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Archive for the ‘& Achievement’ Category

No one is listening to you. Here’s why.

Monday, April 23, 2012 3 comments

“Why aren’t they listening,” you ask? Because they want a message with purpose; something they can believe in, remember and take action on. So how do you do that?

Start by Generating a Message with Purpose

First your message must have purpose. Are you talking just to fill time or is what you have to say really going to be of importance to your audience? Be sure to consider your audience and determine if what you are about to discuss with them is really going to matter. Once you have done this it is easy to know the direction of your next steps.

“To talk or not to talk – be sure to ask the question!”

Getting their Attention

Once you have decided that your message is important enough to move forward with; how do you do it? How do you get your audience to listen? Start with something to get their attention. A riveting statement, a perplexing question, an amazing fact, a brief story; anything that will turn their head and bend their ear in your direction, just make it relevant and make it something you can circle back to in the end.

Developing your Message

Know your audience and keep your message in context. Now that you have their attention; will they understand?

Tailor your message to the level of your audience.

If you are talking to a group of children, then make it simple and easy to comprehend. If you are speaking with a group of specialists, use their language and terms they familiar with. So what is your message? What is it you want to say? What do you want them to gain from your message? Think about these points.

Include content pertinent to the idea you are trying to convey.

Create an outline formatted to help you step your audience through the message in a logical process. Point A leads to point B which leads to point C and so on. Now you have your message laid out; is it clear and easy to understand? Take a second look, take some time away and come back to it with a fresh mind and maybe even do a dry run with a peer asking them to give you some critical feedback. What’s your back-up plan? Always have Plan B in your back pocket. Get down to the brass tacks. If you had to cut your 30 minute presentation down to 10 minutes or less, what would you say? You know your speech, you know the message you want to convey and you know the key points you need to drive home with your audience. So if the unforseen happens and now you only have 10 minutes to get your message across be sure to hit on those key points. If you are compelling with the key points, your audience will come back to you for more.

Delivering your Message

Ok, you have your message ready to go. How do you get them to believe in your message? How do you get them to remember? First, you MUST exude confidence! If you don’t believe in what you are saying, why should they? Look at them in the eyes when you talk to them it builds trust with the audience and will reinforce your believability. When you talk, use clear and concise sentences; speak clearly and avoid being monotone. Keep them engaged. Whether you are delivering a speech or giving a sales pitch you can keep your audience engaged by asking questions and taking time for dramatic pauses. Ask them to visualize what you are saying, it helps with recall. Use repetition, the more you repeat it, the more likely they are to remember it. Use repetition; the more you repeat it, the more likely they are to remember it. Be passionate about the message. Deliver your vision, make it their vision, get them on board and compel them to act. When you are finished, ask yourself: Do they agree with it? Is it something they will put into action?

I get it, I agree with it, I think I can do it, I’m willing to try it.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Circle Back

Bring it full circle. You started out with something to get their attention. A riveting statement, a perplexing question, an amazing fact or a brief story; now it’s time to get back to that statement or question. This will bring relevance to that statement which got them to listen in the first place. It will help them to understand your opening statement really does relate back to the end result. Bottomline: Prepare. Be confident, clear and compelling.

What are some of your secrets to delivering a message successfully?
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What I’ve learned from playing with LEGO®

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2 comments

(Photo: Legospective, originally uploaded by Guillermо.)

There I was, a young child, sitting in the middle of the floor in my parent’s living room with my box of LEGO® bricks, each in their own compartment sorted by color. My options were endless; with LEGO® I could be anyone, go anywhere and do anything. Now thirty odd years later in my own living room I relive those memories, sitting on the floor with my sons, toiling with them as they build their own LEGO® dreams.

As indirect as it may seem, I learned much from playing with my LEGO® building bricks. Many of those same lessons my sons will learn too.

1. Organization

“Organize your life around your dreams – and watch them come true.”

To this day, I am particularly organized; including lists, calendars, general tidiness and yes – color coding! Did it all start there so many years ago placing each color LEGO® into it’s own pile making sure none of the blue were mixed in with the red? Who knows, but I do know every day when it was time to clean up, each piece went back into its own color coded compartment ensuring the next time I brought them out, no sorting would be needed.

2. Following Instructions

I don’t remember them when I was a kid, but in today’s LEGO® sets there are step-by-step instructions of how to put together each item in the set. The coolest creations are made easy following along with page after page of pictures stepping you through the construction. Maybe it stifles the creativity a bit, but what it does is teach you how you can accomplish your tasks by following along with the directions. Not bad lessons to learn as you are starting out in life.

“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” – Frank Tyger

3. Creativity

“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” – William Plomer

Once you get past the instructions and let your creativity flow, the options are infinite. With the LEGO® bricks in hand you can build whatever you want; there are no limits. When you build a straight up tower of bricks, it can be a rocket ship or a tall building or a sword, your imagination is your own limitation. Let your mind be your guide as you steer toward your life’s destiny.

