I Teach…

This week, we are going to discuss something so essential that you can’t do business without it. This essential by-product of a business relationship is trust. A great relationship with a client can be a hard thing to build, but the foundation must be one of mutual trust.  There is no reason to have a poor rapport between yourself and your clients, so we are going to discuss building bridges and making relationships work. Let’s get started!

 

Be Professional—But Approachable

How you present yourself in your initial communications with new and potential clients is crucial to building trust. That doesn’t mean you need to be formal. An effective email is more about being relevant, brief and to the point while remaining friendly. Speak to your client in the same way you would a colleague. Depending on their style, you can keep it casual, but be sure to present yourself as the professional and business owner you are. Take the initiative.

Time Is Money

Both you and your client are busy, so be respectful of everyone’s time. That means keeping calls or meetings to the amount of time scheduled, not canceling or rescheduling last minute, not forgetting to show up or showing up late, etc. Admittedly, the more clients you have, the more difficult it gets, but also try to be flexible to their schedule when planning communications.

Communicate—And Communicate WELL!

Depending on the type of process you and your client have set up, make sure to deliver. This could be weekly check-ins or recaps via Skype, follow-up emails, monthly reports, etc. Be sure you’re communicating what it is you’ve accomplished and how it has impacted your client’s business. Clients love to see how freelancers are spending their time because every hour spent is budget spent. Make sure to keep your client in the loop.

Keep Up To Date!

If for some reason you need to let a client go or realize you’ve taken on too much work, do what you can to transition out smoothly. Finish the project whenever possible. If that’s not possible, try finding a replacement you can recommend. No one likes to be left holding the bag.

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I Speak…

One of the biggest problems we have to deal with as public speakers is clear speech. A performance can be ruined by stuttering—and even people without a history of stuttering can become afflicted with an attack of the stutters. It can be bought on by a number of things—and happens all the time. This blog article is all about preparing and dealing with this issue. If you find yourself repeating your lines, stuttering, making too many pauses—you may want to try these great tips.

Slow Down!

When your mouth spits out the words faster than your brain can process them, you tend to trip over what you want to say. Slow down and let your brain go ahead of your mouth. Think the ideas, then say them. Your audience will understand you better, and you will be much calmer in the process.

Try Reading Aloud

Reading in front of the mirror for half an hour a day is a great idea that can be done easily at home. Another way to use this tip is to simply stand in front of the mirror while you are talking on the phone. Although in this case it might be that your stutter does not disappear, but you can look at your face for particular blocks or problems that you might have when speaking.

Visualize What You Are Saying

Picture what you are going to say even before you say it. If you are speaking slowly, you will find that it will help stamp out your stuttering. Sound out the words in your head before you say them and then say them. Getting a picture of what you might want to say in your head provides you with a lot of different options. Taking your time is a much preferable option when you are trying to form a sentence. Along with this, don’t be afraid to use filler words like ‘hmm’ or ‘ahh.’ The fillers will buy you time.

Breath, Relax and Speak

Did you know that breathing properly can have many benefits? Stand up straight and breathe deeply from your belly. It gives a person a chance to relax. It also enhances overall bodily processes, therefore fostering good health. Proper breathing also enables a person to de-clutter the mind and eliminate emotional impulses. Give it a try!

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I Write…

We’ve talked at length about the importance of creating content that people can easily share and make use of. But what importance do images play when creating good content? Do images really matter? Can they increase the click rate of your article? Of course, they can—check out these great image tips to get the most out of your content!

Make Sure Your Images Are Relevant 

When you’re creating a blog or website, it’s important that the images you use are relevant to the topic. It has been said that content with relevant images get 60% more views than content without relevant images. Be careful, choose wisely and go for it!

Originality… But Not So Original People Can’t Understand

Okay, we all know that picking the right image can be tough. You need to find the right balance between clichéd images that might make your content look dated, and something too unique and obscure that will leave your visitors confused. Start with relevant and move onto interesting. Don’t be led astray by the wild ways of internet image sites.

Try to Use People…

As humans, we respond to faces, so using images of people in your content can be a simple way of boosting engagement. Choose people who are relatable to your audience, think about your content and keep the people relevant to the theme. If you are talking about working in the creative industries, don’t use an image of someone in a corporate office in a suit. Try to lead people to your content with an eye toward being exciting.

