Monday, March 31, 2008

Discover The Secret Of Young Entrepreneurs Everywhere

Invest in the future.  Invest in our youth.From time to time, I scour the net looking for all things that pertain to Dale Carnegie, public speaking and sales training. I even have my Google alerts turned on (by the way, if you don’t know how to do that, send me email or leave a message down below and I’ll help you through it).

At any rate, I came across this blog down in Dallas. They are offering a program that we have offered in the past and will offer again this summer.

Entitled Generation Next, it’s a program designed for the young adult and focuses on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. Naturally, there will be some public speaking and there will be a focus on the human relations principles.

What I’m really excited about with this program, however, is the beginnings of a business education for young people just entering the business world.

When you stop to think about the founders of Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), Dell (Michael Dell), and even Microsoft (Bill Gates), they were all in their early 20s when they created and nurtured their then fledgling enterprises.

When we consider the differences between these young people and the majority of our youth today who haven’t started some entrepreneurial venture, we find that the difference is not capital, but rather:

  1. Initiative
  2. A love for what they do
  3. Communication skills
  4. Selling skills
  5. Leadership skills
  6. A healthy dose of moxy

The Dale Carnegie Generation Next program is about more than getting young adults the self-confidence to speak in front of a group. It’s about giving them a chance to make their mark on the world.

The description of the Dallas program is here. Give it a review and then let me know if you want to be kept up to date on program times and dates in Ohio by either leaving a comment below or filling in the form on the sidebar.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Turn Your Speech Into A Mesmerizing Performance

Mesmerize you audience by mastering these 4 elements of your presentation.During 1999, I was a member of a Toastmasters group in Saratoga, CA. We met every Saturday morning at 9:00 AM for 2 hours. If you’ve never been to a toastmasters meeting, you need to put that on your “bucket list”. It can be an entertaining experience and they don’t require guest to speak at the first meeting, unless you want to, of course.

At this particular meeting, I was responsible for listening to every speaker’s grammar and noting any “creative uses” of the English language. Keeping your ears opened and listening for these instances can be a daunting task, especially when you have a room of over 25 people.

During the “free-for-all” impromptu speaking portion of the meeting, Johnny T. was given a question to respond to. Johnny T., being a very animated and passionate speaker, stood up, walked to the lectern and started to tear the floor up!

About 20 seconds into his presentation, I noticed that his statements weren’t making a whole lot of sense. So I stopped listening for creative grammar uses and began to focus on the content. After 15 more seconds, I was pretty sure that what he was saying wasn’t making any sense at all.

I also noticed something else. Looking around the room, I saw that every person in the room was mesmerized! They were really into his message, which was rather silly since he didn’t really have a message. But they were spellbound none-the-less.

Johnny T. finished up just a little over 60 seconds and when he did, everyone stood up and gave him a standing ovation. They were cheering and clapping wildly.

As we were settling down for the next speaker, I leaned over and asked the girl next to me, “what exactly did Johnny T. say?”

She paused, thought for a minute, and said, “I have absolutely no idea. But it sure sounded good!”

Sometimes we are caught up in what to say when we are crafting our presentation and knowing what to say is important.

But knowing how to say it can have a greater impact on our audience, and many of us give little thought to that aspect of our message.

When you get up to deliver your message, here are 4 essential elements you need to consider:

  1. How You Look. Does your dress and grooming reflect the message that you want to deliver? Does it reflect the styles and tastes of your audience?

  2. What You Do. Your poise and stance. The body language that you use. Does it send the message that you are in control? Does it relay your confidence and knowledge or does it betray your nervousness and lack of preparation?

  3. What You Say. The actual message that you want to deliver.

  4. How You Say It. The tone, quality and pacing of your voice. Does the speed match the message and the audience? Are the pitch, timbre and cadence in line with what you want to say? Does your vocal volume and intensity reflect the tone of the message?

