25 January 2007

How To Get To the Top of Your Profession

If you desire to reach the top of your profession, and perhaps have amibition of being a senior manager, associate director or indeed a director of your company, then you need to develop your people skills.

This is so key, Les Giblin, author of Skills with People, wrote: 'people skills are the key to life.' From the beginning of time, man has always been interested in himself/herself, and it will remain that way to the end of time. You do not need to be embarrased about realising this fact, it is just how it is.

You need to realise that man's actions are governed by self thought and self interest, you might have heard the 'WIIFM' - What Is In It For Me. Whenever you buy something, that is what goes through your mind, you say how can this be good for me, how can this benefit me and so on...
This trait is so strong in man that in charity the dominant thought is the feeling of goodness that the giver gets from giving, and not the gift, that comes second. So once you understand this principle, you can become better at talking with people, knowing how to set people's mood, knowing how to make people feel good, making a good first impression, knowing how to criticise people, knowing how to convince people is all part of people skills and if you have wishes of climbing the ladder of success you will need to know how to deal with people.

In your career and in life these are the same skills that you need. Think about it, the most high profile job on the planet earth is perhaps most will say being the president of the USA, the most powerful nation on earth. But, when you analyse the role for the presidency, what skills does he/she need, i mean there is no course in being a president is there, maybe we should have one, but there is none. It is the same skills we have been talking about all along, i.e. knowing how to communicate, being able to lead, being to sell your ideas, good organisational skills, good time management skills, and so on and so forth...And so you see if you want to reach the top you need to keep on improving your people skills, this is not something you pick up overnight, so you have to keep on learning. Most successful people are perpertual learners, so why not join them. They say a prudent person will profit from personal experience, but a wise will from others.

To wrap up this article, i will tell you the story of the swallows of Capistrano. Caspistrano is a small town in southern california. These tiny birds annually travelled 6000 miles from Buenos Aires in Argentina to San Juan Capistrano. For many years researches were baffled how these tiny birds could fly non-stop over open ocean, it was impossible they thought. Later, they discoverved that the swallows on their flight of migration, the birds carried tiny twigs in their beaks and would drop the twigs into the water and rest for a while before resuming their flight until they got to their destination.

So what does this mean? Basically, like the twigs are to swallows, so is people skills to people, a life raft in an ocean of constant change called life. You see, as human beings, we are all on a journey, migration called life. Therefore you need the people skills to keep you afloat, otherwise, you will may find yourself sinking.

There is plenty of room at the top, and it is the people skills which differentiates those climbing up and those hovering at the bottom.

How do you improve your people skills. Well i could go on and on about what you can do, but i will say essentially, you need to read motivational material and attend seminars as much as you can each year. Millions of people have read 'think and grow rich' by Napolean Hill, the wisdom is timeless, and what, for less than a £tenner, you get to learn about the life of a multi millionaire. There is a chinese proverb which says: 'if you wish to get to the top of the mountain, you need to learn from those coming back.' So keep an open mind and be teachable, a willingness to learn from your own experiences as well as others.

See you soon.

Femi Yusoof

18 January 2007

Use the “HIRE” rule to Win Your Dream Job

‘HIRE’ follows on from the rule of the 3 P’s. In order to have a successful conversation with another person, especially in an interview situation you need to apply the following:

Hear – The art of all successful conversation begins with first being able to hear the person who is talking to you

Interpret – This is the point at where you begin your analysis of what is being said, you need to first hear, and then interpret what is being said

Evaluate – This actually comes next in the sequence, after you have analysed the information, you must evaluate, it is at this point you begin to consider your response or answer.

Respond – The final part in the processing of the information is where you respond in kindness to the information given, by combining this with the 3 P’s you give yourself a far greater chance of obtaining your dream job. Essentially it comes down being polite, patient and persistence.

Femi Yusoof

16 January 2007

How to Handle Criticism In an Interview

Being criticised is something we all do as humans, though there is nothing wrong with this per se, it is how you do it that’s important. In Bob Burg’s amazing book ”Wining Without Intimidation” he says: “kiss ‘em before you kick ‘em” if only all managers use this technique they would get far greater results from their workers.

The problem with being criticised is that it can create some of the worst feelings any human can have as it strikes out the core of your confidence. And so you need to prepare for this and be able to deal with whatever is put your way.

People in positions of power often like to feel important and exercise that power often against another person’s well being. Now, any descent manager or wise person will realise you gain nothing from putting people down, in life you receive according to what you give and most ‘big’ people realise this.

