Presentation Skills – 10 Points To Consider…

I recently heard these percentages about what’s important during presentations:

55% – how you look

38% – how you speak (delivery style)

7% – your content (what’s on your slides)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether these are accurate, we all can attest to remembering the presenter and not necessarily their slide deck! Here are ten points to consider prior to your next presentation:

  1. Set the stage. How do you enter the room? Are you positive, grounded, confident, engaged, and attentive to your audience?
  2. Body Language. Stand firm, grounded, but not like a statue. Don’t be small – don’t fold into yourself. Offer a big presence with minimal ego. Don’t intimidate. Open up your body/language. Gesture and hold the gesture. Don’t be frenetic/fast. Have purposeful movement – move, then stand and maintain balance.
  3. Facial Expression. Your face is prime real estate. Use it! Don’t be expressionless. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions show! And if you get nervous, breathe and fake it until you become it.
  4. Voice. Find YOUR voice. How do you say what you say? Project your voice for authority. Lower your pitch (especially some women). Be careful not to up-speak, where you sound like you are asking a question at the end of your comment.
  5. Eye Contact. Make connections with your eyes. Connect with each person in your audience if you can. Don’t allow your eyes to graze the room. Don’t read from your power point. Be natural. Don’t lock eyes, but do pause and connect. Remember – eye contact = point of trust!
  6. Energy. (I’m a yoga instructor too – of course I’m going to slide in something on energy…!) Find your natural energy – attune to your authentic energy. Show off your own personality and human-ness. Find the best version of yourself. Confident. Positive. Excited to win the project/etc. Don’t be too serious because you’ll end of being robotic. Remember being serious doesn’t mean that you’ll be taken seriously.
  7. Power of the Pause. Nothing commands the listener like the appropriately planned pause! Pauses are highly respectful towards your audience, allowing them time to absorb content. Pauses give you the opportunity to gather your thoughts.
  8. Content. Less is more. Spoken communication has a weight limit – like a bridge between you and your audience. Don’t overweight your message. Tell stories – and tell them in a way where everyone can visualize the meaning and depth of the point you are trying to convey. People remember stories because they relate to stories.
  9. Q & A is where selling really happens. This is where you become very credible. Embrace the questions! Prepare for the questions – as yourself what questions you do not want to be asked and be prepared to answer those! Your answer should address “why hire me/us?” Offer tight, concise answers and send any supplemental information as a follow up after your presentation. Tight answers show you know your stuff.
  10. Last but not least… Breathe! Be Yourself! and Have Fun!

Go Grow!

 

Ten Major Causes of Failure – How Many of These Are Holding You Back…

Inspired from: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Life’s greatest tragedy consists of men and women who earnestly try, and fail! The tragedy lies in the overwhelmingly large majority of people who fail, as compared to the few who succeed….and even more tragic are the scores of individuals who don’t, after a failure, pick themselves back up, dust themselves off, and try again!

As you review this list, check yourself by it, point by point, for the purpose of discovering how many of these causes-of-failure stand between you and success.

  1. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life.
  2. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity.
  3. Insufficient education.
  4. Lack of self-discipline.
  5. Ill health.
  6. Unfavorable environmental influences.
  7. Procrastination.
  8. Lack of persistence.
  9. Negative personality.
  10. Lack of making decisions promptly.

We are entering a new year – 2017. Look at these causes of failure. YOU have the power to control, direct, and navigate yourself away from these pitfalls and towards your success. None of these are in anyone else’s hands except your own. Take responsibility for your happiness and success in 2017 and beyond. Go Grow!

Adaptive Innovation…

Adaptive innovation increases growth – sales growth, operating income growth, market growth, profit growth – etc. Adaptive innovation is about doing things differently and requires a relationship-centric culture with the courage to fail and learn from those failures. It’s often fueled by those at the edge of the business, often closest to the voice of the customer – sales, client-relationship management. It is not about imitating the strategies of others or through traditional value add….but shaping your organization’s own destiny. Innovation is a process with multiple enablers, contributors, and positive components. For example, a single ad never works. Advertising (especially in B2B) just contributes to the noise. When you innovate, the market seeks you out.

Adaptively innovate…go grow!

Don’t Make Assumptions…Ask Questions….Get Clarification…

Inspired by “The Four Agreements”

We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. I hear this in business all the time – “we lost because our fee was too high, too low, politics, they didn’t like us” … yada yada yada. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking – we take it personally – then we blame them and react – almost always negatively. That is why when we make assumptions, we are asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.

Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.

We only see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. We don’t perceive things the way they are. Our minds want answers. Our mind will not rest until we put the puzzle together and have an answer – even if the answer is false.

If others tell us something, we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate.

The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. It is always better to ask questions than make an assumption. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear as you can be, and even then do not assume you know all there is to know about a given situation.

With clear communication, all of your relationships will change.

Rekindling A Former Business Relationship…

It’s hard to keep all relationships active and alive and relevant. Often years will go by before we realize how many relationships  we have allowed to go dormant. Here are five points to consider when rejuvenating a relationship:

  1. Is it worth it?: Sometimes it is best to keep the door closed. Before you do anything, make sure it’s worth the TME….Time Money Energy.
  2. What’s in it for them?: Think about how this reconnection is beneficial to the other person. Are you offering a new service that you think could help them? Has your team grown or changed in a way that could benefit your former business partner? Be creative and always be of service to THEM, not you.
  3. What was then is not necessarily now: Don’t assume that everything has stayed the same. Business and life has likely changed for both of you. Do an assessment of where they are now. Explore new opportunities to help them. Be open to new possibilities.
  4. Provide incredible value: Find ways to be of service and provide amazing value to them. Solve problems they have. Create new opportunities for them to grow their top and/or bottom lines. Become a partner to help them and you’ll have a much greater chance to rejuvenate relationships.
  5. Be a connector and collaborator: How can you connect various members of your team and network with each other to develop new opportunities? I love connecting remarkable people who end up assisting each other. They both win, and they remember who brought them together.

Rejuvenating a dormant relationship can produce incredible results. Take the time to come up with creative reasons to rejuvenate the relationship that will benefit them.

Once you’ve rejuvenated the relationship, do your best to keep it strong this time! Go Grow!

How Are Yoga and Business Development Connected?…

Many people ask me, “why are you focused on two so seemingly different concentrations?”

Business Development Strategy and Implementation and Yoga?

Most businesses want to grow but are stuck in negative patterns that don’t serve them. Many have a lot of ideas about how to grow, but they get stuck figuring out how to implement the ideas, or track the ROI, or stay disciplined in the execution, or be good team-mates. Many professionals have negative mind chatter about their individual capabilities or their organizations capabilities/strengths. Many people quite simply don’t know how to talk about themselves or their organizations in ways that resonate with who they are trying to sell to. I could go on an on about where and how people and businesses get stuck.

Most people view yoga as solely physical postures, or a way to get flexible. Sure, one of the eight limbs of yoga is Asana – physical postures. One of eight.

Yoga is really a way of life. It’s a life practice. It’s beautiful and I hope more people get a glimpse of it’s true essence.

My areas of concentration are perfectly related. I could not do what I do for my (biz dev) clients without a strong, disciplined yoga practice. Yoga allows me to see more clearly at the root level.

It’s easy for me to see opportunities and challenges – but it’s only because of my yoga practice. Similarly, through practicing and teaching yoga, I can read anyone like a book. Your body doesn’t lie. The more aware, open, focused, flexible, disciplined, intuitive you are, the more you can see true opportunities of how to better develop your business to serve your clients. Mind chatter slows down, intuition unfolds. Weed out what doesn’t serve you. Surrender to what’s possible.

Go do yoga – and Go Grow!

 

7 Things Successful People Never Do…

Inspired by a post from Lolly Daskal, President & CEO, Lead from Within

What differentiates those who are successful from those who are not? It’s a matter of habits. In business and in life, if you truly want to succeed, there are some habits that work and there are other habits that never should be repeated. Here are seven habits that are worth eliminating:

  1. Believing you can please everyone. Stay open, flexible, collaborative, and seek win-wins – of course. But it’s absolutely impossible to please everyone. Don’t waste your energy even trying.
  2. Repeating what didn’t work the first time. Realize mistakes are for learning, not repeating.
  3. Accepting short-term contentment over long-term value. Good things take time. Stay focused on the long-term and take steps every day to get there, rather than letting the “shiny new toy affect” steal your attention.
  4. Compromising your true self to fit in. Know and trust who you are, and never adjust yourself for others. You will not fit in everywhere and with everyone – but who cares. It’s more important to be and stand grounded in your authentic self.
  5. Trusting something that looks too good to be true. Do your own due diligence to determine the actual value.
  6. Taking your eyes off your vision. Stay focused on your dreams, your vision, your goals. If you get out of alignment or if something distracts you, work to find your alignment again. Be meticulous and very disciplined about your focus.
  7. Disconnecting appearances and reality. Who you are on the inside should be reflected on the outside – the moment there is a disconnect – there will be dis-ease. When this disconnect happens, take a step back, pause, and get back in sync – inside and out.

