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Training Kansas City Youth to be successful

Training Kansas City Youth for Success

I’m a better “aunt” than “mom” …when it comes to other people’s kids, that is.

Allow me to offer some context.

Training Kansas City Youth is my skill; ongoing opportunities and supports are not.

Over the years, I have developed a great reputation for  delivering engaging, effective and fun True Colors training in Kansas City.

I’ve trained the gamete – young, old and everything in between.

But, I recognized a long time ago that I am better with adults than I am

Teri C.
Dressing inappropriately for job interview

Dressing inappropriately for job interview

Dressing inappropriately for a
job interview should not be a  fatal career mishap.

I felt so badly.  I almost couldn’t rebound from that lurking, heavy, dark sense of regret.

It was like a gray cloud looming over my training and I couldn’t seem to shake it. I thought about what I should have said, could have said and ended back at the point of the scenario where remorse resided.

Let me get you caught up.

The other day, I did a mini-training for a friend. I usually am paid $350 an hour to train, but I like this person so much that I quickly say “yes” to support her.

Well, the training content was about making good first impression. The audience were teens.
Yes, kiddos! I love young people.


I had it covered!

I covered all the basics of making a good first impression and how to actually acquire the skills you admire in other people. It was a good training and my rapport with the teens was really good (for a Gen-Xer). We discussed dressing appropriately for various occasions and how one outfit doesn’t translate well into another one.  It was all covered and in record time!

After I had thanked the kiddos for their time, the unsolicited applause started.  I felt good. Really Good. Then it was interrupted.

An adult from the back of the room, went to stand behind a young man wearing a hoodie. After gently placing her hands on his shoulders she said “Could you say something about wearing hoodies”.

Ugh. Crap. Dang!

I sensed the young man’s embarrassment.  Heck, I was embarrassed for him. In my haste, I tried to say something like “he was  at a training – not a job interview -, so it was OK for him to wear his hoodie”.

Blah Blah Blah

The frustration and anger at the situation muffled my communication skills. I was a little flustered by the audacity of that person.  As you know, it’s never good to humiliate anyone; especially a young person in front of a room full of people.  I wished I had said more and that’s were the regret kicked in.

During break, the young man was standing near me. I had an opportunity to apologize to him and re-affirm that he looked fine for the setting in which he was in. After all, AGAIN he wasn’t at a job interview and no one had communicated a dress code prior.

He was a good kid

He was so humble, that he asked me softly “Should I take it off”, I said a strong “NO!” sighed and said “You’re fine, Honey.” Even though he was taller than me, I saw a six year old in his eyes – desperate for affirmation in a world that would judge him by a stupid hoodie.

I don’t pen this post to glorify myself. In the moment, I did and said too little. I’m writing this to remind us all that we cannot judge a book by its cover. I’ve sat across from clients who own large-scale Kansas City companies and many of them wore hoodies and sneaks. Guess what.  They were dressed appropriately for that setting (mainly because they owned the company).

I’m sure you’ve interviewed someone improperly dressed. Perhaps, they wore jeans, a mismatched outfit or were entirely too casual for a job interview. For years, I was guilty of judging such people and assuming they couldn’t do a job based on what they wore. This is a new world. Like it or not.

The truth is there are lots of reasons people may come to an interview (or anywhere) dressed inappropriately. Don’t miss out on a jewel because you judge to harshly … too soon.

So often people simply don’t know any better than what they do. Many young people grow up without proper coaching and support. As a result, they have no idea flip-flops are inappropriate for a job interview.

In some cases, you may have to catch the  fish before you can clean it. You can coach an employee on proper attire, but you cannot coach the exceptional skills, attributes and abilities one needs to be a good team member.


I know the lady that singled out the young man in the hoodie meant no harm at all, but she caused some.  Dressing inappropriately for an interview should not be a fatal career mistake.

Be careful with your, your staff and your interviewees. Cut people some slack and be a good person as well as a good professional.

Just so you know, I rebounded from my ominous haze of regret. Yes, dressing inappropriately for job interview is a huge mistake; but casual dress at a training is not.

My colleague and work buddy also attended that training. We chatted and she made me feel much better about the scenario. She also gave me a hug.

A great resource:  “How to Dress for an Interview by Industry” from Monster.Com”

Another great Resource: “15 Tips for Improving Your Skills Interviewing Candidates”


Teri C.
Managing volunteers

Managing Volunteers -Tips for Volunteer Managers

Managing volunteers is the trickiest of management situations. It requires a share of intentionality, planning and even mind-reading.  #Volunteers #Volunteermanagement (sorry, this is for my Twitter feed). 🙂

First of all, volunteers are not staff. Duh, right?

