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How I Accelerated My Public Speaking at Toastmasters!

How I Overcame Fear of Public SpeakingI love Toastmasters.  I joined Toastmasters earlier this year to increase my public speaking skills. I presented three speeches to this group so far.  With over 25 weekly members, the calendar for public speakers fills up quickly. 

Whether you are already a member of Toastmasters, thinking about joining a chapter or simply curious about public speaking, there will be a golden nugget and insight for you as you reflect upon this extraordinary story. This experience happened to me at the previous Toastmasters meeting only a couple weeks ago.  Looking back, I clearly see how it accelerated my awareness of my public speaking potential.

As you read this story, imagine being the character  practicing your public speaking skills. How would you act? how would you feel? What would you think? And, what would you have done?

This is what transpired…

 

I received an email from my Toastmasters group “Noonshiners.”  They were looking for a volunteer because a slot just opened up for a public speaking engagement the following day.  I’ve been practicing my speech to be presented at the end of September for three weeks now and felt ready to take on this challenge.  So I volunteered and added myself to the Toastmasters calendar.

 

The next morning I checked my mail 15 minutes before I left the house to go to Toastmasters.  I received a letter from my mortgage company telling me they were going to stop my current pay plan. They said my bank returned their automatic withdrawal.  I don’t know about you, but for me, this was a big fear I needed to take care of as soon as possible. And this fear was a distraction to my public speaking engagement. Can you imagine what may have been going through your mind if this was happening to you?

 

However, in my mind, not presenting my Toastmasters speech was not an option for me.  So I practiced my public speaking one more time and was off to present my speech titled “Conversations with Doubt and Fear.”

 

I was number two of three people that signed up for speaking that day. I honestly felt my heart beating out of my chest as a couple of the members shook my hand to thank me for being a brave soul and volunteer at the last minute.  No one could know how nervous I was to present this speech today. But this time, I wasn’t nervous about my speech. My fear was from the letter I received from the mortgage company.  Can you relate to this? 

 

While I was speaking, I realized how much I was living the “Conversations with Doubt and Fear.” How real it all was as I spoke. I mean, I even had a line in the speech when Doubt and Fear said to me “Kim, your heart is beating so fast, you can’t even hear yourself speak.”  I was so aware of living everything I was speaking about, but it wasn't distracting .  It was almost like I was an observer in my own experience.

 

At the end of my speech,  everyone clapped their hands as I bowed, shook the Toastmasters hand and walked back to my seat.  I knew I connected well because everyone laughed when I said something funny.  I spoke without my notes, walked around the room with lots of eye contact to my audience of around 30 people.  I did it!

 

My Evaluator said “Kim you jumped five levels today from your last speech. You came across as genuine, natural, everything flowed, you weren't nervous at allAnd," she said "I learned so much from you. Everything was great. The only critique I even have for you is to pause a few more seconds before you ended the speech with thank you.” I couldn’t believe it. I never even heard a critique that good since I’ve been there.

 

Looking back, I realized so many things had to come into alignment for this to happen.

1. I volunteered at the last minute to do this speech three weeks earlier than planned.

2. I received a letter 15 minutes before going to present my speech from my mortgage company which drove my entire presentation.

3. I was speaking on the topic of “Doubt and Fear,” which again, accelerated my awareness of my speaking potential. 

Oh, and, by the way, the letter from my mortgage company turned out to be a computer error.

“Wow,” I thought, “how cool is all this.  How many things had to line up in the universe to make all that happen?”  The reason I am writing this to you is this… 

There is a reason to be grateful for everything in life, the good and the bad. 

I am so grateful I volunteered to be the public speaker at Toastmasters that day.  And, I am grateful for receiving the letter that filled me with fear and drove me to accelerate the awareness of my potential as a public speaker!

Here's another life lesson I learned while talking to my mentor. I told her I now have to write another speech as funny and impactful as that one. She said to me, "No Kim, it wasn't the speech, it was you. Whatever you did that day, do that in all your speeches."

As I write this blog, I realized two more nuggets for you as a take away…

1. When you are public speaking, be in the moment, think of a time that will put you in the same situation I was in that day. This is similar to what actors and actresses do when they are performing.

2. Begin practicing positive affirmations. I began practicing positive affirmations for all I want in my life. I started this three weeks prior to this event. One of my affirmations is "I am connecting well to my audience at Toastmasters." Could this also be a reason everything came into alignment?

