It’s foggy and cool around my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. That means it’s August and Labor Day is just around the corner.

Which has got me to thinking about what’s next. Where will I choose to put my energy? What’s important now? How will this inform my primary focus for the remainder of 2017? There are many options and realistically only so much time and energy.

How about you? How is the last stretch of 2017 sitting with you? Is there work to complete, work to generate, or are you already looking forward and planning for 2018?

Here are some DIY coaching questions to help you consider what’s next for you in 2017:

Clarity
This is my favorite place to start, with my clients and for myself:

  • What’s top of mind for you right now?
  • What options are you considering?
  • What’s not yet clear?
  • What’s getting in the way of seeing clearly?
  • What, if anything, are you avoiding?

Work-Life Integration
This is a good place to turn next next, looking at work, home/family, community, personal well-being and health:

  • What needs your attention most?
  • What causes your stress levels to rise?
  • What can you dial up, or dial down, in terms of your health and well-being?
  • What do you need to say ‘no’ to, at least for now?
  • How can you be more supported as you move forward?

Presence
Here, we’re looking at authority, emotional resilience, confidence, sincerity, and also at external factors like body language, tone of voice and how you’re dressed.

  • How are you showing up now in your work?
  • What changes do you want to make?
  • Who are the professionals that will help you in your transition?
  • What do you need to start doing, or stop doing, to keep you on track?
  • How will you handle the predictable distractions and bumps in the road?

Action
Finally, we’re focused on moving forward:

  • What’s a useful next step?
  • What’s an even smaller next step, towards that next step?
  • What will be the signs that you are moving forward?
  • How can you create good habits?
  • What will help you persevere and keep up your momentum when the challenges hit?’
  • How will you celebrate your success?

Here’s how I walked myself through this exercise today:

Clarity–I’m sitting with competing priorities. But, as I sink into this question I am being pulled in one direction more than the other.

Work-Life Integration–I need more energy to propel me through to the end of 2017. I know what works for me in terms of exercise, rest and intake. It’s time to put this front and center to create a stronger foundation.

Presence–I will pay more attention to how I can roll with the punches when things get stressful.

Action–I need to create structure, a specific project outline and then a plan. Executing is less challenging for me once I’m well set up.

If you’re ready to dig into the rest of your calendar year drop me a line! There are many ways for the team at Business Presence, LLC to partner with you to ensure you end the year fulfilled– from career, business and leadership coaching, to media training, image consulting and headshots. Contact us today for a complimentary Discovery session!

 

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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The Value of the Pause

Why is it that once we get started speaking or presenting, we don’t know when to stop or how to pause? Because we’re afraid we might forget what we’re saying or that the audience will think we’ve lost our place. But pausing actually helps us listen. Constant sound makes us tune out. So if you want to make someone listen to you? Stop talking!

Here are 3 good reasons to use the pause:

  • A short pause–a half second or second–jerks the rhythm and can help the speaker stay focused on content.
  • Pauses helps the listener or audience keep up with the content so we stay interested.
  • Just listen to any great music and you’ll notice that it stops and starts. It’s in the pauses that we listen most acutely. Speaking is the same. We need to pause to be effective. But when we’re nervous or even just excited, we can tend to do what I call ‘motoring,’ which is when we rattle off the content without finessing the pacing. Learning to finesse the pacing adds to your brand as a powerful presenter.

In working with a Business Presence client recently, I actually had to say “stop” and “start” to inhibit the ‘motoring.’ It forced the client to take a breath and think of the next beat, or idea. While it felt unnatural at the time, when the client listened back to herself she realized the actual pause wasn’t that long and how it would help keep her audience engaged.

So practice putting pauses in your presentations so we can pay attention and enjoy what you’re saying.

This post was created by Screen Presence voice and presentation coach Marilyn Pittman

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Why is it that once we get started speaking or presenting, we don’t know when to stop or how to pause? Because we’re afraid we might forget what we’re saying or that the audience will think we’ve lost our place. But pausing actually helps us listen. Constant sound makes us tune out. So if you want to make someone listen to you? Stop talking!

