Author Archives: Rita

Leaving Yes-butville for Can-Do City!

Moving Sale! Oh the freedom when you leave Yes-butville for Can-Do City! 

I once read that no material in the world is as resilient as the human spirit! However, every word and deed can affect that spirit. Relationships impact us immediately from the moment we are born and some experts say even from the womb. What happens as we grow up can have a profound effect on our success in life, the patterns we form and live by, and how well we manage the major and minor transitions in life–basically, everything we are and do. Now is the time where excuses are no longer accepted, and where we realize that no matter what has transpired in our lives, we CAN move forward and live fulfilling and rewarding lives. We can embrace solid relationships that last throughout our golden years. Think of the human spirit as a tire that is low on air. If it is going flat, pump it back up and get back on the ride of your life!

Here are suggestions to recharge your battery! Please take time to carefully examine the following points and determine:
• “What is the most important area that I would like to change as far as the perception I am giving to others?” Could it be getting in better shape to appear more energetic and feel better about myself?
• Would it be helpful to make simple changes in my demeanor and body language such as a more confident handshake, erect posture and good eye contact, remembering to smile more and center myself to be calm if I am a bit nervous? Work on these if need be with a positive role model.
• Could a few adjustments in grooming show others that I take good care of myself, therefore, I will also take equally good care of them, their business and relationships?
• What would make me “feel” more confident in my exciting new Boomer life? Shall I take a class in public speaking, get a makeover, or join an organization or committee where I will make new friends and gain new skills?
• What kind of image am I formulating in the mind of others by my attitude, energy and appearance? Write your answers in a journal for a time and notice any patterns that emerge. You can then prioritize according to importance.
• What kind of energy am I projecting as a 40+ person venturing out on a new life path? Is it positive, negative, forceful, supportive? Energetic or tired? Hopeful or hopeless? Determined or deflated? Ask a close confidante for feedback.

Write you vision for 5 years from now, 90 days from now, and weekly action steps. I can help you with that as you plan out and then work backwards to what you can begin doing today.

Tips to Develop Successful Rapport!

Confident, considerate communication skills can open so many doors to new personal and  business relationships.  To build and maintain the kind of rapport that attracts new clients and friends, try to following:

  • Adjust the way you speak according to the type of person your are talking to; i.e., raise or lower your volume if it is easier for the listener to understand you
  • Use the person’s name 2-3 times during the conversation
  • Let your body talk (it keeps blood circulating and energizes you.
  • Use positive, active words (they’re understood three times quicker)

Example:  “excited” “looking forward to “

Business professionalism tip:  When addressing a group in the “business” world, it is NOT ok to say “you guys” as if just hanging out with friends.  In this multi-cultural world we live in, many professionals look on the reference as crude, careless or even insensitive to the group with whom you are speaking.  You can always refer to them as “everyone,” “all of you,” or in a more formal setting, something like “ladies and gentlemen.”  Attention to even this small detail can positively impact future business transactions.

  • Never belittle your title: “I’m only an assistant.”
  • Say what you will do, and when.
  • Pay attention to power talkers and pick up phrases that work for them that your personality is comfortable with.
  • Purge phrases (um, you know) from your vocabulary that are negative or annoying.
  • Get to the point (rambling causes annoyance, boredom and loss of attention)
  • Always tell the truth.  Do not sacrifice your integrity.

For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, National Speaker, Communications, Image and Presentations Coach, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250, www.transformationacademy. 


Breaking Through Defeating Thoughts

          When someone says something about you, either positive or negative, that seed tries to plant itself in the soil of your life. It is at this very moment that you determine whether or not to allow that seed to take root and grow into a self-sabotaging weed. If you dwell on what was said or done to you, you are watering and fertilizing the damaging seed and it will manifest in your life. That is why you must stop it every time–immediately! Shift–and meditate on positive thoughts and blessings throughout the day. These thoughts can be as basic as “I can see, hear, walk, talk, have food to eat,” etc. Now really, we really are blessed, right? Nourish those seeds and watch them grow into your newly created reality!

