A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Proof of the Proof


A girlfriend, very fabulous, very creative, asked me to proof a crowd funding idea she has for a business this week. She always has a fun spin on things and never likes to be called the CEO of a company.

So she’d made up a name that had a play on her business name in the job title. Only…. I had to let her know, upon proofing her presentation, that her choice of unique job title was also slang for a lewd sexual act. Oops!

Just goes to show, a simple proof read by someone with fresh eyes can pay huge dividends.

And clearly I need to take my own advice after recently sending my clients a card telling them of our recent award success that "None of it happens with you" clearly missing the word "out". Oh dear!



By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Get Your Golden Rule Straight



I opened up the Hobart Mercury Property Guide recently and sat down to enjoy a luxuriating read only to be struck down moments later with a sense of irate anger.

I usually enjoy reading the “property expert” pieces in various news publications. As a real estate business owner (www.elephantproperty.com.au) and avid property investor I figure you can never be exposed to too much information about your passion or your career.

Only the article I read about the “golden rule of investing in property” printed on the inside of the cover was shameful.  This article (pictured) was written by Andrew Winter @andrewtwinter “FOXTEL TV's Selling Houses Australia - Presenter and Property Expert. NewsLtd Property Writer”. It’s my opinion that articles like this are part of the reason that people buy investment properties without doing enough research and that is what limits a lot of people to just one investment property. Anecdotal figures told to me say more than 80% of investors stop at one property. If I look at my history in real estate (almost 20 years) the stats on the investors I’ve dealt with over the years would back that up.

Now shameful is a pretty strong word – so let’s drill down on what I found so abhorrent. Firstly – Winter states that your golden rule in real estate should be don’t buy the home unless the rent equates to at least 1 per cent of the purchase price – an example he gives is $400 per week rent on a $400,000 purchase. Now simple maths aside (1% of $400,000 is $4,000 not $400) I don’t disagree with this as a general guiding principal to START with.

But then Winter goes on to say that “at $425 - $450 per week you should be very excited and buy the property immediately. Even higher? Well, book the holiday to Europe.” Utter nonsense. He does state that it’s a “rough guide”, but to advocate going out and buying a property “immediately” when it’s showing a return of less than 6% without even mentioning other factors such as buying costs, vacancy rates in the area, maintenance, property management costs and the borrower’s repayment abilities is what gets people in over their heads and leads to them making uniformed decisions.

The crux of the lunacy in this article for me was when Winter described himself as “old-fashioned” and wanting investments with a “positive cash flow”.  You know what– me too! Only I want it to be an actual positive cash flow.  Let’s take a property that Winter would is recommending we, the reader, buy immediately - one returning $425 per week on a $400,000 purchase.


Let’s look at an absolute best-case scenario:
·      -  Annual rent would be $22,100 (not taking into consideration any time for vacancy – which of course isn’t that realistic).
·      - Let’s say you manage it yourself (I wouldn’t recommend it – but hey, I’m a real estate agent) so you’ve got no management fees – but you’re going to have council rates, water, land tax - $3,500 at a bare minimum (probably more.)
·      - Let’s say you have the only investment property in the world that requires no maintenance (again, completely unlikely – but we’re looking at a best case scenario) – but you’re likely going to have smoke alarm compliance costs and other unavoidable expenses – let’s do a very conservative $500 estimate.
·      - Say you got a 4.5% loan, you’re on interest repayments only and you had 20% cash deposit as well as being able to fund all your initial costs such as stamp duty, conveyancing, building inspections etc. You’re going to be outlaying $18,000 on interest (not to mention other associated banking costs).

And this super property that you should buy immediately – how positively geared is it given all the above near impossible “best case” scenarios? It’s earning you the princely sum of $100 per year. Now sure – you’ll likely have some depreciation benefits to consider in there based on what type of property you purchase – but more likely than not, you’ll also have costs to engage a professional property manager (who will likely more than earn their fee), you’ll have maintenance issues that pop up (yes, even in a brand new property), you’ll borrow more than 80% and shock horror – that property might sit vacant a few days every now and then. That $100 isn’t going to go too far. You could look towards capital growth – something all investors desire, but it’s not cash flow.

Now – I don’t want to sound like a negative nancy. I love property investment. It is one of my true passions in life. But it isn’t a board game of monopoly. It takes actual understanding of the concepts at play. Mess it up and you won’t lose a tiny red plastic hotel – you could lose anything from a lot of sleep to a lot of your financial freedom or more.

Want to start investing in property? Here are my tips:

Whether the property you buy is negatively or positively geared – look for all the areas in which it’s potentially going to cost you money. Work out a worst case scenario (including one where your personal circumstances change – unexpected baby, loss of job, illness) and consider all the potential expenses.

Speak to a successful, real world investor. If my experience in real estate has taught me anything it’s that you probably already know one. It could be your builder, the school teacher down the road or your uncle. Do not only talk to people who have had one crack at investing, had a bad run and given it up.

And finally - don’t rely on “golden rules” presented by “experts”. Do your own research, work out your financial goals and what works for you. And if you really, really want an expert – I’d recommend Jan Somers (check out any of her books in your library or at any good bookstore). 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Perfect is overrated


One of the greatest highlights of my life was walking out of a train station about 13 years ago. It was a cool day in January on my first ever trip overseas and the train station was in Rome. It was Colosseum station to be exact.  As I walked out of the station, the crumbling façade of one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic buildings hit me straight in the face. It was an epic moment in my life. The Colosseum is not perfect in it’s preservation, we all know that, but it is still somehow absolute perfection.

On the same trip myself and thousands of others that hour alone flocked to see the leaning tower of Pisa, famed for its imperfection.

Venice, the most romantic city in the world is slowly but surely sinking further and further down into the ocean – that’s hardly perfect, but if you’ve ever been there you’ll hardly take that away as your strongest memory.

And Florence, ahh Florence, my favourite Italian city. The home of Michaelangelo’s statue of David.  And as ripped as his abs look – I doubt any man these days sculpted as such in all his glory would be happy to say it describes perfection. (Of course I’m talking about his disproportioned hands here).

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, November 28, 2013

When to leave?


I’ve had people say I was crazy for leaving my former real estate agency when I sold my share a few years back.

