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My Grandfather and His Name

By Diego Nascimento

Personal Marketing is a very serious subject and goes beyond the traditional set of tips about appearance (external) that we learn in courses. Contrary to what you might be thinking about the title of the article, I will not offer a miraculous plan to remove names from the Credit Protection Service (SPC) or Serasa, but I will share the importance of honesty in interpersonal relationships.  Have you ever had the sad experience of being around people who stand out in the things they say but act differently? I think so. The workplace is full of people with this profile, and sooner or later they will reap the rewards of what we call hypocrisy.

Recently I was invited to give a lecture on Business Ethics and, during my speech, I briefly told the story of my maternal grandfather.  Of his 82 years of life, he spent nearly seven decades as a farmer harvesting coffee plants. The reason to honor Mr. Lázaro (Sô Lazo) at that time was obvious:  the event in which I participated was organized by the Commercial and Business Association of the municipality where he was born, lived and breathed his last. At the end of the talk, I was approached by a man who said: “Diego, you do not know me personally, but part of the coffee grounds where your grandfather worked here in the city belonged to my family.  I miss our conversations and his example as a citizen. Even without attending school and hardly knowing how to sign his name, Sô Lazo never needed a promissory note to guarantee payment of his bills. He was a man of his word in and out of the home.”

I confess that hearing that testimony filled my heart with joy and, at the same time, made me reaffirm what I always say:  our name is a precious thing, so unique which can open or close doors. The way we treat people causes them to approach or withdraw. I prefer sympathy a thousand times over authoritarianism practiced by a certain group that tries (unsuccessfully) to prove something. No job title, compensation or career opportunity justifies finger pointing, humiliating approaches in public or an ugly demeanor. My grandfather makes me miss him.  And what about us? Will we leave the same trace?

I started talking about Personal Marketing and I’ll end with that. The label of a suit or dress represents absolutely nothing when a word is not fulfilled, a discourse is only in theory and slander (speaking badly of others) is part of the resume of life.

May we continue swimming against the tide and making a difference!

Google has Failed

By Diego Nascimento

Calm down! You’ll be able to do your school or professional search on Google’s search engine today. The failure to which I refer is Google Plus, the social network of this giant of Silicon Valley that gave Mark Zuckerberg (one of Facebook’s founders) sleepless nights.  Launched in 2011, the little-known interaction platform is far from leading the ranking of hits in the world and its future is still uncertain. But what do I, Diego Nascimento, intend to teach through computer technology? Keep reading and you will understand.

Entrepreneurship is linked to mistakes and successes. The fact that an individual or a corporation has ample financial resources does not always bring success as the end result. Could it be that Zuckerberg and his friends imagined that the social network developed in college could reach such highs? I venture to say no, but the business strategy is constantly revised so that adjustments happen whenever necessary. Obviously, this also happens in Google, however, the purchase of Orkut in the first decade of the 21st century showed that the company wanted to expand its business (and still wants to). A lot of good and functionality came about:  Gmail, Google Drive and so many other features that literally made life easier for many people. But where is the failure in all of this?

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the company will still be market leaders for a reasonable amount of time, although changes in society’s behavior are giving a lot of work to the developers and marketing team. Who has not noticed the change in layout and functionality when upgrading applications? This is more than necessary for survival, however, the prudence and determination demanded in the digital world or any other business are also important items for you, reader of this article. Why?

Qualification is mandatory for anyone. I admire those who invest time in reading, courses and sound discourses that bring knowledge. I also applaud those who believe in dreams and seek to put them into practice, but understand that you cannot “embrace the world” by wanting to dominate all areas or take risks out of context. In addition to the physical (tiredness) and emotional reflexes, the financial loss can also come in the package. I repeat: Entrepreneurship involves successes and mistakes, but each step needs to be properly calculated. That’s why I encourage specialization, that is, the focus on a particular product and service. Do you know Coca-Cola for producing a well-known soft drink or mineral water line? Do you understand now where I want to go?

As for Google: it is more than certain that the company will grow even more, however, the last 10 years have already shown that they are not the exclusive owners of the social network (at least for now). Sometimes it is necessary to stop, take a breath, recognize the flaws, reevaluate the strategies and move on. If Google is susceptible to misunderstanding, imagine you and me?

Take your limitations and change the route if necessary. There is still time!

