Why A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Why A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Everyone knows, if you want to remember something you should write it down.  But did you know an even better way to establish something in your memory is to draw a picture? In a study from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology participants were asked to remember a particular word by writing it down and by drawing it. Later when asked to recall the words, people remembered the ones they drew better than the ones they wrote down.


No art skills necessary

The other interesting thing was memory was boosted not only for words, but for concepts, ideas, imaginings. The drawing doesn’t even have to be good, it just needs to be enough to jog the memory. Something drawn in ten seconds or less will do the trick!


Your relationship with the visual

The reason drawing something creates such a strong bond is because in order to draw it, you have to focus on the thing you want to remember much harder than you would if you were simply writing the word down. You have to imagine how you’re going to draw it, and then take the time to draw it. Writing is automatic, but for most of us drawing is more involved and engaging.


People remember visuals more readily than words

Go ahead and try it yourself. Make a list of ten things you want to remember three days from now. Write down five of them and draw a picture of the other five and see which ones produce the better recall.


Drawing is something just about everyone enjoyed doing as a kid. Now it’s time to start enjoying it all over again as an adult. Take advantage of the benefits of drawing pictures as a memory aid and bring a little more art into your life!


“What Sets You Apart From Other Job Candidates?”

"What Sets You Apart From Other Job Candidates?"

You are sitting there in your job interview and things are going well. You are qualified for the job, you’ve developed a rapport with the interviewer, you believe you can be an asset to this company.  The thing is there are ten other candidates interviewing for this position with just about the same qualifications. The interviewer has to determine what sets you apart from the pack. There’s a good chance he or she will come right out and ask – What makes you unique?


Don’t underestimate the importance of this question

If you’re not prepared for this question you might be inclined to go with the first thing that pops into your head. Something about your love of Fellini movies or a joke about never actually feeling unique because you are a twin.


Go deeper into your qualifications

This is not the time to try and wow the interviewer with unexpected answer or a joke, it’s time to double down with particulars of your qualifications. Get specific with details or anecdotes about your skills, or your experience. Talk about unique experiences you have had and how they will benefit your new employer. Or a situation where your skills made a difference either in a previous job or some other relevant aspect of your life. This is a good time to bring in numbers to back you up. With my X skill I was able to implement a time saving strategy that saved my co-workers Y hours a week.


Demonstrate how hiring you will make their lives better

Many people have similar qualifications. What is it about you that will make life in their location more productive/more pleasant/smoother. Are you particularly good at motivating others? Are you particularly adept at problem solving? Again don’t just say “I’m good at motivating others.” Put that statement into some sort of context with details to back it up.


The point here isn’t to toot your own horn about how great you are. It’s to talk about things you did that made a difference in previous situations. Let the interviewer conclude for themselves how great you are.

Go From To-Do to To-Done

Go From To-Do to To-Done

To Do lists are a great way to keep yourself organized and on track. They take the chaos of everyday and add order. Many people swear by them, but a to-do list only works if it manages to consistently become a to-done list.


If you’re one of those people who only manage to move their daily to-do list over to the next day and rather than one who consistently manages to get things done we’re here to help!


Make priorities your priority

If crossing things off your-to do list is motivating and makes you want to get to the next thing, imagine how motivating it would be to cross off a priority. Generally, your to-do list isn’t a list of ALL IMPORTANT things. It’s a list of everything you want to accomplish. Do yourself a favor and your life a favor and start with your priorities. You will breathe easier as soon as they are done and will be much more inclined to look at the rest of your list with an open heart and mind.


Don’t let your thoughts get in the way

So very often the biggest obstacle from getting things done is your thoughts about getting on with the task. The task doesn’t have to be hard or unpleasant for this to happen. It’s hard to say why we develop a mental block against doing certain things. Sometimes it’s a fear of failure, sometimes it’s a fear of success or the size of the task. Regardless of what’s blocking you, the best thing you can do is push aside your mental blocks and START. Tell yourself you’ll just give this task a two minutes. Most likely you’ll keep working on it past those two minutes because getting started is the hard part. However, whether you keep at it longer than two minutes or not you will have started. And when you get back to it the next day you’ll have already crossed the initial hurdle.


Don’t be swayed by the mermaid call of distractions

So many to-do lists are waylaid on the shores of distractions. Once you’re working on a task ignore your emails and the phone. Make your life a no social media zone until your task is complete.


Set goals for your list

One way to do this is to give each task a designated time slot. Rather than just writing down a list of things you want to get done in a day, give each one a time slot. Giving a task a time slot makes its completion seem more official. Set goals for yourself. By the end of the day I will have accomplished XYZ. Congratulate yourself on a job well done.


Break big tasks into smaller ones

If you are a procrastinator by nature a big task is exactly the sort of thing that will make you want to turn around and make a run for it. That’s why it’s important to break a big task down into smaller manageable pieces. Don’t think about trying to accomplish the whole thing. Think about the small section of it you are going to complete today. Every small section you complete will motivate you to keep going the next day.


Vanquish the perfectionist inside you

One of the big stopping blocks to getting things done is trying to get them done perfectly. By setting unattainable standards for yourself you’re blocking things from getting done at all. Do your best, not compared to anyone else, but compared to you and leave it at that.


Notice your thoughts

If you notice yourself giving yourself negative talk, nip it in the bud. Instead of letting yourself go on about how you will never get things done and the task is out of your ballpark, remind yourself that you’ve got this. By prioritizing and breaking big tasks into smaller ones and trusting yourself you’ve got this!

Be The Inspiring Leader That Brings Out The Best In Your Team

Be The Inspiring Leader That Brings Out The Best In Your Team

As a leader you know the success of your team is going to depend in large part on the people you have working with you. You spend a lot of time and energy finding just the right people. You don’t simply look for experience, you look for people with the right attitude, who you believe have potential, the ones you see growing with you and your team


Now the question is, how do help those people reach their potential?