Since I’ve left it’s gone from being a very successful 6 agency group to the largest network of real estate office in the state. I’m so proud of my former business partner and the team he’s built and what he’s grown with the company we started. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him – but I also knew, it was the right time for me to leave when I did.

Since I sold my share in my agency, after a sabbatical from the industry, I went back into business with former colleagues and started a new real estate agency. By design, we’re smaller and we will never attempt to do what my former agency has done in terms of conquering the state in all aspects of real estate. We’ve grown slower than my former real estate agency. At this point in time in my former agency we had 5 times the revenue with 10 times the staff.

In much the same way I was able to craft what I wanted from my investment portfolio with properties 2, 3, 4 and onwards learning from the lessons from property 1 as I also did learning lessons from parenting my first child that have resulted in many things being less daunting and smoother with bub number 2, I’ve been able to shape this new real estate venture so that it better suits my needs and where I am in this journey of my life.

Would I have made a higher annual salary if I’d stuck with real estate agency number 1? Almost definitely, but I wasn’t getting half the joy I get walking in the door at my current agency – for a number of reasons.

Did I not repeat any mistakes in real estate agency number 2? Sadly, but meaningfully I repeated the exact same largest mistake I’d made the first time around. But assess and reassess it as many times as I have, I’m not sure I could have avoided it either time and still achieved the eventual goal. What I did learn was how to extricate myself from it and protect myself better.

So how did I know it was the right time to leave? How do you know it’s the right time to leave anything? When does the cons list outweigh the pros. When does the joy you’re getting become outweighed by the frustration. When does any monetary tradeoff not compensate for the gnawing feeling inside your gut saying that it’s time to try something new.

And finally – when can you push yourself off the ledge into the unknown and take the risk? That one’s the hardest.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What’s in a name?


Did you know iconic fashion chain Zara was originally going to be called Zorba – but ran into difficulties because there was a bar in their local town with the same name. So they kept the Z and improvised.

Did you know Adolf founded Adidas? Adolf Dassler that is – and his nick name Adi provided the basis for the name.

3M – probably best known to you for the post its sitting on your desk right now was originally called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company! Yup – I think 3M was probably a good choice and a great example of something morphing as a company’s focus changed.

At our real estate agency we get someone calling every day asking for “Allison” – it seems voice to text likes to change “Elephant property” to “Allison Property”. Ahh well – we also have fabulous name recognition because we chose to call our business something a little different to a standard.

Lego is a combination of Danish words to mean “play well” – brilliantly (and apparently coincidentally) it’s also Latin for “I put together”.

Facebook or “the facebook” as it was originally named after a book given out at American universities to help students get to know each other.

Ultimately, whatever business name you choose is important – of course. But far less important than what you do once you’ve made that first decision. Who’d have thought we’d all be buying books from a river (Amazon), or that a surname of the somewhat obscure founding brothers would sell more hamburgers than any other organization in the world (McDonalds) or that the world’s largest online auction house was a backup name (Ebay was originally EchoBay but morphed when the domain name couldn’t be registered).

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Staffing Secrets


I recently stumbled across a super cool TV show called “Hotel Secrets” – it’s like travel porn for someone like me who is obsessed with travel. In watching an episode today I became enchanted with Ashford Castle in Ireland (http://www.ashford.ie/) and it immediately got added to the travel section of my goal box (my form of a bucket list).

It is spectacular – a real castle steeped in history, tradition and stone. The other thing I loved? In introducing the castle, the manager took time to introduce 5 or so staff members listing how long they’d been working there – 30+ years, 20+ years, 15+ years… the list went on and on with one chap being there over 60 years.

Imagine how well you’d know your job and your environment after that time? Imagine how great a workplace it would need to be to have you stay that long? You got a sense of the character of the castle and it’s staff in the 30 seconds the staff were being introduce that was infectious. Their website even has a section devoted to the “characters of Ashford” and of course it lists the time each has spent with the castle. It made me instantly want to go and revamp our website to get more personality across.  What about your promo materials & website? How well do they convey the personality behind your brand?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The value in a dress rehearsal


My beautiful eldest daughter was the flower girl in one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to this Saturday just gone. And she looked picture perfect with cute little silver shoes, a gorgeous hand knitted cardigan courtesy of Nanna and a superb white dress chosen by the bride and I.

Only problem was… the dress came right to the floor so that every time she tried to walk she stepped on the dress and almost fell over. Now we’d done what I considered a “dress rehearsal”. We’d put the dress on, we’d practiced throwing fake flowers and we tried on the shoes. But silly me, I hadn’t actually had her try and walk in the dress!

It reminded me oh so clearly that for a dress rehearsal to be any good – you have to step through every part of the process as silly and minute as they may seem at the time.

Before your new staff member is let loose on any member of the public, have they had a full “dress rehearsal” with a team member or their manager right down from greeting the client, doing the full job function and then bidding the client farewell.

If you have staff members who pitch to clients for new business, get it filmed so they can (horrifying as it will no doubt be) watch themselves back in glorious detail – the best learning experience.

If you're sending out a card to all your clients - proof, double proof, have 6 people proof it (I just learnt this the hard way after missing the word "out" and telling our clients that our success wouldn't have been possible "with" them - oh dear).

And before you launch that new website have a whole bunch of people view it, test it, scrutinize it from every angle before you let the public loose on it!

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Dog Whisperer


Our real estate agency Elephant Property has an unofficial staff member – Terry, our maintenance man. He’s a constant source of lightness and unbridled energy in our office and I love him.

He’s also one smart cookie. Just recently he told me how he always carries a pocket full of meaty bites (dog treats) – because he often has to go into properties that have dogs. He’s been called the dog whisperer by one of our tenants recently after he charmed their two large dogs.

How simple of an idea is it? Encounter lots of dogs each day, many of whom aren’t so happy about having you on “their” property. Carry a treat or two with you?

Who do you encounter daily that isn’t so fond of seeing you and what could you carry in your pocket to charm them?

Maybe you have crayons or a cool stuffed toy in your office for calming noisy toddlers while their parents sign important documents? For the older ones, perhaps it’s an ipad they can play with while Mum or Dad is occupied? Perhaps you drop off a mini chocolate bar with your tax invoice? Or – and I love this one, you’re the hairdresser with an awesome chair for the kids to sit in while getting their hair done.

