thoughtful questions. People love to talk about themselves. Don’t ask what someone does and leave it at that. Ask them what the hardest part of their job is, how the future of their profession looks. Then ask follow-up questions to tease out more details. Act genuinely interested by focusing on who’s talking, nodding your head, and adding “hmmm’s” and “uh-huh’s” at appropriate moments.
Come to an occasion armed with topics at the ready. On the way to a party or dinner, I think about the people I will be seeing that night and brainstorm stories I can tell and questions I can ask. “George will like to hear about how the woodshed is coming along. Grace just got back from seeing her folks in Minnesota, so I’ll ask about that, and I’ll see what Tyler thought about that book he just finished.”
If you don’t know the people you will be conversing with, think about the things that will probably interest those you meet. Ask them about the unique aspects of their locale-(“I saw an interesting statue in the way into town. What’s the story behind it?”), read up on the company they work for (“I hear you will be expanding into China soon-when will that be happening?) and ask those who do know the others better for some background information.
Tailor the conversation to the listener. It’s easy to say, “Don’t talk politics, sex, or religion.” And when in any doubt, don’t. But a much better rule is simply to tailor your conversation topics to those you are conversing with. Talking about politics, religion, and sex with new acquaintances can be awkward; arguing with the same buddies you’ve been arguing with for ten years at your weekly poker night can be the highlight of the week. Talking about motorcycles in mixed company will bore half the room; not talking about them with your riding posse would be unthinkable.
Take your turn. A conversation is a group project, with each person weaving in a tidbit here and there. It’s no time for monologues. If you notice that you have talked for a few minutes without any questions, comments, or general signs of life from other people, you are likely sucking up the air in the room. Cede the floor to someone else.
Think before you speak. Most foot-in-mouth moments occur because of a failure to think before speaking. You rant about the war and then remember your friend’s boyfriend just returned from Iraq. To avoid offending, don’t throw out statements laden with value-judgments. For example, instead of saying, “The mayor sure is a moron, huh?” Ask, “What do you think of the mayor’s rebuilding proposal?”
5 Don’ts of Conversation
Don’t interrupt. There are actually two forms of interrupting, as 1954′s Esquire Etiquette explains:
“The obvious one, interrupting the speaker in mid-sentence, is easy to avoid: just wait until the other has stopped talking before you start. (And don’t ever say, “Have you finished?” You might as well say right out that he’s a windy numskull and you thought he’d never run down. ) The other kind of interruption, equally culpable, is often prefaced by “That reminds me…” or “By the way.” Such phrases usually signal a digression or irrelevancy. When you interrupt another’s train of thought, or send a discussion off into a tangent, you indicate that you are either stupid or rude, either unable or unwilling to stick with the speaker’s point.
Even if everyone observed these rules, telephones, doorbells and new arrivals would always conspire to interrupt you in mid-point. When you are interrupted, the politest thing to do is the hardest thing: shut up. Don’t go back and finish a story-don’t excavate a buried point-unless you are asked to do so. If a new listener has come up in mid-story, a polite someone else will brief him on the subject and ask you to go on; the polite newcomer will second the nomination; only then, with the briefest possible synopsis of what you said before, can you go on. If you are not given these cues, it may be because your story is not appropriate for the newcomer’s ears or because the situation gets beyond control; it’s not always because your audience was bored. So, if you get a chance to make your point later on, don’t air your annoyance with a petulant, “As I was trying to say a little earlier…”
Don’t talk to only one person when conversing in a group. This leaves the others dangling and awkward on the periphery. This is not simply a matter of whom you are physically conversing with-you can also ice people out by choosing subjects on which they have no interest or knowledge, such as the intricacies of your job that only your co-worker understands and inside jokes and “remember when’s” with your buddy. Bring up topics on which everyone can chime in.
