Posts Tagged ‘BNI’

Public Speaking: “Ums” and “Ahs”

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

“Ums” and “Ahs” – don’t fight ‘em

If you are among the 95% of people who “um” and “ah” when they present, then you will benefit from this blog.

As a public speaking trainer, I am appalled by the throng of “experts” who suggest that when making a presentation, the speaker should concentrate on not saying “um” and “ah”.  Wrong.

I recall watching a high school student making a presentation.  He was using “ums and “ahs” in some moderation, when a peer hollered, “Greg, ease up on the “ums and ahs”.  It’s easy to predict what happened: Greg’s reliance on the filler words doubled.  Now that he was aware, he became more nervous, and actually focused on the words he was trying to avoid.

In addition, when I was a member of BNI, I counted the number of “ums” and “ahs” each person said in their 60-second commercials, and it averaged five incidences.  The next week, I “educated” them on how much filler detracts from their message.  I asked them to endeavor to omit the filler from their commercials.  What happened?  Despite their sincere efforts, the average rocketed to nine occurrences.

Why does this happen?

I learned the secret at Ananda Yoga Studio  where Tish Roy  shared a story about an instructor who told his student, “Whatever you do, do not think of a monkey while meditating.” After sometime the instructor asked the student how he was doing.  The student replied, “All I could do was think of that Monkey!” 

Case in point: The worst thing you could do when you are about to present is concern yourself with filler.  If you use fillers, no worries, just focus on your message, and you will be better off.

That said, it is important to note that “ums” and “ahs” drastically undermine your credibility and impact.  The time to fix the problem, however, is not right before you present.  It is in your everyday speaking.

1.   Stop saying “um” and “ah” in your everyday conversation with friends and family. Offer them a dollar whenever they catch you.

 2.   Pause when you think.  While it may make you feel awkward and insecure, others will perceive you as very confident and thoughtful.

 3.   Listen to the voice mails you leave to others by pressing the star or pound key. See how many times you “um” and “ah”.  Keep leaving the message until there are none.

Here is the bonus:

Stop the filler and you will speak with authority and confidence in both your presentations and in your personal conversations.  You will always appear in control even when you don’t feel it.  What a great return for such a small effort.

Here  is an excellent blog on “ums” and “ahs” from one of my favorite sources of public speaking wisdom: Six Minutes Speaking and Presentations Skills.

Leave a comment below if you have any strategies to help stop the “ums” and “ahs”.

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Power of Persuasion: The Results Are Clear

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

All referrals were not created equal.

The results are clear.  My latest study reveals the secret to getting referrals that convert to sales.  This discovery may not be something you’ve ever considered.

When someone gives you a referral.  They may be connecting you with a friend, relative or colleague.   In some cases you will be connected with one of their vendors or one of their clients, and it is the latter two types of relationships that I tracked.

Let’s say Amber gives me a referral to John Smith because she thinks he would be interested in what I provide.  The fact is that if John is her vendor he is much more likely to connect with me than if he were her client.

I suspected this at the outset, but I never realized how big the difference would be.  Below you can see the percentage of successful connections made after the referral was given.

Why the difference?

Reciprocity.  One of the pillars of persuasion is the law of reciprocity, which dictates that people feel beholden to “pay back” those who help them.  In addition, people typically give back a great deal more than they received.

Above, we see the law of reciprocity in action.  Imagine yourself in the referral process:  If someone selects you to be his vendor and that person asked you to connect with one of his contacts, would you?  It is probable that you would feel beholden to at least make an initial connection.  However, if you are someone’s client or customer, you would likely be less compelled to reach out and make the connection.

Networker’s application.

I remember learning in Business Network International (BNI) that we should be specific when asking for referrals.  Instead of asking your contacts who they know that could use your services, you might ask which of their VENDORS could use your services.  Work with that population and you’ll have a much better success of making contact and avoiding the blow-off.

Beyond getting better referrals, you now have the secret to giving them.  Consider the BNI philosophy, “Givers gain.”  That creed was built on the law of reciprocity.  If you are able to give higher quality referrals by tapping into your pool of vendors, then the recipients of the high quality referrals will reciprocate.  And that’s how referral networking is supposed to be done.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part IV

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Two-hour lecture on Power of Persuasion: BUY NOW

Here are the final three tips to help your small business look bigger:

1) Be specific when answering the question, “how’s business?” The small fish will typically answer “it’s going well.”  The medium fish will usually answer, “Good, sales are up this year by 5%.”  The big fish will typically respond, “Good, this quarter is up 5% over last year.”  By speaking in terms of quarters and quantifying your response, you appear sharper and your business appears bigger.

2) Appear busy because the law of scarcity dictates that people want to work with busy people. If you’re not busy, they wonder how good you really are. If you’re not busy yet, endeavor to look busy. When making appointments, avoid saying, “I have all day Thursday open” or worse, “Next week my schedule is pretty much clear.”  Instead, consider using this verbiage, “Monday is out, and so are Tuesday and Wednesday, but how does Thursday look at 11:20 or 4:40?” Off times such as 7:20 give the impression that you are well organized and busy, and they will respect your time more.  In fact, it is proven that people are more prompt for appointments made at less common times such as 11:10 rather than 11:00.

3) Observe the big fish in action. Listen to how they talk about their businesses, look at their business cards, analyze how they interact, and you will soon see the common denominators as clear as day.

