8 Signs & Symptoms That You Have the Linkfluenza Virus

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If you're reading this, you already know that LinkedIn is incredibly 'in' right now for those wanting to fast track career progress. The platform not only allows you to put up a shop front window for 'brand you' that should keep you top of the pops 24/7 while you sleep, but it also enables you to make great connections, build relationships and position yourself while you are sitting at your desk pretending to work.

But we reckon that there is something sinister doing the rounds on the platform. Maybe it's the new roll out since Microsoft took over. Or maybe it's simply that the number of people signing up to LinkedIn is still growing exponentially and it's feeding the beast.

However, the signs are all there and the following is a collection of symptoms that we've lumped together that indicate one thing - and that's that you have caught a bad case of the dreaded Linkfluenza virus.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS of LINKFLUENZA

If you tick yes to one or more of the below list then you'd better go see your doctor and get the antidote! ASAP.

  1. You spend more than one hour per day on LinkedIn when it's not your job and you worry when you simply don't have enough time in your day to do more

  2. You refresh your posts over and over again to check how many likes you have on your last share 
  3. You rate yourself and measure your own success by how many connections you have (or don't have)
  4. You get sent to LinkedIn jail every now and then when you are emailing people, and when you log back in LinkedIn asks you if you are a bot
  5. You know all the rules about keeping out (and getting out) of Linkedin jail because you've been there quite a few times!
  6. Your connections on Linkedin mean more to you than your real life business connections - or worse your family!
  7. You feel anxious and have withdrawal symptoms if you can't access LinkedIn for whatever reason
  8. You are always going in to see who has looked at your profile and you've been known to double check your own profile settings if you have no new profile views in a 24 hour period.

Don't mistake the map for the territory. Linkedin is a cool and awesome business and networking tool. It's an even more powerful tool for those who have consultancies. But LinkedIn isn't life. And if you ticked yes to one or more of the above then we suggest that you'd better go out and get one (a real life that is). 

If you liked this article - please share!

And if you've identified any other signs or symptoms or maybe even a cure, please comment below. Let's help our fellow Linkfluenza sufferers sooner rather than later.

_________________________________________________________

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  • This article was jointly written by Amanda Blesing and Russell Boon, both of whom have become accidental LinkedIn ninjas.
  • Hand on heart, we've each suffered from Linkfluenza at various stages.
  • Don't panic - it is treatable.

 

Liked this? Here are some more

 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #success #career #executivebranding #personalbrand #standout #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

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The Seven Deadly Linked-Sins 

Following up our recent article on the Eight Signs and Symptoms of Linkfluenza, The Seven Deadly Linked-Sins spells out online LinkedIn behaviour that most everyday users loathe.

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For example, are you really an African Prince with USD $22MIL you desperately need to pop into a connection's bank account? Or are you merely tripping up because the platform is simply too tempting to resist and you're not sure of the unwritten ground rules? The devil is always in the detail, so do read on.

Either way, from time to time many of us have found ourselves succumbing to the lure of one of more of these Linked-Sins, whether by accident, design or over enthusiasm. So to help you navigate your way and become a better LinkedIn citizen, here is a list of sins in all their manifestations to keep you on the straight and narrow. 

