Pursuing Your Dreams–Let’s Go!

First Step, a Self-Image Checkup
What does your self-image have to do with kicking down the door to new opportunities? Everything! In society as a whole, and in the working world, your level of self-esteem plays a crucial part in having the kind of career and relationships you truly want. What is self-image? It is 1) how you see yourself, 2) how you believe others see you, and 3) how you allow yourself to be treated. Self-image affects not only your ability to get ahead in the working world, but how you get along with your family and those you come into contact with every day. It is one of the most important ingredients that give you the ability to move forward in life with confidence, knowing you deserve good things (yes, you DO) and that you “count” greatly in this world. It makes you smile and helps you meet the challenges of life head on.
We often limit our success by the way we think, how we interpret ourselves and the world based on our past experiences. If we expect rejection, failure, and discouragement–due to past experiences, previous conditioning from other people and circumstances and self-talk–that is what comes knocking at our door. If we anticipate greater success, satisfying personal and professional relationships, or becoming a successful entrepreneur, guess what? Our energy and focus is like a magnet taking us towards those goals.

Unfortunately, some individuals follow the same format of defeat for a lifetime, unable to still reach their goal because they were not able to in the past. Why? There are any number of reasons, such as a myriad of personal struggles, lack of finances, limited education, their own personality traits, or the people closest to them causing hindrances. Some have faced the additional challenge of feeling like they never fit in, or have only heard discouraging words from parents, teachers, or others that have been a key part of their life. The list of characteristics and circumstances is limitless.

Our perceptions may be correct or may be completely false. However, how many opportunities do we miss because we do not perceive ourselves as good enough, competent enough, educated enough, or dressed nicely enough, for instance. We can fill in the blank with any number of reasons. Let’s show the world that we are smart, experienced, professional, and look the part of a man or woman who knows where he/she is going and how to get there!

Your new Boomer motto: Step aside world, I’m coming through!
This mindset is strengthened by not allowing anything negative from the past to determine your worth or ability to launch out into the best years of your life! If you were told that you could not do something because you were not as smart as a sibling, neighbor, relative, or another student in school, cancel that negative feedback and break the record that keeps playing in your mind. Any self-defeating beliefs can cause you to stop trying for the brass ring and instead, continue circling the merry-go-round of life. Immediately stop that thought and write out or speak the exact opposite. “Stupid” should be changed to “I have a Divinely created mind, therefore, I can create the life I deserve (yes, deserve) with my Divinely created mind. Remember, this is a daily practice until only the positive, constructive thoughts flow automatically.

Do you want to “kick open the door” to a new life, career, or relationship? Do you lack the confidence to try for a new or long-time business or personal goal, the one you may have wanted since way back in junior high? Do you minimize your own skills and abilities by comparing your credentials to others? Instead, nourish and feed all of the wonderful attributes YOU possess. If someone’s years of experience, looks, youth, or bank account intimidate you from trying for that still-unfulfilled goal, focus on all of your attributes like your contagious enthusiasm, healthy humility, passion for excellence and superb people skills that far surpass what he or she has to offer. Remember, even if your present talent or material possessions are not enough to get you to the finish line, you can still take the next step, and the next. The end result? Flourishing in the career you always dreamed of, marrying a quality person like you truly deserve, starting the civic organization that stokes a fire down in your soul, or whatever you love.

For some, it may not be a career or marriage but fulfilling a creative need, like taking art or dance classes, joining a gym, attending interesting seminars, meeting with a group of like-minded individuals who bring more joy into life, mentoring a struggling student, volunteering at a hospital or library, taking some “me” time to soak in a bubble bath or have a pedicure, or any number of little experiences that can make life more enjoyable. Everyone needs and deserves time for themselves.

Always keep in mind, if you allow the same limiting thoughts to be entertained, you cannot expect to produce anything differently from what you have experienced in life up until now. Perhaps it is time to assess what changes can be made in your current life or business plan. How can you increase your knowledge? How can you refine your image and communication skills? What local groups and online social media can you become active in to connect with others passionate about your same dreams and goals? Boomers/Xers need to learn from the younger generation and they also need the camaraderie and support of their own generation.

The secret: It is NEVER too late to reinvent yourself! It is NEVER too late to start over no matter what has happened to you! Determine that your new life starts today! Remember the old saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always had.” What holds you back? Are you over committed trying to make everyone else happy? You know what you need! Rehearse your new role in life from this moment forward!

Need to create a new game in your life?

