Engaging the Room

The opportunity to present to an audience as an expert in your field is invaluable. It can come in many formats – from as simple as a one-minute commercial at a networking event or as empowering as an auditorium with hundreds of people. Regardless of the venue or the size of the audience, there is a desire to command the room and connect with the audience to get your message heard and establish your credibility. In the book, The Exceptional Presenter by Timothy Koegel, he passes on many ways to improve your presentation skills. The one that I find seems to make the most difference, regardless of the format or the audience, is the skill of storytelling. Storytelling can include examples, anecdotes, client successes, or a hurdle that you have had to overcome. By telling a story you can bring a presentation to life. When done well and with some time invested, it can make the information you are sharing more relevant to the listener. The stories, anecdotes, or examples that you share can elicit a range of emotions and reactions from your audience. When you deliver a great story, you can encourage the audience to paint a picture in their own mind that they can relate to. Most exceptional presenters have elevated their storytelling ability to an art or a performance. They use stories to engage and stimulate the listener’s minds and make room for their message – use at the beginning, middle, or end. YOUR CHALLENGE: The next time you are standing in front of an audience of one, ten, or one hundred, try recording yourself. Then have the guts to watch and listen to yourself perform. It is invaluable for learning.   If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for my complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Absenteeism and Referrals

Would you like to double the number of referrals that are given in a closed networking meeting? Here’s how … Show up! Seriously, the numbers show that the lower the absenteeism in your committed networking groups the higher the referral rates. This phenomenon creates more upbeat meetings. The upbeat mood, number of referrals, and adherence to standards impressed visitors. This increased membership, which further increased referrals. It is in your best interest to reduce absenteeism in your exclusive networking groups. Anytime we get back to basics things improve. We renew our focus and we recommit to why we are here and what we want from our strategic partners and our commitment. We all have circumstances from time to time that result in us missing a networking commitment. Do your best when missing a meeting to avoid consecutive absences. Avoid sending in the usual suspects as substitutes. Send fresh faces in your absence, business owners that are likely to join, as they generate new membership opportunities. When you do miss a meeting, don’t go dark for the entire week. Instead, reach out to your fellow members and let them know that you missed them, that you want to connect and get an update on what’s happening in their business. YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: Renew your commitment to your attendance. Get back to basics and see the benefit of more referrals!     If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for an upcoming workshop and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Taking a Second Look

We are creatures of habit. We get to the office on autopilot, unable to recall the details of the trip. We rattle off a complicated drink order at the local coffee house, without batting an eye. We go through the motions as we walk across the threshold of our office, and start our work day. Routines offer us consistency and ritual that can serve us well when our minds are occupied with pressing issues, new ideas or getting something accomplished. The flip side to routine is that we can overlook seeing what is right in front of us. From time to time it is appropriate to step out of your routine and take a second look. One way to break out of your routine and re-energize is to review your contacts – your collection of business cards, your rolodex, your outlook address book, whatever form you have accumulated the tens, hundreds, thousands of people you have encountered over the years. There are hidden gems tucked away in the stack of rubber banded business cards – there are those that at the time didn’t get a second glance, but now strike a chord, merit a second visit, a reconnection. The needs you have in your business today have evolved and by revisiting your contacts you are opening up to the possibility that you have already met your next client, your next strategic partner and it was just a matter of timing. YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: Review some of your old contacts and make a short list of those that you want to reconnect with and start reaching out to them.   If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for an upcoming workshop and let’s work together to help your business grow.

The Morning After

You have made the effort to attend a networking event. You have made it a priority to be here. You will have the opportunity to meet 10, 20 or maybe 40 business owners. Some will be obvious connections, others you may have met before, some will peak your curiosity, and still others the connection will be less clear. The value you get is not only about the next 60 or 90 minutes but it also about what you do “The Morning After.” With that in mind:

• Take notes: Jot down notes on the back of a business card, consider which people you are interested in connecting with, what they do, and how you might help them.

