Friday, September 16, 2016

Tip #615

Boost Your Productivity by Breaking These Four Bad Habits
By Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle 

Break these four bad habits to pump up your productivity. 
 Waking up without a morning routine.  Rushing through the morning can have negative consequences on your sense of emotional well-being and overall productivity.  Without a morning routine, it’s easy to skip important activities such as meditating, working out, and worse yet—skipping breakfast.  Starting your day off in a frenzy requires your brain to work extra hard as it’s pumped with adrenaline first thing in the morning, inevitably causing it to crash later on.  Dale Carnegie’s first Human Relations principle to overcome worry, ‘Live in “day-tight compartments,”’reminds us to resolve and follow a morning regimen. Carve out a morning ritual of what you must do before leaving for work to be your best all day long, and watch your productivity, mood and attitude soar!
 Tackling easy tasks first.  It is human nature to address the easiest of all of our day’s tasks first.  The satisfaction of crossing items off our to-do lists is all too tempting, however this approach is an ineffective way to use our brains.  Taking on the most challenging tasks early on in your day will maximize your productivity according to countless studies.  For example, as revealed in the book, The Willpower Instinct, researchers have concluded that willpower is a finite resource that steadily declines during your workday.  It’s best to tackle tough tasks early in the morning when you’re most focused.  The satisfaction and momentum from completing the more challenging tasks will also give you a feeling of accomplishment and confidence that will last all day long.
 Rapidly responding.  Yes, it’s important to be responsive, but interruptions such as instant messaging and a constant deluge of email jar our focus.  The cost of rapidly responding is vast—it takes more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted! 1  When the urge to respond to email is coupled with our psychological need to check our social media notifications, our productivity plummets.  Instead, carve out specific blocks of time when you will check email and your social media feeds.  Turn off any notifications you possibly can to ensure you stay focused on the task at hand.  Not turning notifications off means they will continue constantly interrupting you all day long, causing your productivity to crash. 
 Paying only half attention.  All of the aforementioned distractions make it practically impossible to actively listen to other people.  Dale Carnegie’s 7th Human Relations principle, ‘Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves,’ underscores the importance of paying full attention to the other person speaking.  Only listening to half of what someone has to say can cause confusion and sends the message that the other person frankly is not worthy of your undivided attention.  Instead of looking at your laptop or phone during meetings or an impromptu watercooler chat, make strong eye-contact and fully listen to the other person.  If not, it could cost you in terms of productivity—and relationships.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Tip #614

The Right Way to Say ‘No’ to Your Boss

Are you comfortable saying, “no” to your boss?  It’s important to be a team player, however if your boss continuously piles new projects on your plate, inevitably you will have to delay other work or worse yet, not complete the request at all—which will reflect poorly on you.
The ability to say “no” is a skill many employees need, but few foster. Following these three steps will spare you from wasted time and potential pain.
Hear your boss out.  Dale Carnegie’s 13th Human Relations principle is,‘Begin in a friendly way.’  The first step to saying “no” without actually saying it is to validate the request.  An affirmation such as, “I understand why this is a high priority,” shows that you are listening without actually accepting the request—yet.  There could be someone to whom you can delegate the task or perhaps accepting the request may enable you to assign something else on your plate to someone else to allow you time to complete the new request.  Consider all of the possibilities before you immediately push-back.
Dig deep for the details.   Dale Carnegie’s 17th principle is, ‘Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.’  Your boss needs help, otherwise the request would not have been made.  Perhaps the requested task is part of an overall company high-visibility project that you may actually feel honored to work on.  Before you become flustered, ask clarifying questions to understand the timing and level of detail so you can ascertain exactly how much time the task will take and if there is anyone to whom you can delegate all or a portion of the task. 
The answers to these questions serve as inputs to your response.  For example, you may need to politely push back by asking for more time to complete the request or to request for help with one of your other responsibilities. By understanding your boss’s perspective, you’ll be able to confidently frame your response, even if it’s solely to ask for the afternoon to think about it.  Unless the request is super urgent, your boss will most likely grant you time to evaluate.
Propose a viable solution.  If you are leaning towards, “no,” develop a list of possible solutions to the challenge. There may be other team members who desire to grow their careers that would jump at the chance to work on the project.  There could be an opportunity to postpone the request based on information to which you may be privy, but your boss is not.  Maybe someone on your team has performed a similar task in the past and could complete it in half of the time that you would.  List your options, ferret out the details and conclude which one or two options are the best recommendation to make to your boss.  Your proposed solution will show that you have thoroughly and respectfully considered your boss’s request, and that you seek a win-win solution without saying, “NO.”
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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tip #613

