Health Tips

Best Advice: Shut up and Listen

 

The following article is by Dave Kerpen

When I first started out my career as a salesperson for Radio Disney at the age of 22, I was young and foolish (well, even younger and more foolish than I am today). I thought I had a great product to sell and that people would love to listen to me talk about it. I thought I could be charming and persuasive and convince decision-makers why it made sense to use my product to solve their marketing problems. I thought I could talk my way into anything.

I thought wrong.

Several weeks into my job, I was failing miserably, despite what I considered to be loads of charm and ability to persuade. My mentor, the Regional Sales Manager for Radio Disney at the time, Peggy Iafrate, said to me, “How well are you listening to what your prospects have to say? How many questions are you asking them to better understand them? How are you showing them that you care about them more than you care about selling them?”

“Dave,” she said, “Remember this one thing: Shut up and listen.”

 I hadn’t been doing a very good job of listening. In fact, by my very nature, I’m a type-A personality, full of thoughts, running a mile a minute, an impatient New Yorker who always has something to say and rarely slows down. So, it took some real dedication and practice to listen to what Peggy told me about listening and heed her advice.

I began asking my prospects more questions. Listening to their problems, listening to their interests, listening to their every word became my obsession. I thought very little about how to sell them on advertising with Radio Disney and instead focused on listening attentively to everything they had to say so that I could better understand them as people and better understand their organizational needs and challenges. Once I understood them, I could do a much better job of delivering what they wanted and needed, both in the product I was selling and in the way I sold it.

Things quickly started to fall into place once I started listening. Within six months, I was the number-one local salesperson in the country, and a year later, Peggy awarded me the “Mickey Award” for sales success. All for shutting up and listening.

Salespeople, leaders, entrepreneurs and business people are full of ideas. Many of you have ideas all day long every day about how to make the world a better place, make money, solve problems and lots more. But the very nature of active listening requires us to put aside our ideas completely, if only for a moment, in order to focus on what someone else has to say.

As difficult as that can be, it’s through listening to customers, prospective customers, colleagues, employees and others that we can better understand what their needs and motivations are, and ultimately make our ideas better and more executable. It’s leaders like you who need to learn to listen better, even more so than the world’s followers.

J.P. McEvoy said, “When you talk, you are repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

So, as Peggy said to me years ago, please, for your own good and the good of the world, shut up and listen.

Original article can be found here

 

The True Meaning of 'Ladies and Gentlemen Taking Care of Ladies and Gentlemen'

The True Meaning of ‘Ladies and Gentlemen Taking Care of Ladies and Gentlemen’

Above the door of any serving area in a Ritz Carlton hotel is a sign that reads, ‘Ladies and gentlemen taking care of ladies and gentlemen.’

We’ve always like that phrase because it is a dignified and courteous reminder that the way we present ourselves to one another matters greatly.

This is never truer than it is in a professional context. It should go without saying that the quality of your work matters, but the way you conduct yourself and the image you project are of great importance, too.

To put it simply, people like to work with other people who are clean, collected, well-mannered and polite. No one wants to work on a project with a coworker who is sloppy, and people will avoid a team member who is mean, spiteful or rude.

Remember — each of us is always on stage. You make have heard the saying, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression.’ To that, we’d add that it only takes one misstep — one instance of thoughtlessness, one day of poor personal appearance — to undo many days of meticulous upkeep. This is why it’s vital to be consistently courtly and polite.

So, back to that sign on the Ritz Carlton; if you can carry yourself like a lady or gentleman in any work-related context, chances are that you are well on your way to being the sort of worker employers value and coworkers want to be around.

As we all know – in the wine and spirits industry we always want to be that person on and off the stage.

 

When Not Everyone Agrees With You

The workplace can be a stressful environment, especially when people must work together to find solutions to urgent and complex problems.  Inevitably, not everyone in the workplace agrees with one another, and it can be difficult to propose new ideas when they carry the possibility of catalyzing disagreement and conflict.  It’s important to continue contributing new ideas even though not everyone may agree with you.  In addition, it’s equally important to know when to graciously defend your ideas, and when to allow for the possibility that you could be wrong.

Being wrong feels like being right.  In the workplace, and in life, it’s essential to keep in mind that being wrong can feel exactly like being right.  Kathryn Schulz explored this idea in a recent TED talk, in which she points out that there’s nothing that feels inherently different about being wrong compared to being right.  Thus, it’s necessary to accept that an idea that feels completely on-target could still potentially benefit from improvement.

What don’t others agree with, and why?  After accepting that not all of our ideas are right, or are the best solution to a particular problem, it’s important to take a moment to ask what it is that others don’t agree with.  Seeing our ideas from another person’s point of view can help us think critically and objectively about our ideas in order to determine whether we should continue to defend them, or whether we should let them go.

