live in the grey

eww...verbal diarrhea is so not cool (seriously dude, it's not a good look)

I should start this post by coming clean. I am so guilty of this that my picture should probably be next to the definition in Webster's Dictionary. 

It is because of the fact that I am basically an expert in this that I can give advice on why it is just not cool. First, let me explain. Verbal diarrhea sounds pretty gross. It is supposed to. You have experienced it before I'm sure. It is when someone feels they have to speak about everything and they just keep talking and adding so much information that it causes a mental overload in the people who are listening. Once they are done talking, you actually feel like they just threw up (their words) all over you and now you want to take a shower because you just feel gross.

One of my motto's has always been to stand up, speak up; stand out, speak out. so you can imagine why this one might be a struggle for me. In the workplace there are generally three types of people in a conference room.

  • the person who diligently takes notes and nods their head from time to time but says very little

  • the person who participates sparingly and calculated, waiting first for what the boss and everyone is going to say

  • then there are the people that have to speak so bad that they sometimes have to sit on their hands to stop themselves from jumping in

that's me

yes I like to talk and yes I have a perspective and opinion and I suppose I just feel like if I don't say anything nobody will know that. This by the way is perfectly normal and acceptable. When it gets to be too much is when it starts to backfire against you. I am also very fond of the saying

You don't have to tell everyone, everything.

I am fond of it because it is something I need to be reminded of constantly. When you tell everyone everything some interesting stuff starts to come to the surface

  • you start to become the white noise in the room

  • they stop thinking what you have to say is important or valuable to the discussion because you couldn't possibly have an opinion on everything and be right

  • people start to get antagonistic just to see if they can get you rattled

  • it doesn't create a collaborative environment

  • other group members will back up, not wanting to delve in to the discussion that you may be so passionate about for fear of getting cut off

  • you may go one step too far in what you say and kill your whole case

How does a serial verbal up-chucker move past their tendencies? 

Like most things in life, this has a simple solve. Let me explain.  Most people enter a meeting room with some sort of agenda. You want the other people in the room to buy into your idea, appreciate the work you put into something or help you get something off the ground. When you have verbal diarrhea, you come in hot, guns blazing for battle. This is before you even know if a battle is necessary, it puts people on edge.

If you prepare for the battle, however, things go differently. Understand what your goals are going to be before you head in to your next meeting, ask yourself one or more of the following questions:

have i eaten yet?

I know you're laughing at this but it's like the Snickers commercial says; "you're not yourself when you're hungry". If you're going to get people to collaborate with you then you need to be on your A game, so get something in your belly. Besides, food is amazing so why wouldn't you want to be eating all the time? 

It is also good to be well hydrated and have used the restroom, this might take a while.


who do i expect will be in the room & who do i expect will object to what i am bringing to the table?

This is sort of a "know your allies", "know your enemies" kind of approach. There is nothing worse than going to battle in the boardroom and watching someone switch sides in the middle. It throws you off you game and is often difficult to recover from so know who you are going up against. Know their arguments, position and where they are vulnerable or open to suggestion.


what is your point? what is your ultimate takeaway?

the things that almost always accompanies verbal diarrhea is panic, fear, a bad feeling in your stomach that you aren't being heard or not being understood. What if that is your own fault? What if you didn't come in with a clear idea and path to explain your position? You think that you are prepared but are you really? I will admit, I am an extremely passionate person. I will fight to the death for what I believe in with high emotions and vigor. That being said I have been in situations where someone came back with some good counterpoints and I was there with my mouth open and nothing coming out because they stumped me. I under estimated the objections to what I was bringing to the table and then wasn't prepared to argue against them. Rookie Mistake.

I guess what I am really trying to say here in WAY TOO MANY WORDS...(hard habit to break), is be aware and keep the following in mind...

  • be aware of your surroundings

  • know who you are going after

  • know what you really want to happen

  • know when you have lost your audience

  • know that sometimes silence is best

I realize I am trying to blog for the masses, but I will readily admit that this one is for me. Everyone has a journey and if you're lucky it takes a long time to get to the end. Make sure you are enjoying the view and course correcting along the way.

friday's 3 favorite things...what made you smile on social media this week?

