I Teach…

fear11Last week, we discussed ways to communicate. This week, I’d like to look at the reasons why people fail to communicate correctly. Sometimes, even with all the will in the world, we cannot make ourselves connect with others. It may be our problem—or their problem—but it is a problem. This blog article is about discovery. Discovering why people fail to communicate is crucial to becoming a great communicator. Let’s look failure straight in the face and learn from it.

Compromise Is KEY

If one party is unwilling to budge on an issue, no progress can be made; when the other party senses this stubbornness, they’ll immediately stop trying to make their case. Compromise isn’t an admission of defeat — it’s a way of trying to maximize the payoffs between two parties, and if you ignore that, you’ll have only yourself to blame when the conversation stops.

Ultimately, successful conversations are dependent on two people willing to reach a mutually satisfying conclusion.

Didn’t Anyone Listen?

Too many people focus on the speaking part of a conversation; after all, that’s the part you can control. But it’s far more important to be a good listener. Being a good listener first demonstrates that you’re invested in the conversation and makes the other person feel welcome to share his or her thoughts.

Listening prevents interruption and other habits that can interfere with the natural pattern of conversation and provides a stable ground for mutual communication. Finally, and most importantly, listening allows you to hear and understand what the other party needs, giving you context and direction for your response. Without that initial effort, the conversation will never go anywhere.

Where’s the Respect?

When we don’t get respect from people around us, we may feel unsatisfied and withdraw from the situation. Showing respect in conversation is a prerequisite to having a healthy exchange, and even modest or subtle signs of disrespect can throw off that pattern.

Obvious signs of disrespect include insulting or mocking the other party or belittling what they have to say. Subtler signs of disrespect include interruption or changing the subject before it resolves. Aim to show more respect throughout your conversation, even if you aren’t doing anything intentionally disrespectful.

Failure to Communicate in Conversation

Sometimes, the simplest explanation for a failure in conversation is the most accurate. If one party fails to express things in clear and understandable terms, it stands to reason that the other party won’t have any idea what’s going on.

Honesty

Communication can also fail when one party refuses to express what they’re feeling or thinking honestly. It can be hard to be honest when you’re under pressure, or if you have a shy personality type. For example, when you’re trying to make a good impression at work, you may second guess the value of your thoughts. However, honest expression is vital if you want the conversation to progress.

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I Speak…

coach
We’ve been talking about speeches for some time now. You may have a pretty strong understanding of how to make your speech really work. This week, we are going to look at the delivery of your speech. You’ve written it, you’ve got a great closer… but you are nervous about delivery. How can you really push your point across and make yourself heard?

Keep It Real

If there’s one rule, it’s this one: Try to be as authentic as possible.  It’s well known that people can hear it in your voice when you are “real,” and they will love you for it. If you come across as fake, you will lose them.

Keep Learning

Regardless of how many times you’ve made a speech or spoken in public, there is always room for vast improvement. It’s great that you’ve got public speaking experience, but don’t become over confident and think that you can just turn up and present without doing your homework! You might get away with it a couple of times, but eventually you will be caught out.

Pack THAT power!

Your opening statement needs to be powerful. You need to hook those people.  Don’t be afraid to shock your audience, make your audience laugh or hook them with a story that really gets them ready to hear your point. Don’t just open with banalities… Go on the attack and make yourself heard.

Arrangement Is the KEY

Arrange your presentation and make it easy to digest, but keep in mind that you want to make your point. If you can tie everything back to the points you want to make, you will be doing well!

Slow Down… Don’t Move Too Fast

One of the most common faux pas people make when giving a speech, especially if they are new to public speaking, is they rush through their presentation. You need to slow down so that people can take on board what you are saying. If in doubt, record yourself and play it back. If you are speaking faster than the anchor person on the news, you know it’s too fast. Pace yourself to success.

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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 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…

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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I Speak…

sleepI would like to talk today about structuring a speech. It’s important to put together the right speech, in the right way. In this blog article, I describe five structures. I hope you take them and run with them. These five structures should cover most of the situations in which you find yourself speaking.  Each of these structures can be built to fit your purpose. Let’s look at them.

Problem-Solution Works In Your Favor

Persuasion. That’s why you are giving a speech. Begin by framing the problem. Then go as deeply as you dare into the problem, making both intellectual and emotional arguments for the severity of the problem.  Then go for it! Give the people your solution!

Going Through the Motions

If the subject has strong arguments on all sides of the issue, you may want to use this technique. Explain the problem, and then go through the possible solutions and thoughts of others. Try to give people as much information as you can and then go through all the arguments for solutions as carefully as you can. Give credit, show that you take all sides of the problem and all solutions seriously, then give people your own solution. This will give you credibility and people will listen to your argument with more care.

Tell the Story…

Yes, we are all interested in your new idea and your new product. But why don’t you tell us about it in an interesting way? Try to begin by describing the basic situation, giving only the relevant detail. Introduce a problem. A rival business? A problem in your sector? Then give people the resolution they truly want. Resolve the crisis and become the hero.

Stay in Order

Some hate chronological, some love it. But I think it’s best to start at the end of something. The result. Did you sell 8 million dollars’ worth of product? How did that feel? It must have felt good. Then go to the beginning and explain the situation you were in to start with. Then tell the story in order and bring people back to the success you ended with. This way you have “WOWED” your audience and showed them your path. It’s a winning speech strategy.

Demonstrate Like a Pro

Some businesspeople can do this better than anyone else. It’s salesmanship. Start with the reason. Why is this product or idea important? Why do people need it? What does it solve? Demo the idea and give people a reason to really root for it. Is it cool? Is it something that will save lives? Hint at the future and leave people wanting more.

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I Write…

once uponWriting content is a little bit like being a sales person. You must think strategically. What does your target audience want? Why are they surfing the internet? What are they searching for? Do you have the right product and/or idea for these people? What is the decision breaker? Who is the decision maker? There’s a lot of thinking that goes into putting together the right content, for the right audience, for the right company. Let’s take a look at some of the initial steps.

Relax…

The brainstorming process is not the time to be in a hurry. Grab a journal and a pen and go on a walk. Watch the wind. Give yourself permission to be a little lazy. Creativity requires relaxation. When you relax, your mind can wander, to jump around to lots of different ideas, to make strange, serendipitous connections. Take the pressure off yourself to come up with the perfect idea.

Come Up with a Lot of Ideas

Choosing the next project is a negotiation between your skills, your ambition, your audience, and your soul.

What can you write?

What content would help me if I were my customer?

What does my audience want to read?

What do I need to achieve from this content??

Surprise yourself. Don’t censor your ideas! Write your ideas on a piece of paper.

Kill the Wrong Ideas, But Do Not Say They Are Bad!

This is the most important step. Kill the ideas that aren’t as relevant as others to your main theme and continue to think up new ones as you go.

Ask Your Audience

It’s easier to finish your content writing project if you believe a greater awareness wants you to write it. As I consider my list of ideas, I always go to my audience and ask them questions. “Should I write about this?” If my audience says, “No,” I don’t write about it. Sooner or later, I stumble on an idea my audience says “yes” to. This sounds strange, but asking others is the key to success. Learn!

Second Guess Yourself

If you’ve gone through all the steps above, it’s okay to get started now. Do a little research. Start writing an article. But while still in the initial stages, before you fully commit to an idea, second guess yourself. Is this really the content I should be working on? Is there a better idea lurking within this one? If I’m going to abandon my project, I’d rather do it at the beginning, before I’ve invested a lot of time.

And Once You’ve Chosen…

Before you can say “yes” to one idea, you have to say “no” to a lot of ideas. Most of this process is about saying “no” to ideas. However, once you’ve chosen, you have to commit. There will be times when finishing your blog seems stupid, painful, and not worth your time. This whole process is about developing the faith in your idea that you will need to get through the doubt that will come in the middle.

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I Teach…

once uponYou’ve gained clients and you have a full meeting book, but you find that your clients are too on edge to be comfortable and allow themselves to develop. This blog post is all about building a relationship with your client and getting them to open to you. If you can’t connect with your client, you won’t be able to do your job. So when you meet a client and start a meeting, why don’t you try some of these top tips…

Gentle Sounds

Music can help your clients feel relaxed. Try slow, relaxing, gentle music and allow the mood to do its job. If your client is relaxed, you will have them talking about the real issues in no time at all. The right music puts people into a great mood—and that’s your first goal.

Be the Host with the Most

Offer your client a coffee or a soft beverage. Nothing alcoholic. You’ll find that the client will feel more important and will start to work with you. Be a good host to get the most from your clientele!

Be Modern, Be Comfortable

A fan may help relax a client and help to keep them cool and calm.  Make sure the room is warm first.  The most important thing you can do is keep your client comfortable. If they are too hot, their mind won’t be on the task at hand; same if they’re cold.

Keep the Conversation Going 

Chat about your client – the upcoming wedding, the kids, the job. People tend to ease up when the conversation is about them. Make everything about your client.

Reassure

You will do well to reassure your clients that they are doing a great job during the entire coaching session. You want to make sure you are reassuring them as much as possible towards the start when they will be the most nervous.

Fake It ’Til You Make It

If you’re fairly new at coaching and you’re scared of appearing unprofessional—just fake it. The more comfortable you are, the more at ease your clients will be. Never give the impression that you don’t know what you are doing.

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