          Stop right now and really analyze what is going on beneath the surface, where your daily observations, feelings and concentration have been attracting that very thing you want to change. Do you “see” yourself more confident, slimmer, healthier, in a better relationship—whatever it is you desire—or do you tell yourself there is no way your goal can manifest because you don’t have enough money, don’t think you’re attractive or smart enough, have the finances or a myriad of other self-defeating thoughts? It can take a hard thrust forward to crack a tough, confining shell against the obstacle that must go! Visualize what you want to draw into your life rather than just wonder how it could happen. Do not let “…but I don’t know how to ever hold you back. Once you determine it will be done, the how will actually take care of itself. 

Take time to thoughtfully answer the following:

  •                Thoughts that have been hindering me and keeping in the wilderness:
  •                New thoughts I am replacing the old ones with that will now help steer me in my life’s new direction:
  •                Words that can no longer have a place in my heart and mind: 
  •                Words of growth, inspiration, hope, healthy and happy goals that I am using from this day forward:

Taken from Creating Your Own Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal

Engaging Presentations: How to “silently” talk to your listeners

Every day we present our thoughts and ideas to business prospects, teachers, parents, and organizations. Our first interaction can leave a lasting impression! Since 55% of our message is non-verbal, make sure your body is relaying the same message your mouth is. Whether you are giving a sales presentation to a large number of individuals or sitting across from two people at a table, use the following tips to ensure you have engaging presentationsto bring the success you are looking for. The more positive and confident your interactions, the greater your success in building a relationship that will last for many years. Following are signals that can either enhance or destroy, future business.
Your energy. Be aware of the energy you are transmitting! Is it motivating, positive, exciting, confident, worrisome, pre-occupied? Set a positive tone with your facial expressions, sincere eye contact and friendly, yet controlled body language. Signs of defiance, angst, fear or frustration will send the listener packing, even if your words are saying something entirely different!
Hands. It is said that eyes and hands are open and closed with the person’s mind. They tell so much about your current state of mind. Hands should face palms up with fingers open (welcoming them to come into your “space”) or at your side. If you are new at speaking and feeling uncomfortable, hold a pen in one hand. Having one hand in your pocket briefly is acceptable but both hands in your pockets give the impression of either being arrogant, lacking confidence or hiding something.
Pointing. Pointing a finger or a pen in someone’s general direction immediately puts them on the defense. When asking an individual a question or to sign a paper, hold your pointer or pen like you would if you were writing, at an angle. It seems like a very small matter but can give a strong message subconsciously.
Touching. A friendly touch on the shoulder is often meant as a welcoming gesture, however, note their response. If they recoil, smile and back away. Touching sometimes reminds individuals of an unpleasant experience and is not anything personal against you. We just always want to be respectful of their reactions.
Eye contact. In the U.S., eye contact is a necessary for honest, productive conversations. In some other countries, looking someone in the eye could be considered disrespectful. Good eye contact gives the impression that you are trustworthy, confident, credible, and serious about your conversation or presentation.
Your eyes. Avoid darting eyes, scanning people’s shoes, or any eye messages that give the impression you are not completely engaged in a conversation with them.
Statements or questions. When people raise their voices at the end of a statement, it sounds like they are questioning themselves rather than making a statement. The listener may think, “If you are not sure of what you are talking about, why should I take your seriously?” Result? You can be overlooked in business meetings and presentations. Approximately 80% of voiceovers on television are done by men because of their lower pitch which lends to their credibility.
Letting others finish your sentences. If individuals in your audience interrupt, your first mode of defense is to raise your volume slightly. If that does not work, hold up your index finger while slightly raising your volume. If they didn’t get the message, raise your hand in the “stop” position. As a last resort, hold your hand up in the “stop” position and say, “Excuse me, I wasn’t finished yet.” This act should keep you in control and maintain your composure.
Adjust your mode of speaking. According to the type of group you are talking to. Be more energetic if talking to someone of like manner and do not overwhelm someone with a strong voice if they are quiet and reserved.
Non-verbal messages can diffuse hostility by maintaining a composed demeanor. Restraining your own body language when someone is angry with you can actually have a calming effect on them. Keep your voice low and limit gestures while preserving a relaxed posture to discourage others from a potential rant.
Bottom line: always check to ensure your body is saying the same thing your mouth is. Your goal is to have the clearest, concise, confident message possible.