The Power of a Comma

By Diego Nascimento

Last week, as I walked the streets of the city, I was struck by a profound blow of disappointment: near the most traditional center of commerce was a poster promoting a particular product, but that was not the problem. The absence of a comma in the text showed an affront to the correct (and basic) use of the Portuguese language. Immediately I recalled a teacher I had while in elementary school, who was so zealous with grammar that she would have had to be taken to the hospital (ha, ha) after seeing this innocent propaganda.

What few people realize in professional, relational and academic everyday life is that spoken and written communication has a direct and indirect impact on everything that is done. I know of cases where a badly written note stuck on the refrigerator almost resulted in a divorce. All because of a great character: the comma. Friend of some, enemy of others, this punctuation mark carries out three basic missions when it appears: prevent the vice of language, separate or even emphasize sentences / phrases, and offer a meaningful reading when spoken aloud.

Renowned author of textbooks on grammar and composition, Professor Richard Nordquist* once told in one of his articles that the Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper in the August 6, 2006 edition brought a story that spoke of a mistake in the partnership agreement of a renowned Canadian company. A comma placed in the wrong place of the document opened the door to legal action that could result in a $2 million loss to the corporation. All because of a comma. Do you understand how serious this is?

To protect the integrity of the shop where I witnessed the fact, I will offer a fictitious example of how the comma owner can change everything. Look:

Carlos Antonio and his neighbors are talking about the city hall.
Carlos, Antonio and his neighbors are talking about the city hall.

In the first sentence, we have the idea that Carlos Antonio is just one person. In the second, punctuated correctly, we understand that Carlos is in the company of Antonio (they are actually two people).

The next example is classic on Messenger:

We do not want to pay.
No, we want to pay.

In the first alternative, the caller receives an affirmation that the payment will not be made. When we insert the comma in the right place, we realize that the intention is contrary, that is, to remove the debt.

These situations are recurrent in written communication (manual tickets, emails, typed texts, postings in social networks, etc.), bring a lot of confusion to relationships. It becomes dangerous. So, I want to invite you to keep your eyes open when you communicate. The world is already very troubled, and we need to make a difference in everything. The next time you send a text message, read and reread the content. You do not always write the same way you speak.

Speak the Right Way

By Diego Nascimento

My articles are read in Portuguese / English versions in more than thirty countries around the world (Google charts confirm this), and for this reason, I have the task of guiding my readers on various topics. Among them is the correct use of written and spoken language. The fact that I have friends from different nationalities has shown that the excessive and inappropriate use of slang has also made communication difficult in various corners of the planet.  It is a problem that has invaded the workplace, classrooms and, as a whole, it brings communication disorders into families.  From here I can see your expression of astonishment (ha, ha …).  I would just ask you to stay with me and understand the reasons.

In Brazil, for example, you just have to go out on the streets to hear words that sound strange to your ears, but which are common to new generations or older groups who still hold terminologies that belong to the past and that create barriers in today’s dialogues. The worst is when a person mistreats words by utterly wrong pronunciations, outside the verbal context and with zero understanding.  A real crime against the mother tongue that, if we analyze it, is a public patrimony.

I have participated in numerous job interviews (from a recruiter’s position) in which candidates had great goodwill and apparent strengths, but when they started to speak they threw out all the expectations presented by the resume.  It’s a sad reality.  What about writing? That is even worse. They offer a “free day” for final point, comma and other punctuation marks that give meaning to the text. How to entrust public service tasks (internal / external) or even a sales job to those who want to torture the correct use of the language?

I agree that there is a section of the population that presents limitations due to a school deficit (and that can be made up), but I know of groups that ignore good vocabulary because of laziness or fads and thereby lose great opportunities simply by choosing words and expressions strange and inelegant.  In any case, I want to be clear that I am not begging for the use of sophisticated language; I am just calling for common sense and practice.  Also please understand that there are certain communities that, because of cultural and longstanding issues, make use of a language system all their own, and that must be respected.  Under no circumstances is bullying justified.

I would like to conclude by saying that you may think that for certain functions the use of an inappropriate vocabulary full of slang words does not present problems.  That would be your mistake. We are human beings formed by habits, and this is the best time to change the course of your life.  What’s fun today can become a serious issue when it comes to finding work, attending a course or even completing school / academic assignments. How about rewriting your story?  Start talking the right way!

