Friday, December 28, 2012

Six ways to motivate your team in this recession

As if business was not hard enough, along comes a recession. All the challenges that face the business owner or manager are now magnified exponentially. Morale seems to jump to the top of the list, as it affects everything, including motivation and spirit. At times like these, the owner needs to turn to a business coach for guidance and support. Without a motivated team in place, the effects of the recession will surely be exacerbated.

Business coach training points to six distinct ways to motivate your business team during a downturn such as this. We can summarize them as honesty and openness; gossip management; team motivation; listening skills; fear management; and recognition.
Always be honest. Your team will appreciate it; instead of beating about the bush, creating additional elements of uncertainty, get right to the point. We all know that body language can give off the true meaning of what you feel within, so don't try and "wing it", as your team will surely read between the lines. Honesty is the best policy and you should deliver clear and succinct messages. Whilst you should try not to sugar coat everything, be as upbeat as you possibly can, whilst maintaining that openness. This is a prime time to huddle with your business coach before meeting with your team!
One of the biggest killers of workplace morale, as identified by business coach studies around the country, is gossip. Gossip is viral, and rumours spread like wildfire. It is amazing that just a small snippet of gossip can be blown out of all proportion, as it passes from person to person, from department to department and throughout your organization. Before you know it, there will be rumours of lay-off's, cutbacks, and even complete business closure. It is your job to stamp on these rumours as quickly as possible. If you feel that it may have caused widespread damage, call a special meeting, be upbeat and honest, and put their fears to rest.
Motivate your team by taking them out of the office or work place and into a different environment. This has being shown by business coach research to cause a considerable increase in creativity. Although there is of course a cost attached, you will find that you will gain a lot more than the actual cost as the team members will come back refreshed and with a different slant on everything.
Don't be afraid to listen! Listening skills are all important in the business place, of course, but don't reserve these skills just for your clientèle. A good executive coach will tell you to be sensitive and to listen to the needs of your employees. As the saying goes - "I'm all ears".

How to Promote Teamwork at Your Workplace

No man is an island. At your workplace, having a team that works for a common vision is the greatest advantage. Read on to find out how you can promote teamwork at your workplace, if you are in charge of a team:

1.Understand the benefits of teamwork. Any project you maybe working on can actually be done in a quicker and more efficient way. Having team members means better inputs and suggestions. Also, it means that more people are willing to come together to achieve that goal/vision.

2.Make your team-members feel important: The key to a successful team is that everyone shares the same passion and focus to achieve the desired target/goal. And that can only happen when everyone on the team is aware that they all are individually important for the success of the team as a whole. Involve people in the project, give them all the information, the goal, deadlines (if any). Make them feel that they're responsible for the outcome.

3.Encourage inputs and suggestions: This would not only help establish a sense of purpose in everyone, but would also help as someone might come up with a suggestion to improvise which you may not even have thought of.

4.Organize team meetings/activities If being part of a team is a regular thing for you at work (sales teams etc) it's always a good idea to have team meetings and activities like outings, games etc

This helps every team member to know and understand the other members in the team and can also be the starting point for great friendships in the later years too.

What Are the Benefits of Teamwork in Business?

Teamwork involves different people and different groups across your business working together to maximize their efficiency and reach a common goal. There are many ways of organizing teams – some teams are organized around a particular product that is being developed, while others are organized around a process, such as manufacturing or research. In addition to providing team members with experience, benefits of teamwork include increased efficiency, financial savings, innovation and morale.

Improved Morale

Teamwork allows employees to take greater responsibility for decision making and also allows team members to control more of the work process. This can lead to improved morale as employees gain more authority and ownership over the projects they are working on. The extra responsibility can lead to a more rewarding work environment and lower turnover. Working on a team also gives employees a greater sense of belonging and of recognition, which helps them take more pride in their work, and their company.

Greater Flexibility

Teamwork can help companies to be more flexible. By bringing employees from different parts of a project together into one team, problems or bottlenecks can sometimes be ironed out more easily. For example, car manufacturers might sometimes use this method when designing automobiles. Instead of each new car design going through separate areas, such as design, engineering and parts supply, the car manufacturer will organize one team that includes employees from all those areas to design each car. As problems arise in one area, the entire team can deal with them and the work can proceed much faster.

