career advice, career management, Careers, entrepreneurs, Job Search, negotiation, self employed, small business

Not a Born Negotiator? Ways to Create A Win/Win

Mary Rosenbaum | March 24th, 2014

Are you a born negotiator? Not many of us are. Even if you are good at it, how successful are you when you are negotiating for yourself in situations that are critical to you, your business, and your career as opposed to for your company or your clients?

I know as soon as the negotiation affects me personally, arriving at a compromise is not as easy as when I am arranging a new car lease or buying something from a street vendor. In each of those two situations, I can walk away. I will probably never see or deal with that person again. Neither my emotions nor my ego are invested in the results.

What about negotiations that deal with compensation, employment or client contracts, staffing an important project, or being part of a team? These are personal. The results can reflect on our ability to perform well. The results represent how we define ourselves and the value our employers or clients assign to us. How good are you in these and other situations that are more personal?

The definition of negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. The best possible result would be an agreement that benefits both parties involved. But have you ever been involved in a negotiation where you felt that your “give up” was greater than the other side? If this sounds familiar, ask yourself:

1. Did I ask for enough? Whether it’s asking for increased compensation, a higher fee, improved benefits, more time, additional help, new title or promotion, sometimes a small voice in your head warns you of overreaching, asking for more than you can get or deserve. If this is the case, you have already lost the negotiation before you sit down at the table. Managing your expectations realistically are necessary, but just make sure that you are not limiting yourself because of fear.

2. Did I have enough information? Did I do enough research on my topic? If it’s compensation or fee structure, did I do my homework on comparables? Did I understand the firm psychology and culture? Information provides you with the bargaining strength you need to ask for what you deserve. It also serves as validation for your ask.

3. Did I know what I really wanted the outcome to be? What did I specifically ask for? You need to define what you are willing to give up. What is absolutely non-negotiable? When you walk into that room know how much you can give up without feeling that you are being taken advantage of.

4. Did I communicate my arguments effectively, did I make a clear case? Did I communicate how the other side can benefit if I prevail? Always try to see it from the other side so you can understand their position and make sure your pitch is designed so that their needs are taken into consideration.

5. Did I handle the objections well? Preparation is key to anticipating what the objections might be so you can come up with the right answers that strengthen your case.

Are there other ways you prepare for these types of negotiations? We would love to hear them.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Need help managing your career, contact me.

What’s Your Secret Sauce?

Mary Rosenbaum | April 18th, 2013
Power Up Your Personal and Corporate Brand

Panelists at the Hofstra Conference

We all like to think that the work we do and the service we provide is recognized and appreciated by those we work with and for.

Think about the people you work with, the professionals you encountered or hired, the people whose services you enlisted – which ones stand out in your mind? For me there are two types of standouts, each of them drive me to action. The first is a bad experience. I go out of my way to warn people away from those providers. The second and preferred standout is a great experience. I go out of my way to recommend them whenever I can. I like to reward a positive or great experience, don’t you? And that experience is not just limited to the actual service someone provides but it also includes the interaction I had with the person who actually did the work.

At a conference I spoke at yesterday initiated by Tanya Cole of the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce, one of the discussions I led was about just that – the VALUE EXPERIENCE and how it impacts you, your career, and your business. It was held at Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business and was well attended by women and men interested in exploring international expansion for their businesses and their careers. Each of the speakers (I’m seated in the middle) presented different tools, skills, and resources professionals and business owners need to achieve their goals. My area of focus, no surprise here, was how to power up and leverage their personal and corporate brands.

I defined Value as being made up of  two components. The first component of Value is the concrete – the actual work you do, the service you provide, the product you sell – the way you help those you work for or those you sell to, to solve some problem or fill some need. It’s the basics of what gets you in the game. What helps you differentiate you from everyone else is the second component of Value, and that’s the intangible part of the equation. I call it your secret sauce.

Your secret sauce is all about the experience others have working with you or buying from you. It’s what differentiates you from everybody else who does what you do, but can’t do it in the same way. It’s composed of the ingredients that are specific to the way you do your job, provide your service, or sell your products. It includes your history, your experiences, your unique skills and talents, your personality, how you make others feel, how you show them you care.

The Value experience makes someone recommend you, hire you, promote you, become your brand ambassador. It’s what drives them to action.

What’s your secret sauce? If you need help defining it, then contact me.

