Conquering the Handshake: The Peanut Butter and Jelly of it all.


Mastering the handshake is a crucial element to connecting with others. Some never get the hang of it, and those who do end up making great connections; nailing it every time. So let’s get down to the peanut butter and jelly of it all.

Did you know when you shake hands with someone, you awaken three out of your five senses? This is a big deal! Think about it. You touch, see and hear during this activity. Of course, the touch is the actual handshake; the physical contact you have with someone else. Sight is what you do while shaking hands – your facial expression and eye contact. And then there’s hearing; the words coming out of your mouth during this millisecond of an event.

Make no mistake about it, conquering these three senses take practice and discipline. But once you get it….you’ll get it! Here are some things you need to know about these senses:

Touch. It begins with the offer. Extending your reach while remaining inviting and interested is the key. I’ve experienced many handshakes over the years, but here are the ones I find having more impact than others.

1. water handsThe sweaty palm. This gives the impression you are a nervous wreck. Not to mention, it’s….well, disgusting. Being nervous is natural, but if you can’t help it and your hands get sweaty, take precaution before going into a situation. Focus on the good possibilities, not the negative. Try going to the restroom before entering the meeting, wash your hands and keep a spare napkin in your pocket or purse. If you are going on an interview, arrive early and bring a newspaper. This is a great way to take your mind off the meeting and also sneak a wipe at a moments notice. If you are wearing pants, try having your right hand in your pocket to wipe just before the handshake. No one will know the difference.

Fingertip Handshake2. Light-no grip. This can either mean you are unsure of yourself, not interested or germ phobic.  Either way, it questions your character. I’ve had some barely touching handshakes that drive me wild! The one’s where people use only two or three fingers, seriously? I find this rather offensive. It gives the impression you are not interested in connecting. Now who wants to be on the receiving end of that? Stop it.bone crusher

3. Bone crusher. This screams, please someone help me! A forceful shake can go either way. You can end up close to arm-wrestling or actually hurting someone. Neither of these are good. If your muscles are bulging and veins popping when you are handshaking, it’s too rough. Some view a harsh handshake as overcompensation for some sort of insecurity or attempting to intimidate. Is that the message you want to send?

firm shake4. Firm. I believe a firm handshake is great for every situation. It shows you are confident. Not too much and not too little. It also says a lot about your character. Firm shakes let the receiver know you are serious about your personal brand, you are present in the moment and you are interested in making the connection. Even when the receiver’s handshake is light, sweaty or bone-cracking, the firm handshake creates the balance.

Sight. Eye contact is how you make an emotional connection. It’s how you capture someone’s attention from the very start. Not doing so is hard to overcome. When you look someone in the eyes you are showing them they have your full attention, even if it’s for half of a second. It matters. They matter. Looking anywhere else but directly in their eyes is an insult. You hold the power here. You can either direct their attention to you or send them elsewhere, wondering what you are thinking.Don’t leave room for guessing. Be direct.

Hearing. If it’s your first time meeting someone and you haven’t been introduced, say your name first, then ask them theirs. Follow up with a polite comment such as  “Nice to meet you.” or “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”. These are great starts when meeting new people. When engaging with someone you already know, try using words like  “How are you?” (remember to actually wait for a response) and “nice to see you again”. These words are respectful and courteous.  Polite words give reassurance. If your handshake or eye contact are lacking, what you say will re-focus their attention back to you.woman reaching handshake

In sum, never approach handshaking as a formality. People can sense that. Look your contact directly in the eyes, smile and say something pleasant. Yes, you need to do this at the same time, every time.

Advertisements
Posted in CEO & Executive Leadership, Self Improvement, Workplace Matters | 1 Comment

What Does Your Body Language Say About You? Helpful Tips on Effective Communication


the office meetingDoes your mouth say the same thing as your body? The gestures we make during conversation often tell a very different story than the words coming out of our mouth. Even when we don’t use our words, our bodies still display some form of emotion.

For instance, have you ever had a conversation with someone who says yes while nodding their head no? Their mouths are saying one thing, but everything else about them is screaming the opposite. In conversation, we may even find ourselves making facial expressions similar to those we are talking to without even realizing it.

When interacting with people, it’s always important to be aware of your facial expressions. Although there is no exact science to body language many employers can still pick up on slouching, eye contact, folded arms and head tilts to determine how engaged or disengaged employees or candidates are during meetings or interviews.

Be aware. Of course we can’t walk around staring at ourselves in mirrors all day (even though some people do); we can definitely try to control our facial expressions by remembering our bodies naturally exude what we are thinking. When we feel pain, happiness or anger, our faces show it. In a professional setting, thinking positively will likely allow you to give off a positive facial expression without even trying.

Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s important not to jump to conclusions when you see a facial expression you believe to be related to nervousness, boredom or lying. Some expressions are often misunderstood and subject to negative reaction from others. I’ve been told I’m guilty of this. When I’m deep into thought, my face is so serious, I can look extremely unapproachable. Now while I know I’m not upset or unhappy about something in particular, others would have no way of knowing without asking. Body language is relative to perception and perceptions are open for interpretation depending on our own life experiences and moods.

Ask questions to clarify. If you are in conversation with someone and you are unsure or uncomfortable because their gestures are confusing, just ask. If workers seem disengaged, get their attention by asking them to elaborate more or share their thoughts. Who doesn’t like talking about themselves and giving their opinions anyway, right? There is no better way to resolve a misunderstanding than to be direct. You’ll avoid conflict and continue moving forward with ease.

The way we communicate with people will directly affect the way they will communicate with us. Someone may be in a terrible mood and you, being able to bring a positive vibe to the conversation; having the ability to look past the negative, could change the atmosphere for the better. Change begins with you! Things don’t always have to end how they begin.

Posted in Self Improvement, Workplace Matters | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Key to Creating Valuable Relationships


Recently I was reminded of the importance in giving to receive. Naturally we tend to have an expectation of others to give to us without first considering how we can be of service to them. When we go about our daily routines, we expect to receive things like great customer service in a restaurant even though we’re on our cell phones, never making eye contact. Or perhaps landing a new account, while never uttering the words “what do you need?”; being too focused on what we want to get from a prospect.

Think about the people in your life within your closest circle; some very dear to your heart. They have, in one form or another proven deserving of your time and support.  Whether it’s through a display of affection, love, advice, finances or encouragement, they have impacted or influenced your life somehow, creating a lasting impression causing you to remain committed to maintaining your relationship with them.

While it’s easy to describe the things we value; the challenge is to find out how to create value for others. The solution may be easier than you think.

Creating value is personal.

There’s a saying: “It’s not personal, its business.” Every time I hear it, I think of my all time favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail where the remarkable Meg Ryan says to Tom Hanks, “……what’s so wrong with being personal anyway? Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin with being personal.” I couldn’t agree more.

Our jobs, our friends, our families, hobbies and interests are all personal. Before we interact with others, we must try to consider these things. Creating a personal connection plays a vital role in laying the foundation for valuable relationships to form.Person examines value

Here are some key ways to creating valuable relationships with others.

Make it Personal. Try to find a common area you are passionate about when meeting new people. Being able to relate to someone on a personal level can remove any added pressure or nervousness in making new contacts. Doing this will leave a lasting impression. People will always remember how you made them feel.

Be honest. A relationship built on dishonesty will not last. People do business with those they can trust. Likability isn’t everything. See The Honest Model.

Be reliable. Strive to be the person others can count on to come through in a time of need. Possessing this trait will prove to be an invaluable asset. You will create a closer bond leading to exposure and opportunity for you personally and professionally.

Be consistent. Consistency is key in developing trust. Unpredictable behavior does not provide the safety and security people need when committing to a relationship.

Value can only be determined by the receiver. What is valuable to you, may not be valuable to someone else. The key is to find out what others value and become a resource or provider for that.

“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Posted in CEO & Executive Leadership, Self Improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The War on Talent…Management


“None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Ken Blanchard

tug of warThe greatest cost in business is talent and should therefore be the greatest focus of a business in terms of investing time and money to secure it’s stability. Without properly managing talent, the risk is greater in damaging your business sustainability.

So what seems to be the core of the issue with talent? Is it a lack of qualified staff, unengaged workers or employee mismatch causing the worry for business leaders and CEO’s? Could it be that employees simply don’t trust their employers anymore? See my blog on Trust in the Workplace

My experience leads me to believe the center of the issue is managerial decision-making and their interaction with talent.

A recent Gallup study found that companies fail to choose the candidate [manager] with the right talent for the job 82% of the time. According to the article written in the Gallup Business Journal by Randall Beck and Jim Harter, “Most companies promote workers into managerial positions because they seemingly deserve it, rather than have the talent for it.”

Properly training your management to understand talent demands and meet them is key when making hiring or promotion decisions. Those in management have the greatest impact on employee engagement and retention. When requirements and job duties/tasks change, it’s management who monitors and relays criteria to employees, seeing to it the work gets done. Without management developing effective communication and healthy relationships with workers, ultimately they become disengaged and fail to produce quality work; a direct connection to the employee and manager interaction.

Talent plays a significant part in reaching organizational goals.

Failing to consider your talent when making adjustments, implementing changes and growing your business is a costly mistake.

Key ways to get management to understand the importance of talent:

  • Include talent management in the conversation when making business decisions
  • Encourage them to be creative in engaging employees
  • Make managing talent a natural topic on the meeting agenda.

Considering talent is a huge chunk of expense, I think it deserves a little more attention, don’t you?

There are a plethora of opinions on the dilemma of talent management, but whatever you believe the problem is, the solution is clear – finding and keeping good workers requires authentic interaction, positive emotion and a genuine desire to invest in your people. The greatest direct relationship to display these characteristics is that between a manager and the employee.

Don’t just hire or promote a knowledgeable worker because of their experience. Find out how well they can manage others, resolve conflict, engage workers and make good talent decisions. This may take time and it requires investment, but it is a necessary sacrifice to secure future growth for your organization.

Invest in training your management before giving them the responsibility to manage others.

Don’t assume having decades of experience working in an industry will automatically generate good management skills. If you don’t have the time or qualified training staff, hire a leadership coach. Because having a coach is mutually beneficial decision, many organizations tend to split the cost with the employee. This way, prospective managers will receive the right tools and techniques necessary to effectively manage others without interfering with daily work activity.

Lead by example.

If your organizational culture welcomes, prioritizes and invests in talent demands, you can expect your management will too.

white_flag

Posted in CEO & Executive Leadership, Workplace Matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Four Warning Signs That An Overactive Ego Might Be Undermining An Executive’s Career


Great Read!

Blanchard LeaderChat

Eroding CliffWhen leaders get caught up in their ego, they erode their effectiveness.  Leaders with an overactive ego find themselves unable to center. Instead they are constantly moving from a sense of inadequacy to an overinflated sense of their own importance.

In his book Leading at a Higher Level, business author Ken Blanchard explains that “When leaders are addicted to either ego affliction, it erodes their effectiveness.”

“Leaders dominated by false pride are often called ‘controllers.’ Even when they don’t know what they are doing, they have a high need for power and control. Even when it’s clear to everyone that they are wrong, they keep on insisting they are right.”

At the other end of the spectrum are the fear-driven leaders. Blanchard says these individuals are often characterized as “do-nothing bosses.” They’re described as “never around, always avoiding conflict and not very helpful.” Their fear of making a mistake…

View original post 382 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winner of June’s Book Pick!


Congrats to the winner of my June Book Pick of the month, Charlotte Cuevas.

Stay tuned for my next pick of the month giveaway!

All the best,

Mary V. Davids

Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 Personal Branding Tips to Help Boost Your Career


BUILDING YOUR BRANDEverything you say either helps your brand or hurts it. When you post comments or thoughts on various social networking sites your connections get an idea of who you are. Through such communication people form an opinion about you and make a mental decision whether they want to further engage with you or distance themselves.

Your exposure doesn’t simply end with your approved connections. The internet is fair game.  Google your name to see what comes up. There may be more out there than you think!

About 2 in 5 employers look candidates up online before they make a decision about hiring them. Some employers even spend time reading content to observe how often candidates post so they can get learn more about their personality or character. Too many opinionated posts can be a negative. A hiring manager may assume you are easily distracted. Not enough posts could mean you are not tech-savvy enough (depending on the position you are needed for).

If you have any desire to further your career, you will need to be strategic about your online presence.

The best way to reinvent yourself and move full force towards building your brand is to attract the right audience. The only way to get people to take interest in what you’re doing is to get their attention by finding ways to connect with them personally. A great way to connect with like-minded professionals is to join groups within your industry on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. On other social sites like Twitter you’ll find chat sessions hosted daily or weekly by organizations looking to boost engagement with followers. Take advantage of these opportunities to engage with other professionals by sharing your thoughts and opinions as well.

Not sure where to start? Hire a professional to help you.

In the mean time, I encourage you to take these small steps in changing your image online:

Tip 1: Stay positive when you share your thoughts. Like the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

Tip 2: Remove/un-tag any unfavorable pictures of you that may be on the internet. The last thing you want a prospective employer to see is you downing drinks at a frat party.

Tip 3: Update your professional profile/web page at least once a month, even if it is an updated picture or a positive comment.

Tip 4: Consistency is key. Commit to regularly posting about industry hot topics and sharing articles posted by top influencers.

Tip 5: Revamp your LinkedIn profile to highlight your strengths and abilities; ensure your bio and experience is consistent on all social media platforms.

These tips should help you get on track and ensure you have a professional appearance online and boost your confidence in person.

Need help with your LinkedIn profile or bio? Hire a professional today!