Self Motivational Tips for Business Success

Being motivated in business translates into success. If you're unhappy with your job, it shows in how you present yourself, how you conduct your job and also carries over into your personal life. To stay motivated, business consultants recommend implementing self motivational tips, among them achievement, responsibility, advancement and recognition.

If you own a business, work with a business coach or executive coach to identify how things you feel passionate about can be applied to your work. If you work in management for someone else, suggest executive management training to get a fresh perspective on staying motivated. Any employee can benefit from business coaching because it provides open communication filled with self motivation tips.
Communication skills come in handy when exploring self motivational tips. Write down your mission statement and career benefits and refer to it often for motivation. Discuss them with a business coach or executive coach so they can be applied to your business success.
If people motivate you, consider executive management training where you can learn how to be a leader or mentor. Business consultants note that executive management training is a good motivational tool for fostering a team environment.
Business coaching can help identify self motivation tips for business. In many cases, business consultants say it's a matter of mixing up the same daily routine by incorporating motivational activities. If you're feeling bored, chances are others are, too. Open communication keeps everyone motivated.
If self motivation is lacking in business, use a business coach or executive coach as a sounding board. Business coaching can recognize where you went off track in reaching your goals and ambitions and offer the motivation you need.
A business coach or executive coach can assist you with self motivational tips, especially if you're the one running the business. This type of support is essential in opening up communication. Through business coaching, you can apply communication skills for achieving positive outcomes as motivational mechanisms.

How to Give a Great Speech: 4 Tips

Public speaking doesn't have to be terrifying. Here's how to capture, and keep, the crowd's attention.

It’s that time of year. Business leaders and educators everywhere are attempting to inspire graduates at high schools and colleges with a terrific commencement speech. Among the more notable attempts was one from David McCullough, a Wellesley High School English teacher, whose “You Are Not Special” speech, encouraged students to go out and make their privileged lives remarkable despite everyone-gets-a-soccer-trophy childhoods.

At my daughter’s high school graduation last week, we heard speeches from three valedictorians and one salutatorian. In a graduating class of more than 700 students, these students have crazy good grades. They are the brightest bulbs in the box. Current and future leaders. And their speeches were awful.

I’m sure they all Googled “qualities of good speeches” and learned that the hallmark of an exceptional speech is an engaging story. So they all told stories. One valedictorian shared his first goal from when he was five years old: He had wanted to be a bus driver. Then he added with a laugh, “Thankfully, my parents talked me into setting much higher goals!” His insensitive remark wafted over the caps and gowns to the parents in the bleachers, who groaned and shook their heads.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs are almost by definition passionate, driven, exceptional people. But your most brilliant idea or message can sabotage your cause if you don’t consider how to catch and keep an audience’s attention:

Appropriate. Sure, a memorable speaker can and should paint vivid stories. But did no one point out to the valedictorian that his bus driver comment was elitist and inappropriate? How many hard-working, non-white-collar parents or grandparents made his education and success—and those of his peers-- possible? As an eager college intern, I once introduced a corporate video about impending cutbacks with a breezy comment about how there wasn’t a pre-movie cartoon. I quickly regretted my poor attempt at levity. Don’t forget, a great speech should be a gift from you. It’s not all about you. 


4 Leadership Lessons From Abraham Lincoln

In a scene from the Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln tells her husband: "No one is loved as much as you by the people. Don't waste that power." Spoiler alert: He doesn't.
While the movie focuses on the passing of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, it also gives a lot of insight to Lincoln's strong leadership skills -- those things that have made him so admired.
While you may not be leading revolutionary change in the country, here are four leadership lessons from our 16th president on how to lead revolutionary change at your startup or small business.
1. Say no to 'Yes Men.' At a time in history when the United States was at war with itself, Lincoln surprisingly chose to fill his cabinet with a team of his rivals. These were men he considered to be the best and brightest minds in the country, and they were unafraid to challenge Lincoln and assert their opposition. A self-confident man, Lincoln welcomed strong opinions as it provoked thoughtful debate as well as inner reflection. It proved to be an important tactic during his presidency. 
Rick Lepsinger, president of the New York City-based leadership consulting firm OnPoint, agrees: "Don't hire in your own image," he says. "Get comfortable with conflict and learn how to manage differences productively."
Lepsinger suggests that leaders not allow conflicts to fester, but bring them to the surface as soon as possible. He also recommends avoiding the overuse of compromise, looking instead for common ground and alternatives.