The Road to Success: Understand and Communicate Your Personal Brand Promise

Mary Rosenbaum | February 11th, 2013

Clients tell me that one of the hardest things to learn is how to represent themselves so that their unique promise of value (unique selling proposition in sales jargon) can be clearly articulated and understood. The benefit of being able to identify and communicate your unique value is to ensure that people listen to you, believe what you say, and as result choose to promote, hire, or use your services. AND it encourages them to do so NOW.

Too often people worry that this smacks of outright self-promotion. My answer to that comment is that it really depends on how you communicate it, and how and to whom you tell your stories. When executed properly, it’s not about bragging, it is about proactively managing your career or your business so you can achieve the goals you set for yourself.

By strengthening your personal brand (what others think of you) in ways that highlight your value, you will be known for the expertise you provide. And once you are known for whatever you are highlighting it prompts them to think, “If they can do that (whatever your expertise is) for them, then I believe they can do that for me as well.”

I want to reiterate what I have written in past posts. Don’t sell yourself as someone who can do everything. First of all, no one can be an expert at everything so it will strain your credibility if that is your claim. And second, a jack of all trades means a master of none. Your unique promise of value is one where you can stand out from the pack and stake your claim. Being known for doing one thing expertly is often better than being known for delivering average performance on many things, especially in these highly competitive times.

Your expertise, when properly articulated doesn’t limit you. Instead you can leverage your outstanding work in what you do well and the reputation you have developed because successful professionals with outstanding skills are always in high demand.

So think about what “pain” you help your company, your boss, or your clients solve. Think about the skills and talents you utilize, the method you employ, the results you obtain, and how they differ from those with whom you are competing. What you will ultimately come down to is your Personal Brand Promise: the value you offer, for whom it is intended and your differentiation.

At Your Career by Design I help professionals and entrepreneurs articulate, communicate and leverage their unique promise of value. To understand what needs to be highlighted, we work together on defining goals, unearthing relevant talents and skills, and connecting past achievements to future rewards.

Passion: Without it Obama might not have won.

Mary Rosenbaum | November 7th, 2012

This morning after an election night that ended a very long and drawn out campaign, I realized what a valuable lesson could be learned from the final results.

Whether you were happy or not about the outcome, an undeniable truth is that President Obama was given a second chance in part because people believed that he really cared. He was and is passionate about his beliefs and his actions have always reflected that. Whether or not he was successful in achieving his goals mattered less than the fact that he really cared.

I don’t claim that the underlying issues didn’t have an impact on the results, but judging from exit poll interviews last night it was clear that many cast their vote for the guy who was passionate about the people he represented and the causes for which he fought.

Passion exemplified in words and actions is the basis for building trust and empathy, and as we saw last night, for helping secure an often elusive second chance.

One of the exercises in my workshop focuses on passions. It is surprising how many people have difficulty identifying their passions. You can be passionate about anything – ice cream, old foreign films, horror movies – but the type of passion I’m talking about are those activities or beliefs that make you feel good about getting up in the morning. They give you direction and drive your purpose.

An easy exercise is to look around you at the people in your life – at work, at home. It’s not that hard to recognize those people who are passionate about what they do or what they are involved in. They seem energized. They seem believable. This passion is part of who they are – their identity. How do you or other people react to them when they talk about it?

Strong passions are what make you magnetic to others. They motivate you and engage others. When you are passionate about something, you trigger an emotional reaction in those who surround you.

What are you passionate about?

What Are They Saying About You?

Mary Rosenbaum | March 22nd, 2012

What do people say about you when you leave the room? Generally speaking, if it was a professional situation, they would mention your title and responsibilities. If it was a more relaxed environment, they might talk about your character, how easy or difficult you are to work with, your values and how they impact the way you deal with others, your aspirations, and even your family situation.

Your personal brand is more than just your title and responsibilities. It includes the actions you take that directly reflect your values, your passions, and your aspirations. Your personal brand, your reputation, is constantly changing as your actions reflect your experiences, your challenges, and the influence of others. But no one action can define your personal brand.

The big buzz over the past couple of weeks has been the very public way in which Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs. He has definitely altered the way people think of him – those who know him and even more to the point, those who never heard of him before but now have a strong opinion of him.

I have heard people say that he has really branded himself. But as what? There are many different points of view as to the motive behind his actions. He has been labeled moral, vindictive, whistleblower, spoiler, spoiled, hypocrite, honest, dishonest, and I could go on.

One act does not constitute your personal brand. Personal branding is all about who you are in your entirety. Not a reflection of one action – but – that action is incorporated in your brand. Whatever Mr. Smith decides his next step will be, it will define and strengthen the direction his reputation, his brand, will take. It will provide added insight into who he is and why he did it.

