26 April 2007

How To Secure Your Dream Job By Playing Dumb

It is often said that the secret to being a good conversationalist is the ability to listen. Active listening is the key, where you depict greater interest in the topic and person speaking to you. I guess it is no coincedence that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth, so it constantly amazes me when people fail to adhere to this principle time and time again. I know it can be a difficult sometimes especially when in a social garthering, but if you are attending an interview then it is absolutely imperative you heed to this advice if you desire to secure your dream job.

Recently, i met with a client who were looking to recruit engineering staff. This was a large engineering firm employing 1000s of staff worldwide. As we began talking, he started to discuss his experiences of candidates who had been to see him for a job interview. His narration of one particular candidate led me to believe it does not matter how good you are on paper, if you do not have the communication skills, which listening is an essential part then unfortunately you are likely to struggle at interviews and unlikely to get the positive feedback you seek.

In the end, my client had told me that he had interviewed for a senior position, they actually liked the candidate, CV was very good, but at the interview and for most part during their discussions the candidate kept talking so much that the interviewer could hardly get a word in. This obviously turned them right off the candidate because by talking and not listening and not giving equal share in the talk it sends out a negative message - controlling, difficult, stubborn, non sensitive etc...And to make it worst the candidate never realised their mistake to try and correct it, which might just have salvage the chance of getting the job. The candidate lost the job and the opportunity to work for a very good engineering firm. So what is the lesson here? When you are at an interview, you need to realise, just like you might be looking to decide if this is the place you wish to work, the people and so on, the interviewer is also looking at you assessing you in all ways. Remember your body language accounts far more than what you speak, so there is no need in talking on and on way beyond the question you have been asked deserves. Keep it short, simple and succinct. Genious is simple!

So you see, it pays playing dumb at an interview, do not talk for more than is required. You must let the Interviewer control the flow as you are on their territory, can you imagine you invite someone to your house for the very first time, and they suddenly go round into your kitchen, your fridge helping themselves to your food, whilst at the sametime talking to you not allowing you a word to speak, walking around your space like as if they own the place! How would you feel? Exactly, that is how my client felt when the candidate came in and kept talking over them not allowing them to speak, it was a big mistake as it cost the candidate the job.

Remember, companies are not so borthered about what you want so much but more keen as to what you enquire about them. Doing this gives you the upper hand when it comes to negotiating your salary package. Put the focus on them, you are a guest at their place, so play dumb, and you just might secure that dream job.

See you soon.

Femi Yusoof

16 April 2007

Mastering The Art Of Persuasion: How To Get People Saying Yes..

Every conversation you make with someone is a sales act, it is a selling process. And just like with every process there are guidelines or rules that govern each activity which you must be aware if you are to win people over onto your side. You will find the following information helpful in your career or business as at the end of the day, success in such environments is about mastering the art of persuasion and getting people to say yes. For instance, in a situation where you might wish to sell a client a product/service or infact a discussion you are about to have with a colleague or subordinate, all comes down to how good you are with being able to convince people.

Being excellent at persuading people does not mean you have to be brutal or mean or callous, it is about alignment, sometimes agreeing to disagree and confronting the 2 emotions which are at the root of every person's action. I became more convinced from studying further and hearing from famous motivational speakers such as Anthony Robbins. It is so key that i believe it is vital to anyone in sales or indeed people in business. As i have said before, i believe we are all sales people, and so you must think of yourself as a sales person, i don't mean go round with a loudspeaker letting everyone know that you are a sales person, it is about how you think, not what you say, a concept for you to input into your mind, as this is the ultimate secret for success in business regardless of your position in the workplace.

So what are these 2 emotions to which i referred earlier? Well as i said, this has been concurred by heavy hitters in the personal development world, one of them being Anthony Robbins, in one of his audio tapes, he describes the ability to persuade people to your way of thinking comes down to realising that man is governed by emotions to avoid pain and the other, the pursuit for pleasure. For instance, if you are in sales trying to convince a client, in order to get a sale, what you need to do is to focus on the emotion of avoidance of pain, this is perhaps greater than the desire for pleasure. As human beings we do things to either avoid pain or gain pleasure, think about it for a moment, whenever you have made a purchase, what was the core reason behind it, it is often down to one of the 2 emotional reasons mentioned above. For example, a wealthy person will make a purchase to buy a luxurious automobile not because they actually need it but because the emotion to seek pleasure, we are emotive beings, we use emotions to make our decisions and then back them up with logic.

