Five Tips for Impactful Messaging

May 15, 2019 by  

Getting your intended message across can often be more difficult than you might think or expect. Most of you probably think that you know how to communicate because you have been doing it for so long. However, unless you get some honest feedback from the listener you cannot be sure that the communication was received and processed as desired. In addition, if the message was not heard, you will not enjoy the expected outcome. So, unless you are a mind reader it is a good idea to ask the listener what they heard so that before you depart you are sure that the message you sent was indeed what was heard.

Here are some tips to help you be more effective in your exchanges so that you can reduce conflict, disappointment, resentment, confusion and stress.
1. Consider the needs of the person with whom you are having the conversation so that the “packaging” of the message will be enticing, as this will make it more likely that they will listen more intently and take away what you wish.

2. Clearly outline the benefits of what you wish the listener to do because if the reasons for changing behaviour or following your instructions make sense in a compelling manner to the listener/s, once again they will be much more likely to follow your directions.

3. Always tell the truth, that way you will truly be authentic, and honesty is the very best policy as your listener/s will sense your sincerity. This approach will also give you more credibility which will speak to a better chance for the generation of voluntary compliance with your wishes.

4. Have a clear goal in mind so that you can style your message appropriately to achieve that end you wish to achieve. Be able to clearly state that goal in a way that resonates with the listener so that they will be more likely to accomplish it.

5. Practice, practice, practice…new skills require the implementation of strategies and tools that will provide you with the desired outcomes, however you can only accomplish those goals when you have mastered the techniques necessary to become an impactful communicator. The most successful leaders are the most effective communicators and practice those skills all the time. Remember, the most important communication skills is Active Listening and the more you practice that skill you will certainly have fewer miscommunications and unexpected outcomes.

The most successful people are those who communicate with impact, clarity, and influence and so have fewer disappointments or unexpected results from their colleagues and co-workers……even from their family members and friends. So hone your communication skills!

5 Characteristics of the Perfect Leader

April 1, 2019 by  

Some leaders inspire and motivate, but many fail miserably to engage their employees. Some run a highly effective team, yet their team members live and work in fear. Some are just simply absolute disasters. From the man-eater to the psycho, many industries seems to have created the ultimate formula for the “bad boss” character. With millions of books, DVDs, research papers, and solutions in the business world today, leaders need to figure out how to be effective and successful.

Here is a truth: people quit people, not jobs.
The best leaders became great by taking a genuine interest in each and every team member. Not only do they want their organization to succeed, but they want the individual employee to fulfill their potential because that is a win/win for everyone. Happy employees are hardworking employees who are more efficient, productive, and creative! In addition, because happiness actually enhances one’s immune system, they are also sick less often.

Here are the key skills for the “perfect” leader:
1. Be an Effective Communicator
Effective communication is the most important ability! You need to be able to talk to your team; help them with their goals and the goals of the organization. You need to be able to define what success means to your department and the organization. This can be done daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or whatever suits your team and task list. Weekly meetings keep people tuned in and engaged on what they as a team have to accomplish each week. Apart from team goals, you need to be able to communicate the needs for your employees’ development. There is nothing greater in this world than constructive Encourage them when they do something well, help them when they have a problem and let them know what they need to work on in the future. Your support, encouragement and acknowledgement are key to their success and ultimately to the success of the team as a whole.

2. Lead the Way: “walk the walk”
Often, companies promote a top performer because of previous successes, without ever determining or assessing if that person is actually capable and suited to manage a team. True leaders are able to instill trust, provide appropriate direction, and delegate responsibility. Just because an employee reached a sales goal of one million last quarter does not mean that he or she can manage or lead a team successfully. The perfect leader will be a combination of a top performer with the skills and attributes to lead a team effectively.

3. Be Passionate
The ideal leader should be excited about the organization’s mission, what we are trying to accomplish, and will instill these aims and goals in their team members. This is done with effective communication and modelling of the behaviours necessary to carry out those aims appropriately and successfully.

4. Be a Relationship Builder
Effective leaders spend a significant amount of time and effort building trust, respect, and rapport with their team members. Doing this builds loyalty with employees, makes them feel valued, and in turn, valued employees work harder. Offer a rewards programs, offer to teach them new skills, feed them, and always treat everyone respectfully.