4. Patience

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

Building with LEGO® bricks is a slow progression. It can be a grueling process, but it is a lesson in the value of patience. And patience is a virtue teaching you self control and restraint.

5. Attention to Detail

“In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention.” – Lou Holtz

Piece by piece you labor to advance your work of genius; each part needing to be in the right spot in order to achieve your desired outcome. I watch as my son studies in detail the pictures on the box, carefully calculating the placement and adjacencies needed in order to build his next LEGO® project. I recall similar analysis myself at a young age and to this day you can find me sitting down with a pad of paper and pencil to layout the design of my next project.

6. Adapt to the Situation

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. – George Bernard Shaw

One day you can build an airplane and the next day, with those same LEGO® bricks, you can build a skyscraper. If you find yourself a few LEGO® pieces short for your intended project you can modify your results by using another color, a different piece or scaling down your design. The possibilities are never ending. In life everything will not happen as we intended, we need to be able to revise our plans when necessary and go with the flow.

7. Any Mistake Can Be Fixed

“Ok, I can fix this” – My son upon breaking one of his LEGO® creations.

My son enters my office to showcase his latest LEGO® construction. As he extends his arms to present me with his creation as it breaks into two. There were no tears, no grumblings of anger, none of the negativity you might expect when something you worked so hard to build falls apart. On the contrary the first words out of his mouth were, “Ok, I can fix this.” We can all learn a lesson from this type of can do attitude, knowing no matter how awful circumstances may seem our problems can be repaired with a little ingenuity.

8. Problem Solving

“Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.” – MacGyver

One of the greatest characteristics I developed playing with LEGO® is the ability to know I could use my mind to remedy any situation. No challenge was too great; I would always be able to determine a method for success. It may not have been my original intended approach, but I knew there was always a path to my final destination.

9. You Can Build the Impossible Dream

“Without dreams, there is no reality!” – Luis B. Couto

Dreams are the means to a desired end. With LEGO® bricks you can capture those ideas, you can construct your vision no matter how large an obstacle it may seem. The same applies to your life; never accept that something cannot be accomplished – despite the barriers to can realize your dreams.

10. Never Give Up

“Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

Sure there are times when you want to throw your hands up in defeat, I did it myself and I see it from my sons as they construct a LEGO® projects, but the answer is to never give up. Determination is a key factor in life; if you endure the journey keeping the vision alive you will see some of the greatest accomplishments achieved you never thought would happen.

11. Teamwork

“The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side” – Margaret Carty

We can all use a little help now and again, my sons will periodically come up to us for assistance with their LEGO® creations needing my wife or me to snap a piece or two together. Sometimes we can all use a little guidance to get us through a tough spot and it is good to know you have others to rely on. There is no need to go through a difficult situation alone; the insights from others can often be inspiring as they allow us to see circumstances from perspectives outside of our own architecture.

12. Celebrate your Achievements

“The virtue of achievement is victory over oneself. Those who know this can never know defeat.” – A.J. Cronin

Finally, you have worked so hard to carry out your objective don’t let your labors go unnoticed. Boast your accomplishments with humility and place your LEGO® creation up on the shelf for all to see. The same policy is relevant in later life; use tact, but be proud of your accomplishments.

Those are just a few of the lessons I learned from play with LEGO®; I’m sure there are many more. Who knew back in 1934, when a carpenter turned, wooden toy maker, Ole Kirk Christiansen, took the first two letters of the Danish words LEG GODT, meaning “play well,” and put them together; the concept later developed by LEGO® would expand into a global staple of childhood toys shaping the minds, visions and futures of children into adulthood.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” W. Clement Stone

What other life lessons have you carried into adulthood based on your childhood experiences?

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Does your sales cup runneth over? Just add water.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 1 comment

(Photo: darkpatator)

So many times we are thinking about the big win, the one deal that will save the day, help us reach our goals or make us look like hero to the rest of the company. And why not; it is great to focus on those sizeable achievements, but it also takes those several smaller feats too when you are looking at the big picture. Often times it can be those last few small drops that allow our cup to run over. After all without the constant flow of your day to day business, where would you be?

So where do you start & how do you determine what to focus on?

  • Take a step back.
  • Look at the big picture.
  • What are your goals?
  • Determine what would be the quick and easy slam dunks.
  • Figure out what might take a few extra days to close.
  • Plan and prioritize according to what will allow you to compile the largest sum before the end of your selling cycle.

All too often we get so busy, being busy, we don’t take the time to focus and strategize on what the big picture is and what needs to be done to accomplish the most. So be sure to take the time to assess your best strategy then move forward with a well thought out plan.

Get the big win’s, but don’t forget about your core business and the small feats. Take time to prioritize and strategize. Soon you will find your cup runneth over.

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