Listen to them

When you give someone your complete attention, you are giving them space to express what they think and how they feel. People feel valued and want to do their best when they feel listened to. Really listening to someone isn’t simply a matter of listening to the words they say, it’s about listening with the intention of hearing the meaning of those words.


Does this person need help with some aspect of what they’re doing? Are they saying they can do more? Is something making them uncomfortable?


If you aren’t completely clear, ask questions. Listen to what they say and respond appropriately.


Give clear direction

Make sure people understand exactly what you expect from them. Never make assumptions about what they already know or what they can do. Ask them. Make it your business to know exactly what everyone you work with is capable of.


Challenging your people is great, but before you challenge someone to hit a homerun, confirm they know how to play baseball.


Once you start seeing results, ensure you praise effort not ability. A person who feels valued and encouraged will work a lot harder to do a great job than someone for whom a task comes easily.


The Fast Company article Six Habits of People Who Know How To Bring Out The Best in Others puts it this way, “As a leader, the most important part of your job isn’t your results. Your job is to inspire your employees’ results.”


Be honest

You may be really strong in certain things and less proficient in others. People will trust you if you are honest with them and in turn feel comfortable being honest with you. Instead of feeling like you need to appear to you know all the answers, let people know when you don’t. Let them know when you need help and accept it graciously when it’s offered. Trust and honesty are integral to building a strong team. Success in organizations with a strong team backbone is shared success everyone can feel proud of.


Acknowledge a job well done

When someone does good work or great work, acknowledge it. When someone feels like their efforts are noticed and appreciated they will keep doing what they’re doing and will be inspired to do even more


See the opportunity through the eyes of your team members

People are excited about doing their best when their work when it’s motivating and fulfilling. The article, Bringing Out The Best In Employees from the London Business School, mentions five characteristics employees consider important for feeling fulfilled in their work:


  • Having responsibility for doing something worthwhile
  • Being given a high level of freedom for how results are achieved
  • Having an opportunity to extend oneself and to develop expertise
  • Being given an opportunity to work with good colleagues
  • Achieving recognition for doing a good job.



Set an example

You want to inspire people to do their best. That means you need to be doing your best, day in and day out. You need to set the example for others to follow. The most long lasting, dedicated people are the ones who are inspired by possibilities. You might think you can get more out of people through intimidation or rewards, but really they will do their best when they’re inspired to do their best. Be the inspiration.

Taking Some of the Trickiness Out of Telephone Interviews

Taking Some of the Trickiness Out of Telephone Interviews

The first step to many interviews is an initial telephone interview. The tricky thing about telephone interviews is you miss all the important body language clues like facial expressions, posture, eye contact that are so crucial to reading a situation. That means you have to pay special attention to the one clue you do have. Voice.


Listen to the tone of voice

Let’s go back to lessons learned in childhood. Not the one about eat all your broccoli, the other one. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.


By listening to how the interviewer speaks, you can figure out the best way to answer back. Some people are on the energetic side, bubbling with enthusiasm, others serious and to the point, others more empathetic. As with face to face communications you want to get into groove with them. Essentially mirror their tone and attitude while answering their questions.


Serious in tone

If questions are asked in a very factual way with little preamble then you’re going to want to get right to the point and stay away from small talk. This person is not interested in talking about the weather or hearing that humorous ice breaker you’ve been saving.


Enthusiastic tone

An interview is not the time to get all laid back and relaxed like you’re talking to your best friend. However, if the person on the other end of the tone is full of energy and enthusiasm, then respond in kind and reflect all that passion right back at them in your answers.


Slow speaker

If you have a slow speaker on the other end then a speeding to the end of the finish line answer is not going to go over well. Take your time with your answers. Stay on point and don’t jump from topic to topic.


Whether the interview is in person or on the phone you want to get yourself in-sync with the interviewer. In both cases that comes from taking cues from the person either in front of you or on the other end of the line.

Sometimes The Best Thing You Can Do For Productivity is Take a Break

Sometimes The Best Thing You Can Do For Productivity is Take a Break

When we have a lot to do, deadlines pressing down on us, it feels like the best thing to do is power through and work till it’s done. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, the opposite is true. The best thing you can do to increase productivity and performance is nothing. Full break.


Ninety minutes of focus

Your attention and energy can only go for so long before things start to get muddied. Generally that time is about ninety minutes. Same as the ninety-minute dream interval your body cycles through during the night.


It’s certainly possible to keep going past the ninety minutes – most people do, but work suffers. It takes longer accomplish what you need to get done and there’s a good chance you’ll want to revise what you did later. When you come back to it with a clear head.


To see just how important breaks are, check out this illustration from Daniel Pink, detailing how restorative breaks influence test results.tests-restorative-breaks_final

Breaks improve performance

If test scores increase after taking a break, imagine the impact those breaks have day in and day on the work we’re trying to accomplish. In general eureka moments don’t happen when we’re staring at a screen trying to will one more crumb of creativity out of our brains. They happen when we put the problem aside entirely. When we go out for a walk or are thinking about something else entirely. That’s because our brains need empty space or organize and re-set. An ideal break would be twenty or thirty minutes—outside, completely away from your workspace. That’s obviously not possible, especially every ninety minutes. But it is possible to get up and move around a bit to clear your head, even if that just means to going into the lunch room for a glass of water.


Avoid the temptation to lunch at your desk

The one time you can take a full, long break during the day is during lunch. Don’t waste that time sitting at your desk. Even if you’re not actually working, you are still in that same space. Give your mind and body a rest. Get up and get out. The rest of your day will thank you for it.