An analogy we can use in this instance is to equate our message to medicine inside a syringe and needle. The message is the equivalent of the medicine. It has the power to heal or to hurt, depending on the purpose. However, the treatment is pretty useless without an effective delivery method, regardless of its potency. A dull needle or spraying it along the face and hoping that our subject inhales some of it are not effective delivery methods. A syringe with a sharp needle, however, will allow us to inject the medicine right into the bloodstream with little or no pain at all.

Your message delivery has to be the same as that finely sharpened needle and syringe if you hope to make the necessary impact with yur message. If it’s off or doesn’t match the audience, your message won’t have the impact that you desire.

But if all three elements are in alignment and as sharp as they can be, then you can be like Johnny T., deliver any message that you want and get a standing ovation for your efforts.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How To Appear Presidential Without The Cost Or Hassles Of A Presidential Campaign

When using notes during a presentation, keep them on the lectern and leave your hands free to engage the audience.Most of what we teach in the Dale Carnegie Course, the High Impact Presentations program, and the new Public Speaking Mastery program, entails being natural and engaging in front of the audience. For us, this means not memorizing a speech, not reading it, but delivering a presentation from your heart while staying connected to your audience. To be engaging as a speaker, you’ll need to be free to read the audience’s body language. That way, you’ll know if you are communicating with them or if you are putting them to sleep, allowing you to make the necessary course corrections.

On rare occasions, however, you will need to deliver a presentation that will be more presidential. Either you will be standing behind a lectern or sitting at a table staring at the business end of a video camera reading a prepared speech. In those instances, you may find yourself shuffling papers or cards as you read your speech and transition between pages.

While we address this particular challenge in the High Impact Presentations program, here is a technical alternative that may give you more flexibility. It turns your wireless notebook or tablet PC into a teleprompter! Yes, that same piece of equipment that presidential candidates, politicians and news anchors use to appear poised and natural when they are reading material in front of an audience or a camera crew.

There are limitations, such as it only accepts 2000 characters (this entry has 2185 characters) and you need to be connected to the Internet. But the price is right and it does give you a chance to deliver a read speech without the hassles of squinting at pages that you mistakenly printed in 10pt type.

For those of you scheduled to take a High Impact Presentation program in your area, you may want to think about using this particular tool in your coming class for the "speech reading" assignment.

But this tool still has value even if you are deathly afraid of speaking in public and you don’t envision yourself ever speaking to a group of people. You can still use the tool in training yourself to read from a laptop screen faster, a handy skill to develop in this age.

Check out the Online Teleprompter Here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Too Busy Working to Learn Public Speaking?

With the economy in its current state, everyone is squeezing their last dollar and trying to spend as much time as possible working to make ends meet. Dale Carnegie Training of Ohio and Indiana is taking measures to assist people in expanding their career options while allowing them more time to devote to their jobs and families.

On April 23, 2008, we’ll present the first of our 2-day seminar programs. Entitled Public Speaking Mastery, this program is designed for the person who finds himself in need of public speaking training to advance in their job but is squeezed for time.

These multi-day seminars use the same coaching methodology practiced in our longer training programs but are more focused to impart new ideas and get results within a 48 and 72 hour time limit.

Public Speaking Mastery runs for 8 hours a day for 2 consecutive business days. As a participant, you will have an opportunity to address the challenges that prevents you from getting up in front of a group and persuasively putting your ideas forth to your teams.

At the end of the program, you will come away with an understanding of how to construct your presentations to persuade or to inform, and have increased confidence when delivering your message from the coaching you will receive.

Sign up online before April 18 and you’ll get the introductory email course 5 Ways To Grab Your Audience’s Attention.

Go here for details on Public Speaking Mastery.

Why Should I Do Business With You?