Who do you need to whisper to?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sleep deprived and desperate


I’m at the end of a long day that has involved me setting myself a one day goal of writing 10 blog posts (I usually write one a week). This is post 9 of 10. Fittingly after such a prolifery of verbage I am, as just illustrated, making up words and lacking a little inspiration.

So I posted on my facebook page – facebook.com/kirstyDunpheyEmail asking for suggestions / thoughts / random words.

My favourite response was this one:

“Should we be scared that parents with no sleep operate machinery, drive cars and raise children...”

I guess I found it appealing due to it’s comical nature, and the fact that I have a newborn and a toddler on the go at the moment – who at times, like to tag team their wake ups.

We have four parents on our team at Elephant Property with 5 kids 5 or under – and despite the fact that we offer a flexible work week / working hours - many of us, at different times operate the “machinery” of our business severely sleep deprived.

Are we at our best when sleep deprived? Probably not. Does our work suffer due to this? At times, I’m sure it has. But probably not more than the 20 something who’s had a big night on the town the night before or the passionate hobbyist who’s been pursuing an out of work passion until 3am.

In short, we all have days where we’re not at 100%. But, there are certain advantages to having parents (well rested or not) on your team.

If they have kids who are toddlers or older – they practice negotiation on a daily basis.

If they have multiple kids, or have ever tried to complete even the simplest of tasks with one demanding child, they know how to split their attention when it’s required.

If they’ve raised well-behaved children, they’ve had first hand practice at providing discipline and coaching – ideal qualities in a manager.

In short, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.

BUT – I believe, if you want to have parents, especially those with young children working in your company, flexibility is the best gift you can give them. And I had no idea of this before having my first child, so sincere apologies to the parents who worked with me before then (I just didn’t get it!)

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Low tech strategy in a high tech world


My facebook feed erupted this week with anger. Non-parent anger over parental obsession. Maybe you know what I'm talking about? It started with posts like "I need cards 5, 36, and 45 to complete Jimmy's collection" and ended with "If one more person posts about bloody animal cards I'm unfriending them!"

Yep - it's officially 1984 again and swap cards are all the rage. The 100 cards given out for free by a large supermarket chain are highly prized by parents, grandparents and even the occasional child and I have friends who never shop at this chain racing over there to make sure they stock up on cards for their kids.

I'm not immune, I was astounded and very grateful recently as a lady in front of me at the checkout with adult children handed my 2.5 year old a fistful of cards from her $300+ grocery shop. But I must admit - I have no idea what cards we're missing, only that we have a shark and that a shark (according to my daughter) can eat a parrot (but you shouldn't let it). 

In chatting with my lovely checkout lady yesterday she told me my supermarket had actually run out of cards so successful was the promotion, and then she proceeded to tell me that she'd bought the commemorative album for her grandkids. 

Now would this campaign have been more successful if instead of a small piece of cardboard it involved an ipad or a computer? I doubt it. Sometimes it pays to look to the past and think simple. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MONA-isms for your business


If you live in Tasmania and haven’t been to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) yet – I can’t fathom why (it’s free for all Tasmanians and worth a drive across the state and more). If you live near to Tasmania, you won’t regret hopping on a plane to see it (even if you aren’t a typical museum lover).  And if you’re far far far away… Maybe add it to your bucket list – it’s that good.

MONA is architecturally spectacular, deliberately shocking and utterly entrancing. I’ve been numerous times and my most recent visit was with my 12 week old travelling buddy. MONA is the first thing I recommend visitors to the state go to (and that’s saying something – we have a whole lotta amazing stuff in this state).

So in visiting this time, I tried to look at what David Walsh has achieved at MONA to see what could be replicated in any business (you know, that didn’t have a multi-million dollar budget and a penchant for putting genitalia on the walls). Here’s what I came up with.

Be real

As you stroll around MONA strapped into your personalized ipods which give you all the museum guff on each piece of art that takes your fancy. David Walsh often comments on the pieces he loves and his take is, how shall I put it, not very museum curator-esque. He uses real language and in reading it, I can imagine him speaking to just to me.

Non-MONA example: S. Group architecture and design here in my hometown of Launceston. This page starts off very much as you’d expect an architecture firm, but mouse over the photos and read the profiles and you see personality and real-ness pouring out - http://sgroup.com.au/meet/

Be social

As you walk around with your groovy ipod at MONA you can Love or Hate the artwork with a click of a button and – if you’d like, you can get a very awesome map of your journey complete with full social media integration emailed to you called your “O tour” http://www.mona.net.au/theo/

Non-MONA example: In chatting with the founders of Flat Tummy Tea recently (http://www.flattummytea.com.au/) also based in Tasmania.  I commented on how fast their facebook page followers were increasing. Now the founders are a bit younger than me and while I use instagram, I must admit I had no idea the power of it from a marketing perspective especially to a younger demographic . Bec mentioned how fast their instagram following (http://web.stagram.com/n/flattummytea) has grown and it’s awesome to see how they’re tapping into a young demographic with real time testimonials like this http://web.stagram.com/p/515482027391159741_416639066. Why is instagram hitting a younger demo? Check out this recent mashable post called “I’m 13 and none of my friends use facebook” (http://mashable.com/2013/08/11/teens-facebook/).

Be noticed

MONA strives to be something people talk about. From the pink flame covered busses that can transport you there, to the in your face controversial artwork, much of which has no common thread other than that David Walsh liked it.

Non-MONA example: I’ve become a little obsessed lately with Jessie Walsh’s project http://fortydaysofdating.com/ - check it out, but be warned, you might get stuck in there for hours. Jessie’s day job is as one of the founder’s of Sagmeister and Walsh – a design company (no doubt benefiting from lots of extra interest after 40 days). I can’t help but keep going back to their website http://www.sagmeisterwalsh.com/ - because the front page is a live web cam above their office. Simple and a little addictive, much like Forty days of dating (which has just been picked up by Hollywood http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/08/40-days-dating-latest-internet-project-be-co-opted-hollywood/68387/)

So that’s just three things – be real, be social, be noticed… I could go back to MONA for 40 days straight and find umpteen more things – but I also see them when I get great service at my petrol station or have a conversation with a friend about their son. If you open your eyes you can R-E-D anywhere (read this to find out what I mean by R-E-D http://blog.kirstydunphey.com/p/retired-at-27-if-i-can-do-it-anyone-can.html)

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Step To It


So this week saw the end of Steptember (http://www.steptember.org.au/)– a fundraising initiative by the Cerebra Palsy alliance encouraging fundraisers to form teams of 4 and fundraise while every day for 28 days attempting to get 10,000 steps a day.

