I Speak…

coachThey stare at you. You stare at them. The silence is deafening. You fidget. You can hardly breathe. You’ve delivered a speech that has kept your audience interested—yet now you are faced with closing it. How can you end your speech as confidently as you opened it? Is it possible? Of course, it is! Try some of these tips and close your speeches with the power of Kennedy, King or Obama.

Close with the Title

Use the title of your speech as your closing words. Last words linger, crystallizing your thoughts, galvanizing your message and mobilizing your audience. Leave them with a seed, a thought, an idea, and they’ll go forward to do great things.

The Invitation

If you want to motivate your audience to do something—invite them to succeed. Close with something that gives them a goal. This is a good way to bring about rousing applause from your audience.

The Circular Close

Refer back to your opening anecdote or quote and say: “We have arrived now to close where we began.” Reiterate the message you want your audience to remember. Summarize the main points and leave them knowing what you talked about.

The Challenge

If you were concluding a speech on the importance of acting, you could rouse them with the importance of participating. Take spectators and turn them into doers. Make them the center of attention, and give them a reason to go out and change their lives.

End with a Quotation

Find a famous quotation relevant to your message and use it like a lever to lift the close of your speech.

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I Write…

writingMaking the most of your content is important. Each article you write, or have written, should be promoted as a separate product. Promoting your content is almost as important as having content. This article will be about ways to make your great content even greater. We will look at how to maximize what you have.

Make Navigation Easier

Content that is difficult to find, read and enjoy – is a problem. Content that is difficult to navigate will often cause a potential client to leave your website. But using tags and categories is SO easy! Make it easier to find your content, make it easy to move onto more content, and make it easy for customers to get in touch with you. More than three clicks? Forget it. Try to keep it to just a couple of clicks.

Promote Your Content Inside Content

It’s great to have your ideal clients find and read your posts, but take it one step further … always include a next step, like reading a similar article or signing up for more information. Keep in mind you want them to stay on your site – reading your content – as long as humanly possible. Don’t make the mistake of thinking great content alone will make your customer stick around.

Keywords, SEO, Keywords, SEO

Your SEO and keywords make a big impact on potential clients finding your content – or not. Search engines help people find relative content. Their goal is to enhance user experience by helping them find what they’re looking for. When you use your keywords in an organic way, Google rewards you by increasing your search engine rank. Play the system, and the system will help you.

Share MY Content…

The most effective content is ’shareable‘ content. But what makes content shareable? It all comes down to social currency. In other words: What will the reader gain from sharing your content? Think about the types of comments, posts, and articles that you share online. What do they actually do? They often back up your position on a topic, feature something you care about, or make you look smarter or more important. Don’t dismiss shareable content.

Go Ahead and Share My Content…

The main point of creating content is to get your message in front of the right readers. When you have the right reader, consider that they probably have a lot of friends who fit the same profile. Encouraging them to share through social media gets your content in front of even more potential customers. Help yourself by helping your audience to learn from you. That’s all it is. You are helping others learn, and those people are helping you spread your word.

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I Teach…

once uponFor those of us who are new to coaching, this blog article is all about connecting with your customer. Sometimes it’s easy to build a relationship, sometimes it’s hard— but it is a crucial part of your work. You must be able to connect with the people who hire you. Let’s look at some steps that will help you build up your clients. It’s not as hard as you may think.

Warn Them, Inform Them… Let Them Know What to Expect

When you meet with a client for the first time, it would be advisable to explain to them what they’re expected to be able to do. Give them some notice. You can turn an advance warning into a relationship-building opportunity. Ask them about things they’ve wanted to do, what they’ve been trying to achieve, and actually show interest in your clients.

Take Responsibility

You’ve made an error? Turned up late to a meeting? Accepting full responsibility, while recognizing the consequences of the error, shows that you’re prepared to take it like a grown-up. People respect that.

Tone Down Your Voice When Giving Bad News

Literally. Lower the tone of your voice and your rate of speaking. Generally, when people get excited or emotional about ideas they tend to raise their voice pitch and pace. When you’re giving bad news or feedback that could be construed negatively or critically, you want to give the impression that you are thinking clearly, logically and reasonably – not emotionally – and certainly not irrationally.

ALWAYS Begin with the Good News

When you have both good news and bad, start with the good. When people hear bad news, they have an internal stress reaction that causes them to tune-out other information. Try to ensure that the client fully comprehends and appreciates the entire message by making sure you give the good news first. Always give them something to feel good about.

Express Those Negatives as Positives

Rather than saying, “We can’t meet until Tuesday,” instead try, “We can meet up as soon as Tuesday.” It’s the same information, but wording it positively enhances your message. It makes the client feel important.

Try to Remind Them of the Bigger Picture

Sometimes clients don’t realize that the ‘bad news’ is in their own best interest. Try to always frame things inside the bigger picture. Yes, this is negative today—but how does it change the plan positively? Don’t let them go away feeling as though they failed.

Follow-up! Always Follow-up!

With some clients, a well-timed phone call after bad news goes a long way in proving to the client that you’ve gone the extra mile. “I just wanted to check with you to see how things are going with that discussion we had…” That raises the perceived value of your service without spending more money. Try it. People like to feel important.

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I Teach…

once uponSeeing several clients each day can sometimes spin your head and make you lose focus. This week, I’d like to talk about a checklist I keep with me each time I talk to coaching clients. This list helps me to keep focused and allows me to understand what I need to do to help my clients. I think this list could be useful for you, too. Print it off—and use it daily. It will really help you get down to the nitty-gritty of what is important.

Build a Relationship of Mutual Trust

The foundation of any coaching relationship is rooted in your day-to-day relationship with your client. Without some degree of trust, conducting an effective coaching meeting is impossible. Try to make sure the relationship is one of working together, rather than working apart.

Open the Meeting and Take Control

In opening a coaching meeting, it’s important for you to clarify, in a nonevaluative, non-accusatory way, the specific reason the meeting was arranged. The key to this step is to restate — in a friendly, non-judgmental manner — the meeting purpose that was first set when the appointment was scheduled.

Find Common Ground and Agreement

Probably the most critical step in the coaching meeting process is getting your client to agree verbally that a performance issue exists. Overlooking or avoiding the performance issue because you assume the person understands its significance is a typical mistake of coaches. To persuade a client that a performance issue exists, a coach must be able to define the nature of the issue and get the client to recognize the consequences of not changing his or her behavior. To do this, you must specify the behavior and clarify the consequences.

Explore All the Alternatives

Try to explore ways the issue can be improved or corrected by encouraging the client to identify alternative solutions. Avoid jumping in with your own alternatives, unless the client is unable to think of any. Push for specific alternatives and not generalizations. Your goal in this step is not to choose an alternative, which is the next step, but to maximize the number of choices for the client to consider and to discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

Look for Commitment and Action

The next step is to help the client choose an alternative. Don’t make the choice for the client. To accomplish this step, the coach must be sure to get a verbal commitment from the client regarding what action will be taken and when it will be taken. Be sure to support the client’s choice and always offer praise.

Make Sure You Handle Those Ever-Present Excuses

Client excuses may occur at any point during the coaching meeting. To handle excuses, rephrase the point by taking a comment or statement that was perceived by the client to be blaming or accusatory and recast it as an encouragement for the client to examine his or her behavior. Respond empathically to show support for the clients’ situation and communicate an understanding of both the content and feeling of the client’s comment.

Provide Crucial Feedback

Effective coaches understand the value and importance of giving continual performance feedback to their people, both positive and corrective.

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I Speak…

coachGetting to actually know your audience is a crucial part of giving a presentation. This blog article is all about actually knowing the audience you are going to talk to. Sincerity is one of your biggest selling tools. Being sincere will go a long way towards warming your audience to your presentation. But how can you be sincere if you don’t know your audience? Why don’t we find out?

Ask, Ask and Ask Again

The more you know about your audience, the better your presentation will be. A good public speaker will ask questions. Before you even get on the stage, you should meet with your demographic and find out about them. What would you like to know? How would you like to hear it? What would be crucial to you? Then you need to actually research the presentation area itself. How big is the room? How is it laid out? You need intel, and that should be your first priority. Know, ask and find out everything you can before you set up a presentation.

Let’s Get Personal, Personal!

If you can, you should try meeting your audience before the presentation. Who put the event together? Who is the boss? Who is the chairman? Find out and befriend these people. Once you have these people on side, the others will be a piece of cake. If you can connect with the decision makers, they will give you legitimacy and will help you create a relationship with the group as a whole.

Engage!

From the start, you should be looking to engage with your audience. Some audiences might enjoy plays on words, topical humor, political nuances, even raunchiness. A series of great questions may be the way to engage your audience. You need to be ready to actually get your hands dirty and engage with those people waiting to hear you talk.

Know, Know, Know Your Audience and What They Know

You are the expert on your subject. But how much does your audience know? This is a critical question that can make or break a presentation. No matter how slick and together you are, if you talk over everyone’s head, they’ll be baffled, not enthralled. On the other hand, if the audience is up to speed, they may find that your presentation is less than engaging.

Say “NO” to Being a Diva

No one likes a selfish speaker, and nothing derails a good presentation faster than a presenter who is more interested in presenting themselves than their subject. You must be authoritative and confident when you step in front of a group of peers, but you must never be cocky or over-confident. Focus on the material, not yourself, and you’ll go far!

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I Teach…

sleepThis week, we are going to look at coaching and beginning a career in coaching. You’re now in a position to be a coach, and you’re ready to begin… but where do you start? How do you get those crucial first clients? How do you know how much to charge? What do you do? What have others done? This article is all about the first crucial steps towards success as a coach. Let’s take a look…

A Clear Path to Success

One of the most useful pieces of advice is to have a plan and see how you will fulfil your goals. In the meantime, have smaller, doable goals, so you know you’re on track. Each time you achieve one of the smaller goals, you will find yourself closer to success with the bigger goals. You should always be looking at the bigger picture—where are you and where do you want to be?

Keep It Simple

Nobody in the world can do it all. That being said, you should plan on putting in lots of hours and energy into your business, at least for the first year or two until you have a good clientele base with a waiting list, and you have a reliable marketing engine. Later, however, you will want to learn the power of saying “no.” Nobody needs to work 100 hours a week.

Family Support

Your loved ones can also assist you in your endeavors and make it easier. Rather than feel bad that you’re not doing as much for everyone else, use your coaching skills to fully communicate what you’re really up to. When you share your inspiration and how much this means to you, the people who care most about you will whole-heartedly join your team, and they may even help you find clients.

Look After the Money

When you know you have enough money coming in already, you can afford to trust the process of attracting clients. Starting a business is not like starting a new job. You won’t get a reliable paycheck every two weeks. But your time investment up front will pay off handsomely if you go the distance. Reduce debts by negotiating for lower interest rates. Stop paying for things you aren’t using. Be careful with your money, and you’ll go far.

Promote, Promote, Shout

In your first year of coaching, even if your coaching skills aren’t fully honed yet, share your excitement and inspiration about coaching with pretty much everybody. Don’t be attached to getting them to understand coaching the way you do. They probably won’t. But do share your energy.

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I Speak…

once uponSometimes, even the best public speakers or performers find themselves in the worst possible position. They find themselves failing in front of an expectant audience. This blog post is all about the disasters that can befall a public speaker. Let’s hope these things never happen to you.

Losing Your Mind

At some point in time, you’re going to have a senior moment.  It happens to everyone. As our lives move faster and faster, it’s normal that our brains will occasionally get left behind.  What do you do?  The answer is: Wait.  It will seem like forever to you, but it will be only a few seconds in real time.  So wait it out.  The words will come to you.  Your brain will catch up with your mouth.  Just give it time. Sometimes you just need to be calm, kick back, and smile.

Unhappily Being Heckled

This happens more often than you might think. Some people really enjoy making themselves heard. The natural instinct is to avoid a heckler because the whole experience is unpleasant.  But fight the instinct on this one and do the counter-intuitive thing—stand up to the heckler.

Bad, Bad Technology

If you use technology, it will crash.  Seriously. At some point, it will crash. The answer is to have a version of your presentation ready to go – always – that doesn’t depend on technology.  Be prepared to tell good stories without those colorful slides.  Have a Plan B!

Greedy Speakers

Just as you have a non-tech version of your talk ready to go, you should also have a short version ready to go for the inevitable time when the speaker before you simply won’t stop talking.  That allows you to look like a hero for getting the agenda back on track.  In extraordinary circumstances, you can take your time out of the next part of the agenda, but get the conference organizer both to agree to it and announce it.  Otherwise, it’s your fault, and everyone will hate you for keeping them from their lunch. Don’t continue the greedy behavior of the speaker in front of you—change direction and win.

Audience Expectations

Sometimes, you will find yourself in front of an audience smaller than you expected. Be warm and thank them all for coming—then dive in with all your might. If you get a bigger crowd than you expected, try to get people seated as comfortably as possible and then keep eye contact with as many people as you can. If you are faced with a lot of noise—don’t worry—wait until they quiet down and start with a smile.

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I Teach…

once uponThere are many reasons to seek out a life coach—but before you do, you should know a few facts about life coaching. Many people see it as an opportunity to go through therapy without going to see a therapist; others see it as the answer to all their problems—but there are certain realties you have to realize. Let’s take a look at them…

Focus – Life Coaching Allows You to Focus on Yourself

Many people often leave themselves behind. Life coaching actually puts you first, for perhaps the first time.  Life coaching takes the necessary time with you to discover your true values, goals, and talents, and will help you create a plan to fulfilling them. After all, YOU are important! Repeat that to yourself now—YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Order – Life Coaching Gives You the Opportunity to Get Your Life in Order

In life coaching, you immediately take action. You stop being a person living on the sidelines, letting your life pass you by. A good life coach helps you understand yourself better and helps you to live a life aligned with your morals, values, and core beliefs.  It is NOT long-term psychotherapy. With support and encouragement, YOU are urged to sit in the driver’s seat in your own life. With your coach as your strongest advocate, YOU decide when you have met your goals. Try it!

Professional – Life Coaching Is Unbiased

When you have a life coach, you get to talk through your struggles with someone who is not going to interrupt you or push you towards what they think you should do. A great life coach would never make judgments or criticize your choices, but instead offers suggestions and give you the space and time to think through your challenges and options. Of course, everything you say to your coach will be kept in total confidence. It’s all about you.

Therapy – Life Coaching Is Not Therapy

Life coaching is never about treating mental illness and working through deeply rooted psychological issues. You should seek professional help in those situations. Therapy is great for people with psychological problems that require intervention with a mental health specialist. Life coaching is an empowering process for normal, healthy people to get help making their lives better, happier, and more fulfilled.

Fun – Yes, Life Coaching Can Be Fun

Expect to laugh a lot during your coaching sessions! Sometimes making change can be more than a little scary, but coaching is actually fun and empowering. It feels great to get things out in the open – so you can get clarity and take action.

Accountability- Life Coaches Hold You Responsible for Yourself

If you’re feeling negative and lacking in motivation, your coach will help you challenge limiting assumptions and beliefs you may have about yourself and the situations you find yourself in.  He or she will help you work through the issues that are preventing you from moving forward and, above all, keep you focused on your goals!

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I Speak…

fearsThe biggest factor holding many would-be public speakers back is fear. Fear is a deciding factor—and this article is all about taming that fear to your advantage. While some readers are conquered by their fear and make grievous mistakes, others can channel their fear and become outstanding public speakers. Here’s how…

Embrace Your Nervousness

All you have to do is admit that you are a little bit nervous speaking to your audience. When you do this, the audience will be more forgiving if your nervousness shows up later on. More importantly, you will feel more relaxed now that they are not expecting a world-class presentation. Imagine their surprise when you give them the best presentation ever despite your nervousness. One of the best ways to allow your audience in on your fear is to joke about it. Try starting your speech with a joke about how nervous you are. It may just be the deciding factor.

Make Mistakes Intentionally

This is another tip I would encourage. The idea is to gain control of your audience. If you can make them laugh and be more interactive with you, your presentation will have that casual feel to it, which will make it memorable. Ultimately, you will find it easier to do. Try it to see if it works for you.

Redefine Your Audience

Redefining your audience generally means changing how you see your audience. Instead of seeing them as lecturers who are evaluating you, maybe you can convince yourself that they are all fellow students who are waiting to present after you. They are all equally nervous, so there is no reason why you should be, too.

Use Visual Aids As Much As You Can

Imagine a presentation with beautiful slide presentations and even more impressive notes given to each of your audience members. Most of the time, their attention will not be on you. They will read through the notes and watch your presentation. This will help a lot as you can then speak to the people who are not looking at you. When they look at you, you just change your focus to other people who are not looking. Giving a speech to people who are not looking at you is always easier. It’s just like taking a Skype call.

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I Teach…

coachIn this latest post about life coaching, I would like to cover some of the ways a life coach can help you. We often hear people talking about life coaches, and we have a vague idea about their job—but what can they actually help you with?

Becoming Motivated

Sometimes, when we least expect it, life throws a punch at us that hits us square in the jaw. We lose our jobs, our houses, our pets, we lose a loved one, we fall into old, bad habits, we sink into depression, and so on. And if left alone, it could take years – if ever – to get back to our old, awesome selves again. That’s where your life coach can help. They’re your #1 fan and will jump in to motivate you out of your depression and bring you back to the world of the living.

Everyone Needs a Purpose

Life coaches know that finding one’s purpose isn’t something that requires meditating for endless years. Rather, they know that an individual’s true purpose comes from a special combination of their hidden talents and passions. A life coach can help you uncover those talents and passions that will then reveal to you your true purpose in life. That true purpose will bring you happiness by the bushel.

Planning Your Life

Sometimes, we see or hear about other people’s success stories, and we can’t help but become jealous. Other times, we see our friends on social media posting pictures of their exotic vacation, and we get depressed. And yet at other times, we yearn to simply be ourselves. What a mess.

Your life coach will help you to cut through all that noise and concentrate on what you really want in life. They’ll help you identify those unnecessary wants and desires in your life, and you’ll be able to concentrate on the goals and dreams that will make you happy!

C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-E

Whatever it is you do, or want to do, with your life, you’ll do it better and with more enjoyment when you’re feeling confident. The opposite is also true – even the simplest tasks can be outright terrifying when you don’t have the confidence in your skills that you need. Life coaches understand this better than anyone else. Your life coach will be able to help you solve any self-esteem issues that you may have. They will help guide you, and just as importantly, they will be helping you acknowledge and celebrate the successes you have as you travel along your journey. These little successes will give you the confidence to conquer even the greatest obstacles in your path.

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