Sometimes, life’s changes and challenges can but 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. Realize, rebuild and raise up your inner strength and create a beautiful new picture out of the puzzle pieces of life. Explore ways to thrive and excel.

YOU are ultimately responsible for your own legacy. Others can help you or hurt you but they cannot live your life for you. To make the rest of your life the best of your life, sit down and assess:

• Do I seek out those who are positive, ambitious and high quality? Do I “allow” those who tend to be negative, lazy and self-willed try to keep me from creating a new version of myself?

• Do friends and family encourage or discourage me? You can pray for new friends just as I did and God will be faithful to bring them to you. Remember, you deserve the best! Never allow yourself to become a servant of what you fear from here on out, whether competing for a new career, moving to a new city, or even living alone for the first time!

Researchers believe that if you hold on to negative feelings, sad emotions or depressing memories, it is possible they could reshape your body’s cells to the point where your thoughts of the past have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. Defy the aging process with food and exercises that nourish your mind and body and keep you strong and active. Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:

Do my past life experiences:
1) serve any good or constructive purpose?
2) help me move forward or keep me in the pit?
3) work in my favor or against me in any way?

If you get thoughts telling you it is time to change or remove those negative influences, tell yourself: “This emotion/feeling/habit does not help me get out–or stay out–of the box. I am letting it go and focusing on my next constructive step. That step could be finding a class or mentor who can help you with a new job skill, finding a support group to help you think more positively and gain new supportive friends, check out new ways to fix your hair and put on makeup, for instance. You get the idea.

HOW you “choose” to view your circumstances will determine whether you arrive at the finish line you really want. You have the opportunity to write the next chapter of your life. Embrace it with open arms even if the fear of the unknown tempts you to push it away.

When self-pity creeps in, kick it out! Immediately take action, fix yourself up, put on something colorful that makes you feel good. Get out and get going. Take a walk. Call a supportive friend, read the kind of blogs or books that pump you up or teach you a skill or behavior that shows where courage in the face of trial can take you. Just set boundaries that promote a healthy body, mind and plenty of self-respect. Don’t look back! Immediately take positive action.

This is the day for your new beginning–another exciting step towards your new life. After you have unwrapped the dreams that you previously stashed at the back of your mental closet, take one step at a time and walk through each life-altering phase. Do what it takes, in small increments, to blossom. Think about new classes, programs, friends, career opportunities, travel experiences you can take. Do something new and fun to rejuvenate your spirit. It may be a cake decorating or art class, attending a personal development program, or even learning to fix your own car!

Add to your list now.
• What do I desire to change? Relationships? Health? Finances? Career? Be detailed.
• What will it take to transform my life: Different friends? Letting go of someone or something that keeps me down? An exercise and eating plan? Courses that will equip me for my dream job?
• Who or where can I turn to for support?
• Who or what is preventing me from stepping into my new life? Are they perceived or real roadblocks? Be honest.
• If I cannot completely change a particular area of my life, what steps can I take to make it better? An example is if you are now a caregiver, can you trade services with someone who can care for your loved one a few hours per week in exchange for some of your awesome cooking, bookkeeping skills or other talent? Use this time for “you.”
• Where I am speaking in negative or defeated terms, what can I say to turn it into victory statements? Take each negative thought and literally rewrite it. You can change, “I am too old to change careers” to “I have years of valuable experience, insight and creative relationship skills that will connect me to the perfect organization for my goals.”

If you feel life has passed you by, that a new life at your age is impossible, that you are too old or don’t have enough money, education, talent, or a myriad of other thoughts and emotions, stop that thought immediately. Go back to your list and determine the next step, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Each day we must notice, replace, and change our defeating self-talk.

Gravitate towards those things that make you happy and enable you to fulfill your life’s purpose. Before long, they will overtake and replace any dull, dark areas that previously had residence in your life. Choose the life of a spunky, thriving Baby Boomer!

Let’s sing, dance and ride the roller coaster of life in high gear. You can choose to live life to the fullest. Start now, right where you are, and make a brand new ending to the story of your life!

Marketing Yourself to a New Industry

To successfully market yourself, especially if you are trying to get into a different career, sell your skills and experience rather than your job descriptions.

Write a new definition of “who” you are in the workplace.  Avoid identifying yourself with the job description but rather identify yourself as a package of skills.  This keeps you from determining your value and security by your position.  The closer you tie your self-image to your job, the more you will feel its loss if your position is eliminated. 

Example:  Think of how many skills an administrative assistant must use:  desktop publisher, work-life organizer/scheduler, writer, negotiator, mediator, gatekeeper, skilled company representative, etc.  This is in addition to answering phones, filing, word processing and spreadsheets.  What are your contributions and the impact you can have on the prospective company?  Be creative!

Examine your history by compiling a comprehensive list of as many achievements, both personal and professional, as you can.  Include:  personal achievements (which contain valuable and saleable skills).   Write a page describing each achievement.  Use action words like organize, negotiate, lead, create, sell.  These are clues to your skills.  Review the list and notice recurring patterns.  Use this list as the basis for your skill-based resume.

When thinking of ways to market yourself into a new position, be creative in thinking about all of the experience you have had using the skills the company is looking for but maybe weren’t part of your previous job descriptions.  Most of us have a myriad of skills that we have used in professional organizations (leader–president of the group for example; promoter/sales; fundraiser; treasurer, etc.)

If your childhood lemonade stands were very successful, you may need to get out from behind that desk and into a public relations or sales position, right?  If you get excited just thinking about using those skills that may have been put on the shelf for a while, you’re on the right track to experiencing your new career!

Examine your skills.  You will see a mix of the following characteristics.  These will help you determine the best career path.

Influence.  You have a knack for influencing people through leadership, public speaking, marketing, motivating (not manipulating).

  • Organize.   Your organizational and monitoring/tracking ability help keep you and others managed and on track.
  • Helps.  You derive enjoyment from teaching, encouraging, nurturing and counseling.
  • Creative: You are artistic, theatrical or creative in designing products or environments.
  • Analytical.  You enjoy using math, analyzing data or keeping up with the latest scientific advancements.
  • Producer.  You like to see the fruit of your labor using hands-on skills—cooking, crafts, and construction or building projects.
  • Adventuresome.  You are competitive or like to take risks—law enforcement, fire fighting, military, athletics.

It may take some time to overcome pre-conceived notions, family expectations, negative comments from teachers, etc., BUT it’s time to pursue YOUR Life’s Goal! Start writing your new life’s career goals now!

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

Kicking Your Way Out of the Box!

Sometimes, the life of a “mature person” must be completely shaken, shifted and reshuffled to bring them to where they were meant to be in the first place! Some events are beyond our control that make those shifts necessary: losing a job, children moving back home, a health crisis or death of a loved one. Others open up the time and opportunities to explore new adventures. Even if you are experiencing issues that have hindered your ability to do what you love, read on and think about how you can incorporate your desires into your everyday life. 

First secret: If you have not grown up by age 40, you don’t have to! Allow yourself to rekindle your childlike faith and enthusiasm as you ride the roller coaster of life in high gear.
You? Getting Older? You Are Just Getting Started!
Could it be possible that age only counts with wine and cheese? By the time we have reached age 40+, many of us have pushed important dreams and goals deep into the back of life’s closet. Situations, obstacles and excuses may have taken up residence in our homes and our heads, replacing our dreams with the ever-changing world we call “life.” News Flash! It is never too late to pull those boxes of dreams down off the shelf, tear them open with childlike enthusiasm, and initiate your plan. Yes, our lives may have taken a different course, filled to overflowing with work and relationships that left little or no time to pursue our original goals. By the time we are 40+ (or 50, 60, 70), we may feel there are several reasons why it could be too late to get out of that all too familiar box. Some reasons may be legitimate for a season; others are based on fear or lack of self-confidence. The more time and energy we expend entertaining those reasons, the farther away we become from grasping our own brass ring.

It is Never Too Late to Grab the Brass Ring!
Several years ago, I read the story of how the term “reaching for the brass ring” originated. This phrase has always symbolized reaching for, and achieving, one’s goals. The brightly painted carousels had beautiful wooden ponies that pranced up and down on shiny brass poles to the sound of calliope music. Children excitedly stretched high with determination to grab a fist-sized metal ring from a dispenser suspended just outside of the carousel. Most of the time, they would get a black ring. How joyful they were when, every once in a while, someone would grasp a “gold” one, the brass ring! That brass ring came to symbolize adventure, passion, joy, and having the ability to achieve their biggest hopes and dreams. If an 80 year old woman can earn her Bachelor’s Degree and a 65 year old obtained her pilot’s license, let me encourage you to go in hot pursuit of your dreams too! As a Boomer (or older GenX), have you grabbed your ring yet?

What steps can be added, or changes made, to your current lifestyle to bring those dreams to fruition? Let’s assess the experiences in your life to see how they can help you kick your way out of the box and live life to the fullest:

1. What is a true heart’s desire—a meaningful and important goal—you want to accomplish in your lifetime? Answer honestly without worrying about “how” to accomplish it.

2. A positive image is a vital secret for living the vibrant Boomer (or GenX) life. What do you believe your personal and professional image is at this time? What would you like to change? Be specific: friends, job/career, home/city, personal and professional relationships that either help or hinder.
3. Up until now, how much time have you spent on yourself, your family and career? How has this impacted your ability to fulfill your desired lifestyle? How can you change it?
4. What is different now? An empty nest? Are you married/divorced/widowed? Have you obtained a higher education? Is it necessary to now be a caregiver? Have children who were gone but have returned home? Do you have more or less time and money now?
5. How can you use these experiences to build new opportunities and help others in the process? Life lessons are awesome teachers that equip you to scale new heights.

It is time to dust off those dreams so let’s get going! You can’t move forward while looking the rearview mirror! Add more roads (steps) to your life map and enjoy the ride. (Stay tuned for the following articles).

The Human Aspects of Customer-Winning Customer Service

To have a quality staff that respects themselves, their management and their customers, it is imperative to have a good internal customer service program for everyone to follow:

1. CREATE EFFECTIVE FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  Because that first (and critical) impression is made in as little as seven seconds, it is imperative to immediately form a good first impression. Our posture, appearance, attitude and communication skills can create a professional, welcoming environment that encourages business…or it can repel people…even if our prices are the best.

Meet and Greet–where the most common mistakes are made in the customer service process. These first few moments set the tone for the entire interaction. By energetically and professionally welcoming your customer, you make successful customer interactions not only possible, but very likely. Customers want to be 1) recognized, 2) appreciated, and 3) treated with courtesy and understanding.  To accomplish this, you have to be at your best in the meet and greet stage of the service process AND know what your customers truly want!  You don’t want customers to get turned off in the first few moments of their interaction by someone making a negative impression so the customer chooses to take their business elsewhere.  A slovenly appearance, negative body language and annoyance lack of interest can send someone heading for the door. Be open, focused, well groomed and looking at the situation from their point of view.  Think about the characteristics that make you want to do business with someone.

Following are some relationship-damaging mistakes you want to avoid at all costs:

Ignoring waiting customers:  Sometimes we are short-staffed or too busy with current customers to help a waiting customer immediately; HOWEVER, never ignore a waiting customer. Establish eye contact, wave, or say something like “I’ll be right with you” to let the customer know that you are aware of them and will get to them as soon as you can.

Distractions:  It is easy to become distracted by other customers, other responsibilities, and the variety of other things going on at the same time. When customers see that you are distracted, they sense other priorities are more important.

Answering questions or taking calls while assisting a customer:  It is challenging to make every customer feel equally valued, and some customers try to push their way to the head of the line.  Don’t let these customers overstep earlier customers,  rather, say a few friendly words to the individual indicating that you will help them as soon as you are finished serving the current customer.

Giving a bored, indifferent greeting: Greet the customer with energy and be more creative than, “May I help you?” Make it a fun,  personal challenge to say something specific, which will make the greeting portion of the sales process more interesting and rewarding.  Get staff involved and create one specific one for your company.  “How can I help you with your computer selection today?” 

Although customers are all different, certain basic principles apply to nearly all of us, and you can safely assume that most customers are looking for the same things in their interactions with you as you would with them.

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. 

What “Color” is Your Mind?

      Our minds are amazing! They can entertain good thoughts or bad; happy thoughts or sad; loving thoughts or angry and unforgiving ones. “Out of the abundance of the heart…the mouth speaks.” Are there times when we forget that we are designing a great portion of our lives by what we are speaking forth? We magnetize what we dwell on…prosperity, successful career, heartache, the treatment from others (that one can be so rewarding or so detrimental). Is it time to change out some puzzle pieces?      

      Think of your words as pieces of a puzzle, or the colors of paint you would use in creating a beautiful picture, or of the type of decorative items you put into your home. Are they colors and items that make you feel good (yes, it can greatly affect how you feel), or are they black, white and gray, lifeless, filled with hurt and disappointment? Music also affects us. Fun, venomous, beautiful, full of life, screaming, relaxing. Words–sights–sounds definitely affect what we are creating. Think about how they make you feel.

      Even in illness or lack, we can say “NO, I am not dwelling in this state. I am determined to design, in my heart and mind, what is good, constructive and beneficial to the rest of my life!” Your Creator designed you with His heart and His mind and His abilities. It doesn’t get any better or stronger than that! Be “positively” spunky and determined to raise your thoughts where necessary, and change your world!

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

The Transforming Power in Our Belief System!

          “The thoughts we entertain, the words we speak, and the things we write have much to do with how we handle the daily environment we live in. Our belief system either helps us remove hindrances and prepare our wings for flight or keep us down and defeated. Our views and opinions of ourselves (self-perception) and of the immediate world around us create the way we experience reality. We devise in our minds, and then follow through with our actions, whether we become successful or live with continuous failures, whether we have uplifting or degrading relationships, whether we have a career we enjoy or mainly work to survive. Even in the most devastating of times, we can call forth peace, new friends, new opportunities, and the necessary support to make it to the other side.

            I have lived much of my life like this even when it seemed like the walls caved in on top of me. It is still something that is critical to overcome on an almost daily basis. But focusing on the fact that we are made in the image of our Creator changes our perception, gives us hope, renews our spirit and causes our demeanor to bring forth positive changes and people. This, in turn, will influence others to hire us for a new and better position, build community and foster healthy relationships. When we replace the words we think, write and speak, science has proven that we literally change how our brain works and the kind of outcome our thoughts, words and actions bring about. That, in turn, greatly impacts our lives–for the better. In the positive way we deserve. Shift!!

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

Business Social Events–Tips for Standing Out in the Crowd!

There are a myriad of helpful business  and social etiquette tips for greater confidence, engaging conversation and a winning demeanor . Here are a few techniques to keep you out in front:

At business social events, you are still under scrutiny.  Your attire should not be too casual or revealing as that impression will carry back to the office and can affect promotion opportunities. You still want to be remembered as the polished (and fun) professional, not for what you wore. Have extra clothing in the car (dressier/more casual/different accessories or shoes,etc.) to make a quick change if need be to fit in more comfortably with the crowd.

Don’t want to attend an event? Go anyway! Spend at least 30 minutes making the rounds, shaking hands and being seen by as many people as possible. That way, you will show your interest in the company and the attendees in the most favorable light. Later, just slip out quietly. Be sure to discuss the event, thank the organizer, etc., the next day. They will appreciate it and you score points for being so engaged in the process.

When in a networking environment with food and drinks, avoid trying to talk to individuals while holding one in each hand. It can be awkward and messy trying to talk while juggling your hors d’oeuvres. Eat at a standing table first, then go out on the floor and concentrate on those you meet, giving a warm and confident handshake.

Always hold your glass in your left hand when mingling so the right one is dry and free to shake hands. No switching!

Have a glass of water or coffee between alcoholic drinks to maintain a sharp, professional conversation at all times. If you are socializing with upper management or clients who are not drinking alcohol, it is usually better to abstain during your conversation with them. This may sound old fashioned but it shows you are respectful of their time, preferences and totally engaged in your conversation with them.

Make it a habit to introduce yourself to at least five people you don’t know to build up your network and make new friends and associates. Always focus on them (which also helps if you’re self-conscious talking about yourself). If you want to talk with them again, ask for their card first rather than hand them yours. This is primarily “social” time, not business development time. You can then set a time to meet for more in depth conversations.

At social events, your date is also under scrutiny. Adults never want to introduce someone as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” but rather just offer their first and last names. If it’s your spouse, provide that designation.

Help your date be more comfortable by telling them as much about the people they will meet while on your way to the event. Knowing what subjects are good and which ones are off limits makes for a more fun (and profitable) event.

Always thank the host or hostess and let them know how much you appreciate their hospitality. Handwritten thank-you’s are a nice touch for more formal parties. Even an email can show you are thinking about them and their thoughtfulness.

When attending an event at someone’s home, a small gift life a bottle of wine or box of chocolates is usually a welcome gift to show your appreciation for all of their work.

If at a sit-down meal, follow the host/hostess for when to put your napkin in your lap and begin eating.

Wait until they begin eating in case they want to ask a blessing or make a toast. It is embarrassing to begin and then put that fork down.

The lady should sit to the right of her male date/partner.

Look around to see if someone needs an item in front of you and pass them as soon as you have used them: salt and pepper, cream for coffee, etc.

If the host/hostess does not have professional help for their event, it is a very nice gesture to gather plates, glasses and other items you notice laying around. The harried host can then enjoy more time with guests and it only takes you a couple minutes of thoughtfulness.

Never plank your knife between plate and table. Set it across the edge of your dinner plate or bread & butter plate if you have one.