Fear: dark room that develops your negatives. Turn the lights on!

  Fear and faith both project into the future and what we say is what we get. 

          You CAN overcome the fears of rejection, failure, other’s opinions, your feelings about your education or finances or a myriad of other areas.  Bring the unseen into the Seeing realm, so to speak, by continuously visualizing what you want to see manifested in the next six months, then a year from now. This requires planting positive seeds of work, love, focus, and action. Feed positive thoughts, words and endeavors into the lion within you. You shape your life by the choices you make. Ask yourself: which emotions will I allow to be stronger? The more fervent ones win! Cross over out of the wilderness into the land of Transformation. For starters, you may claim “I am healthy, wealthy and wise…and greatly loved”! Take like a medicine as often as needed.

          Start journaling. Create positive thoughts where frustrating circumstances emerge. “I get to plan my day because I am in charge of what happens to me”. (Oops, here comes one more unexpected event to my day). However, I will deal appropriately with anyone or anything that seeks to upset my day. This is my day and I can overcome! God created me and He will strengthen me, give me wisdom (ask for it), and make my path straight.” Can’t you just feel your chin lift, the corners of your mouth turn up in a smile, even if just a little? Do you detect a refreshing deep sigh of relief? Ok, show your day who’s boss…you!!!! Smile!

Taken from Creating Your Own Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal

Introductions and Mingling: How do I Conduct Myself?

Many people are uncomfortable mingling during business networking or other public events. Are you one who is often worried about what people will think of you? The easiest way to get around that is to put our focus on “them”. How? First of all, look for people who appear somewhat lonely, standing by themselves. They will appreciate you coming up to them and initiating a conversation. This helps get relationship-building conversations started while promoting confidence in yourself and them. It is easier to join a group previously engaged in a discussion after someone leaves, breaking the circle of participants, which then allow us to comfortably slip right in. The following guidelines will also help:

People approach when your back is to the light, such as standing in front of a window during the daytime

Keep your posture erect, palms up with arms and fingers open and a friendly smile that invites conversation.
Always hold your beverage in your “left” hand to avoid a wet and clammy handshake.

Be mindful that the best conversationalists are the ones with the best “active listening” skills! Let them talk 60% of the time. Reflect back to them tidbits of what they said to show you “heard” them.

Introductions can be confusing so here is an easy way to confidently introduce two people:

Introduce the person with the “least important” title (regardless of gender) to the person with the most important title. For example: Mr. or Ms. Greater Authority, I would like to introduce you to Mr. or Ms. Lesser Authority. An example is introducing a company president’s name before a sales representative. When introducing someone to an individual from another company, however, the one with the “highest position” is actually the guest, or client…even if he/she holds “lower” title.

Introductions should be brief. “How do you do?” or “Hello” is fine. If you can’t remember someone’s name, reintroduce yourself and they will often say their name again. If they don’t, say something like, “We met at last month’s marketing conference at the Embassy Suites. I’m (name).” They should offer it to you at that point. If they still don’t, just smile and say, “I apologize. Would you give me your name again please?”

The main point to remember is: lean slightly forward,positive and confident posture, give a warm handshake, smile and be totally sincere and engaged in getting to know them and what they do! That kind of interest will have them wanting to get to know you better as well. Enjoy!!

Being An Exemplary Leader Has Nothing To Do With Title!

Not all leaders are in actual designated “leadership positions.” We have the opportunity to be a high quality leader every day, in whatever capacity the day calls for, whether it is with those in our same household or with business people worldwide.

Critical leadership characteristics are the ability to be results-focused and still give a warm word of support; to operate with a focus that incorporates their mind and their heart in decision-making and problem resolution. They show a willingness to let go of biases and positions to acknowledge other possibilities; to create space/environments of inclusion and acceptance; and think of themselves as resources and not “Bosses”.

Leadership Strategies & Outcomes: The impact of Leader has no bounds! An ancient quote from Phillip II of Macedon still holds true today: “An army of deer led by a lion(esse) is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer.” Why? A lion(esse) is involved, firm and confident, and scouts new opportunities for provisions. They take position for battle AND they take care of their own. Deer are peaceful, passive and run away when frightened.

Strong leaders listen to staff. Take this simple test to check your listening skills. At the end of your week, write three things – learned from employees that week. Examples: insight about customers, is there a better way to handle a process, or reasons why a project didn’t work? There is so much to learn from employees. If you can’t list at least three things per week, you may not be listening carefully enough.

Nurture and Inspire: You can be a great leader without degrading others as you move forward, in your career, or as a leader or coach. Always be mindful of other people’s feelings and to never jump to conclusions about their behavior. No one may know what challenge they may be dealing with.

Positive Influence: We all have a need for a sense of belonging and do things that make people feel included. Leaders let others know that they are valued members of the team. Female leaders are particularly talented at helping their employees feel like they belong. Talk to each employee as a human with needs, emotions and goals. Develop an other-person mindset. Begin looking for ways to include others. Caring means a genuine concern for others that can create a more productive work atmosphere. Let’s do that whether at work or play, at home or on the job!

Life Changes May Require Image Changes

Sometimes, life’s changes and challenges can be tough, disappointing and confusing. They may come on so quickly we wonder “what happened” and “how will I ever manage beyond this?” They can also open the door to so many new and wonderful possibilities. Release, rebuild and raise up your inner architect and create impressive new images from the puzzle pieces of life. Explore ways to thrive and excel.

Following are suggestions to recharge your battery. Please take time to carefully examine each point to determine:

• “What is the most important area that I would like to change as far as the perception I am giving to others?” Could it be getting in better shape to appear more energetic and feel better about myself? Ask yourself: “Would I want to do business with myself? Why or Why Not?” How about a new professional image in appearance, communications and outlook?                          (I can help you make powerful transformations that will last a lifetime!) 

• Would it be helpful to make simple changes in my demeanor and body language such as a more confident handshake, erect and confident posture and good eye contact, or remembering to smile more and center myself to be calm if I am a bit nervous?
• Could a few adjustments in grooming show others that I take good care of myself, therefore, I will also take equally good care of them, their business and relationships?
• What would make me “feel” more confident in my exciting new card game of life? Shall I take a class in public speaking, get a makeover, or join an organization or committee where I will make new friends and gain new skills?
• What kind of image am I formulating in the mind of others by my attitude, energy and appearance? Write your answers in a journal for a time and notice any patterns that emerge. Team player Tom? Negative Nancy? Tired Tonya? Happy and confident Harriet? Super Smart Sadie?
• What kind of energy am I projecting? Is it positive, negative, forceful, supportive? Energetic or tired? Hopeful or hopeless? Determined or deflated? Ask a close confidante for feedback. If it resonates with you, make some changes. Get a second opinion if necessary from someone you know you can trust! You want positive feedback that builds you UP!

As Jim Rohn said: You can’t change your ‘destination’ overnight but you can change your ‘direction’ overnight. “Later” is a dream killer. So…think about creating your own growth plan! That’s what new days are for!! Rita Rocker, Transformation Academy, LLC

Surefire Ways to a Powerful, Professional Image

In today’s competitive business environment, a professional image and good manners can make the difference between getting ahead and being left behind. As objective as we like to think we are in business relationships, we still judge people by how they act, speak, write and look.

