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How to Keep from Sounding LIKE Totally Stupid

June is reality check month. Lots of the resolutions have been made and most are already broken. It's time to take a hard look at where you are going in 05 and beyond. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to update all your personal credentials including your bio & your resume.

Have you done your spring cleaning (professional) yet? Do you have solid career plans for the balance of 05? Why are you waiting to get started improving your career?

Ask yourself these questions:

How dated is the material that you have been using to present your skill sets? Is the language professional? Are you using current, contemporary lingo in your materials? When was the last time you spent time assessing your personal portfolio? I know it's hard to think about those aspects of your career, but believe me its time well spent.

Look at your resume, does it seem "dated." The resume today is nothing like those of the past. So if it's not current, it will immediately present a negative connotation about your "contemporary-ness"

Have you ever seen a celebrity on TV who sounds illiterate? They are stars, so people over look how dumb they appear to be. That is not going to work for you. You will be evaluated by both your verbal and written skills. Can you put together a coherent sentence without using the word LIKE? If not, you better begin to practice your pitch. Start with a written a paragraph about what you have accomplished, what do you have to offer. Write it down and then read it over and over. Does it make sense? Does it grab your attention? Does it compel people to ask more?

If not, try different version, substitute words, refine and hone down your core message so you sound credible and believable. Action words are really important you want to convey an image. If you need help, get a thesaurus and look for synonyms of the words you plan to use in your pitch. Tip: If you never use big or unusual words, don't start now.

Are you good at small talk? This is a great way to open a dialogue or keep one going. The best method for small talk is to find something in the news (not political), but something that has a broad based appeal. Look for a topic that will elicit a response. Just pull a few ideas from recent news: spelling bee winner, final episodes (TV). Get the picture?

First impressions count! Have you heard someone speak that you thought was a total dork? What turned you off? Did they look slovenly or unkempt? Were they dressed appropriately? Did they sound incoherent with poor speech patterns? Appearance is one benchmark that will immediately determine how receptive the listener is to what you have to say. Do you have colleagues and associates that either turns you off or on when they speak? Pay attention to their style of speaking and mannerisms. What attributes do you like? Are they funny? Humor always has a way of breaking the ice or diffusing an uncomfortable moment.

If, in a chance meeting, you run into someone you consider to be important, do you sound like a bumbling fool? It's easy to prepare yourself to put your best foot forward. All it takes is practice. If you are not sure how professional you will seem, practice now. Find a friend or colleague and engage in dialogue. Don't talk to them about work, but in general conversation ask them to critique what you said. Were you interesting? Were you engaging? Did you talk too long or sound boring? Did they want to keep the conversation going? Establish a comfort level with your words and speaking style. Adapt it to what you are like and don't imitate anyone. Create you own unique personal speaking style.

JoAnn Hines' specialty is PACKAGING PEOPLE. Whether you want to be paid more, you just lost your job, or you want to progress in the one you have, Ms. Hines advice and expertise can help you transform your personal brand. She can show you how to package yourself and make your brand a hot commodity. It's easy once you know the ropes and begin to utilize her insider's secrets. She shows you step by step how to increase your visibility, credibility and marketability with easy to use tutorials and templates.

It is time to get started "Packaging Yourself."

Email me the Chief People Packager @

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