Author Archives: Arlene Cohn

Doing Conferences: Introverts and Extroverts Pace Yourself

With fellow authors Michelle Reina, Jesse Stoner, Catherine Robinson-Walker, and Bev Kaye at the 2015 BK Author’s Marketing Workshop in San Francisco

A few years ago, I attended two back to back conferences. The first was a book marketing workshop sponsored by the BK Author’s Co-op in SF followed by the National Speakers Association conference in Washington, D, C. As I started to review my notes and highlight those actions I planned to take I realized that I had learned some other important lessons about how to “do” conferences.

Here are five strategies that worked for me. Perhaps some of these ideas will be useful to you introverts and extroverts.

1. Prepare – Ask yourself what your purpose is when attending. I wanted to connect with old colleagues, learn about new trends (ex. doing video blogging) and meet with new vendors. I set up a few dinners and a breakfast but didn’t go overboard with planning. This ensured that I could see the people  I wanted to see while still remaining spontaneous.

But I also left slack time for other spontaneous happenings. I was privileged to learn about a jam session with top-notch performers like Freebo and Mike Rayburn.  A small band of fans gathered in an empty ballroom and grooved to these “virtuosos”, a term that Mike uses in describing people at the top of their game.

I also sketched out a schedule of programs I wanted to attend. That allowed me to get to the room early and ensure a seat for popular sessions.

2. Pace Yourself –Get your rest, eat well and exercise – even a few stretches in your room are helpful.  I also have learned my sweet spot for conference attendance. After 72 hours on my butt inside a hotel with few outside breaks, I am ready to break out of hotel prison. I missed one of the banquets because I left early but didn’t regret it.

3. Connect in The Corridor – At the NSA conference, walking around the hallways during sessions can be a walk down a hall of fame in the speaking world. Jeannie Robertson, Robert Bradford, and Alan Stevens were some of my encounters that year. I gained a usable nugget from each one of them.  Those brief “stop and chats” have been priceless and make a huge difference in my biz and life.

4. Be Nice to Newcomers – I hate cliques but can sometimes be guilty myself of leaving newcomers out of the conversation. I am glad that at NSA all newcomers have a ribbon with “VIP” on it to help them realize how important they are.  I learned so much from people as I came into the field and am happy to share my experience with them. Mentoring VIP’s also helps me to chart my own progress. I was able to facilitate a discussion at the book marketing workshop and could recognize my own professional growth by giving some of it away

5. Leave the Husband at Home – Through a long marriage, Bill and I both have realized that one of our winning strategies is to make space away from each other.  I travel for my annual conference and get my energy boost. He gets to enjoy solitude to his heart’s delight. When Bill picks me up at the train station after my trips he does seem more relaxed. I spill out my stories on the 10-minute ride home and he listens patiently.  Conferences give opposites like us much-needed respites from each other.

So consider how you can “do conferences” to play to your own energy needs and get the most out of those days away from home.

Knowing how to pace yourself and figuring out your purpose will help you get the most out of these professional development opportunities.

5 management books to check out

I love lists of recommended books. These  “Listicles.” as they are known, help me cut through the clutter online. Even if I don’t get to read the entire list of recommendations, I can check out the excerpts.  This also goes for listicles of recommended films, tv shows, podcasts, blogs, etc. You might be like me and enjoy getting a feel for new and useful content. 

It was a nice surprise to discover The Introverted Leader and the description of “quiet dedication” included on a recent list created by Tamanna Mishra for the website YourStory. 

New content in the 2nd edition covers introvert-friendly workplaces, recruiting and interviewing introvert talent and new research on introverted leadership.  

I was pleased to see the great work of my book’s endorsers, Adam Grant and Dan Pink included here as well  Both Drive and Give and Take are classics.

Here is the article:

Five management books that will help you kickstart 2018 on a high note 

“For professionals – C-suite and mid-level management alike – the process of learning does not – and more importantly, should not – stop. As you grow in your role, so do the challenges that arise directly or through your close circle of mentors and leaders. How does one learn to respond to such situations? The answers lie in books.