 

As a Career Coach, my purpose, vision and goal is writing professional resumes and professional coaching. I am focused on Career Development and Life Coaching – helping you realize your true potential and lift the lid from your limiting beliefs! If you need help in these areas, you're welcome to call me to schedule an initial free consultation at 970-672-8476 or email me at kim@JustResumesUSA.com.  FYI! My next speech at Toastmasters at the end of September is “How to be Happy,” scientifically speaking.

Executive Job Search Networking! 3 Tips to Land Informational Meetings

As an Executive Coach, I work with Executives through their career transition and beyond. I write professional resumes and coach professionals on how to successfully network, social network, interview, negotiate the salary and/or move up to the next level at the company.  Last week, we discussed how to get past voicemail in order to reach the decision maker when networking and making follow up phone calls. Networking purposely and successfully is the key to reaching your job search goals in today’s job market.  This week, we will continue to focus on “Networking for the Executive job search.”

 

If you have a mutual networking contact, most of you are aware, the percentage of landing the informational meeting is higher than without a contact. I’d like to share with you 3 tips that will be sure to increase your success to land informational meetings on your follow up phone calls without a networking contact. 

As an Executive Coach, I have listened to many phone calls while clients made their initial calls in my office. Through listening to client phone calls and hearing the decision maker’s needs on the calls …

 

I discovered 3 common responses from decision makers. And, created 3 not-so-common answers for the Executive to successfully land informational meetings

 

These 3 tips will increase your chances of landing the informational meeting without having a mutual contact, simply be meeting the decision maker’s immediate needs.  I recommend the Executive make follow up calls immediately after you send your resume or networking brief and informational cover letter.  Here are the 3 most common responses and answers for you to respond. 

 

1. If they say “I’m busy at the moment.” I recommend the Executive SAY this …”I sent you information, is it okay if I call back in a couple days after you received it?”

 

2. If they say “We have no openings.”  I recommend the Executive SAY this … “I understand, I am not JUST looking for a job right now, I am networking and looking for contacts and would really like your expertise and I find networking more effective, meeting face-to-face.  Do you have 15 minutes to meet with me in the next week or so?”

 

3. If it is clear that they are too busy to meet in person, I recommend the Executive SAY this…”Do you have time to schedule a phone meeting with me?”

 

If they say “I’m busy at the moment." Respond by letting them know you sent information and ask if it’s okay if you call back in a couple days. This response is mutually beneficial for three reasons …

First, you’re respecting the fact they are busy at the moment.

Second, they just gave you permission to make the next follow up call after they receive your resume or networking brief. 

Third, they are now expecting your call.

 

If they say “We have no openings.” This can be a very positive response for the Executive setting up informational meetings.

This is a common response when the decision maker has a need, but hasn't had the time to discuss it with Human Resources yet.  This is where you are in the right place, at the right time.  I found while listening to the initial calls, when the decision maker says “We have no openings,” they typically are thinking …

"They have a need for an Executive and would like to meet with you, but do not want the pressure of you thinking there is a job open.” 

Why? Because there is no job open, not yet, anyway. And, they want to meet you to see if you’re a good fit before they let you know they have a need. With the response of being respectful and honest by letting them know you really are networking and only interested in setting up an informational meeting, you probably will land that informational meeting.  And, they will let you know "at the end" of the meeting by asking you if you're interested in having Human Resources interview you for a potential, upcoming job opportunity.

 

If it is clear that they are too busy to meet in person, ask if they have time to schedule a phone meeting.  If they're not interested, thank them and move on to your next call. If you're still interested in the company, however, continue to look for a contact through networking or social networking, via Facebook, LinkedIn or join the company discussion's on Twitter to get to know employees at the company. And let them get to know you. I wrote a blog two weeks ago on the Job Seeker's Toolkit using Twitter.

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and found this information useful. If you're an Executive with a success story you'd like to share, please email your story to Kim@justresumesusa.com. I'll be happy to write your story and use it to encourage other job seekers. 

 

If you are a job seeker, I would like to encourage you to check out HiringforHope.org, and become a member of this very special non profit organization, whose purpose is to help people through career transition. This is where you can volunteer.  And, you too, can make a difference.  

Do you need immediate help with job interviewing, social networking or salary negotiating? Or, maybe you're thinking about hiring a professional resume writer to help you write your resume. I can help. To email me a comment, ask a question or schedule a free initial phone consultation, please give me a call or contact me at www.JustResumesUSA.com.

 

You will find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For more weekly career tips on Career Coach Kim Blog, stay tuned …

Networking Success! Job Seeker Transitions to New Career!