I remember an incident in the summer of 2004 when I was working in the field for Dale Carnegie Training. I had just finished a call and closed the deal. When I came back into the office, I started entering the information into our CRM system. At the time, we were using individual copies of ACT synchronized to one central database requiring everybody to either type in the info at the office or use dial-up to synch up their databases. Information transfer was a mess and coordinating activity and knowledge between the sales reps was difficult.

This was well before we moved to and centralized the CRM system along with everybody’s activity.

When I looked in ACT, not only did I discover that this client had an existing record, but I also discovered that Bob had been working with this particular customer. He had sent out literature out, made phone calls, contacted the client numerous times and still got nowhere with them.

On this particular day, I went in, met the client and closed the deal.

I felt low. I liked Bob. Still do. I think he is a stand-up guy. The last thing I wanted to do was sneak in behind him and grab the sale after he’s done all of the heavy lifting.

So I approached Bob the next day and told him what happened.

His comment was "That’s alright. If they couldn’t remember me after all of the time I’ve spent with them, then I wasn’t effective in making a lasting impression."

I’ve often thought about that situation. I can remember similar sales calls where I did all of the heavy lifting with a client and another sales rep unknowingly came in behind me and closed the sale. It didn’t feel good.

But I’m reminded of Bob’s statement and his attitude. If I didn’t do enough to be memorable to the client, then I probably didn’t deserve the business either.

Then there are those other conversations I’ve had with clients that sounded like this: "Yeah, we got a call from someone in your company yesterday, but we told them that we already had a rep working on our programs."

Being memorable doesn’t have to be hit-or-miss. We can put it to a process. Ultimately, it comes down to being a valuable resource to your customers.

In this age where clients can buy anything they want online with no hassles at all, what value do you, the sales rep, bring to the table that justifies your client doing business with you?

The next time you are in a sales call with a client, delivering a presentation or in a job interview, ask yourself this simple question:

"What can I do right now to make an impression on my audience that will have them remember me as a valuable resource when I am not here?"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How To Get Your Audience’s Attention And Keep It

Start off strong by grabbing your audience's attention in all of your presentations.There I was, standing in front of a group of sales people giving a presentation on some of the marketing stuff we were doing with our technology like the Web,, VoIP, etc…

Being a technologist, I love all things tech. I love what it can do and how it can simplify our lives, provided that we know how to use it and what we are going to use it for.

However, I’m standing in front of a group of sales people who don’t really care that much about tech, nor do they care about all of the great things that it can do. What they care about is making their lives easier, increasing sales, getting in front of new people and not having the CEO throw some new “footballs” at them to catch and run with.

How do I get their attention and establish credibility when the program is centered on technology?

The answer? Get rapport by finding a common ground.

I told them a brief story about how Lance, the CEO “tossed me the football of preparing this presentation at the 11th hour saying that he had complete trust and faith that I was up to the task.” Something I was sure that they were all familiar with.

They all smiled and rolled their eyes with a, “Yeah, I’ve been in that situation before because he’s done the same thing to me” look. Now I’m one of them. I just described a shared experience. It was a good lead in to the agenda slide for the rest of the presentation. But the point here is that we started together. Mind you, I had to keep us together by constantly tying in what technology could do for them and how it was going to make their lives easier. But right at the start of the presentation, everyone was in the boat rowing together.

As a speaker, you’ll have to constantly monitor your audience and know when you are synchronized with them.

The first step, however, is to get your audience’s attention and achieve rapport with them. The easiest way to do this is by stepping into their world, understanding their wants and the world that they live in. This applies not just for the people in an auditorium, but for the person on the other end of a sales call as well.

If you can’t see things through your audience’s eyes and understand where they are, then your chances of “getting them” will fall dramatically.

I was on a conference call with a friend called… “Bob”. We were discussing marketing challenges for a new business concept. I asked a rather silly question. I asked, “What are some of the things that interest your potential customers? What can you do to interest them?”

“Bob’s” response was, “Well, I suppose I could make some guesses, but in order to do that, I would have to see things from their perspective and I just can’t do that.”

