What did he mean?

This week the leader of the opposition party in Australia criticized a speech by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard (that's his job I suppose) as being "shrill and aggressive". What, I wondered as I read the news report, did he mean?

It's pretty easy to guess what he was saying with aggressive. But what exactly did he mean when he labelled the speech as being 'shrill'?

Was he referring to the tone of her voice? Using the word shrill in the dictionary definition sense of "high-pitched and piercing in sound quality"? Was there some subtle inference about her voice as a woman?

Or was the comment referring to shrill as "marked by great intensity betraying some strong emotion or attitude"?

Quite a different meaning depending on how he was using the word. When I read the comment the next day it made me think about a couple of the Career Chick Hot Tips for communication.

The first of these is about being aware of your voice and how you use it. The higher pitch of a woman's voice can be melodic and attractive. But in business it can be interpreted as sounding too fast and too emotive which can be a distraction from what you are saying.

If you are conscious of your volume, pace, pitch and tone it can help others focus on what you are saying rather than how you say it.

The Career Chick Hot Tip is: Be aware of your voice and how you use it.

The other tip that came to mind when trying to work out what was meant by word 'shrill'  is the importance of the choice of words that you use.

So many words in the English language have multiple meanings it's easy for what you say to be mis-interpreted. For example dictionary.com has 179 different meanings listed for the word 'run' and 'set' has 119, which can leave quite a lot of room for mis-interpretation. Even with only 91 different definitions 'point' can have a very different meaning depending on whether you are referring to the sharp point of a pencil, the hand gesture or a particular thing that has been said.

To help your communication be effective and ensure that what you mean is what is heard, your choice of words is important.

Career Chick Hot Tip: Choose words that say exactly what you mean.

That's all for now (meaning - I'm off to the gym ☺)


PS There are more Career Chick Hot Tips in "Hot Tips for Career Chicks"

Why are the career tips for chicks "hot"?

I thought today I'd share with you a bit of the backstory about the title of my book, "Hot Tips For Career Chicks" which is where I draw many of the topics from that are discussed in this blog.

Recently, I've been asked a lot about how I came up with the title, so I thought this was something you might be interested in (you can also hear my discussion with Tiffany Crenshaw on Career Moxie Radio where she asked about this - and other topics - or you can download the podcast on iTunes).

Originally the book had the working title of 'Hot Tips for Corporate Chicks' - until I had almost finished it and realized that the tips are just as relevant to chicks in all sorts of organizations including government, not-for-profit and small business - because the basics of how organizations work and how to be effective working with others are the same - no matter where you work!

I played with other options like Hot Tips for Business Babes and a few other versions but once I got the idea for 'Hot Tips' that was locked in.

My philosophy is that you need to understand what is going on in any situation - in this case that women aren't getting ahead in sufficient numbers in their careers nor getting the recognition, satisfaction or enjoyment that they deserve from their jobs - and understand why, but then you need to know what you are going to do about it. Which is where the "Hot Tips" comes into the title.

For me, moving forward in your career is not just about understanding the theory of knowing what you need do but knowing how to do it. And then actually putting this information to work.

One of the many definitions of the word 'tip' is a 'piece of inside information'. Something that is a sure-thing. Like the name of a horse that will win a race, or a stock where the price is destined to rise.

The career ideas are 'hot tips' because they provide insights into how to work and manage a career in one framework that you can use. Rather than learning the hard way - through trial and error. The career tips are an 'insiders' guide to career management and probably a bit more reliable than any tip of which racehorse is going to win the 4 o'clock!

I'm a big fan of learning new things. But information is most valuable when you use it.  So my vision for the book (and this blog) is that Chicks will learn, practise, use and share the practical ideas to achieve the success and the satisfaction that they want in their careers.

I don't have the name of the racehorse that is going to win the 4 o'clock but I like to think that if you follow the tips, you can be first past the post (in your career!). Imagine the race caller, "And it's 'CareerChick' in the lead as they come down the straight, 'The Competition' are chasing her down, but 'CareerChick' has trained hard and is applying all her skills, no-one can stop her now. And it's 'CareerChick' who wins the day!

Now that's a career race call that I like to hear!

That's all for now.


