Category: Development


health

It’s no secret that jobs are scarce. Don’t be misled by encouraging downward trends in unemployment – a lot of the new jobs being created are of the low-level service variety. Quality, career-type positions are few in number and applicants are many. Add in the fact that today’s companies are terrified of making a bad hire, due to the intense dedication of money and resources involved in bringing on a new staff member plus legal ramifications of firing someone, and finding a job that will let you achieve your professional and personal aspirations is tougher than ever.

But it can be done. However, the key to obtaining the kind of job that will advance your career is acing your job interview. The interview is absolutely crucial to getting hired, and demonstrating you have the necessary skills and background is only a small portion of what you must accomplish. Here are 6.5 fresh steps to acing your next job interview.

 

  1. Do Your Homework. You need to do a lot of research before the interview takes place. The Internet makes this task easier than in the past, but you still need to check out the company’s website, as well as websites of its major competitors. Do a Google search of the company, its executives and its industry to find out what challenges it is facing. Also it may reveal important details about executives you will speak with, such as their alma maters, social activities, etc. you can use to personalize your conversation. If possible, discreetly visit the company’s lobby to get a sense of what people are wearing and how they act.
  2. Appearance counts. You are essentially hired (or not hired) in the first 30 seconds of the interview. Your potential employer decides very quickly if you are right for the job or not, and the rest of the conversation serves to prove or disprove this first impression. The very first thing your interviewer(s) will see is your personal appearance. Are your hair and nails freshly groomed? Are you wearing tailored business attire that is in line with current fashion but not too “trendy”? Is your breath fresh and are you well-rested but alert? Do you carry a quality leather attache case and have professionally printed business cards and resumes to distribute? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” make sure it becomes “yes” before your interview occurs!
  3. Talk to everyone. Even if you arrive on time (I’m assuming you know enough to never be late, and ideally should be 10-15 minutes early), you will likely be asked to wait for at least a few minutes before the interview starts. If there is a receptionist in the waiting area, engage them in pleasant conversation. Also smile and say hello to anyone who passes by. Do not ask any questions or initiate in-depth conversations (remember everyone will report what you say and do), but if you are lucky someone in the company might reveal a valuable piece of information, such as what type of mood your interviewer is in or how many other people have been interviewed. Plus you immediately establish yourself as a social, professional individual who makes a good impression.

 

prepare
How prepared are you? Have you taken the necessary preparations in your personal and professional life to establish a brand that will guarantee your success? It’s time for a heart check on your preparedness level. Answer each question using the following scale of one to five hearts. Then add up the total and see how “heart-healthy” your preparation really is!
Scale
5 ♥♥♥♥♥ Strongly agree That’s really, really true about me.
4 ♥♥♥♥ Agree That would be me.
3 ♥♥♥ Somewhat agree 50/50 sometimes, sometimes not.
2 ♥♥ Disagree That absolutely has nothing to do
with me.
1 ♥ Strongly disagree Let me take the fifth on this.
What’s Your Pulse Rate?

6.5 Questions Measuring How Prepared You Are

___ 1. I have a fully realized ideal of a personal and professional success around which I build all my preparatory efforts.

___ 2. I have the utmost confidence that I am truly prepared to achieve success and have no doubts my ability to overcome any obstacle, no matter how unpredictable.

___ 3. I have mastered the specific skills necessary to achieve success by being a branded expert in my chosen field.

___ 4. I have obtained the credentials (the proper degree, certifications, advanced training, etc.) necessary to achieve success by being a branded expert in my chosen field.

___ 5. I feel a burning competitive desire that pushes me to always take additional steps toward being prepared rather than feel satisfied with my preparatory efforts.

___ 6. I know the skill sets and the mental attitudes of three people who have achieved success in the area in which I want to succeed.

___ 6.5 I gain a new competitive skill on at least a quarterly basis.

___ Total

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze your score:
Scores

• 7–13: Your preparation is winging it. You haven’t taken any real steps to prepare yourself for success and are relying on blind luck and last-second thinking to overcome whatever obstacles come your way.

• 14–20: Your preparation is hasty. You have taken a few quick steps to get ready to succeed, but hurrying now will only make success take longer to arrive later.

• 21–26: Your preparation is by the book. You have done all the obvious things it takes to prepare for success in your chosen field, but so have most of your competitors. Those who take extra steps and think outside the box in their preparation are the ones who will stand out.

• 27–33: Your preparation is game ready. You have gone above and beyond the norm to prepare and are ready for some serious competition. But are you ready to win?

• 34–35: Your preparation is Scoutworthy. Bully for you! You have taken the words of Robert Baden-Powell to heart and have thoroughly prepared yourself for all contingencies, including unknowns, and done the groundwork necessary to truly stand out from the rest of the competition. You are fit to fight.

