Are You Making a Positive Impact?

By JoAnne Foist

Business achievementAsk anyone what they want to do in life. The answer you’ll most often get goes something like this, “I want to have a positive impact…to make a difference in the world.”

Then, when you ask them how they plan to make an impact, many become stumped. They are waiting for some sort of epiphany. Well here it is: You have to do a little work if you want to make an impact. And here’s the good news, the work is rewarding and fun!

The truth is that you don’t have to be some revolutionary leader to make an impact; you just need to be your authentic self. So if you want to make an impact, practice these five behaviors and you’ll start to make a positive impact on yourself and others.

  1. Continuous Self-Improvement – People who make an impact are lifelong learners. They follow the idiom, “you grow or you die.” They have a thirst for knowledge and that spark keeps them creative, energized and vibrant. They are constantly looking for ways to grow, learn and improve. They ask lots of questions and maintain an open mind. They are students of the world. This drive to learn acts as a catalyst for inspiring others to do the same.
  1. Share Information Freely – People who make an impact share their knowledge. They are not hoarders of information; instead they share what they know in hopes of stimulating thought, contemplation and helping others grow. Impactful people teach others and are invigorating to be around.
  1. Make a Positive Difference – People who make an impact make a difference. They don’t wait until they find THEIR purpose in life, they find purpose in life. People who make a difference find purpose in everything they do. They take action because they realize that all the big and small things they do create an impact. They are conscious of their words and actions and care about the world around them.
  1. Inspire Others – People who make an impact bring out the best in others. They realize that everyone has unique talents and they seek out and appreciate those talents of others. They sincerely care and show respect for those around them and listen to others with empathy. People want to be heard and understood so this active engagement is what creates a lasting and impactful impression.
  1. Be Authentic – People who make an impact are secure in who they are and what they believe. They radiate confidence. This authentic confidence creates a memorable impression and builds trust and respect from others.

Do you practice these behaviors? If yes…good for you! If no…why not? Keep in mind that it’s not always changing what you do, but how you do it. Think about each behavior and see how you could adjust. For instance, we all take in information daily. Examine what you’re taking in and determine if it’s enriching or not. And, when you learn insightful information, it’s fun to share. See how easy that was? Also, when you look at this list, you’ll notice that these behaviors are also what make a great leader. That’s because leaders create impact. So don’t wait any longer, incorporate these behaviors and you’ll be making a memorable difference.

If you’re still a bit stumped, perhaps you need more confidence. Signup for our free e-book, Incredible Confidence and you’ll also get the Incredible Confidence training series for free!  This will help you become your most confident self and enjoy a richer and more impactful life.

Serious about making an impact? Attend our Powerful Presence Intensive 3-day workshop and learn how to create a powerful presence with a positive and lasting impact.

Show Some Courage – Go Ahead and Assert Yourself


By Kimberly Gerber

Assertiveness is the ability to have your voice heard in a clear and confident manner. Assertiveness gets people to notice and actively listen to you. While Assertiveness is often bold, it should not be confused with being aggressive.

Aggressive behavior is often angry and destructive. People who are aggressive generally intend to subordinate others in order to get what they want with the least amount of interference or challenge. That is not assertiveness. Ultimately, it is not effective and it damages relationships.

An assertive person projects confidence and self-control. They are perceived as poised, articulate and fair, and they are able to hold solid boundaries as well as lead the thinking of others. A great leader is an assertive leader. It’s having the courage to communicate our thoughts, ideas and contributions.

Learning to be assertive is a skill that you can master.

And, it is important that you do because, without the ability to effectively assert your voice, your success will be limited. The more often you’re able to assert yourself by demonstrating your ability to think strategically, solve problems, generate ideas and create solutions, the higher value you’ll have with those around you.

Here are three ways to assert yourself for greater success:

Self-promote – Send updates to your team and leadership on what you’re doing. Congratulate the team on your mutual successes. Don’t let the work speak for itself and don’t assume your boss knows all that you’re doing. The only way to ensure your work gets the credit it deserves is to let others know about it.

Seize opportunities – Reveal flattering information about yourself in your conversations. Be prepared to share some positive information about yourself the next time you run into leadership or others that you need to impress. But don’t go on and on, which would bore your audience. Instead, give a few facts and move on. I’ve always liked the motto: “Be brief, be bright, be gone.”

Accept compliments elegantly – When you say “thank you” for a compliment, the giver feels appreciated and so do you. Plus, it allows you to own the compliment.