Happy Friday! If you are a regular reader or even a regular social media follower, you will know that I often talk about putting positive content into the world. We are indundated with content from every direction. We have music, television, movies, social media and beyond. It doesn't matter how hard we try, we can't escape getting hit over the head with content whether we like it or not.

Unfortunatley, a lot of that content is negative and being surrounded by negativity can get very exhausting. There is a saying Negativity begats Negativity. Heavy right? But the good news is this.

positive minds lead positive lives

Taking from that I wanted to share some people using social media in positive and fun ways. These are just three of my favorite posts this week.

Who doesn't love Amy Poehler? Not only is she smart and funny but she is using her celebrity for good with Amy's Smart Girls where they not only help young girls but they use the internet to spread positive imagery, words and energy of girls and women everywhere.

Here is a snipped from the website and if it doesn't convince you that this belongs on my list today, then...well I don't know.

"The Smart Girls organization is dedicated to providing a healthy alternative to so much tat is being marketed to young people on the internet.

 

 

 

Our motto is: Change the World by Being Yourself."

 

The Written Runway is a great site dedicated to fashion and lifestyle topics. While it does not focus only on women, it's lean towards women and portraying strong visual of images of them through fashion will get you excited to get back in your closet. 

She loves fashion so much, she even gets her dog Bentley into the mix. She swears he loves it. How awesome is his birthday pic?

Here is how she describes her mission;

"In 2011 Ambyr broke off and began The Written Runway. This creative outlet has allowed her to share her love of runway fashion, how to adapt it into every day style and inspire others to express their talents"  

 

The next one is a little bit of self promotion and for that I apologize but as I said this is a list of my favorite things on social media this week. And...one of my favorite things was getting the opportunity to represent Girls Inc. PNW. If it isn't clear yet, I believe in lifting up girls and women. I think the future will be determined by strong smart women. If I have any chance to be a part of this movement then I am going to take it.

If you are not familiar with Girls Inc. and it's local affiliates here is a their vision:

"Our vision is empowered girls and an equitable society. Our mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold."

That's it, three positive social media posts to end your week on a good note and get you pumped for the weekend. They may even introduce you to some new people to follow.


P.S. You thought I was actually going to finish with 3 things huh? Come on, you know I can never leave it at that. I probably should change the number of things I want to talk about on Friday's. 

To apologize I share this, which quite frankly was really my favorite image from social media this week. My sister-in-law and new baby nephew in a moment that just looks like pure bliss. That is not only a positive image but one that looks like pure love.

If being an aunt is this awesome after just one month, I cannot wait to see what happens when this kid starts laughing and I can teach him some really great stuff...

 

tips on how & why brands use manifesto's to connect with consumers.

Last week I shared The Optimists Manifesto. A great manifesto for an even better philanthropic organization. I found it while at a Dutch Bros. Coffee.

Many brands build a manifesto to let people know who they are. It is a way of getting up close and personal with consumers with the goal of transparency. They figure if you why they do what they do. You will want to join them thus becoming a customer of theirs.

"discretionary spending"

is now a very common phase, one our parents probably rarely if ever heard. With more money than ever before, and more power in the hands of consumers, brands have to relate to them in different ways. It is no longer just about necessity. It is tapping into the consumer psyche to create loyalists to a brand.  Let's face it, we have a lot of choices and brands know that, so they push even harder to know more about us. It is no longer just demographics.

Brands now have to look at Psychographics.

Analysis of consumer lifestyles to create a detailed customer profile. Market researchers conduct psychographic research by asking consumers to agree or disagree with activities, interests, opinions statements. Results of this exercise are combined with geographic (place of work or residence) and demographic (age, education, occupation, etc.) characteristics to develop a more ‘lifelike’ portrait of the targeted consumer segment.
— http://www.businessdictionary.com/

I created this image to showcase some research that listed out the top 5 ways men and women spend their money. You will note, that they actually spend it quite differently. (click on image for source site). 

The problem is that most brands or brands of the past didn't consider gender differences. They marketed one and only one way. As the facts come out and companies saw sales decline, they used the tools to gather consumer information. The brands who really dug in would have found out that..

