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Archive for March 2019

Start on Your Own When Brainstorming


Your best ideas will come to you unexpectedly.  Keep an old fashioned pen and paper handy or type into a notes section on your smart phone.

Just make lists at first.  Don’t discard anything because a seemingly ‘bad’ idea can be the trigger a whole raft of better ideas.

If your job is to get a whole team of people brainstorming, let everyone work on their own first.  One way is to challenge everyone with a required number of ideas that is bigger than anyone thinks they can do.  This forces writing down everything that comes to mind just to meet the requirement.

Then bring all the ideas together.  List them all. Organize them into natural categories to discover what categories have the most promise.  

Only then start to combine and build on the ideas offered.

For more on this topic see my TEDx talk:

Or get my book Power Brainstorming

#brainstorming, #powerbrainstorming, #hazelwagner

Are You a Thought Leader?

Thought leader
Is this a compliment or an insult?
If you are truly one of the knowledgeable ones in a particular field, others may be looking up to you, expecting you to know more than they do. They may come to you with questions and take what you say as truth.

We can learn from what we know about Socrates (470 – 399 BC), after all these years, not to jump in with a solution, an answer. First ask many questions so that you both are thinking more deeply about the problem. In many cases the person with the problem will discover the answer.

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “seek first to understand before seeking to be understood,” is a more current reminder to listen, ask questions, learn, before offering your thoughts, even if you are considered a thought leader.

Be Convincing When You Present

Learn how to give convincing and appreciated presentations 

Being able to sell your ideas and recommendations is a requirement for career advancement. Learn the 5 steps to take to make all your presentations business worthy.  

Being able to stand up in front of colleagues, in front of customers, or in front of your executive committee and nail that message, will advance your career.

Being smart isn’t enough.  Being knowledgeable isn’t enough.  Having done the research isn’t enough.

Avoid too much information, data.  Only include enough to support your conclusion.  Let them ask for more if they want it.

Create a beginning, middle and end to the story that supports your recommendation.

No slides with PowerPoint lists. 

Data can be the handout at the end, the leave behind.  Some will read it because they accepted your premise and conclusion.  Some will feel they already understand and don’t need to read it.

I will be offering an online course to address this topic.  Let me know if you or someone you know would be interested.