Friday, November 20, 2015

Entrepreneurs have the power!

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremony for a Leadership Symposium at the Monash Business School. One of the keynote speakers was Creel Price.
Gary Ryan
As the owner of a small business, Creel made a statement that caught my attention.
“It is not governments or large corporations who are going to make the world a better place. It is entrepreneurs.”
I had subconsciously believed in Creel’s statement before he said it. He simply provided the words to describe what I already knew to be true. Ever since we started our enterprise in 2007 we have been giving a percentage of our income to specific charities. Late last year I was introduced to Paul Dunn, co-founder of Buy One Give One (B1G1). Upon learning of Paul’s vision, we immediately became Lifetime Partners of B1G1 and have been enjoying the power of habit, impact and connection ever since.

To understand why we made this decision, please view Paul’s Tedx Talk  and consider becoming part of B1G1 yourself and sharing The Power of Small with other entrepreneurs in your network. We can and are already making a real and positive difference in the world in which we live. You can too.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Should you be thanked for just doing your job?

How often do you recognise people for doing their job? Not the over and above work, just the work that they are ‘paid’ to do. You know, the ordinary work that is part of their job.

By ‘recognise’ I mean a simple thank you or a quiet pointing out that you appreciate such and such being done.
Gary RyanMaybe a junior administrator completes photocopying tasks for you. Simply saying, “Thanks for getting that done so quickly, I appreciate it.” can go a long way to helping that person feel valued. When people feel valued they are more likely to keep repeating the (often) simple behaviours that have been recognised.

I’m not talking about going over the top and making a big deal about ordinary tasks. In fact, my experience indicates such behaviour would have a negative effect on your colleague.

Interestingly, I find quietly appreciating people for their efforts works just as well with children and adults outside of the work environment. I have five children of my own (aged from 15 to four) and am also heavily involved in junior sport where parental support is essential for the teams to function properly.

‘Catching‘ children doing the ‘right thing‘ and pointing it out helps them to repeat those good behaviours (although isn’t it interesting how many adults are very good at pointing out the poor behaviours that children do but completely miss pointing out the good behaviours! Then this pattern is repeated at work – only the poor work is noticed!).

Quietly and subtly thanking parents for their support also re-enforces the supportive behaviours. It doesn’t matter who does more or less in terms of contribution, what matters is that the jobs get done (and done properly!) and the team co-ordinators aren’t left ‘pulling teeth‘ to get parents to help them.
In simple terms, appropriately acknowledging people for doing the right thing at work, home and in community organisations simply makes life easier and more pleasant too! 

As Dan Pink says in the RSA Animate video below, treat people like people and organisations can make the world just a little bit better!



What simple, yet effective methods do you have for recognising people for ‘just doing their job‘?
Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Do you know how to Dialogue?

In 2011 Michael Porter and Mark Kramer wrote an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) about organisations creating shared value.
Porter and Kramer argued that organisations need to operate from a new paradigm. One where value creation is not just about profit generation but also about how organisations can contribute to solving community and societal problems. Interestingly their article was not solely about corporate social responsibility.

They spoke about a genuine paradigm shift in which profit and social responsibility create equal value and they argued that it is possible to create such an organisation.

Shared value provides value to the organisation achieving its objectives, provides value to the employees of the organisation in helping them to contribute to worthwhile projects and provides value to the broader community in contributing to solving social problems. Importantly, shared valued will enhance your performance and therefore your career.

A challenge you face is that it is highly likely that neither you nor your colleagues know how to have the conversations that will enable the paradigm shift that Porter and Kramer described. This is difficult for professionals to acknowledge because in doing so you will be admitting that, from your perspective, you are not fully competent in your role. After all, aren’t you supposed to have developed your management competencies both from your education and your experience over time?

If you see yourself as a life-long learner you will be okay with identifying skills that require improvement.

Unfortunately you won’t have been exposed to the set of skills required to enable you and your colleagues to engage in dialogue. The short video below explains where dialogue sits within the Conversation Continuum, and the essential skills that underpin its development.



The fastest way that you and your colleagues can develop the conversation skills required to enable a paradigm shift to occur, is to learn dialogue together. A safe environment where both you and your colleagues are willing learners will enable you to quickly master the skills associated with dialogue and create the opportunity for paradigm shifts described by Porter and Kramer to occur.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good and has been teaching dialogue for more than 15 years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Quality Workplace Conversations Matter

Here's a formula.