Women account for 80% of all purchases in the US.
— Why She Buys - Bridget Brennan
Millenials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in history and they are also more diverse. 87 Million MIllenials and only 56% of them are white.
— http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/diversity-millennials-boomers/

The tastes and preferences of these two powerful demographics put more of an emphasis on connection to brands. Quite frankly, they expect more of everything 

Today, the brands that last and are ahead are doing so by appealing to the psychological side of how and why people buy. They work to draw connection and loyal consumers throughout life. The goal is to catch them young and keep them as they age.

But Dawne what the heck does this have to do with Brand Manifesto’s?
— Probably You My Blog Reader Right at this very Moment

I will tell you what. As I said at the start of this post, a brand has to connect with these new consumers and one way to do that is to appeal to them by focusing on the same things they care about. I have shared a couple brand Manifesto's below from brands that continue to grow because of their ability to connect with their consumers on a deeper level.

There are even companies and brands out there that start from a manifesto and use that to connect with people, no product necessary. Here is one of my favorites from Live in the Grey where I am lucky enough to be an ambassador for the program.

So, if companies and brands can have a manifesto, and so can organizations then why can't we as individuals? So, today I want to challenge myself and you to come up with our own manifesto. Maybe you already have one...but for me I need to dust off a pencil and get to work.

What is your manifesto? Is it something you just know but have never written down? Have you never thought of one before? 


sources:
http://goodcents.123abc.co.nz/personal-finance/guest-posts/top-5-things-men-and-women-choose-to-spend-their-money-on/

Friday's Three Things - Speaking Part 2

As a reminder, last Friday I started a series on what I love to do...SPEAKING. Basically, it is a series to let you know how I came to finding what I love and why I do it.

When we left off last Friday, we went from speaking about women's shopping habits. After my realization that speaking was my purpose, things got strange. Strange because my whole life I searched for this moment but here I was, finally at the point of knowing and I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out...

agh...what the heck am i supposed to do now?


I mean, where do you find a job on google to be a speaker? What's more, where do you go find a job on google that specialized in subjects about and for women? What do I even have to say? Will people even listen? I am not normally someone who get's stumped but admittedly I was stumped.

And though I'm not proud of it, I kind of thought about it a lot more than I did anything about it. I mean, I did keep speaking, which actually brought it's own surprises. When I found my "thing", I thought the only way I could do it was if it did focus on women but for quite awhile after that moment I spoke about a ton of topics and most of them had nothing specifically to do with women. The crazy thing? I still liked doing it. I liked the research that went behind fine tuning your subject matter, and deciding how to make boring subjects sound less boring. I mean, a boring speaker? That would be the worst. (a little over-exaggeration maybe but have you been to a boring speech? YIKES!)

So I decided to talk about what I knew and what I knew/know is marketing. I spoke merchandising, marketing planning, training, target consumers and consumer market segments. As I said, it was actually fun. Who knew?


So, why am I telling you this and why is it part 2 of the series? I tell you this because it is part of the journey just like discovering your passion. This part of the journey is figuring out what it is about what you do that you like and why you like it. It is also about getting up and deciding that it may not look the way you imagined it at first and that is how you know it is real. 

People seem to use the saying "if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" as if it means that once you find what you love, everything will be easy. That is SO not so. Let me tell you...you still have to work and hustle to make it a reality. Yes, it is hard I've got a little secret to tell you...it is also the fun part.


Don't forget to check out part 3 of the series next Friday. In the meantime, have you learned a lesson on the way to your purpose? Share it with me below in the comments.

Unwritten Rules of the Workplace

Today we are talking about those "unwritten laws" of the workplace. The ones that everyone knows about but nobody admits to. The silent annoyance of cubicle row. Modern office culture has changed quite a bit in the last 10-15 years. In most cases, gone are "casual Friday's", standard benefits, and real perks. It is also the age of political correctness. Some might argue that this is a bad thing, but in the case of workplace courtesies I actually think it can be an asset. 

We have all been there. You are having a perfectly decent day. Maybe you are even getting a ton of stuff done. You are on a roll. Then it happens, someone in the general vicinity of you does something that to you seems like UMM...are they really doing that? To which you realize, YES, Yes they are doing that.