Did you know it takes only seven seconds to capture your prospect’s or audience’s attention? It also only takes 20 seconds to get the substance of your message across to someone so they will decide if they want to listen further or walk away. Although it really isn’t fair, in the first seven seconds, people are making judgments about our self-image, outlook on life, moral character, economic and educational levels, trustworthiness, social position and future success. Wow!

Exceptional business protocol is the epitome of professionalism and is all about presenting ourselves with the kind of polish that shows we can be taken seriously. It is using a code of behavior based on consideration and thoughtfulness. It is treating ALL people with respect, courtesy, manners and appreciation no matter who they are or what position they hold.

The Polished Professional – Why You Seriously Want Good Business Etiquette!

Why is good business etiquette important??  Because it differentiates us from the competition and is often the defining reason one person is chosen over another!  It makes people want to know us better and have us on their team.

Professional protocol enables us to have confidence in a variety of settings with people from all walks of life.  This includes how to conduct ourselves in meetings with all internal and external customers, which impacts how much they respect us, our products and services. Respect is critical for a solid reputation, one that continually attracts new business and maintains longstanding relationships. Proper protocol also enhances our credibility on sales calls, in negotiations, on the golf course, and definitely while conducting business over meals.  What happens during business social events can definitely be a deal maker or deal breaker depending on the perceptions people have of us. Were our manners, appearance and conversation conducive to building a solid future with them?

We also have the advantage of psychological power in how others treat us, which plays a critical role in how they respond.  Why?  Think of how you would act in response to a well-groomed, energetic, mannerly and confident individual versus one who looks disheveled, disorganized and has poor speech patterns or negative body language.  Much research has proven that when two people have similar qualifications, the one who is more polished and professional is usually the one chosen!

Image and Good Manners Make the Difference

Our self-image, behaviors and abilities are relayed to those around us through communication skills that are broken down into three parts: 55% of our message is non-verbal (how we look, act, sit stand, enter a room, our posture, movements & gestures, handshake, what do with our hands, how high we hold our head); 38% is the quality of voice (our expressions, pitch and tone), while only 7% are the actual words we speak. Whether we meet others for the first or the tenth, it is critical to project a confident, friendly demeanor that says, “I want to build–or continue building–a mutually rewarding relationship with you.”   Remember, we only have one chance to make a good first impression! A positive and confident “presence” makes us more approachable, believable, and appealing to our prospects. However, a poor impression can repel people, giving the notion that we are not as effective or straightforward as they want in a business partner.

Reading non-verbal signals helps us “interpret” what others are really saying so we know how to frame our response. Example: If someone is saying something nice but their body is stiff and there is fire in their eyes, it is usually more accurate to believe what the body is truly saying rather than just their words. Pay attention to sudden changes in their posture, expression or other cues because you may have hit a nerve. If they all of a sudden they act or speak to you in a “different” manner, go back and think about what just happened and what might have triggered the change. Ask questions, clarify for agreement (or disagreement), explain yourself again, or change directions in order to get them back on a positive course. The more you practice this skill, the more effective and favorable relationships you will have.

By watching a job candidate or business prospect’s body signals, we can discern how aggressive they may be, whether they come across as obnoxious, personable, are shy or feel inferior. Bottom line, technical skills are not the only requirement for a new job or business opportunity. Good soft skills are critical for taking us where we want to go in life and in business.

Exhibiting the Kind of Impression That You Want Them to Have

When conducting business, including business social events, ensure that your appearance, wardrobe and grooming are exhibiting the kind of impression that you want others to have of you.  Our appearance reveals a lot about our self-image.  We appear more responsible, organized and capable if we are all “put together.”  When people see that we take pride in our appearance, they assume we will take more pride in “our” work and “their” business as well.

Stay tuned for Part 2. Learn tips and techniques to begin using immediately and will last a lifetime! Workshops forming now! Private or group coaching and training is just a phone call or email away!