Archive for June, 2012

Positive Impressions

Over 12.7 million people were counted as unemployed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 1, 2012.  5.4 million of those have been jobless for over 27 weeks and another 3.2 million are not counted because they did not search for work in May.  A large percentage of the 3.2 million are discouraged; they believe that no jobs were available for them…  Do the math.  12.7 million plus 3.2 million equals a staggering 15.9 million unemployed.


If you do not want to be a negative statistic, part of the 15.9 million unemployed, there are specific steps you can implement to improve your results.  You must create a positive impression on the gatekeeper and interviewer if you want to hear, “You’re Hired.”

It is a documented fact the National Speakers Association and the American Management Association, 2008, that you have 7 seconds for the interviewer to decide if they like you and 30 seconds to decide if they want to hear what you have to say.

When does your interview really start?  The interview starts with their first impression of you.  It may be your cover letter, resume or the package in which you present your resume and cover letter.  If your cover letter and resume do not make it past the HR gate keeper, you won’t have to worry about an interview – you won’t be called to interview.

Your cover letter is like a beautiful woman; it catches the eye, captivates the attention and awakens interest.  In writing a cover letter, resume or conducting an interview, the job of the first sentence is to entice you to read the second sentence.


Your resume must hold that attention and make them want to know more about you.  If it reads like a technical manual or a job description, you slip into the reject pile.  Design something attractive and interesting to read.  Just as the opening of a speech must be fun, interesting and out of the mundane, so must your cover letter and resume.


Once you make it past the gatekeeper with your cover letter and resume, the time has come for a personal appearance.


When it is time for the physical interview, you are the package.  You will be observed in detail by the gatekeeper from the moment you enter the reception area.


Appear relaxed, confident, well groomed and focused on the benefit to them.  They are Not hiring you.  They are hiring the result you will bring to them.  They are hiring the results which benefit them and the company.


Before you can provide the result, you need to determine what result the company is seeking.  How you ask?  Do your research.


Unless you prefer to remain as one of the 15.9 million unemployed, do your research and prepare for the interview.  Read their website, subscribe to their newsletter, Google the company, and go to Linked In to find current employees to interview.  Read blogs to determine current problems.  Have a prepared list of questions to probe even deeper into the problems to be solved.


Once you know the problem to be solved, be ready to present a story about how you solved a similar problem.  “Tell me a time when. . .” can lead you into your story file of successes or failures and lessons learned,


It is all about appearances:  Think of job hunting like a baseball diamond.  Your cover letter and resume propel you past first base, your personal appearance moves you past the second base and your words and delivery send you scurrying around third base and heading home.  If you want to hit a home run with your job search, remember to have your cover letter, resume and yourself suited up in your most attractive manner.

For more information on interviewing, stay tuned to  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to or

Not hiring You

Look like a professional

If you seek an executive position, look the part

Interview series

It is a documented fact that you have 7 seconds for the interviewer to decide if they like you and 30 seconds to decide if they want to hear what you have to say.

When does your interview really start? The interview starts with their first impression of you. It may be your cover letter, resume or the package in which you present your resume and cover letter.

When it is time for the physical interview, you are the package.

Today you will receive the 3 keys to crafting a message which draws employers and initially HR personnel to you rather than pushing them away. If you do not make it past the HR gate keeper, you are left sitting in the waiting room.

Mentally trade places with the interviewer. What position are you seeking? Look at yourself through the interviewer’s eyes. Dress up a notch above the expectation of the ideal attire for the position. Unless you are Steve Jobs, you are not going to make your best impression is a black t shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. Dressing up honors the company and position and says, “This is your company image. Your employees represent your company.” It is an old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” (Some credit Oscar Wilde, others credit William Safire in his NY Times “On Language” and others say it was in a 1966 advertising campaign.) Why is this important? If you ever state a statistic or quotation, be prepared to document the source. Crediting the source makes you look well read, well researched and honest. Not crediting could make them doubt other statements in your resume or interview.

