Project Confidence in Your Next Presentation

Project Confidence in Your Next Presentation

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured
Many of us feel anxious when we’re speaking or presenting at a big meeting, but there’s lots of research on what you can do to look confident and competent in front of an audience. The key is to pay special attention to your body language. Make eye contact and avoid looking at your slides. A few glances are OK, but not at the beginning of your presentation. Also, keep an open posture with your arms uncrossed and your palms turned up. Remove any barriers — such as a lectern or a laptop — between you and the audience. And find areas of your presentation where gestures would help highlight key points or emphasize a concept. For example, if you’re listing a number of items, use your fingers to count them…
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Coaching an Employee to Solve Problems in New Ways

Coaching an Employee to Solve Problems in New Ways

Communication, Featured
Sometimes an employee gets stuck while solving a problem. They try once and, when they fail, either give up or try again with the same method. You can help a direct report expand their tool set and consider new approaches with coaching. Start off by asking a few questions: What problem are you solving? What concerns you about it? What frustrates other people about it?Your goal is to get the person thinking about why their efforts aren’t working. Repeat their answers back to them. Once they understand why their plan of action is flawed, ask what else they might try, based on what they know about the problem. Encourage them to think about what type of solution would make sense for this type of problem. Remember, your role here is not…
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Do You Know Where Your Leads Are?

Do You Know Where Your Leads Are?

Communication, Featured, Improvement
Defining your approach to qualifying and tracking leads can drive a ton more business…some ideas from Marc Kitz, Sales Coach!   How easily can you/your company answer the following questions: How are your leads qualified?How are your leads tracked? This is challenging particularly in smaller organizations. Here is a story from a close friend of mine who runs a manufacturing company in CT that illustrates this challenge. New opportunity, easy to close and it got lost! My friend called his CRM company to request services for integration of a new touchless time keeping application.  The rep he spoke with said he understood what my friend was looking for.  They set up a follow up meeting which included resources the rep thought should attend.  During the meeting my friend re-explained what…
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Check The Tone of Your Message Before Hitting Send

Check The Tone of Your Message Before Hitting Send

Communication, Featured
When teams are working remotely and stress levels are high, it’s all too easy to miscommunicate. Even well-intentioned messages can be misconstrued. So how do you avoid sending a Slack message or email that could be interpreted as passive-aggressive? One option is to use an emoji, which can go a long way in signaling tone, meaning, and emotion. But be careful — too many emojis could undermine your professionalism. Consider your audience before sending a slew of smileys. As a rule of thumb, try sticking to one emoji per message — unless it’s the very first time you’re communicating with someone, in which case, you might leave them out altogether. Also, be sure to spend a few minutes proofreading your message for typos, which are a not-so-subtle signal that you…
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Make An Impact In Virtual Meetings

Make An Impact In Virtual Meetings

Communication, Featured
A video conference isn’t just a meeting over video — it’s an entirely new experience and requires us to adapt our perspectives, habits, and tactics. Here are a few ways to adjust to this new norm. Every presentation coach will tell you that direct eye contact helps to reinforce your point. In a video conference, this means looking at the camera, not your colleague’s faces on the screen. Of course, it’s challenging to focus on your camera for an entire meeting — especially while others are talking — but the more you practice, even for brief moments, the more comfortable you’ll become. Use a slightly louder-than-usual voice, because in addition to being audible, strong voices convey authority, credibility, and confidence. Be mindful of your background as well. Cluttered rooms make…
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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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