Stress: Is it Harmful or Beneficial?

December 6, 2017 by  

Stress is different things to different people and depends upon a person’s perception of a situation and is based on their life experiences.
The initial stress reaction is the same for everyone, it involves a burst of adrenaline that increases one’s heart rate, respiration, perspiration, and energy level…..but only for a brief period. It is caused by mental or physical tension that results from physical, emotional, or chemical causes. In addition, it is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demand exceeds the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

Stress never seems to go away and is often beyond our control, so having effective strategies that you can exercise when necessary is essential to your well-being. That may mean getting regular aerobic exercise, walking your dog, meditating, singing, dancing, shopping, having a relaxing glass of wine, laughing with friends……it really does not matter, as long as you do something that reduces the effects of the stress situation for you.
When stress occurs for short or even moderate lengths of time, there is the opportunity for your body to recover from the stress reaction. In fact, in truth, short-term stress is actually beneficial as it gives you focus, extra energy, and spurs you to higher levels of performance….but only for a short period of time.
On the other hand, if stress goes on for long periods of time, your body does not recover, in fact, it “thinks” that your organ systems need to be sustained at a high level of operation so releases another chemical: cortisol, which keeps your organs on “high alert” and actually overworks them which can cause irreversible damage. So, long periods of stress can be harmful.

Here is another factor to consider…..men and women actually react to stress a little differently. The initial reaction is the same, however, shortly thereafter, women get a second cascade of chemicals which counteract the adrenalin rush with estrogen and oxytocin. These two chemicals slow down your heart rate and respiration so that you can begin to consider how to problem solve and your nurturing side is released. In men, however, testosterone, enhances the adrenalin rush and keeps you on “high alert” for longer. This difference may be one of the reasons that women tend to live longer than men as their organ systems have experienced less overwork. In addition, women tend to build strong support systems with their women friends and in times of stress, turn to them for needed support and assistance. Men, do have friendships, of course, but tend not to seek help as often or rely on their friends as women do because society has taught them to be “strong” and self-sufficient.

So if we go back to the initial premise: is stress harmful or beneficial……it is both. It just depends on how long it lasts. If you experience short stressful periods, you can actually leverage those high energy periods to your benefit by getting more done and doing it better. However, if you are in a situation that causes long-term stress, and if you do nothing to deflect or reduce it, you will sustain irreversible physiological damage which could result in disease or various physiological harm, panic attacks, other behavioural symptoms, cognitive deficiencies, communication problems, and perception issues. None of which are good for you and which have not allowed your body to recover.

It does not matter what works for you as a stress reducer, it just matters that when you find yourself suffering, that you definitely employ those strategies so that your body can recover. Unfortunately, stress is a part of life and often occurs from situations that were not in your control, that is why you must be able to deal with it effectively so that it can be used beneficially rather than cause you harm.

How to Develop New Blog Ideas

November 18, 2017 by  

Continually coming up with new ideas for your blog can become pretty onerous. Especially if you blog on more than one site.

Here are some ideas you may want to consider when you have time to write more blogs for your site.
1. Invite Others to Offer Blogs: Even though you may be the key expert in your area of expertise, there are likely others who may also have some valuable information that you could share on a particular topic so you ask them to guest blog for you. Contributions from others could ease your load and reduce your burn out time. You can even consider asking other members of your team or colleagues to contribute their ideas or pieces. New input and perspectives will keep your blog fresh.

2. Create a Different Perspective to Another Blog: Some content ideas can be sparked from reading other blogs. So if you follow other industry blogs, you may find one that speaks about an issue or element that you could elaborate upon. You might even disagree with that blogger’s point of view and could write about yours instead.

3. Follow Your Industry’s News: Industry news sources can certainly be a great resource for new blogs. If you explore what other bloggers in your industry are writing about, it might give you an idea for your next article. Sometimes a particularly relevant or interesting news story might provide you with the necessary inspiration for a new piece. It is also a good idea to consider what your readers might be looking for and then use that as your next topic. Finally, be sure to include beneficial elements, tips, or takeaways so that your followers will continue to read your blogs.