  1. Lust - LinkedIn is not Tinder - commenting on appearances and profile pictures, sending creepy emails, dating requests, hook-up invites or offers of marriage is a definite no no. Do NOT be tempted. The Remove & Report Connection options are far too easy for recipients to find.
  2. Gluttony – More is never enough. Do you rate yourself by how many connections you have? Let's not forget that LinkedIn is an online platform and not real life. 10K connections does not make anyone a better spouse, parent, sibling or son/daughter or even corporate citizen. Don't mistake the map for the territory. To some extent the number of your connections doesn't matter, it's what you do with those connections that truly counts. So connection, conversation and engagement might be far better measures. Check out your LinkedIn social selling index www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi instead.
  3. Greed - adding your new connections to your email database without permission and sending them unsolicited emails. Not only does this breach privacy laws in most countries, it's plain and simply rude. Another sin that falls into this category might be that you've set up a IfTTT (If This Then That) auto responder and your new connections get a full on sales pitch within a nano second of accepting. Don't forget, on average it takes 9 or 10 pieces of communication before an interested customer might purchase. A sales pitch within a moment of connecting is a turnoff. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unsubscribe, delete or disconnect are too easy for the recipient, and hard to recover from for the sender.
  4.  Sloth - not changing your employment / job title in a timely manner once you've left an organisation. After all, why put things off today when you could put them off tomorrow? Right? Perhaps you don't know how to change it so you leave it there because you still get added kudos by being linked to the brand. It might be tempting, but resist the lure. Remember your LinkedIn profile is selling you to your contacts and perhaps prospective employers. Letting the world see that you are lazy is not putting your best foot forward. Perhaps just as bad is the fact that your profile picture is still that scan of your high school yearbook but that’s now 20 years ago and those big shoulder pads or the paisley tie aren’t a good look.
  5. Wrath - ranting or snarky comments on LinkedIn, either as posts or in comments, frequently about issues not relevant to the platform such as religion, politics or sex. Life's too short. Remember, LinkedIn is an international forum and sometimes the rest of the planet isn’t interested in your conspiracy theories about your government... There are definitely other platforms more suitable for you to be driving those issues on. We’re sure the CIA, NSA or relevant authorities in your own country will be more than interested in your views. Enough said.
  6. Envy - more to the point we’re speaking p****** envy. In this case we’re talking, Profile Envy (copying other people’s profiles, even using other people's profile pics!). Profile envy can even lead to Premature Publication – ( where you've been super organised with creating content for sharing but get too excited and let loose on LinkedIn every few hours with an update or published article. ) This is wrong on so many levels because A. people switch off from your posts like the boy who cried wolf, B. people assume you have too much time on your hands (and therefore unsuccessful) because you're on LinkedIn all day every day and C. you have missed such a great opportunity to showcase your thought leadership over a longer period of time, and at the time when your highest prospect target audience is on. So, ditch the keeping up with the Jones’ mentality and do your own thing.
  7. Pride - claiming job titles higher/bigger/better than you truly have. Yes it happens. There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can't tell the truth without lying. And companies are wising up with policies and processes that now police how staff describe themselves when representing the organisation online.

Don't panic. If you identified with one or more of the above list, all is not lost. Forgiveness is at hand, redemption is nigh, and LinkedIn nirvana is only a few clicks away. Simply eliminate those behaviours sooner rather than later and get on with business of building and maintaining meaningful connections along with creating engaging online content again.

Finally, we know there are many, many more Linked-Sins that we've yet to encounter. So if you've identified any other Linked-Sins please comment below!

Don't forget to help other Linked-Sinners to repent and redeem themselves as well, so they too can live long and prosper on the platform.  Please share ---- 

_________________________________________________________

 

Amanda Blesing & Russell Boon

Amanda Blesing & Russell Boon

  • This article was jointly written by Amanda Blesing and Russell Boon, both of whom have become accidental LinkedIn ninjas.
  • Hand on heart, we've each committed one or two of the Linked-Sins listed above and humbly beg your forgiveness.
  • Repentance and redemption are yours to access too. And LinkedIn nirvana might be just one click or share away.

 

 

 

 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #executivebranding #personalbranding #standout #leadership #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing #decisionmaking

 

Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

Is your default setting to self select out?

This week's reflection piece was sparked by a discussion with one of my senior level clients.  She had asked for feedback from a trusted advisor in her network and the feedback was summarised as follows:

"It's as though you are doing the hokey pokey dance with your leadership goals and career.  You put one foot in, then you pull it back and retreat for a bit with your concerns about your own abilities. Then you repeat a few times, before you commit."

Boom! 

Tough, but quite possibly one of the most powerful pieces of career advice she will receive. (And she has given me permission to share).

In a nutshell, the feedback was about -

  • on one hand she was asking for challenge and leadership consideration, but on the other hand she didn't always see challenge as an opportunity,
  • on one hand she was ambitious, yet on the other she deferred to others who may be more experienced, and
  • in some circumstances she was supremely confident yet in others, not so much.

