Social Anxiety: Is It Killing Your Career?

Social Anxiety: Try Smiling

Social Anxiety: Is It Killing Your Career?

“Don’t let the world change your smile.  Let your smile change the world.”  A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

Social anxiety is common.  People who are shy are not the only people who experience social anxiety.  People who are confident about what they say or do around friends and family may feel social anxiety when they are among strangers or in front of an audience.

Social anxiety can make you avoid opportunities for work, fun, and networking.  It can reduce your opportunities for leadership roles.  Your anxiety can generate signals that make it harder for people to reach out to you.


“I’ll take a person with humor much more seriously than someone without one.Networking is a Contact Sport by Joe Sweeney

There are many things that you can do to calm your jitters.  Perhaps the most overlooked way is simply to smile.  People smile when they are happy.  And equally important is that smiling can help you feel happy.  “Fake ’till you make it” is an ambiguous term.  Some people see it as a disingenuous way of faking your skills.  Another view, is that faking confidence can help you gain confidence. A smile triggers thoughts that generate happiness.

The smiley face emoji says to other people that you approve of what they have to say.  Smiling has a similar effect.  It tells people that you approve of them.  It creates trust and helps people open up to you.

You are generating charisma.  People find your presence attractive.  Your smiling helps people feel more confident and comfortable being around you.  In turn, they smile and you feel confident from their signal of approval.

A frown will chase away friends.  Ah, but there is something about a smile that attracts people and draws people to you.

So, let it go.  When you see people, start with a smile.  As people approach, nod and smile.  When you are shaking hands with people, look at them and smile.

Paul McCartney: Customer Engagement and the Rock Star

Treat Your Customers Like Celebrities.

Paul McCartney: Customer Engagement and the Rock Star

Paul McCartney was in Sacramento this week.  I saw him perform at the new Golden 1 Center.  I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy his show.

He is a master of audience engagement.  Watching his show reminded me of some terrific ways for creating customer engagement.

Connect with your customers directly

For Paul McCartney Customer engagement is about connecting with your customers.

Calling attention to your customers to show that you know they are real people is common sense.  Some marketers do this with customers mentions, campaigns for causes, targeted promotional campaigns.

McCartney did this by having the product crews turn the lights on different sections of the audience, especially people way back and people up in the rafters.  These are the people most likely to feel ignored. He turned to each section and greeted each section individually.

Ask the customer to participate.

Paul McCartney customer engagement is about participation.

He shouted out the name of the city.  Hello, Sacramento!  All rock stars do this.

Then he added customer engagement by asking,

“How many of you are from Sacramento?”  Big applause!

“How many of you are from areas close to Sacramento?”  Big applause!

“How many of you are from areas far from Sacramento?”  Big applause!

“How many of you are from another country?”  Surprisingly, big applause!

He had the audience sing portions of his popular songs. He had members of the audience who wore theme costumes from his albums come up on the stage, and he chatted with them.

Make it about the customer.

Paul McCartney Customer Engagement makes the show about the audience.

McCartney gave positive gestures to the audience throughout the show. He continued to engage the audience with questions.  When the audience responded, he nodded approval, smiled, and gave thumbs up.

None of his performance was about Paul McCartney.  It was entirely about the audience.  Even the stories he shared about Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, and George Harrison were stories that McCartney believed would interest the audience.

Give the customer value added service.

Paul McCartney Customer Engagement is about giving the audience more than they paid for.

The senior but apparently not aging rocker performed for 3 hours without a break. The band went off stage for a break.  However, McCartney continued to perform in the band’s absence.  And how many performers do a three-hour show without a second-tier band to go in and lived up the crowd?

The Seven Steps of a Persuasive Presentation


Giving a persuasive presentation just got a lot easier

7 Simple Steps for Creating a Persuasive Presentation for Any Situation

Dan Pink has an excellent book preparing presentations: To Sell is Human.

When I worked at Procter & Gamble, I took a sales training course that included a presentation model that works for any situation.  Procter & Gamble titled the model the 5-Steps to persuasive selling.  Xerox had actually developed the original course as the 7-steps to professional selling (PSS).

Let us say that tomorrow you have a meeting.  This meeting could be a job interview.  The meeting might be with your board of directors to discuss a new direction for your company.

Here how the process works.


The night before your meeting, you review the material you will present.  You might have a few notes on your laptop or you might have a slide presentation.  The important thing is that you have prepared what you will need for this meeting.


When your turn to present material begins, you greet the person or people in the room.  Perhaps thank them for meeting with you.  During this part of the presentation, you introduce your subject.  Your audience has a certain need or problem, for which you have a solution.  The subject of your presentation is a summary of the needs they have.  You might provide them with some additional information on your subject.  While you want to gain acceptance of the ideas you are presenting, the most important thing is to demonstrate that you have their interest foremost.  You are there to help them.


