Hi folks,

I have a friend who will be teaching a day on social media in a business school. What references should I point my friend to? (Good ideas are about the power of social media, best ways to use it, great case examples). THANKS! Would love all suggestions, seriously!

Here are some I already recommend:





Updated (2-16-09 10pm ET):
I asked for more advice on twitter, and here are some case studies of social media:

I routinely think:

  • What is the next big win?!?!
  • Where can we do new, interesting things?!?!

I think about this for my career coaching clients – “Where can they have the most impact? Where can they move to what they most want?”

I think about this for myself – “What’s the most effective thing for me to do this week to move forward for next week? What can I do tonight that’ll make me better during the hoops game? What can I do to make the most exciting experience ever for this community I’m working with?”

Margaret Greenberg showed me some interesting keys to progress recently. You may remember Margaret from her Margaretisms. You may also have seen her journalistically-marvelous article on Toyota’s positive business practices in today’s Positive Psychology News Daily.

Margaret and I and two colleagues did a radio program together a few weeks back. I had sent out the questions for us to answer as a group. One afternoon, Margaret had a little extra time, and she replied to each question in detail, and sent them back to me. “So what?” you might be saying. “Big deal? She prepared for the program.” Yes – a month in advance!

So what happens in your brain when you complete a step of a project?!

Well, ACTUALLY, that was the subject of my Masters thesis at UPenn in ’06. What happens once you get some movement towards a goal is that the goal moves to your subconscious thought. And then, it actually PROGRESSES within your subconscious thought – as long as you have helped it out and put it there with enough ammunition – with enough detail and information for your brain to be able to mull over that thought. Some of that thinking continues to go on under your conscious level.

A lot of that thinking is called Level D thinking, and often when your consciousness meets some of those thoughts that have culled from the subconscious progress of the thought – often, then you have an intuition about the problem at hand.

So, one of the things that Margaret is doing by allowing herself to prepare for something early is that she sets her subconscious brain to help her think about those thoughts. She also REMOVES STRESS at the last minute. Finally, she allows herself to do projects that are very good, and thus actually get them done rather than seeking perfection. Have you heard the phrase, “The great is the enemy of the very good”?

I was once riding on an Amtrak train a decade ago, and came across an article that was titled or subtitled, “Discipline Gets You Freedom.” And I thought about it then, and still believe it now. It’s what gets me to the finish line – the discipline, the slow and steady.

And to me, that means something very practical:
* Doing something for 15 minutes to two hours each day.

That’s it. You may remember it from these posts on how to accomplish anything and on expertise being trainable. Literally, that is the slow and steady. Doing it each day.

So here I am again. :)

Here is a Wired article on how Microsoft tested the game Halo 3 on 600 game players playing over 3000 times. Microsoft watched each interction, and documented each move in each game. Microsoft knows to the square foot where each player died in the game.

Why is this method useful for you if you’re not in the game space?

Because it works.
Because it’s methodical.
Because you can rely on it.
Because you’re constantly improving and questioning.
Because you get to know your customer better.
Because you’ll trust yourself more after you go through this prep.
Because your customers will trust you more after you go through this prep.

Karen Salmansohn, host of the daily radio program “Be Happy, Dammit” has invited me to guest-produce a segment of her program.

We’ll be focusing on HAPPINESS and WORK.

By the end of the program, you’ll know:
* Several new techniques for becoming happier at work
* What the research says about happiness at work
* The ONE main suggestion from each panelist for becoming happier at work

Margaret Greenberg, President of the Greenberg Group – an organizational effectiveness consulting and coaching practice
David J. Pollay, Syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group, and is president of TheMomentumProject.com, an international training and consulting organization
Doug Turner, Vice President of HR for the Washington, DC division of Balfour Beatty Construction company

Senia Maymin, Workshops and coaching for positive management and Editor-in-Chief of PositivePsychologyNews.com

All the guests are writers at PositivePsychologyNews.com.

Monday (8-27-07), 8-9am
Sirius radio channel 114 (also called “Lime 114“)
To get a three-day free internet subscription, go here and click on “FREE ONLINE TRIAL” in the upper left area.