So if are trying to sell an idea to someone and you are having to convince the person with some effort, you need to focus on the consequences, you need to ask questions that deal with the pain elements for that person not going ahead with your idea/product/service, you get the idea. I remember when i was working for an insurance company, i use to sell life and critical illness insurance policies to people, and our sales trainer would say in order to convince the client you need to paint a picture of where there are at now, and the consequences if they did not take any action now, it might sound like deceiving people, but it is not, as people we hate being sold to, and it is why even though i said we are all sales people no one is going to want to buy from you if you go round brandishing a message across your head with the slogan 'i'm a sales person' it just won't work, so we need to be more aware of how people think, we all want someone who cares for us and is simply not there only for their commission. If this can come across in your pitch then you will find yourself doing very well. As the saying goes: 'people don't care what you know, until they know that you care.' You might have heard of the story of the American insurance man who when asked about what he did for a living, replied: 'i buy the best insurance products for my clients.' Would you have been intrigued to know more from that sales person? I'm sure just like me you would, 'he buys insurance for his clients!.' He is not coming across as trying to sell you, he is showing he cares for his clients, someone you can trust, and that is one of the most important rules in being able to persuade people.

If people can trust you and have a feeling that you care about them then you are likely to find yourself getting more 'yesses', and surely that can only be good for you and your business.

Till next time.

Femi Yusoof

09 April 2007

Every Disapointment Carries The Seed Of An Equal Or Greater Benefit

I truly believe in that statement as i have seen it happen to me as well as many people including celebrities. It is a fact of life that we will all face some form of disapointment in our lives in one form or another. However, at the end of day you still need to carry on with your life. It is often stated that life is not about what you encounter, but how you respond. This is important as your response to a negative situation will ultimately determine your disposition, and your outer self and how you deal with people.

You need to do a reality check and be grateful for what you have, i sometimes wonder as people we are far less humble about what we have and spend time thinking negative thoughts, wasted energy on things which in the end can bring misery to your life. There is a saying: "I constantly complained about my shoes until i saw the man with no feet." Who would you rather be? The man without shoes and no feet or the person possessing both?

You will discover whether in your career, business or life in general that there will be tough times and you just have to be strong, perhaps easier said than done, but also it is said: "Tough times never last, tough people do." I have a dear friend of mine who a few years ago now was unable come to the United Kingdom for a number of reasons he was extremely disappointed as he had the opportunity to study at Cambridge University, he is a brilliant medic in my opinion, a genius of a man, but somehow his plans were thwarted. For most people, they would have cursed heaven and earth and whatever was in between thinking all negative thoughts in the process. But my friend remained steadfast in his desire to continue his studies in the west, in the end, he ended up obtaining a place at a University in the US where he is now on course to completing his course in medicine. I understand today he is highly sort too, by some of the most prestigious hospital in America. So you see, when one door shuts it just means a new and previously unknown door is about to be opened for you.

I have another friend who lost his job after serving almost 7 long years to the same company, he was made redundant less than a month prior to his wedding. As you can imagine one of the most important times in anyone's life, to then be faced with redundancy, how would you have dealt with such news? Ofcourse, devastated, but this friend of mine went ahead with the wedding which turned out to be a great success, and has since gone on to doubling his salary within less than 5 years of leaving the company with greater responsibilty after not having a pay rise in the 5 years previous!

What about some of the famous people me and you know of, people like JK Rowling, apparently she was turned down 12 times before one publisher finally decided to take on her Harry Potter books, which today has become simply a phenomenon. Also, the famous KFC chicken food place, establsihed by Colonel Sanders at age 66, more than 2000 restaurants turned down his idea, and today there is hardly a major town in the country without the KFC sign. Even the billionaire Sir Richard Branson, did you know that most of his businesses actually fail, but due to his vast stream of businesses the few that succeed compensate for those that are not doing so well. And if you were to study most of the successful people on the planet you will see that they have all failed at some point in their lives and indeed continue to fail but what is endurant is their will to win. It is like they are saying to those who say no, fine - i love it when you tell me NO, i will show you - and so being made redundant in your job, failing in your business or whatever it might be should not be taken with disgust and hate for your employer or government, one just has to look upon it as part of life, it is part of your development and it will only make you stronger and more wise as a person.

Follow these tips and you too will soon be telling of your own very successful story. Won't that be nice?