Are You Good Enough?

By Diego Nascimento

Believe me:  I have answered this question a few times and went far beyond “Yes” or “No”.  Arguing is part of my life, and although this title has a masculine noun, this questioning happens to both men and women. Before offering tips on what your position should be, I want to make it clear that I will talk about skills and not about kindness toward others (this is a topic for another time).

Nowadays it is said that you must always be number one:  be the best at your job, sports, in your studies, appearance, on the Internet … in everything.  Without a doubt, we need to offer our best in what we do. However, we have practically seven billion people living on the earth’s surface and putting them all on top of the podium is physically and even mathematically impossible. We have limitations (yes, all of us), and this shows us that we are human and we all have flaws and difficulties.  On the other hand, this scenario does not justify sloppiness, procrastination (we will leave that one for later) or any other lack of attitude that results in settling. There is a space ahead of you, and if you do not prepare, someone else will take your spot.

In my lectures I always say that success is not necessarily linked to your bank account, designer clothes or the “car of the year.”  Success is when you go to sleep after an intense day of activities knowing that you have fulfilled your obligations in the best way, having left words arrogance, pride, dishonesty and the expression “Brazilian way” behind you.  If your work results in financial gain and popularity, excellent.  Otherwise, anonymity does not make you inferior to anyone.

Are you good enough? Look for the sincere evidence for this answer, but if dedication is a constant thing in your life, your skills will be highlighted. Reading the Holy Scriptures we learn that doing our best is also a way to please God.  The Apostle Paul, writing a letter to a group of people in the city of Colossae (Greece), recorded the following:  “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as for the Lord, and not for men.  It is Christ, the Lord, whom you are serving. “ – Book of Colossians 3: 23 and 24.

Until the next article.

Why are You Here?

By Diego Nascimento

Once a shy little boy tried unsuccessfully to make friends at school. When he found the courage and approached colleagues just to talk, he was left alone in a matter of seconds. That boy knew the reason: “The group was already complete, and they did not need him in it.” Even in childhood, the young student of the school of life was a victim of rejection. Time passed and that little boy became the author of this article you are reading now. I overcame this stage with tranquility, and I have to say that my life was saved.  Keep reading to better understand the reasons.

Recently I was invited to give a lecture in the United States. The audience consisted of adolescents, youth and adults from various regions of the US as well as Canada. The talk addressed the following theme:  “We are not here by accident. We are here for a purpose.” What is apparently an obvious statement has become a dilemma for the world’s population.  Ask any psychology professional and you will be startled by the high numbers of people who are asking for help because they “do not know what to do.”  College professors, recruiters and consultants will also be able to offer similar reports that have been circulating in educational institutions, even in family circles. Our emotions present opportunities, however, if not managed in the right way, they can have drastic consequences in our lives.

What I have said in that international presentation, I will repeat to you; we are by no means the fruit of chance. Through understanding it is much easier to set goals and deadlines for your DREAMS. This temporal and imaginary rule containing what you crave for tomorrow, next year, or ten years brings benefits to the organization of the home, schoolwork, accounts payable, and even books on the shelf. It is sad to see those who “decides everything by his gut.” This is a term used in my land, the state of Minas Gerais, and is directed to those who have no desire to fly high.

You may be wondering, “Diego, why are you here?” My answer is: “to make a difference.” I affirm and reaffirm: success is not necessarily linked to your bank account or to your exposure as being famous on TV, the Internet , magazines or newspapers. Making a difference involves adding to the lives of others, contributing to yourself and others, even if it means sacrificing. Human individuality is slowly killing society. Respect is considered a virtue when it should be a basic attribute.

I will close by explaining how the apparent rejection of my classmates saved my life; it was because of this and other experiences that I began to observe more, to discover the benefits of listening and improving the techniques of learning and teaching Personal Marketing.  But even so, this is on a case by case basis.  The great book of Proverbs in chapter 3, verse 13 says, “Blessed is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets knowledge.” I have sought to follow this guideline in my daily life. Far from perfection I recognize my faults, but I am able to have an answer for the reason why I am here, right now, writing to you.

Next time you are asked the same question, choose the right one and make a difference!

How to Interrupt Someone?