Labor Day Lessons—The Residual Impacts of Employee Recognition

As leaders and organizations seek strategies to attract and retain top talent, many overlook one of the most basic and easily executed strategies—employee recognition.  Shockingly, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days according to a recent Gallup poll.
It only takes a little to give A LOT.  Employee recognition is free and easy, yet employees are rarely ever praised.  Think about how you felt the last time someone recognized you for a job well done; amazing, right?  Recognizing even the smallest successful step, for example, an employee who finally wrote a stellar report summary, pays major dividends for such little investment of time and resources.  Dale Carnegie said, “Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving.”  No matter how big or small of an achievement, be sure to praise employees and encourage others to do the same. 
Positive feedback pays out beyond the workplace.  A study conducted by the Harvard Business School concluded that hearing positive feedback makes employees more productive and happy, and helps to reduce their stress levels. When employees are happier at work, they are happier at home.  From the study of positive psychology, we can glean that this ‘broaden-and-build theory’ of positive emotions means that the receipt of positive emotions broaden a person’s awareness level and encourages exploratory thoughts and actions. As time passes, this broadened behavioral method builds skills and resources. 
Praise strengthens relationships.  Switch gears and consider the person giving positive feedback versus receiving it.  Not only does it feel good to commend others, but doing so demonstrates that the person actually pays attention to what the employee does and has therefore witnessed performance worthy of praise.  This is one of our most basic psychological needs—the need for others to see and recognize the good in us.  Praising others is therefore a win-win strategy.
One statement of praise can last a lifetime.  If you excelled in an extracurricular activity during your school years, odds are you still have award ribbons, trophies, certificates of recognition, etc. stored somewhere.  It is human nature to want to remember these prized moments of achievement, no matter how old we are.  You can have a similar impact on another person!  Something you say or an award you present to an employee may positively impact them for the rest of their lives.  I still have cards, certificates and medals from both my school and early career days which I refer to when I feel discouraged.
Dale Carnegie said, “Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other man’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise, and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime – repeat them years after you have forgotten them.” 
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Monday, August 29, 2016

eTip #612 The Four R's of an Olympian Mindset

The Four R’s of an Olympian Mindset



The 2016 Summer Olympics are a reminder that the ability to bounce back from setbacks is a key characteristic of top performers.  Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”   Here are four R’s of an Olympian mindset worth adopting.
Right work ethic- Many people approach their professional roles with a ‘good enough’ attitude wherein as long as they are completing the majority of their responsibilities on a regular basis, they are satisfied.  Some employees believe that should they go above and beyond their regular roles, they should be compensated for each action.  This belief system is the exact opposite of the Olympian mindset.  Dale Carnegie’s 19th Human Relations principle, ‘Appeal to nobler motives,’ implores people to strive to be their very best—to do even more than what is asked by anticipating needs both internal and external to the organization, and delivering accordingly.  Olympians don’t have to be asked to go above and beyond because doing so is inherent to their belief system.  How can you step up your game in the workplace?
Rely on top performers- Young athletes leave their homes to train with top performers.  They understand that isolating themselves among world-class athletes will enable them to improve their focus and performance. Olympic training is draining.  These stellar athletes rely on their teammates for emotional support during the peaks and valleys of both training and competing.  When you are unable to perform to the best of your ability, do you ask for help?  Is there someone on your team in whom you can confide or a top performer who could possibly mentor you to achieve your ultimate potential?
Responsive to coaching- Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, offers insights for effectively managing criticism.  Mr. Carnegie said, “Analyze your own mistakes and criticize yourself,” which concurs with the Olympian mindset.  Top athletes rely on criticism from coaches, experts and teammates to improve their game.  Instead of being discouraged by criticism, they are eager to hear it.  Olympians understand that feedback is intellectual capital—expertise they use to excel.  When someone offers you constructive criticism, are you open to it?  How can you use feedback to improve your performance? 
Rest and recovery- Unlike most American employees, Olympians consider breaks mandatory.  Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal.  Without a break, our brains are unable to maintain a high level of productivity.  Only when we rest and return to the task at hand can we approach it with renewed and laser-sharp focus.  Olympians rest during and in between training.  Equally important, when they experience set-backs, they rely on their support teams to help them recover and rebound.  If you don’t step away from your desk for lunch or a quick walk, you are undermining your mind’s ability to optimize throughout the workday.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tip #611 Leaders Must Encourage Employees to Grow or They’ll Go