I had a blast discussing Resume Makeovers Saturday morning on Dream Job Radio, hosted by Daniel and Leah Lakstins. If you missed the show, you can hear it by going to iTunes Resumes Makeovers. Daniel asked great questions and you’ll hear the answers on how to make your resume pop. In addition to blogging about resume writing, many of you know I write success stories and valuable tips on preparing for the interview, networking, informational interviewing, social networking, salary negotiating, positive thinking, managing change and mastering success, volunteering and public speaking. These are some really great tips to help you in your daily life, I mean I don’t think people realise just how important something like networking is though. This is what helps you get the job, so if you are an electrician for example, then you really need to get started on your networking, why not check out something like http://yoursgi.com/electrician-network/ to give you a better idea of what to do next. Today’s blog is a story about Ashton who networked his way to a successful career transition.  This is quite a story.  Interested? Read on …

When I met Ashton, he had not utilized networking in his search. He had been downsized already for a year.

Ashton had a family to support and was working nights at UPS. He was a really great guy. I remember how tired he looked as I interviewed him to write his resume.  The Nuclear Power Plant where he worked was closing down, so we decided to write a skills-based, functional resume so he could transition into a different industry with more job opportunities.  After we finished his resume, I told him I had another client waiting in the lobby and discussed networking with him.

This client had contacts in the Oil and Gas industry and I asked Ashton if he would like to talk to him about networking.

Networking to get the job! by justresumesusa.com

He said “yes.”  I went out to the lobby and told Micah I had someone I’d like him to meet so they could network together.  I introduced Ashton to Micah and left them alone in my office to network for a few minutes.

The following week when Ashton came to see me for our weekly meeting, he told me he had an interview already from Micah’s contact.  He was so excited when he told me it was a 3-month contract position for a Client Relationship Manager at an Oil and Gas Consulting firm. This position was to manage a very difficult client.  A client the owner didn’t want to handle anymore and thought Ashton would be a perfect fit to keep this client happy.

Great networking can give you the opening you need for the interviewAshton already had a second interview scheduled the following week, so we discussed negotiating. I was so proud of how well he was networking. When I saw Ashton the following week, he told me he just had four interviews and a job offer. He accepted the 3-month contract with the contingency that when this contract was over, he would be offered a permanent consulting position at the firm.  Ashton worked hard and performed well with this client for 3-months and they offered him a permanent position, as promised.

Ashton, a former project manager and UPS driver had an opportunity to participate in networking during his resume session.  The chance encounter resulted in a networking contact, an interview and a job offer. This would not have happened if he did not make an attempt to better his resume and reach out to a consultant for assistance. Was this networking opportunity by chance, or would you say it was meant to be? Where are you in your quest for a new job? Are you sitting at home thinking about improving your resume or wondering why others are getting selected over you? Maybe you’re thinking other people have connections. Networking makes things happen. A 3-month commitment is just what Ashton needed to showcase his talents and land a great job offer.

The first step in the networking process is to recognize this … “It’s not who you know, it’s who they know that counts.”  Who are they?  They are the people you run into in your daily life.  The guy standing next to you in the grocery store or the woman standing next to you at the post office.  It’s true when one door closes, there are new doors of opportunity opening up for you.  So, be prepared, at all times to let people know you are networking.  Not just looking for a job, but looking for contact names.  It’s about people helping people.  It’s about being in the right place at the right time.  This is how Ashton landed a great job.  He made this happen by networking. You can too!

 

Networking If you are a job seeker, I would like to encourage you to check out HiringforHope.org, and become a member of this very special non profit organization, whose purpose is to help people through career transition. This is where you can volunteer.  And, you too, can make a difference. I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and found this information helpful to you. If you have useful tips or stories to share, please email me at kim@justresumesusa.com.

 

Do you need immediate help with job interviewing, networking, social networking or salary negotiating? Or, maybe you’re thinking about hiring a professional resume writer to help you write your resume. I can help. To email me a comment, ask a question or schedule a free initial phone consultation, please give me a call or contact me at www.JustResumesUSA.com.

 

Networking? You will find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For more weekly career tips on Career Coach Kim Blog, stay tuned …

 

Great Interview? Top it Off with a Strategic Proposal in the Thank You Letter

Welcome to this week’s Ask Coach Kim’s Blog! – If you're new here, my blog topics are centered around career advice to help job seekers. With 27 years experience as a Career Coach and Resume Writer, this advice will help you or someone you know be successful through career transition.  If you’re on Twitter, please Retweet.  If you’re on Facebook, please Share with your friends or with everyone. If you’re on LinkedIn, please send to your Contacts.  LinkedIn was originally created for job seekers going through career transition.  Topics in my blogs include resume writing, interviewing, social networking, volunteering, public speaking, salary negotiating and managing change. Last week, we discussed Job Interview Success! The 7 Critical Rules to Remember.  These rules give you a framework to help you successfully answer any question the interviewer asks you.