While we raised a small amount for Cerebral Palsy (and hope to do significantly better next year with the event and fundraising already booked into our Elephant Property calendar) the other benefits to our firm, and to me personally have been huge and mostly unexpected.

Some of the best include:

-       Watching one of our quietest team members take a commanding lead in the step tally early and commenting daily as to how much better she felt getting out and walking each day.
-       We had friendly rivalry between our two teams and were able to invite two casual staff members to have more of an interaction with our permanent staff members by being valuable members of the teams.
-       Hearing how many staff are committed to keeping up their daily step tally even after the month is over (three of us are all getting Fitbits on Monday thanks to a recommendation from an interested client)
-        I realised how close I live to one of my hometown’s natural wonders. What would have previously seemed like a huge distance away became an almost daily (weather and child dependant) stroll that I grew to love and missed when I couldn’t get there.
-       I realised I actually love walking! I’d had getting out for a daily walk on my “to do” list each day since having my second bub and made every excuse as to why I wouldn’t get out there (replacing it with most indoor resistance exercises)
-       I actually stepped the equivalent of 304.59 kilometers (402057 steps) for the 28 days – so much more than I thought I’d be able to do on day 1 when I struggled to reach my 10,000 and wondered what I’d gotten myself in for.

So thank you to the #Steptember crew for all of the above and more and we look forward to doing it again next year.

What can you do to add an element of fun or fitness or fundraising into your work environment?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, September 26, 2013

But I don’t want to get her fired!


A close friend of mine just had a horror experience with a local business. It was the first day for the staff member who was serving her and, without going into too many details, it was an up close and personal experience that, due to the occasion it was required for, should never have been left in the hands of someone on their first day, in their first job.

“What do I do if she (the owner and the person who had recommended her to the service) asks for feedback?” my friend asked me “she was such a lovely girl – I don’t want to get her fired!”

So now this business is in a predicament. My friend feels unable to give them feedback that they need to hear because she’s worried about the impact of it. My friend is extremely sweet and likes to avoid conflict at all costs.

The feedback this business really needs to hear shouldn’t put that staff member in danger because it’s not  – “your staff member wasn’t up to par”, the feedback is “your staff member wasn’t adequately trained or experienced yet to deal with my needs and shouldn’t have been let loose on me yet”.

One is a staffing issue, one is a training / management issue.

How can people provide feedback to you in your business? After writing this – I’m off to design an anonymous questionnaire for our customers right now, hopefully so that I won’t repeat this mistake in my own business.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This is Xavier’s bucket list – he’s 4.5, what’s your excuse?


I got a gorgeous email recently from a wonderful friend chatting about a lunch she’d had with her little boy Xavier that day. They were talking about holidays, dreams, aspirations and very inspiringly, they decided to write Xavier’s bucket list.

Everything on it was thought up by him, here goes:

•      Ride in a sea plane

•      Be a doctor

•      Be a photographer

•      Be a dad

•      Go to a restaurant on my own for peace and quiet

•      Be a fireman

•      Be able to read a list (I think he means this one)

•      Make cup cakes on my own

•      Go to a One Direction concert

•      Go to a Bruno Mars concert

•      Be a singer

•      Be an artist

And since the first draft he’s also added going to Legoland.

He’s 4.5 and his bucket list will rival many of you who are reading this! C’mon – what’s stopping you? Want more inspiration than Xavier’s rad list above? Check out Ben’s adventures over at Red Rucksack  or Candy Chang’s incredible Ted talk “Before I die”.

What’s life without dreams?

PS – since compiling his bucket list, Xavier’s Mum had a friend post on facebook within days that she had to give up her two One Direction tickets. Bucket list fate I say! Xavier will tick this off in October. And – I’m encouraging him to set up a photo blog right now, I know he took some great photos at a wedding we recently attended. Why not head here and leave him some love http://xaviersphoto.blogspot.com.au/

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The value on being unpaid


There’s been a lot of furor lately about unpaid internships with headlines like “Sheryl Sandberg earns $100m, but won't pay interns” (http://www.news.com.au/money/money-matters/sheryl-sandberg-earns-100m-but-won8217t-pay-interns/story-e6frfmd9-1226697612115) flooding my twitter feed.

I’ve enjoyed reading both side of the argument including one my favourite writers Mia Freedman who has loudly and proudly talked about the half dozen women she’s hired who started as unpaid interns – and about her own experiences with unpaid work to get her foot in the very competitive industry of magazines.

My thoughts? Well – I think of April, who has just received a paid position casually at our real estate agency Elephant Property. We didn’t have a position that needed filling: we created one for her. It’s only small at the moment a few hours, but it will likely grow in the future if she keeps on impressing us.

Why did we create a job for April? She came to us on a form of internship from a local high school. She was polite, well presented, eager and did the work given to her well. That said, we’ve had perhaps 10 other students perform equally as well as April during their time with us and while we’ve maintained a lovely ongoing relationship with many of them we haven’t created a job for any of them.

April got a job, because April showed initiative and dedication and determination. Upon leaving her one week’s initial stay with us (part of her schooling program), she took it upon herself to ask to come back for her entire two week school holidays and work, unpaid for the experience. While we didn’t allow April to give up her entire holidays, she did come back in for 2 days during her holidays and was so keen to continue to volunteer to come back in to build her experience after this that we knew she would make a lovely asset to our team. Anyone who shows that much commitment and dedication gets bonus points in my eyes and while April never asked for a paying job, she did show with every action that she deserved one.

If I were looking for work right now I’d target in on the company/ies I wanted to work for and if I couldn’t convince them in an interview that I was the gal for them I would absolutely be offering to come in, unpaid, to show them my worth and value.