Here are 3 good reasons to use the pause:

  • A short pause–a half second or second–jerks the rhythm and can help the speaker stay focused on content.
  • Pauses helps the listener or audience keep up with the content so we stay interested.
  • Just listen to any great music and you’ll notice that it stops and starts. It’s in the pauses that we listen most acutely. Speaking is the same. We need to pause to be effective. But when we’re nervous or even just excited, we can tend to do what I call ‘motoring,’ which is when we rattle off the content without finessing the pacing. Learning to finesse the pacing adds to your brand as a powerful presenter.

In working with a Business Presence client recently, I actually had to say “stop” and “start” to inhibit the ‘motoring.’ It forced the client to take a breath and think of the next beat, or idea. While it felt unnatural at the time, when the client listened back to herself she realized the actual pause wasn’t that long and how it would help keep her audience engaged.

So practice putting pauses in your presentations so we can pay attention and enjoy what you’re saying.

This post was created by Screen Presence voice and presentation coach Marilyn Pittman

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What’s the Right Image of You?

When you hire a photographer to take a picture of you for your website or your social media profile it’s easy to imagine that you’ll show up looking your best and the photographer will do the rest. That’s one approach, and you may get the result you’re looking for, especially if you’ve chosen a photographer for a specific shooting style.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be working with a photographer who has come recommended but you know little about, figure out what you really like for a self portrait so that you can communicate your preferences in advance.

Take a look at photographs of other people on their company websites or on LinkedIn and consider the following:

  • Do you prefer images that are shot within a professional environment or those taken in nature?
  • Do you respond to naturalistic photographs or do posed images do more for you?
  • Do you like images with blown out or abstract backgrounds, or do sharper backdrops appeal more?
  • Do standing or sitting poses speak to you?

It’s possible to pick and chose. You may be a company owner who prefers a standing, posed image taken on a beach with a soft background. Or you may be an executive who relates to professional looking images taken under studio lights with abstract backgrounds.

Take a look around and observe what you’re drawn to. This will inform the conversation you’ll have with your photographer about the location for the shoot. “People are more particular about what they like and don’t like than they want to believe,” says Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the content for this post

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When you hire a photographer to take a picture of you for your website or your social media profile it’s easy to imagine that you’ll show up looking your best and the photographer will do the rest. That’s one approach, and you may get the result you’re looking for, especially if you’ve chosen a photographer for a specific shooting style.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be working with a photographer who has come recommended but you know little about, figure out what you really like for a self portrait so that you can communicate your preferences in advance.

Take a look at photographs of other people on their company websites or on LinkedIn and consider the following:

  • Do you prefer images that are shot within a professional environment or those taken in nature?
  • Do you respond to naturalistic photographs or do posed images do more for you?
  • Do you like images with blown out or abstract backgrounds, or do sharper backdrops appeal more?
  • Do standing or sitting poses speak to you?

It’s possible to pick and chose. You may be a company owner who prefers a standing, posed image taken on a beach with a soft background. Or you may be an executive who relates to professional looking images taken under studio lights with abstract backgrounds.

Take a look around and observe what you’re drawn to. This will inform the conversation you’ll have with your photographer about the location for the shoot. “People are more particular about what they like and don’t like than they want to believe,” says Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the content for this post

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What does your profile pic say about you?

If a professional photographer is responsible for the images of you used on your social media profiles, that was probably a smart move. You’re also in a tiny minority. Most people find a photo taken of them by a friend, family member, or even a smartphone “selfie” shot that they don’t absolutely hate, and use that image.  Others might go for something arty or mysterious, but it may not be eliciting the intended response.

Here are some tips for improving your social media profile images:

  • Don’t use the same image for all your social media profiles.  As we know, the intended purpose for LinkedIn is different than Facebook or Twitter, and your image should reflect this fact.  For example, your LinkedIn photo should look professional. Does it?
  • Review your pic and ask yourself what it says about you. Your image will dictate how people are going to perceive you. If you’re not sure what the image projects, ask a friend for feedback.
  • Change your profile image regularly. If you haven’t changed your profile pic since you first signed up for a service, now might be a good time. Actively updating your images keeps you interesting. On LinkedIn it will also trigger a post saying, “Kate has a new photo” – so it might be worth doing just for the incoming compliments!

