Keep Your Career on the Tracks

90% of communication occurs silently.

So many people don't understand this, which is why we often see careers derail like a speeding train, full of passengers, ideas, and dreams. Everything inside is destroyed.

Naturally we don't want that to happen to us. 

What we read, what we watch, the people with whom we associate, the organizations to which we belong, the neighborhood in which we reside, the clothing we wear . . . everything we do and say, in other words, sends a message about who we are.  Outfluence identifies this form of communication as Constant Messaging®.

One aspect of Constant Messaging® involves sensory gateways and how they function in communication.  As individuals approach us at a network gathering we first observe their general appearance, and we make a judgment.  Then as they get closer, we see their facial expressions, and we make a judgment.  The final gateway is the greeting, when we hear and possibly experience their handshake, and we make a judgment.  We often know at the conclusion of the sensory gateway process whether this initial meeting will develop into a relationship.

Other components of Constant Messaging® are active and passive listening, message interpretation including bias in interpretation, feedback, barriers to communication, intentional and unintentional messaging, and more. 

Kay Betz, MBA, is a recognized expert in the subject of Constant Messaging®.  It has been a part of her curriculum as adjunct faculty at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland for the past 20 years.  On September 27th, 2016, Kay will be a Featured Speaker at the Outfluence Fall Workshop Series. 

Her presentation yields necessary communication tools to ensure that your career and your business stay on the tracks to success.

Register today atwww.outfluence.com/fallworkshop.     

(Three mornings - 9/27, 10/12, 10/27 - Westminster Conference Center, Westminster, MD.) 

Perspective From Higher Ground: Business and Problem Solving

I remember as a kid always talking to ankles and knees when an adult approached to greet me.  And then there was that awkward look up to try to see his or her face.  As an adult I'm sensitive to that moment, so I bend down to get at eye level with a youngster. 

Recently I visited the Gettysburg Battlefields and I felt a little bit of that looking at the ankles feeling as I looked at the base of large trees that surround portions of the grounds. 

As we got to Cemetery Hill, we found ourselves atop the tree line, overlooking the battlefield, and what happened there became very clear.

As I reflected on the moment later, it got me thinking about how some of us conduct business today.  You know ... a few years ago the "big thing" movement  in business was to think outside the box.  The battle cry was if you want to advance in your career, don't do what you've always done.  That will just get you what it's always gotten you.  You must think outside the boxif you want to move your business forward.  So, business men and women began to look increasingly to technology for creativity in leadership and for new ideas in communication and in management.  And now as we move to higher ground and we review where thinking outside the box has led us, we find that what's happening outside the box isn't all good, and in some significant areas.

For example, communication has grown exponentially digitally.  Voice mail, email, text messaging, video conferencing, while great tools, have left younger entrants into the business world lacking in face-to-face communication skills.  Leadership sometimes delivers bad news digitally, coldly, mercilessly to save difficult face-to-face moments.  Teamwork is conducted in less than a civil manner often initiated by carelessly crafted e-mails.  Here are some other thoughts about outside-the-box thinking. 

A website called Lateral Action states,"The research evidence suggests that thinking outside the box fails to produce the expected creative solution. And far from being a hindrance, past experience and training can actually be the key to creative problem-solving."

So, before you think outside the box to create new solutions to age-old problems in business, take a look from a higher perspective.   Like experience maybe?  Training is a good idea, too.  It just so happens that Outfluence is conducting a 3-part series this Fall in Westminster, Maryland that will address this question:  What did we leave behind when we began thinking outside the box?  Visit Outfluence.com in a few weeks when we will begin publishing information about the series.  It begins in September.

This event occurred in the Fall of 2016.


Will Robots Need the Soft Skills, Too?

I read an article this morning about robotics.  It is estimated that 30% of the workforce in Europe will be replaced in the next 20 years.  The United States will face the charge of the robotics brigade, too.  A number of restaurants are already considering the move to robotic servers.  Even lawyers are not immune to robotics entering their world.  This article will tell you more.  You can also find it here,  http://bit.ly/1YZ3zUa.

If and when this move to robotics occurs in what I call the regular workplace, in other words the middle class, opportunities for humans may become limited, and those opportunities that are available will demand ever-increasing amounts of skills.  No longer will humans be able to climb the ladder from entry level positions to higher-paying positions over a number of years.  In the future humans will need to advance their skills and look sideways for advancement.  This will require excellent communication skills and inspired performance every day. 

I listened to the McDonald's robot accepting a service order from a customer.  The robot was polite and helpful, and even had a smile on its face.  The robot's designers seem to have built into the robot soft skills very often found lacking in their human counterparts.  I must say I was pretty impressed by what I was seeing from this early version.  What could possibly be next?

My grandchildren, your grandchildren, and possibly some of your children will be facing robotic competitors in their workplace.  Some humans are already sharing the workplace with robots.  The jobs the robots take will likely be gone from human attainment forever.  So where does that leave us?  It leaves us with a highly technical, very competitive workforce.  Skills such as effective communication of all kinds - oral, silent, written, body language - and inspired performance that gains an advantage for its practitioner - as well as the Outfluence form of teamwork called The Silent Storm will be sought after by employers.  The unprepared, uncaring, disinterested employees of today will not, are not now, being tolerated.  The move is afoot to change.  