This One Leadership Quality Will Make or Break You

One of the most often overlooked aspects of leadership is the need for pursuit. Great leaders are never satisfied with traditional practice, static thinking, conventional wisdom, or common performance. In fact, the best leaders are simply uncomfortable with anything that embraces the status quo. 

Leadership is pursuit – pursuit of excellence, of elegance, of truth, of what’s next, of what if, of change, of value, of results, of relationships, of service, of knowledge, and of something bigger than themselves. In the text that follows I’ll examine the value of being a pursuer…

Here’s the thing – pursuit leads to attainment. What you pursue will determine the paths you travel, the people you associate with, the character you develop, and ultimately, what you do or don’t achieve. Having a mindset focused on pursuit is so critical to leadership that lacking this one quality can sentence you to mediocrity or even obsolescence. The manner, method, and motivation behind any pursuit is what sets truly great leaders apart from the masses. If you want to become a great leader, become a great pursuer.

A failure to embrace pursuit is to cede opportunity to others. A leader’s failure to pursue clarity leaves them amidst the fog. Their failure to pursue creativity relegates them to the routine and mundane. Their failure to pursue talent sentences them to a world of isolation.  Their failure to pursue change approves apathy. Their failure to pursue wisdom and discernment subjects them to distraction and folly. Their failure to pursue character leaves a question mark on their integrity. Let me put this as simply as I can – you cannot attain what you do not pursue.

13 Ways To Encourage Teamwork

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." 
  -Andrew Carnegie

Whether you're already the boss or still an aspiring leader, knowing how to encourage teamwork is an essential business skill. Building a team involves more than just putting the right people together.

If you have the luxury of hand picking your team, assess their strengths and weaknesses to ensure the best combination of skills. Surround yourself with excellent people and be careful not to choose clones of yourself. Diversity is good, if the individuals are willing to work together.

A particular challenge arises when you're assigned a group of people who have no interest in being part of a team. A true test of your leadership ability will be creating an environment where each employee wants to work cooperatively and collaboratively. Develop effective teamwork and you'll inspire productivity, quality and loyalty.

share the vision

1- Focus on the big picture

Explain the long-range plans of the company and reinforce them regularly. People often become so focused on today's problems and routine duties that they lose sight of the big picture. When some members of the team concentrate on putting out fires, others can dedicate more time to reviewing processes to eliminate future problems.

2- Define roles

Outline the responsibilities of everyone on the team. This is crucial to the team's success. Understanding each other's duties and deadlines helps people work collaboratively. Encourage the team to define the division of labor themselves. They'll take on more responsibility if they are in control and someone may even offer a previously untapped talent.

3- Set goals

Why is employee motivation important?

The answer to "Why is employee motivation important?" is because in today's down economy, it's more important than ever to have a motivated workforce.

That's because a motivated employee is a productive employee. And a productive employee is a more profitable employee. See how that works? When people aren't motivated, they become less productive, less creative, less of an asset to your company. Now more than ever, we need motivated employees!

Then, obviously, the answer to "why is employee motivation important?" is simple: So you can stay in business. With that in mind, here are some ways you can get your employees motivated, enthused, and ready to go conquer the world:

First, motivate yourself.

Have you ever worked for a sourpuss? I know I have...on more than one occasion, as a matter of fact. Talk about a de-motivator! It's hard to feel good about your job if your boss is stressed out, disinterested, and/or unmotivated.

However, one of the truest statements ever made is that enthusiasm is contagious. (Oh, by the way, the opposite is true as well.) If your employees see that you're enthusiastic about your job, they are more likely to be enthusiastic about theirs.

Then, one of the first steps to learning why is employee motivation important, is to find out what motivates you and then make sure you're doing it on a regular basis. Are you motivated by money? Extra time off? Praise and recognition? Just because you're the boss doesn't mean you shouldn't be rewarded! Chances are good that many of the things that motivate you will answer the question of why is employee motivation important. Which leads us to the next subject...