Many people ask me about Yoga and Business Development Consulting – why the two so seemingly different concentrations – it’s actually perfectly related and connected. I’ll be talking more about that connection in upcoming posts.

Go grow!

Persistence Pays…

Inspired from Author Napoleon Hill….and a few other folks!

Persistence Amy Johnson OrganicabrandLack of persistence is a weakness common to business developers and professional services firms. It is a weakness that can be overcome by consistent effort. Conquering lack of persistence is fully dependent upon the intensity of the person or organization’s desire to reach their goal(s). Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.

If you find yourself or your organization lacking in persistence, build a stronger fire under your desires. Annual planning helps – set simple and clear objectives, goals, and take consistent and persistent action. Keep looking at your goals, keep taking action toward those goals.

You may find it necessary to “snap” out of your mental inertia. Be persistent no matter how slowly you may, at first, have to move. With persistence will come success. There is no substitute for persistence. It cannot be supplanted by any other quality. Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they continue to pick themselves up after each setback and keep on trying. They receive, as their compensation, attaining whatever goal they are pursuing. Without persistence, you will be defeated, even before you start. With persistence, you will win.

Go Grow!

 

Why Follow Up On Proposals and Fee Quotes…

After months and months of asking a client to follow up on a fee proposal we had sent out through my client’s firm, I decided to call the prospective client myself. I had talked with the prospect initially so it wasn’t entirely odd for me to follow up. Unfortunately, the prospect had already hired a different firm several months prior and questioned why we hadn’t stayed in touch. He didn’t think we were interested in the project because we never called to follow up. Hmmm.

I recently read a statistic that blew me away. By following up on your fee proposals and quotes (in a timely manner), you will increase your win rate as much as 20%. Prospects are often “on the fence” about who to hire – and if you follow up on your proposals and show some additional interest – this often (apparently) tips the scale in your favor.

What would it look like if you were able to increase your win rate by even 5-10% – just by following up in a timely manner on the fee proposals you spend so much time preparing?

What kind of effort does it take to pick up the phone or resend the email – and touch base and follow up?

This is LOW HANGING FRUIT….isn’t it? Tighten your process by a smidge – Follow up on your proposals and fee quotes. Go Grow!

 

Five Ways To Improve Making Your Point…

Inspired by an article by Scott Ginsberg 

Whether you are networking, presenting, or conversing on the phone, consider these five tactics to make your point faster and better:

  1. Use plain language. The less jargon you use, the more engaging you become. When writing, shorter sentences get read. When speaking, shorter sentences get heard. Think like a writer. Watch those long and cumbersome sentences. Don’t overload people’s brains. Don’t spew one idea after another. Keep your message lean and free of nonessential words. Are your messages simple and insightful?
  2. Demonstrate commitment. Tell one brief story about how you went overboard on your commitment. In sharing, you intentionally stretch people, you force them to turn inward, confront themselves and start wondering how far they’d go. People rarely forget conversations like that. Point made. How are you letting people bond with your level of commitment while simultaneously challenging them to reexamine their own?
  3. Hanger words. Hanger words are conversational hooks that attract people’s attention by building excitement around what you’re going to say next. Examples include: Here’s the deal… Let me ask you this… Think of it this way… Yes, and here’s why… I have one observation… Here’s the difference… I have one question… Two secrets to using vocal hangers: watch your tone so you don’t come across “salesy” …and… pause ever so slightly before you deliver the goods. This heightens the level of anticipation and energy into the conversation. The more you practice, the more natural they will sound. How do you elicit rapt interest?
  4. Reflect their reality. Take notes during a conversation. Select something in particular from these notes, turn the piece of paper around, then ask the other person to read the passage. More often than not, people are shocked when they hear themselves speak. This feedback process offers a verbal mirror. It reflects the other person’s reality and helps people see themselves as others see them. What’s more, there’s no greater way to make a point than to mirror people’s own words. How are you using note taking for point making?
  5. Stories trump resumes. Facts are retained – stories are retold. Which one are you using to prove your point?

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