Recap WITI Boston - September 9, 2015

Emily Ubik

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Recently at a WITI Boston networking meeting, Candice Benson helped attendees understand techniques to exert influence over others even without formal reporting authority. Candice, founder and CEO of Benson Consulting Inc., outlined the steps to take charge and gain support in order to become an effective leader. Held at IBM's Innovation Center in Cambridge, the event began with networking and appetizers.

First, Candice introduced the power of process. Establishing rules and having a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), a tool used in project management, will minimize team issues. Because only thirty percent of projects are considered successful, it is important to make sure that everyone agrees on development procedures ahead of time. A written contract is the perfect organizational tool to simplify future disagreements. Candice recommended using "message boosters" or positive language; even something as simple as, "We have this available," instead of "That is unavailable" can make a big difference in team morale and team members' perception of you over time.

When communicating with anyone, it's always advantageous to know how they like to receive information. It's not about how you want to tell someone something; it's about how the other person will hear it. Focus on them and ask how can you help. Candice presented the four basic styles of communication, along with tips on interaction:

Thinker - Accurate, conscientious, reasonable. When talking to a thinker, stick to a topic, have lots of data, and skip the long explanations.

Driver - Direct, forceful, decisive. Keep in mind that drivers value action and results over process.

Amiable - Patient, predictable, cooperative. Remember to use friendly repartee and be caring when speaking with an amiable.

Persuader - Enthusiastic, self-promoting, sociable. When communicating with a persuader, allow for their creativity and encourage their free-flowing ideas.

Communicating the facts and what people need to hear based on their communication style will ensure that they get their job done promptly and accurately. Figure out your own communication style and start improving today!

Wrapping up, Candice talked about setting clear expectations when working with a project team. She advocated for having the "hard conversation" when needed. This can help you to gain respect and influence. She concluded by highlighting the importance of taking action.

Access Candice's slides with notes and Communication Style quiz at bit.ly/BensonResources to find out more.

This was a terrific presentation and we all learned a lot. Join us in November for the next WITI Boston event, 2016 Tech Trends and Beyond.

Candice Benson is an internationally recognized Management Consultant and the CEO of Benson Consulting Inc. For the last 15 years, she has been instrumental in successfully leading companies at all levels to operational excellence, leading highly complex workflow, process, and back-end optimization projects, as well as M&A infrastructure mergers. Candice is an experienced PMO Director, Portfolio Manager, Program Manager, and Project Manager. She has been certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) and is a Six Sigma/Lean certified leader, mentor, and Project Management coach.

About the Author:
Emily Ubik is in her final year at Boston University pursuing a dual degree in electrical engineering and archaeology. She comes to Boston from the Midwest and is interested in getting to know women in business and making connections. She came across Women in Technology when she heard that WITI was trying to become more involved with universities. She is now an active member of the local network and is looking forward to writing more about WITI Boston events.

About Women in Technology International, Boston:
The Boston affiliation of Women in Technology International offers multiple events throughout the year in metro Boston and downtown. Our focus is to provide ways in which women of all ages, skill sets and backgrounds connect with other women both locally and globally to advance their careers and improve their leadership development skills. Fun events and relevant leadership development content are provided for members and non-members alike. To learn more and see what's up next, visit http://www.witi.com/boston.

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