Tag Archives: Collaboration

Read the Room!

Want to get the most out of your presentation?

Learn to read the room!

Everything you need to know about the effectiveness of your message, or the clarity of your ideas, is all right there for your reading pleasure.

Here are three tips to increase your room reading expertise:

  1. Face the Place.  As you begin your talk, purposefully make eye-contact with a few folks seated at various points around the room. Return to those faces often and note what you see. All smiles and nods is a good thing (go baby go—more like that). Faces avoiding your glance or busy looking around the room are likely confused, sorting out some aspect of what you’ve said and want to make sure they are not the only person that doesn’t get it (proceed with caution).
  2. Less is More. Running long in your talk is a sign of disrespect and/or a lack of preparation. It’s always better to leave them wanting more.
  3. Speech CPR. After lunch, the end of a long day, a dark conference room, excessive heat… you name it and a great presentation can fall flat. If this happens to you, cut the talk short and ask your audience to help you solve the problem. Let’s say you have the next great dot com and the audience doesn’t get why it is so great. Ask them for help. “Given what I’ve shared with you, how do you think I should describe what my dot com does?” Allowing the audience to take ownership of the idea will not only breathe life into an otherwise DOA speech, but could provide you with valuable insight!

This week’s shout out goes to Jason Smith of the TrueNorth Companies, an insurance and financial strategies firm. Jason’s favorite bit of advice serves as a wonderful reminder this week, “TIME is your only diminishing resource. Use it wisely…” Whether it’s your next talk, sales call or meeting, Mr. Smith’s advice is on point!

Stay connected!

PS: If you didn’t have a chance to do our survey last week – please take a second to answer a few questions now – just click HERE!

Who’s Dragging Your Team Down?

This week I had the opportunity to witness our medical system first hand, as a close family member underwent a significant life threatening procedure.

Observing the coordinated effort of the care-givers was a lesson in team-centered collaboration, information sharing, process and policy adherence and yes – human relationships!

Research suggests that relationships impact:

  • Caregiver perceptions of autonomy,
  • Role clarity in relation to patients and
  • Job satisfaction.

As you consider the role of teams in support of our own efforts, consider also what we call, “the LCD (Least Common Denominator) effect of teams”.  While a high functioning team yields a wealth of desired outcomes, the greatest impacts are often made by the lowest performers.

In essence, customer satisfaction and perceptions of service are disproportionately driven by interactions with your lowest performer. Even if nearly everyone on the team is relationally great, a bad relationship created by a team-laggard may unduly taint the overall perception and evaluation of the team’s performance.

Teams should make every effort to bridge the gap between the lowest relational performers and the rest of the team.  Doing so is a shortcut to quickly increasing team performance.

If you don’t know who on your team is the “LCD”, BEWARE – it may be you!


Also, thank you so much to those of you that took the time to reply to last week’s post – very thoughtful commentary!

Resolution #4: What’s in your wallet?

Assuming you are putting your commitments to physical fitness, that new diet and shedding a bad habit of yours at the top of your 2015 resolutions list, I’m offering a challenge for the #4 spot –REIGNITING ONCE SOLID RELATIONSHIPS.
While Capital One credit card wants you to feel the joy this holiday season and spend freely by asking, “What’s in your wallet?”

I’m asking you a different question, “What’s IN your wallet of personal and professional opportunity for 2015?”

After you’ve spent some hard won capital on a few priceless gifts for your loved ones, why not invest a little of your downtime building up your social capital?

It’s easy.
It’s fun.
And you’ll see the returns right away!


  1. We never know who, when, where or what will be the source of your next big break. More often than not, big opportunities come from people and places you hadn’t anticipated. For example:
    • The BIG BREAK in my career came from a friend halfway across the country (thank you Melanie, you changed my life),
    • I’m currently working on a significant business venture brought to my attention by someone that once attended one of my talks (thank you Melissa, looking forward to an amazing ride),
    • None of this opportunity would have been possible without one man taking the chance on an upstart like me (thank you Rick, your example and your trust have made all the difference).
  1. Each of us has great relationships we’ve taken for granted. Right now, I’m sure you can think of a few people with whom you were once close but, for whatever reason, you’ve stopped engaging,
  2. The more people that know who you are, what you want, what you are capable of and care about you – the more opportunity will present itself. MAKE SENSE?
So, let’s start the year off right by RECONNECTING!THE CHALLENGE
  1. Make a short list of 10 or so people with whom you once had a solid relationship but haven’t connected with in a while (THINK: old friends, long-lost family members, co-workers, clients, etc.)
  2. Write up a short message (3 or 4 sentences) to send to each of them (i.e. “…I was thinking about you and realized it’s been a while since we’ve connected. Don’t want to make that mistake in 2015!…)
  3. Send the messages as TEXTS on New Year’s Day… (Still the holiday but people will be thinking about the future and getting ready to return to the grind – a perfect day for reconnecting)
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!I really want to hear what happened with you! How many responses did you get? Any surprises?There’s a whole group of us that will be sending messages right along with you – so, we can experience and learn together and FOR ONCE, WE CAN KEEP A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION!
Special Note of Thanks 
With 2014 fast coming to a close, this will be the last blog of the year. We have some great surprises for you in 2015, including opportunities to get your thoughts published here, or as an article, or even a book – as we introduce the Relational Sciences Institute, the first-of-its-kind crowd-sourced research group.

Wishing you and yours health, happiness and lots of laughter!Stay connected.

I feel your pain… now pay me!