Heck, there are companies I’d do an unpaid internship at right now and many that I would pay for the privilege of doing so for what I would learn. Would I feel exploited at the end of it? Hardly, I’d feel enriched if I were given the opportunity to learn from the inside. And the beautiful thing about it would be that if I felt exploited I could simply leave. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Be consistent in your love letters



When my first daughter was born I wrote her little love letters almost weekly for the first year. I wrote about my dreams for her, my pregnancy, her adorable father and all the cute little things she was doing and at what stage. After her first year had passed I compiled the many many pages of letters into a photo album with all her first year’s photos. Well – 6 albums actually (I’m a bit of a prolific shutterbug).

A well-meaning mum said to me wisely upon viewing my efforts, “you’ve made a rod for your own back now” indicating that I’d need to put in the same effort for any future children. And now having had my second child, I understand what she meant. While I have the same desire to write to my new daughter, the frequency is harder to keep up due to numerous reasons including illness and chasing an active 2.5 year old around!

I will keep writing, but part of me hopes my gorgeous second daughter doesn’t decide to do a page count!

In thinking about it today it reminded me a company we deal with at work. There aren’t a lot of options for who we choose in their field and I’m neither overly happy nor disappointed with their service – but – about three or four years ago they did something that wowed me. They sent our office the coolest Christmas gift. It wasn’t overly expensive, but it was just super fun and creative. I talked about this gift to my family and friends. In the office we all fought over what part of it we’d each get to have. During the year I must say I actively watched our usage of the company far more closely. And when the next Christmas came around, I eagerly anticipated what they’d do to match or top the previous year’s awesome effort.

Only they didn’t. They didn’t top it, they didn’t match it… they didn’t actually deliver it.  I was sad. I was so sad (much to the embarrassment of my business partner) that after 2 years of no gift I asked some reps from the company at a trade show what we’d done to go off the Christmas gift list. They just chuckled (clearly thinking I was having a joke).

They’d set an expectation within me of something creative and fun at Christmas time – and once they’d set it (in such a memorable way) I missed it. Does it mean we don’t use them anymore? Of course not. But do I pay as much attention to our usage of the company in the years since – I don’t.

Once you set a standard – it’s hard to go back on it without it having some measurable effect on the impact of your brand.

I used to publish a weekly newsletter from my blog and still use the website that managed my database and sent the e-newsletter for some other business ventures. For years I’d referred people to them and when those people signed up to create their own mailouts, the company would send me a quarterly referral cheque. Until the company sold and they decided they didn’t want to do that anymore. Now the cheque wasn’t going to swell my bank balance significantly, but the letter I got from them stating that it wasn’t viable for them to continue paying referrers was harshly worded and cancelled payments without notice. Do I care to refer to them anymore? Not so much. Would I have referred to them in the first place without the reward for referring – I don’t doubt I would have. I only miss the referral fee because I was used to getting it.

I only miss what I had grown accustomed to. This for me is an important lesson to remember as I’m all for constant innovation especially in a service capacity – but I need to remember that if it’s not sustained, it can send the wrong message to my clients who may have been just as happy without it in the first place.

PS – I’ve long been an advocate of the book “The 5 love languages” – I’d strongly recommend it as a read for anyone wanting to improve their relationship BUT also for anyone who wants to understand why the client gift’s, rewards and thank yous won’t have the same impact on every person as it would on you.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Breaking through the haze



I have gorgeous friends and they spoiled my little girl when she was born a couple of months ago. We adored everything she was given and I know she will treasure lots of the gifts for many years.

One gift stands out amongst the rest though. It didn’t stand out because it was expensive (I’d estimate total cost less than $25). It wasn’t the biggest thing we received. It wasn’t the most useful.

It stands out because it was uniquely timed and themed.

It arrived about 2 weeks before my due date and comprised a little “getting ready to have a baby kit”  - chocolate, some edible nipple cream (ahh yes – I just blogged the word nipple, awesome) and a necklace and bracelet for my older daughter. It was from a lovely lady who I don’t actually know all that well but it screamed thoughtfulness and was totally memorable.

In the haze of having a newborn – I still remember every aspect of her gift.

Your clients and target markets encounter their own “hazes” all the time. In the haze of December Christmas cards – does yours stand out?  In your pitch emails – will you be remembered or will you blend? How can you break through the haze in your own unique way?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chalk it up to the experience


Vacant shop at my local supermarket = perfect spot for kids chalkboard while the new shop goes in. 

Total cost, minimal. Total impact, I love coming here and having a 5 minute rest in the middle of shopping with a 2.5 year old. 

What could be perceived as a negative has been turned (easily) into a much loved positive (someone's even written "Central Rulz" - which is the name of the centre). 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Look what I got you


"Look what I got you!" the smiling friend excitedly said to the bride to be. 

Being proudly presented stood three smiling, charming Irish gentleman with accents to make the bride to be (and her entire hens party) swoon. 

Now I'll admit - I don't do too well with "going out" venues after 10pm (yes I realise how old this reads - but I swear I'm still in my 30's) and to me it sounded like this trio of Irishmen were saying "leprechaun, Guinness, leprechaun" every time they spoke - but I did enjoy watching their interactions. 

One thing I noticed quickly, was that "high fives" seem to still be super popular in Ireland. When something was exciting, they trio would high five. When a friend showed up, they'd high five the new arrival. When the bride pulled out a phallic shaped water pistol... er... that's another story - but I'm sure it involved a high five somewhere. 

In our real estate agency we have clients who live minutes from our office ranging right through to those who live in countries I don't know the capital of. Watching the Irish trio interact reminded me that what's a completely normal practice for me here in Australia might be viewed with anything from playful curiosity through to complete horror depending on the culture I'm interacting with. 

I'm off to google the capital of Qatar and any cultural nuances I need to know about! And next time I'm in Ireland - high fives and Guinness all round. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Presenting the Present


I love to travel. A lot. Well - as much as I can these days with an 8 week old and a 2 and half year old. As much as I love to travel I equally hate booking my own travel, so I use travel agents. Over the past 15 years I've used a lot of different travel agents. Our most recent trip wasn't a big one, but the impact made by my current travel agent before we left was large. 

Mel, the travel agent who booked this most recent trip lives over an hour's drive away and she hand delivered the documents to my office as she was passing through my home town. (First nice touch). When I saw the package I thought the gorgeous solid hot pink box was a present of some sort, surely to welcome my new daughter to the world. 

