Were you really listening? Things you don’t hear, but should.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

How many times have you caught yourself half listening to the person you are speaking to? We are all guilty of this, but should be working on becoming better listeners with every conversation we are engaged in. Have you ever considered how much information you might be missing when you are only semi listening? When you are actively listening and fully engaged in the conversation, you will be amazed at how much satisfaction you can gain from the conversation.

A friend of mine told me a heartwarming story last week about a conversation he had with one of his patients a few years ago. The woman was receiving physical therapy to relieve chronic pain she was experiencing, and she was in the final stage of her life. Despite the pain she was in, she was the type of person who was always thinking of others, especially her family. During one of her sessions with my friend, she conversationally revealed a wish she had for her son to be fulfilled. Her son had been a hockey player all his life, and when he went through a divorce, his ex-wife got rid of all of his hockey equipment. He was a goalie, so the hockey equipment was very expensive. Playing hockey brought joy to his life, but when his equipment had been given away, he stopped playing the game and became very sad.

The woman passed away, but my friend remembered her story because he was actively engaged and listening to her. Within a year of her death, my friend who is also a hockey player, remembered his clients dying wish of having her son getting back into playing hockey again. My friend never forgot this conversation and thought about how he could do something about what he had heard. He ended up obtaining some used goalie hockey equipment and put it into a bag. He then found out where the son of the woman lived, and one day he showed up on his front doorstep with a bag full of goalie hockey equipment. The son could not believe a total stranger had done this for him, and was overwhelmed with emotion. My friend and this total stranger became very close friends. This friendship developed out of my friend’s ability to truly listen, and to go beyond listening and compassionately and actively do something with the information he heard. Since the day the man received the goalie equipment, he has been playing and enjoying his love of hockey once again.

What if there were more people like my friend who really listened and followed through with what they heard? We all have the capacity to do this, and do this well. In the business world and numerous other industries, it is imperative to our success we become skilled listeners. Although it may seem like an easy thing to do, listening and doing it well takes practice and dedication. We live in a world of constant distraction, and endless interruptions, so having focused conversations can be challenging. However, being focused during your conversation is imperative, and when you are, the end results can be as rewarding as the story about my friend and the stranger he gave the goalie hockey equipment to.

One trick I utilize when I am listening to people is to take notes. It is not always possible to do this, but when I can do it, being able to refer back to my notes from the conversation is remarkable, as it allows me to think through what was being said from a different dimension, and most times to come up with a better outcome or result from the conversation. Most business or conversations in general are a way to convey information, and often a way to figure out a solution to either a problem or a challenge the person is having. All of us have the ability to solve challenges, and we can solve them much better if we are actively engaged in the conversation. So, the next time you are in a conversation, take a moment to consider whether you are fully listening. If you are not, refocus your attention and know that when you do this, each party in the conversation will significantly benefit from the engagement.

This article is dedicated to Doug Kennedy.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

 

Articulating Your Value Proposition. Yes, You Have One.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

No matter who you are, what industry you work in, or if you are starting out in your career, or have worked in your respective line of work for more than twenty years, everyone should be able to articulate their Value Proposition. Another common term associated with this is called “Elevator Pitch”. Both can be utilized personally or professionally, and in the interest of this blog, I am focusing on the development of your personal Value Proposition, and why you should create one.

The first reason you should create one is to be able to verbally showcase your talents when anyone asks, so “What do you do?” Even if they are not entirely interested in hearing what you have to say, or are simply asking to be polite, you never know if what you are conveying to the person you are speaking with might be giving you an opportunity personally or professionally you never imagined. For example, let’s say you are at your friend’s graduation party and are speaking with another guest. The two of you have at least one person in common; the graduate, and the person you are speaking with happens to be at a “hot” start-up who is hiring 100 people this year. After hearing your “Value Proposition”, the other guest asks if you are interested in learning more about the company they are working at, as your background sounded perfectly aligned to several of the open positions they are trying to fill. This type of interaction happens all of the time, but too often, people are not prepared to take advantage of the opportunity because they have not created their Value Proposition to share with others.

The second reason to create your personal Value Proposition is to be able to readily converse with others on a general conversation topic relating to how you spend your time and energy. Granted you might not be doing exactly your dream job right now, but perhaps you are working towards developing the skills to go after your ideal career role? Your personal Value Proposition would revolve around describing this, and the people you meet might in fact be able to help you get one step closer to your ideal dream job or the company you desire to work at. People in general like to help other people, especially when they come across as being open to assistance, and the desire to meet and network with others who can potentially help them pursue the new direction they working towards going.

The final reason to craft your personal Value Proposition is to share with others your own story and journey related to where you are personally or professionally. One of my blog articles titled “Are You Curious Enough?”,  poses this question. By nature, most people are curious, but some are more than others, and even if the person you are speaking with is only mildly curious, they will still be interested in hearing your Value Proposition. Think of your Value Proposition also as a way to establish a personal connection with the person you are conversing with, and by all means, make sure you ask them to tell you about their personal Value Proposition, but you do not have to refer to it using these works. As a matter of fact, I do not recommend it. Instead, simply ask them how they spend their time and energy, or what keeps their interest and attention during the day. You might be pleasantly surprised by what they tell you.

Since you now know why you should have your own Value Proposition, here is a link to a document, I found which will provide you with the structure needed to get started on developing and crafting your Value Proposition. I promise you this document will navigate you easily via the process of crafting your Value Proposition, and offer details which will result in the development of your personal Value Proposition. After you have crafted your Value Proposition, I would love to read it, so please share it with me at kathymurphy@me.com . I’ll be happy to reciprocate.