From human challenges such as persuading customers and motivating employees to operational challenges that involve creating order in a system that seems to be built on the premise of chaos, there is a lot that business books have spoken about in the past and continue to do so. It is this advice from management experts and business leaders that can steer you in the right direction.

The year-end holiday season is the best time not just to reflect on your personal achievements but also to catch up on the lessons learned by businesses across the globe. So here’s a reading list featuring books on entrepreneurship, leadership, human relations, and every other topic a professional might be interested in.

Persuasion is the core of all businesses. Great leaders are masters at selling to their customers, instilling loyalty in their employees, and etching a mark in the industry. This is exactly why Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a timeless read for professionals. Cialdini uses instances from his own experiences and applies them to the psychological principles of professional life. Throughout the book, the author also interviews professionals from diverse roles and functions as a proof point for his analogies.

The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength, Jennifer Kahnweiler

After many years of focusing on popular ideas like “winning friends” and “influencing people”, new-age professionals are demanding a new kind of inclusion – the inclusion of diverse personality types at work. According to modern workplace discourse, success doesn’t always have to come from taking center stage. Quiet dedication is as much a skill as extroverted and charismatic leadership. Jennifer Kahnweiler’s book does a great job of articulating this.

The Introverted Leader is a compilation of interviews with over 100 introverted professionals who talk about their experiences and tools to deal with and succeed in an extroverted culture. The book also includes great advice for introverts from Kahnweiler’s perspective and articulates the different skills and strengths introverts have and can tap on to rise through the ranks. The book is a must-read not only for introverted professionals but also for leaders who must learn how to include introverts in workplace discourse and decision-making.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink

Motivating teams and employees is one of the most business-sensitive tasks that leaders and managers contend with every day. Daniel Pink’s Drive is an argument on what truly motivates individuals. Most organizations take a carrot-and-stick approach to employee motivation, focusing largely on external factors like appreciation, salary hikes, and promotions. Pink argues that motivation is an intrinsic thing, and is truly driven by autonomy, expertise, and purpose. The book also advocates a hybrid approach to management that caters to motivation and fulfillment needs of diverse individuals.

What makes this book truly relevant in our times is the fact that it is the first time in history that three generations are in the workplace together. Along with the increasingly inclusive nature of teams and workplaces, it all makes managerial behaviour that much more complex. Drive breaks down what we all know but don’t always remember – that people management is the art of saying what one needs to hear, in ways that they understand.

Managing the Mental Game, Jeff Boss

Most of the challenges, at work and in life, can be overcome by training your mind to respond differently to negativity, pessimism, and insecurity. That is exactly what executive coach and former Navy SEAL Jeff Boss discuss in his book, Managing The Mental Game. The book is a guide to mental training techniques that enhance self-belief, confidence, and fortitude to overcome challenges and push the boundaries of success.

A very simple take on life’s complex issues, the book makes mental training a lot less intimidating and more relatable for the average professional. It provides a very basic knowledge of understanding your mind and overcoming mental traps like uncertainties while giving pointers on how to attain mental focus. Cutting through the jargon of neuroscience, the book reflects upon change, thought architecture, and retraining your mind to reject negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

At a time when the boundaries between professional and personal lives have blurred and lives have become much more stressful than ever before, Boss’ book comes as a refreshing lesson in cutting through the chaos and prioritizing moving forward in life and work.

Give and Take, Adam Grant

No matter what your personality type, one’s professional equity is almost always defined by the quality of the interactions they have with their colleagues, managers, and teams. That’s the idea behind Adam Grant’s Give and Take. Moving away from traditional and often individualistic drivers of success such as passion, hard work, and luck, Grant focuses on traits that make individuals into givers, takers, or matchers. Grant then uses his research as a Wharton professor to prove how these engagement styles define success. A widely acclaimed book, Give and Take is an insightful lesson in effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills, and in essence, a powerful force that holds the key to transforming not only one’s professional life but even communities and organizations.

This reading list touches upon contemporary needs such as mental fortitude, communication, and the inclusion of diverse personality types. Which one of these are you adding to your reading list? Do mention your favorites in the comments below.”