Do People Really Care About Public Speaking?

I’ve been telling people for years that if they could only improve one skill, it should be their public speaking skills. Now you might think I say this because I help people improve their speaking skills. Well, ironically what got me interested in teaching people public speaking skills is that I realized how important it is to have public speaking skills myself.

Truthfully, I didn’t really “get” the importance of public speaking (nor the benefits) until I took the Dale Carnegie course back in 2002. Prior to that, I hated public speaking and saw no value in it – kind of the way many people feel today.

Do You Need a Job to Get a Job?

With the United States having its highest unemployment rate in several decades and several other countries facing similar economic challenges, more people are looking for work now than ever. I was listening to a radio show this week and a caller raised the question of whether it’s possible for people who have been unemployed for over a year to find a job in this job market. So the question is does having a job help when you’re looking for work or is it a necessity?

While I don’t think it’s impossible to find work while you’re unemployed (I’ve found work twice while unemployed), there certainly are advantages to being employed while seeking a new job. Being employed helps you with the perception of looking like you have more value – even though that’s not necessarily true.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Using Twitter

Twitter is one of the more challenging social media services to figure out. While anyone can post what they’re doing in 140 characters or less, creating meaningful relationships with other users of the service is a whole different story. About a year ago I was about to give up on Twitter and then I started to figure it out. While I’m not even close to being one of the most popular people on this site, I have figured out how to benefit from using it and I’m made a lot of nice friends in the process. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

Watch Your Language

I love listening to country music and there’s a song by Brad Paisley called “Water” that’s getting a lot of airtime (you can watch the video for it at the bottom of this post). It’s a fun song about his love of water and it chronicles his water-related experiences from when he was a child up until his adult years. Now one would think a song like this would remind someone of summer vacations or spring break, but I’m reminded of a conversation that I witnessed during a management training course I took eight years ago.

A Sobering Reminder of What’s Important in Life

This morning an eight year-old girl passed away from a rare form of cancer. I learned about it through Twitter – many of my friends on Twitter were following the story of this young girl and re-tweeted the note that she had passed on. My heart goes out to her family – I can’t even begin to fathom what they are going through (and have been going through). But it’s a sobering reminder that life is a gift and can be taken away at any time.

How to Find Out the Dress Code For A Job Interview

These days many companies don’t require formal dress. Some go as far as allowing casual dress – I once worked for a company where I’d go in with sneakers, khaki shorts and a nice t-shirt and feel over-dressed. But does casual dress mean that people coming in for a job interview can dress down?

Dressing for an interview is a challenge in itself: under-dressing makes you look unprofessional and overdressing may make you look stuffy. I once had a discussion about this with a former boss after we had interviewed a prospective candidate that wasn’t wearing a suit. I felt that he didn’t take his job search seriously where my boss found it to be more comfortable to interview someone dressed more relaxed. Ironically, at the time I was 23 and my boss was 33 but he was more used to working in technology where I just finished my master’s degree at a business school – so there are a variety of factors that contributed to our opinions on the situation. Ultimately, the candidate wasn’t hired as his attitude wasn’t a good fit for the group – and I felt the way he dressed for the interview was an example of that.

The Trouble With Thinking Big

Many people that keep up with the latest trends in personal development find themselves surrounded by fads. These fads are often started by a new book, film or web site and then spread like wildfire. Some of them work while others are just noise.

One that I’ve been seeing and hearing over and over again is the concept of thinking big – if your goal isn’t big, throw it out and find a bigger one. To me, it’s just another way for people to feel like they’re moving towards their goals when they’re really not.

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