When Gallup asked employees who were considering a career change or had recently switched employers to rate particular factors that influenced their decisions, the results were a bit surprising.  Most employers assume that the primary motivator for a career change is increased income, however as the results show, other factors are more important.  According to the study:
For workers who had switched jobs in the past three months, increased income ranked as the third influencer.
The number one reason for seeking a new job was because workers want to do what they do best.
Employees who have worked at a company for less than three years, compared to those employed with a company for ten or more years, strongly agreed that they were given opportunities to learn and grow. They also shared that someone had discussed their progress with them and encouraged their development, compared to workers employed for ten or more years.
The impacts of low retention are systemic and costly. In fact, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary to procure their replacement.  This means that an employee with an annual salary of $60,000 will cost the organization between $30,000 and $45,000 to hire and train a qualified replacement.  Other research conducted by the Center for America Progress revealed that losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to a whopping 213% of the salary for a highly trained position.
Stellar leadership is the key to retaining employees.  When employees feel comfortable discussing their progress and are encouraged to grow by their managers, they will thrive versus simply survive until the next job opportunity comes along.  Unfortunately, many managers are so busy micromanaging employees, they often forget to praise them for a job well done.
Dale Carnegie’s 27th leadership principle is, ‘Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.’ He also said, Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”  Praising employees demonstrates appreciation and respect, and helps foster feelings of ambition and competence.  According to another Gallup study, employees who have supervisors that care about them, e.g. discuss their career progress, encourage development, and provide opportunities to learn and grow—have, “lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, and better customer loyalty than work groups in which employees report that these developmental elements are scarce.”
’Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person,’ is Dale Carnegie’s 24th leadership principle. Reinforcing trust and respect before offering negative feedback will soften the blow while still instilling the correction(s) that must be made.  Providing constructive criticism is never easy no matter how long a leader has managed employees—unless the leader has acquired strong leadership skills. 
If you recognize the need for improved leadership skills personally or within your organization, check out the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tip #610- Four Reasons Your Brain Wants You to Book a Vacation

If you’ve ever driven a vehicle to your vacation destination, at some point, you had to refill its tank.  Likewise, if you don’t refuel, you will come to a complete stop.  The same can be said for your brain—if you don’t take a vacation, eventually you will deplete your brain’s reserve pool of power.  Dale Carnegie’s third principle for How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is, ‘Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health.’
Here are four reasons your brain wants you to book a vacation before the end of the year.
Your brain requires time off to help you reboot your concentration and satisfaction.  77% of HR professionals believe that employees who use most or all of their vacation time are actually more productive on average than those who don’t. Moreover, in a 2006 Ernst and Young study, researchers found that every ten hours of time off resulted in an 8% increase in performance reviews for the following year.   
Dale Carnegie’s first principle for Cultivating a Mental Attitude that will Bring You Peace and Happiness is, ‘Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.’  It’s impossible to fill our brains with hope and peace when constantly working.  We must literally unplug from our professional roles to allow our brains to recharge because our mental reserve pool of power is finite.
Use or lose your vacation time—and your mind!  According to the U.S. Travel Association, workers typically fail to take even five vacation days a year.  In another study, 57% of workers had unused vacation time at the end of the year.  Another Dale Carnegie principle is, ‘Try to profit from your losses.’  If you’re guilty of leaving vacation days on the table in previous years, set a goal to use most of them by the end of this year.  Plan a vacation even if it’s a ‘staycation,’ so you can return to work rejuvenated and refreshed. 
Brain performance improves when it is not tackling tasks because it can focus on connecting current ideas with previously acquired knowledge.  Whether your role is in sales, customer service or even focused on serving internal customers within an organization, the ability to problem solve is critical.  Taking a break enables our brains to disconnect from the day-to-day to reconnect current and prior knowledge.  This enables our brains to consider both the macro and micro perspective of challenges, thereby making it easier to problem solve.
New skills are more easily acquired when your brain is completely relaxed.  In 2009, experiments conducted by the Harvard Medical School proved that a relaxed brain consolidates power making it easier to memorize new skills learned the week before.  A relaxed brain is also better able to stimulate creativity and help generate new ideas. 
The next time you worry about whether or not you can afford to take a vacation, ask yourself if your brain can avoid not to take one.
By Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tip #609- Four Ways to Conjure Confidence