4. Combine Concepts: Sometimes when you put two entirely different concepts together an entirely new approach can be developed. This connection could prove to be both valuable and innovative which makes it worthy of consideration.

5. Inspiration Can Pop up from Any Source: Sometimes ideas just pop into your mind from an experience or a situation. When you are doing your regular exercise routine, taking in some local musical event or an art show, or even doing something that relaxes you can actually generate an idea for a new blog. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow!

6. Keep it Simple: Sometimes the most outstanding, creative pieces are the simplest ones. Don’t discount a simple, obvious blog idea, even if you have used the topic before. A new, simple, basic approach could actually become one of your most popular blogs. Contemplate writing a how-to piece that clearly and succinctly explains specifically how to do something that your readers might normally find complicated or difficult. Write it from the perspective of those who have no background in this area.

7. Never Hurts to Revisit a Topic: If you’ve been blogging for a while, you have likely written about every topic in which you have expertise. That does not mean that you cannot write on a particular topic again, this time taking it in another direction or talking about aspects that were not included in the original blog. You can always shine some new light on a topic using a different approach or focussing on a new aspect not elaborated upon before.

8. Include a Variety of Content Formats: Your blog doesn’t have to be just text-based, you can include relevant graphs, charts, pictures, cartoons, even a short video or PowerPoint deck can add interesting content and better illustrate your points in a more visual manner. Be creative, it can make blogging more interesting and fun for you and your readers!

Remember….enjoy what you do, share what you have passion for and it will show in your blog posts!

3 Simple Tips for Impactful Business Communications

November 3, 2017 by  

In business, you need to provide beneficial information to your listeners. In order to achieve that, you must use your voice to persuade and influence. In order for the message to be effective, you must pay close attention to the quality, warmth, tone, and volume of your voice as this is your most important means for effective  communication.

Here are 3 simple tips to employ:

1. Your voice is your agent of intention and expression. When combined with your facial expression, your voice sends more of your message than the words themselves and both must match and reinforce your verbal message. So use it to your best advantage.

2. To gain the greatest advantage from your voice, you must create a calm and pleasant sound which can only be created with proper breathing techniques. The fullness of the sound comes from the “belly” or by using diaphragmatic breathing, this deep breathing softens the voice, helping to make it sound soft, calm, and confident. Conversely, shallow breathing results in a thin, harsh sound which makes you seem hurried and which can also tire both your audience and yourself.

3. If you wish to have your audience engaged and comfortable you must appear and sound relaxed. Your voice reflects your state of mind and the audience will “hear” that in your voice. Therefore, if you are tense, nervous, distracted, or anxious you will make your listeners feel the same way; and that will make it difficult for them to stay focused on your message. Remember, you set the tone in the room for your presentation, if you look and sound confident, relaxed, and focused, the audience will respond accordingly. And, the opposite is also true!

Prepare, practice, and time your presentation, get honest feedback, record your presentation, or at least talk it through in front of a mirror so you can watch how you appear. Even better, get a couple of friends and or family members to give you some honest feedback on how you are doing.

Your voice is the most valuable and important tool for your presentation and for your business communications.   It must be honed, oxygenated, and tuned to be strong and effective. Create an emotional investment that is positive, energetic, confident, welcoming, and responsive, if you do this, you will reap huge dividends!

How to Turn Fear into Fun When Making a Presentation

October 19, 2017 by  

If the thought of speaking in public strikes fear in your heart you are likely in the majority. If you do have to make a presentation and would like to actually enjoy the experience, the following tips will help you to do just that.

1. Preparation is the key to any excellent presentation. That means researching your topic online, in a library, or even by speaking with some experts in the field. Once you have gathered sufficient information, then you have to decide which pieces you will include in your presentation. Be sure to only keep the interesting elements and try to be specific and simple. Now you can easily analyze your content, design your presentation, decide on how you will deliver the content and ultimately will be able to gauge how you were received.

2. Practice, practice, practice. You need to know your material inside out, backwards, and in your sleep….do not memorize the presentation as when you are nervous, you will forget what you want to say. However, if you truly know your material, have passion for it, and know how you want to deliver it, the adrenalin boost your body will give you when you begin, will actually give you focus and clarity and once you get into your presentation, you will forget to be nervous as you will be too busy sharing your knowledge and expertise in interesting and engaging ways.

3. Attitude is everything! Decide that you are going to have fun and enjoy giving this presentation and then you will as it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. When you are positive, prepared, and well-versed in your materials you will be great! Remember, you set the tone for the room if you appear relaxed, confident and happy, you will put your audience at ease and so it will be easier to engage them and hold their attention.

4. Play “what if” before your presentation. Try to imagine what might happen during your presentation, what questions might be asked and then you can prepare what you will do in various situations and how you will answer any questions asked of you. Now, you may not come up with every eventuality, but you are human and no one expects you to be perfect, but you will feel more confident if you have gone over your ‘what ifs’ ahead of time. Even decide what you will do if you are asked a question for which you do not know the answer. Here is what I do: I ask the audience if anyone knows the answer….if no one helps me, I tell them that I do not know either, but anyone who wants to know can bring me their email address either at the break or at the end and will be happy to share what learn about that issue. Being honest is always the best policy and no one will fault you for not knowing but never “fudge” on an issue as someone will know the answer even if they do not tell you in front of their colleagues so do not make something up and you will lose credibility with your audience.

5. Arrive early. In this way, you can get set up and iron out any technical issues before you start. In addition, you will then have some time to “meet and greet” some of the attendees so that you will no longer be speaking to a room full of ‘strangers’. Rather you will now have spoken to several attendees so they now are more familiar with you and will likely be easier to engage and you can even bring some of your conversation into the session, which will also tie you more closely to the attendees.

6. Create an engaging start to your presentation. You only have about 2 minutes to grab the attention of your audience and if you do not do that you will be chasing them throughout your entire presentation. Use a good story, some shocking or interesting details, or a challenge to start off your session, this should make them sit up and take notice.

7. Finally, choose some meaningful way to end your presentation. You can have the attendees tell you what they are taking away, or what they liked best or you can provide a short summary of the key takeaways. Personally, I like to end with a short story or poem that relates to the content.

So, if you wish you have fun with your presentation instead of fearing to speak in front of an audience, try out the tips offered here and I think you will be so successful that you actually will enjoy speaking in public.

Remember, practice makes perfect!!

Life/Work Balance…..Are you managing this?

September 26, 2017 by  

I am sure that no one will disagree that today you are living in very hectic times. Everywhere there seems to be a sense of urgency that things must get done NOW! Between technology and a shrinking, competitive world, you are constantly pressed to do more, work faster, and speed up our bodies and lives. As a result, most of you have very full plates and are experiencing “time poverty” because there is simply too much to do but too little time to do it all.
This current culture, as exciting as it may be, doesn’t always feel very good. As a matter of fact, most of you, if you are truly honest with yourselves, would agree that this fast-paced tempo of life is far from satisfying and comfortable. Yet you often feel unproductive if you are not working at full speed. You may even admit that you aren’t living the life that you truly desire because you lack a quality balance in work/life.

“Juggling” suggests that you must keep “all the balls in the air,” or if you don’t, you feel inadequate. “Balance” means that your work and personal life must be equal. As you know, sometimes they are, and sometimes they are not. That is okay, as long as the periods of when it is not well balanced are short so that you do not miss out on spending sufficient time with your loved ones and friends, or even with yourself.
On the other hand, the term “balancing” connotes the ongoing process you all go through as you attempt to make a living and make a life. Each person’s process is as unique as their fingerprint. The journey to understand what will work involves a commitment for reflection and experimentation. In addition, you need to be flexible as you adjust to the flow of external responsibilities and internal choices.

Knowing how to effectively manage tasks and activities becomes even more challenging as people find themselves on overload. It’s hard to decide where your time and energy should be spent in order to advance in your career and still remain a caring, loving parent, and family member. When you don’t pay attention to the pressures in life and don’t make adjustments, you often experience stress-related symptoms. Typically when your well-being is challenged, life becomes less satisfying and more difficult to manage.

The following reasons contribute to people feeling so frazzled:
 – Working long hours.
 – Developing a mentality that emphasizes “work hard or lose out.”
 – Two out of three couples with children under 18 years old have both parents working for pay.
 – Not all workplaces have adopted flexible work arrangements.
 – There is greater competition in the global marketplace.
 – With shifts in the economy, your jobs are less predictable and/or more demanding (some employees due to downsizing have the work of more than one person)
 – Life can be very unpredictable and challenging.
 – There can be a conflict between society’s expectations about work and personal life and an individual’s beliefs about what success means.

Your life is a work in progress, that means that you are continually balancing your needs and demands in three spheres: your work, your family, and your personal life. It is important to create a full, rich life rather than to try to “balance” or even out what already is your life. What constitutes this view of life is different for each person. Nevertheless, for all of you, it is really about reducing the clutter in your mind and the stuff in your home and workplace. It is about making tough choices to satisfy your needs and wants.

Creating a rich, full life means honouring three spheres or areas of your life. Sigmund Freud, the great psychoanalyst, once said that there are two components of a person:

Work: which gives a sense of mastery. It offers focus and a place to contribute. This is the “workplace sphere.”
Love: which is about relationships with your family and friends. It offers a sense of belonging and support. This is the “social sphere.”

I am going to add another important sphere: your “unique self.” This sphere is the one that reflects your interests, talents, self-care, and ongoing education.

You need all three spheres to feel fulfilled and whole. These three create the person you are. So when you speak about balance, you are talking about honouring these three roles and paying attention to them.

These spheres are not always equal. Sometimes the “work sphere” is larger, especially when you need to spend extra time on important projects, have business travel, or take on more responsibility. Sometimes the “social sphere” is larger if you have added family responsibilities, such as a new baby, an ill older relative, a child who is having a problem, etc. The sphere that often gets short-shifted is the “self.” It’s important to make sure that that doesn’t happen. If you aren’t vigilant about that sphere, you may not be strong enough to manage the other two. In addition, the “self-sphere” is critical for professional and personal development.

People who are successful at navigating the pitfalls of their lives likely demonstrate the following skills and traits:
 – Espouse a positive attitude
 – Make sure you have time for yourself
 – Delegate what you can and set limits for yourself
 – Be well organized
 – Plan well, and prioritize tasks so that you achieve the most for their efforts and are moving toward achieving your goals
 – Set specific goals
 – Communicate effectively in all spheres of your life

In order to manage that balance well it might be a good idea to spend some time thinking about the following:
- Your values and principles and how you will live by them
 -Creating and sustaining those important relationships in your life
 -Your organization’s and team’s mission and strategic plans
 –How to create and sustain important relationships (co-workers, customers, family members, friends, community people, etc.)
 -Goals for your job, family, and personal development
 -Strategic plans and actions steps to achieve those goals
 -Ways to restore yourself
Goals are important because they give you purpose, direction, and focus. They help channel your energy into meaningful action and allow you to take charge of your life. If you don’t have goals, you will most likely be in conflict, feel uncertain about what you want out of life, and find that you are just going through the motions of life without having an objective in mind.

Simplifying your life is a process that requires slow changes so here is how you can get started:
1. Adopt a “less-is-more” mindset. When you de-clutter your environment, activities, and thoughts, you free up your mind and life, and you experience considerably less pressure. Think about the activities and tasks that you could eliminate so that you can have time and energy for those that truly matter to you.

2. Buy less. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself, “Do I want or need this item?” Ask yourself if you already own something that does what that item does. Think carefully before you buy more stuff.
When you make choices, you have control. Every day you have the opportunity to make choices about how you spend your time, about the people you want to be with, about the tasks you want or need to accomplish, things to buy, and so forth. Even your work offers an opportunity of choice. Even your attitude is a choice, make it positive!

3. Create boundaries, and say “no.”
A TIME/CNN poll indicated that almost 65 percent of Americans spend our leisure time doing things we’d rather not do. Some people have difficulty making choices, especially when it comes to setting limits and saying “no” to activities or tasks they prefer not to do. There are, of course, tasks that we must do because they are part of our job. People who commit to balancing work and family life realize that they need to say “no” in order to say “yes” to themselves and the priorities in their lives.
When it comes to requests outside of the work arena, it is helpful to ask yourself some key questions that clarify your investment of energy and time:
 Which of the options that I face will help me go from urgency to ease and become the best person I can be?
 Is the activity one that will enhance my life – is it something that I really want to get involved with?
 Will the relationship help me become more of the person I want to be?

4. Enlist the help of family members, colleagues, and friends.
Because it is impossible for you to do everything on your endless to-do list, it is important to use the fine art of delegation. Like others, you may have trouble delegating as it can be difficult to ask for help. In addition, it can be hard to give up control, especially if you like to do things your way. However, when there is a lot on your plate, it is important to figure out how to get some items off it. Once you learn an effective method for delegating and practice it, you will get better at it.

5. Be grateful.
There certainly is a lot that you can complain about! However, the more you complain, the more dissatisfied and agitated you can become. Also, it can mean that we will alienate others more. Research has demonstrated that an Attitude of Gratitude can increase your personal happiness by 25%!

6. Be positive.
Try not taking yourself so seriously. As many wise people have said, “Life is too important to take too seriously.” Make sure that laughter and fun are part of your daily life. When feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself that you have a rich, full life. You are managing a job in which you are fully committed to doing your best. You are being a loving, caring parent, partner, family member, and friend. When situations become especially trying, remind yourself that this, too, will pass.

7. Set reasonable expectations.
When you have high expectations for achievement that are unreasonable, you often experience conflict, overload, and exhaustion. When you place unreasonable demands on yourself, you become like a sponge that cannot absorb any more water. Then your effectiveness is compromised and so is your satisfaction.

So, if you want to enjoy a great life/work balance try to employ some of the strategies offered here and I think you find that you will have a fuller, richer experience in all three spheres of your life.

Being Assertive in the Workplace

September 15, 2017 by  

  • How often have you heard the phrase, “It is a jungle out there!” These days, lifestyle coaches and corporate trainers are training professionals to become more assertive. “Stop being a pushover,” they say. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
    So how important is it to learn to be assertive at work?
  • Is this any different from being assertive outside of work, in your personal life, when for example you have trouble saying “no” to family or friends, partners, or salesmen?
  • What exactly does it mean to be assertive anyway? And does it mean the same irrespective of gender?
  • And, do class or culture count?
    These are important questions to consider for anyone who feels somewhat shy or intimidated, and feels that they are being held back by their inability to speak up.

To start with, what exactly does it mean to be assertive?
Assertiveness means knowing what you want and asking for it in an honest and respectful manner. It is being able to stand up for yourself and your ideas, for what you believe to be right and for what you know to be fair. It is not about simply getting your own way. It does not mean disrespecting others but rather respecting yourself. It means having the self-confidence to speak up when you have a point to make. It also means the ability to say “no” or “I don’t think so” when the situation demands it.
Assertiveness is not simply a behavioral change, something outward and superficial. It has to start from your inner conviction, from having good self-esteem. People who lack confidence or who let others walk all over them worry about the effect of their own words and actions on others. They feel a lack in themselves, be it confidence or self-worth. But as Eleanor Roosevelt so brilliantly put it, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Assertiveness should not be confused with aggression, as it is a positive trait. It comes with the right tone of voice, the right body language, and the right attitude.

Contextual Considerations
However, there are some important considerations, like gender and cultural context for anyone looking to make these changes in their personality and behavior. Cultural differences, in particular, should not be overlooked in our diverse and very global society. For instance, there is a much more vertical hierarchy in Asian business environments than in the western world. What may seem friendly and personal may come across as aggressive and “in your face.” The “cards on the table” attitude of one culture can puzzle or even offend another. Suit your tone of voice and non-verbal communication so you do not alienate others when you are meaning to connect. There is a fine line dividing assertive and aggressive behavior. It is easier to get your voice heard if you can build better professional and personal relationships based on trust, respect, and rapport rather than domination.

Ultimately, assertiveness is more about you as a person, whether in a personal or a professional capacity. If you can develop self-confidence, self-belief, self-esteem, and self-worth, you will find it easier to look someone in the eye and calmly but firmly get your point across. The good news is, these personality traits can be learned, as long as you commit to changing how you deal with others and practice those strategies when the opportunity arises, you will get better at being assertive.

5 Key Ways to Ensure Good Customer Service Outcomes

August 22, 2017 by  

To effectively cater to your customers’ wants and needs, it is very important to have specific customer service etiquette, delivery, and consistency in how your customers are treated. In addition, in today’s very competitive world, staying ahead of the crowd is pretty difficult so one of the main ways to do so is by delivering consist, excellent customer service experiences.

Here are five ways to maintain high customer service outcomes:

1. Have organization-specific guidelines and policies. When hiring and managing customer service employees, it is crucial to outline and specify guidelines that are needed and expected to succeed in that position. Different organizations and positions require different customer service characteristics. For example, the customer service skills needed for a fine dining restaurant are different than those of a bank. Therefore it is essential to create a detailed job description outlining the roles and responsibilities as well as a list of the qualifications necessary to fulfill this position effectively.

2. Use customer service assessments.
Customer service employees represent the face and brand of your organization, so it is extremely important to hire individuals that reflect your organization’s core values, aims, and beliefs. Customer service assessments reveal whether a candidate will be right for your specific needs. For example, these surveys measure how well a person fits the behaviors and characteristics of a specific customer service position and can be industry-specific for hospitality, healthcare, financial services, and retail. This sort of tool can be most helpful in determining if a person will fit into your culture.

3. Be experts.
In customer service positions, it is imperative that one is able to show your customers that you have extensive product knowledge. No matter what industry you are in, competition is steep and customers are faced with many options. In order to have a competitive edge, you want to make sure that every customer service representative has the information and resources needed to show customers they are valued, respected, and cared for.

4. Get direct feedback from customers.
To really know what customers want, direct reports and customer surveys are certainly helpful. Customer surveys can reveal what customer service techniques worked and what did not. This is important to know when you are trying to build loyal, long lasting customer relationships. Remember, it is all about what the customer wants and needs, and how you can best accommodate them that will help to make your business stand out from the competition.

5. Offer employees recognition and rewards.
Employee recognition is a key motivator for customer service employees. Whether it is an employee-of-the-month bonus or an announcement during a team meeting, customer service employees should know they are valued and respected, just like your customers.

If you follow these customer service tips, they should help to raise your customer loyalty and service performance. Remember, it is much easier to please and keep current customers than it is to get new ones and repeat business from happy customers can lead to referral business as well.

Important Tips on Loyalty and Leadership

July 22, 2017 by  

Leadership and loyalty are two elements that can certainly go together in any organization…..in other words, if you demonstrate good leadership, you will engender loyalty in your people because they will be happy following you and being a part of your organization.
Here are some tips to ensure that you are an effective leader who fosters loyalty because you have created an internal architecture that encourages, supports, and respects the members of your team so that they feel appreciated, challenged and happy. When that happens you will have higher performance, more efficiency, productivity, and creativity……all good for the bottom line!

Try to Overcome fear in order to perform at a higher level:

Don’t suffer from “small pie” disease, as this leads to fear and inaction among your team members. There is always enough to go around so don’t be afraid to share and you will be enriched by that approach many fold.
Continue to feed your mind good stuff. In other words, make a habit of reading uplifting and inspiring articles at the beginning of each day, instead of diving straight into business emails or social media. Starting with more positive thoughts will set you on the right track for positive outcomes.
Reduce the negativity in your day. You can accomplish this by writing down the sorts of media you are consuming and how long you spend on it. Once you have done that, then, you can reduce the time you spend exposed to negative and stressful media and increase the positive and inspiring options available.
Earn validation. Record positive memories of times you succeeded and keep them where you can read them easily and often. That way, you can revisit them to build and maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Constructive Criticism can be beneficial. When criticism is delivered in a constructive, exploratory, and supportive manner, the information can give the individual the opportunity to learn from their mistake, fix the resultant issues and consider other options for future situations so that the mistake is not repeated.
Try to follow both your purpose and your passion. This can be done when you align your work activities with your core values, as well as with the sort of word that you love. When that is accomplished, you will have a greater impact on your outcomes and hence will be more successful and happy.

Foster growth at your company:

Be a big picture thinker. There are several types of business owners: dabblers, dreamers, and leaders in pursuit of excellence. The future belongs to the learner who believes that they should continually improve their ability to lead with effectiveness. Leadership, to a large degree, is an ongoing process and the best leaders invite input from their team to find out how they are doing so that they can improve in areas of weakness.
Marketing creates awareness. Attracting customers and sales happen when you have gained the trust and loyalty of prospects who have experienced your product or services and found them to be reliable, consistent and worthwhile. This takes time, effort and cooperation from all the team members who are in contact with your ideal market. The better your people are trained and supported, given a measure of autonomy and flexibility to under-promise and over-deliver, the more repeat business and even referrals you will receive.
Determine your ideal market. Instead of espousing a desperate, take-all-comers outlook, position your company to take only the best, most appropriate clients/customers who allow you and your team to deliver your best work. That, in the end, will actually lead to more great clients and enjoyable work. In addition, it will be a better use of your prospecting time, especially if you have done your homework well.
Hone your elevator speech. Who wants to listen to something that is not truly relevant to them? Instead, develop a great brand identity that is true to who you are, then talk about it, model it and have your people do the same when they are interacting with prospects.

The road to the successful leadership of your employees:

What makes them happy? Consider why employees stay with you. Do they take pride in their work, enjoy serving customers well or just like being part of a great team? If the answer is yes to all of those questions, then you are likely doing a great job. Happy employees are more productive, efficient, and creative. In addition, they are sick less often and less likely to leave a job that they enjoy. So if you have a lot of turnover, many sick days and a general apathy in your work environment, you need to examine your leadership style and the way your run the culture of your business and try to rebuild it so that your people are happy, challenged, appreciated, supported and encouraged. This could require you to be more of a mentor, offer more autonomy, opportunities for training and advancement, as well as explaining more clearly their exact roles and responsibilities so that they truly understand just how they fit into the “big picture”.
Respect the contributions of your employees. Consider going out on jobs to learn exactly what your workers do. With this deeper understanding, you can then show respect by setting appropriate policies and rewards that reflect that understanding. In addition, the acknowledgment of those contributions goes a long way to making individuals feel appreciated and valued in their positions.
Convert your goals into reality. You can accomplish this when you involve your people collaboratively to recast the company’s goals. When they feel they have a stake in the decision making and then the outcomes, they are more likely to buy into both the process and results because they helped design the process. It is much easier to get workers invested in a cause that they embrace. Therefore, there will obviously be a much better chance that those goals will become reality when “all hands are on deck” toward that end.

Explain the big picture. When you show workers how supporting the cause will grow sales, improve outcomes and reap rewards for everyone, it is likely that that will also create a better, more productive work environment with fewer problems and conflicts. The clearer everyone is about how they fit in and what their contribution means to the end results we are all aiming for, the more likely they are to rise to the occasion and perform to the best of their ability…..a win/win for everyone!

So, if you want to lead a successful organization then considering employing at least some of the tips offered in this blog. And remember, happy, challenged, supported, encouraged, and appreciated employees are more likely to perform better, be sick less often, and be innovative. In addition, when they feel satisfied they will be less likely to seek work elsewhere…..which is always very costly.

One last tip…..have fun!

How to Unlock the Minds of Your Audience

June 22, 2017 by  

Chances are, at some point in time, you have likely tried to use a key that was rusted, dirty, or damaged in some way. Sure, the key might still open the lock, but now it takes much more effort and probably some measure of frustration, too.
Your content is the key to any good presentation, but if that key is not well polished, the presentation won’t measure up to your expectations.
A good presentation is easy for the audience to follow and can even be fun to hear. When the audience is intrigued, engaged, and inspired, the room will be filled with energy. This occurs when the speaker allows the audience to focus on the meaning of his or her words, rather than making them exert great effort when trying to figure out what they are attempting to say. The more distractions  the speaker can remove, the easier it will be for the key to unlock the minds of the audience.

So what are those common types of speaker rust, dirt, and damage that can occur?
Here are some examples that you should pay attention to:

1. Irrelevant information or relevant information delivered at the wrong time. As a speaker, it is easier to determine what you should say than what not to say. Some speakers assume they are the center of attention and so believe that their audience wants to hear everything they have to say. Effective speakers understand that it is the audience that is the center of attention, so everything said must benefit them, not satisfy the ego of the speaker.

2. A poorly designed talk. This happens when the audience ends up expending a great deal of energy trying to piece together the bits of information being presented, rather than just being able to enjoy and later expand upon the ideas being provided.

3. Poor presentation style. Distracting mannerisms (ring twirling or not knowing what to do with your hands), verbal fidgeting (ums, ahs, like, you know), and pacing back and forth, all detract from the speaker’s credibility as they make him or her look as though that lack confidence. These behaviours also prevent the audience from being able to readily absorb what is being said and makes them uncomfortable, too. In addition, because the speaker sets the tone of the room, if he or she is anxious and nervous, then the audience will share those emotions and find it more difficult to listen attentively.

4. Lack of attention to audience needs. An audience member who is thirsty, hungry, deprived of caffeine, or in need of a break will have a much more difficult time listening well, which means they will not be able to focus or appreciate what is being shared by the speaker. In other words, the presenter must keep a close on eye on the audience to determine when a break would be appropriate, when to change their pace of delivery, or when to find a way to actively engage the audience.

5. Poorly designed graphics. If the audience is forced to guess what an image used on a slide means, rather than just being allowed to listen to the speaker and understand the points being made, this will likely cause them to disengage. Once you lose the attention of your audience, it is much more difficult to get them back. So again, you must pay attention to how they are receiving your material and ahead of time, put yourself in their shoes to be sure that any graphics offered reinforce the points you are trying to make rather than confusing the listeners.

A good presenter should demonstrate great respect for their audience. They also should show that they value the audience so much, that they want to make their experience totally enjoyable. Most people may forgive a poor presentation style if the content is valuable or interesting; however, they have the right to expect a presentation to have both good content and an excellent delivery. So the next time you are to make a presentation, be sure to take the suggested tips into consideration when preparing your materials and yourself for that event……if you do, you will enjoy much more success as a speaker and will have a much more satisfied audience!

5 Simple Tips to Captivate Your Audience

May 12, 2017 by  

Would you like to engage and motivate your audiences?

Here are 5 simple tips that will make you unforgettable.

1. Make eye contact. Is there anything more basic for persuasion? When was the last time you trusted somebody who wouldn’t look you in the eye? Look at your listeners while you are speaking and you will look more authentic and relatable.

2. Have fun. Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? You set the tone for your audience so if you look like this is a painful experience, your audience will feel pained as well. Instead, if you look like you are enjoying yourself, speaking with energy, enthusiasm, and passion, they will be convinced that you must be saying something worth listening to.

3. Smile. Smiling helps to build trust with your audience. If a smile is inappropriate, at
least wear a pleasant expression and again speak with energy and elan. People connect more with someone who has a nice facial expression, so offer that to them!

4. Energize your voice. Speakers who do not project their voice with sufficient volume make listeners work too hard. So, when you speak, try to generate sufficient vocal power and energy to reach every listener in the room, especially people in the back and those who are hard of hearing. The larger the speaking venue, the more you must project your voice.

5. Be aware of your nonverbal messages. What your body is telling the audience is no less critical to your success than what your voice and words are saying. It is important to be sure that your non-verbal messaging reinforces and matches your verbal message, otherwise it is confusing and can actually cause your audience to disengage.
It is a good idea to spend a great deal of time practicing your presentation rather than just focussing on the content. You need to look comfortable, confident, and knowledgeable when in front of an audience. A good idea is to practice in front of a mirror, friends who will be honest with you or a recording device. In this way you will be able to see what your audience is going to see and can adjust as necessary.

The above tips can help you to become a more captivating speaker and then you will have greater success and more fun when you speak in front of an audience.

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