Archive for the ‘Communicating’ Category

Do you know the secrets to rewarding phone conversations?

Monday, September 17th, 2018

“How many of your business conversations happen on the phone? For many people, it’s most of them. In fact, some of us spend more time talking to people we can’t see than we do in face-to-face interaction.  Your body language shapes what they hear and that shapes how they feel about you,” notes Catherine Johns, speaker, author and former radio personality.
https://catherinejohns.com/

“When people hear your voice, even if they can’t see you, they’re forming impressions of you. It helps to understand the secrets of compelling conversations with unseen others,” adds Johns.

Here are her suggestions.

  • Stand up. Your voice will have a lot more energy in it if you stand while you speak. Even if you do most of your work seated, you’ll project more strength when you stand up for that important phone call.
  • But if you sit, sit up straight. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor, your bottom squarely in the chair, your spine erect and your shoulders back and down. No hunching over the desk. Sitting like this, you’ll be grounded and your voice will be stronger and more resonant.
  • A headset helps. Holding the phone to your ear makes your arm tired, and a lot of us press our ear to the phone and strain our necks in the process. A speaker phone solves those problems, but the sound is thin and hollow. Use a headset instead. Even the earbuds that have a mic on the cord with give you freedom to move with decent audio quality.
  • Speak from your core. The energy should come from the power center below your navel, not from your throat or your head. With the phone or a mic close to your mouth, there’s no need for big volume. Don’t shout. While you want energy in your voice, you’ll get it from being grounded and relaxing your body.
  • Energize your voice by moving your body.  Use gestures just as you would if you were right there in the room with the person. Your conversational partner can’t see your hands moving, but the gestures animate your voice and they will hear the difference. When you gesture to emphasize a point, for instance, you’ll soundmore emphatic too.
  • And don’t forget your face. Facial expressions reflect your inner state and people can sense your mood even when they can’t see your face. So, don’t pick up the phone with a frown unless you’re about to let someone have it, for good reason. Some people find it helps to have a mirror near their desk – looking at yourself is a reminder to smile.
  • Or theirs. Talking to someone you don’t know? Let’s say you’re making a sales call. Or, it’s the phone screening that precedes an in-person job interview. When the stakes are high, it’s easy to freeze up so you sound stiff and unnatural.  As you prepare for your call, pull up the person’s picture on LinkedIn or the company website. It will give you something to focus on and help you sound as if you’re talking to an actual human.

If you do know the person, visualize them as you place the call. Just make a mental picture – there she is, sitting in her office, seeing your name on Caller I.D. and smiling as she reaches for the phone. See how that sets you up for a warmer conversation?

  • Speak a bit more slowly than you ordinarily do. Enunciate. Remember that visual cues are missing. All they have to go on is your words and the tone of your voice. To make sure they understand everything you say, you may need a slower pace than you would in a face-to-face conversation. This is especially true if one of you is not a native speaker of English, of if you’re covering complex—or controversial –content.
  • Pause to project confidence. A moment of silence enhances understanding and gives your listener a chance to absorb what you’re saying. The pause is also a powerful signal that you’re comfortable and confident. You’re not rushing, you’re not apologizing for taking up their time, and you’re not desperate for this conversation to be over.

 This is especially important when you are desperate for it to be over!

You may have had an experience where you didn’t know how to finish so you just kept talking and eventually it became awkward. It’s better to put a period on it and settle into the silence. Let the other person be the next to speak.

  • Listen more than you talk. You’re brilliant, of course. You have important information to impart and deep insights to share. They’ll be more impressed with all of it if they hear as much of themselves as they hear from you.

On the phone, we can’t see someone’s eyes glaze over. We may not be aware that they’ve tuned out and started checking their email. The way to head that off is to say what you have to say—once. Say it well. Then zip it. And listen.

If you follow Catherine’s suggestions, you’ll have more rewarding phone conversations. And you may be surprised at the opportunities they create.

Ready for Your Interview?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

All of us are familiar with interviews, whether as the interviewee or interviewer. We might be job hunting and the interview is critical. Or, in researching a subject for an article or book, we have to interview an expert in the field. Or, a media reporter wants to interview you.

Whatever our goal and perspective, we should be prepared for the interview so we know we did our best.