This blog is dedicated to anyone who has already developed their personal Value Proposition, and also to those who are inspired to create their own Value Proposition after reading this article.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Persistence is a Super Power. Got it?

 

A quality I have often admired in others is their persistence, and their ability to apply their persistence and focus both at work, and outside of work. People who are persistent seemingly have a plan, and they typically execute on the plan and get results. Do you know someone like this? Is this one of your “super power” traits, or do you wish you were more persistent?

Perhaps being a persistent type of person is an innate quality, or is it one which can be developed? It is also possible to perhaps be more persistent is some situations than others, as you could be more motivated to persist towards a particular goal (e.g., getting in shape for the summer, going after a promotion at work, organizing and cleaning your home for a party you are having this weekend). Naturally I did some research on whether there was an approach anyone could take to become more persistent, and of course, I found a wealth of examples on how to do so. The article I liked best was written by Lou Macabasco and is called 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent. As the article is titled, it provides you with a simple breakdown of steps you can take to become more persistent. The benefits of becoming a more persistent person certainly outweigh any negative consequences, and anyone who knows me, knows this for a fact, as I practice being focused and persistent every day.

One of my future blog articles which ties well into the topic of persistence will be focused on thinking through the process of plotting your career strategy and mapping it out. The other part of this article will focus on having an “end game, and goals to work towards.” By leveraging the six steps involved with how to become more persistent, you can develop the framework or foundation for your future career goals. A long-time and close friend of mine, Carol Agranat is a professional career coach at Career Mapping Solutions, and I guarantee you she works with all her clients on first developing what her clients “end game”, or goal is for the type of career they desire to have. In my opinion, the most interesting part of Carol’s job is that she works with people who are on the entire career spectrum (e.g., recent college graduates, mid-career professionals and people who want to switch careers or re-enter into the work force). The common thread for all of her clients is their desire to move onto the next level of their career, and doing this will require them to be persistent in their pursuit of doing so.

Although I have not confirmed this, I can imagine the most satisfying part of Carol’s job is helping people create a pathway towards their professional goals, and seeing them achieve them. Having been a lacrosse player and lacrosse coach for a number of years, as well as a professional motivational coach for executives as well as people at various stages of their career, there is almost nothing more gratifying in helping someone else or a team achieve what they may not have thought was possible. One of my secrets in helping people to achieve what they set out to achieve, is working with them to have them believe they can accomplish their goal or goals. By breaking down the steps of reaching their goals, similar to the steps outlined in the article 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent, I know for a fact achieving what you set out to achieve is entirely possible. If you do not believe in yourself, find someone who does, as they can make all the difference in your life in helping you to be persistent to get you to where you want to be either professionally or personally.

This blog is dedicated to Carol Agranat who I have known for well over 30 years, and who is one of the most courageous and genuinely passionate people about helping others to succeed. Thank you for your friendship Carol, and may you continue to do amazingly work with others.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Are You Curious Enough?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Last week a friend of mine told me about a young man who passed away on March 28, 2017. He had been battling addiction for many years. When I attended his wake yesterday, his entire family told me they were happy he was finally at peace. Anyone who has ever suffered from an illness, or been witness to someone else who has, understands the concept of “peace” better than most. Thinking more about this concept lead me to explore the topic of “curiosity”, as I wanted to better understand the true meaning of peace. There are a number of interpretations of the word peace. As a noun, the definition states it means “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility”. I believe this is the meaning this young man’s family embraced to express how their feeling about an extraordinary sad occasion in their life. I also imagine this word and concept helped them to come to terms with the situation based on this meaning.

On a lighter note, thank goodness for the internet and the ease of being able to research information, especially since I have always been curious about many topics. Pre-internet, the challenge to do research took far more effort, and the results of my research did not always satisfy my quest to go layers deep into exploring a topic. Given the fact I am by nature a curious person, I have often wondered if most people are as well? To set the stage on the meaning of Curiosity, according to Wikipedia’s definition “Curiosity is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in humans and other animals.”

Others would likely agree there are varying degrees of curiosity, and times in our lives when we have the opportunity to be more curious. The American proverb “curiosity killed the cat” is a negative connotation of curiosity, and since my last blog article was on “Positivity”, you know where I stand in terms of whether I support this proverb. Of course, upon researching if there was a follow-up to this statement, I found out via Wikipedia that “A less frequently-seen rejoiner to ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, is “but satisfaction brought it back”. This must be why I pursue my curiosity quest on a daily basis, as finding out more information about a topic is highly satisfying.

Regardless of who you are, being a curious person has amazing advantages, particularly from a learning perspective, and I love to learn new things all the time. The challenge of researching topics I am curious about is always a fascinating process, and I am thoroughly amazed each time about what I learn. Is it possible to be too curious? I do not think it is, and my belief is when I stop being curious, my life will not be as rich in the diversity from what I learn as a result of being curious. There are numerous other advantages to being curious, as is it does not matter what gender you are, your age, your educational background, where you live, or what access you have to information.

As a business person, doing research is an integral and on-going process, as it is critical to learn as much about the industry I am in, the target markets I am pursuing, the competition and global or local events which might have an impact on my business, or the products and services I am marketing. Thankfully doing research, fueled by my curiosity makes it a pleasurable aspect to my daily activities. However, I cannot imagine if I did not have the drive to be curious every day. Are you curious enough, or does it matter whether or not you are?

This blog is in memory of Torin Michael Lekan of Chelmsford, Massachusetts who passed away at the age of 32. To honor his memory, his family asked people to please help a friend in need.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.