Your computer is a factory for ideas. Go build something.

Month: January 2013

Honesty and Creativity Get the Job

Instead of fluffing up your resume and cover letter, try being brutally honest.

Or make your visual resume look like an Amazon product page.


Advice for Young (and Not-So-Young) Professionals

Photography legend Greg Heisler, who’s photographed everyone from Shaq to The Boss (that’s Bruce Springsteen) to Rudy Giuliani to Al Pacino to a whole bunch of other folks, offers some great business/work/life advice for photographers in the video above.

Not a photographer? It still works no matter what you do.

Formal Friday: What are you wearing to work today?

WSJ: Formal Friday - The Barbarian Group

Image via WSJ.

My colleague and I at LCU have required our students in the business administration program to wear “business dress” to class every Wednesday. We’ve been doing this for years. The goal is to better prepare students for life after college, helping them learn to live in the world of grownups.

Evidently, in a countermove to Casual Friday, more companies are instituting Formal Fridays to buck the business casual trend.

Everything old is new again.

UPDATE: I was reminded about this Seinfeld clip after reading Michelle’s comment below.

Are you in sales? (Hint: Whatever your job, the answer is yes.)

You may not know it but you’re in sales.

If you acknowledge “sales” to mean “moving others”–persuading people, getting them to take action–then it should be obvious that we’re all “in sales” to some degree. Parents, small business owners, public speakers, teachers, bosses, employees at any level–we’re all trying to get someone to do something at some point. With this understanding, Dan Pink’s new book can help you sell better.

To Sell Is Human follows a similar approach as Dan’s other bestsellers: combine original research with insights gained from social science and present it in an easy-to-read, informative package. Briefly, here’s what I like about the book:

  1. Deconstructs some common myths about selling. Culturally, some tend to think of sales as a less-than-honorable way to make a living (pushy, dishonest backslappers: think stereotypical used car salesman or Willy Loman). We believe that you need to be an extravert to be good at sales, that good salespeople are born that way, and that only people who are employed as salespeople are “in sales.” None of these are true.
  2. Gives loads of helpful tools and techniques. Want some specific strategies to help you learn to move others? You’ll find tons inside this book’s pages, many of which may seem counterintuitive. For example, can you gain persuasive ability in a negotiation by assuming a position of lower status? Yes. And the chapter on pitching contains six models for framing a pitch (and, no, the “elevator pitch” is not among them). In fact, the book offers so many useful tools that the key challenge for readers will be to choose just a few to highlight and practice as they seek to improve the way they communicate.

In his book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss claims that if you read three books on any given subject, you’ll know more about that topic than most people. There’s a great deal of truth in that idea. No, it won’t make you a Ph.D.-level expert, but, yes, you will know more than most people–especially since 42% of U.S. college graduates never read another book after they graduate.

To Sell Is Human is a solid, helpful book that makes a great complement to Robert Cialdini’s Influence and Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick. If you haven’t read those, please do. These three books together will help you grow in your ability to influence and persuade others and, far more importantly, make the world a better place.

A version of this review appears on Amazon. I’ve also posted a review of the book for presenters and public speakers.

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