High quality conversations lead to high quality decisions, which lead to high quality actions and ultimately, high quality results and performance. The reverse is also true. Low quality conversations eventually lead to low quality results.

Achieving high quality results and performance are worth the effort to learn how to conduct high quality conversations.
Gary RyanThe point of leverage in this model is high quality conversations. But what is a high quality conversation?

Unfortunately you have experienced more than your fair share of low quality conversations. These are ones where you walk out of the meeting and think any one of the thoughts below:
  • “Wow, that was a complete waste of time”
  • “When will people finally start to listen around here?”
  • “Why does everyone have to make my life so difficult? Why won’t they listen to me?”
  • “There’s no point saying what you really think around here because no one is going to listen anyway!”
High quality conversations are more natural than you might think. Peter Senge, author of the Fifth Discipline states,
"As far as I know, no indigenous culture has yet to be found that does not have the practice of sitting in a circle and talking."
For the ancient Greeks dia logos was the ‘flow of meaning’. It was the cornerstone of civic practice. The polis was the gathering space for conversation. The purpose for the dia logos was about enabling self-government to occur. This system was the birthplace of the western world.

As time has passed the practice of dia logos has diminished. When you converse in a workplace your purpose is no longer to consider what is best for the whole. Rather, your purpose is to win. You are a master of debate. I win. You lose.

Our modern word for dia logos is dialogue. When we dialogue our purpose is not to win. It is to discover what no individual could discover on their own and it is to discover what is the best solution for the whole, not the part.

Think about the conversations that you have at work, especially the ones where everyone in the room is ‘representing‘ a specific department or unit. What is the intent that each of you bring to those conversations? Is it to do what is best for the whole organisation, or is it to defend, protect and/or promote what is best for your department or unit?

The root cause of the lack of dialogue in organisations is the lack of the practice of dialogue itself. Quite simply, well-educated and/or experienced people don’t know how to dialogue. The reverse is true. They know how to debate. It is little wonder that debate rules, but the overuse of debate lowers the overall quality of your conversations.

Debate is not bad. In fact a form of debate (known as ‘opposing’) is encouraged in the practice of dialogue. The issue with debating is that it is overused. Our conversations are out of balance. We require more use of dialogue to improve the quality of our conversations.

The solution is to learn dialogue together. The beauty of the learning process is that you can practice dialogue, while learning it, on real organisational issues.

In the foreword to William Isaacs’s book, ‘Dialogue and the art of thinking together‘, Peter Senge highlights that,
"In almost every setting where practices of dialogue have become embedded and part of everyday routines, the ensuing changes have become irreversible, as near as I can tell."
The projects to which Senge was referring involved practical people such as line managers, executives and staff from mostly Fortune 500 companies. The improvements were clear. Improving the quality of work-place conversations improve performance.

The effort is worth it. Higher quality conversations lead to higher quality decisions which lead to higher quality actions and ultimately higher quality results and performance. Results and performance matter and so does improving the quality of conversations in your organisation.
What actions are you taking to improve the quality of conversations at your work-place?

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®

If you would like to learn more about learning how to Dialogue, contact Gary here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to increase employee engagement

The most recent Gallup research (conducted in the USA) on manager effectiveness has shown that seven out of ten managers are directly reducing rather than increasing employee motivation and engagement. If you are a manager, then this means that you have a 30 percent chance of being an effective manager, and a 70 percent chance that you are an ineffective one. 
Which one are you?

Gary RyanThe report highlights that effective, engaging managers result in a, “48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.” How do your numbers compare with these?

The evidence is overwhelming. Closing the gap between ineffective and effective management matters!

What is it that effective managers do that makes such a big difference?

Firstly, they are talented. Gallup defines talent as, “… the natural capacity for excellence. People can learn skills, develop knowledge and gain experience, but they can’t acquire talent — its innate. When individuals have the right talent for their role, they’re energized by their work, rarely thinking of it as “work” at all.”

The skills required for effective management and leadership are specific. They include being able to listen, to communicate effectively, to have foresight, to be able to find employee strengths, to be able to paint a picture of success and more. Identifying people with the talent to manage is just as important as identifying people with the right talent for any job.