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

payphone

In this Economic Tsunami it’s more important than ever that you are fresh and relevant.  You don’t want to have pay phone skills in a smart phone world.  Let’s take your pulse and measure the health of your freshness efforts.   Answer each question using the following scale of one to five hearts. Then add up the total and see how “heart-healthy” your level of fresh really is!

Scale

5 ♥♥♥♥♥ Strongly agree That’s really, really true about me.

4 ♥♥♥♥ Agree That would be me.

3 ♥♥♥ Somewhat agree 50/50 sometimes, sometimes not.

2 ♥♥ Disagree That absolutely has nothing to do

with me.

1 ♥ Strongly disagree Let me take the fifth on this.

What’s Your Pulse Rate?

6.5 Questions Measuring How You Achieve Freshness

____  1. My friends and colleagues come to me for the most up-to-date information.

____  2. If you are looking for fresh ideas, I am the one.

____  3. My current skill set is the most competitive out of anyone I may come up against

for a job and/or promotion.

____  4. I am aware of the latest technology that can help me personally and professionally.

____  5. When my friends and colleagues want a fresh perspective or strategy, I am the first

person they call.

____  6. The last book I read was one that was published within the last 12 months.

____  6.5 My resume is current, up-to-date, and competitive.

____  Total

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze your score:

Scores

• 7–13: Your freshness is expired. You know what that means: nobody wants to purchase your brand and you’ll soon be taken off the shelf.

• 14–20: Your freshness is day-old. There is minimal demand for your personal brand, but only at a steep discount and when the more popular and competitive brands are all sold out.

• 21–26: Your freshness is canned. Your brand will sell if it stays on the shelf long enough, but anyone seeking real fresh results will look elsewhere.

• 27–33: Your freshness is fresh frozen. Your brand is a respectable choice for the discerning connoisseur, but not the top choice.

• 34–35: Your freshness is market fresh. Congratulations! You have the brand that is most in demand and fetches the highest prices. You sell out early in the morning, when only the most competitive shoppers are out evaluating the available brands.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

recharge

  • If you become successful, and there is no reason you won’t if you follow the Fresh PASSION methodology, you are going to be a very, very busy person.
  • You have to step back from your work regularly to recharge your batteries.
  • Some ways to recharge include
    • Exercise (running, walking, weight lifting, cardio classes, etc.)
    • Time with friends over a meal or happy hour
    • Going to the movies or doing another activity that is purely for entertainment
    • Spending a weekend away with your spouse or significant other
    • Taking an annual vacation with your family or by yourself
    • Meditating, practicing yoga, or just dedicating time to reflection
  • I refer to the place or activity you use to unwind and relax as your “focus sanctuary.” You can have many as you want; it just has to be a place or activity that brings you peace of mind and allows you to simultaneously get away from your aspiration for a little while and refocus on it with a new, recharged attitude.
  • What do you do to recharge? How often do you go there or do that activity?

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

 

MBrown

 

We have all been weathering an “economic tsunami” for the past several years, and although it appears the worst part of the storm is behind us, the seas have hardly calmed. The unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent for unemployment and around 18 percent for underemployed. Companies and organizations are still in pain (they want to deliver exponential growth to the top and bottom line), but they are only willing to invest in a fresh and proven branded product (YOU) with a track record of delivering results – if you are not in this category, you will not be the sought-after solution provider.

According to management expert and author Michael D. Brown, in today’s competitive, roller coaster world, you’re either a distinct and competitive brand or an extinct generic. In order to survive, prosper and achieve great success, you must become a distinct and competitive personal brand (yes, you need to become a personal brand). It is when you develop this brand that you will be able to deliver the experience that people are willing to invest the time and money it takes to recruit, hire, promote, train, and pay an employee in a high-skill, high-wage job.

There are still great opportunities for unemployed and underemployed individuals to improve their personal, professional and economic situation by mastering the formula, 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP, and standing out. According to Brown, failing to master this formula will render you generic and receiving anemic to no attention, opportunities or investment. The proven formula to standing out and being the chosen solution provider is 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP.