 

Today's blog focuses on a strategy that positions you as the ideal candidate for the job by writing a proposal to close the deal.  How? By preparing for the interview and asking the interviewer the right questions.  Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? It is. The answers you receive will give you the information you need to turn the employer needs into a proposal.  A proposal of how you can make a positive difference based on the interview.  Sound like a strategic plan for you?  Read on …

When the interviewer asks you “Do you have any questions for me?” Answer “Yes, I have three or yes, I have four.”  Let the interviewer know how many questions you have so they give you the time you need to ask your questions.  After you ask each question, it is important to take notes. Write the key words to the answers the interviewer gives you, in their language.  Below are the strategic questions to ask.

Here’s an example of my experience with a client closing the deal with his proposal.

 

Jim was interviewing for the position of District Manager of three States. He contributes his proposal to landing a higher paying position, Customer Relationship Manager of Key Accounts, Western States, US. Jim received a call directly after he sent his proposal to the hiring manager. He said, “As soon as I emailed the proposal with my thank you letter, I got a phone call from the hiring manager telling me he wanted to hire me for another position he thought would be a "better fit."  He thought of me for this new position while he read my proposal."

 

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

  1. What would you like the ideal candidate to accomplish in the next 60, 90 and 180 days?
  2. What are the biggest issues you’re facing today?
  3. How have your business goals changed over the past two years and what are you expecting in the next one or two years?
  4. What’s the timeframe for the next steps in the hiring process?

 

What would you like the ideal candidate to accomplish in the next 60, 90 and 180 days? In my experience, the interviewer may give you an answer for each timeframe.  In many cases, questions #2 and #3 above will be answered with question #1.  There is no need to repeat the question if it’s already been answered, however remember to take good notes for your proposal to answer them each individually of how you can make a difference.  Do not give too much detail of how you accomplished this, however, do give the results of your accomplishments.  You want the hiring manager to need YOU to do the job. Not take what you wrote and run with it. I’ve seen this happen if you give too much information.

What are the biggest issues you’re facing today? Remember, if the employer already answered this question with your question #1, take notes here, but, there is no need to ask this one.  If they did not give you this information from your first question, do ask this question and take notes for your proposal.  They will be impressed you are asking this question. It’s been my personal experience that this one question can raise issues they hadn’t thought about when they created the position you're interviewing for and could change the job description.  This is another story for another time.

How have your business goals changed over the past two years and what are you expecting in the next one or two years? As in the previous question, if the employer already answered this question with your question #1, take notes here, but, there is no need to ask this one.  If they did not give you this information from your first question, do ask this question and take notes for your proposal.  Similarly, I found the answer to this question to be quite interesting in some interviews. Listen well, and remember your purpose for asking these questions.  To write a proposal of how you can make a positive difference and land the job.

What’s the timeframe for the next steps in the hiring process? Always ask this question.  You want to know the timeframe for your next steps before you leave the interview.  Why? So you'll know when to follow up. Collect a business card from each interviewer so you'll have the information needed to follow up with their correct name, title, direct phone number and email address. 

 

I recommend sending your proposal as part of your thank you letter or send it with your thank you letter as long as your thank you letter remains one page or less.  To format your proposal, create two columns.  One column will be titled Company Requirements.  These are the answers the interviewer provided for the questions you asked in the interview. The second column will be titled Your Qualifications. In this section you'll write how you can make a positive difference based on the interview.

 

I hope this week's blog has been helpful to you.  For a refresher of previous interviewing blogs, I recommend reviewing the blog titled "Interviewing Tip #1" and Dressing for Success for the Job Interview. 

 

If you are a job seeker, or know someone who is, I would like to encourage you to check out HiringforHope.org, and become a member of this very special non profit organization, whose purpose is to help people through career transition. This is where you can volunteer.  And, you too, can make a difference. I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and found this information helpful to you. If you have useful tips or stories to share, please email me at kim@justresumesusa.com.

 

Do you need immediate help with job interviewing, social networking or salary negotiating? Or, maybe you're thinking about hiring a professional resume writer to help you write your resume. I can help. To email me a comment, ask a question or schedule a free initial phone consultation, please give me a call or contact me at www.JustResumesUSA.com.

You will find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For more weekly career tips on Career Coach Kim Blog, stay tuned …