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The Onion Ring Got Cold

The Onion Ring Got Cold

The art of compelling conversations

The One-bite Onion Ring

My husband, Jim, asks our dinner host, “Herb, how did you get into your business?”, while our onion ring appetizer gets dropped off at our table.

Herb takes a bite of one big onion ring and begins his business origin story.

Herb goes back to his childhood days… talking with detours, tangents and sidebars.

As he talks, he gestures with this onion ring in his left hand – one bite in.

I’m mesmerized… but NOT with his monologue. Will the onion fall out of its sheath? Will this onion ring fly out of his hand? Can we start eating our main course – which arrives somewhere in between Herb’s second and third job?

While Herb has an interesting fun story to tell – he fails at the art of compelling conversation.

The Cold Onion Rings

  1. Conversations are dialogues, not monologues. As leaders you might feel justified in hogging the floor at your company happy hours, networking events, or even for those few minutes before your meetings.
  2. You find out nothing about your dinner mates if you’re doing all the talking.
  3. This onion ring appetizer gets cold. (Maybe a heart-healthy blessing – ok… delete the word “maybe”.)

Conversation Killers

  • Don’t pontificate.
  • Try not to be repetitive.
  • Stay out of the weeds. We don’t care whether it was Wednesday or Thursday when you got that email.

Compelling Conversation Guidelines

  • Be relatable. How can your info be useful to others?
  • Be timely. Is your topic relevant?
  • Be meaningful. Does anyone care about what you’re saying?
  • Be brief. Can you share your good stuff without getting sidetracked?
  • Listen. Can you stop talking and ask questions?

Onion Ring Manifesto

Herb* isn’t the only example of this monologue fiasco. Jim asks a great question. Herb, and everyone who receives an open-ended question, must keep the answer short and keep the ping pong ball in motion.

*False name, true tale, he finally ate that onion ring.

Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate & sell. She lives in Dallas, TX and tries not to eat onion rings anyway.

Photo © https://www.123rf.com/profile_bhofack2′>bhofack2

© 2022 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

Don’t Give It Up to Technology

Finally I jumped into the taxi after snaking through a long line at NYC’s LaGuardia airport after a night of travel.

Unable to contain myself I told my driver to change his route to my hotel. After all I was sitting in the back seat.

Unphased, he responded, “To excel at my job you have to throw away your GPS system.”

How did he know I was plotting our slow crawl into Manhattan trusting the blue ball on my iPhone’s Map App?

He continued, “You have to know your stuff. You can’t rely on a system that doesn’t take into account what’s really going on. If I followed that device you’d be stuck for over an hour on that bridge. There’s a wreck. We are going the best way right now.”

We got to my hotel pretty timely – and the back seat driver was humbled and thoughtful.

Sometimes our technology provides the answers. But don’t give up knowing your stuff, taking a pulse of your current reality, and making decisions using all of your resources.

Personality – How it Affects Your Performance

by Arin Forstenzer, Speak For Yourself Marketing VP

Joyce E.A. Russell published an article on the Washington Post website this weekend, relating the perceptions of the current Republican presidential candidates’ “personality flaws” to personality and performance styles seen more commonly in the workplace that “cause stress among peers.” Conversely, she highlights several factors that employees appreciate and respect among co-workers.

Several key negative styles included: “intimidating, domineering or condescending style”, “unwillingness to change”, and poor communication skills, which includes failing to listen to others.

One key point with the “unwillingness to change” style, stems from the idea that if a person is willing to change smaller things in his life, by monitoring behavior and adapting accordingly, he should be able to adjust aspects of his personality as well.

Russell notes that research has revealed that people better at self-monitoring tend to be more effective in managerial positions, especially when they possess several of the more positive styles.

Many of these positive styles (including “positive ‘can-do’ attitude” and “timeliness of work”) reflect an individuals’ concern for their team members and an understanding of the benefits that a positive attitude and outlook can bring to a team’s overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Reading her article I found I have both positive and negative styles that show up in my personality & performance. While I can blame some of the negative styles (ex. moodiness) on specific circumstances, learning their impact on others around me will help me to become more aware and work to adjust them, while continuing to strengthen the positive styles I already possess.

Have you encountered anyone with any of the negative performance styles Russell addresses? Anyone with extraordinary positive performance styles?

Why SOPA Still Matters To You

By Arin Forstenzer, Speak For Yourself VP Marketing
Unless you haven’t gone online in the last few weeks, you have seen commentary or protests on SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act introduced last year.

SOPA was finally “killed” by President Obama at the end of last week, following protests on Jan. 18, 2012 by several of the most influential and most widely used sites, like Wikipedia, who went dark to protest the bill. Many other sites included pop-ups showing their support of anti-SOPA protestors, and encouraged visitors to contact their congressmen in opposition of the anti-piracy bill.

Gizmodo clearly outlines why “other than being a very bad thing, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes.”

Mashable explains why SOPA is dangerous and Google showed their opposition to the bill by censoring their logo on their homepage.

So why should you still care about the dangers associated with this bill?

Because although this particular bill was stopped, it does not mean others will not arise.

Rather than resorting to extreme solutions that will likely hurt small businesses, we need to develop better solutions and improve education surrounding online copyright laws. While online piracy should be put to an end, SOPA is not the solution.

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