While thank goodness we don't have to live in the day's of Mad Men style offices with cigarette smoke swirling through the halls and sexual innuendo at every turn. There are still a ton of things that happen in modern day offices that are pretty...well, they're annoying to many. Rather than create my own list (keeps me safe from the line of fire) I will actually take my list from the book "Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t, The New Rules of Work" By Division of Labor.


Never trust a man in pleated khaki’s!
Never trust a man in a shiny shirt!”
— Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t, The New Rules of Work - Division of Labor & My Mother

 

WHY? You might ask. Well, it's simple, when I read the back of the book and noticed the line "Never Trust A Man in Pleated Khaki's", I knew this was a book I had to get behind. I have often told people of a rule my Mother taught me, "Never Trust a Man in a Shiny Shirt", so this fit in with that and it just felt like KISMET!

So what are the rules? They aren't really rules per se, as much as they are little "dear co-worker" thoughts. So here we go...


"please stop showing up to work reeking of perfume."

YES...as an allergy girl who, granted, should probably be in a bubble, this is awful. This should also be a "Dear People on Airplanes" note.  PLUS YOU KNOW WHAT? Soap smells amazing all on it's own. Nothing smells better than clean, especially no White Diamonds or Drakar Noir.

"please stop making cc's on speakerphone from your cubicle."

LOOK...we know there is a lack of conference rooms, or maybe someone stole your conference room, we get it. But pick up the receiver or plug in a headset because between the barking dogs, myriad of musical tastes and the call, who can get anything done? Remember, you are not the only one that can hear the call.

"please stop sighing really loudly."

 

PERSONALLY...I'm not sure if I have ever heard this one in the office but I totally get it. Deep sighs are hard to handle regardless of where you are. If it is THAT bad, then tell me about it, make the sighing stop.

 

Obviously this is a lighthearted way to look at the little quirks and peccadilloes that are completely ridiculous to get upset about but we all get annoyed by them, EVEN if we are the guilty party, so we could probably all lighten up a bit and maybe think before we do something in our cubicle.

If you want to get a little laugh about this type of stuff, make sure and check out the book. Not only is it funny, it also has a lot of good points.

 

love my reflection project

Junior High is a tough time in most kids lives. It is often full of name calling, backstabbing and in general most teenagers long to be part of the in-crowd. It is at this age that we rarely look at being different as an attribute, it instead is seen as something to be ashamed of and is ridiculed by many. It is safe to say that for a lot of people, junior high sucks. Sorry, but it is true. That is why the story I recently found on Yahoo was all the more refreshing to see.

A couple of girls from Portland, Oregon (yeah for the hometown team) named Avery Burn and Genae Vanek came up with a great way to engage their fellow students in something positive.  The girls are involved in a great organization called "Destination Imagination". "DI" is an organziation that is helps kids learn in new and diverse ways by pushing them to through creativity. Their site describes it this way: 
 

The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament.
— http://destinationimagination.org/about-us/vision-mission-history

For Avery Burn and Genae Vanek they saw a need in their own backyard. They saw how much girls their age struggled with self esteem. Rather than sitting around, they decided to do something about it.The project was simple really, provide pocket mirrors to the girls in their school with affirmations written on them.

Some may laugh at this concept, Current research out of Carnegie Mellon University suggests that "positive affirmations" can increase a persons esteem and make them perform better. 

“An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester,” said Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure.”
— http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/health/2013/summer/benefits-of-self-affirmation.shtml

They used stress as a starting point to determine how people performed when under high levels of chronic stress. They found that people under this level of stress actually correctly answered 50% less problems during the experiment. "But notably, this effect was qualified by whether the participants had an opportunity to first complete the self-affirmation activity? 

“People under high stress can foster better problem-solving simply by taking a moment beforehand to think about something that is important to them,”
— David Cresswell - Carnegie Mellon University

These girls probably didn't know all of this before starting their project, but what they did was afford their fellow students a positive way of looking at things that actually could improve how they do at school which of course then leads to feeling even better about oneself. So creates a cycle of positive reinforcement leading to positive results. Why am I telling you about this? Simple, I believe in spreading positive content. I believe in lifting up others. I believe in taking action. That is what these girls did and it's pretty fantastic.