Upon opening the box I saw a gorgeous bound notebook, all my travel documents and just the most gorgeous way of presenting them I'd ever seen (photos below - click into the blog if you can't see them). Certainly a huge step up from the plastic or canvas type pockets I was used to. 

The branding was subtle, and not enough to make me not want to display it proudly and I honestly felt really special. The cost of booking the holiday was thousands, the cost of this innovative twist on preparing my travel documents, bought in bulk, insignificant - and yet the impact was huge. 

I love what they've done and it's totally got me thinking... how can I incorporate this kind of wow into my own business?






By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sometimes it’s not about winning back the client


I recently stayed at a resort island and despite looking forward to the experience I had a fairly ordinary time. Now – I’m the first to admit that I’m a stickler for service, but the little things (chaotic breakfast service, missing cutlery, noisy rooms, bags being sent to the wrong rooms, poor dinner service etc) all added up to me feeling pretty darn disappointed with the whole stay.

I had planned on coming home and writing a fairly poor review on tripadvisor and only one thing stopped me. Strangely it was another huge service blunder. As we boarded the plane and flew to our next destination – our luggage stayed behind on the island.

I was horrified and quite emotional. We were travelling with two young children who had all sorts of necessities in the luggage, as did I with medication that I needed.

As we communicated with the resort throughout the day it appeared that our luggage may not meet up with us as it could take 3 days to get from this somewhat remote destination via courier and we only had 2 full days left on our journey.

And then, there was the turning point, I got a call that told me that our luggage was being personally flown to us and then driven to where we were staying (an hour and half away from the airport) by a staff member.

As I told the staff member, this was over and above what I expected – and I was extremely grateful.

So grateful that I won’t post the review on tripadvisor I was planning on posting and while I wouldn’t stay here again, they certainly went out of their way to attempt to repair the relationship with this one gesture.

Sometimes it’s not about winning back the client – sometimes that may not even be possible, but sometimes you can simply stem the “bad will” that has been generated with a grand gesture. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Childish or Childlike?


Having spent a lot of time in previous years speaking at or attending conferences I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some amazing people take the stage and captivate me for an hour or more.

A few years ago a keynote speaker at a conference was unknown to me. I did a little research on him prior to the event and wasn’t sure his talk would appeal to me, it seemed he was quite focused on art and creativity and I wasn’t sure I’d get as much out of his talk as the straight business / real estate speakers I was hoping to see.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Today, years on from hearing him speak just once, what he spoke about impacts the way I try to live my life, run my business, interact with my children.

So of course when this speaker, Eric Wahl announced his new book Unthink, I pre-ordered my copy straight away (well my husband did as my mother’s day present!)

I’ve only just started reading the book, but I’m already reminded of so much of what I loved about seeing Eric on stage.

In the chapter I’ve just read – he talks about being childlike (as opposed to childish). Isn’t it funny the two different connotations those almost identical words have.

You’d probably be horrified if your boss or workmates described you as childish – but to be child like. I can see so much benefit in that.

Someone who is childlike –

-       asks “why”
They want explore and dig deeper into the meaning of things and they question the status quo all the time
-       pushes the boundaries
As my 2.5 year old is teaching me every day with her constant negotiations (5 more strawberries, 10 last minutes playing mamma!!)
-       plays
A child has a huge imagination and would jump at the chance to play make believe – can the same be said of you when someone suggests role playing?

I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest of this book and couldn’t more highly recommend – if you get the chance (or can make the chance!) go and see Eric Wahl on stage. I hope to do it again myself soon!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My dream client



My dream client… communicates openly and honestly with me.

My dream client… is clear on what they want without being rude.

My dream client… understands that at all times, I’m trying to do the best by all parties in the relationship and that even though I work for them (and am therefore trying to get the best outcome for them), I can’t act outside the law.

My dream client… understands that we’re all human (much as I try not to be) and approaches tricky situations with an open mind.

My dream client… wants to build a long lasting relationship based on mutual trust.

My dream client… lets me do my job.

And tonight, I’m beginning to realize that my dream client… might be the only ones I choose to work with in the future.

I’ll keep you updated on how that works out, but my thought is. If I work with only my dream clients, I might have…

My dream… stress levels.

My dream… company culture.

My dream… work life balance.

My dream… team satisfaction.

Just a thought… Sweet dreams. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Goal setting with dire repercussions (make it happen!)


Something a little bit different for this week with a video blog for you instead! Enjoy (and stay fabulous) - Kirsty 


By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The side effects of policing



I was naughty today. I parked in a (very empty) parking lot that clearly had signs up saying I should have only parked there while shopping in the three shops associated with it. Given the (very large) parking lot was deserted – I didn’t think it’d be a huge issue if I walked my pram into the office for a couple of hours while I parked there.

Clearly it was. I came back (to a still deserted parking lot) to find a letter sticky taped to my car telling me that my car rego had been recorded and that I would be reported to the police who would charge me for trespassing and tow my car if I parked there again.

Now let’s disregard the fact that I was clearly in the wrong (I admit it), or that the police wouldn’t actually charge me with trespass or tow my car. Let’s just examine the letter and it’s purpose.

Was it effective?

Sure – I won’t park there again, lesson learned by me.

Were there any other side effects?

Yup. I now don’t want shop there again either and one of the three establishments was a place I regularly visited. It’s not me being vindictive, I just hated the tone of the letter so much that now I get a bad feeling when I think about it. My natural reaction is to avoid getting that feeling so that amounts to me not parking there improperly, but also not wanting to park there properly.

Now perhaps their parking lot was so deserted because they so vigilantly police offenders like myself, but, my thoughts – if they’re going to record my details, a nicer note could have had the same effect without the side effect of lost custom for the shops. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 4 comments

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is it Annoying or Important?


I have a vision issue sometimes.

I get “annoying” confused with “important”.

Someone doesn’t reply to an email on time (or at all) – it’s annoying and it occupies my mind constantly sometimes to the point of extreme frustration. It’s clearly annoying to me.

Is it important? Not always. The very fact that I’ve found it annoying has pushed it to the top of my mind even if I’ve got far more important things I should be focusing on.

So what’s the solution? I wish I knew!