*** “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?”
Only 20% of people can answer YES to this question. (Gallup data)

*** People feel that they enjoy leisure much more than work,
but it turns out surprisingly that people achieve the state of “flow” – when they
lose track of time and get “into the zone” – people achieve this more at work than in leisure.

Here are the segments I’ve asked the panel to prepare for each of the four 11-minute segments:

1) How has your business outlook changed since learning about Positive Psychology?
2) What are your favorite findings in Positive Psychology that can be applied to business?
3) What are some findings that you WISH would be applied to businesses? That you wish businesses and individuals at work would take on?
4) What is the ONE THING you would recommend to someone listening to implement at work starting today?

Feel free to email ahead of the show with questions: senia [at] senia [dot] com

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz says two things are the most important in life:

1) Knowing generally what you want to do (do you want to be a pilot or a doctor? a businessperson or an actor?), and

2) Knowing that ALMOST GOOD ENOUGH is usually GOOD ENOUGH.

If you generally know what you want and you move forward with things that are along your trajectory and moving you in the right direction, Barry Schwartz would argue that these two ideas will move you most effectively towards your goals.

As Paul Rozin says, “Happiness is all about expectations management.” And by knowing what you want, and that you are constantly moving forward in incremental steps, you do get closer!

The big thing about a new month is that things seem doable – the possibilities seem endless… how can we hold onto this kind of feeling throughout the month?!

How can we increase our challenges regularly during the month?

* One way is to have a system, a graph, or a method to map your monthly challenges. Jeff talks about that briefly here.

* Another way to increase challenge is to plan your future out before it happens. When I have a client meeting the next day, I already plan what we will discuss, and suggestions for the client for homework – I come in with a Word document outline. And I don’t mind if it changes during the session, but there are things that are the increased trajectory of the client’s path, and I want to respect that in planning for the session rather than just have us both talk about what is top of mind that morning. As Jon Bon Jovi is said to have said, “Write your future, but do it in pencil.” I like that. Map it out – plan it – be bold – be specific. But be open to change.

* Another way is to have a buddy system or a reminder system. My friend D is very big on this, and she makes the other person work harder because of it. It’s empowering and encouraging.

Do you have other ways to increase your challenge during the month?

I’ve been coaching more job seekers lately in my coaching practice. My process is generally Assessment – Targeting – Self-Presentation. Here are some tips that I give to my clients regularly.

  • Assessment – Know what you LOVE in addition to what you’re good at.
  • Assessment – Know how to tell your story. Practice it often.
  • Assessment – Know several specific projects that describe you at your best and at what you most enjoy. Make sure you mention these later in the interiews.
  • Targeting – Know your geography, industry, and function.
  • Targeting – Aim high.
  • Targeting – Target many jobs.
  • Targeting – Who do you know who is related to the industry and function that you want?
  • Self-Presentation – Target your resume to the job.
  • Self-Presentation – Behavioral questions during interviews: brainstorm three answers to each of about ten questions, then choose the best of the three answers.
  • Self-Presentation – Practice consulting-type open-ended problem questions, such as the number of pencils in Alaska.
  • Self-Presentation – Rehearse before the interview how your body will behave if you get a question that stumps you. Examples: repeating the question slowly, clarifying the question, sitting forward in your chair – whatever works for you. Practice these with a friend.

What are some additional tips you have for job-seeking?
What’s the smartest job-seeking tip you have?

Welcome to Friday Questions. Come on it, and answer in the comments!

Did you ever read The Most Dangerous Game? (Here it is if you want a fun 10-minute action-packed story).

Well, today, we’re all about the MOST MOTIVATING QUESTION. What question will get you excited, get you moving, and get you pumped?

In fact, if we want to look at it cynically, we can ask, “What is a question that well-polished motivational speakers ask the audience in order to get audience members convinced to follow the motivational speaker’s system?” I.e., this is an effective question because it can change the mood, expectations, and actions of the listener.