And I'm betting she is not alone.

REMEMBER THE HEWLETT PACKARD RESEARCH? 
The most referenced example to this can be found in the Hewlett Packard research into the differences in men and women applying for (internal) roles, where women tended to wait until they met all 5 of the 5 criteria, whereas a man would be more likely to apply if he met just 3 out of 5 criteria.  

(My executive recruiter friends tell me that it's not unusual for them to get calls from men demanding interviews, yet they only meet 1 out of 10 criteria.) 

Combine this with a tendency to underestimate and downplay your current abilities, which has a flow on effect to your future performance, and you're beginning to understand why I am passionate about helping people move beyond.

Too often we self select out because we don't think we meet all the requirements yet, have it all together yet or are good enough yet.

It must be confusing for those around to see that in some instances you are super confident, and the next minute you are leaning out, downplaying or underestimating.  In one instance you say you'd be interested in stepping up and leading, and in the very next sentence you self select out and seem to be asking for additional support.


HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M SELF SELECTING OUT?


Self selecting out frequently sounds like the following:

  • "Oh but there're are probably others who are better suited/need it more than me out there."

  • "You must work with others who are far more talented than I am, so maybe I'm not right for it." 

  • "Others in the group have been here longer than me and deserve this more than I do."

  • "The competition is far too strong, I'd never stand a chance so I won't bother."


Just like the humble brag, if this is your default setting, it's got a sting in the tail. Maybe you think you're being polite and humble, but to the outside observer, this sounds like low confidence. And in a society that correlates confidence with competence, this is yet another credibility killer.  Plus you've got the even harder job of making up ground and convincing yourself yet again of your own worthiness.


Self select in consistently instead


Flick the switch!  Back yourself 100% by investing in BRAND YOU; your unique combination of expertise and experience, the things that you are passionate about, along with your ability to learn. 

Back yourself!

Back yourself!

  • Next time you see a role with a price tag that looks higher or lower than you were expecting, but you love the sound of the role, at the very least give it your best shot so you get to have a great conversation with those recruiting. You might be just the talent they are looking for and/or they may just be prepared to meet your highest expectations on salary once they've learned more about the impact you make.
  • Next time you hear about a project coming up in your area that you'd like to lead, instead of assuming  the person with more longevity in the department should have it, why not throw your hat in the ring? You won't know if you don't try.
  • Next time you see a scholarship or award opportunity that you'd normally dismiss, throw yourself into the process 100% and give the nomination your best shot. The process of nominating for these opportunities is incredibly educational, and you can't win it if you're not in it. 
Might as well jump (Jump!), Might as well jump, Go ahead, jump (Jump!), Go ahead, jump.
— Van Halen

Because when you are prepared to back yourself consistently, it's catching. And others are more likely to invest in you as well.

Then instead of doing the career Hokey Pokey, get out your old 80's Van Halen album and  "Jump".  (Too daggy? Yep, I know, but I couldn't resist.)

And do let me know how you go!

Feminine leadership superpowers +  self selecting in = priceless

 

Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

7 signs you suffer from conditional success - and what you can do about it

Sometimes we treat success like it’s an If This,Then That (IfTTT) piece of software.

  • Awesome when you are focusing on productivity, efficiency or behaviour change (such as if I have a chocolate bar, I have to go to the gym (thanks Matt Church))
  • But lousy when it’s about making your success conditional on something that you may or may not have much control over. and
  • Extremely lousy when the very thing that you are restricting yourself from might actually be the catalyst for big change.

Here are some typical thought patterns that indicate you suffer from conditional success - 

  1. I’ll apply for my dream role after I've proven myself
  2. I'll put my hand up for that opportunity when I feel better prepared
  3. I'll ask for a raise only when I've finished delivering on this project 
  4. I'll change jobs after I finally turn the organisation / department around 
  5. I'll invest in a coach once I get a raise 
  6. I'll take a grownup gap year when I've got enough years under my belt 
  7. I'll hang in a bit longer yet and only take that holiday with my family, once I feel really worn out.