Unlike staff, they are not aligned to your organization because of a paycheck. I like to say, volunteers are “paid in currency of the heart”. They serve because they care. Either they care about your mission, your constituency or about you, the

Teri C.
Email Etiquette Tips for Managers

Email Etiquette Tips for Managers

Todays topic: Email Etiquette Tips for Managers

Have you ever been completely awe struck by a rude, silly or insensitive email?

I have! I can believe how ignorant (or insensitive) some managers email communications can be. I’ve met and encountered several leaders who desperately need to read an entire book on email etiquette tips for managers.

What surprised me most was that the person’s email tone was completely different from the

Teri C.

Be it ever so humble…


Kansas City Spirit

My mom is one of the most independent seniors I know.

She’s swiftly approaching the big “80”, but if you met her, you’d never guess it. Within five minutes in her presence, you’d discern she is resolutely confident, vastly intelligent and noticeably active for a woman of her years. I often think of her as invincible.

Then “yesterday” happened. For the first time ever, she fainted. I shudder at the mere thought of it.

It startled her as well – more so, in fact. For someone accustomed to being in control, that moment of public vulnerability terrified her. Thankfully, today she is relatively ok and receiving excellent care at an area hospital.

This is not a blog post about my mom as much as it is about Kansas City.

Teri C.
Conversation Starters for Networking

5 Top Conversation Starters for Networking

Looking for conversation starters for networking?

Some people would rather stick a skewer in their left eye than enter a room full of strangers. I’m not that bad, but I am a little introverted. Most people who know or have met me wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true.

If you’re anything like me do what I do:  arrive at networking events early before the crowd begins to assemble. It’s more manageable watching a “room” grow [gradually] than walking into it with a hundred (or more) people.

Either way, networking is an unavoidable “must”. You never know what a friendly stranger has to offer your business/organization. Similarly, I guarantee you someone at the networking event needs to know about your services or product. Count on it.

Conversation Starters for Networking

This is from my other blog. This is so what I would wear to a networking event!

This goes without saying, but be sure to look to the part – dress professionally. like the outfit above from my hobby blog, www.my40somethinglife.com.

So, you look great, you have a strategy to arrive early, now how do you break the ice with all those people once you get there?

Here are 5 great questions  and conversations starters to ask a person at a networking event:

1. “What is your history with_____________________?”

This question leverages what you already have in common – you’re at the same event. Ask how they learned about the person/company hosting it. This is also a great time so share what you hope to accomplish by being there. You may get a lead or, at the very least, make a new friend or contact!

2.What do you do?”

Duh, right? This always breaks the ice with strangers. People love talking about themselves and what they do for a living. If they are happy or content, you can say something like:

“Oh wow! That sounds like so much fun! Tell me more about that.”

If they hate their job, this is an opportunity to say:

“hmmmm. I understand that. Have you been putting any “feelers” out?”

Either way, you can easily get a conversation going. You may also be able to connect them with a new job lead…or find one for yourself. Either way, it’s one of the best conversation starters for networking.

3.“Your name is pretty/interesting/fascinating. Is it a family name? What’s the story?”

This one is a guaranteed smile-starter. However, if their name is Bob, you’re in trouble. You’ll have to think of something else.

4. “Honestly, I hate attending events like this, but I know it’s necessary for my job as a _______”.

More than likely, you’ll find someone who agrees with you and can relate one hundred percent. Even the most confident professionals have the “teensiest” bit of angst about networking events. I think it revives memories of being on the playground as a kid with no one to play with. Everyone has felt that way.

5. “Hey, I know this sounds crazy, but I have a _________ JUST like that”. Take a moment to chill and scan the room. Surely, you can find something in common with someone there. It could even be as nominal as the same suit jacket (works better for women than men). Wait for the chuckle and introduce yourself.

What conversation starters have worked for you in the past?

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Teri C.
Team Maintenance in the workplace

Team maintenance in the workplace – Kansas City Workshops

Team Maintenance in the workplace

I think team maintenance is more important than team building.  Team maintenance in the workplace is often overlooked as the part of the team growth process.  It’s all about team-building, but what happens after the team has built the initial connection (or re-connection)?

Team maintenance in the workplace preserves the bonds, connections and networks necessary for collaboration. Most teams work hard to build these bonds, but they can go away.  Teams are essentially people gathered around a mission or common goal. If these people have some form of a connection (or a relationship), they are able to perform cohesively.