But in an interview situation where you can be subjected to the most intensive of questions, and i know from personal experience, you need to understand why the interviewer may follow this path. More often it is to test your resolve under pressure, especially if the job you are applying for will demand that you are able to cope with a heavy workload, responsibility and meet set deadlines.

So with this in mind, you need to become like an ‘actor’ and put on your best performance, remembering that you are just playing a scene of a ‘pressure environment’, and it is not you personally that the criticism is aimed. Just like an actor who might be playing a scene, its temporary and the focus is on the end-result of producing the best performance. Having this mindset can help you too in dealing with difficult questions that get thrown at you.

Furthermore, remember most employers of any significant clout will not be too borthered about your failures if you can show that you have learned from the experience. History has shown you do not need to be a brain surgeon to succeed in life. Just check the background of some of the people on the world’s richest list. Employers want to know whether you have learnt from your mistakes, whether you are a soft cookie, remember success is about 90% people skills and 10% technical.

So focus on the positives and you will be able to handle any tough interview question.

Femi Yusoof

12 January 2007

How To Smartly Convince People

Did you know that you can get your colleagues or previous employer(s) to help in securing your dream job? How you might ask, well, when next you are in an interview and have to convince a prospective employer about your skills and ability you might just find this tip invaluable..

It is a simple technique that could apply to any area of your life, in your personal, business or in your career. For example, lets say you are being interviewed for a job as a Technical Writer with a large software house in the city.

Your prospective employer might ask you:

“What skills can you bring to our company?”

Don't just try and run down platitudes down the interviewer's throat, or try and argue your way which is what most people try and do. Instead:

You can respond by simply saying that:

“I believe I am the right person for this job, I have the experience, I am a certified technical writer with the ISTC (Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators), In addition, in my previous job my employer constantly praised my work as it helped in dramatically reducing the amount of phone calls to our helpdesk. After 6 months of joining, I was offered a much senior position!”

Now how does that sound? You have done 2 things, you have re-affirmed your confidence in your own ability and also backed it up by using 3rd party referral, speaking in third persons i.e. using your employer to boost your credibility.

People amazingly are more likely to believe you if you use 3rd party referrals or speak through 3rd persons, as opposed to relying on just what you have to say about yourself. Why? Following on from the theme above, you are more likely to build rapport, probity or integrity when you talk in the 3rd person, and not talking about I, mine, me. It is just human nature.

However, there will come a time during the interview when you can talk about yourself, it's about being smart and remembering how human nature works.

So in order to add weight to your arguments or convince someone, always remember to use this technique. It can definitely increase your chances of success.

See you next time.

Femi Yusoof

09 January 2007

The Power of Self-Talk

This can often be a difficult task to deploy, especially when you consider we live in a world where we are constantly fed with negative information, either from the media, news on TV, friends and family.

So you need to build yourself up if you really want to land that dream job. You can achieve this by thinking of all the positive things you have done, your achievements, remember the last time you were given a praise, any positive in your life no matter how little can help in this process. It is the same with actors, when an actor has to play a sad scene on screen or stage and in that situation it might mean they have to shed some tears, I have heard some actors using a negative moment in their life, something that really hurt them, that caused them to cry. So they call upon that negative energy or situation so as to re-enact a scene.

You can use the same technique to work for you in an environment such as an Interview, where you need to be positive.

If you cannot think of anything, just say: “I am the best person for this job and I am going to get this job.” It is almost spiritual, a self - fulfilling prophecy if you like in how this works on your mind, you actually start to feel positive and powerful just by making an effort to change your state of mind. Like the great Henry Ford said: “If you feel you’re right, you’re right, and if you feel you’re wrong, you’re right.” If you go into an interview believing the job is yours, may not always work, but i guarantee you you are already a step up from your competition, with a far better chance of landing that dream job.

I believe Eleanor Roosevelt says it best: “No one can make you feel inferior unless you consent.”

So you have the power and ability to go out there and obtain your dream job, one that you and your family deserve.

See you next time.

Femi Yusoof

08 January 2007

The Magic of 3 P’s

The 3 P’s are a very important tool to have in your locker when dealing with people in business, relationships and in your career. It can be the difference in living the dream lifestyle you crave and deserve.

In Bob Burg’s amazing bestseller – “Winning Without Intimidation” he describes this communication tool as essential in being able to disarm the most difficult opponent and also capable of enabling you to win at the negotiable table.

The 3 P’s simply translates to being Polite, Patient and Persistence, applied in this combination can yield amazing results in conversation with people.

It’s subtle and yet most powerful to be applied in any scenario. The reason is because again as mentioned above if you are get what you want from a conversation with another person, especially a potential employer, you need to apply the rule of being polite, you need to be apply the rule of being patient and last but not least you need to be persistence.