Well tomorrow never comes. And if you’ve done #7 then you probably spent the first week on annual leave recovering from a cold anyway. Plus there is far too much evidence available that supports the notion that successful people do it the other way around. They back themselves and invest in themselves pre-emptively then they become successful. 

So maybe it’s time to rethink your approach. 


WHEN THE CONDITIONAL APPROACH DIDN'T WORK


I heard a story the other day about an executive who waited until after they won a new role before they booked in with an Executive Coach. In their mind, the coaching was a reward for winning the role. Nice.  

However, during the course of salary negotiations for the new role, their new employer had negotiated the package down by a significant amount from the originally advertised offer, with cunning arguments and compelling tactics.   Not so nice.

For the executive, who now feels slightly ripped off but determined to do better at the next opportunity, a more confident, strategic and proactive approach might have been ...

"I've got the opportunity to really springboard here and negotiate the best salary possible for myself.  So instead of trying to puzzle it out myself, why not get support in advance to maximise the amount I'll be able to negotiate for myself in this transaction?"

Yes, it's a risk. But only in the short term. In the long term it is a smart 'n savvy investment in yourself.

FEELING LUCKY?

Sometimes we think that some people are lucky when they are successful. But I dispute that. Maybe instead of lucky they are incredibly focused and invest heavily the right things.  After all, as the old saying goes, luck is what happens when planning meets opportunity. And as Shonda Rhymes famously said - “I’m not lucky ..... call me badass”. 

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MAKE YOUR SUCCESS UNCONDITIONAL


Don’t make your success conditional. Instead build in mechanisms that support your success preemptively - just like eating healthy, getting lots of sleep or exercising are preemptive support for your wellness and long term good health.  

So next time you hear your own mental rationale of "I'll do this once I've achieved that" start getting curious at your conditional thinking. And quite possibly you'll find you're putting the horse in front of the wrong cart entirely.

And one final point for you to remember, success is an inside job - if you wait until you feel successful enough you'll be waiting a lifetime.


Feminine leadership superpowers + unconditional success = priceless
 


Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

Little known negotiation starters that work for executive women

I'm assuming you've heard of Sheryl Sandberg of Lean In fame. If you haven't read the book then do yourself a favour and watch the TED talk or listen to her NPR TED Radio Hour interview with Guy Raz, at the very least.  

And if you are really hooked, try reading her latest book Option B about facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy.  But that's another story.

Sheryl was inspirational for me when it came to helping women negotiate for themselves - because I felt that if she, of all people, found it tough, then it might just be quite tough. And that there had to be a better way.

We know from research that in general men negotiate 4 x more frequently than women and when women do negotiate we negotiate for about 1/3 less.  However you cannot tell me that men are setting up formal negotiation discussions 4 x per year more than women to do this. There simply wouldn't be enough time in the day and  ..... it doesn't make sense.

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Casual negotiation starters for women

In fact, I think that if we were to decode these numbers, we'd find out that those negotiation conversations are just that. Conversations at different intervals and rarely in a meeting room.        

  • On the way to the car park
  • In the lift
  • On the golf course
  • Out cycling 
  • Out to dinner/coffee/lunch
  • At after work drinks
  • In a taxi on the way back from winning a deal
  • Et cetera, et cetera 

I think you get the picture.

Plus when we understand the situational context then we layer in the casual conversation starters that might go something like this -

"Mate - when are having those salary discussions? After the results we just delivered I'd be keen to bring it forward"

The conversation is more likely a casual and light hearted reminder - rather than a formal discussion or request.  

Be aware, that gendered negotiation is a thing. Some of the more direct and aggressive tactics I've heard of men using, would definitely backfire on a woman. Stereotypes, socialisation and unconscious bias abound and both men and women fall foul of it.

Once again, I'm sure you get this picture too.

Don't let no stop you asking again

However, I've also learned from a negotiation advocate for women who lead (yes there is such a thing) that when a woman is told no when negotiating for herself, she is more likely to take it as final. But when a bloke is told no, he is more likely to hear it as a "no, not right now but do come back later" and then asks again at another date.

Be that as it may, self negotiation works best for women when we are able to align ourselves with others. Why not try one of these five cheeky lines as a negotiation starter next time you get the chance?        

  • "I've checked against the industry benchmark and we're missing the mark with my salary by xxxx %  ..... Can we look at that today?"
  • "Sheryl Sandberg would be disappointed with me if I didn't ask ..." 
  • "I'd be letting all women down every where if I didn't ask for a raise ..."
  • "Given negotiation is part and parcel of my professional expertise, I'd be letting the side down if I didn't negotiate well on my own behalf"
  • "Given that advocacy is part of my role, I'm here to discuss salary for myself and my team ..."    

I even heard of one women in an initial salary discussion successfully negotiating an increase of 45%+ on the initial offer because she referred to WGEA gender salary data and then asked her potential new employer to benchmark the offer against other male managers at the same level in the organisation. Given the organisation's very public stance on gender equity, they didn't just meet her part way, they met her the entire way. (Definitely smart AND savvy).

When you refer to other perspectives it somehow lends legitimacy to your argument and demonstrates that you’ve thought this through.  And when you refer to “we” it somehow adds credibility – you are part of a bigger picture.

I know that timing will be an issue, so do be smart. Planning and preparation is critical, but do get the conversation going. 

And remember, if at first you don't succeed, do try again.

And do let me know how you go.

P.S. There is an entire chapter in my book, Step Up Speak Out Take Charge, devoted to negotiation because I believe it's that important. If we're to eliminate the gender salary gap, and make meaningful inroads into eliminating the gender superannuation gap, then negotiation 101 for women should be taught at school. Don't be a circumstantial victim. Learn how to negotiate now.

Feminine leadership superpowers + self advocacy = priceless

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

#success #career #executivebranding #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

 

 

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Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

Feeling exhausted from having to prove your worth over and over again?

Making the shift from good to great - with one weekly, if not daily, habit

So how do you shift from:        

  • Feeling defensive, to feeling self assured?
  • Feeling like you constantly need to prove your worth, to simply knowing your worth?
  • Needing to convince people you are right, to simply having quiet confidence and conviction in the value of your capabilities, expertise and opinions?   

Keep collecting evidence of positivity, wins and achievements and be sure to quantify, qualify and/or quantify again in the language or currency of your senior leadership team or stakeholder group.

And then keep on moving with quiet confidence and conviction in the direction of your choice. 

Document your progress, stay connected to your why and keep on keeping on.

No need to fake it til you make it when you have that feeling of certainty and surety that comes from collecting and quantifying evidence as a weekly, if not daily, habit. 

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In a nutshell -

  • No more Abba - "Take a Chance on Me"
  • And far more Kylie - “ [You]  Should Be So Lucky"!

Feminine leadership superpowers + conviction & confidence = priceless

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

#success #career #visibility #standout #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

 

 

Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

Are you unintentionally damaging your own credibility with this one small, yet common mistake?

Let me tell you a story.  

About six years ago, when I was heading up the consumer affairs peak body, an astute Board member took me aside to give me feedback after a meeting.

Feedback is right up there with complaints in my mind. While complaints professionals might go round espousing that "the complaint is a gift" and handing out stickers that say "I ♥ complaints" - they're likely few and far between. I've not met that many people who truly ♥ feedback or complaints. I fit in the second category in case you were wondering.

So there I was, exhausted after preparing and hosting a full day meeting interstate, and heading off to get some feedback.

Here's what he said -

"Amanda, when the Board pays you a compliment, we really need to you to accept it - no matter what else is going on for you. When you brush off the compliment it does two things for us -

  1. Makes us think you don't respect or value our opinion, and
  2. Makes us begin to doubt that you did a good job in the first place.

This habit is really undermining your own credibility. I highly recommend you address it. Fast."

Wow!  And there I thought I was being gracious, humble and making sure that the whole team were acknowledged appropriately!!

And here I was undermining my own credibility!!  I had no idea. Go figure! (And thanks Andrew. This truly was one of the biggest gifts you could have given me.)