I was shocked! After all, Bob had been involved in sales his entire career. He considered himself a sales expert. Yet, he found this simple sales exercise impossible to do. He wanted to do things his way, to sell and market what he wanted his way, and he wanted to do that to everybody that he met with little regard to the wants and desires of the other party.

You have to be able to stand outside of your own thoughts and desires, and see things from your audience’s point of view. It doesn’t matter if your audience is a room of 200 people or one person on the other end of a sales presentation.

When you are the presenter, you are selling your ideas, projects or information to your audience. Do your homework. Study your audience. Find how they define their world and discover what is of vital interest to them. See things from their point of view and step into their world. Then get their attention by talking about something that they can identify with.

When you can get into their world, you can achieve rapport. When you have rapport with your audience, you can lead them through the rest of your presentation.

If you are a manager, sales rep or business owner, and you’ve never presented your concept before a group of people, go here and see the new, focused program that Dale Carnegie Training has created precisely for the beginning speaker.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How To Make Your Customers Angry On A Massive Level

Save your clients some anguish and pain.  Give them World Class Customer Service.It was late Sunday morning, the day after the snowstorm that dropped record levels of snow on Ohio. There was over two feet of snow on the ground and I needed this stuff off the driveway if I was planning to do any driving the next day.

We have a guy contracted to plow the snow. We’ll call him “Bob”. In fact, Bob has contracts for several homes in the neighborhood.

Well, the snow pretty much stopped falling Saturday night and I was expecting Bob to be out in the middle of the night to clean up the drives in his territory. From what I’ve seen in the past, this is standard operating procedure for most of these private snow removal contractors.

But my 11:00 AM Sunday, I had managed to finish two cups of coffee while admiring the 3-foot snow drifts engulfing the drive. Those drifts weren’t going away until somebody took some action.

So, I strapped on my boots, donned my gloves, and dove right into the work of moving snow.

While I was out moving the snow out of the way, I saw that my next door neighbor had hired out the kids across the street to move some of his snow. I also noticed that my other neighbor had hired out some kids to clean up the driveway skirt while he had pushed the snow from in front of his garage.

Both of my neighbors use Bob’s snow removal services.

Did I miss the memo here?

My original plan was merely to move the snow out of the hard-to-reach places and leave the "heavy lifting" for Bob when he showed up. After two hours of work, I saw Stan, the neighbor on the other side of the fence who had hired the kids across the street.

After talking with Stan about the weather, he told me that Bob’s truck had broken down. Stan had tried to contact Bob on his landline and his cell phone but failed in both attempts. He then called another neighbor who uses Bob’s snow removal services. Turns out that this neighbor knows someone who lives next to Bob and once this neighbor got the news about Bob’s truck from his friend, he passed the information on to Stan.

That was why Stan hired the kids across the street to clean out his drive. It was the same reason that my other neighbor hired a set of kids to clear the snow from the driveway skirt.

And that was why my original plan went out the window and I found myself committed to clearing off the entire drive of about 900 cubic feet of snow if I wanted to use my car.

After spending another three hours cleaning the drive and getting 90% finished, Bob showed up. He drove up in his little converted Bronco, took the remaining 10% of the snow left on my drive, scattered it on the section I had cleaned off, and packed it down as he drove on top of it. That added another 45 minutes to the total time for me to finish clearing the driveway.

But Bob never showed up at Stan’s place. Didn’t even stop to say, “Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t show up earlier. What can I do to make it up to you? How about a voucher for stoop sweeping?” He just drove off leaving Stan frustrated and angry.

