Thursday, February 17, 2011

Your Accomplishments + Stories = Credibility

How do you establish your credibility? How does someone know the 'real you'? On a professional basis, how can you demonstrate you have experience, get results, are competent?

Traditionally this knowledge comes from the individual knowing you over time and seeing how well what you say and what you do match up – from working shoulder to shoulder with you or observing the outcome of your efforts.

A surrogate for personal knowledge is to have someone stand up for you – to recommend you – and if the inquiring person is willing to accept the recommendation, you may enjoy some level of credibility.

But how can any of this apply when you first meet a person – at a networking activity or on a job interview? Is there a way that you can show who you are about without an implied 'trust me' at the end of the description of your skills & abilities?

Yes – tell a story from your experience which highlights your skills & abilities.

You are an accomplished individual – or you would not have made it to the level you have. You need a catalog of these accomplishments and may need to dig deep to get them – people often feel that what they have achieved is 'no big deal – others have done it too' – usually that's not true. Spend some time recalling your accomplishments to have handy when you develop the stories.

The stories are NOT major productions – they are intended to showcase your achievements. The best and most effective stories are made up of three elements: a simple statement of the problem (with specifics about who, when, where, what, and how to add reality), a short rendition of your solution (again with specifics to make clear you were involved, not merely taking notes), and the result – from the viewpoint of the client or person who benefited – be concise when telling about the result but quantify where possible – saved dollars, reduced labor, increased speed, greater efficiency, or whatever.

As you talk about yourself as an effective manager, a innovative leader, or a creative programmer, include stories taken from your accomplishments and experience which show in vivid detail your contribution when addressing the problem and getting results.

By doing the work to recall the accomplishments and creating the stories (write them down!) based on these accomplishments, you can go a far distance in establishing your credibility with the person you just met or are with during the interview.

How do you see this working for you – please share your stories so others can benefit.

Upcoming presentations which may be of interest:

Rainmaker #3 - Process to Purchase
How To Sell Your Skills

300 seconds, March 8, 2011, 6 pm
Capital Technology Management Hub
The Sales Lab Rainmaker Series are five minute tactical selling presentations starting the CTMH Monthly Meetings
How To Turn Prospects Into Clients
Monday, March 21, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Alexandria, VA
Host: YES!Circle Details and Reservations

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The New Normal – Cloud Computing

This week the Capital Technology Management Hub put on a program about cloud computing – a very informative session about a new approach to computing that is no longer just a concept – it is up and running with higher level enhancements coming on line continuously at a steady pace.

Interesting in its own right, but what became clear during the presentation is: cloud computing is another example of the New Normal.

Cloud Computing is shifting control of resources and software tools into the hands of the user, which offers greater self-reliance - a significant element of the New Normal.

Let's step back to view this progression of computing from a user's viewpoint. 'Back in the old days' – about 45 years ago - computers took up entire floors and required significant staff to operate. Only large organizations could afford to own a mainframe computer, but would rent out idle time on a time-sharing basis. A user would submit work and beg for a quick turnaround of a week to ten days to get project output. The user had no direct access to the computer.

As computers got smaller and the cost came down, more organizations could have this resources in-house, but it required support staff to manage and maintain the equipment and resources. Users now had some direct access to established routines and processes, but modifications required engaging the IT staff.

When the PC and server environment became the norm, the computer and its software tools were finally in the hands of the user, but the servers were the domain of the IT staff to manage, maintain, and add capacity. The user worked directly now, but was haunted with incompatible data & software, as well as server space availability. New equipment cost money, took time, and required justification – all of which would take months to achieve.

Introduce the cloud. From the user's view, compatibility issues are being eliminated - software is in the cloud plus there's plenty data management tools to tame unruly data. What is really putting control in the user's hands is the ability to access the cloud for the resources needed – software tools, computing capacity, and output delivery. The user now can order up these resources directly, be up and running in a matter of minutes, and can decommission it all when completed.

In a sense, with the cloud, the user has come full circle from the time-sharing days, but with control now in the user's hands.

The New Normal encompasses greater self-reliance and independence, and cloud computing is another tool which is creating this reality.

How do you see the New Normal changing how we do work?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paint A Vivid Picture

When you speak, you want your message to be memorable for the listener – to have effect... to spur action... to persuade. To be truly successful requires going beyond mere talking to creating an image – a picture which develops in the listener's minds eye.

Jim Valvano was head coach of the NC State Basketball Team and enjoyed success on and off the court in his role – particularly in recruiting top players. Of course, he did the usual things to recruit prospects – home visits with the student & his parents; talks about scholarship opportunities; tour of the campus.

At the end of the campus tour, Coach Jimmy V and the prospective player headed into the basketball fieldhouse, which was dark – only the emergency lighting offering faint ghost-like illumination of the huge structure. As the two walked on to the basketball court, a bright spotlight snapped on.

In this circle of light center floor was a folding chair....on the chair was a basketball jersey draped over its back...visible on the back of the jersey was the name of the player prospect! Message complete – vivid – memorable – effective.

Think about a time when you experienced a compelling picture from words and actions – Please share its effects as a comment below.