Here are some interesting and helpful resources that will keep us on top of the interview.

If you want even more insights about interviewing for a job, check out Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, Chapter 12, “Hand-to-Hand Combat, Winning the Face-to-Face Interview.” The book was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Authors are Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.

Interviews offer new perspectives, information and opportunities we might not have considered. You never know?!!!!

 

Want to Change Your Life? Use the Power of Small Groups!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Whatever your age, are you wondering about the next phase of your life? If so, do you wish you had a concrete, practical plan of action and solid support to help you change, maybe even re-invent yourself?

“It may be time to join an existing small group or form a new one yourself,” says Sue Baugh, a veteran small-group leader. “Ideally, your group should be limited to six to eight people to allow everyone time to share. Have a clear focus for the group—such as exploring next steps for your life, taking chances in a new direction, discovering what new ideas and abilities are emerging in you. Then gather like-minded people to share the journey. Besides bringing their experience and expertise to the group, members can also ask questions and offer insights that would never occur to you. Often we can’t see how we might be stopping ourselves–but others can.”

Group Support. Baugh recommends that small groups meet in person and keep a regular schedule—once a month, twice a month, whatever members feel they need. “I’ve found there’s a greater benefit in meeting face to face than in meeting online or over the phone. Being together physically sends the message that you’ve taken the time and trouble to show up for each other. And once you’re together, there’s a kind of spirit and electricity in face-to-face groups that’s missing otherwise.”

Baugh says that small groups often benefit members in ways that go beyond their original purpose. “For instance, author Lynn McTaggart in her book, The Power of Eight, organized small groups to focus healing energy on others. To their surprise, the members found that over time, they were experiencing healing as well! You can’t underestimate the power of a focused group to change the lives of its members.”

To help groups succeed in their goals, Baugh offers the following practical advice.

Guidelines for Successful Groups.

  • Set a clear intention for the group. What would you like to accomplish? Your intention may change over time, but start with a clear focus.
  • Listen carefully to each other. Ask good questions to clarify issues. Active, empathetic listening is a powerful tool in small groups.
  • Be honest and constructive when you give feedback to others. Have faith in them until they have faith in themselves.
  • Be open to moving past your comfort zone. Maybe it’s time to take the limits off your creative self. The group is there to help and support you.
  • Collaborate as a group to find solutions or actions for problems members raise.
  • Celebrate small as well as major successes. Small steps are critical for change.
  • End each meeting with some type of “homework”—a question, a task, a goal—to be completed by the next meeting. This helps build group momentum and keeps the creative juices flowing.

 Finally, Bring Your Commitment. “This is a major factor in a group’s success,” Baugh says. “Commit yourself 100 percent to the group for the time you have agreed to meet. And keep meeting at the appointed time even if only two of you can make it. You are holding the space for other group members. The more you commit to this process, the more creative power it has.”

Gift of Group Experience. A dedicated, focused small group can help you gain a new understanding of who you really are and what you have to offer, no matter what phase of life you are in. As Baugh affirms, “If you feel it’s time to make a real change in your life, I highly recommend you explore the power and rewards of a small group to help you do it.”

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Sue Baugh, email: sue.baughws@gmail.com

Will you retire from work when you’re 65 or 95?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Some people retire when they’re 65 or 70. Others are not the retiring type and still work in their 90s. Others go back to work after retiring. Or, you might want to volunteer. Your decision will probably depend on your financial resources, your personality, your interests and how rewarding your lifestyle is.

Here are some helpful resources as you consider the next chapter in your life.

Consider your possibilities to see what “works” for you?!

Market Yourself for a New Job – Starting this Summer

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Yes, you can enjoy summer while job hunting.  Many employers look for and hire new, permanent employees during the summer. If you’re interested and look forward to interviews, these resources will help.

Start Here:

Advantages to Job Searching in Summer

http://www.prepary.com/job-searching-in-summer/

4 Reasons Summer is Actually the Best Time to Job Search

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-reasons-summers-actually-the-best-time-to-job-search

Books for you all year long:

  • Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0. How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap into the Hidden Job Market Using Social Media and 999 Other Tactics Today. By Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry
  • Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door – Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You. By Harvey Mackay
  • Cracking The Hidden Job Market – How To Find Opportunity In Any Economy. By Donald Asher
  • The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job – What Employers Look for Whether They Know It or Not. By Debra Angel MacDougall and Elisabeth Harney Sanders-Park

Best wishes, and stay cool. There’s a new job for you!