• Don’t make assumptions. Just because the connection is less obvious doesn’t mean you can’t help them and they can’t help you. Everyone has a neighbor or friend.

• Business cards. Don’t just collect the business cards – sort them, prioritize them and make a commitment to follow up with those you met today.

And last but not least, the morning after is about FOLLOW UP. You will meet some great connections – don’t let it end there. A relationship takes time to form and an investment needs to be made to make it worthwhile. YOUR CHALLENGE: Find at least two people that you made a connection with and schedule coffee with them to find out more how you can help each other.     If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for an upcoming workshop and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Outside Energy

Day to day routines have us running the same routes and interacting with the same folks. We see familiar faces as we move about our days. When this happens our energy level can take a dip. Then we meet someone new, we see a new face at a familiar place, or we make a new stop and meet folks we haven’t met before. Our mind jumps into overdrive, as we ask questions and begin to learn more and more about a new person or new business that has crossed our path. Think about the energy that comes from these interactions, wouldn’t we all like to experience that energy, again and again. This outside energy can allow us to learn something new, or to make a valuable connection within our networks for the benefit of others, or to expand our reach to yet one more person’s network that you haven’t touched before. YOUR CHALLENGE: Make a point of reaching out to someone that you have only met in passing and invite them to join you at your next networking event. Be a catalyst of creating outside energy.   If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for an upcoming workshop and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Great Connections

Throughout our networking we are often focused on referrals, giving them and getting them.  Lets not forget about making great connections, for yourself and connecting others. When we focus on connections referrals and business will follow.
Here are some tips on making great connections.
  • When making great connections, look for the quality of the person, less about the industry or line of business.  If they are of quality then they will be a natural at connecting and expanding your sphere of influence.
  • Have great conversations, a high quality conversation can open doors, deepen the connection, or create natural alignments based on common interests.
  • Because people do business with people they like and trust, be yourself.  Be sincere, be real, and let your personality show, use your sense of humor and enjoy the moment.
  • Ask others who they have found to be great connectors, and then ask for an introduction.
  • Spend quality getting to know those people who seem to know everyone and are well connected.
As you look to make great connections, remember, compliments, courtesy, compassion and common ground – and get busy.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  Look to make one great connection with someone you have been putting off.

The Eyes Have It

Eye contact is something that we don’t think a lot about until we experience too much or too little.  Eye contact is a very powerful communication tool that can be easily overlooked. Positive eye contact, which is usually 70-80% of the time, can convey genuine interest, a sense of connection or empathy, and sincerity.  When we make meaningful eye contact with our prospects and clients  it accelerates the trust level and builds a deeper connection that allows us to better get to know them which results in better customer service. It was found that people give more eye contact to those who smile to them more often. If you are looking to keep others attention, a smile might just be the way to keep their focus. In today’s world we are distracted by our phones, texts, emails, and other alerts, that take us away from maintaining positive eye contact.  We also live in a world where more and more is done on the phone, on a webinar, and in person communication is not always possible. We have all been to networking events where someone we are talking to is looking over our shoulder, watching the door, or perhaps we have been guilty of that ourselves.  If charisma is about, prescience, power and warmth – then it is important to stay present.  Be present with the person we are engaged with and eye contact is the biggest indicator of presence. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Make an effort to look people in the eye, when speaking and when listening, and office the deeper connection that you make and the better listener you become.

The Power of Observation

Have you ever driven to work and not remember anything about the drive, or ordered at a restaurant and have no idea what your waiter looks like? Most people don’t pay attention to the world around us, so many of us, just don’t pay attention as we move through our day.   Observing people and situations is an incredibly valuable skill. By noticing the subtle cues during a conversation you can then adjust and react more meaningfully to the situation and improve the impact of your interaction.  If you notice that someone is less engaged as we cover a particular topic you can lessen the amount of time you spend covering that are or if they lean forward when you shift the focus of the conversation, you can then engage them directly in articulating why they might benefit from what your are discussing. Observation is a skill that can be learned and developed through training.  Observation is a muscle that once exercised will become stronger and more enhanced.  Here are a few ideas on how to enhance your power of observation. Notice something new each day.  Make it a point to notice the people you ride the elevator with or the people standing in line with you at the coffee shop.  Take a good look and notice the little details, like how they are standing, how they part their hair, their jewelry or watch.  By exercising your power of observation each day, you will enhance your observation skills in other areas of your day. By improving your power of observation you will begin to notice, businesses that you had not seen before – but have always been there.  People right in front of you of your eyes that have the potential to be good connections for you.  By enhancing your observation you will improve your performance, your relationships and your business. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Slow down and observe the world around you, notice the little things this week and start working on your power of observation.

What is your Purpose?

Purpose is having clarity and mastery over the direction you are driving your life and your business. Are you clear on how you are delivering on your purpose? Do you know what you want? It may be the same thing you wanted at the onset of your business, it may have evolved as you explored what could be possible.  When you have a compelling purpose it penetrates who you do business with, how you do business, and why others do business with you. First, who you do business with? If your purpose involves providing peace of mind, managing risk, or helping others – get clarity on what types of individuals or businesses align to your purpose and are in your demographic.  Once you have clarity – be specific. Second, how you do business?  Does your purpose lend itself to very personal relationships, does it focus on convenience for your customer, is it about simplicity? Whatever your purpose it should align to how you interact with your prospects and customers. And finally, your purpose can serve as a magnet for why others do business with you.  When others are drawn to your approach, your philosophy, and your purpose, it penetrates your interactions – others want to be around you, human beings are naturally attracted to serving a great purpose. YOUR CHALLENGE: reconnect with your purpose and make it a noticeable part of how you do business.  

Super Size Your Marketing

Marketing is the action of promoting interest in good or services for the purposes of selling.  If you are looking for some ways to reinvigorate your marketing efforts – here are a few ideas. Be Present. People do business with people they know and like, so build your network, extend your reach.  Attend events, join community organizations.  Be seen frequently.  Make the personal connections, don’t rely solely on email or online presence. Get Listed — Free. It would be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of free listings online.  Be sure to set up your free business pages in Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp and others.  Include as much as you can about your products and services, hours of operation, specials, even add photos or offer specials. It’s a key, free way to market on mobile devices and Web search engines. Focus on the Top 10. Make a list of your top 10 prospects or referral sources and keep it visible.  Put the list on your desk, your mobile phone, or use it as the “wallpaper” on your computer.  Contact each of these key income-generators at least once a month. Know Your Brand. Be clear in your branding.  Make sure it conveys who you are – then use it consistently on everything, your website, business cards, packaging, newsletters, marketing materials, invoices. If possible, give your brand some zip and personality that makes it memorable. Talk Value. Let people know what they get, not what you do.  Keep your marketing materials and messages, focused on the benefits the buyer receives – of course, customers compare features and services, so you’ll need to include those. But always emphasize the benefits those features bring. Stay in Touch.  An e-mail newsletter or e-blast can be an effective and inexpensive ways to regularly stay in front of customers, prospects, and referral sources. Make sure your newsletter provides some value for the recipient, such as useful information, details on discounts or a special offer. Online Visibility. Be proactive about your online presence.  Make sure you have a website that promotes your business and is mobile friendly.  Learn about social media. If you sell to consumers, get a Facebook page if you are selling business to business than leverage your Linked In connections.  Actively monitor your reviews on Yelp and other review sites, encourage your customers to post reviews. Tracking Connections. Keep yourself organized by using a contact management system.  Track details of past and current customers, prospects, referral sources, and more. This data is an invaluable business asset — use it for staying in touch, making sales calls, announcing new products or sales and more. There are endless ways to get in front of your potential customers and stay in touch with current customers. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Build a marketing strategy for your business and track your activities and your results.