By Diego Nascimento

“Excuse me, may I interrupt for a moment?” This famous question has already been used by you at some point, and I imagine that the receptivity was not always positive. The experience becomes even more traumatic when this happens during an important presentation at school, college, work and even in churches. Faced with this, the question arises: how and in what way can I interrupt someone?

It would be great if this did not happen, but the interruptions will always come up in the most unexpected moments of your daily life. I am a communicator and have been interrupted during classes, lectures, meetings and conferences. Over time I learned that patience is a fundamental pillar for controlling emotions. However, there are limits that need to be respected.

I often say that the “thermometer” of an interruption is the timing. Only risky situations and emergencies where “five minutes may be too late” deserve priority in interruptions. Imagine if we added up all the breaks we give throughout the day because of unnecessary interruptions? The result would show that clock passing the minutes is more precious than we might have thought.  I have come up with some instruction and tips for how to think about this:
• Focus on your mission. There is a right time even for relaxation.
• Use notes to send short and emergency messages.

  • Learn to knock on the door: never turn the knob to invade a space without being necessary.
    • Raise one hand to receive permission to speak.
    • Set priorities: there are things you can expect.
    • Listen more and speak less.
    • Observe the facial communication of the person or group you want to interrupt; a brief look may signal the entry permit or a direct “come back”.

    Taming anxiety teaches us to think ten times before we manifest something. I know people who do not have the sense to wait and, in a matter of seconds, create interpersonal conflicts by making daily communication a monologue (long speech or discussion had by a single person). But stay calm: there is a solution.

In the next article we will learn what to do when we are interrupted. How to act? What to say? I am quite sure that your life will benefit from this next article.

Have you ever interrupted someone at an inappropriate time? Tell me your story, and I’ll keep it a secret!

It is so Costly, Very Costly

By Diego Nascimento

Have you ever stopped to think that communication failures are very costly for you, your neighbor, your family, your business, and all other sectors of society? We make mistakes when writing notes, small messages in WhatsApp, personal texts, work emails, recordings and even advertisements. A recent study has shown that, in the United States alone, an average of $ 5 billion dollars is wasted each year because of communication mistakes in organizations. That is a lot of money, right?

If you think that to write or speak well you have to study journalism, writing or explore an difficult path through grammar and public speaking. Good communication habits start at home when we leave a little message on the refrigerator with a comma in the right place. The habit of reading, an essential tool for building a good vocabulary, has its beginnings in our example. And we do not always pay attention to this responsibility.

Several times I witnessed misunderstandings because A did not correctly understand the message given by B. Since the result was not ideal, B gives the biggest lecture to A for having failed in the task. What people do not understand is that the one who must ensure that the recipient fully understands the message is the sender, that is, if my mother asks me to take the cake out of the oven at 4:15 pm, it is her job to ensure that, in fact, I understood the correct time and not a different time.  What passes for this is lack of commitment, skill or competence of those who received the task.

At the beginning of the article I gave the monetary example of how much it is costly for US companies to deal with communication failures. But think with me: how many things were bought mistakenly at the supermarket by a silly mistake in the transmission of the request / message? Even your pocket book suffers from this.  Now do you understand how serious this is?
What care should be taken to ensure effective communication?
• Whether writing, speaking or typing be absolutely sure that the words are correct.
• The comma and the end point are your friends and do no harm to anyone. Whenever necessary invite them to be part of your message.

  • If you receive some shared information, always try to find out if the content is true and worthy of being “passed on”.
    • Listen more and speak less.
    • Escape the gossip and the corridor whisperings.
    • Verify that the chosen communication channel is the best path for your message.
    • Ensure that the recipient understands your message.
    • Ask for help in proofreading text / speech (if necessary).
    • Never be ashamed to recognize language limitations and seek improvement.

Finally, before sending, I would listen to and read reports of communication failures that directly or indirectly hit you. Comment on the site www.diegonascimento.com.br or reply to the email, if you prefer. I have a duty to be realistic, practical and direct in the articles and, therefore, your participation is fundamental!

See you next time!

Shot in the dark

By Diego Nascimento

Who has not had the sensation of running after something and, in the end, getting nowhere? How many companies and individuals invested heavily in projects and had the sensation of ‘dying on the beach’ or having kilos and kilos of unused material? Promising a million opportunities and delivering double on disappointments? The list is broad, and we need to be honest in recognizing that for some time we were part of this plot or we risk being characters on a journey of failure. But this scenario can be altered or avoided if we clearly set goals for our dreams. That’s right: goals.

