Self Help For Women: Angela Deitch

Test Your Emotional Smarts — Linda Hausdorff

Melding Multimedia Elements: Tracy Budge

Fine Tuning The Corporate Babel: Mel Silberman

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring and Bart Jackson were

prepared for the March 12, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All

rights reserved.

Are You Ready To Be an Entrepreneur? Penni Nafus

When her children were young, Penni Nafus and

her husband looked at their finances and decided there was no way

they could save enough to send them to college. Both were working.

She ran a secretarial business out of her home and he was a

refrigeration

engineer working at the Essex Hunt Club in Peapack. The solution,

they decided, was a business they could run together.

"Just about that time," Nafus recounts, "he was driving

a machine, and the engine blew up." The machine was a Zamboni,

the ice rink fixture that kids love to watch as it smooths out ice

between skating sessions. He called the company’s California

headquarters

looking for parts, got to talking, and was offered a distributorship.

The couple had found its business. Nafus’ husband remained on the

job while she opened up a distributorship "in an unheated

garage."

Moving from parts to service to sales, the company grew and prospered.

"Our exit strategy," says Nafus, "was to sell the company

when our last child graduated from college." On Jim Nafus Jr.’s

graduation day, they signed the papers, although her husband remains

on as a consultant.

Nafus, no longer an entrepreneur, not strictly speaking, is director

of the Women’s Business Center of the New Jersey Association of Women

Business Owners (NJAWBO). Among her tasks, more numerous since state

budget cuts took effect, is leading "Are You an Entrepreneur"

workshops. One of the workshops takes place on Thursday, March 13,

at 6 p.m. at the Merrill Lynch Conference Center. There is no charge.

Call 609-924-7975.

The workshop lays out the basics of business ownership, including

planning, budgeting, marketing, financing, business structure, and

insurance. "It’s definitely an overview of the things you have

to think about," says Nafus. In addition to tangibles like the

need for adequate liability insurance, the workshop asks participants

to think about the softer requirements for business success. There

is a personality test, because starting up a business is not for every

personality type.

"Entrepreneurs are mavericks," says Nafus. In her opinion,

a person who fits in perfectly "over there at Merrill Lynch"

could be very unhappy out on her own.

Out on their own, however, is where more and more women are finding

themselves.

"We’ve seen a change, an evolution," says Nafus. "Two

years back a lot of downsized women were coming out with a package

and experience. Their attitude was `I’m going to start a business.

I’m not going to be downsized any more!’" Now, however, the women

she is seeing are embarking on business ownership without benefit

of a severance package. Many don’t have deep experience in business,

either. "It’s not middle management now," she observes.

"We’re

getting to the workers. Companies are closing up. Everybody’s

going."

The Women’s Business Center is fielding requests for information and

for help from "panicky" women. "Their unemployment is

running out," says Nafus. While the new female business owners,

circa 2001, might have been using cash, contacts, and experience to

launch a substantial business, many women Nafus sees are now starting

service businesses on a shoestring.

This is one heck of a time to be breaking into a depressed and

uncertain

economy, but Nafus says the entrepreneurial drive will out. There

are successes — even highly improbable successes. Nafus speaks

proudly, for instance, of Jeannette Williams. A single mother

of three children, Williams had no assets, no access to credit, and

no backers. A mother at 15, Williams earned an associates degree and

landed a job in the insurance industry. But she wanted more. She took

NJAWBO courses, including Start Right, the follow-up to Are You an

Entrepreneur, and started a part-time business. She bought a mobile

food cart and, along with her children, sold snacks at weekend fairs.

Williams then signed on at the culinary arts program at Elijah’s

Promise,

a New Brunswick food kitchen. Through contacts she met there, she

opened an office building food kiosk. Looking for more income, she

decided to open a restaurant. "She talked it up to everyone,"

recounts Nafus. It was a hard sell. Funding a restaurant always is.

But Williams found a location opposite the court house, cobbled

together

financing from a number of sources, and recently opened the Food

Mosaic

restaurant in New Brunswick.

"She networked like crazy," says Nafus. Williams also had

a little help from New Jersey’s Division on Women. It was only a small

grant — $4,000, but it enabled her to open the kiosk that gave

her a start. It would appear that the state got its money’s worth

from its investment in Williams, who hires welfare-to-work clients

to work in her restaurant. But, says Nafus, the seed grants are now

gone, victims of recent state budget cuts. Her Women’s Business Center

still gets federal funds, but badly misses the state money.