Your personal brand is always a work in progress. A few years ago I’m sure Mr. Smith didn’t have a clue that he would make this public declaration nor be the focus of so much discussion and conjecture in the news and on the airways. His action was a result of some experience – one that affected how he viewed the world – his values and sense of purpose. By taking this strong a stand Mr. Smith has impacted his reputation, his personal brand, but the direction is still anyone’s guess.

How about you?

– Do you know what others are saying about you?

– Have you defined your personal brand in a way that accurately reflects who you are today and hints at what you want to accomplish in the future?

– Do your actions strengthen your positioning of how you want to be known?

You are in control of how others view you. So don’t be surprised by what they are saying about you and take control of your personal brand.

For tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners these articles on FoxBusiness should be helpful.

Get my free report on Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

A Personal Branding Lesson from Mitt Romney

Mary Rosenbaum | December 15th, 2011

There was an article in the NYTimes on Tuesday about Ann Romney becoming more involved in her husband’s campaign. Apparently her husband has been unable to communicate a full three dimensional picture of who Mitt Romney really is. And without that ingredient, people have a hard time connecting with him or understanding his vision and what propels him to take on the challenges of being President.

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement for Romney or any other candidate, just a great example of how to manage your personal brand.

An important missing ingredient in his campaign is that potential supporters are unable to see the human side of Romney – his values, passions, vision for the world and purpose in enacting that vision. Clearly he has been able to convey how he believes his skills and past experiences make him a viable candidate for the job of President.  But the emotional (soft skills) component was sorely lacking. And that’s where Ann comes into the picture. The title of the article is “The campaign sends a Romney to the rescue. Ann Romney.”

Well unless you have your secret Ann who can pave the way for you at work, with clients, and in life, then you have to be the one to present the full 3 dimensional picture of who you are.

Why is this so important? First, you want people to see you the way you want to be seen. Second, you want to communicate your personal brand in a way that resonates with your target audience so they can connect with you, buy into what you are doing, and become your brand ambassadors over time.

Another valuable lesson to be learned from the Romney campaign is that you can refocus the spotlight on those aspects of your personal brand that will help you reach your objectives.  You have control; you just have to make the right adjustments.

In his case, public relations efforts have tried to refocus his personal brand of being one of a wealthy (comfortable by birth and through success in business) and financially savvy businessman to a man whose values and ethics are what made him successful – hard work, his frugal ways, his devotion to his wife and family, and a solid work ethic.

All of these values may be a part of who Romney is, authentic to his brand.  However, they are not part of what the public initially focused on.  That’s what personal branding is all about – it’s not creating a brand, but rather understanding, highlighting, and leveraging those aspects of your brand that are important and relevant to your target audience.

Take the first step to taking control of your career.

SIGN UP for Personal Branding Boot Camp being held February 4

I want to wish everyone a Happy Healthy and Wonderful New Year.

Let’s make 2012 the YEAR OF SUCCESS FOR ALL!

To learn more about Mary Rosenbaum, who she works with and some of her programs, please visit the home page. Learn more about the Personal Branding Boot Camp here and here.

Personal Branding Boot Camp – February 4, 2012

Mary Rosenbaum | December 12th, 2011

Make 2012 the year you take control of your career or business!

Whether you know it or not, you already have a personal brand. But is it the brand or reputation you want or need to get ahead in your career or business?

Working on your career is as important as doing a great job at work. It is easy to get caught up with deadlines, projects, and the everyday world of family and friends. When did you last take the time to evaluate where you are going in your career? And even more importantly, do you have a clear understanding or awareness of where you are now, what makes you unique, how others view you, and how you want others to view you?

Give yourself the best gift possible for the New Year – an opportunity to take a step back so you can take an important step forward!

The goal of this workshop is to enable you to:

–       leverage your strengths

–       be more memorable

–       enjoy greater visibility

–       have greater self-confidence

–       deliver on your brand promise authentically

–       increase your self-awareness

–       stand out from the crowd

–       enjoy greater job/career fulfillment

Workshop details

The February 4 all day workshop is limited to a small group to facilitate learning and participation. Through individual and small group exercises, you will:

–       define your goals and construct an action plan to help you achieve them

–       understand your values, how they affect what you do, and how you do it

–       learn to inject your passions into your world of work

–       define how your skills, talents, and abilities differentiate you from the competition

–       identify your target audience and determine ways to reach them

–       clearly articulate how you want to be known

–       work on defining and building your personal brand

Fee Includes

  1. An interactive all day workshop including individual and group work exercises led by Mary Rosenbaum.
  2. A workbook you can continue using and modifying after the workshop is over.
  3. A 360Assessment (cost of $150.00 included in fee).*
  4. Of course, breakfast and lunch.

*See below for a detailed description of the 360Assessment


Feedback from former workshop participants

What they found valuable How did they change?
“Understanding my differentiator, what’s valuable and how to speak to it.”

“Stating my goals – that I can do it!”

“Personal branding and how it can help or hinder you in achieving your goals.”

“The 360 Assessment made me aware of how I come off to others.”

“The 360 let me see how others view me. It felt great.” (the 360 assessment was mentioned consistently in the reviews as a positive eye-opener)

“The section that asks you to do an action plan-forces you to review everything and decide what is most important to you.”

“Action planning around 360 feedback.”

“Understanding your differentiation-helps structure your brand.”

“Defining values and passions.”

“Personal stories and how they were inspired.”

“More aware of the impact I have on people.”

“More aware of what I project and how I have control.”

“Clarified what actions I need to take to achieve my goals.”

“Understanding the strengths I need to enhance.”

“More self-aware.”

“Be more confident and trust my instincts.”

“I have even more confidence that I am doing a great job and that people recognize it.”

“Being more aware of how I come off and continuing to build my brand.”

“A heightened sense of self-awareness.”

“Re-igniting my passions (I had lost sight of).”

“Living my values.”

“Identifying the strengths I need to amp up or shine a spotlight on and bring my passion more into my work life.”



Who is this for?

–       professionals inside organizations and entrepreneurs who want to improve the way they communicate and articulate their unique value added

–       client facing professionals who need to differentiate themselves from their competitors

–       professionals who need to better align their reputation with their professional goals both inside and outside their organization

More About the 360 Assessment:

Integral to the program is the 360 Reach Assessment, the first and leading web-based personal brand assessment that will help you get the real story of how you are perceived by those around you. It provides the critical feedback you need to expand your success and continue thriving in a competitive business environment.  The first phase, the self-assessment and the raters assessment, will be assigned as pre-work before the workshop so that each of you will have your complete report with you when we meet as a group.

The assessment focuses 99% on the positive, on your strengths and abilities, as the personal branding process is all about highlighting those attributes and qualities that help you stand out. It takes the raters you select (friends, family, colleagues, managers, clients) only 10-15 minutes to complete this on-line assessment.

This assessment has already been taken by more than 700,000 people worldwide and the reviews are outstanding. The personal branding process cannot be completed without an understanding of how others view you. Why? Because it’s critical to know if how others view you is equal to how you view yourself.

So Take The First Step to Taking Control of Your Career in 2012

Give Yourself the Gift You Deserve.


Grow Your Network – Leverage Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 2nd, 2011

Part of leveraging your personal brand is communicating it to and connecting with people who are in your target audience. After all, you want those people who are in a position to be your brand ambassadors to know about you.

The key is to expand your target audience beyond its current parameters – but in a meaningful way. This is not a numbers game. I am not encouraging you to increase your followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook or contacts on LinkedIn. Instead I am advocating a deepening of those relationships if they merit it and expanding your circle to include others that fit your parameters.

What do I mean by that?  Take a look at your existing network. A good way to do that is to look at your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts and how they aggregate. Are they relationships that can expand your reach into communities that include your target audience? If so, do they have a good understanding of the value your bring to your organization or your clients? Can they be your brand ambassadors? A broadening and deepening of your relationships will ensure that the answer to those questions is yes.

Clients always ask, “how can I expand my network?” If you work inside an organization, don’t make the mistake of just focusing on your managers and co-workers. It’s just as important to communicate and ultimately develop relationships with those outside your organization. When you think about it the people you know and communicate with regularly (those you work with and for) already have a pretty good idea of who you are and the value you provide. It’s those people outside your organization and outside your close friends network that are the ones who can provide you with:

–     new information

–     new ideas

–     new contacts

–     exposure to different opportunities

Here are some ideas for expanding your network.

–     Join an organization – professional or not for profit. Participate in a meaningful way so you can form relationships and allow your personal brand to shine through.

–       Increase your communication with people you see only once or twice a year. If possible, off-line always trumps on-line.

–       Introduce your friends and professional contacts to each other. Be generous with your contacts and they will be eager to reciprocate.

