Today's Professional

Today's Professional

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Developing Your Personal Brand: Meetings

tips for meetings

These are the most productive times, these are the least productive times. I have mixed feelings about meetings. On one hand, they serve as an opportunity to share ideas, resolve issues, and develop strategies as a team. On the other hand they serve as the most opportune time to hear one's own voice. This post looks at how to develop your personal brand as a meetings wizard.

1. Time Management

How you manage your time and the time of others during a meeting says a lot about your personal brand. Do you find yourself ranting, or not speaking up when someone else is ranting? If this is the case, it may serve your personal brand to ask yourself, am I carrying on? If you are one of those who tends to step on the soapbox, maybe it is time to reconsider your approach to meetings. When you carry on about a topic chances are you have lost your audience's attention. Even worse, you are wasting their time to be productive. The same holds true if you do not politely interrupt others who carry on. One way to do this is, "Jim, I can tell you feel strong about this topic, maybe we should talk about this further after the meeting."

When you call a meeting, try to keep it in the 15 minutes time frame. If it takes longer than this, chances are the topics are too broad, there is carrying on, and you are wasting your time and the time of your colleagues. There are of course times when meetings will last longer than 15 minutes, but if you make an effort to manage the time of the meeting, your topics and the information you share will "stick" better with the participants.

2. Remember What You Said Last Meeting  

So you practice stellar time management skills, great. This means that chances are what you say gets heard. If that is the case, remember what you say. The last thing you want is to confuse your colleagues, especially your subordinates, on your objectives and feelings on certain topics. 

Generally the purpose of a meeting is, or at least should be, to set out action items. If you meeting with your team and say, "ok, it is settled. Bill, you will begin the Great Get Business Imitative with expanding the product line. Start getting the great business Bill!" Then, a month later, Bill says, "Ok, we can improve the Great Get Business Initiative by offering 2 new product lines." Then you say you don't like the idea of expanding the product line, which everyone remembers getting your approval on. You are going to confuse your team, lose their trust, and ultimately knock your objectives off track.

Forgetting what you say is costly in many ways. First, in our example, Bill obviously put time and energy into Great Get Business Initiative, this time and energy cost the company greatly if this is what Bill has been working on. Next, the confusion factor. Forgetting what you say leads to confusion on direction. Employees love direction, more so than they will ever say. Security in knowing your efforts are in line with organizational objectives, is a great feeling. 

3. Don't Interrupt or High-jack the Meeting 

When someone is talking, don't interrupt them, unless they have high-jacked the meeting and are ranting. This is pretty simple concept. Even if you have the best point in the world, when you interrupt someone they stop listening. 

High-jacking a meeting for your own cause is also a poor practice. If the meeting has been called to discuss current accounts, don't change the topic to product development. Stay on topic and make sure others do as well.

4. Don't Have Meetings Unless it is Necessary

Holding meetings just to hold meetings drives me crazy. If the objective of the meeting is no meant to resolve an issue, develop an action plan, or discuss results, why have the meeting? In my experience as a restaurant manager (both in the fast food industry and the fine dining industry) I had a rule I followed. I never yelled or got mad at anyone, even for the dumbest mistakes, unless I absolutely had to. I called it "my yelling arsenal." I looked at it this way, if I yell or was angry all the time, each time I yell or get angry I take from my arsenal. Eventually my arsenal would run out and it would not matter how angry I was. Then end result, when I got upset, I got results. 

The arsenal principle holds true for meetings. If you have a meeting a day, then the value of those meetings will run out. If you have a lot of meetings with out results, the value meetings you call will be depleted.


Meetings serve a purpose in business. Make sure you are sending the right message when you participate. The more valuable you are as a participant, the more valuable you are to the organization.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reputation Risk Management and Your Personal Brand

Personal Reputation Risk Management

I recently wrote a blog on the topic of reputation risk management for my corporate blog (which will be published as a full featured article in the August edition of Security Solutions Magazine). This article got me thinking of how the principles of corporate reputation risk management can be applied to your personal brand. This articles explores the topic of reputation risk management and the personal brand.

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Introvert and A Sales Manager, Is It Possible?

sales introvert

I will be the first to tell you I am shy introvert (most people who know me tend to disagree, but trust me I am). I am a shy introvert to the point of whenever I go into crowd places such as grocery stores, I always have a little anxiety. Being an introvert in a sales position may seem to be a huge hurdle me as my job requires me to talk to people on a daily basis. However, I have found that this trait has actually served to my advantage. This post covers how being an introvert has helped me in my position as sales and marketing manager.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Innovation: Is it in your organization?


Innovation. Innovation. Innovation. I just enjoy saying the world so much. The term innovation has become a famed business jargon word. Think synergy, change agent, or game-changer. Words and phrase quickly lose their meaning, their true essence when they are over used in the office. However, I feel true innovators never dilute the true meaning of this word. True innovators are not only start-up tech companies, true innovators can be found throughout the aggregate workforce.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Tips for Work Life Balance

This week’s Top 10 is tips for finding balance between your professional obligations and your personal obligation.