5. Be a Hard Worker
No organization can run like a smoothly operated machine unless everyone knows what is expected of them, what they are responsible for and how to accomplish that. A great leader understands the flow of operations and must be willing to do just as much work as their team members. A successful leader should not ask a team member to do something they would not do themselves. If you model this behaviour you will certainly earn the respect of your team.
Some people are more natural leaders than others, however, anyone who wishes to become a “perfect” leader can do so by learning the skills and behaviours necessary to achieve success as an effective and successful leader.

4 Steps to Building Trust, Respect, and Rapport

February 12, 2019 by  

Anytime you’re communicating with other people, your ability to create rapport quickly is going to be the key to your success.
Building rapport is all about establishing a relationship with the person or people with whom you are speaking. Whether you are in a one-on-one sales conversation, speaking to a small group, or speaking to a large group, it is essentially the same basic techniques. If there is a wall between you and that other person, then it is your job is to remove that wall.

Here is an acronym for a technique to remove that wall: WALL
W: Watch
You must be very observant of the people with whom you are communicating; their surroundings, who they are with. That will be able to give you your first indications of how you may want to open your discussion.
When you are speaking with a group of people, you need to determine who the leader of the group is, who the center of influence is, who the most social person is, who likes to have fun, and who the more analytical person is. The reason for figuring all this out is because you will need to approach each of those people differently.
If you are meeting with a prospect or a client in their home, look around the home to see if you can find some clues that could be used as conversation starters, things that might create some common ground between you and them. If they are coming to your office, observe them carefully to see what they are looking for, what they pay attention to or what they seem to be looking at. This will help you to gain some insight into how to begin your discussion.

A: Ask
Next, based on your observations, your initial interaction with that person will bring in to play what you noticed. The best approach is to ask questions as this is the single best way to begin establishing trust, respect, and rapport, the key ingredients for building successful, meaningful, long-term relationships. When you ask questions you show a genuine interest in what they want, what they need, and what their interests are, so this will encourage them to slowly start opening up.

Here are some questions to consider:
1. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your business?
2. What brought you to our business today?
3. What type of product or service are you seeking?
4. What types of products have you already tried?
5. Whose services do you currently use?
These examples are nonthreatening and definitely not pushy. While you are questioning them, maintain your observations and they may offer up some cues or indicators that could guide you as you expand your explorations on how to move forward.

L: Listen
It is imperative to truly listen to what people are saying. So many sales and marketing professionals ask all the right questions, but they don’t really listen to the answers. Employ active listening, where you actually summarize back to the speaker what you did hear to show them that you respectfully listened to them.
This is another step in the establishment of those meaningful, long-lasting relationships that we want to build and maintain with our customers. By combining your listening skills with your watching skills, you will be able to determine if the questions you are asking are actually starting to build that trust and rapport.

L: Learn
Learning how to build rapport is means trying different approaches, watching, and listening, as well as observing the end result. When you do that you can learn from your time with the person and if necessary, can change your approach the next time you meet with them.
There is no one right way to build the all-important trust and rapport with other people, however, everyone who is in sales, marketing and speaking will likely agree that you must do it. So by learning what works for you and learning what works with your audience, your customers, and/or your clients, you will become more effective.

 So: Watch for clues.
     Ask powerful questions.
     Listen carefully to the answers that are given to you.
     Learn from every interaction.

In the end, if you become a good student of building trust, respect, and rapport, then over time you enjoy more success and a greater ability to generate those outcomes much more easily and quickly. Those skills are essential to success in sales, marketing and people managing in general, so you will definitely benefit from the skills in all aspects of your life.

Five Suggestions for Leadership Development

December 28, 2018 by  

Sometimes, leaders do not realize that their style of leadership can be perceived as flawed or ineffective. If you do not get some feedback about how you are doing, the perception becomes the reality! One of the most difficult tasks of leadership is gaining an understanding of that perception and then taking appropriate steps to improve and remedy the issues that are preventing you from being an excellent leader.
In today’s business world, the development of excellent leaders is extremely important for the success of an organization. Sadly, many companies are not addressing this necessity while others are providing their leaders with training that teaches them the skills necessary to make them into effective, excellent leaders. What is your organization doing?

Here are 4 factors to consider:
1. Is the job a good fit for this person?
This is the most important question as job fit has everything to do with whether a potential leader is going to succeed or fail. If you put a person into a leadership position who is afraid to delegate work, cannot make decisions or is not seen as competent in a position as a leader, they will be unlikely to succeed. It is better to make sure that the person being offered the leadership role has the necessary qualifications and skills to be an effective leader.

2. Accepting constructive feedback.
Getting feedback is one of the most effective ways to help in the development of leaders as this gives them an opportunity to find out how their actions are being perceived by the people they are leading. Often times a person may not realize that they are not being as effective as they think and if they accept constructive feedback they can learn how to become a better leader. In this way, they can learn more about themselves and the skills needed to be good in their job. Self-awareness is key to their success.

3. Providing appropriate coaching and training.
People develop best with on-the-job coaching and training. You need to define exactly what you expect from a leader in your company and clearly articulate that to your leadership prospects. Next, you need to make sure that the leader fully understands your company’s culture, processes, and systems. You can first evaluate the person’s current skills and then you will know what sort of coaching and training they require in order to fulfill the position as you have outlined it. You can also create a project or the person or a team project to see how they manage the assignment. Coaching is a consistent and reliable management style that creates an open line of communication, trust, respect, and rapport as well as an opportunity for growth.

4. Motivation for high performance.
You can create a specific development plan for your leaders so they can visualize their future with your company. Offering new challenges keeps them engaged and interested and builds motivation for high performance as they will likely work harder if they have a clear goal in mind. Recognize and acknowledge your leaders for significant achievements as this shows that you value their contributions to your organization.

5. Effective communication skills.
In a study done a few years ago by Global Knowledge it was learned that the most important skill for any successful leader is effective communication. This is because it is necessary for a leader to be able to clearly articulate their vision, deliver clear, honest, influential and impactful messages to their people. In addition, they need to employ active listening in order to learn about their people and recognize their potential and then help them to fulfill that potential. Also, they need to encourage input, creativity and innovation and that can only be done if they listen well and espouse an “open door” policy for their people. If not, opportunities can be missed.

Leaders do not just appear overnight. Rather they need to be continually trained and developed in order to succeed in a company. Many times, employees are afraid to speak up when they see something a leader may be doing incorrectly; then the leader goes on making the same mistake because they are not aware of the problem. Remember it is so important to open up those lines of honest communication, to continuously coach your team, and to motivate your leaders to be the best they can! The better the leader is, the better your organization will be as they set the tone and commitment to your company’s culture, aims and goals!

5 Ways to Improve Team Accountability

December 6, 2018 by  

Personal responsibility and accountability can certainly put an end to the blame game, save your business thousands if not millions of dollars, increase overall job satisfaction and ultimately, ensure customer satisfaction. 

The following five basic approaches can help to provide you with increasing accountability from your team members and will build you a culture of consistent accountability for your organization.

1. Clearly state your expectations– If even one person on your team does not meet your expectations it could affect the entire team’s results. Therefore, it is extremely important right from the beginning of any new project to clearly outline the expectations and get feedback from your team to be sure they truly understand what is expected of them. Expectations, if they are to be fulfilled, need to be crystal clear and include deadlines, specific responsibilities, task details, and exactly how the completed project/product is to be delivered. If those instructions are not crystal clear important parts could be omitted or missed which would greatly affect the outcome negatively.

2. Clearly communicate the big pictureAccountability will be more likely to occur if everyone on the team understands the “big picture” and exactly how they fit into it. It is very important to spend time speaking individually with the team members to explain their specific part in the vision and mission of your business. When you effectively communication this with clarity, impact and influence, your employees will be able to make wiser decisions and fulfill their individual roles fully and at a high level of performance creating a win/win outcome for everyone.

3. Create accountability groups-One of the best ways to achieve full team accountability is to develop a shared accountability among the team members. This can be accomplished with groups who carefully listen to each other in a respectful manner and keep conversations honest and open. Each accountability group can be made up of 2-5 people and can then become a team small unit working together to share difficulties, weaknesses, and insecurities. Using a team approach they can then find creative strategies to work together and achieve their goals.

4. Take appropriate action-In order for accountability to occur, the team members have to know that failure to complete their parts will result in certain consequences. Such as: written warnings, a loss of a bonus or even extra hours served on a week-end to complete the project. Without consequences, your employees will not care if they do not fulfill their roles. In fact they may even think that they can use blame, justification, and rationalization as a way to deviate from being responsible and this will not result in an accountable attitude or the outcome you are expecting.

5. Establish a reward and recognition program-Employees need to know that their efforts are indeed driving the company forward and should be reinforced and encouraged with some sort of tangible reward or recognition system. An offer of increased pay and other benefits can help to keep accountability and morale high as well as pushing team members toward higher levels of performance……again a win/win for everyone!

5 Keys to Effective Communication

November 7, 2018 by  

Do you speak with clarity, impact and influence?
When you speak and write, do you have the ability to convince people to do what you want or to believe what you want?
Those with the power to achieve those results are in demand. People want to be on their teams, want to follow their lead and trust what they say. Effective communicators tend to get noticed, heard, remembered, and, eventually, promoted.
Effective communication is not easy. It takes depth of thought, planning, and practice. The concepts that lead to persuasive communication are very straight forward; they begin with personal authenticity and open, honest, clear communication skills.

Here are five of the important aspects. If you put these into practice, you will enjoy much more success.
1. Have a clear goal every time you speak. If you start with a specific goal for your communication opportunity, your preparation will be quicker, of better quality, and more focused. Only when you are clear of your desired outcome can you realize that goal and articulate it well so that your followers will be able to grasp your vision.

2. Spend time thinking about the needs and desires of your audience. Before designing the outline for a presentation or a meeting, spend some time thinking about the current mindset of your audience. Don’t spend all your time thinking about what you want to say; instead, consider the issues your audience cares about. What will encourage them to say “yes” or “no” to your requests? How can you deliver what they would want? How can you persuade them to your beliefs and ideals? Be sure to discover those needs through active listening and the encouragement of collaborative input.

3. Make the benefits to your audience the common denominator to every aspect of your message. Do you want to persuade your listeners? Then make the benefits to them the highlight of your message. If your message lacks clear benefits, you will struggle to persuade the audience. People want to know: “what’s in it for me?” Filling needs, answering concerns, and providing solutions for issues faced will usually foster agreement.

4. Be authentic and sincere. When you deliver your message, speak honestly and openly. Do it in your own personal style, as if you were merely speaking to a friend. Be sincere. When you speak, demonstrate to the audience your passion about the topic. Be inspirational with true stories as examples.

5. Practice. Acquiring any new skill requires coaching and instruction, research and dedication. However, without sufficient practice, all the books and learning won’t make you better. This is especially true for communication. The amount of effort you exert by practicing until you are familiar with your topic, know it as best you can frontwards; backwards, inside out, upside down, and in your sleep, will determine your success and your own confidence in your ability to do this well! When you are capable of clearly, authentically, and honestly sharing your expertise for the benefit of your audience, you will know that your communication skills have become effective.

When you employ all these elements, you are greatly increasing the chances that you will connect with your audience, making your discussion more valuable, engaging and fun for them….. meaning you will be more likely to enjoy a successful meeting, phone call, conversation, or presentation.
Effective communication is necessary for any business person to achieve the outcomes they desire with their team, their customers/clients, their subcontractors and their suppliers. Your brand is you, you represent your company, do it with authenticity, clarity, impact, and influence!

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!

5 Keys to the Delivery of an Impactful Message

November 11, 2016 by  

Being able to get your intended message across can be more difficult than you might think. Most of you probably think that you know how to communicate because you have been doing it since you were born. However, unless you receive some honest feedback from the listener you cannot be absolutely sure that the communication was received and computed as desired. In addition, if the message was not heard, you will not enjoy the expected outcome. Miscommunication results in conflict, disappointment, resentment, and complaining, all of which cause you stress and lowered productivity, efficiency, and creativity. Therefore, it is much more beneficial to learn how to communicate with impact, clarity, and influence.

Here are some keys to help you be more effective with interpersonal exchanges and presentations.
1. Consider the needs of your audience so that the “packaging” of your message will be enticing, engaging, and meaningful, as this will make it more likely that they will listen more intently.
2. Clearly outline the benefits of what you wish the audience to do because if the reasons for changing their behaviour or following your instructions make sense in a compelling manner to the listeners, again they will be more likely to do as suggested.
3. Always tell the truth, in that way you will truly be authentic, and honesty is the very best policy as the audience will sense your sincerity. This approach will also give you credibility which will speak to a better chance for the generation of voluntary compliance with your wishes. Besides, this also validates your expertise and competence which are more reasons for your audience to listen closely and do as you wish.
4. Have a clear goal in mind so that you can formulate your message appropriately to achieve that particular outcome. It is much easier to complete something when you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
5. Practice, practice, practice…new skills require the implementation of strategies and tools that will provide you with the desired outcomes, however you can only accomplish those goals when you have mastered the techniques necessary to become an impactful communicator.

Finally, if you are to become an effective communicator, employing the elements described above will be a great help to achieving improved outcomes and less conflict in all aspects of your life.

Are You an Effective Communicator?

January 5, 2016 by  

Many of us feel we are good communicators because we have had years of practice….been doing it since we were born! However, the truth is that most of us are not very good at it and as a result we experience much conflict, confusion, resentment, disappointment, complaining, even anger.  So how can we avoid those outcomes and enjoy more win/win outcomes, more of what we want along with higher productivity, efficiency and creativity?

Here are some great tips that will help to improve your communication skills.

  1. Practice Active Listening, the most important communication skill. The more you listen, get clarification that the message you sent was the one received and that the person not only heard what you said, but also processed the content as you wished and arrived at the expected outcome for that exchange, the happier both of you will be! This attentive, focused listening will result in less miscommunication and therefore better relationships in all aspects of your life. Try it not only at work but also at home.
  2. Try to understand with whom you are speaking…..are they a controlling type of person who has little patience for the anecdotal version of anything because they are very organized, competent and decisive. Are they a supportive sort of person who requires clear, specific directions, encouragement, support and reassurances that they are doing things as expected. Are they an analytical type of person who needs more time to gather sufficient data in order to make a decision or design an appropriate system or process as requested. Finally, are they a promoter type person who relishes attention, has loads of ideas but has trouble organizing themselves to actually get things done. No matter who they are, if you can determine their personality type you can then adapt your communication style to suit their perception of situations which will make your message easier for them to receive and interpret as you wish.
  3. It is important for all of us to become accountable for our actions and deeds as well as when dealing with others. There is no point in walking around with a stomach ache if you feel someone has offended or disrespected you in some way, they are not a mind reader, so you must let them know how you feel, but do it in an honest and respectful manner. If that does not work, next try to come up with a strategy to overcome this issue so that you no longer are feeling badly. Finally if that does not work either, you may have to leave the situation in order to save yourself.
  4. If we are going to deal with situations we often need to be assertive. There is a fine line between being aggressive and assertive….be sure to state your opinion in an honest and respectful manner and be prepared to have to do this more than once in order to get what you desire. In the end, you may not get exactly what you want, as we cannot make people do things they do not wish to do, however you will feel better for having spoken up and tried to “fix” the situation.
  5. We must realize that men and women do not communicate in the same way, therefore, again, we must adjust our communication style to suit whichever gender we are conversing with. Women are fond of the anecdotal version of the day or issue, men usually are not, they prefer the key points and will ask for more detail if they want it. Women often talk about feelings and generally are concerned more about process and inclusion, rather than the direct outcome. Men are more focused on the outcome and results. That does not mean that women do not like results, they do, but may reach them in less direct manner.
  6. Dealing with difficult people is bound to occur at some point so realizing that often they are behaving as they do as a result of some previous experience, it is not truly “about you”. The behavior is their way of maintain control, deflecting blame from themselves or avoiding making decisions. In order to deal effectively we need to try strategies that do not take away their power or make them more defensive. In the end, we may not win, but we can try leverage their strengths to both their and our advantage but listening well and being assertive as necessary.

If you can employ some of the tips offered above I expect you will enjoy more win/win outcomes, less miscommunication and ultimately more creativity, productivity and happiness. When we are happy we also enhance our immune systems, so as an extra bonus you will also be healthier!

6 Keys to Improving your Presentations

June 19, 2013 by  

Here are 6 impactful techniques to make your presentations more effective.
1. Smile….this makes you look confident and happy and helps to establish trust with your audience. Make your smile true, use your eyes and your mouth!
2. Create meaningful visuals….our brain remembers images more vividly than text, so choose reinforcing images to support your words.
3. Energize your voice……flat, passionless speech is boring and hard to focus on, if you infuse your voice with emotion and animation your audience will remain more fully engaged in your delivery….you will be more interesting!
4. Involve your audience…..we retain almost 90% of what we say and do, your listeners want to be active participants in their learning experience and if they are they will be able to pay attention and retain what they learn.
5. Enjoy yourself…..if you are not having fun how can you expect your audience to be enjoying themselves. If you are well prepared you should be able to revel in presenting material that you understand, appreciate and value.
6. Tell stories…..be sure they are relevant and meaningful, people love stories and will remember them and the concept you are illustrating.

The results for you from the implementation of these 6 key issues will be greatly increased confidence, competence, and delivery power. You will be more relaxed and natural and this will be reflected in your audience and their take- aways. Public speaking should be fun…practice these elements and you will definitely experience more enjoyment when you make a presentation. Plus you will be more appreciated by your audience!