The cuts mean fewer instructors for center’s courses. Last year, it

gave 1,362 seminars throughout the state. This year there will be

fewer. Taking up some of the slack, Nafus is about to run her 51st

Are You an Entrepreneur? seminar.

For her, the answer is yes. "It’s in your bones," she says.

Although she draws a paycheck now, Nafus has an entrepreneurial job.

"Nobody could set my schedule," she says. She is all over

the state, creating and leading programs. She has to answer to a

board,

but has great latitude in her work. She says she learned about running

a business from her mother, a hairdresser, and passed on the

entrepreneurial

gene to her son.

"He’s a teacher," says Nafus, "but he runs an Internet

business on the side." Her son started RefCloset

(www.refcloset.com)

when he was 16. The E-tailing site sells equipment to hockey referees.

"My daughter is the black sheep," she jokes. "She doesn’t

own a business. She’s finishing up her Ph.D. in anthropology."

Which goes to show, some people thrive on the life of a business

owner,

while others aspire to lifelong employment — or at least to a

job. Undecided about which road to take? Nafus offers this advice:

Think about timing. There are people who would be fine

business owners, but not just now. It is important to realize that

being the boss does not come with a time clock. It comes with a

full-time

commitment. Anyone unable to devote nearly every working hour to a

new company may have a hard time growing it.

Count your cash. Nafus says she has seen any number of

business owners who, seven or eight months after opening, are making

sales, but are going under. "They say `business is good. I’m

making

money,’" she says. They a lease. They hired employees. But they’re

out of money.

Save until you have enough capital to go the distance, she says,

pointing

out that payment may only come many months after a sale. "If

you’re

working with the government, it’s 120 days," she points out.

Meanwhile,

suppliers demand payment after 30 days.

Shift the load. Nafus says she made every possible mistake

in the early days as a business owner. The biggest, she believes,

was "trying to do everything myself." She finally realized

that it did not make sense for her to do bookkeeping when she could

hire someone for $10 or $12 to do it for her. Eventually she hired

five employees. But did they do as good a job as she had been doing?

"Better!" she exclaims. "I did a 360 degree turnaround.

I realized there were a few other smart people out there.

"I didn’t settle for good enough," she says. "I was more

demanding of the people who were working for me than I was of myself.

I expected them to do the job better than I did." She realized

that she was hiring experts, while she had been trying to be expert

at a number of tasks.

Supervising employees, meeting a payroll, rounding up clients,

getting clients to pay on time; none of it is easy. Yet, says Nafus,

there is nothing like cashing those checks when they start to roll

in. It’s one of the things that makes so many people take a chance

on opening a business. Says Nafus, "it’s like making vice

president

at Merrill Lynch."

Top Of Page
Self Help For Women: Angela Deitch

How does one half of the world defend itself against

the other half? For the employee, the womanly art of self-defense

includes a hefty blanket of well-intentioned law, which has nailed

loose tongues and eyes firmly to the desk, and made corporate defense

attorneys weigh in interaction between the sexes. Sexual harassment

laws and internal policies governing on-the-job behavior have come

of age. But relations between fellow employees scarcely make up the

total of all business interactions.

When the business person steps beyond the protected confines of her

own firm, she faces a fairly lawless land. "Self-Defense

Strategies

for Women," sponsored by NJAWBO, provides a look at how to

survive.

Taking place on Thursday, March 13, at 6 p.m. at Merrill Lynch’s

Harrison

Conference Center, the event features Angela Deitch, owner of

Angela Deitch Consulting in Ewing, and Corrine Lagermasini of

Philadelphia-based Women’s Anti-Violence Education (WAVE). Cost: $35.

Call 609-924-7975.

"I think the most important thing women need to know," says

Deitch, "is that they can not wait this out. The fact of gender

harassment will not go away in their lifetime." While society’s

awareness is rising, so too are the number of gender harassment cases

that reach arbitration by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

(EEOC). Last year, 35 percent of the EEOC’s 84,000 discrimination

cases involved gender harassment against women. This is a 6 percent

rise within the last decade.

Since l995, Angela Deitch Consulting (www.angeladeitchconsulting.com)

has labored to quell the gender conflict both directly and indirectly

by helping firms with harassment policies and with "soft

skills"

such as management conflict.

Born in Long Branch, Deitch attended the Sorbonne in Paris and

Douglass

College prior to earning a master’s degree in education masters from

Rutgers University. Her client roster includes Princeton University,

Johnson & Johnson, American Cyanamid, and the State of New Jersey.