Many park benches, seaside lounges and oceanfront arcades will be filled with unemployed citizens who ignored the call to action this article is calling for.  It's time to train yourself and your young family members communication and performance skills that will be needed to compete in the years ahead.  Outfluence is offering community-based small group training to help you prepare for the changes that are arriving as you read this article.  Contact us attraining@outfluence.com for additional information.

10 Old Ideas, For a New Generation

 

Stay close to your family. Silent communication principles of Outfluence can help to translate family dynamics before emotions get in the way. Silence is not just nothingness. There is meaning in silence. Stay close to family situations by learning to read silence.

Read often.  Reading=knowledge=perspective=understanding=opportunity.

Make a friend. Smile, extend your hand, say hello.

Dream and pursue. Positive aspirations underwritten by strong belief and supported by hard work will bring dreams to fruition.

Respect your country. Perfection doesn’t live here but you and I do. Love, fight for, and respect your country and its citizens. Put your country and your neighbors first.

Build your foundation. Outfluence principles enable you to develop the intellectual, physical, and emotional strength to create a vision for your life and then build that life for you and for those you love. Stabilize your life by building a strong foundation.

Mentor someone. Use your life experiences to ignite another person’s passions.

Be a positive force. You reap what you sow.

Inspire your performance. “Be so good that they can’t ignore you.” - Steve Martin

Have faith. Believe that Outfluence behaviors and principles will energize your life and the lives of those around you.


Tweet Your Heart Out.

75% of businesses own a company page, like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

But only 69% of that percentage actually post.

Who cares? Well, it seems, everyone does nowadays.

A shocking 73% of Americans use social media today. (1) That's a large potential audience for your business. And not everyone is micro-blogging about what brand of dental floss they use, or Instagraming their duck lips. For the business professional, social media can be the most valuable tool in your kit, whether you are an owner, a marketer, or just a member of the workforce.

In the business world, the quickest way to sell  is through visibility. The consumer sees your product, likes it, and thus considers buying into it. Social media can be your best introductory 'handshake'. You  present your cause the way you want it to be seen, more easily than ever before. Most sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are free to use, which effectively eliminates other costly methods meant to increase visibility, like newspaper ads, or radio segments. 

You also have the opportunity to attract more customers. In 2013, 52% of all marketers attracted new customers via Facebook alone. (2) The relationship between the company and the consumer has become closer, and easier to nurture, with the advent of immediate personalized messages.

Customer service is easier than every before, too. Every consumer can reach out, and feel like they are safe in your company's hands. Check this out:

Possibly your greatest advantage, when using social media, is the ability to observe your audience first hand. What do they need? How can you better serve them? These are questions your marketing department is asking themselves everyday, and now we have exact answers. Got a new idea? New product? Share it with your followers and friends, and get instant feedback. You can also distinguish your group of people with a hashtag, like #Outfluence, to promote a feeling of unity, and keep up with everyone's latest  point of view.

"If you can write with a smile and insert emotion into your respectful and coherent messages, you are again sending a silent message. The person you are communicating with will know that he or she is important and worth the extra time you take to get the message just right."
-Al Betz, Co-founder of Outfluence

There is such a thing as online etiquette, though. For example, you may want to avoid doing this:

And this.

Bottom line? Start Tweeting.

Need help? Have questions? Chat with us today on Twitter @OutfluenceLLC, or visit our contact page http://www.outfluence.com/contact-us/. We are always happy to help you.

 

(1) According to Statista.com

(2)According Pewinternet.org


Knowledge is Power: Communication History

 

We enjoy our traditions.  Traditions in communication have a fascinating history.  In America, and in many other countries, business greetings begin with a handshake.  This is a Western tradition with origins in ancient Greece or the Middle East.  They shook hands as a way of making a pledge.  In Russia the handshake is more of a form of male competition - a sign of confidence and power.  In the United States the earliest handshakes were between tribes.  They were open-handed to demonstrate that neither party was carrying a weapon.

Perhaps our favorite communicator is the kiss.  In its earliest days the kiss, or bringing mouths together, signified the joining of two souls.  In ancient Hebrew the word for breath also means soul.  Ancient Egyptians thought of kissing as the giving of breath, or giving life.  The Romans are credited with turning the kiss into a sophisticated form of communication.

The study of body language gained interest in the latter part of the 20th Century both academically and among the general public.  However, in the history of body language Francis Bacon got us started.  Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, politician and scientist.   In a website titled "all-about-body-language" I found this:   Writing in Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human - first published in 1605 - Bacon had the following to say about gestures of the body when discussing the concept of knowledge of ourselves.

Aristotle hath very ingeniously and diligently handled the factures of the body, but not the gestures of the body, which are no less comprehensible by art, and of greater use and advantage. For the lineaments of the body do disclose the disposition and inclination of the mind in general; but the motions of the countenance and parts do not only so, but do further disclose the present humour and state of the mind and will.

For as your majesty saith most aptly and elegantly, “As the tongue speaketh to the ear so the gesture speaketh to the eye.” And, therefore, a number of subtle persons, whose eyes do dwell upon the faces and fashions of men, do well know the advantage of this observation, as being most part of their ability; neither can it be denied, but that it is a great discovery of dissimulations, and a great direction in business.

In our book Outfluence®, The Better Way to Influence, we added Constant Messaging® to the lexicon.  Constant Messaging broadens the body language concept to include the messages we send to others from what we read, what we watch, our associations, our habits, our vocabulary and more.  

Outfluence® is a communication concept and its power lies in silence.