–       Contribute to the success of others. The goodwill that generates from this practice is priceless.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Being a strong leader means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

A Personal Branding Lesson from Steve Jobs

Mary Rosenbaum | August 30th, 2011

With the resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple I was reminded of the power derived from having a vision and recognizing your purpose in enacting that vision. You have to be fearless and willing to take a stand, go out on a limb and reach for what you want to accomplish, no matter what.

The outpouring of support of someone who so few knew was remarkable. He was able to touch so many through the way they were entertained, the way they did business, and the way they communicated. He built a tribe of supporters and followers who gladly lined up days in advance of the release of every new innovative product Apple came out with. Why? Because they knew that it would be a game changer, that was the promise Jobs made to them. It was his unique promise of value – his personal brand.

Steve Jobs’ vision was to be a change agent. Back in 1983 when he was hiring John Scully away from Pepsi he asked him this question: “Do you want to make sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to have the chance to change the world?”

I wrote a piece on how the WHY of what you do is so important in developing your unique brand and used Apple to illustrate my point. Steve Jobs’ vision, his WHY, was that he wanted to change the world and he did. Developing the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad were what and how he accomplished his vision. The WHY is what keeps people committed to Apple and their products.

Twitter was overwhelmed with comments and accolades the day Jobs resigned. Comments like:

“Funny how much emotion you can feel about a stranger…”

“… every phone call I make, every time I’m on the computer, he’s part of it”

“… defined a generation and changed the world.”

“Thank you for teaching me that good will never be enough.”

“… he is the greatest leader our industry has ever known.”

Steve Jobs is clear on his personal brand and he communicates it in everything he does. His vision defines his purpose and his goals. And it’s not over yet. But we all know, he will be a tough act to follow.

Check out my article on on personal branding.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

It’s Your Reputation, So Handle With Care

Mary Rosenbaum | August 18th, 2011

What are you doing to build, nurture, maintain, and grow your reputation? With all the hype about social media it becomes easy to take your eye off the ball of what really drives your career and your business. Whether you are in sales or some other profession, an entrepreneur or a small business owner, your number one focus should be your reputation. Your reputation includes much more than the work you deliver. It says a lot about you as a person and your company as a reflection of you.

Everyone has heard of word-of-mouth buzz – the holy grail of marketing. Every experience is stored in the mind with a story attached to it. Your brand is only as strong as the stories people tell about it. The stories we spread are either about what really upsets us or what makes us really happy. Maintaining and growing your reputation, your brand, depends on the stories that reflect the positive results rather than the negative surprises.

This summer I had an opportunity to work with a number of small businesses and service providers across a variety of industries. On a scale of 1-10 very few would receive a score higher than 6 and there were three that fell well below 5. Would I recommend them to others? Not in good conscience. Are there stories based on these experiences that I pass along that are less than flattering? Yes.

So what did they do wrong? The bottom line was that the experience of working with them was so unpleasant that it became memorable, in a negative way. So in spite of the fact that they ultimately completed their respective assignments the word-of-mouth buzz was not positive.

But we can all learn from their mistakes. Here are my suggestions for actions you can take to help you maintain a strong personal brand and a stellar reputation.

1. Manage expectations and eliminate negative surprises. If you find yourself unable to deliver on time or deliver what is expected, keep your client or your boss informed as quickly as possible. By managing expectations and keeping them in the loop you involve them in the process, are able to ask for their input, and make them partners in your success.

2. Tell the truth. There is nothing worse than losing your credibility. It’s not great to have to deliver bad news but if you lie and are found out you risk losing a lot more than if you told the truth. And the reality is, you will be found out eventually.

3. Communicate regularly and keep everyone informed of your progress. Returning phone calls in a timely fashion is imperative in maintaining a good relationship. Especially when you have bad news to deliver because no news is worse than bad news. Keeping your clients or managers in the dark by simply dodging their calls or emails only raises their internal barometer and puts them closer to exploding rather than understanding.

4. Under-promise and over-deliver. When pitching business or a project make sure your proposals and time frame are realistic, the results attainable and the ultimate costs in line with your experience and their needs or budgets. Failing to deliver on promise because of poorly thought out or researched proposals and strategic plans will not help you build strong and lasting relationships with your clients, your managers, and your colleagues.

If you communicate and collaborate with integrity and honesty you will all have a better experience working together. Mistakes happen, issues occur, and circumstances change. Unless you take ownership and step up to accept responsibility your brand will diminish in the eyes of those who work with you or your company. And you can bet on it – they will spread the word.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru