future proof your career

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. 

Quiet_confidence_conviction_powerful_brand_Amandablesing.jpg

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 leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

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

► I also help organisations create empowered female leaders

► Learn more www.amandablesing.com

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

 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How executive women can future proof their leadership goals and aspirations

The summer holidays act as a catalyst for many people to re-evaluate. You take time off. Your brain is less stressed and busy and all of a sudden you get back in touch with what's really important.  You may begin to acknowledge that you are bored at work, simply going through the motions waiting for the right time to make your move. Or maybe you are weary of the politics and the down time causes you to draw a line in the sand.

Great! Bring it on. These insights may be gradual to emerge but you get to do something about it and feel in charge of your own destiny - again. These are critical turning points and well worth taking advantage of.

Rapid response

But what happens when this critical turning point is rapid and you need to respond immediately?  You're not even looking and all of a sudden you need to put your best foot forward. The situation is beyond your control, you really want to capitalise BUT the thought of doing all this work right now, is almost overwhelming and could become an excuse for failure. 

These situations are not that unusual and even in the last few weeks (yes over Xmas) I've heard about the following:
1. The CEO or Head of Dept steps down in a rush ... and you're interested in the role
2. A recruiter rings you out of the blue with a role that's urgently in need of someone just like you  ... interstate
3. Your ideal dream role comes up via your LinkedIn feed and you didn't know you were in the market
4. Your #1 staff member leaves to go to a great role that's paying more than you are currently on
5. Redundancy/redeployment discussions

You always have a choice

So how do you respond? You decide:

  • You can do nothing - be passive, play a waiting game, panic and throw an itty bitty pity party for one, or
  • You can take advantage of the situation rapidly and effectively with confidence and purpose and re-engineer your situation to your advantage.

Why is this important for executive women?

Research shows that women are far more likely to:

  • downplay their achievements
  • underestimate their value and future performance and
  • second guess themselves when it comes to making big decisions and taking action

Worse, we are far more likely to behave this way when operating on the fly, caught out and feeling ill prepared.

On the flip side, critical moments in any situation require you to remain calm and in control in the face of uncertainty. They require a clear headed, confident and strategic response.

Don't be caught unprepared

The Smart 'n Savvy Executive Woman isn't caught out. She is prepared. She has her executive level tool kit ready to go and can clearly articulate her value, expertise and contribution in any situation.  She is confident, strategic and perfectly poised .... to take advantage of any career defining moment and leverage the situation to her advantage.

Because this is about future proofing your leadership aspirations. It's the difference between fear and opportunity, perception and reality ....

Comparison passive versus proactive career strategy


With a combination of attitude, preparation and grit, you'll be in a position to springboard up and out into something meaningful and better, instead of same or sideways.

Cllck to Download - 11 Point Smart 'n Savvy Executive Toolkit Checklist

Cllck to Download - 11 Point Smart 'n Savvy Executive Toolkit Checklist

 

Would love to hear from you.  Drop me an email and get in contact.  

 

 

 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

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

 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Three Networking Hacks that Help Future Proof your Career

Confession time! I hate networking events. As an ambivert (mixed extrovert/introvert) there are times when I imagine I'd rather have root canal surgery than go to a networking function! (And no I never ever exaggerate).Yet when I get there I'm usually absolutely fine and sometimes the life of the party.

While the experts are out as to whether or not networking helps women in the same ways at it helps men, I personally can attest to the value of it on my career with two amazing opportunities presented to me by way of introductions at functions:

  • A chance conversation at an industry conference dinner helped me transition interstate
  • I landed another Step Up type role in another organisation because of an introduction at an industry Awards lunch

Why did it help me? In one I was a relative unknown in industry and the conference introduced me to the right people at the right time. At the second opportunity it was a mix of right people, right time and right key messages. If I hadn't been there asking smart questions I would never have known about either opportunity or had an opportunity to put my best foot forward in a casual business environment. 

This last month in our Young Executive Mastermind Groups, we used the Visibility Strategy quadrant model and created a series of practical ideas to help attendees future proof their future career prospects. Remember, the top right hand quadrant of the model is where you want to be. You want STAR Status (obviously) and in order to do that you need to act strategically but also ensure you are visible with the following criteria - right audience, right key messages, right places and right time.

The problem with being a collaborative problem solver for women and career

When you are a collaborative problem solver, you run the risk of being head down, bottom up,  out of line of sight in the leadership talent pipeline. This is a far bigger problem for women than men because we've been socialised to believe that in order to get ahead we need to do great work and the work itself will speak to our success. Unfortunately this isn't true for most, so when we've got a personal brand as The FIXER it's as though we have the cloak of invisibility on.