Just as you are observing them, they are observing you. I lived in Steamboat for 29 years and dressed up was clean jeans and formal was new jeans. Unless you are applying for a housekeeping or maintenance job, under dressing devalues the position and the company. Not saying to dress frumpy or blah but a nice suit or dress with a splash of color at the throat draws attention to your face and words. Dark colors minimize the body and draw attention up to your smile, eyes and words. No dangly, bangly earrings, guys.

Someone walked into my office recently and their pants were frayed at the hem on the back. Another lady walked in with shoes which were in need of polish or repair on the back of the heel.

Appear relaxed, confident, well groomed and focused on the benefit to them. They are Not hiring you. They are hiring the result you will bring to them. They are hiring the results which benefit them and the company.

Do you have a smart phone? In our fast paced world, our communications are increasingly on our smart phones. You may use it for your email, calendar, gps, and you may even use it for a phone. Are you connecting or merely communicating?

You only have to connect with an interviewer if you want them to remember you and what you said.

Connecting is key.

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Emotional Blocks

solutions for negativity

Not about what they say or do. It's about what you think, feel and do

What is your best skill? If it is selling yourself short, you are invited to do a mindset shift. Do you really enjoy putting yourself down? Are you saying things to yourself that you would never dream of saying to your best friend?

Unless you totally enjoy feeling sad and discouraged, then it is seriously time for a mindset change.

Take a sheet of paper and draw 2 lines from the top to the bottom of the page dividing the sheet into 3 columns.

In column one make a list of all the activities you do every day. Start at the beginning of the day and keep writing until you are ready to rest your head on the pillow at night and go to sleep.

Column two is how much time you spend at each of these activities. You may find that you repeat some of the activities throughout the day. Look through your list and note the repeats.

In column three note your feelings during each of these activities. Do they inspire you, depress you or create apathy?

Note the repeats of activities and emotions. If you find too much of your day is sad, lonely or wasting time, look seriously at not only what you are doing but why you are doing whatever it is that you are doing. Are you wasting time to avoid starting a project which you really do not want to do? Only you can answer why you are wasting time and procrastinating.

When I found myself at a crossroads in my career, I spent far too much time checking email, jumping up and down to do silly time wasting tasks and yes eating too much.
Unfortunately my long term relationship reached the point of honesty that it was a dead end relationship at exactly the same time. Having both at the same time certainly did not feel ideal.

Yet, maybe it was exactly perfect. It left me free to travel in a new career and chart new paths. Was that a bit of a scary thought? Yes. Did it add to the uncertainty? Yes.

If you are at a crossroads, what do you plan to do about it? My choice was to research and compile stories of emotional turmoil. Some resulted in success and some in dismal failure but the common thread was the willingness to stop standing still and take action.

That research, compilation of stories and resulting solutions gathered together became the book Emotional Ice Water. It is not about what they say or do, it is about what you think, feel and do. Dr. Kathy Fortune said, “I read it cover to cover in one sitting. The book was fantastic. You will be an inspiration to many people. It was great.”

If you are ready to release the blocks holding you back from being everything you can be and choose to truly feel energized and eager for each moment of every day, the solutions are in Emotional Ice Water.

In the words of the immortal legend Jim Rohn, “A good book you do not read can not help you.”

For more information on identifying and releasing emotional blocks, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Presentation Skills

Connect with the Audience

Connection Relaxes the Audience

Have you ever asked a question of the audience during a presentation and received . . . silence? Some presenters will jokingly say, “This is the audience participation part. It is ok to speak.” Other professionals have filled the silence with the Patricia Fripp, first female president of the National Speakers Association, method, “Asking the first question is sometimes difficult. May I pose it myself? (pause) “Perhaps you are wondering about fill in a frequently asked question about the main point of the message.

Other presenters may say, “Ok, no one seems to want to ask the first question. How about the second question?”

If silence still reigns, you might try the “This is an English speaking crowd, right?”

Either I have been extremely thorough and all of your questions are answered or you are totally confused. In either case, let’s change the game plan and do an exercise.

Let’s do a quick review. Briefly summarize the first main point you made in your presentation. “Now, look at your notes and record on your “ah ha” insights on your “Keepers” page. Record the most significant insights you received from covering that material. (Give them a couple of minutes to do that.) “Now turn to your neighbor and share your Keepers with them and then switch. You have 5 minutes total to share.” This will create a buzz in the room as they share with each other.

After the five minutes, ask who would like to share their Keepers. Remember that if you say it, they can doubt you but if they say it then it becomes truth. This exercise of “Think, Pair, Share” works consistently for me and many other speakers with all audiences.

At this point you should be able to ask for questions and they will relax and interact.

You can repeat this exercise for each main point or do it once after each main point. It is even used effectively at the end of the presentation as an overall wrap-up of the session.

Craig Valentine, 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking, finds the Discuss and Debrief Method as a guaranteed participation method. Ed Tate, the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, prefers the Think, Pair, Share method to induce audience participation.

The two systems are virtually identical except for the name given to the exercise. The fact is that the system of allowing the participants to think about what they have learned, share it with a neighbor and call it out to the group reinforces their knowledge, the knowledge of the group and validation to the speaker that the audience heard, remembered and responded.

It never hurts for the meeting planner to hear the happy interchange of information from the audience either.

For more information on effective presentation skills and exercises, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Business Success, Debrief #7

Debrief every meetingDebriefing a presentation is in essence a recap of the events placed under an evaluation microscope.

First we asked the participants how they felt. Did we touch them emotionally? You only have to reach the audience emotionally if you want them to remember you and your message. They may forget exactly what you said but they will not forget how you made them feel. Touching them emotionally is a measure of how well you connected with them.

Second was the premise, also known as the purpose, of the meeting. Until you are so clear about your main point that you can summarize it in one ten-word sentence, you are not clear. If you are not clear, your audience does not have a snowball’s chance on a hot stove of being clear. The purpose of the presentation may be to inform, entertain or inspire action. Until they are clear about your message how can they possibly be informed or motivated enough to take the desired action.

Third was the change in behavior of the audience. At the conclusion of the presentation were they sufficiently impacted to take the desired action and make positive behavior changes? Presenting a clear point and specific desired action increases the probability of a positive behavior change.

Fourth was the call to action. Did you end the presentation with a whimper and soft throw away words or a specific call to action? Did you achieve your purpose of conveying what you wanted the audience to know, feel and do after the presentation? Hopefully you started planning your presentation with a specific KFD (know, feel, do). How effectively did you achieve that KFD?

Fifth was touching all behavior types in the audience by making your statistics come alive. When statistics are related to people, they lose the cold, impersonal edge and become more human and relatable. If one of every three people will contract a certain malady, will it be the person seated on your right or left or yourself? Relating statistics to people makes them come alive and connect with the audience.

Sixth was the structure model chosen for the presentation. Even though there are several professionally recognized presentation structures, rambling or pontificating are not any of them. One of the best presentation structure models for taking an audience from what currently exists to what could be is detailing the positives and negatives of the current situation and painting a picture of what could be. The future can be painted as a total negative to discourage them from making a bad decision or a rosy picture to encourage them to make a different and more positive choice. Politicians are masters of painting rosy pictures of what they promise will happen if they are elected.

The seventh and final debrief of this series is audience participation. The goal of all presentations is to connect with the audience. Total lack of audience participation could indicate that they are bored, asleep or confused. As we indicated earlier, the confused or overwhelmed mind does nothing.

7. Audience participation or lack thereof could be the result of cramming so much information into a short period of time that the audience became lost.

Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking said, “When you squeeze the information in, you squeeze your audience out.” Have you ever heard a presentation where the presenter said, “We have so much to cover that we are going to go through the material rather quickly.” This frequently happens toward the end of a presentation when the presenter suddenly realizes that he is running out of time. This can be avoided by setting time check points throughout the presentation and keeping each section to its allotted time schedule. Have you ever attended a meeting which ran significantly later than scheduled? Have you ever given one?

Timing the material in advance to know precisely how long it will take to thoroughly cover each point and holding to that time requires planning and organization: such planning and implementation shows respect for the audience. The audience does not want to rush through some of the material in order to end on time or to run significantly late.

The easy way to prepare for efficient time scheduling is to prepare each main point to be delivered in ten minute segments. Frequently checking in with the audience to determine if they understand really helps. The audience participation keeps them feeling involved and allows the presenter to know if the audience is following and feeling connected or lost in a fog of overwhelm or confusion. If you see a glazed look in the eyes of the audience, change the pace by doing an exercise, opening for a brief review and question session or give them a quick break. Checking in with the audience frequently can keep the presentation on track.

A real estate professional recently stood up to give her presentation. She said, “This normally takes ninety minutes but I will try to fit it in the ten minute time slot.” How much do you think anyone absorbed, understood or remembered? Right – Nothing. What could she have done? Take one important section and thoroughly cover it. Indicate that there are also sections on the other important areas. Offer to set individual appointments or take questions after the meeting on the other areas of expertise.

Frequent checks with the audience during the presentation, asking for feedback sheets after the presentation and doing thorough honest debriefs after the presentation improve the productivity of each subsequent presentation. The goal is to enhance the enjoyment of each presentation at the moment and continue to improve the connection with the audience.

Debriefing after the presentation is fully as important as planning before the presentation and concentrating on the connection with the audience during the presentation.

Review the prior six sections of debriefing the meeting for more detail on each one…

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Business Success, Debrief #6

Effective presentations are like a beautiful woman. They catch the eye, captivate the attention and awaken all of the senses.

Just like a beautiful woman, an excellent presentation has a great structure.

Can you imagine seeing, or being, a woman so beautiful you unconsciously smile?

There are several proven presentation structure models. Each one has its most effective implementation. Gear your speech structure to your audience, your personality and your subject. Rambling and pontificating may be commonly used but are not among the most effective presentation structures for the audience; they may fit the style of the “off the cuff” speaker but they seldom please the audience.

When demonstrating the vast differences between the current situation and the potential situation, one of the most effective presentation structures can be the “now to what if” structure (also knows as the “what is” to “what could be” structure.)

6. One presentation structure model is based on the contrast between what is and what could be. When you ask “what if” questions, you tap into the creativity of the audience and stimulate interest, thought and perhaps even constructive change. What a concept. Actually achieve a constructive solution. At the very least you stimulate progress toward a solution. Doing a deep probe into possibilities makes the participants part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Amazing what behavior changes can result from encouraging people to join the thought and action team. Reach beyond the data into the minds and hearts of the audience.

When Lexus was first introduced into the American luxury car market they invited potential customers to take the car home for a weekend test drive. The customer obviously knew their current car and now they had the opportunity to experience the balance a hot cup of coffee on the dashboard smooth ride, symphony quality sound system, and the soft leather seats which made the drive feel as if they were snuggled into their favorite chair. (If you ever question the value of a favorite chair, ask any lounge sportsman.)

The Lexus technique was demonstrating the current situation in contrast to the potential. Did it work? Statistics showed a dramatic approval and thus high sales percentage.

This same principle is demonstrated in presentations by tapping into the current situation. Perhaps the sales, morale or both are low within the company at the moment. There will be those who are whining about the economy, complaining about the closure of business in the local area or even the loss of their personal job. It has been said that an economic downturn is when your friend loses his job and an economic depression is when you lose your job. Detailing various examples of the current situation demonstrate “what is.”