Next, talent is grown and not promoted. Promoting people into roles beyond their competence is one of the greatest flaws that contribute to the generally poor performance of managers. Just because someone is good at their frontline role doesn’t mean they will make a great manager. Yet that is exactly the practice that exists today. How are people promoted into management roles in your organisation?

Gallup recommends that people be paid for their performance, not their job title. This means that an employee could be paid more than their manager. Place the right talent into the right roles and pay them for their value, not their title. For most companies, this will require a structural change to how they manage their pay scales. Are people paid for the value or their title in your organisation?

Manager’s themselves need to continually improve and to further develop their strengths. Too many managers have limited opportunity to improve their management skills once they become managers, which decreases their own engagement, the ripple effect of which is to further decrease the engagement of their direct reports. Lower engagement leads to lower productivity and lower profits. Clearly this is madness, yet this vicious cycle continues to thrive.
How can these issues be resolved? Fortunately, there is a solution.

Servant Leadership is a management and leadership style that addresses these issues. Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, shares in her book Dare To Serve the power of Servant Leadership and how it has driven the company’s turn-around since 2007 (it’s share price has risen from $12 to over $56 – how happy do you think its shareholders are about this improvement!). A clear and deliberate cultural shift to practice Servant Leadership, including changing systems and processes to make sure they are aligned with the principles and practices of Servant Leadership has driven their performance improvements.

The test for effective Servant Leadership focuses on the growth of the people you are serving.  Gallup’s recent research identifies that growing talent is what matters. Servant Leaders take action to help the people they are serving grow. The results; increased engagement, productivity and profits!

Existing management practices are not working. Companies and organisations need to adopt a completely different approach to how management roles are executed. Servant Leadership is the answer. It results in more engaged employees and customers and increases profitability. Who doesn’t want those outcomes! Make the decision today to change your management practices for the better.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good

If you would like to learn more about Servant Leadership, contact Gary here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Quitting Your Job Is Dumb

You’ve had enough. You can’t handle your job anymore and you want to quit.
Don’t do it. Not if you live in Australia and you haven’t secured a new job, that’s for sure.

On Monday 23rd February the ABC Four Corners program The Jobs Game revealed the true state of unemployment in Australia. I don’t know about you, but despite all my education and experience I have always struggled to make sense of the reported unemployment figures. On the 12th of February, The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that Australia’s unemployment rate was 6.4 %, a rise of 0.1 percent since December 2014.
iStock_000009570322Small 
What does an unemployment rate of 6.4% mean? In all honesty I can’t tell you and I haven’t been able to find a definition that is clear enough to share with you.
What I can tell you is that according to the ABS, 795,200 people are looking for work. The ABC Four Corners Program revealed that there are only 150,000 jobs available in Australia.

Ratios I can understand. This means that there are, on average 5.3 unemployed Australians looking for each available job. Why isn’t unemployment reported as a ratio of job seekers to jobs available?

Surely it is much easier for the average person to understand what that means, versus a figure such as 6.4%. I don’t know about you, but the figure 6.4% doesn’t represent the reality of the unemployment situation anywhere near as clearly as 5.3 people looking for each job. And that’s only an average. Clearly some jobs will have higher ratios.

Perspective matters. If more people understood the reality of the Australian unemployment situation then I believe that more people would be taking action to create more jobs, because clearly more jobs is what we need. In addition, more people will think twice about quitting their job.

If you are thinking about quitting your job, make sure that you have secured another job before you resign. Create a plan and treat your job hunting as a project. Above all else, don’t quit if you don’t have a job to go to. Not now. It just isn’t the smart thing to do.

Gary Ryan helps talented professionals like yourself, your team and organisation move Beyond Being Good.

Gary is the author of What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How To Establish A High Performing Team



A high performing team is one where the output or performance of the team at least equates to the output that you would expect from the collective talent of all the teams members. This statement is easy to say, but hard to achieve. In fact, 93% of my clients report that from a professional perspective they have never worked in a truly high performing team. They have worked in good teams, but not high performing ones. 

