Keep Your Presentation from Being Forgettable

Keep Your Presentation from Being Forgettable

Communication, Featured
Advice on giving good presentations tends to focus on structure and style, but there’s something even more important to consider: getting your audience to remember your talk. Here’s how to make sure they remember what you say: Follow the right sequence. Audiences remember the beginning and end of a talk most easily; they have more trouble remembering the middle. Get your most important point out right away and reinforce it at the end.Draw connections.Making connections among the key points in your talk helps your audience remember them. The more connections you draw, the more chunks of information people will be able to recall later.Make the audience work. Audiences commit things to memory when they have to do a little work to understand them. Ask people questions, let them vote on something, and…
Read More
Pump Yourself Up Before A Presentation

Pump Yourself Up Before A Presentation

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured
Giving a talk in front of an audience can be stressful, and our bodies react to that stress in different ways. If you’re someone who gets jittery and anxious, or whose energy levels flatline, try an exertion ritual before your next presentation. The ritual is just what it sounds like: You exert yourself in order to get your heart moving, feel in touch with your body, and boost your energy. You might do a brief workout before heading to the venue, dance in your hotel room, or even jump up and down backstage. An exertion ritual can amp you up while also reducing your levels of stress hormones. It can be especially helpful if you’re presenting at a high-energy event like a sales conference, or if you feel ambivalent about…
Read More
Focus On The Benefit

Focus On The Benefit

Communication, Featured
It's an old chestnut in advertising. Focus on the benefit, not the features. Even though the idea is well known, most of us find it difficult to do. We get caught up in all the neat things our products and services do. Your audience wants to know what is in it for them. They want to know how they benefit. Change can create uncertainty, instability, and stress. To get people on board, whether it's for a change in your business or to try a new product or service, it’s helpful to clearly articulate what the benefit is to your audience. Start by crafting a narrative that explains the big picture: why is this good for them in the short and long term. Be consistent with this narrative; all of your…
Read More
The Power Of Possibility

The Power Of Possibility

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured
As the holiday season comes to a close, I want you to think about the feeling you had when you held your holiday gift. I don't mean after you opened it. What were you feeling as you held the still wrapped gift. When you looked at it without knowing what it was, what did you feel? There's an excitement. It could be anything. This is the power of possibility. How can you use the power of possibility in your business? The best example of its use was Steve Jobs in his Apple product unveilings. Everything was kept very close to the vest. Viewers waited with bated breath as he uttered the words, "One more thing." The anticipation was palpable. Can you generate that feeling in your customers? While most of…
Read More
Yourbusiness@gmail.com Is Not A Business Email

Yourbusiness@gmail.com Is Not A Business Email

Communication, Featured
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Very often that impression is made through email. Making the right impression can be very simple and yet many small business owners fail to do it. Get a business email.   You wouldn't put your website at www.hostingcompany.com/yourbusiness, so why would you use an email address of yourbusiness@gmail.com? Whether you are a solopreneur or a big business you need to present a professional image. One of the biggest things you can do to undermine confidence in your business is to send business email from a generic email account. Whether it is gmail, yahoo, AOL, outlook, or an address provided by your internet provider, not having a business email makes you look like you don't take your business seriously. If you…
Read More
A Tale Of Two Customer Service Calls

A Tale Of Two Customer Service Calls

Communication, Featured, Improvement
Bad customer service is ubiquitous. Recently, I dealt with two companies. One who was a perfect example of what not to do and one who blew me away. The first company is Adobe. I have used Adobe software for over twenty five years. Periodically they institute anti-piracy solutions. These solutions have always had a fatal flaw. When you make a change to your computer (i.e. updating your system software) their system flags your software as pirated. After a recent system software update, it happened again. I called customer service to have them reset the account so it was correct. This is something I have done dozens of times. This time my call was routed to a customer service rep in India. Not only was English not his first language, he…
Read More
What Goes Into Your Pencil?

What Goes Into Your Pencil?

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Customer, Featured
When was the last time you really thought about your pencil? It sits on your desk until you need it. Let's face it, you probably take it for granted. Take a moment and think about what had to happen for that pencil to get to you. Graphite had to be mined and refined. Lumber has to be chopped down and milled. The graphite and wood have to be transported to the factory. The pencil is manufactured, packaged and shipped to the retailer. That's all before you purchase it and it arrives at your desk. Why are we examining a pencil? That pencil is just like your business. Your customers don't know what goes into the products or services you provide them with. They don't know how you agonized over each…
Read More
Tell Your Customer’s Story

Tell Your Customer’s Story

Communication, Featured
One of the most important elements to attracting potential clients is that they understand what you are offering. If they don’t have a clear idea of what you can do for them they won’t know why they should use your service or product. For complicated services, one of the best ways to convey what you do is to tell a story about one of your customers. To craft your story, keep it simple. Your story should tell what the customer’s problem was, what you did to solve it, and what the result was. Stay away from jargon and buzzwords. If what you do is very complicated or unusual, use an analogy to compare it to something your audience is familiar with. Telling a story can make explaining your business much…
Read More
When You Give Feedback, Do You Listen, Too?

When You Give Feedback, Do You Listen, Too?

Communication, Featured
Very often it falls on us to offer feedback to a co-worker, partner, or subordinate. If you want people to really hear what you’re saying, you need to listen, too. Research suggests a manager’s attentive, nonjudgmental listening makes an employee more relaxed, more self-aware, and less defensive. The next time you’re coaching someone, listen carefully and thoughtfully to everything they say. Don’t jump to conclusions or interrupt. Give the person space to express themselves, and ask good questions to encourage them to keep talking. When people sense that others are truly hearing them, they’re much more likely to open up. Use eye contact and body language to signal that you’re focused on your employee and want to hear their thoughts. And refrain from suggesting solutions to problems. Even with feedback,…
Read More
Keep a Difficult Conversation on Track

Keep a Difficult Conversation on Track

Communication, Featured
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, a difficult conversation veers off course. Maybe your counterpart’s emotions are making progress hard, or the conversation keeps drifting away from the topic at hand. Assess the situation by taking a deep breath, mentally popping out of the conversation — as if you’re a fly on the wall — and objectively looking at what’s happening. You might even describe it to yourself (in your head): “Every time I bring up the sales numbers, he raises his voice.” Next, state what you’re observing in a calm tone: “It seems as though whenever the sales numbers come up, you raise your voice. Can you help me understand why?” Then suggest a new approach: “If we put our heads together, we could probably come up with a way…
Read More