Want To Be More Interesting? Start By Asking Better Questions

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Today’s post is a guest column from branding expert Krysta Masciale of Big Deal Branding. She’s brilliant at networking, and has pinpointed one of the biggest challenges people experience engaging other people. Ever felt awkward meeting an important professional in your business? Or struggled engaging people at conferences, parties, or other events? Chances are, you’re not asking the right questions. So here’s Krysta’s key questions you should think about the next time you cross paths with a thought leader:

Surprise! Here’s Your Biggest Distraction At The Office

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There’s been plenty written about distractions these days – especially at the office. Everyday workers face a variety of obstacles to focused work that didn’t exist with past generations of employees. Social media, the Internet, mobile phones, text messages and more whittle away the kind of blocked out time that it takes to do great work. But as far back as 2011 a study in the journal “Organization Studies” revealed the single greatest interruption we face at work:

Why You Need an “Elevator Pitch” For Your Life

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If you work in the entertainment industry you know about “elevator pitches.” Essentially, the idea here in Hollywood is that if you meet a big producer or movie studio executive in an elevator, you should be able to deliver a summary of your movie idea in the time span of an elevator ride, or roughly 1-2 minutes. If that short pitch is done right, the producer or executive will want to know more – and theoretically invite you to a meeting. Now, here’s a better idea:

Why You Should Stop Complaining About Being Busy

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I met three different people today, and each time, when I asked, “How are you?” The reply was exactly the same. “I’m Busy”. Honestly, I hear the same answer from the vast majority of people I meet. So I started to think: “Guess what? Everybody’s busy!” I’m busy, you’re busy, everybody’s busy. So you know what? You being busy doesn’t make me sympathetic at all. Because

What Do You Hate About Your Career That You Need To Embrace?

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I travel more than any normal person should. Because of a global speaking schedule, clients from across the country, and filming projects around the world, I spend way too much time in airports. In fact, last year, as I walked up to the American Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) the lady behind the ticket counter looked up and said

How To Increase Your Influence

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Influence isn’t about ego or celebrity. Too often we dismiss the idea, assuming only raging ego-maniacs are interested in influence. But the truth is, if you want to share your message, get your creativity known, or impact the world, you need to have influence. It’s the key to getting your work, vision, and ideas into the marketplace. So the question becomes, how do you increase your influence? Here’s some ideas that will make a dramatic difference:

What George Washington Can Teach Us About Productivity

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Biographer Ron Chernow, discussing his outstanding life of George Washington, recently mentioned how important “focus” was for our first president. Chernow said that at the beginning of his presidency, “[Washington] couldn’t seem to sit down for dinner without 20 people being there—strangers sponging off his generosity, eating his food, drinking his wine. Washington had to create barricades if he was going to be able to function as president. . . . He saw that he needed to

Why You Probably Can’t Change Your Boss

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Have you ever worked for an organization you knew had a bad leader, but you thought you could change him or her? I’ve talked to countless frustrated employees who have attempted just that, and I can tell you, it doesn’t work. By the time a pastor, CEO, or other leader reaches that place in his or her career, they’ve been at it a long time and developed a routine. So for anyone to think they can turn on a dime is

How to Kill Your Career in 3 Easy Steps

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Life can throw us a lot of curves. Our childhood, our parents, physical challenges, early experiences on the job, all indelibly imprint us with bad behaviors that are hard to shake. A woman abused as a child, a man whose father told him he’d never amount to much, a person who lives with insecurity. Big or small, they damage our relationships, the quality of our work, and our chances for success. But there are three specific personality “quirks” that really set people back from achieving all they could become in life. I’m not a psychologist, and don’t have all the answers for fixing these problems, but I’ve discovered that

Be Careful of People Who Constantly Complain About their Job

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Work is hard. It’s hard for me, it’s hard for you, and pretty much everybody else. So when I encounter someone who’s constantly complaining about their job, how difficult life is, or how busy they are, I tend to start ignoring them. It’s not that I’m a jerk, it’s that I find far too many people who try to impress us with how many balls they’re juggling, how difficult their job is, and how their schedule is just crammed too full. Novelist Richard Ford said something similar about writers: