MENTOR MONDAY: How to be a Better Boss

June 28, 2011 by  
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This month for Mentor Monday, we reviewed the 2010 best-selling business book by Robert Sutton, “Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst.” Sutton’s book is based on the more than 100,000 responses he received when he asked employees what they want from their boss.

Listen to this Mentor Monday call  and save yourself a lifetime of learning. Whether you are an emerging leader or a seasoned executive, you’ll benefit with at least one takeaway.


Listen to this entire podcast in only 30 minutes.

Want to read our book review?

Sage Leaders Special Report - How to be a Better BossClick on the graphic or link,
Sage Leaders – How to be a Better Boss

If you like this type of practical learning then,
register for Mentor Monday
(click on link) and you’ll receive advance invitations to all our free calls.

Expect the Best,
Sylva Leduc
Leadership Strategist for Emerging Leaders
Managing Partner, Sage Leaders Inc.

P.S., On the call I mentioned Sutton’s survey. It’s been completed by more than 100,000 people!  Take the survey and evaluate your boss. And if you manage people complete it on yourself.

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Sage Strategies: Are Your Presentations Powerful?

June 17, 2011 by  
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Sylva Leduc talks about assessments and how to be a better leader

Imagine this:  You’ve been asked to give a presentation.

Congratulations!  This is your chance to shine.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t like being in the spotlight and presenting.

You may even have read somewhere that public speaking is the #1 fear of most people and it’s rated even higher than dying.

If just the thought of public speaking makes you cringe, I have good news. You can deliver confident and powerful presentations!  All it takes is preparation, practice, and a winning mindset.  How do I know?  Because the first time I ever had to present in front of a large group, I literally thought I was going to faint. Through preparation, practice and intentionally placing myself in front of opportunities to  present, I grew to enjoy speaking in front of large groups. And now, it’s one of my favorite ways to connect with people.

If you are an emerging leader being groomed for career advancement, then don’t be surprised if you are asked to make presentations more frequently.

I’d like to give you some simple tips you that can use to conquer your worries. With these tips & tactics, you’ll be ready in no time, feeling confident, and fully prepared to share your knowledge.

First, there are a few things for you to think about:

  1. If you were asked to present, it’s because you can do it—you wouldn’t have been asked otherwise.
  2. Most people don‘t really like presenting.  Some of the best, most well-known speakers and actors have confessed to this.  So, when you look at your audience, know that you’re in good company because they are probably admiring your courage and want you to be successful.
  3. The words that come out of your mouth contribute to only about 10% of what is communicated.  That leaves 90% to non-verbals.  If your body language, expression and gestures communicate confidence, you will come across as confident.

But just how do you create this confidence?

Here’s the secret: being prepared; practicing; and having identified beforehand, instant solutions for de-stressing.

One of our favorite mottos is, “If you think you can, you can.”

Here is how you’re going to prepare, stand confidently in place, and knock their socks off!

Confidence Builder #1:  Know Your Content

Identify your key messages—bullet them in order so they tell a clear story.

Jot down cues for your key messages (e.g. on index card, flashcards, paper, etc.).

Have them ready as back up (but remember to refrain from reading them word-for-word while presenting).

Enhance your messages with supporting tools, and interesting visuals—it will be a perk for your audience, and it takes the spotlight off you.

Be sure to tap into your resources—know a graphic design expert?  Ask for their advice. Oh, and be sure to read the book, “Presentation Zen” so that you make your presentation interesting and not put you audience to sleep with a boring Power Point presentation.

Confidence Builder #2:  Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice delivery of your presentation.  Do this in the mirror.  You might feel funny talking to yourself, but it works.

Or, use a Flip Video, record your presentation and review yourself.

Watch your body language.

Find your “confident look.”

Stand, straight, be sure to use smooth hand gestures, and limit unnecessary movement (e.g. rocking back and forth from one foot to the other).

Practice until the words flow like water.

When you’re ready, practice in front of a friend or two.

Ask them each for 3 things you did well and 1 thing you could improve.

Confidence Builder #3:  Create your “winning scene”

Visualize yourself delivering your presentation.

Then see your audience’s reaction.

What does that “winning scene” look like for you?

Visualize it over and over until you can see it so clearly that you know what color of socks your boss is wearing!

Confidence Builder #4:  Do it!

Identify ways to calm your nerves before you even begin: take deep breaths, or find whatever works for you (e.g. picture everyone smiling and nodding in agreement).

Squelch any negative thoughts or concerns by envision your “winning scene.”

Think positively.  Remember:  “If you think you can, you can.”

As you speak, maintain eye contact with as many people as you can—this conveys confidence and executive presence.  While we don’t want you to stare at anyone for longer than three seconds, we also don’t want your eyes darting around the audience.  You’ll look shifty!

Here’s a quick tip: If it helps, determine a shape in your mind and make eye contact around the room as though you were creating that shape with your line of vision.

Be sure to keep your pace nice and s…l…o…w.

Many of us tend to speedtalk when presenting. I know that I’ve been guilty of this when I didn’t pay attention. What might sound slow to us sounds just right to the listener.

When you are well prepared you will make your points confidently, answer questions clearly, and start to look forward to your next opportunity to be on stage!

Sylva Leduc, MEd, MPEC
The Leadership Strategist
Executive Coach

ps  Any great stories to share about a presentation you made or a one where you were in the audience? What about horror stories of the worst presentation you ever had to sit through?