Keep in mind that appearing bigger is not always beneficial. It depends on your product/service, target market and industry.  In the cases where it is beneficial, be sure to use these techniques as appropriate. Always use your judgement, as it is one thing to enhance your image and another to over-stretch.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part III

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Power of Persuasion instant download – BUY NOW

Three more tips in our top ten ways to make your small business look big.

I) Your email address communicates the size of your business.  Want a big fish image? You need a big fish address.

  1. Tiny fish: frank1257@yahoo.com. Any of the “freebie” emails (gmail, hotmail, etc) scream that you are a solopreneur working from home.
  2. Small fish: frank@targetintellect.com is more professional because a company domain name is in the address, however it indicates a small company because it uses only the first name. A small company will count on the probability that no two employees will have the same first name.
  3. Medium fish: damelio@targetintellect.com reflects a medium sized company as it uses the last name to avoid using duplicate first names of company employees.
  4. Big fish: fdamelio@targetintellect.com indicates a large company because it requires each employee to use the first initial. With so many employees, there are duplicate last names.
  5. Giant fish: frank.damelio@targetintellect.com is the address type that most national and multinational companies use to help differentiate addresses among their massive pool of employees.

Which email type you use depends on the image you wish to portray.

II) “WE” is the word that distinguishes you from the small fish. When people network, a common question is “tell me what your company does?” A big fish will almost always begin responding with the word “we”, while the little fish will open with the word “I”, which sends a clear signal that he is likely a solopreneur.

III) Free work? Many will disagree, but this proved to be a great investment for me in the early days. Big companies tend to choose other big companies as their vendors. Once you get work from a nationally recognized brand, be sure to weave it into your networking conversation.  Why? First, it shows that you are established if “national corp” found and hired you. Second, “national corp’s” credibility transfers to you by association.

Your track record doesn’t include any big businesses? Court them, make your proposals, and by all means charge for your goods and services. However, if you get close to a sale and there is a “no go” decision based on budget, then offer to do the work at a deep discount or free. In return ask for a video testimonial, letter of recommendation and that they be a standing reference for you. While many disagree, I say this does not devalue what you do. It is an investment in your brand that will give you credibility to sell in the future; plus once “national corp” sees how good you are, they may buy your goods or services in the future.

As always, my caveat here is for you to be aware of the difference between image management and gross exaggeration.  Use your judgment and that of those you trust when making your company look like a bigger fish.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part II

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Two-hour instant download on Persuasion lecture: BUY NOW

In certain industries, looking like a small fish gives that “personal touch” advantage. This series, however, is for companies that need to look bigger to court the business of larger companies. Here is tip number four in our top ten ways to make your small company look bigger.

Your business card design says a lot more about you than you think. After sorting a pile of over 130 business cards by company size, it becomes immediately clear as to why small company cards look SMALL.

Here are the common denominators to consider when designing a business card that you hope will make your company look like a BIG fish in the business pond.

1) Include a business address.  ALL of the big business cards I sorted had addresses, while only 18% of the small businesses did so. Residential addresses sound, well, residential. P.O. Boxes are okay, but suites are better. We have heard that some will rent a P.O. Box and call it a Suite anyway. We make no guarantees about that strategy. The best solution is to have a business address, which can be economically obtained by using a virtual office.

2) List more than one telephone. Most small companies only list one number, usually a cell phone. The majority of big businesses have two or three numbers – typically a main number, direct number and cell number. You can use your land line and cell.

3) Have a fax number: We realize that with email and PDFs, the fax is becoming obsolete, but this is about perception. All big companies list a fax, and if you want to appear big, you should too.

4) As counterintuitive as it is, small companies use big font and large companies use small font. Big font makes more sense because it is easier to read, but large companies want consistency with their font style and size; so the point size they select must be small enough to allow for the largest name.

Other things to consider: a professional logo that is not too big; thickness and quality of paper; professional printing.

Look forward to our upcoming five tips on making your small business look bigger, and forward this to anyone you know who is starting a business.

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Public Speaking: Verbal Branding

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

First, watch the video above: an eight-minute distillation of Stephen Melanson’s vast knowledge of verbal branding.  Stephen is the author of the seminal book:  Jaw BrandingTM

The main points to remember:

1) You have five seconds to pique interest

2) Two methods to do so: a) ambiguity b) differentiation

3) Pause after your five-second intro, and wait for a question

4) Avoid selling on category

5) Less is better – people only remember one or two things you said

6) When asked about your category, respond: “Of course we do that, but what makes us different and better is . . .”

Some of Stephen’s questions to help you discover your point of differentiation:

What negative assumptions exist in the marketplace about what you do?

You are the only one who . . . 

What happens to clients who use your services/goods?

If you started the business over, you would . . . 

What’s the one thing people should remember about you?

What would be a risky message?

What problems do you solve?

What are you most passionate about?

How are you recreating the market?

Where is there a gap in the market?

I commit to “X”; nobody else will.

What’s the personality of your organization?

What is working well now?

Want more?  

FREE 48-page section of Stephen Melanson’s book Jaw BrandingTM.

CLICK HERE  type “FREE” in comment box.

Want help with your five-second verbal branding?

Write yours here so that other subscribers can comment.

 

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Public Speaking: is GREAT marketing

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Why should networkers engage in public speaking?  How can you start building your business through public speaking now?  Are there ways to feel more comfortable doing it?  Enjoy this video interview, hosted by the famous marketing expert Laura Briere, CEO of Vision Advertising.  A special thank you to Laura, whose team of experts not only designed our site but also developed our highly-effective social media strategy.  Also, thank you to Steve-O from Point Breeze for filming!

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