Archive for month: February, 2013

Bev’s Tips on Networking for Busy People

4 Tips for building your network,

even when you don’t have time!

You probably know that a circle of positive relationships is important for every aspect of your life.  Being connected is good for your mental and physical health, and it makes life more enjoyable.  In your professional life, a strong network can be vital.  Connected people stay in touch with trends and opportunities during the good times.  And when a career crisis comes, your network can help you spot the next move and go forward. 

But what do you do to strengthen your network if you don’t have the time or energy for one more project?  Try these networking tips for over-burdened professionals:

1.    Listen & notice.  You probably have casual contact with people throughout your work week.   But in many interactions you’re not fully engaged.   Instead of listening, maybe you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next, or perhaps you’re worrying about another project.  Like most of us, you’re often so distracted that you’re not taking full advantage of your opportunities to connect.  Get more from your routine conversations by becoming more mindful of what others are saying.  In each conversation, focus all your attention on the other person.  If your mind wanders, bring it back to the moment.  You might try arriving at meetings one minute early, and devoting that minute to listening to the person sitting next to you.

2.    Use every occasion.  When you are in networking mode, it makes sense to vary your patterns and get out more often.  But don’t think of “networking” occasions as special events that you attend just once in a while.  Great networkers engage with others wherever they go.  Every time you are out and about, whether it’s at a PTA conference or the gym, there’s a chance to meet somebody who could become a friend.  The goal is to connect with people as often as possible, in a genuine way.  And when you meet somebody new, do follow up, even if it is just with a two sentence email saying what a pleasure it was.

3.    Try a little social media.  My clients sometimes say they don’t want to try social media because it takes too much time.  But I urge most of them to at least sign up for LinkedIn.  At a basic level, LinkedIn operates as both a simple on-line resume and an easy-to-manage interactive address book.  By joining, you make yourself available to folks who may want to reach you.   And you acquire a tool for staying in touch with contacts, even if they move around.  When the time is right, you may choose to go further and mine your LinkedIn network for new connections and useful discussions.

4.    Give and ask for help.  The essence of networking is exchanging help and support with other people.  In a brief, positive interaction, you might simply share a smile or a kind word with the other person.  A key principle is to remain alert to small, easy ways you can add value in any situation.    Look for opportunities to offer a little assistance, or make someone’s day by saying  “thank you.”  At the same time, routinely ask for help.  For more about the smart way to build your network by requesting help, please read my recent post on


Bev’s Tips have been arriving as a zine on Tuesday mornings about 20 times a year since 2004. For more Tips, sign up for the zine, go to the zine archive or visit Bev’s blog. We’d love to hear your comments here on, or email Bev at:

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Are You Ready to Flip?

I gave a talk at NUS on Thursday entitled Are You Ready to Flip? Responding to Deep Faculty Challenges in an Era of MOOCs & Pervasive Online Expertise. Here’s the abstract:

The blogosphere is abuzz with MOOCs, massive, open, online courses, in which lectures are conveyed to thousands or tens of thousands of students around the globe, and the possibility of the flipped classroom, where such widely available online content is assigned outside the classroom, and classroom time is used for active learning and reflective activity.   These most recent changes come at a time when the role of the professor as research authority is challenged 24/7 by ubiquitous online resources and expertise available to graduate students at the push of an internet button

Though much has been written about the technological side of these changes, the human challenges these developments pose for successful professors and lecturers are less frequently addressed.  This talk begins by considering how all these challenges stem from a reduction in information asymmetry and how this reduction challenges the very notion of the faculty member’s privileged position as expert.  

The talk then turns to work in deep faculty development (DFD) pioneered at NUS over the last 2 and a half years.  Since its inception, this approach has spread to the US through work at iFoundry & Olin College ( to South America at UFMG and with the aid of Harvard-affiliated LASPAU ( and to Europe through work at TUDelft and Politecnico Milano.  Using an amalgam of results from leadership studies, executive coaching, neuroscience, and mindfulness research, the approach helps faculty members develop deep noticing, listening, questioning (NLQ), and narrative design skills necessary in these fluid and creative times.  

The talk highlights the concrete benefits of this approach to faculty career development, success, and happiness and concludes with an invitation to attend a short series of deep faculty development workshops open to NUS faculty this semester (semester 2).

