The Power Of The "King's Speech"

On the day that I saw the now Oscar award winning movie, "The King's Speech" I had been researching the latest 'presentation' trends on the Internet.

The average number of PowerPoint slides, graphics, charts, the importance of video and social networking - all featured in the material I was reviewing.

And then I saw "The King's Speech". Which apart from being brilliantly made, acted, written, directed etc., communicated the simplicity of what really makes makes a brilliant presentation.

Which, for me, is the delivery. Not that it's word perfect. Not that it has the cleverest technology to support it. Nor that it is necessarily clever or witty. All of which are lovely. But not essential.

What is important is that the delivery is - honest.

That the presenter cares about what they present.

That they communicate in a way that imparts the message that needs to be heard by the audience, in the way that they need to hear it.

That the effort that has been put in to preparation is respectful of the audience.

And finally, that we have no more powerful tool to support our presentations than the power of our own speech.

All of those other tools can help us look good. Like the writing, directing, costumes and all the other aspects of movie making that resulted in "The King's Speech" winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

But it's no coincidence that Colin Firth also won Best Actor - as it was the power of his speech that was central to the success of the movie.

Something to think about next time we all prepare for our next presentation.

If you haven't had a chance to see the movie, here's the trailer.

I'll be going back to see this movie again and remind myself of the power of speech.

We all have a voice.

Let's use it Chicks!

- Karen

Do you speak business? The perils of communication...

Friday is Movie Day!
It only seems like a week ago when I was writing last Friday's Career Chick Chat Movie Day blog! Ha ha!
O'kay, I'll leave the humor to the movie of the week which comes from the masters of classic comedies the BBC and their very quirky skit, "Do you speak English?"

I think there's a great analogy between what happens in this sketch and how people can feel like they are speaking a  different language to the people around them at work.

It's only 1:28 min long so I am sure you can take the time to have a quick look and a laugh. The risk is that once you get into these comedy videos in YouTube, one video can lead to another... I've watched four in the last ten minutes!  Research I'm calling it.

See you back here in one minute and 28 seconds...

A bit of a laugh?

But how like work is this sometimes?

You think you're talking the same language as the people you work with.

You think you have asked what you need to know really clearly.

You think you have been understood.

And then it turns out it was like you were speaking another language!

Not that people are being as deliberately difficult as the guys in the video but different words, different cultures, different professional or industry meanings of words can all impact how what we say is heard and understood.

The Career Chick Hot Tip?

Learn the language of your company and profession. And make sure that what you say is exactly what you mean.

Back to work now ...I have to go back to YouTube for some more research!

Have a great weekend

- Karen

5 Fast Tips for... meeting agendas

Fast Five Tips for
meeting agendas
Yesterday I received an email, it was one of many, but this particular one stood out. It was from a guy who I have a meeting with today. There are only going to be 5 of us in the meeting but my colleague had sent out an agenda!

I hadn't been expecting it, but when I reviewed what he had sent, it was a useful reminder about where the meeting was being held, when and for how long. More importantly though, it set very clear expectations about the topic that was to be covered and what we would achieve in this time.

To me, this not only helped me prepare for the meeting, it has positively influenced my view on the professionalism of the person who sent it to me - because of his level of preparation and how this demonstrated his understanding of the issues that are to be discussed.

Which is just a recent example and a reminder to me (hence the timing of this blog!) about the importance of preparing agendas for any meetings that you organize - even if there's only a few people attending.

So with this topic in mind, here's this week's Fast Five Tips - for preparing meeting agendas:

1. Prepare an agenda - even for small and short meetings. It will help move things along, set expectations and enhance your credibility. Being seen as professional will reflect well on you and become positively associated with your operating style.

2. Logistics - document the date, time, length or meeting, location and who will be attending.

3. Include Titles - unless people work in the same immediate team include titles of people attending on the agenda. This helps other participants know who is attending and can also provide indications of the seniority level of attendees and the breadth of issues being covered. People will be able to prepare accordingly.

4. Content - cover what is relevant such as the agenda items/topics, how long each session is scheduled for, who is leading discussions and any outcomes / decisions that are required on the day.

5. Let people know - if they have an item to talk to or something they need to bring to the meeting before you send out a meeting agenda. This is Stakeholder Management 101 - let people know what is required of them before it goes public.

If you can, send out the agenda the day before so that people have time to read, reflect and complete any preparation that is required.

You not only want to look professional - it also helps if you can help your colleagues do the same.

They'll remember when you do!

- Karen

P.S. Way to go Eammon!

Facebook COO: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

It's Career Chick Chat
Movie Day!
Well it's Movie Day here at Career Chick Chat!

Today's video is of Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook which was recorded at the TED Women's conference in December.

Sheryl makes some important points about the number of women in senior roles in business, shares some great stories and gives some really insightful tips based on her experiences and observations.

Her approach is about what we can do as individuals and the messages we can tell ourselves, the women we work with or who work for us, and the messages we tell our daughters. It's a very practical yet powerful approach.

I'm not going to spoil the plot so I recommend you watch it now. The clip is just over 15 minutes long so if you don't have the time to bring out the popcorn and watch - just listen while you work away.

What do you think?

Apart from the content I think this is yet another example of how a well delivered presentation can be engaging - without the use of 2,000 PowerPoint slides and hilarious graphics.