My logical brain knows when something is less important, but apparently at times, annoying trumps important. Fury trumps reason. Rage trumps logic.

My solution for today – and I just read it in an email from www.mydailyinsights.com

I’m going to concentrate on the power of two words (neither of them annoying, both of them important).

Those words are: “I am”.

Today – I am…
            …. Going to prioritise important
            …. Going to focus on important
            …. Going to learn to downgrade my attention on what is annoying but not important

What are your “I am”s for today?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Place for Pride



We’ve recently been recruiting at Elephant Property. I both love and loathe recruiting – mostly because I know important it is to find the right fit (culturally and attitude wise). It’s exciting when it works and you recruit someone amazing who becomes like a new family member but it’s always sooo time consuming to find that right person and as we all know, it’s an art, not a science.

I have a stupid name I’ll freely admit it. “Kirsty”, easily spelled incorrectly. “Dunphey”, even easier to miss or change a letter. All applications come directly to me and typically if my name isn’t correct they’ll go into the no pile straight away.

Mean, nasty, cruel of me? Maybe. But 80%+ of our client contact here at Elephant is via email or letter – we have clients and customers with far stranger and trickier names than Kirsty or Kristy.

So this time around during our recruiting I got one application that came through addressed to Kristy. I didn’t disregard immediately and instead read through the application and, based on their (very) relevant work experience I put them through to a first interview stage.

At the end of their interview I asked the applicant how they felt their attention to detail was. “Oh excellent” was their assured reply. I told them that I’m sure it was in most cases, however there was something on their initial email application that almost prevented them from getting an interview, something really relevant when it came to email contact. Their face was downcast, horrified almost, as I knew it was and they assured me they’d go back to their car and look up the email. I asked them just to let me know their thoughts after looking over the email.

That was 2 weeks ago and I haven’t heard a peep from the applicant since then.

Perhaps they couldn’t be bothered looking at the email to find out the issue. In which case, it was an effective screening method on my part.

Most likely – the applicant went, searched that initial email and couldn’t find the issue and was too proud to come back to me and say they’d looked but couldn’t find it.

Sadly, they’ve done themselves a disservice if that’s the case. I get that we’re all human – that we all make mistakes. If we employed this person no doubt they’d make mistakes frequently (as we all do) in the role. What would be inexcusable is if they couldn’t own up to their mistakes.  Either way, I’ve got my answer here.

Wish me luck on our new team member!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bald-faced Bully


Her reaction was guilt, concern and furrowed brow disappointment in herself. She forwarded me an email sent to her by a “respected” and much older industry colleague from another firm.

As I’ve taught her to when she wasn’t 100% sure on something, my junior staff member had drafted a response, but wanted to run it past me first.

As I read her responding email and then scrolled down to read the email that had prompted it my blood boiled in my veins.

Scrapping her response I lit up the keyboard with my own to the bully which said – in fairly plain terms, back down, stop bullying my staff member and do what was asked of you because it was perfectly reasonable.

I haven’t had a lot to do with bullies in my life – I’m lucky for that and in this case, the bullying wasn’t directed at me, but at a young staff member in a (sadly successful) attempt to make her feel bad, small and less than for a perfectly reasonable and professional request that she had made on behalf of a customer.

The bullying was uncalled for, it was unnecessary and I’m dumfounded as to why someone like this person would feel the need to do it to someone 20+ years their junior.

What I’m also sad for – and I have to take the blame for this, is that I haven’t embodied my staff member with enough faith in herself yet to recognise this as bullying and to have come to me straight away rather than feeling bad. That’s a work in progress for me. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One of the best lessons I learned – and I learned it at 10


Not only was she the smartest person in her school, but now, surely the smartest in this room.  Her arrogance knew no bounds.

She was me and I was 10 years old.

I sat in a room filled with other kids my age all of us trying to get a scholarship to a private school. Not only was I sure I’d aced the test, I finished every section first and made it known I was finished. There was even an answer or two (on the standardized multiple choice test) that wasn’t correct in the booklet – not to worry I simply wrote my own. Double checking my answers? No need when you’re sure you’re right the first time.

Not surprisingly I was not awarded a scholarship in that year. And that crushing defeat (I’d rarely been denied anything academic before then) was exactly what I needed.  Had I got a scholarship that year I might have spent the rest of my life thinking as I had done that day.

Instead, the next year, at 11 (grade 6 for those reading in the Australian school system), I sat in the exam room a changed person. I didn’t care about finishing first, or who knew it. I double, triple, quadruple checked every calculation and every answer. Oh – and I figured out that if my answer wasn’t on the multiple choice answer sheet that I probably didn’t have the right answer.

Months later when the results came in my parents handed me an envelope. I remember clearly reading the results and then calmly walking outside Sullivan’s restaurant (on the main street of Deloraine, Tasmania) and screaming as loudly as I could at the top of my lungs as excited as I'd ever been to read something (the screaming was much to my parents horror).

I took the lessons I learned at 10 in with me to every exam and test thereafter and I wouldn’t have learned them without going through some fairly mortifying and crushing defeat. What’s defeating you now to transform you in the future?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Multi-tasking, schmulti-tasking


You might hear a lot of people talk about the benefits of "multi-tasking". Me personally, I think it's one of the worst things you can attempt. The only times I truly find myself multi-tasking are when my mind is scattered and I’m latterly trying to do two or more things at once and each one is getting done poorly.

My job each day is broken into about half the day of smaller jobs that take say 5-30 minutes each. The rest of it is longer tasks that may take me an hour or two each – more long term planning tasks. If I try and do any of these overlapping each other, nothing gets done properly.

One thing that works well for me, is the following:

1. Start each day by spending 5-10 minutes looking at all the work for that day (so emails, diary/to do tasks for the day and things in your in tray).

2. Split the above into 2 piles - the first one being things that need to get done today, the other, things that can wait.

3. The stuff that isn't urgent for today, move back into a working on tray on your desk.

4. The stuff that is urgent, put it in order if priorities in one pile and steadily work through that one at a time until it’s all done.

5. As things come in during the day, decide if they need to be done that day and add to the appropriate pile in order of priorities.

6. Once you get through the stuff that needs to be done that day take one thing at a time out of your working on tray and complete as much as you can.

