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Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 40 – It’s all about attitude

Welcome to this month’s edition of IEA’s registrant resources e-zine “Information Overload”. I would just like to welcome our new subscribers and registrants to the Registrant Resources E-zine, I would also like to say thank you in advance for forwarding this edition onto friends and colleagues, your thoughtfulness is most appreciated.
This month we take a look at attitude, and in particular “words”, and the impact both can have on your future. As this is the last edition before the Christmas break please be aware that the offices are closed between Friday 23rd December and Monday 9th January 2006. For those of you who are currently working on contract through IEA, please rest assured that you will be paid as usual on Monday 28th December.  We will not, however, be making any placements during this period. Messages can be left for us on 08 9335 2533 (answering machine) if the matter is urgent. Other matters can be sent to the relevant email addresses and we will respond to them as soon as we return. 

Remember, we are always on the look out for new topics, so if there is anything you would like to see us cover we would love to hear from you, just send me an email to training@iea.com.au – names will be changed to protect the innocent! Don’t forget that all back issues of this edition, and our main newsletter can be read and/or downloaded from our web site – http://www.iea.com.au

I would just like to wish you and your families a happy and safe Christmas and New Year. For those of you who celebrate Christmas – I hope Santa is kind to you. For those of you who don’t celebrate at this time of year, I hope you enjoy the extra days off work.
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In this issue we will look at:

• The words you use can determine your future
• Using the time you have wisely
• Spreading Christmas cheer
• A Thought to ponder

The Words You Use Can Determine Your Future

What would you say if I told you that the words you say and write can determine the quality of your future?

Would you ensure that every word that came out of your mouth would be positive? Or would you say what you thought regardless of who was listening?

Words are very powerful. The written and spoken words have been used since man (and woman) started walking this earth to convey thoughts and feelings, to express opinions. They have the ability to inspire and motivate yourself and those people around you, they can make you smile, and they can make you cry. Everything we say and write has the power to persuade others.

I could cite some great movies or books that I have enjoyed – but that is just my opinion. The words that I use could persuade some of you to perhaps take a look, whilst other people reading this, would not be swayed. And the reason that is so is because it is a personal choice.

But what about business communication? Believe it or not, it is the same thing. Every letter that you write, every email, telephone conversation or face-to-face interaction that you have is a chance to persuade other people to participate in your “business” and what you are trying to “sell” – the concept of selling is not limited to giving money for goods and services, but you are trying to sell something with every piece of business communication that you create. That selling could be something as simple as time, can you persuade someone to read your message, do you have something of “value” that will make the other person want to spend their time with you?

Let us take the example of job applications. If words are so very important, why do we not ensure that we choose the best ones that will persuade a prospective employer to meet us?

Do you have significant achievements listed for each job or is your CV a simple list of tasks you were supposed to do for a particular employer. Did you know that these powerful statements can form the basis for the answers to the selection criteria you will have to address?

Believe it or not, the words that you use can be linked to how well you liked a job, or not as the case may be. Think back to the worst job you ever had, how did it make you feel? – now have a look at your CV, were the sentences you used short and very to the point? Are they negative? What would a prospective employer say if presented with just that information?

Now think back to a job you enjoyed, and have a look at the words that you used to describe the tasks you were expected to complete. Did you achieve more when you worked for an employer you liked? Chances are the answer is yes.

Whilst I am not advocating that you fib about the time that you spent with a particular employer. The person undertaking the recruitment for the job that you are applying for, will be able to pick up on these not so subtle clues and may decide that you are not the kind of person they want working for them. If you are consistently not reaching the interview stage – you may want to have a look at your application from a slightly different point of view.

As we come up to the end of the year it is a good time to reflect on the additional skills that you have acquired over the last 12 months, what additional duties did you take on, and what have you achieved, so that you can start the new year knowing that if an opportunity presents itself you are ready.

 
Using the time you have wisely
Yesterday I happened to notice that a film producer had died, nothing unusual in that, people die – it’s a fact of life. But what struck me most was that the person in question was just 42 years old, and died of natural causes. So my question to you as we head off into the Christmas break is this – do you use your time wisely, or do you just let your days drift by without worrying too much about them? – because you know that there will be another one tomorrow.

What do I mean by wisely? Well let’s look at a typical working day. We all need to sleep, some of us need more sleep than others, but we all need to use a portion of every day to sleep. For those of you who are working, you will need to spend some time getting ready for work, travelling to and from work and also need to take into consideration the hours you spend at work. Then once you get home, there will be some people with children who will need to have homework supervised, there will be dinners to prepare and dishes to be washed. All of which accounts for a significant part of every day. What do you do with the time that you have left at the end of all that? I can hear the groans from here, what do you mean what do I do – well after all that I need to spend time just relaxing, watching the tv or reading my book – and if I really get bored, there’s always cleaning to do.

I am sure we can all spend the time we are given each day to make our days more productive, but that is really just tasks you know you have to complete. But when do you make time to work on your future? Or are you happy with where you are and with what you have?

Going back to the Producer for just a minute. This man had released a first movie, and it was a smash hit – I’m not into horror movies, so it wasn’t high on my list of priorities to watch. This man then decided that he would release a sequel and is due in the cinemas around now – if he died from natural causes, did he have an idea of when he was likely to go to the big movie theatre in the sky? If he did, he could have decided to stop and live out the rest of his days simply waiting for the call, or did he just get on with living his dream, making movies that you and I can enjoy for years to come? The answer of course is he carried on doing what he loved doing right up until the moment he died – at the grand old age of 42.

Are you doing what you truly love to do? Will you get to the final moments of your life and think, yep I really did make a difference. I knew what I wanted and boy did I go for it.  Or will you get to the end and find that you still had a long list of things you wanted to do, but never did manage to get around to doing them, because you never did seem to find the time.

You see it is the attitudes we have that ultimately makes a difference to the way that our lives turn out. Our attitude that says I will spend some time planning and working out what I need to do to make my dreams become a reality (a cliché perhaps – but one that is still very valid). And our attitude that says I will make sure that my CV is up to date. I will spend some time over the Christmas holiday and re-write it so that it showcases my skills and abilities in the best possible light, so that if the job of my dreams comes along, I will be able to put in a show stopping application.  Whilst planning takes time, not planning can cost you dearly.

By the way, the name of the Producer is Greg Hoffman – the movie is Saw and of course Saw II
 
Spreading Christmas Cheer

And whilst we are on the subject of the attitudes that we have and the words we use to make an impression (good or otherwise).  We are coming up to perhaps the most interesting time of year. Yes I am talking about the office Christmas party.

If you are working on contract through an employment agency such as ours, please bear in mind that you are a representative of that organisation and we respectfully ask that you present yourself in a professional manner at all times.

• Eat something before the event, this slows down the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream;
• Recognise that the influence of alcohol may boost your confidence levels. Whilst everyone reacts differently to alcohol, in general terms, too much alcohol can give rise to inappropriate behaviour of a sexual or aggressive nature. People tend to speak more loudly, usually on inappropriate matters (mass joke telling for instance); and people have been known to “tell it like it is” when under the influence of alcohol. Which can be either a good or a bad thing depending on who hears at the time, and/or who hears after the event – given that these things tend to be embellished with telling and re-telling, it might be wise to limit the amount of alcohol and watch everyone else;
• Please do not drink and drive or
• Accept a ride home from employees not well known to you.

Be remembered for the right reasons.

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A Thought to Ponder
“There’s nothing wrong in making a mistake – as long as you don’t follow it up with encores”
Anonymous
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