I have written and spoken about the need for engineering education change, but this is the first time I directed similar arguments at an individual faculty member’s expertise in teaching and research.  

The powerpoint slides from the talk are available in the viewer below:

[slideshare id=16414270&doc=ready-to-flip-2-7-2013-v2-130207225809-phpapp02]

Those interested in workshops like those described should consider the I2E2 workshop, Change that Sticks, this summer (here) or write to me at


Bev’s Tips on Managing Your Brain

Unleash the power of your mind

to change your brain &

foster surprising achievement

Not long ago, we were taught that your brain is hard-wired and losing cells daily, and there’s not much you can do to change it or slow the process of decline.  But recent breakthroughs in neuroscience research suggest that the human brain is far more flexible, resilient and open to change than anyone ever thought.  You can manage your brain, helping it to grow beyond its current limits.  Your brain can evolve and improve throughout your lifetime, supporting the development of new skills.

Recent years have brought a wave of books that reintroduce us to the brain and explore its amazing potential.  In two of my favorites, leading scientists use ordinary language to describe how the brain works and how we each can use our mind to manage our own brain, whether we’re seeking greater achievement or a happier life.

Perhaps the most intriguing is by Alzheimer’s scientist Rudy Tanzi and prolific spiritual and medical writer Deepak Chopra.  Their book is “Super Brain – Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being.”

“The human brain can do far more than anyone ever thought,” Chopra and Tanzi say. The brain is malleable. Because of its “neuroplasticity,” your brain is constantly changing.  And you have the power to promote and help shape that change.  This can be the “golden age for your brain,” they say, and you can develop a “super brain.”  Your super brain will help you to thrive on activity and change, staying in a good mood despite the unexpected.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain” is written by another influential neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, and respected science writer Sharon Begley.  You can train your brain to shift your “Emotional Style” to one that is more resilient, positive and aware, according to Davidson and Begley.  Your Emotional Style is your way of responding to experiences and challenges, and is governed by identifiable, measurable brain circuits.  Through simple exercises and practices like meditation, you can rewire your circuits and change the way you function on a daily basis.

Here are 4 tips for using your mind to transform your brain:

  • Manage your thoughts.  “The first rule of super brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts.  As it listens, it learns,” say Chopra and Tanzi.  In other words, if you think limiting thoughts like, “I can’t remember a thing,” your brain will perform in a way that is consistent with your expectations.  But you can push your brain to a higher level of performance, including by “trading out toxic beliefs,” adopting a higher vision and enthusiastically learning new things.
  • Become more adaptable.  Highly successful people, like Albert Einstein, aren’t simply more intelligent than the rest of us.  According to Chopra and Tanzi, they use their brain in a way that is keyed to success.  And the “key is adaptability.”  Einstein developed the strengths of “Letting go, being flexible and hanging loose.”  Instead of remaining stuck in the same old behaviors you, too, can become more adaptable.  You need to stop repeating what never worked in the first place.  And “See righteous anger for what it really is – destructive anger dressed up to sound positive.”
  • Express gratitude.  You can make your Emotional Style more positive through exercises that promote well-being, say Davidson and Begley.  They suggest you “Pay attention to times you say ‘thank you.’ When you do, look directly into the eyes of the person you are thanking and muster as much genuine gratitude as you can.”  And at the end of each day journal about your moments of gratitude.
  • Try mindfulness meditation.  By meditating, you can change your brain and become more self aware and resilient.  Davidson and Begley suggest you try out mindfulness meditation with a simple technique involving awareness of breathing:
  • Sit upright on the floor or a chair, with a straight spine and a relaxed but erect posture.
  • Focus on your breathing, on the sensations it triggers in your abdomen and throughout your body.
  • Focus on the tip of your nose, noticing the sensations with each breath.
  • When you are distracted by unrelated thoughts, simply return your focus to your breathing.


Bev’s Tips have been arriving as a zine on Tuesday mornings about 20 times a year since 2004. For more Tips, sign up for the zine, go to the zine archive or visit Bev’s blog. We’d love to hear your comments here on, or email Bev at:

Follow Bev on Twitter. Connect with Bev on LinkedIn.