Self harm

What's worse is that when you regularly reject compliments from others, you are doing something far more detrimental to yourself.  

You are feeding the itty bitty pity committee that sits on your shoulder and keeps you downplaying, underestimating and second guessing, resulting in you not putting your hand up for those bigger, better and bolder opportunities as they arise. You are telling yourself that you truly aren't that great even in the face of external evidence.

The narrative you tell yourself about your capability, your experience and your expertise, is equally as important, if not more, as the narrative you convey to others.

Time to address this now.

Navigating the feminine stereotype

The feminine stereotype is supposed to blush, be modest and deflect the compliment. According to research, when women don't accept graciously, others judge negatively.  And it's fear of this social stereotype judgment that keeps us playing small. 

So a better way to accept a compliment is to simply say "thank you".   Nothing more, or less, despite additional words bubbling up and you wanting to speak further.  

"Thank you" will suffice. 

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Or if you really desperately need to be more expansive try "Thanks, I appreciate the acknowledgment or feedback."

Don't dismiss, deflect, or out compliment back. Simply smile, accept, acknowledge, then get on with the business of being great and making a bigger difference again.

 

The gift that keeps on giving

So when I received the gift of feedback, I now regift that on to you. If we all learn to say thank you more easily, then this becomes the new norm and even be the catalyst to powering us on to aspire for bigger or better outcomes.


Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #success #career #visibility #standout #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

What happened last time you accepted a compliment with a simple "thank you"? Drop me a note and let me know.


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Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

It's what you do with it that counts ......

So maybe you've started thinking that there has to be another way. It shouldn't have to be this hard, this frustrating, this ..... exhausting!   You've picked up a bunch of knowledge and ideas from around the traps and you've been mulling them over.

But now what?  What are you going to tackle next?

My challenge to you is to stop thinking about it and take action. Take action in the direction of your goals. Strategic action is best, but any action is better than none. After all, to quote decision making expert Russell Boon - 

Any decision, even the wrong one, is better than no decision

And history tells us that success and achievement is closely correlated with action.

It's rarely about - 

  • How much you know,
  • How big your network,
  • How big a game you are able to talk,
  • How perfect your LinkedIn profile,
  • How creative you are,
  • How loud your voice,
  • How skilled you are right now, or
  • How stylish you are, or even
  • How confident you feel.
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It's what you do with all those things that truly counts.

With the rise in information freely available, the rapid pace of change, constant drains on our attention via digital platforms, reduced downtime and the increase of ambiguous environments in which we operate - experts and researcher estimate that the cost of inertia is increasing in both personal and business. 

Your proclivity for proactivity is what will make you more successful in the long run. 


So what action will you take this week towards Stepping Up, Speaking Out and Taking Charge?  

Then just do it. 


Then eat, sleep, do it again and repeat the next day until you achieve what ever it is you have set out to achieve.

You can think about climbing your mountain. You can read about it, talk to experts about it and even watch videos about climbing mountains. But until you go tackle your mountain, it's only supposition.

As the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart, famously said 

The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity

Feminine leadership superpowers + action = priceless

Mentoring with Amanda Blesing.jpg

 

 

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How to avoid becoming a viral internet sensation - or how to ace an interview via Skype/Video

At the bottom of this article is an awesome viral video of the BBC video interview with Prof Robert Kelly, where his kids and wife enter the room while he is being interviewed live on TV. It’s hilarious, human and a really great reminder about the importance of being really well prepared for a Skype or video interview. 

To put it in context……  

your dream role?

Maybe you find your dream role, or your dream role finds you. Your LinkedIn profile rebuild has worked and you turn up in a search that offers a chance of a lifetime role. You then send your cunning cover letter and CV that cuts through the clutter and end up with the opportunity to interview.  WOOT!  There’s only one hitch. You’re not going to be on location when they’re interviewing so they propose a video or Skype interview.

(groan .......)