Click here to read the full interview

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

job

 

  • Last week we discussed meaningful job hunting.
  • This week we will talk about how you can get and nail the interview for your next meaningful job.
  • Especially in a tough job market like we are experiencing now, competition is fierce for every position.
  • In order to get an interview, you have to find a way to separate yourself from your competition.
  • Below are a few tips on differentiating yourself in a crowded field:
    • Be quick: Respond to the job posting as soon as it is posted; to do this you need to be on top of job boards in your field.
    • Be explicit: Tell the potential employer exactly how you meet the criteria for the job.
    • Be brief: Hiring managers will be flooded with responses; keep your initial application short and to the point.
    • Be creative: Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through or to do something very different than a standard cover letter and résumé, as long as it aligns with the industry in which you work (i.e. a video résumé for a job that involves presenting, or marketing collateral about yourself for a marketing position).
    • Be persistent: Follow up early and regularly, but not in an annoying way; you want to keep your name in the hiring manager’s mind and make it clear that you are interested.
  • Once you get the interview, you need to make sure you do well in it.
    • Be prepared: Do your homework about the company and the position; know as much as you can before you walk in and be ready to talk about it.
    • Be inquisitive: Prepare meaningful questions in advance and aske them in the interview. It goes without saying that you should not ask about money right away; save that for follow-up interviews.
    • Be direct: Tell them why you are a strong candidate for the job by linking your skills and experience to the skills and experience they are looking for.
    • Be confident: Give firm handshakes, make eye contact, speak with authority; you are selling yourself here, so you have to believe in yourself.
    • Be appreciative: Thank them for the opportunity and follow up with a handwritten thank-you card.
  • Any tips for readers on getting or nailing a job interview? Share your ideas in the comments section.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

excellentcustomerservice

 

“Make the customer number one.” Customer service experts have been chanting variations of this mantra since one caveman paid another caveman three clamshells for the skin of a sabertooth tiger. Okay, as far as we know cavemen didn’t chant mantras, but you get my point. The vast majority of customer service strategies use the idea of making your customer your top priority as their cornerstone.

Since most customer service strategies are partially or wholly based on making the customer number one, then obviously customer service levels must be at an all-time high, right? Everywhere you go, people are raving about how great their daily customer service experiences are, and customer satisfaction polls back this affirmation up with hard data.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing before I continue. Hopefully you didn’t snort any of your morning coffee out your nose. We all realize that in far too many cases, the one word that best sums up the state of customer service today is “disaster.” Lines are long, information is scarce, products are out of place or out of stock, and no two employees have the same answer to the same question. If today’s public-serving organizations really are making the customer number one, they have a funny way of demonstrating it.

Ironically, customer service levels are declining as competition for customer loyalty is increasing. In this age of chain expansion, a customer can find your services duplicated or your products cheaper on the next block. The one way you can differentiate yourself in a sea of similar competition is by offering a world-class customer service experience. This will never happen if you use the same stale, outdated, failed approach to customer service that you and your competitors have always used before. Namely, the “making the customer number one” approach.

The business world needs a makeover. A new perspective. A fresh approach that I like to call “Fresh Customer Service.” Fresh Customer Service demystifies the process of attracting loyal, happy customers who return again and again and recommend your business to their friends and families. This type of customer reaction, what some may consider as a minor detail, can actually tip the scales and prove the difference between a prosperous organization and a bankrupt organization. So what’s the secret? The Frontline Employee.

This idea is the key to unlocking sustained long-term success in whatever area of service or production your organization offers. Throughout your organization’s entire process of selling, serving, marketing, cleaning — you name it — the only way you can hope to deliver a world-class customer service experience is by listening to, equipping, empowering, involving, and valuing the feedback and expertise your Frontline Employees can offer.

Click here to read the full article.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

selfcon

 

·       Self-confidence is a key component of a successful personal brand.

·       Your self-confidence, or lack thereof, impacts your brand in many ways.

·       Self-confidence—positive impacts:

o   If you exude self-confidence, you make great first impressions on those you meet, which goes a long way in helping you immediately establish your personal brand among professional peers and superiors.

o   Self-confidence equips you to handle challenges and adversity, which will make you a standout among your less confident peers.

o   Self-confidence makes it easier to establish credibility in professional settings, which can make negotiations, new business generation, and problem solving easier.

·       Lack of self-confidence—negative impacts:

o   Making a poor first impression can kill your shot at a new position and at closing a business deal.

o   Your ambitions may be diminished if you don’t believe you have what it takes to earn a certain level of achievement or accomplishment.

o   You may fall into self-blame when you face adversity, and that blame will thwart your desire to rise above the competition and earn recognition.

Without the proper level of self-confidence, you will not be able to establish a personal brand that will move you up the ranks and help you achieve your aspirations.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

5steps

 

·       In our last entry, I introduced the idea of keeping your brand fresh and updated, and provided an overview of how to do that.

·       Today I want to give you the tools you need to implement a daily routine that will impact the freshness of your personal brand.

·       I believe that everyone should implement 5 Fresh Steps into their daily routine.

·       These are tasks or practices that you will do every day in order to keep yourself in top shape professionally.

·       To start, look for a model in your industry that you can use as a springboard for creating your 5 Fresh Steps.