Let’s look at the components of such a mysterious question:
1) It will fill you with positive emotions such as happiness, awe, engagement – which is important because when you’re on an emotional high, you are more open to looking at broader solutions, according to research by Barbara Fredrickson.
2) It will energize you – important because then you can turn the question into action. “People who are persuaded verbally that they possess the capabilities to master given activities are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than if they harbor self-doubts and dwell on personal deficiencies when problems arise,” says Albert Bandura.
3) It will make you feel confident – important because confidence is just about a mix of self-esteem and personal control, and these are two of four inner traits of happy people according to Ed Diener and David Myers.

So…. what is such a question?

The Most Motivating Question GAME

When: When you want to motivate a person or people.

  • At the start of a meeting
  • In setting up a healthy mindset for a close friend or family to take action on his/her issue
  • In starting to work with colleagues on a project

The Players: You and one or more people.

The Rules: Ask the question in a warm, open tone. If everyone if is a rush, preface the question with, “Before we figure out this particular solution, let’s see…”

The Question Itself:


Variations: “What are we doing right so far in this project?”
“Before we figure out this particular solution,
let’s see what we’re already doing right.”

You don’t want to lose what you’re already doing right when you move to do something else. Additionally, this creates:
1) a positive tone and gets everyone to think about the situation as a team,
2) energy because something something is already not-broken, and
3) confidence because without any didactic explanation, you’ve shown the team that they have already done things right before.

It’s that simple. What are we doing right already?
See Doug Turner’s article on using this question to open meetings.

This question leads to productive discussions:

  • “You want to become a better salesperson. What are you already doing right? What if you did more of that?”
  • “You want to race in the Master’s class cycling track finals. What are you already doing right in your training? What other things can you do to complement this training?”
  • “You want to spend more quality time with your kids. What are you already doing right? How can you add to what you’re doing while keeping what you’re already doing right?”

What are you doing right today? :)
Enjoy the game. Play often, see how people react.

Here’s a post by Angela Booth on FAST WRITING (via Anne). Angela recommends creating a checklist for yourself, a process. She suggests a process in which she brainstorms, writes an outline, gets data, writes more of a draft. A key component of her list that I want to point out is “leave it for a day or longer.” Then she returns and completes other editing. Using her system, you would probably re-read the intro paragraph, say oh, five-twenty times. That would mean that you’d have five-twenty opportunities to rewrite something! Maybe writing faster is not about speed, but about easy editing. Like putting on layers of clothing before going outside in the winter, maybe writing faster is about putting on layers of betterment to your writing. And the more layers, the more opportunity to improve.

Here’s a post by Idea Matt on FAST READING (these specific ideas are from Jason Womack). Jason says “he reads a book four times:

  1. Table of contents, glossary, index.
  2. Anything in bold, titles, and subtitles.
  3. First line of every paragraph.
  4. Entire book

Here’s the twist: Steps 1-3 should only take about 10 minutes.”

Ok, see the similarity to the faster writing? You may be starting to suspect that the above two tips are not only about faster writing and reading, but also about more thorough writing and reading. Why are the above two methods more thorough? Because you review the material again, and again, and again. In the outline, in the TOC, in re-reading the same sections when you edit.

So…. there’s a fun little conclusion we can make from the above two faster tips.

You know more when you review material fairly frequently. Here’s an example: I put together a workshop on “Why Optimism Is Good for your Health” last week. I put the workshop together in a week and presented it. Then I think back to it today to review it in my head in preparation for giving the workshop again to a new audience, and – guess what?! – it’s a little hazy. Not a lot hazy. I could probably recreate the slides without looking at them again, but a bit hazy – it would take me time. Why is this? Because I did my presentation writing and rewriting and creating all in one fell swoop. I didn’t really break it up into segments or smaller chunks. I didn’t do the “let it sit for a day or two.”

Here’s a question for you:

If you have a choice of repeating something MORE OFTEN or FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME, which do you think will help you know the information better?

Bing bing bing! You got it. MORE OFTEN. You can see what I wrote here about the immense, powerful benefits of daily action. Remember, musicians often recommend that you practice in two sessions of 15 minutes rather than in one of 30 minutes.

Do whatever is important to you – do that repeatedly, regularly – do it so it’s second nature. :) ENJOY!