Ali Girard

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Sound Bites from “Speak Up”

Last night I attended IABC/BC’s volunteer appreciation event, “Speak Up: Important Conversations”, where eight speakers recalled the conversations that defined their careers. I love these types of events because when they’re done well, like this one was, it can feel like a mini-mentoring session. So many great thoughts were shared that I have taken back to my personal and professional life. Below are three that I would like to share with you.

“Many managers don’t have the skills to have crucial conversations – talking points aren’t enough.” – Tracey Wimperly

Tracey’s talk focused on “human moments and necessary conversations” (or, how one-to-one conversations are by far the most effective communication tool). It resonated with me because I’ve encountered the same thing in my career. No matter how many memos you send, fancy websites you create, or “toolkits” you provide, there is no good substitute for an honest conversation between an employee and their direct manager. Organizations need to focus on developing interpersonal communication skills as a core management competency. Check out more of Tracey’s thoughts on work and life on her blog.

“Help me understand.” – Shannon Kidd

I love Shannon’s “three magic words”. If you’re having a tough conversation, it’s so easy to put up defences (on both sides). Keep this phrase in your back pocket to help move the conversation forward in both your professional and personal life. For more from Shannon, follow her on Twitter.

“Have a portfolio of passions” – Colin McRae

Colin spoke about “leading a life that matters”, and how having a fulfilling life outside of work can make you a more engaging person and a better leader. The “portfolio of passions” concept speaks to the fact that you can be good at many things, and that you do not have to be the best at any one thing. I thought that this was a great piece of advice, especially for early career professionals who can feel pressured to narrowly define themselves early on and make their careers their entire lives. It made me think about what my portfolio of passions includes: hiking, literature, and travelling. (Speaking of which, I’m headed to Japan in July! Let me know if you have any travel tips.)

Take a look through #SpeakUp to find more gems.

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