But they aren't done. They turned this into a project called "Love My Reflection" and they want to go nationwide with their message, not just providing these mirrors to more girls but also hosting events and groups that can continue to provide a positive space for these middle school aged girls. It is important to know that during middle school a girl's confidence often plummets and we generally start see a change in in academic performance as well. The change of schools, hormones, social media and other factors come in to play. That is why this is so important. This is the time we need to support and affirm our girls.

They have a "GOFUNDME" page to raise money for the cause, http://www.gofundme.com/lovemyreflection I donated just last night and got a personal response from Avery's mother, Annie. I told them I wanted to help in any way I can so the first step in that is spreading the word. Check out what Annie wrote to me below

Dear Dawne,
Thank you SO much for your donation and support! We are in awe at the response this project has gotten and look forward to what the future holds!
We would be absolutely thrilled and appreciative to have you partner with us for an event...however, I know financially we are not there yet to be able to hire anyone or fund the marketing efforts. Any ideas or suggestions would be so appreciated though! Hopefully some day soon, perhaps with your help, we will be able to make an event happen!
— Annie Burn - Love My Reflection

Let's help these girls help hundreds, even thousands more to be confident.  You can even check out their website. www.lovemyreflection.org

To learn more about Destination Imagination, click on the logo.

networking isn't for dummies.

The word "network", when used as a verb means to:

"cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position."

As soon as I read the definition, I realized why so many people struggle with this particular part of the job search. The definition is almost sleezy. It is all about what you can get from people and not about what you can offer them. I get it, climbing the corporate ladder is no easy task, it is a dog eat dog world, everyone must fend for themselves...YUK." I prefer to look at things differently. I define networking as a way to cultivate relationships among people with the intent of building EACH OTHER up. It is about learning from each other, having someone's back and sharing common passions and pursuits.

My biggest pet peeve in networking is being asked "what I do" or "where I work" as an introductory line. I am not my job and my job is not me. I am here to meet and connect with people and that is not the best opening line. Think of it this way, on a first date, do you really want someone asking you how much money you have in the bank and what kind of yield you are getting from your 401K? No, well to me these are very much the same things.


networking two.png

The easiest place to get caught in the trap is when you join a networking group or organization. 

Networking groups are a great way to meet people in a similar industry or profession as you. Most people however get overzealous when it comes to the term "networking" and "networking organizations". The job market is crowded, competition is stiff. People see this, get scared and use networking entirely wrong. They use these orgnaizations to "pad"their resume instead of truly becoming part of what they are doing. Networking is all about what you put into it and the authenticity that drives the connections you make.

If we are going to do this, then we need to ask some questions to ensure that we choose the right networking group for us...


Here it is important to look for organizations that will help to educate, inspire, lead and nurture you into whatever your next step may be. This means you have to ask yourself some hard questions. I suggest some quiet time to reflect in a place that inspires you. (it's okay if it involves some sort of dessert or wine, I am not one to judge.) As you are contemplating these question it is key that you research groups that will work with what you are going after.

what do I want to do? what and who do I want to be? where do I want to be?

Networking groups vary. Many meet only once a quarter. (How in the world are you going to network like that?) Some meet every other day. (Who has the time?) But networking is about more than sharing a cocktail and trading business cards. It is important when doing your research to find a group that meets or interacts regularly enough to develop real relationships with the people in the group. You also need to be honest about how much time you have or are willing to invest. 

80% of all jobs are secured through networking!

If 80% of all jobs are secured through some form of networking, why are you spending the lion's share of your time on job boards? When you look at the landscape of your search, how much time are you committing to true networking? When you have a job you love, how much time are you committing to networking AND helping others? Both are important because you never know what the future holds. Reciprocity is key.


Everything you do with regards to networking should have a "why" attached to it. That does NOT mean you have to GET something out of every network but it does mean you should know why you are there. Driving with no destination in mind is a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon, it is NOT however a great way to find your purpose. You need to attack it with intent. This doesn't mean you know where you will end up, but you should have a destination in mind. Don't jump the gun. Don't "pad" your resume just because it will get you A JOB. Determine what you REALLY want to do. Think it out, write it down, pray about it, meditate and really hone in on what it is you want. THEN, start your network. When you do this, you build with purpose in mind and the results become much more fruitful.

In the spirit of networking, leave a comment below with some of your favorite networking groups.  To get you started here are a few of mine.