 

Do Your Customers Love You?

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Because “you need your customers more than they need you,” Jeb Blount offers the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Service” in his book, People Love You – The Real Secret to Delivering Legendary Customer Experiences.

As Blount explains, “The fact is customers are not loyal to products, services or companies. Instead, they are loyal to people they like, trust and believe in.” So while the mechanics and process of servicing customers are important, your real goal is to build “strong emotional bonds with customers that last a lifetime.”

Thus, Blount presents “The Seven Essential Principles of Customer Engagement”:

“Principle 1: You Need Your Customers More Than They Need You. The number one reason companies fail is a lack of customers. Whether you are the boss, account manager or sales person, top customer service professionals believe their mission is to help their customers win and reach their goals. They are advocates for their customers. And they believe that by helping their customers reach their goals, they will reach their own.”

“Principle 2: Customers Are People. They are emotional, irrational and human. They feel fear and stress. They are overworked and underpaid. They are time starved. They have ambition and goals. They have an insatiable need to feel important and appreciated. They have families and priorities. Each interaction with a person crates an experience that they remember. Though you may believe that your product or service has a greater impact on your customer’s experience than you do, remember that customers don’t do business with companies, they do business with people – you.”

“Principle 3: You Are Always On Stage. Business is a grand stage and…from that stage you deliver customer experiences. Everything you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language can and will have an impact on your customer’s experience. Your words and actions have meaning. A misspoken word, display of raw emotion, or slip of the tongue will impact the relationships you have with customers. … This is where customer experience is born. Yours and theirs.”

“Principle 4: Customers Act on Emotion and Justify with Logic. “One of the core principles of the ‘People Love You’ philosophy is the universal law of human behavior: People act first (or buy) on emotion and then justify those actions with logic.’ Yes, there are ‘folks who will argue this point to the death.’ And, yes it is true that we all try to make logical purchasing decisions based on facts, numbers, observations and stats. But it is the emotion we feel that causes us to act.”

“Principle 5: Customers Do Things for Their Reasons – Not Yours. Account managers or customer service professionals should embrace the belief that though customers may not always be right, they are always first. They stand in their shoes and view situations through their customer’s perspective.”

“Principle 6: Customers Don’t Do Illogical Things on Purpose. While some managers believe ‘customers do dumb things on purpose’ … there is usually an alternative explanation for their actions. … Top customer service professionals assume positive intent. In other words, they recognize that the customer thought she was doing the right thing. They know that when a customer is doing the wrong thing, there is a reason and it is in their best interest as a service professional (because they need their customers more than their customers need them) to investigate why the person is doing something that seems illogical rather than simply judge it as such. This helps them to either gain understanding or uncover and remove the root cause.”

“Principle 7: Always Give More Than Is Required. Generally, when discussing customer service, the cliché is to ‘exceed customer expectations.’ But, Jeb Blount explains, ‘it is not always possible to exceed their expectations, since you may not know what they are or can’t exceed them. “At my company, we have a simple value statement that we live by. We always do more than we have to and we will be kind to everyone, no matter what. … Focus on what you can control – your actions. … That is, ‘give your customers more value that they paid for.’ We often forget about our expectations and instead think about how good we feel and our experience.”

Blount discusses the “Five Levers of Customer Experience that help you move people to love you by tapping into the motivations that are driven by human emotion,” and he explains how to “make breaking up hard to do.”

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Professional Associations Help You Succeed

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Thousands of professional associations – local, national, international – serve their members in many rewarding ways. Whether you’re new to your profession or an experienced pro, you will see how invaluable they can be in your career – from networking with knowledgeable peers to a variety of important professional resources, ongoing programs and services, and new jobs.

►Why Join a Professional Association?

http://www.ilcounseling.org/?page=whyjoin

►Top 10 Reasons to Join a Professional Organization

https://blog.cccctech.com/top-10-reasons-to-join-a-professional-organization/

►Millennials Have Rediscovered the Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246691

►13 Basic Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

https://www.educba.com/joining-a-professional-organization/

►Professional Associations and Why They Matter

http://www.slaw.ca/2012/01/20/professional-associations-and-why-they-matter/

►American Society of Association Executives

https://www.asaecenter.org/

►The Encyclopedia of Associations covers thousands of professional associations categorized by subject. You can find it at your local public library or online.

Here’s to your success and the professional associations that help you achieve it !!

New Approach to Mentoring Strengthens an Organization’s Culture

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

“Our Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ program brings mentors and mentees together through an approach that builds community and accountability. They learn from each other and from mentoring experts,” explains Lisa Z. Fain, CEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence. “MEMs is a great way for an organization to foster and benefit from a mentoring culture.”

The MEMs approach provides a separate forum for mentors, mentees and for the people who are responsible for their organization’s mentoring programs. Participants learn best practices from the group facilitator, who is a mentoring expert, as well as from each other, and their questions are answered in real time. They acquire new knowledge and skills that help them motivate and respond to their colleagues in a safe and confidential space. MEMs’ content and coaching is driven by the needs of the participants.

“To our knowledge, no one else has developed this kind of peer learning experience, giving mentors and mentees what they need when they need it,” notes Fain. The MEM is customized to the specific needs of each cohort.”

Every session is conducted by video conference that employees and participants can join wherever they are as long as they have internet access. If they cannot participate in the live session, they can access the video recording. They can also communicate with each other between sessions.

“Clients can become involved in several ways, whichever they choose. Purchase an entire Mastermind. Purchase a certain number of seats. Develop specific programs for mentors, mentees and administrators. Provide a forum for the people who are responsible for an organization’s mentoring program. The approach is tailored to a client’s specific needs,” Fain explains. “We want to help them create a community that remains accountable to each other after the MEM experience.”

The Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ program and video conference respond to another challenge: the growing need to reach an often remote workforce that is often geographically diverse.

Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ was developed because “clients have told us that the Center’s programs are so valuable that they wish they could have access throughout the year. Now they can,” Fain says.

The MEMs help organizations create a mentoring culture in which ongoing community spirit and accountability ensure goals and participation are maintained so everyone benefits.

For more information visit:

www.centerformentoringexcellence.com/masterminds

Are You Ready to Interview Someone for Your Article or Book?

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Interviewing people when you’re writing an article or a book can be very rewarding for you and the person you interview…if you know how to do it.

Before you contact an expert or someone with significant experience in your subject, do as much research about the field and the interviewee as you can. Think of questions you will ask, knowing that you will have more as the interview progresses. The person you interview will also want to know that you’re professional, objective and trustworthy.

Here are a few of the many resources that explain the steps for effective and successful interviews.

Think of all the interviews you have read and appreciated. Knowing how to effectively interview someone for an article, book, case study, or report can lead to new perspectives and opportunities.

 

Networking – Rewarding When You Know What to Do and What Not to Do

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Business networking has been with us forever. While the venues and opportunities grow and change, we learn more about ourselves and how to develop mutually rewarding relationships. Contacts can emerge through referrals and introductions whether face-to-face at meetings and events, or via phone, email, social media, or networking websites.

Here are some resources that will help you achieve rewarding networking results.

10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

 https://www.businessknowhow.com/tips/networking.htm

5 Things You MUST Do During Networking Events

 https://www.workitdaily.com/networking-events-things-must-do/

12 Things Not To Do When Networking

 http://www.careertoolbelt.com/12-things-not-to-do-when-networking/

60+ Social Networking Sites You Need to Know About in 2017

https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

Many books discuss the business networking process. One of them is Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, 3rd Edition, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager. Among their many resources and suggestions is to develop “Networking Goals.”

  • Meet 10 new people.
  • Receive eight business cards.
  • Note something of interest on each card.
  • Write a follow-up note to five of these people (or all).
  • Call and set up an appointment after writing to three contacts.
  • Continue the relationship with two of these.

“Notice that nowhere did I mention a goal for how many business cards to pass around. If you attend two networking events a month, you will add four or more people to your network with which you will have ongoing, continual relationships.”

The book also offers encouraging and helpful “Ongoing Networking Tips and Techniques” and “Action Steps.”

Here’s to your networking success.

Sally Chapralis