Friday, 4 September 2009

Newsletter Issue 171, September 2009

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 171, September 2009

Hi guys,

Leaders need to remember to ensure their verbal message is congruent with their non-verbal message. Check out The Silent Language of Leadership below.

Stay focused on being sparing of everyone's time in order to Hold Effective Meetings

Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

The Silent Language of Leadership

Pitching your leadership message correctly is something you do have to think through; as a CEO you do not just represent yourself, but represent the organisation, so the role can be bigger than Ben Hur. Carol Kinsey Goman published this following article in the US detailing things what to watch our for as CEO, which she has kindly allowed me to share with you all.

The chief executive officer of an oil company showed up at a refinery in a designer suit and tie to discuss the firm's affairs with rank-and-file operators, electricians, and members of the warehouse staff - dressed in their blue, fire-retardant overalls. After being introduced and walking carefully to the front of the room, he removed his expensive wristwatch (let's call it a Rolex) and quite visibly placed it on the lectern. The unspoken message: "I'm a very important man, I don't like coming into dirty places like this, and I have exactly 20 minutes to spend with you."

That message was, you understand, quite different from the words he actually used to begin his comments: "I'm happy to be with you today."

Which do you think those refinery workers believed? The CEO's spoken words or what his body language said?

All leaders express enthusiasm, warmth, and confidence - as well as arrogance, indifference, and displeasure through their facial expressions, gestures, touch, and use of space. If an executive wants to be perceived as credible and forthright, they have to think "outside the speech" and recognise the importance of non-verbal communication.

When a leader stands in front of a thousand employees and talks about how much they welcome their input, the message gets derailed if that executive hides behind a lectern, or leans back away from the audience, or puts their hands behind their back, or shoves them in their pockets, or folds their arms across their chest. All of those send closed nonverbal signals - when the intended message is really about openness.

Then there is the matter of timing. If a leader's gestures are produced before or as the words come out, they appears open and candid. However, if they speak first and then gesture (as I have seen many executives do) it's perceived as a contrived movement. And at that point, the validity of whatever is said comes under suspicion.

Non-verbal communication also plays a critical role in making sure the work-force truly receives and understands key messages. If a leader is going to talk about new initiatives, major change, strategic opportunities - or if they have to deliver bad news - my advice is to do so in person. Every research report on employee communications presents one consistent conclusion: face-to-face communications is the employee's medium of choice.

This is because in face-to-face encounters, our brains process a continual cascade of non-verbal cues that we use as the basis for building trust and professional intimacy - both of which are critical to high-level collaboration, persuasion, and communication.

There is no doubt that you can gain a professional advantage by learning how to use nonverbal communication more effectively. Getting out from behind the lectern so the audience can see your entire body, fully facing the audience, making eye contact, keeping your movements relaxed and natural, standing tall, using open arm gestures, showing the palms of your hands -- all are silent signals of credibility and candour. And a good coach can help you find the gestures and facial expressions that are most congruent with the messages you want to convey.

But body language is more than a set of techniques. It is also a reflection of a person's internal state. In fact, the more someone tries to control emotions, the more likely they are to leak out nonverbally. Here's a recent example:

The corporate communicator who brought me into her company to coach an executive warned me that he was a "pretty crummy speaker."
And, after watching him at a leadership conference, I was in total agreement. It wasn't his words -- they were carefully chosen and well rehearsed. It was, rather, how he looked when he spoke. Mechanical in all his gestures, this man's body was screaming: "I'm uncomfortable and unconvinced about everything I'm saying!"
The question: Could I help? The answer: Not much. Oh sure, I could find ways to make his movements less wooden and his timing more fluid. But if a person doesn't care about (or believe in) what he is saying, his gestures will automatically become lethargic and restricted.
What the executive needed most was genuine enthusiasm and passion about the company's new strategic direction.

Because what employee audiences saw when this business leader spoke was exactly how he really felt! And, of course, learning to align body language with verbal messages is only one side of the nonverbal coin. The other side -- and here is where leaders can really set themselves apart -- is the ability to accurately read the nonverbal signals that employees and team members display.

Peter Drucker, the renowned author, professor and management consultant, understood this clearly. "The most important thing in communication," he once said, "is hearing what isn't said."

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an executive coach, author and keynote speaker who addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Her latest book and program topic is THE NONVERBAL ADVANTAGE - Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work. For more information, contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email:, or through her websites: and

Holding Effective Meetings

We all get asked to attend meetings, and then when we get there, feel that there was no reason for our presence; that we didn't really contribute enough to be worth our time away from our main role. There was no WIIFM (what's in it for me).