Painting a picture of the potential positive outcome is the basis for sales training everywhere. By enhancing your communication skills and positive attitude you will automatically begin to improve your results. Presentation skills and attitude account for a major part of performance results. Bad attitude, what is described as David and Debbie Downer in Emotional Ice Water, contributes to enhancing negative results. Positive attitude will elevate results.

The “what is” to “what could be” presentation structure works perfectly in a situation where the presenter chooses to create a positive behavior change in the audience.

What presentation structure are you using in your presentations? Please tell me you are not selecting the rambling or pontificating structure. If so that bussing background noise in your ears may be the sounds of the audience sleeping.

Choose the beautiful woman example to captivate and hold the attention of the audience. Selecting an effective and memorable message and presentation structure will inspire the audience to implement a positive behavior change.

Stay tuned for the next sections of debriefing the meeting.

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Business Success, Debrief #5

True vision includes rather than excludesHow do you reach every segment of your audience? Do you sit in every corner of the room in advance to determine if everyone can see and hear the presenter? You want to connect with the audience on a physical level, but you also want to connect with them on an emotional behavioral style level.

I hear some of your brains saying, “So what does that mean? How do you do that?” Have you taken the Myers Briggs, DISC profile or other personality/behavioral style test?
If so, you may have learned your individual style. You may be thinking, “That is nice to know but how does it really help me?”

It can help you know how to connect with your audience in the manner in which they prefer to receive the information. There are two basic orientations. People are either task oriented or people oriented. People either process information very quickly and prefer to keep moving or they prefer to process more slowly and give themselves time to reflect on the information before moving forward.

Draw a line from the top to the bottom of the box and from side to side dividing the box into 4 equal squares. The left side is the task oriented side and the right side is the people oriented side. The top two squares are the fast thinkers and the bottom two squares are the more cautious thinkers. Note all four squares are equal, just different thought and action patterns.

We can go into lengthy discussions of each individual type and discuss their characteristics, preferences and reaction styles. I do multi hour workshops on these details. For brevity’s sake, we will simply leave it at this point for this discussion.

What does this have to do with debriefing a meeting? Did you provide some information quickly for the fast thinkers and other information for those who prefer to analyze and process information? For instance an engineer or an accountant will be more task oriented and like high detail which they can process slowly and analyze before moving forward. For those individuals you will want to include some statistics and document your sources.

So how do you blend the statistics (task oriented) with the people oriented individuals in your audience?

5. Statistics are boring, unless you are an analytical and your world revolves around statistics. Even an analytical enjoys having statistics tied to people. Numbers are cold and impersonal. Tie them to people and they warm up and connect with the audience. Make your facts connect to real world people.

Relate the statistics to the people in the room. In Leslie Horn’s December 15, 2011 article, “U.S. Smartphone Use on the Rise, With Android Leading the Charge,” she stated that “Approximately 44 percent of Americans now own smartphones, up from 18 percent two years ago . . .” In our audience today of 200 that means 88 of you probably have a smartphone. Hopefully your smartphone is turned off or at least on vibrate for the duration of this meeting. Can you imagine the noise if 88 phones started ringing during this meeting?

Tie the statistics to people. You have now reached the task oriented and the people oriented participants in your audience. You have also reached the fast thinkers and those who enjoy processing information more cautiously.

Reaching all segments of the audience physically by determining that every corner of the room can see and hear you but also reaching everyone emotionally by behavior style enhances your probability of connecting with your audience rather than just communicating.

Debrief your presentation to determine if you included information in your presentation to reach all four behavioral styles within your audience.

Stay tuned for the next sections of debriefing the meeting.

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Business Success, Debrief #4

So what do you want them to do? Did you seed the message throughout the meeting and issue a strong specific call to action at the end?