Ask for specific alternate solutions.  If somebody has spoken up in order to disagree with your idea, he or she should be prepared to offer an alternative solution.  It’s easy for others to criticize, but if they do so they should be able to back up their own ideas.  For example, ask those who disagree to tell you which solutions they think would be better suited to solve a particular problem.

To learn more about achieving success and improving your workplace environment, please visit our website or blog for a variety of articles.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us!

Are you a fainting goat?

Are you one of these goats when you’re at work? Has the stress gotten you to the point of going stiff at the mere mention of your name out of your boss’ mouth? Here are five ways to avoid becoming stiff with stress while at work.

  1. Exercise. Seriously – it’s the simplest thing to ward off stress and depression and yet nobody seems to be doing it. So before or after you eat lunch everyday– go for a walk. It’s that simple. Go for a 15 or 30 minute walk during the day and watch how much your attitude changes for the better.
  2. Play. Yes play. Remember when you were a kid and going outside to play didn’t seem like a chore, it sounded like a dream come true? Well, it still is. So figure out what part of you still likes to play and lose yourself for a couple hours a week.
  3. Hit happy hour.  Ok, this sounds a little off beat – nobody’s saying to go out and get crazy 5 nights a week, but once in a while, find some people to meet for happy hour and just relax.  Have some laughs, ingest a few extra calories, play a game of trivia or pool and go home early. This little bit of social interaction will make a huge difference in your attitude. Just make sure that it doesn’t turn into a hangover and the next day at work is a nightmare. That would negate the whole purpose of happy hour in the first place.
  4. Write a “To-Do List” every day. No matter how ridiculous this sounds, recently it was found that people that write out a To-Do List everyday actually end up saving so much time it equates to 23 days a year. 23 EXTRA DAYS A YEAR – just from doing something as simple as writing down daily tasks!
  5. Pause. When you are about to mutter something passive aggressive under your breath or say something not-so-passive-aggressive and just go full bore aggression, press pause on the moment. This simple, tiny action will help diffuse many stressful situations.

At the end of the day, remember, work is just work. Have some fun, take some time for you, and see the humor in everyday situations. It will definitely help keep you healthy and happy without having to worry about suddenly going stiff.

Anxiety, Depression and the Job Search

Times like these make you want to actually sing country.  Old country not that new fangled country – invented in a LA recording studio.  Someone who’s ‘lived’ for decades, someone who has lost their dog, truck and girlfriend for a living.

 

 Where, oh where, are you tonight?

Why did you leave me here all alone?

I searched the world over and I thought I’d found true love.

But you met another and PTHHP! you was gone.

 
 

That little number sums up the hundreds of calls a week we take from anxious people look for a new job in the wine industry.  Despair, anxiety and the uncertainty all can wear you thin.  It’s a tough market, but, there has been more activity as of late, nearly double the amount of inquiries for new management search as compared to this time last year.

However, if you’ve been feeling the stress build up into perpetual anxiety, we found some very insightful tips on managing your stress, improving your outlook and increasing your opportunities.  If you are healthy inside, it shows on your face – if you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, it shows double.  Follow these tips to better manage daily stress and retain mental energy for that next interview.

 Anxiety, Depression and the Job Search

Anxiety, Depression and the Job Search

Job seekers navigating unemployment and an extended job search can find themselves in a bit of a Catch-22. Worn down by frustration and stress, many find themselves spiraling into depression, which will ultimately manifest itself in job-search performance — sleepless nights, lack of motivation, diminished interview skills and a bad attitude — and can make it even hard to gain employment. Staying mentally healthy on the job search is vital if you are to operate at your peak.

Based on the advice of psychologists and mental health experts, the stories below identify precisely what layoff survivors are likely to experience and solutions to combat the stress and anxiety that can lead to depression.

 

Read these four stories to help you stay healthy during your job search:

Your Layoff, Your Brain: How to Get Out of Your Own Way

In small doses, anxiety is necessary fuel to drive achievement. But in a prolonged job search, the effects of stress can work against you. Here are some practical insights to gain control of your body’s fight-or-flight mechanisms.

Stop Job Loss from Stealing Your Confidence and Your Identity

For seasoned professionals, the loss of a job can shake their sense of self. Here are some psychological insights for keeping things in perspective.

Staying Healthy Through Troubled Times

Being let go from a job is difficult under any circumstances, but in today’s economy, it can be even more stressful. Mental-health experts and people who have been through the job hunt themselves offer the following advice for maintaining your emotional and physical health during what can be a prolonged job search.

Job Search Anxiety: Warning Signs

The loss of a job hits both your pocketbook and your very identity. Negative feelings are only natural, but look out for these red flags indicating that outside support should be sought.