·       If you are in real estate, you may want to look at Donald Trump’s habits, for example.

·       Trump’s 5 Fresh Steps are

1.     Rises at 6:00 a.m.

2.     Spends an hour reading newspapers.

3.    Arrives at work by 9:00 a.m.

4.     Makes 50 to 100 phone calls per day.

5.     Has at least a dozen meetings per day, each of which lasts no longer than 15 minutes.

·       Your 5 Fresh Steps can be refined for your own goals and preferences. Yours might be

1.     Rise at 7:00 a.m.

2.     Read at least three industry-relevant articles per day.

3.    Contact a minimum of 15 potential clients daily.

4.     Take a client or business contact to lunch at least three days per week.

5.     Have two showings of listed property daily.

·       What would your 5 Fresh Steps look like?  Share your ideas below.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

Michael D. Brown developed a customer service process (6.5 Fresh Steps to World-Class Customer Service) that during the past 15 years has been credited with reengineering and enhancing the customer service strategy and experience for a number of small, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies, including Marriott, Macaroni Grill, U.S. Army, Wendy’s, Omni Hotels, Houston Rockets, Capital One, Wells Fargo, Greater Houston Partnership, Jason’s Deli, Amoco Oil Company, ARCO Oil Company, Murphy Oil USA—The Wal-Mart Project, British Petroleum, and a number of colleges and universities. Michael was ranked in the top 5 percent among high-performing leaders and coaches in leading Global Fortune 500 companies. He is a globally recognized authority on customer service leadership for developing this customer service strategy that delivers to the frontline and three levels up in the user’s organization. This work was later turned into the best-selling book Fresh Customer Service—Treat the employee as #1 and the customer as #2 and you will get customers for life. He is also the author of Fresh Passion – Get A Brand or Die A Generic.

Michael’s success story is even more impressive considering his humble roots. Growing up as one of 10 siblings with a widowed mother in Holmes County, Mississippi, statistically among the poorest counties in the United States, Michael early on resolved to break the cycle of poverty and dead-end jobs that plagued so many of his friends, neighbors, and relatives. Starting with a job as a low-paid handyman and housecleaner for a verbally, mentally, and physically abusive boss at the age of nine, Michael quickly learned the importance of satisfying the customer and always doing the best possible job and having a brand of excellence, regardless of the circumstances.

He went from been supported by welfare to starting his own highly profitable candy-selling business (generating about $40 a day and quickly blossoming into a $300 to $400 a day business) in high school to support himself and the family, and then he worked his way through Jackson State University with a job as a cook at a fast-food restaurant, where he cut the average wait time at the drive-through window almost in half, achieve record sales, and received multiple raises within six months—but was not initially allowed to work directly with customers in the front of the house because of the “unwritten” rules. Despite this action, Michael continued to deliver greater results than all of his co-workers and stayed focused on delivering excellent results. After months of begging to work in the front of the restaurant, he was given a “trial shift,” which turned into a night of customers raving about his superior customer service and leaving over a dozen positive comment cards.

After graduating, Michael, who holds a BBA in management and an MBA in global management from Jackson State, embarked on a highly successful executive career where he consistently boosted profits and employee morale at companies in the hotel, food and beverage, oil and gas, and retail industries. It is this unique perspective and know-how gleaned from his upbringing that makes Michael a sought after speaker, career and management consultant, and the leading authority on delivering fresh results.

With a track record of delivering double-digit top- and bottom-line growth to his clients, Michael is able to take a problem and look at it five to seven levels deep, allowing the delivery of strategies and solutions that are detailed, yet simple, and impactful while focusing on the overall strategies and sustainability of the achieved growth. He has a unique ability to break down the complex strategies and processes into a simple and executable strategy that can be delivered with passion and conviction by the frontline at every step of the value chain.

Michael’s expertise in revamping how companies provide world-class customer service and establish a market-leading brand has led him to assisting individuals in creating personal brands that allow them to achieve otherwise unattainable levels of personal and professional success. He is recognized for this best-in-class coaching strategy that yields consistent results.

Michael has motivated and helped thousands of entrepreneurs, military personnel, individuals, college students, graduates, small business owners, and entrepreneurs move from a stage of generic mediocrity to an exciting place where they become successful personal brands that yields exponential personal economic and professional success. His signature work Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die a Generic is the catalyst for helping individuals make the transformation and achieving world-class success.

Michael’s ultimate message is this: Without a personal brand, you don’t have a career—you only have a job. When you are a “generic” individual, there is only so far you can go in a given job, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re replaced. If you develop a dynamic personal brand, however, you differentiate yourself from your competitors and become a force to be reckoned with. Nothing will keep you from personal, economic, and professional success.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.