Wishing you every success. Never give up.

Femi Yusoof

06 April 2007

How To Gain Admiration From Your Employer

Whether you like it or not if you wish to gain promotion in your job or career you need to develop good relations with your manager or boss, as you might have read in books on the subject of job interviews when it comes to hiring someone for a job people tend to hire people that are like them or similar, it is just human nature. We tend to gravitate to individuals who like the things we like. It is the same theory that applies for when seeking a promotion or even a pay rise. So how can you gain the admiration and respect of your peers as well as your employer? Well i would like to share with you a story that dates back to more than a century ago, from this you will discover what every employer today in the 21st century is searching for and how you too can reach the top.

The story was compiled by Elbert Hubbard in 1899 and it tells the true story of when war broke out between the USA and Spain at the time, it was important to get a message to the leader of the insurgents - Garcia - who was in the vastness of the Cuban mountains. There was no other form of communication so the President had to find someone who could deliver this message. It was suggested to the President that a man by the name of Rowan should be given the task if no one else will go, so he was given the letter which he placed inside his oil skinned pouch and off he went. After 4 days he landed onto an unknown territory, the Cuban coast, before disappearing off to locate Garcia in the jungle. In 3 weeks Rowan had completed his mission, having traversed a very difficult terrain and ultimately delivering the message which he was sent. The main point from the story is that when Rowan was handed the assignment, he did not ask how will he find Garcia out in the forrest, or how, or why, or what if and so on, you get the picture, Rowan went ahead determind to deliver anyhow possible. And so the moral of the story is that it is not instructions that people need but a stiffening of the vertebrae, which will cause them to be loyal, trustworthy, committed to the cause, concentration and in all do the thing that you have been asked to do, this is why the story is today referred to as 'a message to Garcia', and the question is therefore for you, are you able to deliver a message to Garcia, no questions asked?

You see most people in the workplace when given an assignment or task they focus on all the reasons which might make the task a non starter, they moan about all sorts, they complain or find something to complain about, or ask silly questions, i do actually believe in asking questions but it is how you ask the questions that it is important, by focusing on the positives and having a determination about getting the job done you are far more likely to get the support and respect of your boss or manager and hence the admiration of people in the workplace. The reason is there are few people in the world today who can deliver a 'message to Garcia' and if you are one of the few who when given an assignment does not look for ways to escape from their duties, not faking illness just to have the work passed onto someone else, not arguing unnecessarily because you feel hard done by, but remaining positive there is no doubt in a short space of time you will find yourself being admired by people not only in your workplace but in society at large as every city and community needs a person that can and will deliver a 'message to Garcia'.

See you soon..


04 April 2007

How To Avoid Being Made Redundant In Your Job

It is fair to say in today's society that at some point in your working life you could be faced with the prospect of being made redundant in your job. With globalisation and companies looking to outsource services to developing countries to cut costs and maintain profits, working in the 21st century jobmarket is going to be difficult and extremely competitive.

However, if you are smart there are lots of things you can do to improve your chances of keeping your job longer than most of your peers. There are generally 3 kinds of jobs, they fall under the heading of administrative, technical and sales. If your role comes under the banner of the first two, then your position is certainly more precarious than someone whose job is more salesy or has a sales edge to it. The reason why is that most companies usually outsource the first two roles, after all why pay someone £1000.00 to do up a website for you when you could equally pay just as good if not better designer overseas £100.00. But when it comes to the communication of your business you need people on the ground, in the country of origin to sell your goods, to communicate your services and products and so on, so you run less of a risk.

A good friend of mine told me that within his company, people were being made redundant to cut cost as the business was looking to go in a new direction at the time, everyone was so worried about lossing their job as well as my friend. In the end, it happened that all the administrative staff were layed off from their jobs. Most of the sales people kept their jobs as the business person is thinking if i am to grow my business i need to keep the people who can generate revenue, we can do without admin for now, we will just have to chip in and do all the admin ourselves, this must have been going through the mind of the Director.

So how can you keep your job if you work in technical or admin, and by the way just because you work in sales does not make you impregnable but certainly you do have a better chance of keeping your job especially if you are doing good sales. As an admin or technical person, you essentially have to find a sales dimension to your role, it has been said so many times in many books about the fact that we are all sales people, at the end of the day when you attended your job interview you had to sell your skills, your experience and so on, so why stop thinking like a sales person, if you do stop, then you run the risk of being booted out first when the redundancy rounds begin to take place.