When applied in this order it shows that you are doing what experts say you must do while having a conversation with people and that is to listen, when you listen you are more likely to respond as opposed to react.

Responding delivers a positive message, whilst reacting delivers a negative message.

For example,

When you go to your GP to discuss the outcome of the medication that had been prescribed to you, your GP will usually say something positive if the medicine has worked, e.g. You have responded well to the medication.

On the other hand, if the medication did not work or worse caused a negative result, your GP would say that, you have reacted poorly to the medication.

So, remember to be polite, patient and persistence and you will find yourself responding against reacting and be on your way to securing your ultimate dream job.

See you soon.


05 January 2007

How To Ask The Right Questions in an Interview

It has been said that success is 10% technical and 90% people skills. Therefore, if you are looking to secure your dream job you must aim to give yourself the best chance amongst the huge competition.

So how do you give yourself the best chance? Well, first of all, you need to build rapport (this was discussed in an earlier teleconference) and to do this requires that you talk and ask questions.

You must realise that the interviewer does not care much about what you expect as opposed to what you might inspect, doing this means you are working with human relations. Why? When you are expecting, it conjures desires about me, I, mine etc… And this is not building rapport. With all matters in life, it is about timing, you need to build rapport first before you discuss matters pertinent to you.

For Example,

Suppose you are a mother or father with children, and you are interviewing potential nannies that could help in looking after your kids.

First Nanny:
He/She discusses and reacts to all and everything about what they want, i.e. money, how much they would expect to get paid for the job, the size of the room they would expect to sleep in if you desire they live-in, time for themselves to relax, also time to go out for socialising. Would you offer them the job?

Second Nanny:
He/She looks to find out about you and the family, your kids, what the kids like to eat, what the kids like to wear and their favourite TV program etc… Would you offer them the job?

I know whom I would offer the job, and I am sure most if not all would offer the job to the second nanny, why? Because they have shown to understand human relations and have applied it by discussing you and your family and NOT I, me and mine.

Can you see the difference? Though quite simplistic in many ways when you concentrate on the person/company you are given the information needed to ask the right questions and this allows you to separate yourself from the rest of the bunch, meaning you are more closer to securing your dream job.


01 January 2007

"The Irrefutable Law of Success - It is about giving and not necessarily receiving."

First and foremost, happy new year and wishing you a prosperous 2007. It is that time of the year when people start to bring out their pens and pads and jot down their new year resolutions. Planning to cut out those bad habits which may have kept you back from achieving your goals, this could be anything, failing to apply for that dream job because fear of rejection, or holding back in asking your boss for a much needed pay raise or promotion in your job.

Do i believe in new year resolutions? Well, no, as experience has taught me otherwise. I have however discovered what works best is focusing on developing good habits and eliminating bad ones and then maintaining those good habits over a long period of time. Good habits are difficult to form and easy to let go, conversely bad habits are easy to form and harder to let go. If you are a smoker, you may relate to this or anyone who has tried developing a good habit. It is a subtle mind shift so instead of merely writing statements which by and large never get completely fulfilled it is best to focus on developing good habits and that way you will see your plans coming to fruition.

So how does success relate to giving or indeed your career, you ask? Well, massively, your success in life, business or career is directly related to what you give out, they are inextricably linked. Trying to defy this theory is like working against nature. You cannot get what you are not prepared to give.

You will find most successful people have increased their wealth and happiness from giving out either to charity or some other venture. Remember, success is not all about money, it helps a great deal, but by focusing on giving you can truly leave a legacy and be highly regarded among your peers.

Warren Buffet is the 2nd richest man on the planet, the man behind Berkshire Hathaway, the most expensive share on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). He is reputed to be worth $40 billion dollars, and recently donated $30 billion dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Charity Foundation, is that success or what? You bet it is, success is linked to what you are prepared to give away, and some have said, it is about what you are willing to keep behind. A pensioner prepared to give £100.00 is a great deal, £1000.00 on the otherhand to a millionaire is nothing.

So when you are next in an interview situation and asked whether you consider yourself successful, don't focus on what you have personally gained moneywise, rather put the spotlight on what you have given in terms of your contribution to the success of your company. Remember, service comes first and, remuneration second. Also, don't forget, you are the product and the client is the customer, so you have to show that you have their best interest at heart.

I shall leave you with some very wise words from one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century - Sir Winston Churchill - "Success is never final, failure is never fatal, it is courage that counts." A timeless piece of advice.

See you next time.