How to put your best foot forward for a Skype interview for your dream role

How to put your best foot forward for a Skype interview for your dream role

I hear you!  It’s not ideal but becoming more and more normal with tele-commuting, video-conferencing and tele-meetings now part and parcel of a contemporary executive tool kit.  Plus you'll probably have remote staff management, companies reducing travel spend along with offshoring to contend with in your role, so it’s the new way of the world.

But what’s important right now is that you put your best foot forward so that you are on an equal footing for this said dream opportunity. 

What could go wrong with a Skype interview?

Anything, everything and nothing.

I have a rule of thumb that comes into play before Board meetings. This rule is "never leave any last minute printing to do on the morning of a Board meeting. The printer will 9 x out of 10 go off line."  Well the same principle applies before speaking events and interviews. Be prepared in advance so you can cope more skilfully, confidently and professionally with anything that might go wrong. 

The downside is a little overtime the night before. The upside? You might win the opportunity more easily.

So to help you avoid becoming an internet sensation like the viral Children Interrupt BBC News Interview below, here are 13 awesome tips crowdsourced from my Facebook and LinkedIn connections.  These people have been there, done that, for television and radio interviews, landing dream roles or projects and winning gigs in the USA, UK and NZ.    THANKS! 

  1. Do a test run the evening before - visual AND sound.  Familiarise yourself with your own technology and systems. Make sure it all works at your end.
  2. Connect in advance - if Skyping make sure you make the connection in advance. Nothing worse than a connection glitch where you simply can’t find each other or your Skype invitations miss each other in the ether somehow.
  3. Style the room - think about what's in the background of the shot/camera - keep it classy, clear and office like in appearance even if it's at your home. A bookshelf is a good look especially if you have some business books - and makes you look like you could possibly read business books. A win win.
  4. Reflect on camera angles - you don't want the camera looking up your nose or you don't want the camera looking down on you giving you jowls. Remember those historical items called phone books? I have a couple of old phone books that sit underneath my laptop to raise it up so that the camera angle is more flattering and so the actual camera and the image of the other other person are in alignment.
  5. Lighting is important - make sure the room is light, that there isn’t glare through a window or too much sun, or that the downlight in the ceiling doesn't make you look sinister. 
  6. Speak to the camera itself - not the picture of the person. Use a post it note or a piece of blutak to mark the camera and speak to that, not at the image of the person on your monitor. Put a yellow sticker immediately next to the camera to encourage you to "make eye contact".
  7. Look sharp - do dress up like you would for an interview, bright lipstick (if that's your gig), hair done and be your best self.  What ever you do, don't do the newsreader top only thing in case you have to stand up for some reason in a rush and forget you forgot your pants.
  8. Have a back up plan - back it up with a Wifi dongle or alternative device (like your phone) to help get through in case things simply don't work.
  9. Unplug - turn off your mobile phone and/or landline (yes they still exist) during the interview so you don't get interrupted.
  10. Take control of the room - before, during and after.
    • Before hand - brief any peers, pets or family members so they don’t come into the room.  Nothing like a cat reversing into the camera to put you off your game.
    • During - if someone does interrupt don’t simply ignore like our BBC interviewee. Acknowledge briefly and do something about it. And while ignoring is a no no, so too is yelling at the interruption, because - smile! You're still on show (!!) - even if there is a pause in the official interview while you deal with it.
    • After - do ensure you hang up and disconnect properly so you don’t say or do anything inappropriate .... like banging your forehead against your desk in frustration while accidentally still videoing or recording. 
  11. Remember the lag - don't forget to take the lag into account. Speaking slightly more deliberately and slowly helps, and remember you're appearing about one second delayed at the other side (even on fast internet). That helps avoid those awkward talking over one another and everyone pausing moments.
  12. Don't forget to move - use your body language to get you point across and show you're interested.
  13. And smile. Likability is an important factor in human connection. The other side want to know that they could actually work with the person who they are interviewing, so do smile.
  14. Bonus tip  - did I mention a rehearsal? If I did, it's worth re-iterating. Do a test run before hand. Find a trusted peer, colleague or mentor to coach you through the experience and give you feedback. 

Good luck and see you on the other side! And do let me know how you go. And do get in touch if you need help with that.

How to avoid becoming a viral internet sensation

So back to the video - here is the interview with Prof Robert Kelly with an unplanned guest appearance by his family. A great reminder to make sure you will not be interrupted.

 

 

How would a multi tasking working mum have handled it?

Jono & Ben (NZ comedians) took it one step further and demonstrated how a tongue in cheek, multi tasking, working mum might have handled the situation. In fact, it looks relatively legitimate until the chicken makes an entrance! 

And if something does go wrong?

This is how to recover and turn it from a career limiting move into a career defining moment.

Prof Robert Kelly and the BBC conducted a follow up interview which almost did better than the initial misstep. And it’s a great reminder that while you might do all you can to control the situation in advance, stuff happens. And it’s better to own it, rather than try and pretend it doesn’t happen.

 

If you liked this article here are a few more:


► I help women win raises, promotions and better opportunities

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Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #success #career #visibility #standout #leadership #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

 

Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore

Why you need to put your blinkers on and stop comparing yourself to others

It’s not who you think you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.
— Teresa Ho

Recently I've been chatting with a range of people about comparing, judging and critiquing - particularly when we judge ourselves and find ourselves lacking in some way. 

In fact, it's the human condition. We all do it. But women are far more tough on themselves than men.

A recent UK study found that;

  • Women criticise themselves at least 8 times per day and that number is increasing,
  • 42% of women admitted to never complimenting themselves, 
  • 46% women said they criticise themselves at least once before 9:30am
  • The top five areas of criticism were weight, appearance, career, finances and relationships. (Weight Watchers UK 2016)


Underestimating


Studies also show that women under rate their own performance across many disciplines ranging from people management right through to more technical expertise. 

The problem for organisations wanting to promote women becomes more obvious when the same studies demonstrate that some men tend to overestimate theirs. (Geoff Trickey, UK, 2016)


So why does underestimating matter?


While self awareness is an admirable leadership trait, underestimation keeps you second guessing and missing out - and self flagellation with self awareness will simply get in the way of any progress.

Whether we are putting ourselves forward for a promotion, asking for a raise or pitching to win a big contract, it's far harder to back yourself and sell the value of you and your idea, if you are secretly doubting yourself.  

And while I don't want to diminish the role of bias and discrimination in keeping women out of leadership roles, being your own harshest critic is going to make it even harder for you to see your own potential objectively or accurately.


More stats


One statistic that sticks in my mind from a report entitled The Unstereoptyped Mindset is this -

  • 77% of men believe that a man is the best person to lead in a high stakes project
  • 55% of women believe the same.

And I'm fairly confident that the feminine tendency to compare herself, and find herself wanting,  contributes to this.

Women could use a little of the shameless confidence men take for granted.
— Annabel Crabb
Make the Friday Formula part of your non-negotiable weekly routine.

Make the Friday Formula part of your non-negotiable weekly routine.

The fix?

  • Put your blinkers on, and just get on with the work you really want to do.
  • Stop looking at how successful other people are on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram - and start focusing on yourself and your plan in real life.
  • Stop comparing yourself to a future idealised version of what might be possible, and start being in the moment and celebrating today.
  • And stop criticising others for the same. If you must judge - critique the project, the policy or the process, not the person. 

Change your mind

You've probably heard of neuroplasticity where your brain begins to change depending on how you think. Well start thinking good things about yourself and change your brain positively.

I recommend the Friday Formula for consistently and routinely documenting evidence of your own wins and achievements (EVERY Friday, never fail from now on until the end of eternity) -

  • What your achievement was this week
  • The benefit you delivered (quantify or qualify) 
  • The core expertise used to deliver that achievement


Then celebrate how grounded and great this makes you feel with trusted friends, colleagues or ambition support network.  Then as soon as you're done celebrating, get on with the business of making a bigger difference again.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition
#success #career #visibility #standout #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing


Need help with backing yourself more effectively? Book in for a 45 min phone call to see if one of my programs will help.

 

Liked this article? Here are a few more from the archives ....

 

Feel like your career has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 45 min one on one to learn nore