A quick review of the debrief to this point reveals determining how the participants felt during and after the presentation. The old familiar statement about the audience not remembering what you said but never forgetting how you made them feel holds true even today. What emotions were evoked during the presentation?

The second element of the debrief related to the clarity of the purpose of the meeting. Have you ever attended a meeting which jumped around like a frog on a hot rock? Have you ever given such a meeting? Have you attended a meeting which rambled with no apparent direction? A well woven meeting has a specific clear, concise and convincing message.

The third debrief dealt with the behavior change achieved in the presentation. Did the information create a desire to take immediate action or relieve the stress felt by the audience to assist them in proceeding with more confidence and peace of mind? Release of stress could be because of a recent merger, acquisition or change of top management. At the conclusion of the presentation or in the succeeding weeks was their a change of behavior apparent from the participants?

The change of behavior can be very specifically prescribed in the ending call to action.

4. How effective was the call to action? Oh no, even worse. . . was there a call to action? My mentors at World Champion’s Edge always ask for the K F D. What do you want the audience to know, feel or do after the presentation?

Can you imagine walking out at the conclusion of a meeting saying, “Ok, so what am I supposed to do about that?” Just as you have to be so clear about your message that you can express it in 10 words or less, your call to action at the conclusion must be equally clear and specific.

In addition to what to do, the results will be far more productive when you also give guidelines on how to do the task. Would you ever tell someone to meet you at the restaurant without specifying which restaurant, where it is located and perhaps even directions to go there?

The content of the meeting provided the reason to take the action, the benefits to them for taking the action and the encouragement that they possess the ability to take the action. A call to action must include exactly what you want them to do, ideas on how to do it and a specific timeline to start. Frequently it also gives the desired conclusion date.

Go back to the familiar question. What do you want them to know, feel or do as a result of your presentation? When the message and the call to action are clear, concise and convincing, the probability of a positive result increases measurably.

Stay tuned for the next sections of debriefing the meeting.

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Business Success, Debrief #3

In our discussion about increasing the effectiveness of meetings, there are numerous facets of and advantages of doing a debrief after the meeting. The debrief after the meeting enhances the success of the next meeting as much as careful planning enhances the current event.

We have reviewed asking the participants how they felt. Did the meeting make them think? Did the content evoke emotions, hopefully emotions which will increase performance going forward? What specific part of the presentation was the most impactful?

The next section of the debrief review as defining the purpose of the meeting so clearly that it could be stated in one sentence. When the organizers are perfectly clear about the objective for the meeting, the audience has a better opportunity about being clear also.

The third section of the debrief follows closely behind the second. Analyze if the purpose of the meeting was actually achieved.

3. What truly happened during the meeting? Was the purpose to impart information, admonish or entertain? At the conclusion of the meeting was there any potential for an emotional release or any change in behavior? If there will be no shift in behavior or even mild attitude adjustment, what was the point of spending the time planning and conducting the meeting?

In storytelling models, one of the main criteria of success is to have a behavior change, emotional change, in at least one character. That principle holds true in meetings as well. Unless the thoughts, feelings or actions change in at least one character, what was truly accomplished in the meeting? Even an entertaining speech or meeting should relax, release tension or brighten the mood of at least one participant.

So how do you know? Valid question. That goes back to either requesting feedback evaluation sheets at the conclusion of the presentation, conducting a follow up survey such as is frequently done after a customer service call, or even listening to the conversations as people depart the meeting. Eavesdropping is not the most reliable or desirable but it is commonly done. Perhaps an exit poll as is frequently done outside the polling place after an election could be an option. Regardless of the method selected, exit feedback can be extremely valuable.

Thanking the participants for all feedback, both positive and constructive suggestions assists in making the attendees feel valued.

In the words of Jim Rohn, noted business philosopher, a well woven meeting has the potential for long lasting benefit. By the same token a poorly woven meeting can also leave an undesirable memory for an extended period of time.

Stay tuned for the next sections of debriefing the meeting.

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
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