There’s a trend I’m noticing this new year of embracing a theme or intention for the year ahead in lieu of making resolutions. I’m getting on board with this approach, which seems like a smart way to minimize the shame and guilt of not making daily progress on a resolution, and instead take a more holistic view of the year and celebrate accomplishments as you go. In 2024, I’m focusing on mastering the essentials, and I’m inviting you to come along with me.
How I’m doing this for myself:
To me, mastering the essentials means defining the goals most essential to success, creating a plan to reach those goals, and seeking help along the way from experts I trust. I’m also refocusing and investing in the most essential piece of my business, which is creating more opportunities to have conversations with more people both in and outside of my network. That’s why I’m reinvigorating my email newsletter this year, sharing actual tips and information that can make your life a little easier and your conversations a little better (sign up and I promise not to spam you!)
How I’m helping others focus on the essentials:
In addition to helping my 1:1 coaching clients set and meet their communication goals, I’m brewing up new ways to help more people access conversation coaching this year, and I’m theming these new offerings around the people skills I find most essential:
Crafting & delivering your personal narrative
Making a strong first impression
Building connections through networking and mingling
Boasting, not bragging
Of course I want you to be able to get started working on these top essentials right away, so here are some tips you can put into action right away:
Your personal narrative is what you tell people when they ask that frustratingly simple yet difficult question, "tell me about yourself." One way to nail this question and set yourself up to get what you want is including an achievement and a goal. By achievement, I mean something that you are proud of. You can even frame it that way, by saying "One thing I'm proud of is..." This makes for a great segue into the second piece, which is a goal. Follow up your achievement with the phrase, "In the future I hope to..."
First impressions are about ensuring that our personal narrative gets heard. Curiosity can be your best friend in making in a strong first impression. The next time that you talk to someone new, I want to challenge you to ask open ended questions and really listen to that person until you find common ground, such as a shared experience, taste, aspiration, thinking or interest. Asking open questions, listening with interest, and then identifying a commonality will help you make a great first impression.
Networking is crucial skill for accessing opportunity. When we think about activating our networks, we often -- out of shyness, vulnerability, convenience, whatever -- tend to reach out first to the people who know us best. Social science tells us however that it's the people on our periphery who tend to open doors for us. That's why it's so important to connect with those people who we actually don't know well. So, take the introduction, and when you meet someone in person connect with them right away on LinkedIn.
Boasting and bragging are different and yield different results. Once you learn to boast about yourself, you can walk into any room and confidently introduce yourself and let people know who you are and what you’re about. One way to begin a boast is, "I'm proud to say..." This is a good segue into talking about something that required your action and resulted in your success – like an accomplishment or award. It’s an active statement that shows ownership.
Mastering these skills takes practice, but with these tips, you can start boosting your confidence and effectiveness immediately.