Most profile pics could do with some image editing help, such as brightening, cropping and color correcting.  Rules of thumb include being able to see your eyes and avoiding the bobblehead look by including at least your shoulders. So, if you’re not ready for a new image you might start by re-working the one you already have.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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If a professional photographer is responsible for the images of you used on your social media profiles, that was probably a smart move. You’re also in a tiny minority. Most people find a photo taken of them by a friend, family member, or even a smartphone “selfie” shot that they don’t absolutely hate, and use that image.  Others might go for something arty or mysterious, but it may not be eliciting the intended response.

Here are some tips for improving your social media profile images:

  • Don’t use the same image for all your social media profiles.  As we know, the intended purpose for LinkedIn is different than Facebook or Twitter, and your image should reflect this fact.  For example, your LinkedIn photo should look professional. Does it?
  • Review your pic and ask yourself what it says about you. Your image will dictate how people are going to perceive you. If you’re not sure what the image projects, ask a friend for feedback.
  • Change your profile image regularly. If you haven’t changed your profile pic since you first signed up for a service, now might be a good time. Actively updating your images keeps you interesting. On LinkedIn it will also trigger a post saying, “Kate has a new photo” – so it might be worth doing just for the incoming compliments!

Most profile pics could do with some image editing help, such as brightening, cropping and color correcting.  Rules of thumb include being able to see your eyes and avoiding the bobblehead look by including at least your shoulders. So, if you’re not ready for a new image you might start by re-working the one you already have.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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Dreading Your Headshot Photo Shoot? Don’t!

As a talented executive, entrepreneur, business owner or a rising star with your organization it’s probable that you’re not also a supermodel, in which case having a professional headshot taken may be something you’ve been avoiding.  But there are many times when both formal and informal headshots can come in handy, so avoid it no longer.

Here are some tips for being your best self during your photo shoot:

  • If something about your appearance makes you uncomfortable, be upfront with the photographer.  They may be able to minimize the feature by using a different angle or by adjusting the lighting.  It’s also possible that a trouble spot could be touched up in post production.
  • If you’re a bag of nerves or you’re dreading the photo shoot, use breathing techniques to slow your heart rate down and re-center yourself.
  • More than anything a successful photo shoot is about a creating a connection of trust.  Let the photographer know a little about yourself, what the image will be used for and how you want to be seen. This will serve as a guide for the photographer and help you maintain a good head space during the experience.

It’s not often that all the attention is on the way you look, but a good photo shoot can portray more than what is on the surface.  By staying calm, doing your part to create a comfortable environment and keeping your focus on a positive outcome you’re most likely to provide the photographer with opportunities to show you in your best light.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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As a talented executive, entrepreneur, business owner or a rising star with your organization it’s probable that you’re not also a supermodel, in which case having a professional headshot taken may be something you’ve been avoiding.  But there are many times when both formal and informal headshots can come in handy, so avoid it no longer.

Here are some tips for being your best self during your photo shoot:

  • If something about your appearance makes you uncomfortable, be upfront with the photographer.  They may be able to minimize the feature by using a different angle or by adjusting the lighting.  It’s also possible that a trouble spot could be touched up in post production.
  • If you’re a bag of nerves or you’re dreading the photo shoot, use breathing techniques to slow your heart rate down and re-center yourself.
  • More than anything a successful photo shoot is about a creating a connection of trust.  Let the photographer know a little about yourself, what the image will be used for and how you want to be seen. This will serve as a guide for the photographer and help you maintain a good head space during the experience.

It’s not often that all the attention is on the way you look, but a good photo shoot can portray more than what is on the surface.  By staying calm, doing your part to create a comfortable environment and keeping your focus on a positive outcome you’re most likely to provide the photographer with opportunities to show you in your best light.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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