But back to the content - I love the bathroom story! And her perspective that work needs to be challenging, rewarding and make a difference is one that so many Career Chicks that I speak to share.

Particularly insightful (well, I thought so!) was her perspective on 'Don't leave until you leave". I have seen chicks 'check-out' of work not only when they are leaving for a career break but when they are moving to a new role or even involved in planning a wedding.

How things 'end' can really influence how you are remembered so it's important that how you operate right up until when you leave is how you want to be thought of.

By the way - TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. The not-for-profit group which runs the conferences describes them as, "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world". And they are!

Hope you didn't eat too much popcorn during the movie!

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend - I think I must be the only person on the planet who hasn't seen The Social Network yet - so I am planning a trip to the movies.

Be back on the blog next week!

- Karen

5 Fast Tips for... building your network.

for building your network!
Networking. Everyone is doing it. Or telling you that you should do it. "It's not what you know but who you know that's important," they say.

And they're right. A network of people that you can rely on is vital to the development, success and sustainability of your career.

What often doesn't get discussed is how to establish a group of contacts - a network - where you can build mutually beneficial business-related relationships.

A network is important to draw on when times are tough, share ideas and to learn new stuff and seek guidance from. If you don't have a network that you have invested time in to build relationships you are only making things more difficult than they need to be for yourself.

People who are highly successful in their careers have far-reaching networks.

The question is who should be in your network?  How do you identify people to invest your valuable time with? Where do you start?

Here's this weeks 'Five Fast Tips' which are for building your network.

You can start by identifing people who:

1. You respect and trust - this can include colleagues you work with and high performers in your field. Stay in touch with these people if they (or you) move on to a new role.

2. Have supported you in the past - previous managers or even university lecturers and tutors are great to get back in touch with. Sites like Linked In help you find old contacts and get back in touch with them. Don't just send them a connection invitation. Send an email and ask how they are and what they are doing.

3. Are skilled in areas you need to learn - for example if you need up-to-the-minute knowledge in your field or a contact who is a whiz with technology ask friends and colleagues for a recommendation and introduction.

4. Have common interests - regular participation in formal (or informal) networking and industry events will allow you to have shared experiences with others who participate. Identify people who impress you in these forums and get to know them better. 

5. You Like - if you are going to spend time with these people it's important that you like and respect them and enjoy the contact you have. You will be much more receptive to feedback, ideas and suggestions if you have genuine engagement with others.

After all, it's your network so you might as well enjoy it!

So before you get back to whatever you were doing before you started reading this blog - think of one person you'd like to catch up with and call them, send them a text or an email and book in a coffee.

Building your network can start now.

Happy Tuesday

- Karen

What is success? Kevin Spacey on being successful

I came across this video earlier today thanks to a facebook posting from Global Social Media Coach, Keith Keller and I just had to share it with you.

So many of us want to achieve 'success' at what we do. The trick is in understanding what success actually means for us so that we can define our goals, develop action plans and start working towards them.

I'm not sure where this video was made or who Kevin Spacey is talking to but his words about being successful certainly ring true for me.

In fact I can't say it any better than Kevin, so put in your earphones (if you're at work) and have a quick listen:

As he says there is no ultimate prize. Success is about what you want and want to accomplish. To be ambitious is not enough.

I hope you are spending today working towards developing your particular talent and what you have to give.

Not a bad pick for the first movie day blog on Career Chick Chat?

Let me know what you think!

- Karen

5 Fast Tips... for Email

...for email!
They say that Tuesday is the most productive day of the working week. Monday's recovery from the weekend is over and the mid-week hump day (Wednesday) has yet to be reached. So apparently, with no alternative we are all quite productive on a Tuesday.

Which seems like a good day to have a 'Five Fast Tips' blog with some ideas to not only help you get through the working week but to also contribute to your career success.

For this first 'Fast Five Tips' edition of the blog I thought a good topic to start with is - email. With most office workers receiving an average of over 100 emails a day - if there is anything that is going to interfere with you being productive on a Tuesday (or any day!) it's email.

So here are 'Fast Five Tips' for improving your email (in no particular order):

1. Keep your email short - preferably so that it can all be read on one computer screen. If you haven't scared your recipient off with an email of epic proportions it is much more likely to be read.

2. Put the most important point first - this might be what you are asking for or the summary of the information you are providing. You can then go on and put the where, what, why and wherefore information afterwards. With the most important information first your reader will understand exactly what the email is about and why they need to read it.

3. Start a new paragraph for every idea - the added white space will aid readability and be easy for a reader to follow.

4. Use an auto signature - include your name, title, division, company and contact details so that your reader has a choice of ways to get back in touch with you. If a subject is urgent a return phone call is sometimes the best response.

5. Add 'courtesy copies' with care - only use this when you absolutely need to keep someone informed. Don't fall in the trap of spreading responsibility or pressuring someone to do something by copying their boss. Hopefully if we all start 'cc'ing with care the amount of unnecessary email in the world will be reduced!

So there you are 'Fast Five Tips' for Career Chicks ...I trust they are useful to you.

Have a productive and enjoyable day - Karen

P.S. If you have other tips for email  please share them here or at the Career Chicks facebook page.