See you soon.


03 April 2007

The Power of Words

Alvin Day in his best selling book: 'If caterpillars can fly, so can i,' he describes words as the raw material of life. And this is so true, it is really the magic if there is any behind instant success, massive transformation and confidence in yourself, receiving the adoration of your peers, the weapon for defeating the enemy, the ingredients to making you happy, it is human natures leveller, capable of allowing you to change your life beyond your wildest imaginations.

It was with amazement i learnt that the late great American president, Abraham Lincoln, only had 12 months education in his entire life, yet he rose to become the 16th president of the United States, the most powerful nation in the world. Sir Winston Churchill, perhaps Britains greatest ever leader, for most of his early political life was ignored from the arena. Malcolm X too who most regard as an excellent orator was for the early parts of his life lost in his ways with no direction and faced racism at school. Mark Twain, who had a very difficult childhood is today revered as one of America's greatest ever literary writers.

So what do all the people above share in common? And what was responsible for their transformation from unknown obscurity to public icon? Well, it was simply their sheer desire for knowledge, it was undeniably insatiable. In the case of Malcolm X by the time he left prison to begin his quest as a crusader he devoured works by Shakespeare, and also the English Dictionary word for word, as well as the Koran. His level of diction and the inextricably linked confidence that proceeds such act enabled him to be catapulted as leader of men most of whom would have had far superior academic backgrounds. In the case of Abraham Lincoln, he was devoted to verse, not only did he memorise and repeat most of Shakespeare's work but he made notes and wrote essays about them. Some of his speeches are indelibly etched in the minds of most Americans, especially of the older generation. His speech delivered at Gettysburg is so surreal that it has found a fitting place at Oxford University.

Now this level of transformation does not only occur to people with difficult starts in life, the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson were by academic standards very educated men, but what set them apart was their language, their command of the english language which is my entire point. Ted Nicholas who is regarded as the $4 Billion dollar man because of the amount of products he has sold and marketed for his clients through the years wrote in his best selling book 'how to turn words into money' he said: 'words, not numbers, is the true currency of business.' You see Ted Nicholas understood the power of words and as a result he is today seen as one of the most successful copywriters ever to grace this earth. So what am i saying? Basically, if you wish to get ahead in your job or career, perhaps you did not get a good start in your life do not worry about it, you can really get ahead of your peers as most people once they have completed formal training usually stop at thatpoint and this is where you can catch up and in most cases surpass them as we have seen from some of the names mentioned above. These people rose from the depths of their failings to become world famous, respected, loved, and very successful in the process.

Ultimate power and confidence as well as success in life will come once you begin to realise the importance of self-training, continuos education which is the pre-requisite for high achievement. I urge you to take this advice on board as I have seen the improvements occur to me personally in terms of my confidence massively improving, as well as seeing similar magical effects in other people.

I have compiled an ebook on the power of words titled '101 Most Powerful Bathroom Quotes,' and so if you would like a FREE copy, please send me an email to: femidirect@hotmail.com

See you soon.

Femi Yusoof

02 April 2007

How To Be Indispensable in Your Job

You might have a strong case in arguing that no one is indispensable in their job, and i would agree to some extent, especially in today's uncertain jobmarket. So how can you indeed become indispensable in your job? Well, it is really about having a certain mindset that if utilised will enable you to distinguish yourself from the crowd, providing you with confidence and security in your long term career.

I have said in previous articles that in order to succeed in your career you need to think like a business person and not like a mere employee. This is why the solution lies in your thinking and especially how you think of yourself. When you think like an 'employee' it sought of means you place less value on yourself, you rely upon your boss to do everything, he/she pays your wages after all. But when you think like the boss you become indispensable it means you place higher value on yourself you are self sufficient, self motivated, independent, reliable and essentially you are just like the boss. This is not to say employees are not valued, the difference is that though the employee may do those things, working hard and so on, they often do not see themselves in a positive light inside of their own mind, hence they place low value upon themselves.

If you look at football stars today, some might say they have become rather arrogant because of the large sums of money they make, but the point is they actually see themselves as lending their services (just like a consultant might be hired on a contract and paid to work on a certain project) for a period of time after which they would move on to a new team, so in order to get that new contract, that bigger paycheck they work even harder for their current team hoping someone will spot their talents. And so you must do the same as you do not know how long you will be playing on your current team. But whilst you are in the team you need to put in the effort that will get you noticed either inside your company or by people within your industry. Therefore you need to start thinking like a consultant or an agent, unfortunately most people look at their jobs as their final destination point and as a result end up frustrated and miserable.

