Have you thought about how you want to be perceived? Are you setting expectations for yourself, for the position you have or want, for your clients or customers?

Setting expectations is like creating a benchmark for how you want to be perceived and treated and for achieving what you want.

Every thing you say and do creates an impression or image and if you’re consistent in what you do or say, the impression or image is strengthened or weakened every time.

Here are two recent examples of weak impression management:
The Prime Minister’s Office recently ‘sent’ the Prime Minister to Iqualuit instead of Iqaluit.
This spelling error offended the residents of Nunavut. An apology was offered calling it “a human error that might teach Canadians an important lesson about spelling mistakes.” It should teach us an important lesson in impression management by setting or adhering to standards and expectations.

Kelly McDougall, CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, says” Any CEO that’s running a large organization under public scrutiny certainly feels under the gun.” She’s experiencing that now – being under the gun. Did she set expectations for herself in that position or standards for how she wanted this agency to operate? If she did, would she and the OLG be “under the gun” now?

The more influential or public you are, the more crucial it is to know what image you want to portray. An image weakened consistently will consistently whittle away respect, credibility and authority.

Stating what you expect in business and personal relationship or what outcome you want in an interaction – project, meeting, phone call – almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Setting expectation every time and early also makes it easy for the people you’re dealing with.

Defining what you want or don’t want is not easy. Thinking about it is probably clearer than articulating it. What you define is what you’ll get. Know what you want and expect it.

“Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.”   Unknown

Upcoming workshop

Say What You Mean
Have you ever given any thought to the relationship between the words you use and results you get – whether it’s in an interview, discussing your career goals with your boss, meeting with your clients?

This workshop will provoke your awareness of the power of words, ignite your understanding of the words you use and create an itch to expand your spoken vocabulary. Learn which phrases and words to avoid because they weaken your conversations and image, what are the overused words, why it’s better to use verbs rather than nouns and much more.

How you speak is how you are perceived and how you are perceived is how you are treated. Think about how you want to be treated and start to communicate from that place.
An enriched vocabulary guarantees you have the exact words to say exactly what you mean. Remodel your communication by using the many words you already know in your conversations. The workshop is fun and interactive.
Date: September 16th 2009
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Ontario Institute For Studies In Education (OISE)
252 Bloor St W, Toronto
Cost: $45 (includes (K)New Words workbook and applicable handouts)

Register online at http://www.clearlyspeaking.ca/public.html or contact
Gloria Pierre at 416-756-4926.


Most people think communication is only for the office. They are wrong.
Most people think communication is opening your mouth and letting words tumble out in no particular order. They are wrong.

We use communication for every aspect of our lives. For it to be effective, it has to be purposeful and respectful. Communication is not only about words and speaking. It’s about listening, formulating thoughts that are easy to follow, pronunciation, self-talk, vocabulary, how you respond in any situation and many more elements.

Every time you open your mouth, you are creating an impression. What kind of impression are you giving? What kind of impression do you want to give? Think about it.

How you think about yourself is reflected in the words you use, the tone of your voice, your energy and enthusiasm levels. It reveals if you are confident, assertive, passive, subservient.

Is your communication matching your career goals or is there a disconnect? If you are not getting promoted or hired, it could be how you express yourself.

Ask for honest feedback from someone you trust and whose advice you value. Then start paying attention every time you speak.

A Attitude – the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think

B Be self-affirming. Be self-congratulatory. Be your biggest fan.

C Commit to life-long learning in your field of interest.

D Keep you dreams and goals alive and constantly updated

E Everything about you should portray a quiet rich assurance of success.

F Find your own God-given talents and showcase them

G Share your goals with others. Some one has what you’re looking for.

H Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.

I If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna. (Napoleon)

J Joyously express your gratitude – always.

K To know the road coming ahead, ask those coming back. (Chinese Proverb)

L Listen a hundred times, ponder a thousand times, speak once.

(Turkish Proverb)

M Master the skills you need to reach your goals.

N Nurture the relationships that uplift you. Delete the ones that don’t.

O Be open-minded and be constantly amazed at what you can learn.

P A man cannot sit down alone to plan for posterity. (Nigerian Proverb)

Q Question everything until you fully understand. Don’t assume.

R Resolve to act quickly and decisively when needed

S Simplify your life. Purge the unnecessary, the unwanted, the unused

T Take up your space confidently

U Have unshakable confidence and faith in yourself and your abilities.

V Value the time spent with the people you care about.

W When you give your word or make a promise, you are accountable

Y You are who you say you are. Make yourself important.

Z Zero in on opportunities to achieve your goals and to help others achieve theirs.

As adults, we make decisions or respond based on our knowledge/information at that particular time – just like the students whose answers appear below. If you are not getting the response you want, maybe it’s not the right question or the right person to be asking.

Remember when answers like these made sense to you? Enjoy!

– Clouds just keep circling the earth around and around. There is not much else to do.

– Cyanide is so poisonous that one drop of it on a dogs tongue will kill the strongest man.

– A blizzard is when it snows sideways.

– A monsoon is a French gentleman.

– Thunder is a rich source of loudness.

– Wind is like the air, only pushier.

– Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky.

– Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives.

– Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative.

– For drowning: Climb on top of the person and move up and down to make artificial perspiration.