Do you wish you felt more confident when speaking one-on-one or to a large group of people? If so, you aren't alone. According to the Wall Street journal, public speaking is the #1 fear in America.

Graduates of the Dale Carnegie Course for Effective Communications and Human Relations Skills for Success report that they are much more confident after learning the tools taught in the course-especially because they are able to practice and apply them in eight successive weeks.

Here are four easy ways to begin developing your confidence from this effective course taught in 85 countries around the world.
  1. 'Smile,' is Mr. Carnegie's fifth Human Relations principle. It sounds so simple, yet smiling at another person is so very effective. In his best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he said, "Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, 'I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you." Smiling at another person assumes you are making direct eye contact which is critical to invoking confidence. Retaining eye contact while smiling shows you are paying attention to the other person, which simultaneously raises their confidence in you. Some studies have concluded that making eye contact enables you to appear more trustworthy and decisive as well. Whether speaking to an individual or in a group, be sure to smile and make solid eye contact.
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Tip #608- Three Healthy Ways to Handle Stress

There is hope for insomniacs and the super stressed thanks to the mental health movement called positive psychology.  Proponents of this movement contend that the stress itself is not the culprit of ill effects such as insomnia, but how people think about it and their resulting reactions.  Dale Carnegie said, “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”  Psychiatrist and director of the Pediatric Psychiatric Clinic at the University of Vermont Medical Center, David Rettew, M.D. concurs having stated, “How you think about a situation can drive how you behave, and even how the body responds.”
Here are three healthy ways to handle stress.
  1. Choose wisdom over worry. It’s been said that worry is like reverse prayer.  Instead of hoping for the best outcome, we dive into the realm of everything that could go wrong.  Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principle, ‘Break the worry habit before it breaks you,’ underscores the negative consequences of stress—both physiologically and psychologically.
People who suffer from insomnia often lament that they were, “up all night running through every scenario in their heads.”  The universe is full of infinite possibilities and considering all of them will take much longer than one night!  If you choose to worry, you are deliberately increasing stress.  Instead, repeat what your ideal scenario for any situation would be softly to yourself and imagine yourself in the picture of the outcome you have painted.  Focusing on the positive—your preferred outcome will thwart worry and the act of repetition will help you fall asleep.
  1. Cooperate with the inevitable. After conducting research on a million employees, TalentSmart found that 90% of the top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.  If you miss a work-out, instead of beating yourself up about it, accept it and move on with your day.  If not, the likelihood you’ll miss another work-out skyrockets.  Stuff happens to everyone, however the difference between successful and stressful people is whether or not they are adept at managing their emotions.
  1. Pass up pity parties.  Misery loves company so it’s natural to share struggles with co-workers, friends and family.  It’s quite common to wallow in worry around the proverbial water cooler, however this behavior only amplifies stress.  As each participant presents her plight, the sense of overall stress soars.  Dale Carnegie’s first Human Relations principle is, ‘Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.’ If you find it too difficult to avoid commiserating with malcontents, ask the complainer how they plan to solve the problem or help brainstorm paths to resolution instead of feeding into the negative frenzy. 
Instead, stress solo.  Talk a walk alone; do some breathing exercises or take a break with a co-worker without focusing on what’s going wrong.  Allow your mind to recalibrate by doing soothing activities instead of sadistic ones.
By Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tip #607- Four Resume Tips to Land the Job Interview