In a brief, easy-to-understand statement, you give a recommendation for a solution to their need.  Allow your audience to participate.  Ask questions.  They may have objections to your idea.  Let them get comfortable by raising objections.  Treat the objections as questions and provide answers.


You might provide a schedule of events, prices, and who will do what.  Help your audience see that your plan is thorough.  Give them the details they need to know.  Help them be comfortable that they can trust that your plan will accomplish the goals you have established.


“Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”  This part should have no more than three statements as to how your plan gives your audience the benefits of solving their problems.  Keep it brief.


This is the close.  This is where you request approval of your plan.  I recommend that you layout easy steps that may provide options, and do a trial close on an assumptive choice.  For example, you might say, “Should we start to work this afternoon or first thing tomorrow?”


This part may require a little bit of discipline.  When you have left your meeting, you should do a personal review of the meeting.  Review any notes you have taken.  Write follow up correspondence.  Schedule the next steps you need to take.  Notify others who might be involved of what you accomplished in the meeting and what they can expect going forward.

8 Winning Tips for Telephone Meetings

8 Winning Tips for Telephone Meetings
8 Winning Tips for Telephone Meetings:  Telephone meetings have increased in popularity.  More people work from home.  Face-to-face communication over the Internet is easier.

Before the telephone meeting, prepare as though someone is coming to meet you in your office.

Have these things on your desk:

  • A statement of the purpose of the meeting
  • Any correspondence or research you have that relates to the meeting
  • A list of key points you wish to make
  • A list of questions

Select your interview place carefully.

  • Pick a quiet room.
  • Have a glass of water immediately handy.
  • Pick a comfortable chair.

Even though you are on the phone, let your personality shine, especially if you are on a facetime call.

  • Smile.  You will project warmth whether the other people can see you or not.
  • Listen to the questions.  Make sure you understand the question before you answer it.  Answer the questions people ask.  Do not just respond with subjects that relate to the question.
  • Remember to take a quiet deep breath from time to time.
  • Say positive things about yourself and about the other people.

Remember to focus.

  • Check you notes as you go along.
  • Make notes about the things other people say during the call.
  • Don’t bring up new subjects until you have finished discussing the purpose of the call.

Ask questions to keep others involved.

  • If you are seeking a commitment, ask trial close questions: for example, ask the other people when the company will make a decision.
  • Emphasize that you are definitely interested in going forward with the opportunity.

Do not allow interruptions.

  • If you get another call, ignore it.
  • Make sure that people around you know not to disturb you.
  • Certainly do not multi-task.
  • Do not talk over other people.
  • Do not try to tell a joke.
  • Do not fake your answers.  If you do not know that answer to a question, just say so.

Remember to close on an upbeat. 

Thank the others for taking time to speak with you.  Emphasize that you hope to have a chance to speak again.

Image: Julie anne Johnson/Flickr

4 Skills of Super Productive People

4 Skills of Super Productive People

4 Skills of Super Productive People

“You have too much to do. Some days you feel productive, others leave you with too little to show for all of your time. Why can’t you be one of those super productive people who chunks through tasks and goes home at 5:00?”

Source: 4 Skills That Separate The Super Productive From Everyone Else – Forbes

Image: Sean McEntee/Flickr

Inbox 101: Army experts offer email guidance

Army Email
Inbox 101: Army experts offer email guidance

It is easy to smirk at the idea of the Army helping you learn how to make your email accounts more secure. The joke is that military intelligence is an oxymoron. Reading this article however may save you from a real nightmare of security issues with your email.

Read more in this article by Kevin Lilley, Staff writer for Army times: “Five tips from information-management leaders on keeping your cyber-communications in check.” Source: Inbox 101: Army experts offer email guidance

Image: pixabay

Career Agility

Career Agility
What does career agility mean to you?

Agile management makes so much sense in managing business projects and careers.

Two homebuyers come to you to build them a custom home. They discuss with you the layout and design of the house.

As you create the home design, you discover that number of windows exceeds local codes for glass exposure. When you meet with the homebuyers, they changed their mind on some parts of the house.

Based on what you tell the buyers about the building codes and the changes that the buyers wish to make, you rework your plan to fit the new information.

You meet with the homebuyers again and make a decision to begin to build the house.

Twice a week, you meet with the homebuyers to review the progress of building the house. The kitchen and the family room are one great room with a kitchen counter serving as a room divider. The buyers realize that the wet bar they had planned for the family room is directly across from the kitchen sink.

The homebuyers decide that having a wet bar faucet and sink fifteen from the kitchen faucet and sink is a waste of space. You have already run the plumbing pipes to the wall for the wet bar. However, you have not built the wet bar counter. The homebuyers change the plan to have you build a custom counter for a television and bookshelf.

Because you and the homebuyers are continuing to review the progress of the project, you have the agility to make changes for a finished home that will fit their needs and comply with all building codes.
Career agility works the same way. By staying aware of the changes in industry and changes in your personal needs, you increase your opportunities to have career satisfaction and career success.

Image/ David Merrett/Flickr