So, if you really want to anger your clients on a massive level, try following these steps:
  1. In an emergency when they really need your services, don’t contact your clients. Instead, have them hunt you down. It would have cost Bob almost nothing to call his clients and say, “Hey, I’m having a little bit of trouble here. But don’t worry. I will be there just as soon as I take care of this emergency. I will have your drive cleaned off before nightfall.”
  2. Be inaccessible. Not only did Bob not call his clients, he couldn’t be reached at all. Stan called his landline and his cell phone. Both were “out of service”. The only way we found out about Bob’s truck was that Stan knew somebody who knew somebody who lived within walking distance of Bob. The biggest snowstorm in Ohio in 100 years and this guy is MIA and out of reach.
  3. Do a half-baked job when you do show up requiring your client to do additional clean up work. Does Bob just not care or is he completely out of touch? Bob didn’t just spread what was left of the un-shoveled snow over the area that I had already cleared. He pushed some of the left over snow at the end of the drive and blocked the skirt where my neighbor paid some kid to clear out earlier that day. My neighbor was one shade shy of being boiling mad when he discovered what had happened.
  4. Make up some lame excuse as to why you can’t get the job done. I understand that stuff happens. My car breaks down as well. That’s why I get it serviced on a regular basis. When I know that I have a big trip coming up, I’ll take it in to the shop to get it looked over. This truck is Bob’s livelihood. And it’s not as if this storm jumped out of the weeds and bit us on the left thigh. Weather forecasters had been tracking this massive storm for two days before it’s arrival. If I’m watching the weather channel and see them forecasting a big storm moving my way, the first thing I’d do would be to make sure my snow removal equipment is ready for action. But that’s me. Maybe his cable TV broke down as well.
  5. Don’t admit when you’ve made a mistake. It was bad enough for Bob to not call and inform his clients about his situation. But to completely ignore Stan when he finally did show up? He could have at least stopped and said, “I’m sorry I didn’t make it. I see you had someone else do your drive. What can I do to make it up to you?” It takes personal fortitude to stand up within yourself, admit when you are wrong and try to make things right. Bob took the easy way out and ran away.

If you don’t want to anger your clients and you actually want to keep your customers, then the real challenge is to focus on opportunities and not problems. I don’t know how Bob viewed this storm. Maybe he saw it as a big problem and just wasn’t motivated to help his clients through this monster event. Maybe it was just poor planning on his part. In any event, he didn’t see it as an opportunity. However, groups of neighborhood kids saw this as a major opportunity. They were out in droves with big smiles on their faces, snow shovels in hand and stuffing money in their pockets as they went from door to door offering their services. I would have hired one or two of them except I saw this as my own opportunity to shed a few pounds in preparation for the Cleveland Marathon.

As an entrepreneur, small businessperson, or sales rep, you do not want the competition to take advantage of a major opportunity in your core market.

Next year when Bob comes out to renew contracts or ask for new business, I have a feeling that my neighbors won't remember the times that he showed up on time or provided any extra effort to keep the business. What they will remember is the Blizzard of ’08 when they had to shovel their own snow. I know that’s what I will remember.

So, if you want to anger your clients and lose your customers, use these 5 tactics. If you want to keep your clients, look for opportunities that you can leverage, offering a decent service for decent pay. Then, go here and learn more about world-class customer service.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Everybody Ought To Know About Employers

Thank you for participating in the informal Ohio Election Day poll. The question was, “In your opinion, which of the current presidential candidates is the better communicator?”

68% of the participants felt that Barack Obama is the front runner in communicating his message to the audience, with John McCain coming in at 13% and Mitt Romney coming in at 9%.

You’ll notice that the poll focused on the “better communicator”, a skill that you can use now, and not the person best qualified for the job or the one with the most experience. Being in a company that is in the communication business, I feel that communication skills are critically important. You can be an expert in a number of different disciplines and you can have all of the experience in the world. But if you can’t communicate your thoughts and ideas, then you will not be effective in helping your people navigate a changing environment or mentoring other people.