Last week, Gallup reported that U.S. job creation held steady at an eight-year high in June. The Job Creation index score remains at its high of +33. 
 The score represents 44% of employees who say that their employer is hiring employees and expanding the size of its workforce. More good news-Gallup also reported that its U.S. Jobs Rate was the highest in June at 46% after six years of measurement. This rate is a half percentage higher than June of 2015 from which one can glean that an underlying increase in full-time work beyond changes in seasonal employment.
An uptick in hiring could result in an increase in job opportunities for you. Here are four tips to follow when updating your resume to help reel in the response you want from recruiters.
1.     Make it shine. Dale Carnegie’s third Human Relations principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ reminds us to entice the person qualifying us for a job interview opportunity. This means that instead of using verbose language, keep it simple and succinct when describing the responsibilities of each of your professional roles. It is absolutely critical that your resume be free of all grammar and spelling mistakes because the perception is, “If this candidate’s resume is sloppy, I can’t imagine what her work product is like!” Be sure to have a mentor or friend with strong English skills review your resume to ensure it is seamless, spelled correctly and free of grammar mistakes.
2.     Forgo funky fonts. Dale Carnegie said, “There is only one way… to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” If your resume is difficult to read, it deters the hiring manager from thorough review. The easier it is to read and understand—for example using sans serif fonts and bullets; bolding job titles to divide sections, etc. the more likely the person reviewing it will allow ample consideration of your prospective candidacy.
3.     Use a professional email address. Dale Carnegie’s 19th Human Relations principle is, ‘Appeal to nobler motives.’ You can pump up others’ professional perception of you by making minor modifications such as using a professional, non-derogatory email address. For example, may send the wrong message to the hiring manager. Create a new email address specific for job searching if you currently use an unprofessional one.
4.     Fill in the gaps. Recruiters question unexplained gaps within the resume’s timeline. If you have a gap of four or more months between jobs, they may assume you were actively hunting, but no one wanted to hire you—so why should they? Use the gaps as an opportunity to show how you used the time. For example, taking a sabbatical; volunteering for worthy causes such as missionary work; traveling; attending courses and pursuing personal projects are great gap-fillers. They show interests and causes that are important to you, and send a message that you have attained a healthy work-life balance.

By: Liz Scavnicky-Yaekie

Tip #606- Three Stellar Service Steps from Sailing the Seas

Despite dozens of deranged cruise ship stories—from crashing into a giant rock to dozens of onboard illnesses, millions of Americans continue to cruise.  In fact, the number of passengers carried by the cruise industry has grown year-on-year and is expected to exceed 24 million in 2018.  If you’ve cruised before, you most likely have experienced stellar service and as long as you weren’t seasick, plan to cruise again.
If you’ve never cruised, or it’s been a while, here are three simple service tips from cruising you can use to exceed your clients’ expectations. 
‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ which is Dale Carnegie’s third Human Relations principle. From the second you board a cruise ship, you are enticed with a plethora of food and drinks; activities abound before the ship even sets sail and a teeming itinerary with fabulous places to see and things to do. Each person with whom you come into contact isexcited to see you!  The entire staff and crew understand that they are there to serve, and are eager to do so.
When you meet with an existing customer or new prospect, are you excited to see them?  Instead of being inwardly nervous, set your sight on the person in front of you.  Asking questions and speaking with enthusiasm will enable you to arouse in them an eager want.
‘Smile,’ is Mr. Carnegie’s fifth Human Relations principle, because it says, “I’m happy to see you.  Things are under control.  I care about you.”  On a cruise ship, everyone from the housekeeping attendant to your super server usually smiles.  Even when a guest is continuously disgruntled—as was the case on my last European River cruise, the waiter in this case resumed his smile after listening to the umpteenth complaint and offering another satisfying solution.  Sometimes it feels unnatural to smile when you are frustrated, but the result of smiling is worth the little investment of two lips and one, strong positive attitude. 
Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”  No matter what happens, remember that challenging customers are not a problem.  Rather, they present an opportunity for you to problem-solve, smile and learn!
‘Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language,’ the 6th principle.  Why should the hospitality industry be one of the few in which it is common to hear a salutation with our names?  Hearing our names makes us feel important because it means the other person took the time to first learn and remember them.  If you struggle with remembering names, there is a simple formula for remembering names taught in the Dale Carnegie Course for Effective Communications and Human Relations Skills—along with a boatload of other stellar customer service and sales tips.
By: Liz Scavnicky-Yaekie