Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Attitude vs. Ability - Which one influences your boss more?

Click here for link to article

From Psychology Today:
"Attitude -- especially a negative one -- might be the determining factor in your relationship with a new employer.

What impresses a new boss more: attitude or ability? If your answer is ability, think again. Attitude -- especially a negative one -- might be the determining factor in your relationship with a new employer.

"We found that supervisors were able to pick up on negative traits such as anger, hostility, or instability early in the relationship," reports David V. Day, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Penn State. "These traits can destroy a good working relationship almost before it begins."

Even if a new employee has considerable ability, a negative attitude is what may stick in the employers mind. And once that first impression is formed, it's hard to change. "Negative personality traits make a more powerful and long-lasting impression than positive ones," notes Day. "And even the most gifted employees are unlikely to join the supervisor's inner circle it they are perceived as angry, irritable, or depressed."

You can probably add Anxiety and Fear to that list.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Brain Size May Prevent Anxiety

A little technical, but this article suggests that those with a larger brain structure in the front of the brain may have some resiliency to developing anxiety disorders. It will be interesting to see if psychotherapy or psychoeducational approaches can lead to an increase in the size of this area of the brain, creating some immunity to anxiety. Here is part of the article, what do you think?

Size of Brain Structure Could Signal Vulnerability to Anxiety Disorders

By: Massachusetts General Hospital on Jul 23 2005 16:52:05

Anxiety Disorders

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) area appears smaller in those that continue to react to images associated with discomfort

The size of a particular structure in the brain may be associated with the ability to recover emotionally from traumatic events. A new study by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) finds that an area called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is thicker in volunteers who appear better able to modify their anxious response to memories of discomfort. The report will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and has received early online release on the PNAS website.

"We've always wondered why some people who are exposed to traumatic experiences go on to develop anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder and others do not," says Mohammed Milad, PhD, a research fellow in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, the study's lead author. "We think this study provides some potential answers."

In the classical model of conditioned fear, individuals respond with physical and emotional distress to situations that bring back memories of traumatic events. Such responses are normal and usually diminish over time, as those situations are repeated without unpleasant occurrences. But some people continue to respond with what can be overwhelming fear and may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For example, it would not be unusual for a soldier who experienced a traumatic battlefield situation to become distressed when hearing noises that bring back those memories, such as the sound of a helicopter. Most commonly, repeated exposure to such sounds without additional trauma reduces or extinguishes the fearful response - a phenomenon called "extinction memory." But some individuals continue to experience anxiety, along with other symptoms characteristic of PTSD, when hearing the sounds.

Prior studies in animals have suggested that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), an area on the lower surface of the brain, may be involved in extinction memory. The vmPFC may help to quell potential fears by inhibiting the activity of the amygdala, an area known to be involved with fear. The current study was designed to see if the structure of the vmPFC is related to the ability to modify response to an unpleasant memory.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Phony Fear

Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
Many sales pros live on (and live off of) their cell phones. Some of you are worried about getting cancer, brain tumors, or some other brain damage from using them so much. This short article (click the link above) states that cell phone radiation is equivalent to something between an FM radio and a microwave oven. I'd like to know if it is closer to a microwave which can cook a chicken or an FM radio that plays cookin' music. I'll keep you posted if I hear anything more on this subject.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Complete List of Phobias

Here is a link to a list of phobias. If you like to have the technical name for an uncommon fear, you are likely to find it here.
List of Phobias

There is no Latin conversion listed for Fear of Selling or Fear of Rejection.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Selling Yourself- Acting in a movie

I had an amazing, wonderful opportunity this weekend to be a small (very small) (Ok, miniscule)part of a movie. Those of you who have been to my website Fear Free Selling may know that I fly a motor glider called a trike. The movie script called for trike flying as part of a couple of scenes, and all I had to do was get a couple of fellow trike pilots to come down to a remote dirt airstrip and fly around and do what the director told us to do.

I'll fly my trike at any opportunity and was happy to accomodate. I later learned that the screenwriter wrote in a small, er miniscule, scene or two where I was to say a few lines with my back to the camera.

Now my wife, who is an actor by profession, does this all the time. I had never really been on a movie set except for a few moments to pick her up or drop her off. I had no idea what went on behind the scenes of making a movie. I had some idea of how hard the crews work, but to see it happening made me appreciate good movies even more.

When we see a movie scene with two actors engaged in a conversation, it is hard to image that there are dozens of people doing jobs behind the scenes, literally. I was surrounded by people holding boom mics, people running sound equipment and computers, lighting people, makeup artists, the director, assistant directors, continuity directors, script monitors, and a swarm of people around the cameraman doing all kinds of mysterious things.

Amidst all this activity, when the director says "Action" the actors have to create believeability and somehow pretend that none of these crew members are all looking at them and waiting for the magic to happen.

Like any good performance, whether in sports, teaching, sales, or acting, the professionals make it look easy. They make it seem effortless. They often do this so well that it is easy to believe that it it so easy that anyone could do it, even ourselves.

Actors are the consummate sales professionals. They have to sell themselves as believeable or it doesn't work. As my wife, the actor, points out, bad acting is when the actor is acting instead of being.

When it came my turn to say my lines, I fumbled and bumbled, and blanked out the few sentences I was supposed to say. The real actors, bless their hearts, helped me out, fed me my lines and tried to give me a crash course in acting.

After many many "takes" we got through the scenes. It seemed to take over an hour to get 1 minute of useable film. I watched other scenes all day long. These folks started at 4:00AM after driving several hours to get to the set. They didn't finish shooting until nearly 5:00PM. It was 117 degrees that day.

I suspect they will have to use a real actor to loop in my lines. Fortunately for them, my back was to the camera the whole time I spoke my lines (I was acting, not being).

Some top sales professionals I know have taken acting classes. I believe the good ones learn not how to act, but how to just be. They learn how to tap into their inner resources and make it look easy. We don't often see all the hard work that goes into their performances. Maybe that is the point. They practice and rehearse and eventually they become the part they have chosen to play.

When my wife and I go the the movies, we always stay in our seats and watch all of the credits roll by. We find it annoying when people jump up and almost run out the exits as soon as the credits roll. Where are they going in such a rush? Often there is great music to listen to, and many times there are additional scenes. We have been richly rewarded by staying until the screen goes blank.

I have a new found respect for those good actors who make us believe. I also have a new found respect for all those people who are behind the scenes. I urge you to start staying through the credits and giving the crew the respect they deserve.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A New Fear

Here is one fear I never heard of. Anybody out there have this one or know of someone who suffers from it...? Don't show them this word:


From Shelley Wu, Ph.D.,

Definition: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia refers to an abnormal and persistent fear of long words.

Dr. Wu writes for

If you were a salesperson selling products with long names, this could be a serious problem.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cold Call Fear

I read a recent article in Entrepreneur.com that had a good tip for overcoming cold call fear. Here is the section: How to make a cold call
A cold call is not a time to make a sale. It's [a time] to give something. The first question is, "Is it OK if I share with you what we do and why people use us? Then, we can decide whether it makes sense to go further." Be as discerning of the prospect as they are of you. No one's going to do business with a beggar.--Bill Caskey, author of Same Game, New Rules: 23 Timeless Principles for Selling and Negotiating"
This is another variation of my "Shift the Spotlight" tool. Focus on something you are giving your customer. Put the spotlight on them rather than worry about what they think of you or your product. The same applies when giving a speech. Identify and remember one or more "gifts" that you are giving your audience. When we are focused on giving, we are less likely to be fearful of their judgments of us.