Your bread and butter plate is on the left! Liquids on right—solids on left.

Place your napkin on the back of your seat if you get up briefly and lay it back on your lap as soon as you return. Old order etiquette says to lay it in your chair but think about that…who wants to put it back to your mouth? 

When you are through eating, you are “finished” and never “done.” (My elderly mentor used to scold me about that and said, “Meat is done, you are finished.”)

Good manners and engaging conversation are always a hit!!! For more valuable tips, check out my book “Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success” at


Another Meeting??? Tips to Making Them More Successful!!

Okay now, is this meeting really necessary??  It probably is if you need to communicate beforehand a specific, relevant objective with a pre-determined (if possible) time limit. To keep from losing your attendees as their minds wander to other duties that await them, observe the end time unless everyone agrees to continue with items listed on the original agenda. 

  1. Thank members for their valuable time and participation (yes, even if you’re the boss) and TELL them how their participation helped (or will help) meet the objectives. This will help them stay motivated and innovative when they know how their contributions count!
  2. Distribute minutes and objectives of the meeting in an email before the meeting and then what the outcome is after the meeting, again by email.
  3. Avoid any personal heated disagreements that should be discussed privately rather than in a group if it does not specifically pertain to everyone and always be careful with pointing fingers. We have all seen the dreaded dump on Mary or Bob day. Not good for anyone’s morale!
  4. Avoid assigning action items to someone not present unless absolute necessary. It helps them buy into the cause/project when initially involved and shows greater respect. Respect and consideration go a long way towards more successful employee performance.
  5. Playing musical chairs for the power seats?Being an expert on the subject, asking insightful questions, and making clear, relevant observations are more important, regardless of which seat you are in at the table. Key participants usually sit up front so  be watchful of where you sit when entering the conference room.

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

The Meet & Greet – You Had Me From Hello!

As we know, that first impression is made in as little as seven seconds when people are checking us out physically (demeanor, handshake appearance, our-non-verbal signals) which makes it more difficult for someone to remember our name if given immediately. They haven’t quite started “listening” yet. Before we have said a word, judgments can start forming about our own self-image, outlook on life, economic and educational levels, social position, trustworthiness and future success. Sound like a bit much? Yes. Has research proven this to be true? Yes. Sigh! Here are a few quick tips to keep the conversation going in a relationship-building manner:

At business social functions, shyness may be misunderstood as being socially unskilled so try introducing yourself to as many people as possible. Even if you really don’t want to be there, stay at least a half hour and make the rounds before leaving. This can keep you in the winner’s circle by exhibiting a team player attitude and is beneficial for your work and social relationships.

Why is it so hard to remember someone’s name? As mentioned above, during the first seven seconds we meet someone, we are checking them out visually (looking at their clothing (wow, nice, organized or oh no), hair (just get out of bed?), grooming (gardening this morning?) or a myriad of other things) before we start listening…so we aren’t really hearing them! The best way to introduce yourself, particularly in a large group of people you do not know where you have about ten seconds to stand up and sit down, is to say 1) what you do, 2) for whom, 3) then your name.  Example:  Hi. I provide rapid results programs in professional communication, image and career development with Transformation Academy. My name is Rita…Rocker!  Take a slight pause between your first and last name, adding emphasis (giving a little punch) to your last name. By then, the person should be more focused on listening to you versus giving you the visual once-over.

When shaking hands: Women usually offer their hand first but either gender is welcome to initiate the universal greeting of the handshake. Take the other person’s hand with medium pressure, palm to palm, in a vertical hold and pump 2-3 times, leaning slightly forward. If you can tell what color their eyes are when shaking hands, you have completely connected. If someone takes your hand and turns it horizontally (yes, that really happens), just keep smiling and turn it up in a vertical hold again.That keeps you on a more “psychologically” level playing field! Turning your hand horizontally is a silent signal saying they have “the upper hand” and seek to control the direction the conversation will go. Now, go out and enjoy networking. It’s a wonderful way to build new relationships! And one more thing…if you’re shy, seek out those standing alone. They will welcome you gladly.

While talking, stand approximately 18? from them in order to respect their “space.” Only hold your beverage in your left hand so the right one is free to give your impressive handshake. Find out what “they” do first. Ask for their business card first (if you want to give them yours). Find out what kind of connections they are seeking to enhance their business or lives. Erect, positive, confident and engaged demeanor and posture goes a long way in making lasting relationships. Go for it!!

Rita Rocker, International author, speaker, consultant, Transformation Academy, LLC