Ardent followers of Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence will be delighted to learn that new research suggests emotional intelligence, in the from empathy, may yield more than productivity gains.

The Study:

  1. Psychologists at the University of Bonn conducted an international study exploring people’s ability to recognize emotions,
  2. Participants tasked with recognizing the emotions exhibited in pictures of faces and voice recordings were ranked on a scale,
  3. Coworkers and supervisors also ranked participants as to whether they were socially well-attuned, influential, sincere, good networkers, etc.

The Results:

  1. Data suggested a correlation between high scores on both rankings and higher income levels,
  2. Lower scores tied to lower incomes.


Research continues to link relational competencies to financial success. From the IBM study suggesting each active member of our network equates to $948 in net worth to common sense logic that the more people that know who you are, understand your capabilities and care about your success; the greater the chance you’ll succeed.

Fortune Cookie Bottom Line:

It is better to have more friends about than to be down and out…

Source: http://www3.uni-bonn.de/Press-releases/it-pays-to-have-an-eye-for-emotions

Are you politically correct? It may affect your productivity…

  1. Political correctness sometimes gets a bad rap by people who think that it is just a way to censor their right to free speech; however, Cornell University has proven that it can actually increase the creativity of work teams that are comprised of both men and woman.
  2. This is challenging the idea that in order to have a truly creative team, everyone should be allowed to speak their minds, whatever the consequence.
  3. Political correctness is shown to help people feel more comfortable while sharing their creative ideas, because it reduces the insecurity they might feel while interacting with others, especially those of the opposite sex.
Can you tell the difference between being politically incorrect and being candid? 
Source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/this-just-in-political-correctness-pumps-up-productivity-on-the-job

Want a to create a great team or marriage? …Then bring on the PAIN!

Have you ever wondered why you choose the friends you choose, like the people you like, marry the people you marry?

Instinctively, we’d probably answer by thinking about all the good things we see in those we hold closest – personality, values, interests but what about the bad stuff? Can negative feelings or experiences bond us?

  1. New research suggests that pain may actually bring people together and act as “social glue” for groups of people who have suffered the pain together. And this conclusion actually makes sense—think about the relational bonds soldiers create from common experience.
  2. 54 study participants were assigned either a painful or non-painful group task, like submerging their hands in cold ice water to locate and deposit medal balls into underwater containers (painful) or doing the same task in room temperature water (no big deal).
  3. Post task, the participants were asked to rank how close they felt to the others in their group.  And while the two groups didn’t show a difference in positive or negative emotion, they did show significant difference in feelings of group bonding.
  4. A continuation of the study showed that the groups that went through pain together were much more motivated to cooperate, as a group, during other subsequent challenges as well.

Can’t wait to hear how you feel about this topic…
What do you think?
Is your job painful enough as is?

Source: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/shared-pain-brings-people-together.html?utm_source=pressrelease&utm_medium=eureka&utm_campaign=sharedpaincohesion

Am I Selling or Are You Buying?

A friend of mine, who is Senior IT Executive in Mexico City, wrote me recently asking the age-old question, do salespeople and marketers sell or do customers buy?
We’ve asked this question to hundreds of sales people around the globe and here’s the consensus:

  1. Nobody likes to be sold anything and most everyone loves to buy stuff,
  2. When we are being sold something, our defenses are up and we typically experience some degree of buyer’s remorse after we make the purchase,
  3. BUT buying something is a real treat–everyone loves getting new stuff, having the latest gadget!
  4. If the buyer feels in control and co-develops the solution with the seller — chances of sales success skyrocket.


…Give your PowerPoint presentations a rest and pick up a dry erase marker. Stop presenting and start co-creating. Sketch out your offer/project/idea with the person considering it.

Death-by-PowerPoint-is out.

Co-creation is in!


Are you a Giver or a Taker?

Studies have shown that personality plays an important part in exchanging knowledge. Adam Grant at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, created a personality measure to determine people’s natural tendency toward interpersonal knowledge exchange. He found that most people can be classified into one of three groups: givers, matchers and takers:Givers: not only share more information they also tend to share more important information,
Takers: tend to keep important information to themselves,
Matchers: (you guessed it) are in between and see information exchange as a tit-for-tat strategy.WHICH ONE ARE YOU?


Salespeople: Mastering this model might come in handy when trying to get info from clients…

Managers: May realize that it’s not enough to simply provide knowledge management tools, but to also keep in mind the personalities and interaction styles of their employees…

Husbands & Wives: I’ll leave those implications to you…

Until next time…Stay connected!
-JeffSource: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=144301&CultureCode=en

Group Opinion and Personal Judgment

  1. New research out of China suggests that if people know what the average opinion on a given subject is, they will change their personal opinion to be closer to the average opinion
  2. They will do this even if there is no social pressure to hold an opinion similar to the average opinion
  3. Interestingly, this effect only lasts for 3 days or so—after that people tend to revert back to their original opinion
Source: Y. Huang, K. M. Kendrick, R. Yu. Conformity to the Opinions of Other People Lasts for No More Than 3 Days. Psychological Science, 2014

Social Networks & Your Network

  1. A new study of social network marketing (think Facebook) illustrates that the larger your network the greater the value generated and the more stable the network…anyone remember MySpace?
  2. In low-intensity networks (like your personal network), effective management can serve as the catalyst for growth…Are you being proactive with your network? Reached out to any long lost contacts lately?
  3. Networking success can be emulated and adapted. If your network isn’t world-class today, it doesn’t have to stay that way… Learn what’s working for others and make it your own!

Reach out with outreach and connect today!