Use Images to Keep Interest

Now that we know which kind of images you need, we need to discuss something else. How many images should you include in your content? It depends on how much text you have, but as a general rule, try and insert an image every couple of paragraphs. The more images, the more you will interest the reader.

Use Good Quality Images

Don’t fall into the mistake of using poor quality images. When adding images to your blog, website or campaign, it is important that they are high resolution images that are going to look sharp and not pixelated. Seriously… the better the images, the better you will look.

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I Speak…

One of the big differences between a great speaker and an average (or poor) speaker is performance, and part of that performance is your ability to work from notes and memorize your speech. If you have trouble remembering lines, you may want to print out this blog article and follow the steps. Knowing your speech will allow you to concentrate on performance. You should be trying to work without your script as much as possible—and if you can do that, you will be ahead of the untold thousands of “public” speakers who are glued to their visual aids. Let’s take a look at memorizing your speech.

Move to Memorize

You will memorize your lines much faster if you move around, gesture, and show emotion as you say them. Don’t just say the words, but mimic the movements you’ll be making when you deliver the words. This will help your whole body understand the lines better. Even if you’re not gesturing, just try pacing back and forth as you recite the lines. This will still be a big help.

Repeat Yourself… I Said, REPEAT YOURSELF!

Once you feel very comfortable with your lines, you should take the opportunity to applaud yourself, but don’t stop practicing. You should still repeat your lines as much as possible until they feel like second nature to you. You should keep repeating your lines until the day you must deliver them, or you may forget them by the time you give your speech.

Just Relax!

This might be the most important point on this list. You should relax while you’re memorizing your lines and before you must deliver the lines. If you don’t relax, then you’ll be more likely to forget your lines in the middle of a rehearsal or even on the big day.

Try Word Tricks

If you’re stuck memorizing your lines, try a variety of words tricks to help you fully absorb the lines. Try to use rhymes to help you remember the right words in a sentence. You can also try visualization—just try to visualize the words you will say and what feeling you will convey. If you can tap into the emotion, the words will come easily.

Just One Piece at a Time

You don’t have to memorize your lines exactly from start to finish if you have a long chunk of lines, or an entire hour’s worth of lines, to memorize. Instead, you should break down your lines into manageable parts that flow from one part to another so that you have a good grasp of all the lines eventually.

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I Teach…

once uponWe’ve been talking about communication here for a little bit, and I would like to spend this week talking about the importance of being a “people” person. Now, that’s going to scare a few people out there. There are those of us who believe we are not “people” people. But everyone can learn to communicate with others, help others, and understand the needs of others. I’d like to look at some of the reasons communication skills are some of the most important skills a person can have.

Builds, Maintains and Creates Relations

Relationships are built and can be maintained by positive encounters with others. Communication will be key to this process – without effective skills, it will be difficult to properly construct and nurture productive relationships.

Want to Make Something AMAZING happen? Learn to Communicate

When people feel comfortable in openly communicating new ideas, cooperation and innovation will be at an all-time high. In addition, if they are unable to convey their ideas due to limited communication skills, it is likely that the idea will not be implemented to its full potential.

Growth Is Based on Communication

A lack of communication can lead to the collapse of any relationship. Let’s face it, without proper communication internally and externally, most relationships, including within groups and organizations, will struggle to survive. Communication can also lead to productivity and helps to avoid unnecessary delays in the implementation of ideas.

Looking After a Team? Communication Is KEY!

If communication within a workplace is encouraged, a more cohesive and effective team will emerge. Good communication within a team also tends to boost employee morale. When employees feel that they are well informed of the company’s direction and vision, they will feel more secure within their role. Regular internal communication can also lead to an improved work ethic if staff are reminded of achievements and feel that they are working towards a common goal.

Bad Management? Is Your Communication at Fault?

When managers are effective communicators, they are more able to inform staff adequately of their responsibilities and what is expected from them. Good communication skills also help managers to provide constructive feedback to their staff, build better relationships, and understand personal goals that staff may wish to work towards. Try it—it works!

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I Speak…

sleepMany studies have suggested that repetition can have a positive effect on someone’s agreement with an argument. It may be important for you to learn the art of repetition—because like any skill it can be done right, but it can also be done wrong. If you are going to repeat yourself to make your point, you have to learn how to pose your repetition to create an impact. Let’s see how you can make it work…

Change the Way You Say It!

Although repetition can be successful as a persuasion strategy, subtlety can be as important as the frequency and intensity of the message. Rather than repeating the same words and phrasing throughout the course of an argument, finding more than one way to make the same argument repeatedly can be a more effective approach. The reader or listener is likely to respond more positively to the same argument stated several ways rather than having the same message shoved down his throat over and over.

How Often Do You Do It?

The use of repetition in a persuasive argument can be effective if the argument is constructed in such a way that the repetition is spread out over a period of time. The use of repetition over the long course of an argument, written or spoken, creates a greater familiarity with the message and leads to gradual agreement if the intensity of repetition is gradual itself. Too much repetition in a short span of time or space can actually defeat the very purpose of gradual acceptance by creating a stronger aversion to the argument. All repetition should be carefully spaced at equal or similar intervals throughout the argument.

How Much Do You Do It?

In speeches or other spoken arguments that are highly emotional in nature, frequent repetition of key emotionally charged phrases can be effective. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” often is cited as one of the primary examples of the success of such repetition. However, it may be effective in messages of this nature only because of the already emotional nature of the issue. Such techniques in sales and marketing may have the opposite effect — turning off the consumer — if not approached carefully.

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I Write…

writingWe’ve discussed content marketing, but we haven’t faced one undeniable fact. A lot of content marketing strategies fail. But why do they fail? This is an autopsy, ladies and gentlemen. We are going to look at why content marketing fails. If you are squeamish, leave now… but if you really want to know the gory details, read on…

What? You Had No Strategy?

In content marketing, you need to strategize, strategize, and strategize some more. Without a strong strategy in place, you’ll be the Monday night quarterback who enters the playing field looking up at the stands and hoping for the audience to cheer – even when you fumble.  It doesn’t work.

Am I Blue? Am I Boring?

You don’t like talking to a stick in the mud. Why would you like reading a dry blog post that sounds like it was written by someone boring and dull? I don’t want to read it. Nobody else wants to read it. People love doing business with people. Humanize your content and make it fun to read. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine! Your audience will connect with your content faster and appreciate the extra showmanship you offer.

What, You Don’t Want to Spend a Dime?

You can start a blog for free, make a podcast for free, and create videos for free. With so many free methods for creating content, it’s natural to think that content marketing is also inexpensive. Although it’s true that you can create content for a stupidly low price, you’re probably cutting yourself short if you promote on the cheap. If your content marketing isn’t working, you might not have the right team putting it all together.

P.T. Barnum Says… Promote! Be Extravagant!

Perhaps your content is high-quality but still, no one is consuming it. Are you doing enough to get the right amount of eyeballs on your words, videos and images? Probably not. Although you never want to be overly self-promotional, some promotion of each piece of content is necessary to let your audience know it’s available.

Know Your Competition

There’s a lot of noise in our daily lives. From TV commercials and radio ads, to a flood of new blog posts being published every day, you’re already competing with a lot of content. If your competitor is producing a healthy portion of that content, your job just got a little more difficult. You have to be competitive! COMPETITIVE!

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I Teach…

fear11As a follow up article to last week’s discussion about the importance of communication, I’d like mention a few more thoughts. These are proven techniques to increase your communication skills. If you are having trouble connecting with your coaching clients, or having trouble making them understand what you are saying, you may want to give these tips a chance. As a great communicator, it’s important for you to be able to listen and show your client how much you value what they are telling you. It’s important to maintain eye contact. It’s also important for them to feel comfortable with you. Let’s work through the list.

Share, Express and Love

Instead of jumping right in to your meeting, why don’t you try to express your thanks for the other individual’s time? Time is an extremely precious resource, and it important to be respectful and considerate of that. Also, complement or recognize any positive contribution they are making. Appreciation and praise can go a long way towards building good rapport.

Connect and Appeal

Connect on a personal level if possible. Look for places where interests overlap. Even in a professional situation, there may be some personal interests in common: hobbies, sports, children, music, career choices. Take care to avoid controversial topics like politics or religious beliefs. A real sense of connection makes a difference in the tone and outcome of the current conversation and most likely future communications, as well.

Be Exuberant… Be Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to productive communications. Be constructive rather than negative or complaining. People shut down, effectively ending any real communication when they feel attacked or criticized. Be encouraging and kind, even when expressing concerns or displeasure.

Just Focus

It’s important to figure out what result you are after before you start any kind of dialogue. Knowing your objective helps you to direct the conversation and to remain on point. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you trying to give help, resolve a conflict, or collaborate on a project or issue? Are you seeking advice or trying to influence behavior? Your desired outcome helps to determine the flow of communication.

Don’t Talk All the Time… Listen All the Time

Eye contact is crucial when you are meeting someone face-to-face. Try to be polite and, whatever you do, don’t interrupt. No one likes being interrupted, and though it’s natural to want to rush in to make your point, it’s very disrespectful of the other person’s thoughts. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Maintain an open mind.

Do They Understand?

Try to confirm that you have a mutual understanding of what’s being communicated. We often think that we’ve reached a resolution and come to an understanding, only to find out that we have completely misunderstood the other person’s thoughts. Ask for input and feedback. This not only confirms that you have successfully communicated, it also makes the other person feel that they have been heard and understood.

Always try to end your communication in a friendly manner. Remember to reiterate your thanks and try to leave the other individual feeling understood and valued. Productive communication involves respect, consideration, awareness, and clarity. It is possible to be both direct and kind and still get the results you want.

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I Write…

writingWhy is it really important to write content? I mean, how many business transactions really take place because of content? These are questions that are often asked. Some believe that the overall effects of content are overexaggerated, but as a small business, can you afford to miss a crucial opportunity to connect with your audience? I don’t think so. However, this does a raise an important question. How do people react to content?

Write You Off

If your content is seen as having no hook or interest point to the customer, it’s likely to be marked as spam. Posting something that may be assessed as “spam” is the fastest way to lose credibility.

Simply Ignore

The customer may just make the assessment that they won’t lose much by reading it. In this case, the reader has not written you off yet, but if you consistently create content that people skip, you may find yourself written off.

Look It Over

The customer thinks there are only a few parts that are of relevance and wants to get right to the core of the content and skip the rest. This is where you have the opportunity to change their mind.

Wait… I Should Read This

The reader is engaged by the article and actually stops to think about it. What does it mean to them professionally? Personally? You have hit a nerve!

Sharing IS Caring

The customer may find your content interesting enough to spread it to anyone and everyone via social media, reblogging or via email.

Sign Me Up

This is the end goal. The customer finds great value in what you have to say and wants to build a relationship. They are open, willing and ready to be a part of your world.

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I Teach…

sleepAs a coach, you have to be able to communicate with people. It’s crucial to keep the conversation rolling and to understand how people communicate. This blog article is all about communication. If you want to be able to really help people, you have to think like the people you are trying to help. Why don’t you try these new tips to try and get the best out of your coaching sessions?

What Subject?

It’s important for you to try and get a feeling for what the other person wants to talk about. Different people like talking about different things. Finding what the other person enjoys talking about could mean the difference between a humming conversation and a faltering one.

Be a Good Listener, Be a Good Friend

A conversation is a free flow of ideas. Those ideas, however, should be interconnected. If you listen closely to what the other person is saying, you’ll be able to store away nuggets of information that will keep the conversation going.

Be Aware of the World

When you run out of things to talk about in a conversation, it can be helpful to talk about other things that are going on in the world. Try and keep ahead of the news so you can find common points of interest with your coaching client. It’s good to be on the same page.

Body Language Says It All

People listen to your words and your body language when you’re talking to them. It is said that our body language accounts for 55% of whether we are liked. Nod every so often and lean forward, face the other person and don’t fidget. These are two important tips to know about your body language.

Project the Confidence Your Client Wants

It’s no secret that other people are naturally attracted to individuals who have confidence. It may seem unfair, but it’s a fact of life—people will judge you based on your own internal confidence. If your confidence level is high and you’re fun to be around, people will cut you breaks when conversation slacks, or make up for lulls in the conversation by trying harder themselves.

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