Work Life Balance

1. Establish Limits and Boundaries.

First and foremost, it is essential that you set your boundaries for acceptable behavior from co-workers and customers when it comes to your personal time. If you set the tone early that you only address work issues during work hours, you most likely won’t be bothered outside of work hours unless it is an emergency. It is important to establish these limits and boundaries early.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Work Habits

This week's Top 10 focuses on work habits to help you improve professionally.

work habits

1. Remove distractions

In order to work at a high performing level it is important to remove distraction. Distractions such as email sounds, frequent small talk with co-workers, nonproductive web surfing, and a clutter desk can greatly inhibit your productivity. 

2. Always Reply

If people take the time to call you, send you an email, or communicate with you in some manner, you should always reply. This acknowledges that your received their communication and shows respect for the time they took to send you the communication.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Developing Your Personal Brand: Interoffice Email Communications

Personal Brand, email communication

Communication with your colleagues is an integral part of developing your personal brand. Our relationships with colleagues affect our personal brand in many ways, and the best way to ensure your reputation is not tarnished is to be conscientious on how you communicate within the office. You never know if one day a promotion depends on a peer review, or you need a reference for a new job. I urge you to consider your personal brand in every email, phone call, or conversation your share with your colleagues. For this post, I am going to focus on the topic of interoffice email communication.

How you communicate via email and how it affects your personal brand.

In my mind there are four kinds of “emailers”; The Non-Responder/Mass Sender, The One Liner, The Life Story Teller, and The To-The-Point-Action-Item Sender.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Books for Business Folks

I will be featuring a weekly Top 10 Tuesday list. This week's Top 10 focuses on books I have read that inspire me to improve professionally.
Top books for business

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
Though published in 1937, the principles of this book are still applicable today, whether for business, or self-help. How to Win Friends and Influence People is written to the point and its techniques can be applied in any social situation. The stories and real life examples assist readers in seeing how the principles are applied.

This book is highly criticized in the foreword of Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Personally for me Covey’s criticism did not sit well, as Carnegie’s points are very applicable in regards to interpersonal communication and show you how to respect others in a mutually beneficial manner.

I suggest giving this book a read and seeing if its principles have an effect on your business and personal relationships.

2. Good to Great - Jim Collins 
In Good to Great, Collins discusses the finding of his research team focusing on what characteristics are found in great business. In Good to Great, “greatness” is defined as financial performance which is several multiples better than that of the market average over a sustained period.

Of the seven characteristics described by Collins, the Hedgehog concept sits best with me. The Hedgehog concept states that organizations have three overlapping circles; What makes you money? What could you be best in the world at? And What lights your fire? By continuously ask yourself these questions you can improve your organization’s performance. In my humble opinion this is something that can be applied to the individual and transform you from a good employee to a great employee.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Developing Your Personal Brand: Dealing with Trolls

I believe strongly in developing your personal brand, as such I have started a series of blogs dedicated to the topic.
Your Personal Brand, Dealing with Trolls

So, you have developed your personal brand using advice from the blogosphere and other resources and you have begun putting your social network footprint on all the leading sites with positive return. Great! "But wait, Matt," you say, “I have this one person who always responds negatively to my post."

Awe yes, the Internet Troll. These people find joy, pleasure, or something that goes beyond all understanding of those of us who just want to be nice.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Selling your ideas to your organization: The internal salesperson

How to sell your idea to your organization

How often has this happened to you: You have found a way to improve a product, an internal process, or you have discovered a tool that will increase your efficiency? You know this to be true and in your excitement you go to your supervisor and ask for the item in question only to get a response like “Sorry, Jan. It is just not in the budget,” or “I think we will keep the process as is, it works now, why change it?”

All the work you put into that idea. You know it will improve your position, because let’s face it, you know what you do in your position best, right?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Productivity Tools

I will be featuring a weekly Top 10 Tuesday list. This week's Top 10 focuses on the productivity tools I utilize. 
top 10 productivity tools

Productivity tools are as abundant as there are people who use them. The following list is my Top 10 productivity tools I use on a daily basis.

1. Ipod Touch (4th generation)
My Ipod Touch is basically my computer whenever I am outside of the office. I utilize my Ipod for email, tracking website performance, social network marketing (LinkedIn and Facebook), as well as keeping track of my thoughts and ideas via the standard Notes app.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Should I go straight to a MBA after earning my Bachelors?

Straight to a MBA

One question I have been asked a lot by subordinates, interns, and friends considering a MBA, is whether or not they should make the jump right after undergraduate. This is a very good question to ask, and if you are considering going from an undergraduate degree straight to a MBA there are some things you need to consider.

I personally went from Bachelors degree to the MBA program. Looking back on this process now, I certainly would have done things differently. The following g outlines hurdles I experienced along the way taking the process of bachalors degree to full-time MBA.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Today's Professional: What this blog is about?

Today's Professional
Today's Professional takes a look at the business world today. I will examine everything about what it means to be a professional, from what you wear, to how to handle tough situations at the work place. My goal with this blog is to write about my experience in the workplace and have a platform for sharing successes and failures I experience.

A little background on myself, I currently live in sunny Reykjavik Iceland and work as the global sales and marketing manager for an information security company. I have worked in the management consulting field, and in the insurance industry in the past. I graduated with a MBA in international business in spring of 2008, just before the economic crisis was upon us.