However, there are some simple things you can do to make any meetings you call more effective. They are:

  1. Call a meeting only after considering other options: especially question the value of regularly scheduled meetings. Pass information to others in writing instead of a meeting.
  2. Change meeting formats: Consider holding the meeting standing up, and don't provide drinks (make it feel snappy & people will treat it as being snappy). Meet in someone else's busy office, or in a high traffic area.
  3. Agenda: ensure all know of the meeting's purpose and use a written agenda. Send it and any relevant written material well before the meeting
  4. Have a FIRM start & finish time: Don't wait for late-comers, and don't recap when they arrive; they can catch up afterwards. Finish on time so everyone can get away as expected.
  5. Have the Right People there: See that only the people who need to be there are there. If applicable encourage people to attend only the parts of the meeting that concern them, and tell them when that time will be (and stick to it).
  6. Keep the meeting to the agenda: Use the agenda and don't let people introduce new ideas - that is outside the terms of this meeting. If a new idea is very important, halt this meeting & then set another one at a later time when everyone is briefed on the background for the new state of play.
  7. Minutes: Assign someone to record recommendations, decisions and actions - ie item action by who? by when? Then distribute the minutes & actions it as soon after the meeting as possible.
  8. Be focused: keep your meeting concise, constructive and on-topic. No phones! Limit verbosity.

Transposing Data in Excel

If you have an Excel spreadsheet that you are wanting to transpose the columns to your rows, it doesn't need to be a laborious effort. Excel has a handy little Transpose tool hidden in the Paste Special menu, and you use it like this:

  1. Select and copy your entire data range
  2. Click on a new location in your sheet, then go to Edit | Paste Special and tick the "Transpose" box
  3. Click OK, and Excel will transpose the column and row labels and data.

How utterly easy is that?!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • AKA, Also Known As. Meaning another name for, synonym.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys

This time we look at a list of Word shortcuts that TechRepublic republished this year (check out

  1. Word: Toggles through capitalization options. This one isn’t perfect — for instance, it insists on capitalizing articles and prepositions in Title Case mode — but it’s still a big timesaver. Shift + F3
  2. Word: Applies the Normal style. If you work with documents that are riddled with obscure and specialized styles (typically other people’s), it’s handy to turn them into Normal paragraphs on the fly. Ctrl + Shift + N
  3. Word: Copies the formatting of selected text. Once you’ve copied the format, you can press Ctrl + Shift + V to paste the formatting onto a new selection. Yeah, I know — Format Painter does this, too. But Format Painter forgets the formatting as soon as you’re finished with it. This shortcut remembers what you copied until you close out of Word. Ctrl + Shift + C / Ctrl + Shift + V
  4. Word: Toggles the display of field codes on and off. Unless you work with field shading turned on — and I don’t know many users who do — you can’t necessarily tell what’s literal text and what’s being generated by an underlying field code. A quick peek using this shortcut can prevent the headache of inexplicable changes and unwanted editing consequences. Alt + F9
  5. Word: Repeats your most recent action. This might be the all-time best shortcut (except for Undo, which I’m not including in this list because for me, at least, it’s like breathing and requires no conscious thought). The F4 shortcut will repeat nearly all the actions you take on document text: typing: formatting, deleting. It will also let you repeat the action of adding or removing table rows, but it isn’t well implemented with tables overall. For instance, changing table properties is not replicable via this shortcut. F4
  6. Word: Opens the Find And Replace dialog box with the Replace tab selected. Replace functionality is my constant companion, so this one is essential for me. Ctrl + H
  7. Word: opens to the Find tab if you just want to locate something in a document (or make sure something isn’t in there). Ctrl + F
  8. Word: Creates a copy of the text or object. Apologies to the keyboard purists, but this useful trick does require mouse action. It’s handy when you need to copy an object and control where that copy ends up. For example, a picture or other object that has certain positioning attributes may land in some unpredictable location if you use the standard copy and paste functions. This shortcut lets you drag it exactly where you want it. Just make sure you drop the text or object before you release the Ctrl key or Word will move the original instead of copying it. BONUS: If you hold down Shift along with Ctrl as you drag, Word will keep the copy aligned with the original. Ctrl + drag text or an object
  9. Word: Removes paragraph formatting that isn’t part of the style assigned to a selected paragraph. When you want to strip out manually applied formats and return to only those characteristics defined by a paragraph style, this is the quickest way to get there. Ctrl + Q
  10. Word: works the same way for character formatting. Ctrl + Spacebar
  11. Word: Applies or removes 12 points of space above the current paragraph. This sounds a little lame, but you can improve readability of selected text in about two seconds using this trick. For instance, table text is often jammed up against top borders. Select the table and hit Ctrl + 0 and you’ll get an instant improvement. Ctrl + 0 (zero)
  12. Word: Make a vertical text selection. Another keyboard/mouse hybrid, this one is obscure but useful. Some users have trouble making it work, but the problem is usually sequence. Just make sure you press Alt before you press the mouse button and drag. Then, release Alt before you release the mouse button. Alt + drag the mouse vertically

Hot Linx

For those of you tearing your hair out using Microsoft Office 2007 ribbons, the 2010 version of Office will have fully customisable ribbons. Check out the preview instructions at

If you are seeking any of those old key stroke art images for any reason, head off to and check out the range of clever little things they have available.

Do you have a passion for classical music? For a slightly different take on classical talent, check out the team of Aleksey Igudesman and Richard Hyung-ki Joo on YouTube at in an - um - recital of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive"

And following on with the Igudesman & Joo theme, check out the team's official website at where you start to wonder what they are having, and if you can have some of it too.

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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