Cohesion Defined…

Cohesion is the connection. Collaboration is the medium by which work is accomplished.  By working together, a group of people are empowered to be effective, solve problems and be creative.

Team maintenance includes the systems and resources that keep staff engaged and the team connected. It is not always easy.  In her article, “Maybe Collaboration Doesn’t Work?“, Beth O’Neill promises “collaboration isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come naturally.”  Read the entire blog post for great insight on facilitating consensus.

It’s a Start…

Team-building, on the other hand, tends to be more introductory.  It’s the first step toward a group of humans understanding one another and building a sense of trust. After the initial “connection”, team-building should soon morph into team maintenance. It becomes something  done regularly to renew existing connections and bolster ongoing trust.

Once your team has completed group formation, brainstorm ways to strengthen those connections throughout the year. Consider it a team “oil change”.  That was corny, I know. Yeah, team maintenance ensure success …in the long-term.

Agree? Disagree?  Tweet me, comment or contact me to talk about it.

Teri C.
Distractions at work

Handling Workplace Distractions

Workplace distractions can be so…distracting! Here are a few examples:

  • People chatting while you’re trying to concentrate.
  • Your boss conspicuously walking around talking to you.
  • The incessant roar of conversation outside your cubical.
  • The copier.
  • That person playing her music across the hall. I could go on and on.

Handling workplace distractions is challenging, but not impossible.

Here is what helps me:

1. Earbuds. I mean the good ones. Frankly, never had a pair before I returned to the traditional workplace!  Now, I wear them most everyday. Personally, I prefer wireless earbuds to help me block out everyday office noise. I like this brand because the rubber tips expand in my ear canal and really keep the outside noise to minimum. I bought two pairs so I can keep one charging in my office.

If I’m working on something rather cognitive like designing a curriculum or training, I’ll play a “white noise” station on Pandora. I also like instrumental or classical stations when I really need to concentrate. Otherwise, it’s 70s and 80s funk all the way.

2. Hang a sign. I know it sounds weird, but, nothing works as well as a gently worded “leave me alone sign”. No need to write a white paper explaining your mental state, just a few words like “I’m working on a projector right now, please email me”. I like to make it a bit comical and say something like “SHHHH…BABY ASLEEP (not really just working on a project and can’t talk now 🙂 “Works like a charm.

3. Get away. This is especially important if you work in a cubical or close quarters. Sometimes, you simply need to remove yourself from the buzz of the office. If possible, work remotely from home or Starbucks. If that’s not an option, then reserve a conference room in your building and work in silence.

4. Stop the chatty people in their tracks. Before that chatty co-work gets started spilling the tea about the office, quickly stop him at the first syllable and ask “Can you email me? I’m swamped today”. If you let him get started, it will seem rude, so say it at the first sight of them.

Another benefit of this technique is that if topic was frivolous, he/she will quickly self-check and say “oh, no. sorry, I was just venting” and go find another chat victim.

Finally, this is so “shady”, but it also works: put stuff in “guest” chair in your office. I’ll throw my coat over it or block it in some way. That sense a message without saying a word.  What do you think?

Teri C.

Diversity training is stupid

Kansas City Diversity Training Diversity training is a fluke. Let me use my “I” voice.

The concept of training is delivering information to change performance. Performance is linked to how we reach desired goals, or simply put – how we do things. So, I conclude that issues of race, tolerance and diversity are entirely too complex for a training environment.

I know.  The diversity trainers of the world are wailing in contempt.

Let me start at the beginning. Racism is a learned behavior. It is deeply ingrained into one’s identity, psyche and belief system. Only an idiot (sorry no other word would fit here) would believe

Teri C.
Finding the right career - Kansas City Training Consultant

Find the right career for me

“How do I find the right career for me?”

Age-old question.  Everyone has asked that question at some point.

Finding the right career is the key to not dreading Monday mornings. Well, maybe that statement is a bit of a stretch. But, if you choose a career that aligns with your personality, you’re more likely to have fun at work and find the job personally fulfilling. Before you choose your first (or second career), I want you to consider your natural talents, skills and life goals. You may not be able to attend one of my Kansas City career exploration workshops, but you can start your own journey toward self-discovery with an online session with me. This Forbes’ article is also a terrific place to get started.

Some interests are meant to be your life’s work,
others are meant to be nothing more than hobbies.
It’s important to know which is which.

Teri C.
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