After a conference, put all those business cards you collected to use
We all know the networking benefits of going to a conference. But to reap those benefits, you have to follow up with the people you met. Luckily, a small amount of effort can help you maintain those new connections. Block an hour on your calendar as “processing time” after the conference. Go through your briefcase, pockets and travel bag, and gather all the business cards you collected from others. Then capture each person’s details in an app or spreadsheet, and identify your goal for the relationship. Separate people into three categories: those you have a specific reason to follow up with, those you’d like to build a deeper relationship with and those who are generally interesting but don’t fall into the other categories. You can’t invest equally in all connections, so send quick notes to the people in the first and third categories, and spend time figuring out how to connect on a deeper level with those in the second.
(Adapted from “How to Follow Up With People After a Conference,” by Dorie Clark.)
How to respond when a great employee says they’re leaving
When a talented employee of yours announces their resignation, it’s a dreadful moment. The first thing you should do is take some time to process any negative emotions you feel, such as frustration or disappointment. These kinds of feelings are normal, but they won’t help you address the situation productively. Once you’ve reflected, focus on celebrating the employee’s accomplishments and gathering their honest feedback about the team. Set an example by expressing genuine support for their decision to leave; you may want to throw a goodbye party or a similar event to wish them well. And then make sure you conduct an exit interview, even if human resources will do one too. Ask for the person’s advice on retaining other employees and improving the experience of working for you. By being willing to hear uncomfortable truths, you’ll show the person that you respect the experience and knowledge they gained during their time there.
(Adapted from “How to Manage Morale When a Well-Liked Employee Leaves,” by Liane Davey.)
Overcome your fear of failure by redefining it
The fear of failing at something — of doing it wrong, looking foolish or not meeting expectations — can be paralysing. But avoiding challenges that make you anxious isn’t going to help you grow. To overcome your fear of failure, redefine what the concept means to you. For example, instead of thinking about failure (or success) in terms of what you achieve, reframe it in terms of what you learn. No one gets everything right, and a “failure” can still provide invaluable experience for the future. It’s also important to focus on what you want to do rather than what you want to avoid. When you’re dreading a tough task, you may unconsciously set goals around what you don’t want to happen. Creating a “fear list” can help: Write down the challenge’s worst-case scenario, how you can prevent it and how you’ll respond if it comes true. Creating a plan for a bad outcome can give you the courage to move forward.
(Adapted from “How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure,” by Susan Peppercorn.)
Stress doesn’t have to short-circuit your creativity
When you’re stressed out, it’s hard to decide what to eat for dinner, let alone get work done. How can you produce ideas when you’re feeling this way? First, take a breath and relax. Trying to force yourself to be creative will only lead to more frustration. Instead of thinking, “I must be creative right now,” tell yourself, “I’m going to play around with some ideas.” Then do an activity that will let your mind wander. Going for a walk or napping, for example, naturally loosens up your brain, which can lead to new insights. If you still feel stuck, give yourself more material to work with: Read about the topic you’re tackling, take a field trip to observe other people’s solutions to similar problems or talk to experts. Above all else, give yourself time. You’ll have a much better chance of success when you let creative thoughts percolate.
(Adapted from “How to Be Creative When You’re Feeling Stressed,” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders.)
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, February 11th, 2019