(See www.AngelaDeitchConsulting.org.)

The business owner negotiating with suppliers or the sales rep out

in the field will seldom find herself under EEOC protection. An

employed

individual has an implied agreement with her employer that the EEOC

upholds. In return for specified remuneration, the employee agrees

to produce a stipulated amount of work in a pleasant, or at least

tolerably productive, atmosphere. You can’t lock an accountant in

a dark closet and legally demand he meet his quota and you can’t

expect

a programmer to produce if half her work hours are spent fending off

ardent seduction attempts. On the other hand, the EEOC deems that

the inter-business negotiator always has a choice. If you don’t like

the folks from another firm, you don’t have to deal with them.

This leaves the independent business person where she has always been

— out on her own, depending on her own wits. Deitch says the prime

defense for any harassment or abuse, short of a physical attack, is

to treat harassment like any other business challenge. After all,

brushing aside the hoopla, that’s what it is. She suggests that women

to be aware, prepare, and then calculate their options.

Awareness. Outright insulting appellations or blunt

refusal

to deal with you because you are female are obvious discriminations.

Yet good business antenna will observe more subtle discrimination.

How does your male client arrange the seating? Does your supplier

use a different tone of voice with you than he does with male

customers?

Does he talk down to you? Is he excessively complimentary?

Certainly not all of the above behavior is harassment, or even

necessarily

based on your gender. But the perceptive negotiator who can discern

such patterns and analyze the motivations behind them can gain a

definite

advantage.

Preparation. Count on it, insists Deitch, discrimination

in some form will happen. So be forearmed. Probably the best weapon

in gently putting aside discriminatory remarks or harassing moves

is to pre-script your response. One of Deitch’s favorites has worked

wonders. If the client calls you sweetie, try responding "You

know, James, I really enjoy working with you, but it does rankle me

a bit when you call me that, so I’d consider it a favor if you

wouldn’t

do it anymore." No fuss. Just one businessperson asking a simple

courtesy of another. Truly, James would have to be a lout to ignore

such a simple request.

A little in-company role-playing, notes Deitch, provides the best

method to develop such scripts. Have one of the gentlemen in your

firm sit down, pat your hand and make a few borderline comments while

several of your co-workers watch. (While this can be fun, it should

probably not be done at Happy Hour.) Then develop several scripted

responses and let your witnesses judge the effect before selecting

one. This will also help you to become desensitized and to greet such

remarks with more confidence than fluster.

Realize, too, that some offensive-sounding remarks may be meant as

genuine compliments. Deitch asks women to remember also that all

sexist

comments arise from the same motivation. "Ask yourself," she

advises, "is this man acting as part of an older generation when

norms were different? Such understanding can counter problems."

Calculating options. Unfortunately, the most typical and

least effective reaction following a harassing remark is stunned

silence,

which heightens embarrassment on all sides. Deitch states that the

well-prepared business woman can shift to several more productive

options depending on the situation.

Direct confrontation can be the answer, but it may be wise not to

overdo it. Police are trained to respond to an assault with only the

minimum amount of force necessary to counter the attack. This minimum

response rule applies to business as well. Foot-stomping outrage in

response to a casual comment could inflict more harm on you than on

your insensitive client.

The incredibly talented Mae West made millions for Hollywood studios,

yet her raging at one producer "Ya damn Dutchman, why don’t you

go stick your finger in a dike," and other such confrontational

comments, kept her teetering on the edge of dismissal, despite her

popularity. Before you let a remark fly, be sure you are doing it

to parry a problem, not to gain personal satisfaction.

Withdrawal. Merely turning inward and saying nothing has

its place too. Says Deitch: "Not every comment requires a

response."

A blandly dismissive remark works well too. Try a somewhat bored gaze

and a "Yes..well," and then move on to another subject.

"Whatever option you select," advises Deitch, "it must

be chosen with political savvy. Literally, what is the financial

liability

of insisting that you be treated in a professional way?"

America’s workforce is now nearly evenly divided. Half male, half

female. The fantasy that one gender can run it all is not only wrong,

but dangerous. As always, we need each other. For business to prosper,

both Mars and Venus will have to learn a courtesy and respect that

goes beyond the fear of legal penalty. "We need a pleasant and

productive workplace," says Deitch. "The two are inseparable."