The term 'Intrapraneur' is the term used to describe an entrepreneur that works inside a business, and in fact i understand that there are some major corporations which have piloted and formalised this theory into practice by having 'intrapraneurs' in their firms, these companies allow their staff to be free in their thinking in the knowledge that any creation which might materialise from their work is equally shared by the company and the individual. This is certainly a new shift of thinking in comparison to the stifiling bureacratic man management style that is so bereft of most organisations today.

The bestselling American author Robert Allen certainly concurs, he mentioned on one of his audio tapes that if you wish to get ahead in the 21st century jobmarket you need to think like an 'intrapraneur' in essence think like a business person, it allows you to see what your boss is seeing. Above all, it will reduce or eliminate the fear that comes from loosing your job or being made redundant knowing that your service to the company was only temporary, long gone are the days when people were guaranteed a job for life. Being indispensable is about knowing your value, your true worth, if you value your skills and ability then people will come looking for you. A very good friend of mine and a man i highly respect, he is a very successful medical doctor in New York city, USA, a specialist in cardiology and the liver. He told me ultimate success in the workplace is when you do not have to worry about finding your next role, the roles come searching for you. Now that is the mindset of an 'intrapraneur.'

See you soon.


01 April 2007

Success is about being different

It is amazing just how many people are insecure with themselves that they wish to be somebody else. I have even heard of people going as far as having face transplants to look like someone else! Now don't misunderstand me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having someone to look upto, people you look to for inspiration, guidance and support, this is different to when you seek upon doing exactly what everyone else does, i.e. becoming like the Jones' - following the crowd. This is unlikely to bring you success in your career or business. You are unique, you are the only one with your particular uniqueness, one in more than a billion people, strong and living, that is to be celebrated not discarded.

In Wes Beavis' book - 'Escape to Prosperity' he talks of how we live in a society where people want to be better than the Jones', their next door neighbour, but you do not know how those people got their success, certainly be inspired by them if necessary but do not envy and therefore feel like you are inadequate as a person. What you need to do is work on your inner self, developing your knowledge and skills in whatever you want to accomplish. "There is nothing more that speaks of success than the easy confidence that comes from living debt free," Wes Beavis. Leave the Jones' alone, if you can take some encouragement from them that is fine, but remember keeping up with the Jones' may mean keeping up with their high level of debt.

In your search for the perfect job or business you may have to do things different, like listening to motivational tapes, using a mentor for advice on matters that are pertinent to your career or business, attending seminars on interview skills and techniques, learning from experts in the field, getting advice about the presentation of your resume or CV this is not what most people do, in general people restrain themselves they ignore the work that goes first because they want success now, a symptom of the society they live in to which they have succumb.

I read a passage from John Harrison's excellent book - 'How to stop working and make a £million pounds instead'. In the book he goes on to say that the word eccentric and millionaire seem to go hand in hand it suggest that people who are rich are not normal or different from the rest of us. Though we have to be careful of this notion that rich people are not normal it is worth looking into why rich people are thought of in this fashion. So lets look at the definition of the word 'eccentric', Webster Dictionary defines the word as 'deviating from an established or usual pattern or style.' Now ofcourse millionaires deviate from an established or usual pattern or style! This is the essential pre-requisite to achieving anything worthwhile. Why? Because extraordinary results require extraordinary actions to bring them to fruition. What do you think happens when you conform to an established or usual pattern or style? That's right, you get a normal or the same usual results which does not lead to great success or wealth.

So you see, you need to re-programme your mind in order that you can get over the shackles that were placed on you as a child. As a child growing up we are taught by our parents that there is one right way of doing everything, one right way for holding a spoon, a fork and so on after all it is what the books at school say, it is where we get our instructions from. This middle of the road approach to life is certainly not a recipe for success and therefore we must realise our differences and uniqueness, learn from other successful people understanding that they did not follow the crowd, they simply took bold and courageous steps and went beyond where most people were willing to dare.

In summary, be confident in yourself that being different is okay and normal, people may comment on why you have decided to take the unfamiliar path, but do not despair you are simply doing what most successful people do. Like Shakespeare said: 'Dare to be different.'

See you soon.