Sunday, April 08, 2007


Last Thursday I was fortunate to be one of the trainers in Palmdale, Calfornia for the Cooperative of California State Department of Rehabilitation and California State Department of Mental Health. The subject was "Job Retention." The eighteen people in the seminar represented a wide breadth of organizations that serve people in this valley of 600,000.

My role is to help people who work with people who have disabilities strengthen their connection with employers. I have learned not to assume anything for often we have forgotten great communication tools or feel like they are no longer relevant.

A. I stress the importance of handshakes and how to do them correctly. (This is often one of the most popular exercises of the seminar. I am finding out if the person was not taught by their parents, they may have never learned how to do a great handshake.)

B. I teach them how to read the newspaper so they can find great networking events.

C. I illustrate how to approach people at events and how to start and carry on conversations.

D. The importance of handwritten notes is stressed. Yes, I even include examples of what they could write in them--Employers appreciate them so much for it is rare for them to receive anything personal. (Avoid email thank yous--they are deleted quickly - Handwritten notes get posted and passed around the office. )

E. I illustrate how "Cold Calls" should not be their main approach. Instead I teach them how to build relationships that result in employers listening more carefully to them.

My overall theme is the the importance of asking questions so they can learn what the employer really needs. I stress: "It does not hurt to ask: It is all about communication."


The next time you go to the post office and have letter or package to mail, look around to see if there is a self-serve postage machine. No longer do I have to stand in lines or think about what day it is to avoid the crowd. After you try it once and get the system down, you will be thrilled with the convenience and the time you save.

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