The Teams That Matter® model for creating high performing teams includes seven key elements. Most teams naturally do three or four of the seven elements. But it is the three or four that they aren’t doing that stops them from being a high performing team. The main reason for not doing three to four of the key elements is that they don’t know about them and they haven’t seen them modelled in the past.

1. Decide
If you intend to create a high performing team, then you must make a conscious decision to become one. Why? The three to four elements of the Teams That Matter® model that you haven’t completed in the past will require some getting used to. Your team members won’t be used to them either. Having a conversation as a team about what you would look like if you were a high performing team will help your team to clarify exactly what this statement means for them. It will then act as a catalyst for you to complete all the seven key elements of the Teams That Matter® model.

2. Purpose and Goals
Why does your team exist? The answer to this question highlights the purpose for your team. Your goals reflect the specific outcomes that you are striving to achieve. Your goals should reflect your ‘purpose in action’. Have you even been in a team where you have discussed your team’s purpose?
What if you discover that your team doesn’t have a purpose? Well, thank everybody and close the team down. Clearly time spent with this team would be a waste of time and who wants to do that in this time poor world that we live in.

3. Skills and Composition
Most teams have completed an assessment of the experience and skills of the members of their team. No doubt you have done that too.

I bet you haven’t taken steps to better understand the personality profiles of the members of your team. Or if you have, you haven’t done it in a way that has enabled you to use that information to improve communication on a daily basis among team members.

I use the What Makes People Tick tool, not because it is the most scientific, but because it is a tool that participants can use on a day to day basis beyond the introductory workshop. I find that other tools are too complex and require you to become an expert on the tool for it to be useful. Most people are too busy being experts in their own field of work to also have to become an expert on a personality profiling tool!

The benefit of understanding how each of your team members ‘tick’, is that you can modify how you communicate to ensure that your message is being delivered effectively. Effective communication is essential if you wish to become a high performing team.

4. Agreed Behaviours
Do high performing teams accept or reject unacceptable behaviour? 

I understand the answer to this question is a ‘no brainer!’. Yet, are you and your team members clear about what behaviours are acceptable or not for your team? Or do you assume that ‘everyone knows how to behave properly’? I’m telling you, they don’t know! Which is why you and your team need to make those behaviours explicit. Three questions is all it takes (I’ll share them in another post).

5. Plan and Measure
This is one of the elements that most team do. Although be careful with your measurements. Russell Ackoff, Professor Emeritus at the Wharton Business School said,
It’s better to do the right thing wrong, than the wrong thing right. If you do the wrong thing right you just get wronger and wronger.
Make sure that your measurements are measuring the ‘right’ things.

6. Perform
This means that you ‘do’ all seven elements in the model. It also means that you never, ever forget that if your team changes only by one person, it is a brand new team. You need to quickly review all seven elements and make any necessary adjustments. This is a critical lesson that most teams don’t know exists.

7. Monitor and Review
No doubt you monitor your progress toward your goals. Do you monitor your agreed behaviours? It’s hard to do if you haven’t made them explicit! This key element works hand in glove with the Agreed Behaviours and Plan and Measure elements.

In addition, when you complete a milestone or achieve a goal, the following four 
After Action Review questions are very powerful.
  • What did we plan?
  • What actually happened?
  • What did we learn?
  • What will we do next time?
Now you know how to create a high performing team. Give it a go!

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good.
Buy1GIVE1 - Transaction Based Giving

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Better Way To Manage Your Task List

Most effective people who I know use a task list to help them to stay focused throughout the day. Some randomly work their way through their list, while others start at the top and work their way down.
Gary Ryan 
A better way to manage your task list and to improve your daily effectiveness is to follow these simple steps.

1. Prepare your list
This is a classic brainstorm of all the tasks that you need to complete today. Given it is a brainstorm your list will be in a random order in terms of priority.

2. Identify your high value tasks
Rate each task in the context of value that you receive from completing the task. A ‘High’ rating means that the completed task gives you a lot of value in the context of what your role requires you to do, a ‘Medium’ rating gives you medium value and a ‘Low’ rating gives you low value.

3. Identify your hard-to-do tasks
Rate each task for how hard you find it to complete the task. A ‘High’ rating means that you find this task difficult to do (such as having that ‘important’ conversation with your colleague about her ability to meet deadlines). A ‘Medium’ rating is a task that is moderately difficult for you to do and a ‘Low’ rating is a task that you find relatively easy to do.

4. Identify how long it takes you to complete each task
Rate each task in terms of how long it will take you to complete the task. a ‘High’ rating means that the task will take you a long time to complete (you decide your time scale for yourself as it will depend on the type of work that you do), a ‘Medium’ rating means that it will take a reasonable amount of time, and a ‘Low’ rating means that you can complete the task quickly.

5. Complete your tasks in the following order
A. High Value, Hard To Do Tasks That Can Be Done Quickly (H/H/L Task Rating)
In his book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy refers to these tasks as your frog. If you were to eat a frog at the start of each day, nothing you do for the rest of the day will be as bad as eating that frog! In this context, your High Leverage, Hard-To-Do Tasks that can be done relatively quickly are your ‘frogs’. When you do these tasks first, you clear your mind for the rest of the day. This is a terrific habit to form. When you know that at some stage during the day you are going to have to eat a frog, it clouds your mind until you do it. So you might as well get it over and done with at the start of the day! You won’t regret it!

B. High Value, Easy To Do Tasks That Can Be Done Quickly (H/L/L Task Rating)
Getting these tasks completed creates a sense of accomplishment and shortens your to-do list in the process!

C. High Value, Easy To Do Tasks That Have a Medium and/or High Time Rating
These tasks take longer for your to complete them, but they provide high value in the context of your role.

D. High Value, Hard To Do Tasks That Take a Long Time To Complete (H/H/H Task Rating)

In my world these are my proposals. Each one needs to be tailored to my clients specific needs, so they tend to take a fair amount of time to create. I require decent chunks of dedicated time to complete this task. Knowing that I have already completed other high value tasks before getting to these provides me with the clear ‘mental space‘ that I need to get on with completing this task.

E. Everything else on your list
All these tasks are the things that provide a level of value but aren’t the most important tasks that you need to get done. Sometimes you may find that these tasks can change in value if they are time related. As a deadline nears the value in completing the task may rise. If you find yourself moving these tasks across to your new task list each day (because they aren’t being completed), make sure that you continue to rate them just in case their value has changed. 

Another option is to set aside an hour or two every week that is dedicated to completing these tasks.

If you follow the five steps that I have outlined above you will discover that you get more high value work done than you do today. Give it a try and let me know how you go!

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Please, Don't Kick The Cat!

There used to be a saying that when you’d had a hard day at work, when you got home you should ‘kick the cat‘ before you went in the house. This theory was based on the idea that if you ‘kicked the cat‘ then you could let out your aggression and everything would be okay when you went inside.

Thankfully such thinking is long gone! Not only would it be politically incorrect to take such action, it would be morally and legally inappropriate! So please, don’t kick your cat.

iStock_000003616381SmallUnfortunately, however, this metaphor is alive and well in ‘Organisation Land’. Maybe some of you have been the ‘cat‘ who has been ‘kicked‘ (metaphorically speaking).

A case in point. A client of mine has a national sales role. In 2012, prior to her taking on the role the sales team failed to achieve their prescribed 2012 targets. When she took over leading the team in 2013, despite missing the 2012 target their new targets were arbitrarily raised by 20% and they just achieved them. Celebrations followed. The ‘cat‘ was patted.

In 2014 (their financial year finishes in October) another 20% was added to their target. They just missed their prescribed targets after having been ahead of them for most of the year. Ultimately the team’s performance was 113% better than it was in 2013, but 7% short of the 2014 target. What do you think is happening now? Yes, you guessed it, the ‘cat‘ is being ‘kicked‘. Apparently in ‘Organisation Land’ kicking the cat inspires the cat to higher performance. What do you think?

Personally I have never found getting kicked motivating. Unfortunately I am hearing more and more stories like this.

In this specific example my client was informed by senior managers that she and her team would be trusted to contribute to the targets process once they could be trusted to achieve them. Interesting logic!

Let me just walk through that logic again. Once the team regularly achieve budgets that they had no input in creating, that’s when they will be trusted to put forward budgets in the future. Oh, by the way I should mention that I’m not talking about junior staff here. I’m talking about staff with a minimum of seven years’ experience. There’s a lesson in how to de-motivate people right there!
Kicking the cat‘ creates demotivated and disengaged staff. Seriously, if you think that such behaviour really motivates people to perform at a higher standard, you probably also believe that if you go outside and yell at your grass to grow that it will! I’m sorry to let you down but both strategies don’t work.