I have a friend that I worked with in the tech sector. Let’s call him “Bob” (Bob is a nice, safe name). “Bob” and I have worked together in a few tech companies over that past few years. On occasion, I’ve heard him say to prospects and business colleagues, “Yeah, we’ve been around the block a few times. I think that between us, we probably have 60 years of experience combined. In fact, we’ve probably forgotten more than most people know.”

It sounds impressive until you realize that no one cares. Your prospects and prospective employers really don’t care how long you’ve been in business, how much you’ve forgotten and they don’t appreciate being made to feel like their experience is insignificant.

I was reviewing my resume a little while back. I had the pleasure of working with some of the tech sector’s truly innovative minds, Danny Hillis and Brewster Kahle. We brought forth an exciting product based on Dave Patterson’s parallel disk architectures known as RAID. In fact, we built the first commercialized RAID system and the only RAID2 system in the world. It was called the DataVault. The thing looked like a wet bar, weighed in at a hefty 1500 pounds and held a whopping 20GB. Sales reps were selling these things like hotcakes, stating that you could shoot a cannon at it and your data would still be safe and secure. The solid steel framework probably contributed immensely to this sales pitch.Thinking Machines CM2 and Datavault

Visually, it was a work of art

Who cares?

With today’s technology, I can fit 6 times the storage in my pocket and it will transfer data as fast as, if not faster, than the DataVault. Nobody cares that I was on the team that created the first commercial implementation of a RAID device. What they want to know is “what can you do for me now “ and “can you communicate it to the rest of my team?”

That is what employers are primarily concerned with, and that is what your job resume and interview should focus on.

I’ve since removed that particular chapter from my resume asking myself the same question. Who cares about those experiences? They don’t adequately portray what I can do now.

All of that stuff you have done in the past is nothing when compared against what you can do with your current skills in today’s business environment. And if you can communicate effectively, so much the better.

In the end, that is the only experience that matters.

For those of you on the job market and with loads of experience to sift through, take a look at this article on here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hundreds Have Learned To Be Effective Communicators Even with Their Cell Phones

Cell phones are great tools to enhance your communication skills.In 2006, I was involved in the telecommunications industry installing and configuring IP phone systems. During that time, I transferred my cell phone service to Verizon Wireless, one plan for my Ohio number, the other plan for my California number. Since the great telecom breakup and deregulation, individuals are allowed to keep your phone numbers. So, I carried both of my numbers from Sprint to Verizon.

At any rate, when people see that I have two cell phones, they tell me that I must be one heck of a communicator. I really had trouble understand the nature of the comment until I ran into another telecommunications vendor. His comment to me was, "You’re in telecom? So am I. Good to see another fellow in the communications business."

Something to keep in mind. Telecommunications is not communications.

Telecommunications is a technology play. As a communicator, I can leverage technology to extend my communication power to other media, to greater distances, and to reach more people. Technology, however, doesn’t make a person a good communicator. I’ve seen some pretty bad communicators get hold of some pretty good technology and do some major damage because they felt that technology made them a "good communicator".

I picked up a tape a while back by Larry Diangi, one of Les Brown’s speakers. And on that tape, he said something about money that stuck in my mind. He said, "…there’s nothing wrong with owning a lot of money. All money does is it makes you more of what you are."

We can say the same for technology. It simply makes you more of what you currently are.
If you can’t express your thoughts and ideas in a compelling manner, having a cell phone, an IP phone, email or Instant Messaging won’t help you move the masses.

If you’re a terrible communicator, a cell phone will only allow you to do the same amount of damage or more at a greater distance while you are driving in your car.

On the other hand, if you have an excellent command of communication principles and can effectively motivate people, then video, IP phones, and email can be used effectively to lead, motivate and inspire many people anywhere in the world.

With email, IM, VoIP, cell phones and other collaboration technologies that we have at our disposal, the one thing that can actually make us better communicators is perhaps a little one-on-one coaching in how to talk with other people.

Invest in yourself. Invest in enhancing our own ability to communicate with other people and you will be a lot better at leveraging the latest communication technology.