Understand what motivates your employees.

Again remember that main answer to why is employee motivation important is so you can stay in business. Therefore, before you can understand why is employee motivation important you must understand what motivates them individually.

Different people are motivated by different things: money, success, recognition, popularity, status, career development, health, balance, learning. Use this list as a starting point to develop your own "motivational" list, and ask each of your employees to check the things that are important to them. Once they do this, sit down with each employee to discuss her motivational factors and design a reward program that is specific to her individual psyche.

Obviously, there are many ways to tangibly reward employees, 

5 Body Language Errors that Will Sink Your Presentation

Want to be a dynamic speaker or presenter? Then you'd better learn body language! 

Listen, there's a lot of paint-by-number body language advice out there, especially concerning reading what you're seeing. Follow those tips if you want to stay confused and in the weeds. ("She just tucked her hair behind her ear. What does it mean?")

If on the other hand you want to understand how true leaders move when they speak in public, you have to take a different approach. At Public Speaking International, we tell our executive speech coaching clients to forget the how-to advice. How many leaders do you know who hold themselves and move in specific ways because someone told them they ought to do so?

You should understand this general rule instead: do what you find natural in terms of movement and gestures. Make it strong, limited, and controlled . . . but make it natural. (For powerful tips on using nonverbal communication effectively, download our Learning Guide "How to Use Body Language and Gestures as a Speaker.") 

In terms of prescriptions, it's more helpful to learn how to avoid the errors that will brand you as an amateur. This article discusses five of those errors. Avoid them at all costs if you want your speech or presentation to be the stuff of history, rather than sly grins and rolling eyes (now there's an easily read gesture!).

1. Splitting Your Focus: Appropriately enough given its title, this error involves poor eye contact. You've seen this again and again: the speaker splits his or her attention between the audience and their notes (or alternatively, the PowerPoint screen). It looks like this: A few words delivered to the audience, then a quick glance down at the page or the screen, some more words to the listeners, back to the page, another remark to the by-now suffering audience, then another glance tossed toward the screen, etc.

Why is this speaker doing this? Is her name written on her 3 x 5 cards? Does he need to remind himself of his title and the company he works for? The answer is self-consciousness. Audiences are often strangers, and one's notes (or the PowerPoint screen) is a familiar life preserver—one that speaker will hang on to for dear life! But your greeting is THE section of your presentation where you open a communication channel with your audience. Give them 100% of your eye contact as you talk straight to them. You're saying things you don't need to look down to discover. So don't.

2. Weak or Unbalanced Stance

How To Plan and Organize the Work of a Team

A team's work can only be as good as the weakest link in the chain. That's why in any activity, good planning and adequate participation by each member is needed to make sure that you succeed. In an imperfect world, nothing is bound to be perfect, but with good planning and teamwork, a group can achieve great feats.
Here are a few tips in planning and organizing your team's activities.
  • Select a good leader. A leader doesn't have to know everything and do everything. The most important characteristic of a leader is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each member of a team, and using the strengths to the advantage of the group.

  • List tasks and milestones. Before starting an activity, be sure you plan the details. This includes each small task, and bigger milestones. List these down, and make sure each person has a list of the tasks that the group has to do. The leader should be able to have a good big-picture perspective, so he knows if he needs to assign certain specific tasks to any particular person.

  • Assign specific tasks. Once the tasks have been identified, the leader should be able to delegate these according to the abilities and skills of each member. The tasks may not necessarily be distributed equally, but rather equitably, with each person doing what he can best do.

  • Keep communicating. Another big responsibility of the leader is knowing what is happening and where, at any given time. He should be able to talk to everyone, or at least point persons from each sub-group, if the group is a big one. Each member should also communicate to others, especially when in need of assistance in one particular task.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Developing Confidence in Public Speaking: Some Dos and Don'ts

This article will explain how to develop one of the key skills for postgraduate students and academics, that of public speaking. It is also something that jobseekers in other fields might find useful because public speaking skills can be put to good use in any job interviews and in presentations at work. So here are some dos and don'ts to help you improve your public speaking.

DO control your nerves

No one likes standing up and speaking in public initially (apart from a very few extroverted characters) so it is natural to be nervous. However people such as lecturers develop techniques to conquer nerves so that they can stand up in front of a classroom everyday and deliver clear, confident lectures.

How do they do that? Confidence comes from knowing your material thoroughly; if you are sure that your speech is relevant and aimed at the right level (i.e. not too complex or too simplistic) then you will feel better about delivering it. Similarly familiarise yourself with the room in which you will speak, so you know where the podium will be, how many will be in the audience and so on. Also it's important to realise that some nervousness is natural and beneficial to you: the adrenaline pumping round your body will help you deliver a better speech, although this should only kick in a few minutes before you are due to speak, not several hours or even days before! Some people find that deep breathing techniques work to calm them down; others avoid caffeine for the few hours before the ‘performance'.

DON'T speak too fast

Linked with being nervous is the problem of speaking too fast. One of the most common public speaking mistakes is to speak at a pace that your listeners find hard to follow. Think back to good public speakers you have heard or even brilliant orators from public life such as Martin Luther King Jr. The pauses and pace of delivery in their speeches are key to maximising the impact of their words.

To help you to deliver at a natural pace, try not to simply read from a pre-prepared script. Instead, prepare notes and bullet points and have the confidence to speak from these and your memory. You will speak more slowly and naturally. However, this is a high level skill; many lecturers don't have the confidence to deliver speeches in this way, so be aware that it may take you several years to develop the technique.

Along with pace, think about the tone and volume of your voice. Don't allow your tone to become monotonous and don't speak too quietly. It's worth asking for a microphone if you have a quiet speaking voice and you have to try to carry your voice across a large room.

DO plan ahead

The best public speakers are well prepared. They know their subject and their audience. They know that their speech fills the allotted time. They are prepared to answer questions about their subject.

This is especially important when preparing speeches for a job interview. You may be given only ten minutes in which to outline your research or teaching interests, this is a real challenge because ten minutes will go very quickly. So practise giving your speech at home to check that you do not run over your time limit. If you are preparing supplementary materials such as handouts, ensure that these are correct and that there are enough for your audience. In terms of the content of the speech don't try to do too much, keep it simple. Especially in a job interview presentation you want to offer an opening to discussion, not the final word. Find out who your audience is going to be; you will want to address a room full of postgraduate students in a very different manner to a room full of professors or administrators.

DON'T read from a script

10 Ways to Motivate Your Employees

As business owners, we're always told to look at our balance sheets and profit and loss statements, because that's where we can determine the success of our business and discover our problems. Yet nowhere on either of those sheets do we list employees. Where would you put them? Under assets, or liabilities? Or both? The most challenging part of running a business is finding and keeping good employees. We can't do it without them, as we haven't found a way to clone ourselves — at least not yet.

I love the HVAC business, and I love helping my employees succeed in this business.

Yet it seems that finding and keeping good employees is one of the toughest things business owners face today. As hard as I work at it, I still find it challenging. However, it's also one of the things I first notice about highly successful owners: no matter what their company's size, they spend the time and energy necessary to build a good team.

How do we go about building a good team? First, we need to find people who want to succeed. Then, we need to figure out ways to help them succeed. It's an ongoing process that I strongly believe is all about motivation. Even highly skilled and capable people can lose their motivation and become unproductive. What we, as owners and managers, need to do is figure out how to keep them motivated. We need to take some of the responsibility and not always put the blame on the employees. It's an equal partnership between employee and employer

What Motivates Us?

I took a psychology class a few years ago. It was a study of the major theories of human motivation. While that may sound boring and complicated, it's actually very simple and it makes sense.

Probably the most well known approach to motivation is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory. Maslow felt you needed to satisfy human needs in different levels in order to motivate people to higher levels. According to Maslow, people have five levels of needs. They start with the basic needs that are biological and physiological. The second level is the safety and security needs. The third is the need to belong or social needs. Finally, the last two levels consist of the highest motivational needs: self esteem and self fulfillment.