I know it all seems a bit simplified, but the number of people I see with 7 “to do” piles on their desks or having 5 files open and being worked on at once is crazy. One thing, done well, then move on. Sure you’ll get interrupted and need to be able to break away, do something else and come back. But multi-tasking – meh – I don’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I’d take someone who can efficiently work through a big pile of stuff in the best order of priority than someone who tries to impress (me or anyone else) by working on numerous things shoddily. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The top mistakes you could make when buying an investment property



I owe much of my financial security to real estate property investment. Having worked in real estate my whole life (well – since I was 15, so it feels that way!) it’s what I know and it’s also what I love. But it’s not for everyone.

Here are my top mistakes you could make when buying an investment property:

1. Borrowing an amount that’s going to stress you financially to repay. This is the bottom line. People’s circumstances change, you could lose your job, have a/nother child, have an extended period of vacant time, interest rates could dramatically change. Are you prepared for that and will you still be able to (comfortably) afford your investment property.

2. Not having the appropriate insurance. I call a specific landlord protection insurance a “sleep easy” policy. While it doesn’t cover you for everything it sure covers you for a lot more than your building insurance with a tack-on landlord component and is a must – especially for owners with only one property.

3. Having a property manager who doesn’t wait for the right tenants and simply puts in any old tenant. Correct tenant selection eliminates 90% of all future problems and you need a property manager who understands that.

4. Worse still – managing the property yourself. You could do your own appendectomy if you wanted to, but you wouldn’t. Many privately managed properties attract worse tenants, aren’t inspected regularly, the tenants aren’t reference checked, have leases which aren’t up to date and condition reports that aren’t adequate.

5. Don’t listen to the sales agent. With all due respect to my wonderful colleagues in the sales side of real estate – their job is to sell you the home. Confirm any rental projections of any form (projected rental price, likely tenant etc) with a specialist property manager. In the same way that I, as a property manager could tell you what your home may sell for – it’d be nowhere near as accurate / reliable and researched as if you went to someone who did that job function all day every day. 

6. Buying a property and becoming a property investor if you’re not mentally prepared for it. I have clients right now who know they’re not made for being property investors. They’ll sell their homes when the market is right for them and never look back with a moment’s regret. A property investor has to be able to have a good level of emotional distance from their investments. Own a property long enough and you will have tenants who do not respect your investment. Own a property long enough and you’ll have (even with great tenants) damage done to your investment. There will be times when the gardens aren’t done perfectly or the internal presentation isn’t up to scratch (isn’t it this way at your home at times too?) and if you drive past your investment property all the time you will see these occurrences. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Communication – the skeleton key?


A while back I was asked what would be the next big thing to impact on business over the next 7 years. Rather than focusing on some exciting new element of technology I found myself drawn back to communication and my answer was as follows:

Just this morning I found myself enraged at the service provided by two companies I’d dealt with over the internet. One that had taken 8 days to respond to a simple query posted on their website (one of only two ways I could ask them my question) and another that had taken over 5 weeks to perform a task they said they’d do online.

You see, the thing about this evolution of communication and the various ways that we now have to do so is that our customers know the time frames in which it should take to respond to an email, to answer a question posted on a website, or respond to a tweet or facebook comment. It’s exactly the same

With great advances in our communication media there’s an even greater responsibility for the person behind the tools to maintain the service level. Using technology does not give you an excuse to hide behind it.

For my way of thinking, the challenge to businesses eagerly embracing this evolution will be to evolve the way they provide their service to clients through these different outlets that are becoming so much more mainstream.

I’m relieved to see more and more businesses taking heed of this message already.

Take Shoes of Prey as an example. Each pair of shoes they sell online goes out with an individualized hand written note.

Imagine Cruises will happily tweet with you about your upcoming whale watching tour, injecting the same personality through twitter that they do onboard their cruises.

Zappos, another shoe retailer in the US (ok, so I may have a small shoe obsession) known for their service despite having no face to face contact with clients, have 24 hour customer service call lines to put a friendly voice behind the oft daunting process of buying something to wear online without being able to try it on. To top this off they have free returns and shipping to further add a caring factor to the service they provide.

Showing heart in all communication, expressing care even without face to face contact and building lasting, strong relationships over new forms of communication will be the challenge to businesses that want to embrace new media yet still be spectacular in the experience they offer going forward.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to prepare for an award panel interview



Being a former winner of the Australian Young Telstra Business Women of the Year and also being a prolific nominator of other people in awards (I've just submitted my Telstra nominations for this year) I’m often asked what my tips are for performing well at interview panels.

So, here’s what I usually tell people:

1.   Be yourself, have a personality (preferably yours).

2.   Remember they're looking for someone who will be a good ambassador for the program as well as someone deserving – so think about the brand of the awards program and how well you fit into that (presentation wise, aspiriational wise etc).

3.   Know your application inside and out for your interview and (this should go without saying) make sure it’s all 100% the truth.

4.   Be memorable. When my real estate agency was called M&M Real Estate - my application had M&M chocolates inside it, not a bribe, just something to indicate the type of service we offered to our clients in a fun way.

5.   Have a killer answer to the question: “What would change in your life if you won”.

6.     I’d recommend setting up your own practice panel of people you trust / value and preferably a mentor or two and have them ask you all the tricky questions they can think of. If it you’re going out for a business women’s award program be sure to have them throw in questions around: juggling family – balancing act / glass ceiling / advantages/disadvantages to being a woman

7.     And finally – if all else fails, just go with number 1. There’s no point winning any award unless it’s YOU who actually does it. You’ll typically be a representative of that award for at least a year (good lord, I’m still talking about some of my award wins a decade later). That’s a long time to be anybody but yourself. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Email is simple


(work related email that is)

If you want to be known as someone accountable, dependable and on top of their email game.

You get an email and you either:

a)  deal with it (ie: do it, delete it, reply to it)

or

b)  you acknowledge it with a time frame as to when you’ll get it done and you put some sort of reminder in place (whether it’s a diary task, putting the email into a folder, a manual note – whatever works) so that you stay accountable to that time frame.

You do not…

a)  read email
b)  re-read email later on
c)  re-read email and stress about not having done it yet
d)  accidentally file email into a “to do” folder and forget it
e)  keep the email without acknowledging it to the person you got it from
f)  re-read the email (again)


By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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