I will be practical in this approach: I have developed a private project and decided to ask the opinion of an international network of marketing professionals. There are five people who, although they have the same academic background, are located in different countries, with diverse cultures and with a vast curriculum of “stories to tell.” Not even the time zone is an obstacle to our conversations intermediated by the universal language, English. By Skype or WhatsApp we are able to add and exchange unbelievable experiences that not even the best scientific articles could offer. In this context, all members of the group, without exception, were direct in asking, “Diego, what do you want with this? What are the objectives of the project?” A simple question, but with answers that can open doors or avoid terrible headaches.

I confess that I spent good moments reflecting on mistakes and corrections and what is (or are) my goals in each life choice for the next five years. Personal marketing goes far beyond speaking properly, taking care of appearance and maintaining impeccable hygiene; it covers our ability to organize and predict our dreams. It happens a lot in job interviews: it is easy to see when the candidate is in the stratosphere of exaggeration or if his feet are firmly on the ground.

In his book Goals and Goal Setting, writer Larrie Rouillard points out four easy-to-use elements for outlining our goals. They are: 1) Choose an action verb, 2) Choose a way to measure the result, 3) Set deadlines, and 4) Set limits (safety zone). There is no mystery at all. Professor Larrie, in fact, reinforces the need to put every step, every penny, effort at the tip of the pencil and evaluate the pros, cons and, if necessary, consult someone you trust.

In light of all this, I want you to understand that our humanity makes us imperfect and brings us the responsibility of watching at all times. “Shots in the dark” can hurt anyone who has no connection to events and shows no readiness, fear, or resistance to hearing because of the pure and simple explosion of ego. In times of so much instability in Brazil and worldwide, I recommend prudence and the immediate definition of goals. Ten minutes thinking today will avoid days or years in search of a solution that may never come.

Please Do Not Shout

By Diego Nascimento

I confess that I have serious difficulty in dealing with people who scream. My repudiation is linked to the exaggerated exercise of vocal chords in situations of work and interpersonal relationships. Observations I have made over time show that the next step after inappropriate use of voice is physical aggression. To illustrate the seriousness of this theme I will tell you about something I experienced a few days ago.

Wednesday afternoon, Lavras, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. I went to a medical clinic and calmly waited to be called by the front desk. I heard the most diverse “causes” of those who exercised there waiting with me. What should have been just routine became one of the gloomiest experiences for a corporate consultant and communicator. I noticed a certain movement in the next corridor: it was time for the famous coffee break. If education and common sense were part of the training of those involved who this would not have been a problem, but motivated by some particular situation of the weekend, they polluted the environment with laughter, inappropriate vocabulary and shouts and more screams. It seemed as if we were at the door of an ill-frequented pub, full of disrespectful and rude drunks. The scene was so alarming that one of the doctors interrupted an appointment and in fury cried out for order and silence, which was promptly accomplished.

I wish it were fiction, but it’s reality. And without doing any kind of polling I can say that screams are more than common in offices, shops, squares … and at home. I often use family relationships as a great laboratory of action / reaction in the everyday life of any human being. The theory of these attitudes has been recorded in an article* published by The British Psychological Society which states that “self-control depends on many processes and that changes in life can offer different impacts depending on the limitation of the source of energy.”  In short, it is easy to understand that self-control remains the secret to success in relationships.

Above any theory we find the Holy Bible. In it, the apostle Paul quotes in Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22, self-control as a characteristic of the fruit that comes from the Spirit. Absence of a relationship with God leaves us more confident in ourselves and hopeless, resulting in trouble and a total lack of control. That is why I invite you, reader to share the importance of calm whatever the moment and the challenge. May His voice be conducive to refreshing rather than synonymous with aggression and mediocrity, like the staff at the medical clinic where I was treated.

We live in terrible times and absolutely you have had the same experiences in which people “tried to win the argument by shouting.” In my case, even if they are family, people who shout lose credit with me. Confidence is called into question, after all, how can I delegate responsibility to those who, at the first challenge, get off the track?

I conclude with a simple request, but able to interfere deeply in our relationship:  never yell at me.