When I first met my husband Andrew in 1987, he lived in a studio apartment on Avenue Z in Brooklyn, NY. One day he wanted to hang up a picture. Out came Andrew's trusty toolbox. I was mortified.
Inside were two items: A kiddie circus light on a tattered string and a rusted butter knife. For Andrew, this was fine. He had grown up in apartments and never lived in a private home. A few years later, we got married and were doing the suburban house thing in New Jersey.
Soon, Andrew had an oversized toolbox that I could barely lift. He spent time browsing for drill bits at Home Depot. He even worked with a friend and learned how to finish our basement. He finally had the right tools to make the job seem easy.
We couldn't hang that picture in Brooklyn with a circus light or butter knife. Poor Andrew; he needed a hammer. That day he sang to me: “If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning…”
Tools of the trade are critical for success. Are you equipped with the communication tools and skills needed to blow the doors off of 2012?
Here are 7 essentials I recommend for your communications toolbox:
1. Your voice. Obviously you have one, but are you using it in an assertive way?
2. Your identity. Do your marketing materials, business cards, and website convey the results you deliver for clients? Focus on the value you bring and not your job title. No one cares about you, silly. They don't care about me. People want to know how you can help solve their problems.
3. Your view. Do you look for fresh perspectives and angles to solve problems and spark creativity? Or are you stuck in a rut? If you're wallowing, you are communicating negativity and poison. It's up to you to break the cycle and develop a positive mindset. Take a day off and commit to seeing and communicating with a fresh set of eyes and an open mind.
4. Your business cards. Business development and networking is 24/7. Always have your calling card, book , or postcard to share with others. Be ready, as you may need these items while at the playground with your kids, a concert, or in the airport. Brainstorms and opportunities have no boundaries. Consider how many people scribbled down an idea on a cocktail napkin and went on to build their dream business and make millions. Be prepared for victory.
5. Your face. Yes, your face belongs in your toolbox. It's a showcase and reflection of your attitude. Communicate a relaxed and pleasant expression that's a mirror of your demeanor and style. Leave the scowl, judgments, and criticism for others, like your competition.
6. Your words. What words do you have in your communications toolbox? It may be time to expand your vocabulary. Do your spoken and written words (including in social media circles) convey a professional voice that provides value, a helping hand, and an upbeat mood? Whenever possible, flip the negative into a positive.
7. Your heart. When your heart is open and you come from a place of good intention, you will not have to brag or tell people you are open and generous. They will immediately sense it in everything you say and do. In other words, you will be seen as a “mensch” — a person of solid character and integrity.
Communication and self-confidence are the cornerstones to achievement. Is your communications toolbox filled with the skills you need to succeed?
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