Tag Archives: relationships

How to Productively Create & Optimize Your Professional Network

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

According to Wikipedia, a professional network service (also known as a  professional network) is a type of social network service that is focused solely on interactions and relationships of a business nature rather than including personal, non-business interactions.

The following are suggestions for creating a more productive, professional network:

1. Utilize a fresh pair of eyes:

When working on a project, consider finding someone from a department/discipline, etc. to take a look.   Having the objective opinion from someone outside your area of expertise may be just what’s needed in order to uncover issues that may have otherwise gone overlooked. 

If the project involves a product to be employed by a certain demographic, then it would probably be a great idea to make sure that you’ve acquired the objective opinions of individuals from that group, especially if you (the project manager) don’t adequately represent that demographic).

2.  Be open to working on projects (& working with people) outside your realm of expertise (or department):

Volunteering to assist others from other departments, sectors, etc will yield an opportunity to better understand the perspectives of others who are not within your area of expertise or department.  This will not only provide a forum for additional professional engagement outside your usual professional network, but also allow for a non-biased opinion on a particular issue within the project.

3.  Consider planning an informal gathering outside the workplace:

For example, you could invite a colleague for coffee or brunch, explaining your interest in projects they may have done in the past or are currently working on.  Since this is an informal meeting/gathering, this would also be a great time to determine any common interests outside the workplace. 

The key here is finding the balance between professional and personal matters during the interaction.  It would also probably be best to limit any informal gatherings to daytime hours.

Establishing rapport with specific objectives in mind such as learning more about the company and discussing commonalities outside the workplace will likely make it even easier to eventually work on a project with that person or to simply learn more about opportunities for growth within the company.

4.  Join a professional organization that’s reflective of your industry

This strategy is beneficial in several ways including extending your professional sphere of influence and establishing rapport with other likeminded individuals (professionally and/or personally).  Essentially, it is one of the easiest ways to network while looking for opportunities to advance your career.

In my industry of healthcare, I am a member of several professional societies including the National Medical Association, Medical Society of Georgia, and the American Board of Internal Medicine, to name a few.

5.  Try to make yourself available to assist others when asked:

Obviously, this is easier said than done and there can be a fine line between feeling needed and feeling abused.  With that said, this is still a great way to further establish rapport with colleagues in and outside your department or professional background.   It is a great way to show that you are reliable but be sure to not overextend yourself.  Do what feels comfortable and reasonable.

Your comments are always welcomed!  Did I miss anything?  Please feel free to share.

Dealing With Digital Arguments

How to Deal With Text Message Arguments

Advances in digital communications technology have been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's easier to keep in touch in most situations. But the flip side (the negative side) is that some people seem to have lost their ability to communicate pleasantly and thus it's very possible to be misunderstood (or to misunderstand) when communicating via text on such platforms as What'sApp, Skype, and others.

Learning how to handle, or avoid such situations is to your advantage so here are some ideas on how to do that and thereby allow you to use all this new technology to make your life more pleasant rather than more cantankerous.

Consider these tips for dealing with arguments through text messages:

Understand there's a risk of misinterpretation.

The lack of face-to-face communication makes it easier to misinterpret each other. When you completely lose the visual element of body language, you're losing a lot of communication effectiveness. The non-verbal cues of body language are a big part of communication. In fact, most of what others think they “hear” is actually something they saw.

When you receive a message, if it could be taken in the wrong way, be sure to clarify the correct meaning from the sender. So, when you send someone a message, before you hit that “send” button, take a moment to reread your message to see if your words could be interpreted differently than what you mean.

Pay close attention to the conversation. Although text messaging prevents you from interrupting each other, it's also important to keep the pace of the conversation going. Pay attention to each message and respond appropriately to it.

Take a break if there is an argument. You may need to step away from the conversation and let tempers cool. Text messaging makes this simple because you can simply stop sending more messages. A break from the argument can also help you collect your thoughts and ideas. But before you take a break, let the other person know that you’ll be gone for a few minutes. You don’t want them to think you’ve abandoned the conversation.

Stay aware of your tone. Even an argument through text messaging can be affected by the implied or apparent tone of your words. Words have meaning and some people are very sensitive to the different nuances of vocabulary. 

In case nobody's told you yet, always be very cautious about using CAPITAL LETTERS. It's usually considered as SHOUTING or screaming at the recipient. 

Emojis have become 'in vogue' as text messaging has become more popular. You won't find them very much in business texting but it is very common in social communications. Be sure you know the basic set of common emojis and consider their emojis. A picture is worth a thousand words so you want to be sure to use the right one. The little face you add to your messages can help explain your meaning, but even their intention can be mistaken if your recipient thinks you’re using them sarcastically.

Don't overdue emojis even in social situations. People will think you're younger than maybe you want them to. You can use them to convey emotions but you don’t want the entire conversation to be filled with these childish little characters. Use words as well as pictures.

Lighten your conversations with some self-deprecating humor when possible. A joke or other humorous statement can help alleviate some of the anger and other issues during the argument.

Always be sensitive to statements that might sound like a personal attack of some sort. Because there’s no face-to-face connection, text messaging can easily be misinterpreted. Thus, pay close attention to your language. It’s not possible to take back a sent text message that hurts your partner or friend. The wrong words can destroy relationships or business deals and make it difficult to recover for both parties.

Stay aware of the pre-existing relationship. Text messages are, by their technical nature, very impersonal and can be rather clumsy. So always keep in mind the nature of your relationship with the person you're communicating with and use words appropriate for that relationship. The use of text messaging can, if one isn't careful, create emotional distances rather than narrow them. So try to limit them as much as you can. Digital relationships are never as strong as real personal ones.

If any kind of argument does develop, try to move the argument away from text messages. A face-to-face conversation is usually the best 'damage control' and is still the best ways to handle delicate issues in a relationship or friendship. Even a video Skype call is better that pure text.

In fact, if you can move the argument away from texting, it’s likely that you’ll be able to resolve it faster and easier. You may want to try to save the conversation for later. You may also want to try other methods to communicate such as video calls.

If you’re having an argument through text messages, follow these strategies to help you navigate the treacherous waters and have a text message conversation

How Being Genuine Can Strengthen You, Your Business, and Your Company

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

Recently, I came across an article written by Mamta Chhikara (http://hive.pe/eC), which goes on to list and describe specific qualities that a genuine person possesses:

*They don’t seek attention = Modest

*They’re not concerned with being liked = Confident and Authentic

*They can tell when others are full of it = Intuitive (a good judge of character)

*They are comfortable in their own skin = Self-assured and confident

*They do what they say and say what they mean = Integrity

*They don’t need a lot of stuff = Simplicity

*They’re not thin-skinned = Easy-going

*They’re not overly modest or boastful = Humble

*They’re consistent = Dependable

*They practice what they preach = Genuine, Honest

Always keep these traits in mind not only as business but also as an individual.   As entrepreneurs seeking to gain trust, authority, and a growing customer base, we should always be cognizant of the foundation of inbound marketing, which involves:

*Performing due diligence for you and your company

*Performing due diligence for your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

*Engaging with your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

During the process of engagement, we should always be aware of the above traits of genuineness.  Your future colleagues and customers will be looking for these traits and will likely have the following thoughts/concerns:

*They want to know if you are confident in your company and/or product.

*They will likely be more concerned about the content/effectiveness of your product and/or character more than shiny “bells and whistles.”

*You should be able to eliminate illegitimate leads or potential colleagues within minutes of engaging

*Your customers and your colleagues want to see that not only do you use the product in question, but also that you use the product well and are able to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness to your colleagues and potential customers

*Most of us can eventually “smell” an inferior product or individual within a short period of time.  A usual warning sign is too many “bells and whistles.”  Simplicity is the name of the game.  If it’s too complicated or if it feels like the product (or individual) is too flashy, then it may be perceived as ineffective or disingenuous.

*Your customers and colleagues want to know that they can reach you during tough times or emergent situations.  Are you easily accessible via multiple modalities of communication (i.e., phone, text, email, Skype, etc)?

Now, I am not one who typically needs validation in anything that pertains to who I am as a person but I felt markedly refreshed after reading this article.  Am I a genuine person?  Hell yes!  

Depending upon where you are or whom you are conversing with, we may describe a genuine person as either "the real deal" or "being real."  If you are a fan of Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central, then you are already familiar with his catch phrase "Keep It 100."  It's the same concept and I believe being genuine is parallel with having integrity as well as the other above traits.  

Not only does a genuine & authentic person display his authentic self at all times (obviously with some adjustment for discretionary purposes), but he also "says what he does and does what he says."  He is honest about who he is and his actions reflect his character regardless of the setting.