Practicing the above three tips will allow you to have your voice heard as you promote your strengths, abilities, and successes in a professional and effective way. These assertiveness techniques will increase your recognition and your perceived worth to those around you. You’ve already done the hard part by doing the work, so promote it as a way to celebrate your success. The rewards will be worth the effort.

Look for more advice regarding the above three tips in future posts. If you’d like to meet with communications experts and learn more about communications and building your self-confidence, sign up for our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop.

Become More Effective and Productive with Virtual Communications

Today’s mobile workforce has an amazing array of technologies available at their fingertips to connect themselves with other workers, customers, competitors and resources available across the world in ways unknown and unheard of 10 years ago. On the flip side, so many things get lost in communication when it’s not face-to-face.

Every day, hundreds of emails, voicemails, meetings and text messages bury employees in an information avalanche. But the sharing of information is not communicating.  To quote George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Leaders must build strong communication habits that will help organizations and employees thrive in the era of virtual communications.

Building Rapport in a Virtual World

Many people struggle to build rapport in person, so it can become extremely challenging in a virtual scenario where you may not see your teammates, customers or sellers frequently. Without face-to-face chats in the hallway or break room, building trust gets difficult. In order to build rapport through virtual channels:

  1. Be proactive. Initiate informal “check-in” calls with colleagues or employees on a routine basis to keep yourself and everyone else in the loop.
  2. Engage informally. Allow colleagues to become more comfortable with you by engaging informally by phone, chat, email or Skype.
  3. Advertise accessibility. Make sure that people who work from different locations know when you’re available and how best to access you.
  4. Know the gatekeepers and problem-solvers. Develop a friendly rapport with the people who can keep you in the know and offer help when you need it.
  5. Know your audience. Pay attention to people’s communication styles. If you’re working with someone whose style you don’t understand or find unproductive, ask for what you need. Knowing and respecting how others like to communicate can help build trust and rapport pretty quickly. 

Composing Effective Email Messages

It seems like email has made life easier and more difficult at the same time. We tend to be optimistic and believe people will overlook our own typos and mistakes, while we privately label those who send us sloppy emails as careless, confused or ineffective. By the end of the day, we’re buried in the results of those sloppy email messages. Become more competent and efficient with email by incorporating these tips:

  1.  Start with a greeting, and close with a sign-off. It sets a positive tone and helps prevent recipients from perceiving that you’re being short with them.
  2.  Write from the reader’s perspective. Consider their knowledge and experience, and be sure to explain terms and concepts they may not know. On the other hand, don’t over-explain or include redundant information that clutters up your message.
  3. Anticipate questions. If you include necessary background information or attachments, you increase the odds that recipients can take the actions you desire without bouncing back to you with questions.
  4. Keep it short. The longer the email, the more likely recipients are to save it for later when they have more time. If you find yourself starting a third paragraph, pick up the phone.
  5.  Put the action at the top. Organize your message so that you ask the questions up front and then add background.
  6. Compose a clear subject line. A clear subject line flows from a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish with your message. If you can’t write a clear subject line, rethink your email.
  7.  Don’t clutter your email with multiple topics. You might think you’re saving time by listing three different requests in one message, but most of the time your reader will answer the first question and hit “send.” Too few people read all the way through emails. Putting two requests in one email just means you’ll have to send a follow-up to get the answer you want.
  8.  Edit and proofread. Edit for proper word usage and to make sure the one goal you’re expecting to achieve with that email is clear. Proofread a second time for typos, punctuation and inappropriate words.
  9.  Don’t try to be cute or funny in business email. Even if you do it well, it is liable to be misinterpreted. Treat serious business emails as carefully as you would a resume.
  10. Never type anything in ALL CAPS, even to get someone’s attention. Caps are the equivalent of yelling. If you need to get someone’s attention, use bullets, underlining or bold type.
  11. Do not send email when you’re emotional. Be very careful about responding to someone who has made you angry or hurt your feelings. Reply only in polite tones and reserve expressions of frustration for the telephone or face-to-face communication. If you’re unsure about how a message might be perceived, ask a manager or trustworthy colleague to review it before you send it.

Once you’ve established this set of habits and strategies, productivity will jump as your communications begin to hit their targets and everyone gets the information they need at the starting gate. Clearer communication also means stronger relationships with colleagues—more teamwork, less friction and a strong sense of mission. Say goodbye to the information avalanche, and welcome the efficiencies of well-crafted virtual communications.