If You Can’t Name Your Company, You’re In The Wrong Business

If You Can’t Name Your Company, You’re In The Wrong Business

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured
Often I meet someone at a networking event who tells me they are a consultant. I follow up by asking what kind of consultant. They will toss around all kinds of buzzwords. They won't say what company they work for. They are vague about what they actually do. Finally, they will state that they work for a network marketing company. There isn't anything wrong with working for a network marketing company per se. Many of them offer excellent products at good prices. If you are too embarrassed to say you are selling their products, or worse, if your focus is on getting other people to sell rather than selling the products yourself, you are in the wrong business. There is nothing wrong with sales. Most of us, in one form…
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How To Encourage Participation During Virtual Meetings

How To Encourage Participation During Virtual Meetings

Communication, Featured
It’s hard to get people to pay attention in meetings when everyone’s in the same room — let alone if they’re all calling in from home. How can you get people to actually participate in a virtual meeting? The key is to create structured opportunities for attendees to engage. Do something in the first 60 seconds to help participants experience the problem you want them to solve. For example, you might share statistics or anecdotes that dramatize the topic. Then assign people to groups of two or three and give them a very limited time frame to take on a highly structured and brief task. Be sure to give them a medium with which to communicate, like a Slack channel. If you’re on a virtual meeting platform that allows for…
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Four Common Image Mistakes Made By Small Businesses

Four Common Image Mistakes Made By Small Businesses

Communication, Featured
Businesses of any size want to ensure they put their best foot forward. They look at designing a nice website, creating a logo, and print up business cards. There are, however, five mistakes that are made over and over that tell your customer you are not a professional. 1) A template business card. Companies like VistaPrint offer free business cards. It can be a hard offer to pass up for the business on a shoestring, but that free business card isn't worth the cost. A VistaPrint business card stands out, and not in a good way. People have seen them so often that as soon as you take out your business card, the person you're handing it to knows you went for the free card. Even if you have to…
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Sales Is Not Marketing

Sales Is Not Marketing

Communication, Featured
While discussing e-mail marketing a local business owner stated that their e-mail marketing campaign was handled by an industry association. When asked if the association provided content, the owner answered, "No, they send offers. We use calls to action." Every marketing person should know the value of the call to action. It's the piece that closes the sale. However, it is sales, not marketing. This business owner was using a call to action INSTEAD of marketing. That's sales, not marketing, What's the difference? The goal of both is to get people to come in the door and buy products or services. Surely, they're interchangeable. If this is what you believe, you're leaving a lot of money on the table. Marketing is ongoing. It creates feelings, images, and impressions. Sales says…
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Prioritize the Business Relationships That Matter Most

Prioritize the Business Relationships That Matter Most

Communication, Featured
With success comes many things — including a much larger business network. How can you possibly keep in contact with everyone, let alone respond to their requests? Apply Pareto’s 80/20 rule: Think about your most important relationships, and then highlight the top 20% of them. These are the people you should spend 80% of your time, energy, and resources with. Proactively set up regular lunch dates, walk-and-talks, coffees, and face-to-face meetings. Get creative — commute to work together, take up a shared hobby or interest, or create a peer support group. For second-tier contacts, consider organizing a social event two or three times a year to keep in touch. This 80/20 system allows you to continue to nurture and protect your relational ecosystem — which is the greatest determiner of your personal happiness and professional success…
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5 Tips For Giving A Persuasive Presentation

5 Tips For Giving A Persuasive Presentation

Communication, Featured
When you need to sell an idea at work or in a presentation, how do you do it? Five rhetorical devices can help — Aristotle identified them 2,000 years ago, and masters of persuasion still use them today: Ethos. Start your talk by establishing your credibility and character. Show your audience that you are committed to the welfare of others, and you will gain their trust.Logos. Use data, evidence, and facts to support your pitch.Pathos. People are moved to action by how a speaker makes them feel. Wrap your big idea in a story that will elicit an emotional reaction.Metaphor. Compare your idea to something that is familiar to your audience. It will help you clarify your argument by making the abstract concrete.Brevity. Explain your idea in as few words as possible. People have a…
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Focus on Your Breath to Sound More Persuasive

Focus on Your Breath to Sound More Persuasive

Communication, Featured
Breathing plays a big role in how you sound. The ability to harness your breath is critical when you’re speaking up in a meeting or giving a speech or presentation. To speak with more confidence and power, focus on your breath. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms up over your head. Breathe in deeply. As you exhale, slowly lower your arms down to your sides. Make sure your shoulders are back, not hunched. This is the best posture for speaking: you are standing tall, owning your full height, and resonating confidence. Put one hand on your belly button and one hand on your chest. Breathe deeply and notice which hand moves. Keep your chest steady and breathe into your stomach. Then exhale slowly, and speak “on…
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Motivate People By Changing One Word

Motivate People By Changing One Word

Communication, Featured
If you’re trying to motivate someone make the decision to act, it’s important to show that you’re focused on their needs, not yours. Pronouns can help. They’re small, but potent, signals that communicate a speaker’s focus of attention. The key to helping people make the decision can be as simple as using "we" instead of "I" when you communicate. When people feel insecure, they are more likely to focus their thoughts and behaviors inward and use more first-person singular pronouns (e.g., “I,” “my,” “me”) when speaking. By contrast, first-person plural and second-person pronouns (such as “we,” “us,” or “you”) are used when considering the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others. So try using “we” more often when speaking to your team. It will show that you are more focused on…
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Losing Your Audience During a Presentation? Try This

Losing Your Audience During a Presentation? Try This

Communication, Featured
You can tell when an audience has stopped listening to a presentation. Phones come out, people slouch in their seats, maybe someone dozes off. If you notice this happening during your talk, try a few techniques to grab people’s attention. Move around the room. It keeps audience members guessing where you’ll go next, which means their eyes are trained on you.Lower your voice, or even pause. Speaking in a monotone isn’t very engaging, of course, and neither is always speaking at the same volume. To regain attention, try speaking softly so that people need to focus in order to follow along, or using a well-timed pause to create suspense around what’s coming next. Speak faster or slower. When you change speeds, people take note: What’s different here? Why does this part sound distinct? And that means…
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Manage the Endless Stream of Email by Setting Boundaries

Manage the Endless Stream of Email by Setting Boundaries

Communication, Featured, Process
One of the reasons email is so hard to manage is that sending it is easy. We can fill up each other’s inboxes by just clicking a button — which is why it’s important to set boundaries around email. Harvard Business Review recommends trying three things: Use autoreplies. When you need time to focus on work, your email autoreply can tell people that you’re unavailable and when you’ll get back to them. Whether you’ll reply in a day or a week, let people know what to expect. (And in the meantime, give yourself permission to ignore messages that can wait.)Set guidelines for your team. Tell people how and when you prefer to communicate, and ask colleagues and clients about their preferences as well. Don’t forget to revisit this discussion when people join…
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