– For fainting: Rub the person’s chest or, if a lady, rub her arm above the hand instead. Or put the head between the knees of the nearest medical doctor.

– For asphyxiation: Apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead.

– To prevent contraception: wear a condominium.

– To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow.

– Water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. There are 180 degrees between freezing and boiling because there are 180 degrees between north and south.

– A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go.

– There are 26 vitamins in all, but some of the letters are yet to be discovered. Finding them all means living forever.

– Many dead animals in the past changed to fossils while others preferred to be oil.

– Genetics explain why you look like your father and if you don’t why you should.

– Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers.

– To most people solutions mean finding the answers. But to chemists solutions are things that are still all mixed up.

– Nitrogen is not found in Ireland because it is not found in a free state

I think of Christmas as a time for personal assessment. I reflect on how far I’ve come and visualize where I am heading. All year long, I’ve been learning from the people around me and from my church and would like to share the spiritual nourishment I received.

1. Release the past, celebrate the present and embrace the future

2. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

3. Silence is becoming still at will so I can hear the answers to my

prayer requests

4. Say what I want instead of saying what’s stopping me

5. A demonstration is more meaningful than an explanation

6. Just like we use the right tool for the right job, we must use the right

approach for the right person/situation

7. Be an active participant in my life. It is mine to be spent not saved

or wasted

8. I’m exposed to a higher method of communication

9. When I step forward in boldness, God will meet me

10. Is my story a comedy, a melodrama, an adventure? Am I a victim

or a hero? What story am I telling myself?

11. I re-calibrate my life based on my life experiences

12. Life is self-correcting. Interact with life.

If you want others to take you seriously, develop an image and create an impression. Allow your personal dynamism to emerge so you can capture and hold people’s attention. If you don’t, you’ll fade fast. There’s always going to be someone or something else vying for their attention.

Master the art of communication. Communication is saying what you mean and meaning what you say. If you’re not fired up about what you’re speaking about, don’t expect to convince anyone else. If you are, you can command attention and respect, garner support for your cause, differentiate yourself and almost always get what you ask for.

“Make thyself a craftsman in speech for thereby thou shalt gain the upper hand.”

Recognize that you don’t know everything, that you won’t know everything. Surround yourself with those whose knowledge and competence supplement what you lack to get you to the next steps in your ‘campaign’.

Blaze your own trail. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Ask questions of yourself and those in your circle who are forward-thinking. Have the courage of your convictions to step out. You could end up where you intended to.

Why do we seek to strengthen our cause by attacking our opponents? Keep the focus on your cause not on your opponents.

If you’re not the winner, you’ll be remembered for what you did last. What do you want to leave with your supporters or audience? You have one last chance to alter the impression.

Native Indians used smoke signals to send simple messages and the meanings were agreed upon in advance, they were pre-arranged. What was most telling about the messages was not the content but where the signal came from. Smoke signals were used to broadcast news of victory in battle, or to warn of sickness in the camp or danger such as approaching enemies.

Lesson #1

Their lifestyle wasn’t as hectic as ours yet their messages were concise. We need to be just as concise because our listeners don’t or won’t listen if we ramble or digress. Are you able to hold their attention and interest for the duration of your request, call or talk?

To be concise, truly listen, ask questions, know what you want to say and have the right words.

Lesson #2

They agreed in advance what the signals would mean so there would be no misunderstanding. They didn’t assume. They knew for certain. When you’re part of a team, do you ask questions to clarify, do you contribute in the discussion, do you actively participate? Or do you get your signals mixed up, assume or get flustered? Agreeing in advance requires you to truly listen, ask questions and have background information.

Lesson #3

Where the signal came from – for example hilltop or valley – conveyed most of the meaning. Where are your signals, messages coming from? Do you accept them without question? Are they from well-meaning, trustworthy sources? Don’t accept the message if it didn’t come from a ‘pre-arranged’ source. Also, what messages are you sending to yourself?

Lesson #4

Their survival depended on the smoke signals so those sending and receiving the signals had to be conscientious and reliable. Do you receive signals that broadcast good news or gossip and rumor? Are you enabling those who send out the latter? They are your ‘approaching enemies’ who can jeopardize your survival, your success.

There are two kinds of toothpicks – those that are durable, flexible, of excellent quality, where attention is paid to the process and those that are soft, of poor quality, break/splinter easily and have sloppy workmanship. The quality of the toothpick determines its versatility.
Do you know how the toothpicks of excellent quality are made? Birch wood passes through a machine which cuts it to toothpick size. These slivers of birch go through a four-hour process to become durable and flexible then they go through another four-hour process of refinement before becoming toothpicks.
Imagine, this simple lowly object that’s used once and thrown out is subjected to eight hours of intense preparation, preening and polishing. How much time are you willing to spend to achieve a goal or goals that would make you the best in your field?
If you want to stay in the comfortable cocoon of familiarity, you will not experience personal excellence and you will have a limited existence.
If you want to achieve personal excellence, then you have to be prepared to go through the process of preparation, pass through the heat that will make or break you and finally through a process of refinement. The process of preparation and refinement dictate where you will end up.
You have to know who you are before you can become what you want to be. What are you saying to yourself and who are you listening to? Are you limiting yourself or are you preparing for unlimited success?
If you were a toothpick, which one would you decide to be?

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.” Unknown (From Satori Quotes available through Clearly Speaking)