Not only does the business not want to disturb us while we go about solving those enormous business problems (governance, compliance, transformational change or reputational risk) but while we're doing that, someone who is more ambitious and more visible will simply overtake and or bypass us.

It's therefore really important that you start strategically building out a plan that includes networking - with the right audience, in the right places, at the right time and ..... oh yes, BYO right key messages - even while you solve those big problems within the business.

Three tactics to Help you gain visibility while strategically tackling your networking

Yes, you do need to network. I know, you hate it, but networking does help. And with a plan, you can make this far more fun and even turn it into a bit of a challenge. So here are just three tips that you can do to shift from The FIXER Mode (strategic but low visibility) to The STAR (high visibility PLUS strategic) within a few months.

1. Strategically plan the events that you go to at the beginning of the year - and be sure to include mixed gender networking events

The most successful men and women I know plan their event schedule 12 months in advance. Really? Yes really. It's smart, it's less reactive, you're committed and it's easy.  Most of us would prefer being at the dentist than attending a networking event.  So by creating a plan of one strategic event per month, you are playing 'above the line'. Below the line = excuses, blame, resentment, avoidance and not accepting responsibility for your own part in the process . Above the line = accepting responsibility and creating your own career success and reality - Step Up, Speak Out and Take Charge.

  • Most peak bodies and industry groups get their calendars done in the latter part of the year. If you work for a larger corporate your own organisation will also have events where it is wise to be seen at. Review the events schedule and make a plan in advance and book them in well ahead of time.  Of course ad-hoc events will come up, and you will always have a choice.
  • If you do work for a large corporate it can be tempting to only network within your organisation. While loyalty is admired by some, the smarter play might be to also network externally. Once again, get out of your comfort zone and put external networking in your plan as well.
  • Remember the criteria of "right audience"? You need to be seen and heard by the decision makers and leaders of your industry and/or business.  Rule of thumb: Until such time as we have more than 19% women in senior leadership roles, mixed gender networking events are going to be better for career progression and being noticed by right people in positions of power. Here's a great article on Forbes about why women's events fail and a really interesting Harvard Business Review article on Assessing the Value of your Network. However, in the initial stages of your career women's only events can be great for confidence building and meeting like-minded professionals - so why not create a program that is a blend?

 

2. Prepare so you can ask a smart question from the back of the room during Q&A

Do your homework and prep it in advance. This is part of the Step Up, Speak Out, Take Charge process - you need be prepared to step up, to develop a voice that can be heard and is valued - so do prepare and rehearse ,as silly as that may sound.

One of the smartest women I know does this on a regular basis. She has a PhD, yet is naturally a little shy - but always sounds extremely confident when asking questions from the floor. I puzzled over this for months, then asked her the secret, and was surprised how easy it was. Preparation. She always prepares a question or two at home. The preparation not only helps her to sound confident and as though she knows what she is talking about (by the way, she really does), but it also gets her thinking analytically about the content of what might be in the presentation well in advance, which helps her with more ad-hoc responses as well.

3. Send a thank you note afterwards

This is god-dammed brilliant and I learned from the best of the best when I was going to a lot of USA conferences and having US delegates returning the visit in Australia. In the USA when you meet someone at a business networking event you nearly always get an email follow up to thank you the next day.

WOW! The first time it happened I was blown away because this is extremely uncommon in Australia. But it really made such a difference to my perception of the people I met, thatI've definitely gone out of my way to create time for people who followed up on networking post the event.

In fact, this is so uncommon in Australia that I recommend ensuring that you keep a light touch - so you don't come across too creepy. Say thanks, acknowledge something about the other person and suggest that if they need anything they can drop you a line. Then a few weeks later follow up with a phone or coffee meeting request.  Avoid too intense, the too soon sales pitch or coming across as needy. Instead focus on how you can help them, mutual interests in the future and keeping conversations open down the track.

Go forth and network with confidence and strategy

So there you go - three great tips for attending networking seminars and events that will ensure you stay visible and strategic. It's definitely all in the preparation. You don't want to be known as The PLAYER -  that person who turns up to the opening of an envelope, but no-one knows what you stand for. Or you run the risk of beingbypassed if you stay as The FIXER. 

You do however, want to be known as a serious contender for future opportunities. These three tactics ensure you are visible, your thought leadership is beginning to show, your interest in career development and advancement is far more obvious, and your willingness to do something about it yourself, is crystal clear.

Step up, speak out and take charge!  It's that easy.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #careerfutureproofing #visibility

If you have any ideas I'd love to hear!  Comment below or pop me an email!

And if you liked this, please share. Let's create a networking of ambition revolutionaries the globe over.

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months