MDD-160

Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Posted in Self Improvement | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Power Does not Equal Leadership


In the famous words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.”Superman

We all have power on some level or another. How we use that power is very different depending on circumstance and motive. Our use of power varies depending on our understanding of it and our decision to either use it for the good of others or use it to benefit ourselves.

I’ve found it’s often assumed that someone with power is automatically considered to be a person of leadership. Now I agree there may be instances where the two characteristics meet, but both shouldn’t be assumed if only one of these exists.

For example, are all celebrities leaders? Or are they arguably talented and/or unique individuals simply more visible to the public eye? Should we mix these descriptions by placing leadership expectations on such a group of people? Even when they do not possess leadership characteristics? Hmmm, that’s something to think about.

Power vs. Leadership

What is Power?

By definition, power is the ability to do or act; one having the capability of doing or accomplishing something by way of force and strength. Now this is not to be mistaken with having a leadership skill. For instance, there is no doubt the President has authority and power to start a war. Now whether he has the leadership skill to execute a war successfully is something that must be proved.

What is Leadership?

Unlike power, leadership is defined as guiding or directing a group with authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness, sway or clout.

Not everyone with power is skilled enough to get others to willingly act on their behalf. Having power and authority isn’t everything. People may work for you because they fear your wrath, but be sure to know they absolutely will not give you their best work under those conditions. You see, the only way workers produce at their very best level is when the goal to achieve becomes their personal desire, not the desire of someone else.

According to Forbes online contributor Kevin Kruse, “Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power”. I totally agree!

While a manager or boss may use their power to push one into a direction by way of force, leaders use their influence to guide others towards the direction they personally desire to go.

Sure, you can use power to do many things, but getting people to believe in a vision influencing them to deliver great work, create new things and produce innovative ideas is not done through power. These awesome acts are done through leadership.

MDD-160Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Posted in CEO & Executive Leadership, Workplace Matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Easy Steps to Writing a Professional Bio


Here’s how answering four simple questions can help you create a short-bio in a matter of minutes!

Professional Bio’s are your chance to share all your achievements and notable career accomplishments with your audience in a small paragraph or summary format.

  • Bio’s can be as short as one paragraph or as long as a whole page.
  • Bio’s are used for social media profiles, signatures for written blogs or articles, websites or scholarship applications.
  • Having a professional bio helps you stand out from the competition. It tells the audience what you want them to know about who you are vs. them assuming they know who you are by piecing information together found on the internet.

Here are four simple questions to help you create a short bio for your professional branding needs.

  1. What do you do now? (Where you work, your title and leadership position)
  2. Length of time in your field
  3. Describe your specialties in your field
  4. Your educational background and certifications

Need help with your LinkedIn profile or bio? Hire a professional today!

MDD-160

Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Posted in Self Improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 3


Honesty requires courage.The road less traveled

Have the courage to say No. Have the courage to face the Truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. ~ W. Clement Stone

No one is void of error. So you would think it would be more acceptable when we make mistakes right? I bet you can turn on the television this very second and find one political party bashing the other for what they consider to be a mistake in judgment or policy. Imagine how difficult it is for someone being publicly condemned for making a mistake to come out, admit the mistake and be truthful about their fault. It takes a heck of a lot of courage to do such a thing, yet there are those who stand up and face the fury anyway.

An honest person does not allow circumstance to compromise integrity. Those who remain truthful regardless of the outcome are often viewed as our greatest leaders, recognized as hero’s and admired for their good work.

Take a look at American leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Abraham Lincoln (“Honest Abe”). These leaders adopted honesty as a way of life. While serving, they courageously remained consistent in their beliefs of integrity and righteousness. Even through many tough times, they never backed down or compromised their integrity to please others. There was simply no question about who these men were and what they stood for. Today we hold their legacy’s in high regard, many of us hoping to impact the lives of others just as they have impacted ours. I believe this is still possible; even in the today’s society. (See the Honest Model)

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Honesty requires a bravery only possessed by great leaders. Not everyone is up for the challenge, nor are they equipped with the wisdom, discernment and compassion it takes to deliver such a service.

Like dishonesty, honesty is a risk; however there is clear distinction between the two. While an honest person will take control of a situation; mentally preparing themselves for a reaction, be it good or bad, a dishonest person will leave a reaction to truth up to chance. Instead they choose to be unprepared to face the havoc likely forthcoming when they least expect it. Now I wouldn’t call that a guaranteed success strategy, would you?

Having experience and knowledge doesn’t make a great leader; these qualities make a great worker. A great leader is courageous; consistently displaying good character, morals and a genuine heart. Knowing the difference can make or break your legacy.

“If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” –Abraham Lincoln

Have you read part 1 and part 2? 

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 1

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 2

MDD-160Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Posted in CEO & Executive Leadership, Workplace Matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment