Thursday, October 25, 2012

Motivating Your Staff

Motivation is one of the primary concerns and challenges facing today’s supervisors and managers. This article will introduce you to techniques for creating a proper motivational climate. You will also learn how to apply the techniques for motivating employees, prepare individual action plans to solve on-the-job problems, and identify causes of low morale and strategies for improving overall employee behaviors.

Your staff members are the key to your success, and motivation affects employee performance that ultimately affects the departmental, divisional and organizational objectives. Only satisfied employees lead to satisfied customer.

• Motivated Employees Make Your Job Easier

To be a successful manager/supervisor, you must first understand that you cannot motivate anyone; you can only create an environment that encourages and promotes the employees’ self-motivation. Motivation is getting people to do what you want them to do because THEY WANT to do it. The challenge is to give them a reason to want to do it because doing it will satisfy a need they have. You have to tune in to their needs, motives and reasons, not yours.

Secondly, you must also know what kind of behavior you want the staff to demonstrate. In other words, what do you want the employee to do differently ? For example: Do you want your staff to be punctual, more committed to work; co-ordinate with others in a friendly manner; meet deadlines; assume more responsibilities etc. You must first be clear about your objectives and expectations before you can communicate them to your staff.

• You Are the Motivator

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are the most critical component in the motivation process. Your actions set the tone, trend and tempo of the process. Many managers / supervisors embrace a ‘carrot-and-the-stick’ approach to motivate their staff. These practices take the form of incentive programs, promises of promotions, rewards and bonuses. Some others employ the symbolic ‘whip or club’ by emphasizing the negative results of their behavior. For example, a manager might say: If you do not start coming to work on time, you’ll be fired ‘ or ‘You will never get ahead if you continue to make these kinds of mistakes’. All these methods are just short-term and create no permanent behavior change.

Executives whose management style is dictatorial,

Teamwork Motivation: How to Motivate a Team?

Here are some points to work on:

1. Why motivating a team?

Have you ever asked yourself the simplest why questions? For example:
• Why do you focus necessarily on motivation?
• Why do you want to drive team motivation? For what reasons do you want to stimulate motivation in their teamwork?
• Why do they “need” you to get extra motivation? Do they really have to be motivated? Is it necessary?
Don’t skip answering these above questions. It would be wise to redefine and reshape your targets before any activity is launched.

2. Define your team members: know your team – select them
It goes without saying that selecting the right mix of talents, expertise and leaders for the team will ensure that the work they do leads to success.
And the right mix of people for any specific teamwork is the most important part of the process.
Therefore, who are your team members? With whom you are going to  battle?
Make note of – the leaders, the talents, the initiators, the hard-workers, the professionals, the creators, the individualists, those who are mature/responsible and those who really need directions to get the job done. Conduct your research and select the right mixture.
These insights of your team members will help you on deciding who needs extra motivation and how to start motivating these team members.

3. What motivates the team members?

Find out what motivates your team members. What brings each and every one of them to the highest level of performance?
Ask them – What do they want to achieve at work? Ask them on a regular basis and once you understand their professional needs and goals you are on the right track to know what can motivate them.
If you understand your employees, they will take more interest in understanding what you want from them.

4. Define the goals and challenges

Set achievable goals with them.
Share your vision with the team members in order to drive initial teamwork motivation:
• What are the team goals & challenges – the short term and long term goals?
• Why these goals and not other goals?
• How do you want to achieve these goals?
Focus on clear, specific, reasonable and achievable goals. Give them reasons for the challenges and while discussing them you might even let them set the goals for themselves.
It is known that a stimulator for motivation is ‘participation’ – they should be part of the decision-making process.

5. How to delegate work – clarify expectations

You, as a team leader, have to delegate tasks to the right person. For instance – if you assign these hard or uninteresting activities to a leader (in nature) in your team, don’t expect for the best. How do you expect him to see thus work leading him to any significant professional growth? In time, he begins to resist the task.
Teamwork motivation starts from little things.
When you turn work over to some of your team members, you still maintain a certain degree of responsibility. Set clear expectations and responsibilities for each one of your team members. If things are not clearly understood, they may unknowingly miss the target, and then fail for not doing what they have never really understood.

6. How to motivate your team with incentives and recognition?

The 10 Biggest Public Speaking Errors (and How to Avoid Them)

1. Lack of initial rapport with listeners. This is one of the two biggest errors tied to worshipping the false god of "information delivery" . Since many presenters spend all of their time putting together content, they remain inside the information bubble, forgetting that establishing lines of communication with listeners is all-important. They are perfectly comfortable with their notes or talking points, and often not comfortable at all speaking to people and trying to sway them. Rapport with your listeners isn't only nice; it's a make-or-break proposition concerning your influence with your audience.

2. Stiffness or woodenness in use of body. We might also use Earl Nightingale's phrase here, "divorce from your own body"—a strange and eerie proposition! Why is it that each of us is perfectly comfortable standing and chatting with friends, yet feels like we've suddenly been inhabited by an alien being when we present in front of others? Our natural supportive gestures disappear; and we seem to have grown odd limbs whose purpose is a mystery.

The body is an important tool of communication. And the cure for not knowing how to use it in front of audiences is easy: leave off gathering content earlier than you do now. Start rehearsing on your feet, using a mirror or video camera. Learn what looks natural, and then get that into your muscle memory. Discover the body language messages you may be broadcasting. And learn how to avoid the 5 body language mistakes that may destroy your own message.

3. Material is intellectually oriented and audience isn't involved emotionally. Recently, I coached the director of public housing for a municipal housing authority. We conducted a role-play of her discussing with a resident how this person was breaking the terms of her lease, and faced the possiblity of losing her subsidized housing. At first take, the talk was all about rules and consequences, and the message was stern.

It was a perfect example of "intellectually oriented" material. I discussed with my client what she was trying to achieve and what message she intended the resident to hear. She was trying to help this person, of course—to get her to understand how serious the situation was and the dangers she was facing. We tried the simulated discussion a second time with these emotional elements front and center. This time, the discussion was dramatically different: human and caring, with a greatly improved possiblity of the compliance my client was aiming for.

4. Speaker seems uncomfortable because of fear of failure. Fear announces itself in a speaker, so that the very outcome the person is most afraid of is more likely to occur. (Learn how to reduce your level of nervousness by downloading my cheat sheet, "How to Calm Your Nerves Before Speaking.") All of us want to be effective and influential when we speak, not perceived as unsure and therefore lacking in credibility. None of us want to fail. But fail at what, exactly? At not being judged a terrific speaker? So what if we aren't perceived that way?

Your job when you present is to give your listeners something of value, not morph into the Abraham Lincoln of the 21st century!

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10+ presentation tips to keep your audience from dozing off

All presenters want an engaged, interested, fully attentive audience. For your message to be most effectively received, the audience must hear it. While there are many ways to gain and maintain your audience’s attention during a presentation, getting them actively involved in the message is the best place to start. Here are 12 tactics to get your audiences more involved in your presentation and your message.

This information is based on the article “Twelve ways to engage your learning audience,” by Kevin Eikenberry. It’s also available as a PDF download.

#1: Ask questions designed to get a verbal response

Pick questions you know students can answer or have an opinion about. Getting the audience to respond verbally gets and keeps their attention focused on your message.

#2: Ask for a show of hands in response to your questions

Ask a polling question about their opinions, experiences, or needs. Getting the audience to respond physically gets them moving and mentally involved as well.

#3: Give them a mental picture

Use a verbal description to create an image of your situation or solution. Using the listeners’ minds in this way builds attention and helps your message remain in their minds.

#4: Ask them to create a mental picture

Activate their minds by getting them to think of a time, event, or example in their own life using the subject at hand. This makes your message tangible.

#5: Give them time to talk to each other

Give them a minute to discuss a key point with a partner or to generate questions or concerns. Working with others, especially when they might not expect it, will refocus their attention and raise the understanding of your presentation points.

#6: Give them a game or exercise

Pick something relevant and fun. Having fun helps people learn and understand.

#7: Repeat a word or phrase

Every time you say a certain word or phrase, have your audience say or do something in response. This repetition combined with their involvement drives home key points effectively.
#8: Have them talk back to you

If your key points are short and succinct (and they should always be), ask your audience to repeat those key points back to you.

#9: Give them a “quiz”

Hesitate before key words in your sentences and encourage the group to fill in the missing word or phrase. This keeps them on their toes and helps them see how much they may already know about your topic.

#10: Encourage their questions

Secrets of Successful Leaders Revealed

If you want others to view you as a leader in your organization, you first need to define your Ideal Image.  Your Ideal Image is the image that you want to portray.  It’s your best self, or the way you want others to see you.  According to James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, the best way to determine your Ideal Image is to write a tribute about yourself.

Imagine that you are being honored as the Leader of the Year.  What would you want people to say about you?  Some questions to ask are:

  •     What do I believe in?
  •     What makes me jump for joy?
  •     What keeps me awake at night?
  •     What do I want in life?
  •     What do I really care about?

When you understand these qualities about yourself, you can then live those qualities in your business and personal life.  That’s when others will view you as a leader.

Aside from the image you project, you also need to exude key qualities that outsiders perceive as traits of a leader.  Over a twenty-year time span, Kouzes and Posner surveyed 75,000 professionals.  They asked participants one key question:  “What are the qualities required to successfully lead?”  The answers the surveyed professionals gave revealed the top ten traits of successful leaders.  Following are the top four:

1. Honesty (88%): Honesty means telling people what you know and not keeping key information to yourself.  People can tell if you’re withholding something from them, no matter how small or trivial you may think the information is.  As you reveal information, you need to be open and let people respond. Therefore, ask open-ended questions to facilitate discussion and let people air their feelings about the topic.

2. Forward-Thinking (71%): People within the organization view true leaders as those who encourage others to go to their own next level.  When you’re forward-thinking, you foster an environment of creativity.  In order to instill such a culture in your company, have everyone participate in monthly brainstorming sessions regarding the organization’s future.  Keep these sessions fun so that people can be open and playful about potential new ideas.

3. Competence (66%): People view you as a competent leader when you’re willing and able to seek out experts on various topics.

How to Motivate Yourself to Achieve Any Goal You Can Dream Of

Most people have goals — little goals throughout each day to major life goals. But without motivation, you’ll never reach those goals. You’ll just lounge around wasting your life.

No matter what kinds of goals you’re working towards, there are plenty of things you can do to motivate yourself so you keep working on them and don’t let opportunities pass you by. Here are some self-motivational tips you can use to help you reach your own goals — big or small.
smart goals

  •     Write down your goals.
  •     Make goals specific and measurable.
  •     Break larger goals down into mini-goals.
  •     Enlist a support network.
  •     Avoid people who discourage you.
  •     Stop procrastinating.
  •     Reward yourself.
  •     Consider the consequences.
  •     Keep your life, home, or office organized.
  •     Envision yourself achieving your goals.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these self-motivational tips, including examples of how they can help you reach your goals.
Get Specific if You Want to Succeed!

It’s one thing to tell yourself “I’d like to lose weight.” But that’s not really much of a goal. A better plan is to follow the old business advice for planning marketing and PR campaigns — make your goals specific and measurable.

When goals are specific and measurable you know exactly what you’re working towards, and you can put together a concrete plan to make things happen. So instead of saying “I’d like to lose weight,” say “I want to lose 20 pounds within six months.” You have a time frame to work with, and you can actually measure your weight loss goal of 20 pounds.

It’s not enough to make them specific and measurable. Write your goals down and keep them where you’ll be constantly reminded. For example, with weight loss you might keep a note on the fridge so you see it and it helps you avoid bad decisions like grabbing a pint of ice cream that might sabotage your efforts when you’re feeling down. Or make a note on your calendar or in your PDA with specific dates to check-in. For example, put where your weight should be at the end of each month so you’re reminded to keep checking and to stay on course.

Goal-Setting Step-by-Step (or the Power of Mini-Goals)

One of the biggest potential problems with achieving our bigger goals in life is that we think so much about the big picture that it can be overwhelming. Let’s say you’re currently out of work and you need to find a job within the next three months. If you don’t reach that goal right away you might get discouraged and stop trying altogether. That’s no good.

Are Leaders Really in Control?

We live our lives enmeshed in complex adaptive systems. Our economy is just one example. Two fundamental properties of complex adaptive systems are that no single person or entity can exercise control over them and that their reaction to stimuli are largely unpredictable. Witness the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in Tunisia that set off revolutions that toppled governments across the Middle East. The previous president, George W. Bush, predicted that victory in Iraq would usher in friendly democracies across the region. No one predicted that a single merchant would be the match that lit the fire rather than the shock and awe of the U.S. military. Once alight, no one could write the script for where movement would go. Yet we readily expect our leaders to assert control and assure outcomes.

Our thirst for leader control arises from a need to believe that someone has a firm hand on the tiller. We usually know that it isn't us and so we look to someone in whom we perceive greater wisdom or power. The adulation of the master-of-the-universe CEO springs from the same well.

Politicians are not elected based on pledges to try really, really hard; candidates triumph through bold promises to deliver whatever it is voters seek: I will create millions of jobs. I will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I will tame the deficit without cutting key programs or raising taxes. We believe that if we grant them the authority, they will exert benign control. This in the face of ample evidence that luck plays at least as big a role in success as anything the leader might do. We followers love to have a hero out front. We look for someone we think can make sense of a complex and confusing world.

When the news is good, leaders are more than happy to take the credit. When the Berlin Wall fell, President Reagan was happy if we believed that he personally shoved it over. CEOs are photographed for magazine covers, and collect big bonuses, based on the increased shareholder value attributed to them.

President Obama has learned (as have all past Presidents, no doubt) that that there is only so much that even the President can do to control a complex adaptive system. Admitting as much has his critics declaring him weak. Obama discovered that he couldn't control the economy as both stimuli and monetary policy moves failed to reduce the unemployment rate below 8% until just recently.

In making definitive pronouncements about future outcomes, Mitt Romney is making the same mistake that Obama did about unemployment. We watched him do it on Tuesday night. One example was his pledge to lower gasoline prices. Oil and gas are global commodities. U.S. policy has some influence on prices, but global supply and demand, including disruptions such as Hurricane Isaac wrought in the Gulf of Mexico this year are far more consequential to price fluctuation.

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Marketing Your Business through Public Speaking

Speaking to organizations such as chambers of commerce, service organizations and university classrooms can be great opportunities for small business owners to market their business. However, the fear of speaking may prevent individuals from taking advantage of this powerful tool.

Statistics show that three out of four people have some form of anxiety around public speaking. But that anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from sharing your expertise with others. Here are some tips for preparing for a public speaking event.

    Know who your audience is and what your purpose is. If you’ve been asked to share information about your company’s financial impact on the community to the local chamber of commerce, your speech will be much different than one where you accept an award. It also helps to know who the friendly faces will be in your audience.

    Know your time limit. I’ve worked with speakers who always talk less than the time allotted. There are others who improvise and take longer. Know your style and plan your speech accordingly. If you are apt to take more time than the average bear, write your speech for 20 minutes when you know you have 30. No one gets mad at the guy who speaks for less than he’s allotted. The speaker who takes too long, however, is not given the same regard.

    Don’t use too many visual aids. If you are already nervous about getting up in front of a crowd, do you really need to be fumbling with additional equipment? Visual aids are great if they help forward a story. However, they are not good for hiding people’s nervousness. Really think about whether a PowerPoint is necessary. If you are sharing lots of statistics and photos, maybe it’s useful. But a PowerPoint as a screen to hide behind can backfire.

    Use your natural style.

Friday, October 12, 2012

How to Conquer Stage Fright and Focus on the Positive

What determines how you feel are the things on which you choose to focus. Most of the time we don't bother to choose. We just let the mind's eye wander around. In this default setting, the brain will choose its focus primarily based on fear. Why? We are built to look for danger. Your brain is designed to keep you alive. For tens of thousands of years, the human brain has done a great job by looking for trouble.

We focus the mind's eye through the questions we ask. When you ask a question, the brain immediately sets out to answer it. But when facing an audience, most people ask questions that cause them to focus on their fear, rather than their objective. Think about a typical question you might ask yourself: "Will they ask me hard questions?" The brain, primed to lean toward the negative, searches for an answer. Brain says, "Yes!" You start to get nervous. You're panicky, starting to sweat. "Am I prepared enough?" Brain searching. . . answer is "no!"

Questions like "What's missing?" and "Will I know the answers?" may seem like intelligent questions to ask yourself. But they're actually sabotage questions. The answers can only produce a negative state.

So what's the answer? Ask a different question. The way you control the focus of the brain is by changing the internal questions that you ask. Ask a question with a presupposition, an implicit assumption about the world, as revealed in a statement whose truth is taken for granted.

For example, the question "What's great about this opportunity?" contains the presupposition that there is, in fact, something great in the opportunity that you haven't noticed yet. What you want are questions with this kind of powerful presupposition. This will drive the brain to produce a better answer and produce a feeling of exhilaration rather than terror.

Asking the right questions before you go on is a very powerful way to manage your state. You are programming your brain purposefully, so that it will come up with answers that pull you forward, rather than hold you back.

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7 Highly Effective Public Speaking Activities

Improve Your Oratory Skills

Well designed and creatively used public speaking activities can go a long way towards helping you overcome stage fright and develop excellent public speaking skills.

Young kids and adults can both benefit from an effective training that is planned with activities more appropriate for each age group. Here are some ideas for activities that will greatly improve your elocution and oratory skills.

Public Speaking Activities for Adults

Activity 1: Two-Sided Dilemma Topic

A valuable and amusing activity to improve your oratory skills is to pick a two sided debatable topic, and spend 30 seconds defending one side, and then flip the angle and spend 30 seconds offending from the other side.

The facilitator needs to gather a set of debatable subjects and give them to the participants. You should allow them some time to prepare and absorb the two-sided dilemma. When ready, each participant takes the center stage and speaks on both sides of the same topic. This activity will certainly increase participants' ability to think from different angles for a given subject.

Activity 2: Finding Inspiration from Famous Speeches

There are many role models in the world of public speaking that you can emulate and learn from. One of the inspirational activities would be to seek out audio and video clips of compelling speeches given by well know public speakers of today and in recent times.

If your role model lived before the advent of audio and video you can then read their famous speeches and get inspired. Use a search engine to find inspirational audios, videos and written material on famous speeches.

Public speaking skills can be learned step by step just like any other subject or task. Breaking it down into engaging and useful activities will make you learn and master the skill over a period of time.

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Already a Decent Speaker? Here Are 5 Expert Tips

Every great leader must be adept at making presentations. Here's how to perfect yours.

Here are five advanced tips will make your presentation that much more memorable:

1. Start With Your Face

Make good eye contact by moving them across the room in a tic-tac-toe pattern and briefly locking eyes with as many people as you can. Linger long enough to complete a thought or statement. You want everyone in the room to feel you are giving the presentation just to him.
Your facial expressions should be deliberate and purposeful. If you look down or away, your audience will perceive it as a lack of confidence or that you are trying to remember a point you forgot. Remember to smile.

2. Use Your Body

Always utilize your body--not your slides--to keep your audience engaged. Use elaborate hand gestures to emphasize size, shape, direction, or to make a point. Your motions will feel extreme, but your audience is typically further away, so grand gestures will only keep people engaged and help them visualize your point.
Resist any temptation to stay stationary behind a podium. Use your entire presentation space, and make sure you move with purpose and command the stage. Never put your back to your audience.

Your slides should be simple and support what you say, but should not distract your audience from focusing exclusively on you.

3. Master Your Voice

Your voice is your most powerful and important asset while you are on the stage. Use inflection wisely to keep your speech interesting, and project your voice to the very back of the room. Understand that how you say your speech is as important as what you say. A slight lift in your voice means you are asking a question; ending your sentence slightly lower indicates authority.
The biggest mistake most speakers make is a failure to slow down or use pauses. Silence and space between words allows for emphasis and lets your audience catch up with your ideas.

4. Shake It Up

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Overcome Team Conflict

Team conflict is typically seen as negative. We tend to think of it as team members disagreeing, arguing and yelling. Dealing openly with group conflict seems uncomfortable for most individuals, but these derailments are a normal part of every team's functioning. Dealing with a team conflict head-on can assist the team in finding better solutions and developing a solid foundation of trust in the long run.

Every team has internal conflicts from time to time. Many leaders avoid team conflict, and others handle disagreements inappropriately. But leaders who handle problems constructively can improve productivity, generate new ideas and personally develop team members. 

"At first blush, team conflict seems to be negative and something that needs the team leader's immediate involvement to rectify," says Jon Warren, assistant division director of education with the Missouri Department of Corrections. "Sometimes conflict among team players is very important in developing new thinking and actually moving the team forward."

Stages of Team Development

Teams go through definite stages as they develop. Bruce Tuckman, in his often-cited 1965 Psychological Bulletin article "Developmental Sequence in Small Groups," took existing theories and boiled them down to four stages of team development: Forming, storming, norming and performing. Determining which stage of development the team is in will help a leader decide how to handle the conflict. 

"Team conflict can be resolved quickly and effectively and only requires one key ingredient," says Warren. "That key ingredient is a team leader who can diagnose a team within stages of team development and choose from an array of effective team leadership skills necessary for appropriate intervention at the moment." 

As the team members are getting to know each other in the forming stage, a leader needs to be more directive. In the storming stage when conflict arises, the leader needs to be both directive and supportive. In the norming stage, as team members work out their differences, the leader needs to be more supportive and less directive. Finally in the performing stage, when the team is moving easily ahead, the leader should be supportive.


Fresh Start Resolution: Improve Your Public Speaking

Public speaking is a regular — and regularly feared — part of life, so it's important to refine your skills. This year, challenge yourself by learning to lecture like a pro. Here are four tips to help you polish your public speaking.
  • Assess yourself. What part of public speaking makes you nervous? Where have you slipped up in the past? One reason public speaking is so nerve-racking is because there's so much to manage — your presence, your words, your delivery, and your reaction. Determine your weakest points, from stuttering to stiff hands, in order to tailor your speech improvement.
  • Find opportunities to practice. It's hard to feel confident about speaking if it's something you rarely do, so look for the chance to polish your technique in everyday life. At a dinner party? Offer to give the toast. Working on a new project at the office? Present it at the weekly staff meeting. Public speaking is like anything else: the more you do it, the better you'll become, and the more comfortable you'll feel when the moment arises.
Keep reading for more public speaking tips.
  • Dress the part. Confidence is crucial, and you'll be much more sure of yourself if you know that your appearance conveys a sense of authority. It's best to err on the dressy side when you plan to speak in front of an audience — and it's crucial that your clothes fit well. Tugging at the hem of your skirt or the sleeves of your blouse will distract both you and your audience. It's important to look put-together, and the focus should be on your words, not your outfit.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. Begin with standard prep techniques, like writing note cards and practicing in front of your friends, but also take the time to do some research. Find out as much as you can about your audience, the context of your speech, the environment, and the tools and media that will be available. Most importantly, be sure that you're achieving what was asked of you — confirm that you're answering the right question and fulfilling the expectations of your audience.
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Public Speaking Tips

Some people are naturally gifted public speakers. Me, for instance. Put me in front of a room full of strangers, and I'll just talk and talk and talk. About anything, really---the weather, Masonic conspiracies, which animals people look like, how sweaty I'm getting. I will literally never stop to take a breath or vomit into my mouth. That’s my level of comfort around crowds.

But, I understand that not everybody is as gifted at public speaking. Some people---if you can imagine---get nervous in front of large groups whom they rightly assume are judging their every word.

For those pathetic dumps, here are a few helpful tips for speaking in front of an audience:

- When looking out at the crowd, picture everyone in their underwear. This will deflate the tension. Unless the underwear is really sexy.

- Control your breathing. Try to breathe once for every four heartbeats, which you’ll probably feel pulsating inside in your head.

- Pick out one person in the audience, and imagine you are speaking to only him or her. Just don't say her name at the end of every sentence, especially if she’s your ex-wife.

- Carefully go over your list of talking points beforehand. You did remember to make annotated flashcards, right? RIGHT?!

- Plant your feet. Feel grounded. Don’t lock your knees, or you’ll pass out. But, don’t think too much about not locking your knees, or you will also pass out.

- Mark your speech with predetermined pauses. For swallowing and burps and whatnot.

- Remember: You’re the one holding the gun. That gives you all the power.

- Have a bottle of water handy in case of cottonmouth. Cheap gin works too.

- If one the hostages acts up, make an example of him right away. One heckler (or hysterical crier) can throw off the entire pace of a robbery.