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Test Your Emotional Smarts — Linda Hausdorff

"Life is more stressful. There’s more

of it." This assessment of the working life as experienced early

in the new century comes from Linda Hausdorff, a woman who has

been working in the mental health field for three decades.

Hausdorff speaks on "Reducing Workplace Stress" on Thursday,

March 13, at 8 a.m. at a meeting of the Employers Association of New

Jersey at the Hartman Lounge, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Cost:

$75. Call 973-239-8600.

A graduate of Beverly Hills High School and Yeshiva University (Class

of 1970), Hausdorff, whose training is in social work, is with

Performix

Behavioral Works, which operates three mental health centers. "We

do training and assessments, and organization diagnosis," she

says. In other words, the group works at identifying stressors in

the workplace and at helping employees adapt. Through the

administration

of EQ — emotional quotient — testing, the organization can

even identify individuals whose personalities make them a good match

for the stress inherent in a particular job.

"You don’t have emotional smarts, you’re going to fail at your

job," she states. While employers have long been interested in

assessing intelligence, many are now coming to recognize that

emotional

strengths can be just as important. The ability to handle

confrontation

with grace, to accept criticism, to establish boundaries, to juggle

loyalty to direct reports and responsibility to upper management,

all of these attributes — and so many more — are crucial to

the smooth functioning of a team.

Today, though, even individuals with ideal emotional balance are

finding

it hard to keep stress from bogging them down. A big reason, says

Hausdorff, is downsizing coupled with the weak economy that is causing

much of it. More needs to be done to please shareholders, yet there

are fewer people left to do it all.

Add family pressures, terror warnings, and a winter that won’t quit,

and the result can be the kind of overload that would stress those

with EQs in the stratosphere. "There’s a constant onslaught,"

observes Hausdorff.

What to do? She says there’s nothing like gaining control. Take the

reins by telling whoever is currently making demands that you will

be happy to oblige — just not right now. Offer to call back in

five minutes, for example. This provides an opportunity to walk around

and think of a response. "Give yourself breathing room," she

suggests. Things are bound to get better. In the meantime, says

Hausdorff,

"there ought to be anti-depressants in the water."

Top Of Page
Melding Multimedia Elements: Tracy Budge

Lost in LaMancha, a new documentary, tells the story

of an attempt to film the story of Don Quixote in an unusually arid

part of Spain. Intended as a look at film maker Terry Gilliam at work,

it quickly becomes a chronicle of disasters. Monsoon rain, hail, dust

storms, the roar of F-16s flying maneuvers overhead, flash floods,

and the star’s undiagnosed illness conspire to sink the $32 million

project only 10 days into filming. In reviewing Lost in La Mancha,

film writer Roger Ebert reminisces about the many factors that can

derail a movie. He recalls, for example, waiting in the Ukraine with

20,000 extras, all dressed as members of Napoleon’s Old Guard, as

the lens needed to film them made its torturous way through customs.

Corporate multimedia projects rarely include such drama, but their

success depends on the harmonious blending of just as many somewhat

unpredictable factors. Maybe more. For while a marketing, training,

or E-learning project involves myriad creative elements, it also calls

for substantial technical expertise in constantly evolving formats.

In other words, any number of things can go wrong, causing everything

from cost overruns to boos in the boardroom.

Tracy Budge, director of project management at Newton Gravity

Shift in Pennington, has been "wrangling" multimedia projects

for over five years. She says that corralling the elements of a

complicated

online sales presentation or orientation film works best when all

hands are in synch. She speaks on "Managing Web and Multimedia

Projects" at a meeting of the Princeton Media Communications

Association

on Wednesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sarnoff Corporation. Other

speakers are Mark Feffer of Tramp Steamer Media and Wendy

Collins of Films for the Humanities and Sciences. Cost: $15. Call

609-818-0025.

After graduating from Rowan University (Class of 1995), Budge went

to work for Paramount in New York City as a researcher and then for

Saban Entertainment, where she arranged for domestic distribution

rights for the Power Rangers and for other superheroes. After two

years in the big city, she was ready for new challenges in the ‘burbs.

While she was in college she had worked for RAC Productions, a company

that became Gravity Shift and then merged with Newton Interactive

to become Newton Gravity Shift. Looking for information about the

lay of the multimedia landscape in central New Jersey, she contacted

owners Pete Sandford and Bob Christensen. She thought she would sit

down with them an informal chat, but soon realized that the meeting

"was really an interview."

Starting out in video and film production for corporate clients, the

company was evolving into an integrated communications and technology

company and, though it did not yet have a project manager, its owners

saw the need for one. "I was a good fit," says Budge. It is

her job to ride herd on projects from proposal through post mortem

to ensure that the client’s vision is being translated into a

successful

multimedia production on time and within budget.

An example of a corporate multimedia is a just-completed sales

training

project. The client, a pharmaceutical company, needed a training

program

for its sales force, and it needed it quickly. The company was

introducing

a new application for an existing product. "The first folks needed

to be trained as soon as possible," Budge recounts. To accomplish

this task, Newton broke up the instruction, delivering the first few

lessons as a browser-based CD ROM program and the last few as an

online

program. The entire project was then wrapped up into one comprehensive

CD for use by subsequent groups of salespeople.

Like most E-learning projects, this one was flexible, allowing users

to go through lessons on the Internet or on CD ROM, a popular option

for airport-bound salespeople. It was also typical in the cooperation

and communication it required. Budge explains how the process works.

Vision. Each project begins with a client’s need, perhaps

to get the word out on a new product or to teach his employees how

to cope in an emergency. A multimedia developer comes up with a

proposal

to meet this need.

"Involve the team right from the start, beginning with the

proposal,"

says Budge. The creative and technical people on staff provide

valuable

insight and can help refine the developer’s approach to a particular

project.

Questions. After a need has been expressed, and as a

proposal

is being developed, both sides need to ask lots of questions. "Any

stonewalling should be seen as a red flag," says Budge. It is

the developer’s job to ask as many questions as it takes to clarify

a client’s vision, budget, and timeline, and it is the developer’s

job to listen carefully to every client question.

Questions begin at the start of a project, and should continue through

right to the end. No query should be stifled for fear that it will

appear too basic. "Don’t be afraid of how a question will come

across," says Budge. It is the unasked question that can sink

a project.

Contact points. The developer needs to establish a point

person for each project, and so does the client. There will be a lot

of back and forth, and it needs to go through one person who has a

deep knowledge of progress — and concerns — to date.

Often, the client’s contact person is not the project’s sponsor. For

example, Budge explains, a healthcare division of a pharmaceutical

might have obtained internal funding for courseware. The point person,

however, may be from the company’s information management department.

While details of the courseware’s development will go through him,

it is vital that the healthcare division is keep abreast of important

milestones and is satisfied that the project is progressing according

to its vision.

Be realistic. To some degree, a multimedia project

involves

trade-offs. Perhaps new footage of a school’s campus for a recruitment

CD could be sacrificed to save money. Or maybe the footage is vital,

but the voiceover by the actor with the famously rich baritone could

be replaced by a voiceover reading from an assistant dean with a

comfortingly

paternal tone.

Number of web pages, complexity of script, slickness of interface,

it all costs money. But few things, Budge stresses, cost more than

change. A client who goes to a trade show when his project is almost

finished, falls in love with a new technology, and insists on its

inclusion, is going to blow his budget. Changes can be made, says

Budge, but not without cost.

"I like to use a supermarket metaphor," she says. Shelves

present nearly unlimited choice. Shoppers choose what they need —

and want — progress to the check-out. Those who stick with their

lists face no surprises at the cash register, but those who toss in

unplanned purchases on the way to the front of the store have no such

assurances.

Feedforward. "You have to anticipate what will happen

next," says Budge. She says she prefers "feedforward"

to feedback. She likes to be constantly looking around the corner.

While Gilliam, La Mancha’s director, might not have been able to

anticipate

uncharacteristic, rapidly changing weather conditions, research might

have turned up the fighter jet maneuvers and the star’s health

problems.

Focus groups. "I’m a strong believer in focus

groups,"

says Budge. She includes prototypes in her project schedules, and

says it is important of end-users to work with them. She has seen

cases where a question from a person trying to work through a program

has led to important refinements. A prototype, representing

substantially

less work than a full project, can reveal weaknesses at a stage where

they are easily — and inexpensively — remedied.

"Focus groups are getting a lot of buy-in from clients," says

Budge. "They choose two or three people to be a part of the

process

at critical stages."

There are basic principles and practices used in developing

the look and feel of a program, but, she says, "you never

know."

Terry Gilliam learned this lesson in a desert in Spain. Multimedia

developers, and their clients, don’t want to confront it after months

of work on a project.

Top Of Page
Fine Tuning The Corporate Babel: Mel Silberman

Too much data — not enough truth. Too much talk

— not enough said. Since the fall of Babel, people have strained

to communicate. Most of the time most of us come close, but just don’t

quite get our ideas understood. Perhaps this is not because the rest

of the world are unlistening idiots, but rather because our ideas

tumble out too quickly after being cobbled together on the fly.

Psychologist Mel Silberman, founder of Active Training, with

offices at 303 Sayre Drive, speaks on "Boosting Interpersonal

Intelligence in Your Organization" on Wednesday, March 19, at

8 a.m. at the Princeton Hyatt. Cost: $40. Call 609-883-6327. The

meeting

is sponsored by the American Society for Training and Development

(ASTD).

"A good meeting ideally should run like a well-oiled machine,"

says Silberman, "not like the rumbling of seven separate egos

in one noisy tin can." For over three decades, he has been helping

businesses to oil the cogs and get a smooth flow of ideas onto the

belt and into the final decision. Born in Orange, New Jersey,

Silberman

earned his undergraduate degree from Brandeis and Ph.D. from the

University

of Chicago.

After running a private practice for many years, he founded the

business

consulting firm of Active Training in Philadelphia, and in l990, moved

the firm to Princeton. He has written several books with co-author

Freda Hansburg. They include People-Smart, Active Training,

and 101 Ways to Make Your Meeting Active. In addition, Silberman has

for 35 years maintained academic ties with Temple University as a

professor in its program for Adult and Organizational Development.

Silberman points out several very common sense concepts of conversing

that most of us seldom use. He also brings to light the many blunders

so often hidden from a speaker, but so obvious to his audience.

Keep on hammering. There’s at least one person in every

meeting who rides the same horse all through the discussion. Silberman

claims it’s all right to ride one horse, just make sure you change

saddles. "If you are encountering reluctance," he suggests,

"shift gears and explore your listeners’ objections." Finding

and analyzing your team members’ concerns should help hone your own

idea. This is, after all, why teams are gathered. Additionally,

understanding

and addressing these individual objections will give your own ideas

weight. The listeners will likely think, "well, he’s perceiving

me and my ideas; I will at least consider to his."

Keep holding the floor. The renowned speaker and

politician

Senator Hubert Humphrey was frequently criticized for talking and

talking until he had something to say. Silberman refers to this common

blunder as "talking to think" rather than thinking before

you talk. While talking out loud can prove a very effective way of

solving a problem, it is also guaranteed to drive your co-workers

underground and banish your solution from their numbed thoughts.

Basically, diatribes delivered in meetings fail. No matter how lyrical

your lofty verbiage, people need to be brought into your speech if

you expect them to listen to it. Frequently this may involve nothing

more that brief and frequent checks with your audience, such as `How

does that sound to you so far?’ Then, of course, the hard part —

you have to listen to their responses to that question, and

incorporate

them in the next segment of your speech. "We need to use `we

language’

in our meetings," notes Silberman, "and to present ideas

through

conversation. Unless teams dialogue, they die."

Ownership of ideas. Silberman has just hauled up five

audience members onstage during one of his talks. How many, he asks,

are the possible number of relationships among these five people?

Answer: 120. Every individual holds a unique relationship with each

other person in this group. Galileo was right. The universe does not

revolve around you. Silberman describes a team as a thicket of

intermeshing

interactions.

Unfortunately, most people enter a group with an I-versus-them

attitude

and see the meeting as a battlefield where their ideas must triumph.

Silberman does not ask you to abandon your much-belabored brainchild,

merely that you give up advertised credit for it. It is indeed

difficult,

but cutting your idea loose and letting it join the flow of the team’s

options will not only get the job done more rapidly, but with a better

feeling. Tangentially, for those members of the group who are

typically

pushed to the background, you can spark encouragement by recognizing

their contribution and initially referring to it as "Sally’s

idea."

One-on-one. Much of the Silberman’s advice on meetings

applies just as well to person-to-person situations. When you need

to instruct a co-worker, for example, Silberman suggests that you

stop and plan your words in advance. Brain overload from a

disorganized

presentation is a common blunder. "Be brain-friendly in your

communications,"

says Silberman. Initially, present an overview, and then break it

down into bullet-point details, each digestible as a single concept.

Tell your listener at the start that this is how you will fill him

in on this new item. Try something like "Let me give you the big

picture and then break it down into details."

With individuals, as with a group, you must pause, and patiently wait

for questions or additional ideas. Again, the goal is a conversation,

not a lecture. Value his time, value his thoughts.

— Bart Jackson


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