Don’t engage in “one-upping.” The one upper not only makes a lousy friend, he also makes a highly annoying conversationalist. You say you just bought some new boots; he raises you one by talking about the shoes he cobbled together himself with leather he got by killing a deer with only a bowie knife. The one upper believes that his stories show his superiority; on the contrary, they reveal his naked insecurity.
Don’t overshare. We’ve all met the man who pours out his life story as soon as you meet him. Within two minutes you know why his girlfriend dumped him, how worried he is about losing his hair, and why he’ll never be promoted at work. This instant unburdening reads as desperation and repels people faster than water off a duck’s back. You have to cultivate a little mystery-leave people intrigued and wanting more.
And at the same time, you don’t want to dig too deeply into the personal life of other people either. Respect the privacy of others. To avoid inadvertently touching on a sensitive spot, instead of asking someone about X, volunteer that information about yourself. A person who is comfortable talking about X will typically offer up their own experience in turn. If they don’t respond in kind, change the subject.
4 Things Not to Say
“Am I boring you?”
An embarrassing question-the person will never answer no, it comes off a bit accusatory (the person will feel as though they were looking at you with an uninterested expression), and even if you weren’t previously boring them, the power of suggestion will plant the idea in their head that the conversation had been rather tedious after all.
Instead of asking a question like that outright, simply pay attention to the person’s facial expressions and body language. If they look bored, they probably are. Time to switch things up.
“Huh?” “What?” “Say What?” “Eh?” (the latter is okay if you use an ear-horn).
Too abrupt. The speaker will feel awkward. Instead ask, “What was the last thing you said- I didn’t catch it.” And don’t nod and smile when you don’t know what was just said. Sometimes it works; sometimes the person just said, “A dingo made off with my baby last night.”
“Actually, you should say ‘between you and me,” not ‘between you and I.’”
If grammatical mistakes make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you may find it difficult to restrain yourself from correcting the errors of others. But a conversation is no time to be pedantic. You’ll come off as smug and patronizing and bring any rapport you were building with a person to a screeching halt. Don’t miss the forest for the trees.
Actually, if grammatical mistakes make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you might want to look into taking up some new hobbies.
“Stop me if I’ve told you this story before…”
No one will ever stop you. So your question just prolongs the time they have to act like they’ve never heard the story of the time you almost ran over Barry Switzer while he was riding his fixed gear bicycle near the OU dorms.
The Number One Rule of Conversation: Be Natural
As with most matters of etiquette and sociality, once you understand the ground rules, stop thinking about them so much and let things flow. You can follow all the above do’s and dont’s, but if it seems to others like your conversating by a checklist, then you might as well be waxing poetic about your butt hair. It doesn’t matter how polite you are if you come off as a phony. Drop the affectations. Talk about things that you’re comfortable talking about; use words that you’re comfortable using. As Esquire Etiquette intones:
“You’ve often heard that what you say and how you say it is a first impression give-away to your character and your background-but there’s a sleeper in that bromide: It’s a bigger give-away to pretend to be something you are not then to be what you are without apology. No matter what the lady-books say about “cultivated speech,” a man’s speech had best not be cultivated; it ought first of all to be natural…The pretty politeness of speech you find in the girls’ books are not for you, sir. If you mean “Sorry,” say “Sorry”-not I’m so sorry,” not “I beg your pardon.” If you mean that the dinner was damned good say so; don’t mince around with uneasy words like “exquisite” or “lovely.” Leave the “my dears” to the aged, and “do comes” to the feminine gender. And forget about the supposedly gallant phrases like “Allow me” and “After you.” It is not etiquette to say things the long way or the fancy way. Be yourself. Be a man.”
What are your tips for mastering the art of conversation? Share them with us in the comments!
- 30 Days to a Better Man Day 17: Talk to 3 Strangers
- Manvotional: Lord Chesterfield on the Art of Gentlemanly Conversation
- Make Yourself Stick With These First Impression Tips
- The Virtuous Life: Silence