To put it in simple business terms, the first thing you have to do is make sure your employees are getting paid well so they can buy food and pay for a home. Then, you need to make sure they feel safe on the job, and they have a sense of job security. Next, you need to surround them with a pleasant place to work, good co-workers, and be a fair boss. You must let them know their personal lives matter. Then if you've satisfied those basic needs and want to more highly motivate them, you'll do it by giving them recognition, training, and opportunities for advancement. At this point they need to feel good about themselves.

Ask Your Employees What's Important to Them

11 Tips for Building and Managing a Team

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re hiring employees for your business, give yourself a pat on the back. This is a major milestone for any company – and one that millions of entrepreneurs never achieve. Now your challenge is finding the right employee and putting them to work in a way that will help propel your company’s continued growth.

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, this question:

    “What one employee management tip would you give entrepreneurs who are building their team?”

Here’s what the YEC community had to say:

1. Train Them

“Many entrepreneurs have the deluded expectation that an employee should show up able to do their job. No matter how competent they are, an employee will require train up and integration time. An added upshot, thinking about employee training cycles and growth paths really gets you thinking about how to grow your company.” ~ Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing

2. Create an Entrance Interview

“We’ve created some documents for new employees to fill out right when they start about how they like to work, be rewarded, have meetings, etc. By having this written down it gives our whole team an understanding of how new team members might fit in and creates a better work culture.” ~ Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding

3. Get a Good Project Management System

“Entrepreneurs can keep the big picture in their head, but employees need to have the details in front of them. A good project management software (Manymoon is free) is a great way to keep the team focused and on task. Efficiency and productivity increase when you measure accountability with project management software.” ~ Lucas Sommer, Audimated

4. Teach Employees to Never Need a Manager

“Teach and empower your employees by giving them parameters to help them do their job autonomously. A sales rep doesn’t need a script, she must understand what makes a product valuable to a customer, and the many ways to point out those benefits. A service rep does not need a “company policy” to refer to, but rather a strategy for solving problems so the client is satisfied.” ~ Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia
5. Set a Quarterly Theme and Vision

Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, I have sensed from many leaders that they want to do a better job of leading in accordance with their personal values. The crisis exposed the fallacies of measuring success in monetary terms and left many leaders with a deep feeling of unease that they were being pulled away from what I call their True North.

As markets rose and bonus pools grew, it was all too easy to celebrate the rising tide of wealth without examining the process that created it. Too many leaders placed self-interest ahead of their organizations' interests, and ended up disappointing the customers, employees, and shareholders who had trusted them. I often advise emerging leaders, "You know you're in trouble when you start to judge your self-worth by your net worth." Nevertheless, many leaders get caught up in this game without realizing it.

This happened to me in 1988, when I was an executive vice president at Honeywell, en route to the top. By external standards I was highly successful, but inside I was deeply unhappy. I had begun to focus too much on impressing other people and positioning myself to become CEO. I was caught up with external measures of success instead of looking inward to measure my success as a human and a leader. I was losing my way.

My colleague, Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen, addressed this topic in his HBR article, How Will You Measure Your Life? Clay observed that few people, if any, intend at the outset of their career to behave dishonestly and hurt others. Early on, even Bernie Madoff and Enron's Jeff Skilling planned to live honest lives. But then, Christensen says, they started making exceptions to the rules "just this once."

At Harvard Business School, we are challenging students to think hard about their definition of success and what's important in their lives. Instead of viewing success as reaching a certain position or achieving a certain net worth, we encourage these future leaders to see success as making a positive difference in the lives of their colleagues, their organizations, their families, and society as a whole. The course that I created in 2005, Authentic Leadership Development (ALD), has become one of the most popular elective MBA courses, thanks to my HBS colleagues who are currently teaching it. It enables second-year MBAs to ground their careers in their beliefs, values, and principles, following the authentic leadership process described in my 2007 book, True North. More recently, ALD has become a very popular course for executives of global companies.

With all the near-term pressures in today's society, especially in business, it is very difficult to find the right equilibrium between achieving our long-term goals and short-term financial metrics. As you take on greater leadership responsibilities, the key is to stay grounded and authentic, face new challenges with humility, and balance professional success with more important but less easily quantified measures of personal success. That is much easier said than done.

How to Nail an Interesting Presentation

Use Different Methods to Communicate

There are two parts to communication:

  •     What you say (the message)
  •     How you say it (the presentation)

The presentation you use to get your message across does not have to be verbal; in fact, using only verbal communication is, in my opinion, the most common mistake made when trying to present information.

Your message can be packaged in anything from a video or drama, to a picture or graph. Choosing which method you will use will take careful thought and planning.

It’s in the Presentation Details

My favorite form of communication is design; it really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine a poorly designed business website which is unorganized, cluttered, and clearly hasn’t been updated in close to a decade.

At the bottom of the site, you read words like "professional, informed, expert, care, and value". The greatest writer in the world couldn’t redeem that website using words alone – its message is flawed based on its presentation.

Whatever methods you use, it is always essential to look at every single aspect of your presentation and ask yourself "does this communicate my message effectively?"

Full-form Delivery

Even when you speak, only 10% of your communication is verbal. What you wear, your body language, your expressions, and your tone of voice are just as important as the words you say. This is a principle that is incredibly important to understand, as it changes your entire approach to how you present your message.

For example, studies have shown what within the first 12 seconds of an interview, the interviewer has gathered enough information about you to decide whether or not they want to hire you – a good thing to know if you are looking for a job right now.

Give It To Them Straight

The same thing applies to TV commercials, listeners at a conference or meeting, and people looking at advertisements. You have a very short time to communicate your points; so don’t bury your message too deep. The first thing someone hears or sees should clearly present your message to your audience just as much as your closing statement.

Preparation Time is Never Wasted Time

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Seven Tips About How You Can Seriously Influence Employee Motivation

Employee motivation is a continuing challenge at work. Particularly in work environments that don't emphasize employee satisfaction as part of an embraced and supported overall business strategy, supervisors and managers walk a tough road.

On the one hand, they recognize their power in drawing forth the best employees have to offer; on the other, they feel unsupported, rewarded or recognized themselves for their work to develop motivated, contributing employees.

My word to managers? Get over it. No work environment will ever perfectly support your efforts to help employees choose motivated behaviors at work. Even the most supportive workplaces provide daily challenges and often appear to operate at cross purposes with your goals and efforts to encourage employee motivation.

The worst workplaces for employees? Let’s not even go there. They struggle to engage a fraction of their employees’ motivation and desire to contribute. They never obtain their employees’ discretionary energy.

No matter what climate your organization provides to support employee motivation, you can, within the perimeters of your areas of responsibility, and even beyond, if you choose to extend your reach, create an environment that fosters and calls forth employee motivation. 

Seven Opportunities to Influence Employee Motivation

[VIDEO] Presenting & Public Speaking Tips

Are You Still Terrified Of Public Speaking?

If you’re still terrified of public speaking, and it’s holding you back in business or your own life achievements, here’s my advice for getting over it. It’s proven to work!

Well I’ll start with this: When I first started my career in advertising in 1996, the Media Director of the ad agency where I was working told me she hated presenting at new business pitches and public speaking at industry events – there was no getting away from the duty of pitching but she would avoid speaking on stage at events like it was the plague. She said she would get so nervous about presenting in front of strangers that she would vomit.

I didn’t have too much of a hard time with speaking my mind, but I had almost no experience with high-pressure, competitive new business pitches and had no experience at all with public speaking other than some acting auditions when I was 15 and had aspirations of being a movie actress. While I could weasel my way into almost any audition, I wasn’t a strong actress (not on screen at least), and I always had nerves at the audition so it never really went beyond non-speaking extra roles.

I’ve written before about my shyness, and how I suffered with stage-fright and managed it with Toastmasters in my 20’s and a decade later in my career with hypnotherapy, but last year when I had the chance to return to a Toastmasters meeting with my friend Roger Pierce, I started to really recognize a whole other side to stage fright and why fear of public speaking is such a problem for so many people.

What we know is that for many people, this fear holds us back from speaking about our passions and expertise and often from participating in the activities that can help make our businesses stronger and lives so much richer.

I believe that for many of us this fear comes from being told as kids to be quiet, that our voice and opinion doesn’t matter, that we will embarrass our parents and likely humiliate ourselves. It creates a physiological reaction to the prospect of public speaking that acts like a trigger for pain and illness to literally stop us from embarrassing ourselves. 

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