5 Fast Tips... to Start A Career Plan

Chat with a friend, mentor or
someone in your network
about your goals
Last blog I talked about the importance of having a career plan but the trick for many people is knowing where to start.

The advice from most people (including me) is to begin by writing down your goals and what you want to achieve. But sometimes it isn't that easy. And there are a lot of reasons why this may be the case. You might be have been quite content in your role and get thrust into a career crisis by being made redundant or laid-off. You may be considering returning to work after maternity leave or a career break. Or you may just not be sure what you want to do next.

All of which can make it quite difficult to know what your goals are and start your career plan.

Here's a few tips that might help to get you started:

1. Write a list of everything you are good at - include everything you can think of like coming up with ideas, working in groups, writing spreadsheets. Anything you know you are good at - and don't be modest!

2. Then cross off anything you don't like to do.

There's always going to be some mundane or other parts of a job that may not be your favourite. But these are your goals that you are writing - so they may as well reflect what you actually like to do!

3. Is there anything you have ever really wanted to do but haven't? Maybe you don't think you could possibly get the skills or qualifications but it is a great big aspiration that you would love to achieve, if only...

I read a great story in an article in the Harvard Business Review a couple of years back about a chap who was an accountant or some kind of numbers man (the detail gets lost in the memory) anyway he always wanted to work in the music industry. He was absolutely passionate about music. But at 40 years of age he had resigned himself that he was not going to become a rock star, music producer or song writer. But what he did do was apply what he was good at (numbers) and went to work as an accountant (or whatever it was) in the music industry. He was thrilled. He was working at what he was good at and did like, but in an environment that he was inspired and excited about.

Seems kind of logical but sometimes the obvious answers aren't so obvious. Or we don 't put all the information together - which is why I suggest that you write all this stuff down!

4. Reflect on which job you have had in the past that you loved the most. It doesn't need to be a job it might also be a volunteer position or a role in a club or association. Regardless, what was it about it that made it so good? Was it the manager? The people? They type of work? The level of input you had? The work you were producing? There are many things that make a job great. What was it for you?

5. Chat with your trusted career advisers and ask them questions to understand how others see you. Talk to your mentor, people in your network, a previous manager or even a good friend. Ask them what they think you are good at or even what career paths they see as possible for you. You don't have to follow their advice but it can be a good way of getting another perspective to add this to your thinking.

You might not find all your answers but these tips can be a good starting point to setting your goals so you move forward with your career plan.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

                 Alice came to the fork in the road.
                 "Which road do I take?" she asked
                 "Where so you want to go?" responded the Cheshire Cat.
                 "I don't know" Alice answered.
                 "Then," said the cat, "it really doesn't matter."

The cat was right - you need to have some idea of where you want to go.

That's all for now :)


A Chick With A Plan Has A Plan

Will Rogers, who was a famous American cowboy, actor and columnist, once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there".

How true this is when it comes to career planning. Most of us have a plan, or even a rough outline of one in our head. But if we don't formalise the plan and treat it with as much effort we do our job, it's pretty easy for the rough outline to stay pretty sketchy.

Here's a short excerpt from my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" about career planning:

                     "To make the most of the the time you invest in your Career
                     Development, you need a plan. This involves some common
                     sense activities that would you use to approach any important
                     project that you are responsible for as part of your job. You
                     simply need to set goals, identify the actions required to
                     achieve them, then conduct regular progress reviews. This is
                     nothing more than the standard approach you would use to
                     achieve your business goals. Successful Career Chicks use
                     these skills every day. The secret is to apply them to your
                     own career development.

                    The process for creating a career plan is the same for men
                    and women. The challenge for women is to actually do it.
                    When you know what you want to achieve, what work you
                    like to do, which companies you want to work for and even
                    the level of seniority you want to reach, you've created the
                    foundation for a plan. A career plan is your guide to what
                    you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to get
                    there, It will provide you with a mechanism to ensure that
                    you are on the path the set your objectives and realize them."

The Career Chick Hot Tip: Build a Plan

Next blog I'll talk a bit about how to set goals...because sometimes knowing what you want can be the really tricky bit.

That's all for now. Have a great weekend. I'm off to celebrate a 75th birthday with a great Chick ...my Mum!


P.S. You can get more tips direct from "Hot Tips For Career Chicks" which is available on Amazon.