Folks, growth doesn’t happen in straight lines, not in the short-term that’s for sure. Linear growth expectations are flawed and ultimately cause senior managers to behave in a ‘kick the cat-like‘ manner.

My client is a wonderful, high performing person. She did amazingly well to achieve her result in 2013 and did amazingly well given local economic conditions to achieve what she did in 2014. I doubt that any other team could have matched her team’s performance. Yet do you think she is feeling valued right now?

You know what’s going to happen, don’t you? This high performer will leave and will end up serving another organisation more worthy of her commitment. It is an interesting thought experiment to consider whether your organisation is worthy of the commitment of the people who serve it?
Kicking the cat‘ doesn’t work so if you’re one of the guilty ones who does this behaviour, please stop! Treat your people like human beings – you may just be surprised by how well they shine.

If targets aren’t achieved by experienced, engaged people, then sit down with them and work together to work out what can be done. Maybe achieving the 2012 target in 2013 would be, in reality, a success. Just giving people bigger numbers to achieve because it is a new budget cycle is seriously flawed and lacks using the knowledge, talent and expertise that exists within organisational teams. People don’t want to fail. People don’t try to fail. Not most people. Work with people so success over the long-term can be achieved. It is possible.

What’s your experience of being ‘kicked’?

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Postive Self-Talk is Not Enough

Throughout your career there are many times when you will doubt yourself. Am I worthy of a promotion? Will my boss laugh at me when I ask for a pay rise? Can I really do this project that I have never done before? Will the audience really want to listen to what I have to say? Can I manage people who are older and more experienced than me?

For over 12 years I have coached leaders and developing leaders about the power of positive self-talk. In simple terms, the words that you say to yourself in your head promote an image of success or failure in your mind. This image influences your performance.

Imagine that you were asked to do a presentation to senior management on a project that you had worked on. Throughout your university degree and career you have done your best to avoid presentations because you think that you ‘suck‘ at them.

In this example you are cornered. You can’t ‘run away‘ from this presentation. You have to do it. Imagine your self-talk. “I’m going to be terrible doing this presentation. The senior management team are all going to know that I’m a terrible presenter. My future here is going to be damaged. Oh my god why did this have to happen to me!“.

No matter how much practice you did, if you maintained this type of self-talk you will have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Moments in to your presentation your mind will go blank. Then it will fill with the words, “See, I knew I wasn’t any good at presenting and now look at what has happened! My mind has gone blank and the senior management team now thinks that I am useless!

When your performance matches your self-talk it re-enforces it which in turn re-enforces the image that you have of yourself either succeeding or failing. This can result in either a virtuous or vicious cycle that affects your performance.

The point of leverage is your self-talk. You don’t have to create ‘fake‘ self-talk. This is the type of self talk that even you don’t really believe. In the above example, ‘fake‘ self-talk would be something like, “I’m going to be the best presenter the senior management team have ever experienced. I’m going to have them eating out of the palm of my hands.

You might have this type of self-talk if you were already an accomplished presenter, but if you were coming off a low base then this type of self-talk will be ‘fake’ and actually won’t help you (because you won’t really believe it!).

A more effective form of self-talk is something like, “I’ll be the best presenter that I can be today. Period.” This type of self-talk is believable and gives you the opportunity to see yourself as a ‘learner‘ rather than an expert. When you see yourself as a learner and you make a mistake it is far easier to recover than if you have used ‘fake‘ self-talk.

However, self-talk is not enough. It must be balanced with doing the right work and focus. The right work in this example relates to learning how to do an effective presentation and putting what you learn in to practice before you do your presentation to the senior management team. Focus refers to the skills and structure that support the action that you are taking. In this example your focus would relate to the core message that you want to convey, the key supporting arguments that you have for your message and the call to action that you want the senior management team to adopt.

These self-talk principles can be applied to any situation.
If you aren’t doing the right work and don’t have focus, then all the positive self-talk in the world will amount to nought.

How do you manage your self-talk?