MENTOR MONDAY: Setting Your Goals for 2011

February 1, 2011 by  
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Sylva Leduc, Sage Leaders Inc., talks about goal setting for 2011

January is off to a great start with many people joining us for this month’s Mentor Monday call to discuss goal setting. Have you set your own goals for 2011?


Length of this podcast: 31 minutes



During the call Sylva mentioned the book by Jinny Ditzler, called Your Best Year Yet. You can find the book at Amazon. .

You can also download our short, one page summary of the Best Year Yet questions. BYY-10 Questions


Are you registered for Mentor Monday? If you are, then you’ll receive an automatic reminder to join us on the fourth Monday of each month. If you are not registered,  then register here

Happy New Year!
Sylva Leduc
Executive Coach

Sage Leaders Inc.

What’s Your Leadership Point of View?

December 1, 2010 by  
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Ken Blanchard, renowned author of Leadership and the One Minute Manager, talks about how to both create and share your leadership point of view.


Sylva Leduc
Leadership Strategist & Executive Coach

Sage Strategies: 20 Ways to Be More Confident

September 25, 2009 by  
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SAGE Leadership Strategies: 20 Ways to Be More Confident

Sage Leaders - team meeting

When I work with new leaders or  involving in onboarding new employees, one of the challenges for them is to remain confident as they encounter new situations where they do not have previous experience.

Want to know some quick & practical methods to increase your own confidence?

Without further ado, here are some great ideas.  Decide which one(s) will work for you.

Read more

Job Search for Introverts

August 28, 2009 by  
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Earlier this week, I had a conversation with a colleague about what it’s like for shy or introverted people to embark on a job search.

One word describes how those folks often feel – Terrified!

In the earlier stages of my career I could easily be described as a shy introvert. I have many first-hand experiences of how mentally challenging it was for me like to conduct a job search. It was agonizing until I learned a few tips and tricks.

Here’s a quick story about the very first job I ever applied for and for which I was hired.

When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t sure of my career path, so instead of heading directly to university I decided to work for a year. I thought I’d laze around for that year but my parents had other plans. They said if I wasn’t going to continue my education then I’d have to get a job.

That meant I’d have to apply for jobs and go on interviews. Gulp!

I didn’t know where to start, and even worse, I didn’t WANT to go on interviews. I can fondly remember my very first interview. My best friend’s mother worked in a small, family-operated retail store. She knew they were looking for a clerk so invited me to speak (i.e. interview) with the owner. I screwed up my courage, took my mother with me and went on the interview.

Yes!! You read that right, I took my mother along on my interview. As a Baby Boomer I’ve heard that only Gen Ys drag along family members to interviews. Says who?

Anyway, I digress.

Did I get the job? Yes! Was it easy for me to go through the interview? No! After the interview, there was so much adrenaline pumping through my body that when I got home I promptly threw up.

If my experience seems to be an extreme reaction to an interview, it’s not. At least not for an introvert. I’ve coached many introverts through the years and when I share my story they always nod. We know what it’s like to be an introvert and go through the agony of looking for a job.

Anyone who has completed a Myers Briggs Type Indicator knows the MBTI categorizes people as either Introverts or Extroverts. What people may not understand is that the Myers Briggs Type Indicator looks at how people process information. An extrovert thinks out loud while an introvert thinks before speaking.

However, being an introvert does not automatically mean the person is shy. There are varying degrees of introversion, from the deathly-shy introvert to the gregarious introvert. When I came out of high-school I was a very shy introvert. Now, as a gregarious introvert who speaks in front of large groups, I appear to be more of an extrovert.

Here’s something else you may find surprising: Research with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) shows that introverts actually outnumber extroverts, 50.8% to 49.3%. And, more men (54.1%) than women (47.5%) are introverted. What that means is there are a lot of introverts who have learned how to adapt to an extroverted world.

When it comes to introverts conducting a job search, here are a few survival tips:

  1. First, focus on your strengths. Introverts are great researchers. They more apt to find out information about a company before applying for a job or going to an interview. Take advantage of your researching skills to tailor your resume or cover letter.
  2. Network both online and offline. Social networking sites like LinkedIn are ideal for introverts who want to spend time thinking about how to respond to questions. But, of course, you can’t live online all the time and at some point you will also have to see people “live.”
  3. Introverts are also great listeners. The advantage is that when you network and meet people, you don’t have to dominate conversations. Just ask questions and listen. Really listen. People will be happy to share information with you.
  4. Prepare for interviews ahead of time. Practice by answering those interview questions, over and over and over, until you are comfortable answering a variety of questions. Initially, you can write out your answers or just think about how you would answer. Then …
  5. Buy or borrow a Flip Video and record your answers to those practice interview questions. With a Flip you can hold the camera at arms-length and record yourself for a couple of minutes. Then play back your “interview” to watch/listen to what you are doing well and where you need to improve.
  6. Once you’ve gained the confidence, ask a friend to interview you to see how you can handle other questions. And, once again, be sure to record those mock interviews on a Flip Video or camcorder.

While I could continue to list even more tips for introverts I’d rather direct you to a new job search book written by a fellow introvert, Wendy Gelberg. Wendy’s book is called The Successful Introvert. Find out more about it at

Sylva Leduc, MEd, MPEC
Leadership Strategist & Executive Coach
Sage Leadership Strategies

Author, “Roadmap to Success”
Get a free copy of “Roadmap to Success” with indepth interviews of Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, myself and others in coaching/consulting. Visit Sage Leaders and click on the book cover. There’s a nominal cost to cover S&H.

P.S. Yes, even extroverts can learn from these tips. Especially using a Flip Video to practice their interview questions.