Archive for August, 2012
What do you do when you have a challenging or a lonely day?
If you are like me, you do something active. Living in beautiful Colorado offers so many options. My favorite daily activity is a ten mile walk. Little Red Riding Hood walked through the woods to grandmother’s house. During her walk she encountered the big bad wolf. In my Colorado neighborhood, the wildlife is more likely to be Bambi’s cousins. Several days in a row a doe and her tiny spotted fawn would be munching on the bushes next to the trail or gliding gracefully across in front of me.
Just the sight of the big brown eyes casually observing me would lift my spirits. There were times I would stop and gaze quietly at her. She would stop eating and look back without the slightest fear. Deer must have amazing powers of perception to know when they are not in any possible danger.
What does an encounter with deer have to do with lifting your spirits? First it is the gentle meeting with another living being. For some people it may be connecting with others on Facebook to extend a greeting, offer a word of encouragement or post a funny picture. Perhaps make a phone call to a friend you have not spoken to for awhile. What about the lost art of writing a cursive note to say thank you. (Cursive is such a lost art that my Microsoft Word Thesaurus did not recognize the word.) When you do something good to make someone else feel acknowledged, appreciated or amused, you not only brighten their spirits but also your own.
Depending on your circumstances, getting outside in the fresh air, gentle breeze and soft grass can be refreshing. Have you considered listening to your favorite music, reading a short inspiration or humorous passage or even reading a chapter in a book?
No matter what your preferred method of relief from a challenging or less than enthusiastic feeling, the answer is to do something. A deep dive into a bowl of chocolate or the snack machine may feel good for a minute or two but the consequences on your waistline and hips last much longer. Choose your individual preference, but do something.
“It is not about what they say or do. It is about what you think, feel and do.” This quote from the cover of Emotional Ice Water becomes either a gentle reminder or a kick into action.
For more information on maintaining a positive mental attitude, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com. Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com
Preview chapter of new book Now to WOW. Q & A – Are you ready?
Congratulations! The audience loved your presentation. They were e
ngaged, laughing at the appropriate times, taking notes and they were not even checking their smart phone for messages. You scored a hit!
It is now reaching the wrap up time. You have an outstanding closing story which ties all of your points of wisdom together in a powerful walk away message.
Amazing, but many speakers ruin a fantastic performance by ending with Questions and Answers. Have you seen speakers end with Q & A? Unfortunately, that practice is more common than the exception, especially with less experienced speakers.
As a normal procedure, my room host is requested to notify me ten minutes before the end time and then five minutes before session conclusion time. This room host was an experienced Toastmaster; an excellent five to seven minute speaker. She flashed the ten minute flag, so I gave a quick wrap- up and opened for questions. When the five minute flag appeared, it was time for the powerful conclusion story and feedback sheets. Then the shocking words she uttered next disrupted the flow, “Ok, Elaine now you have ten minutes for Q & A. I saved time at the end for you for questions.” “Oh, no” or something perhaps a bit stronger flashed through my mind.
Why is that such a disaster? All it takes is one rouge, off the wall, off the subject question and the audience walks away with that off topic thought in their mind instead of your powerful walk away message. Ending with Q & A can destroy the entire mood of a perfectly delivered presentation.
The room monitor had taken liberty to adjust the timing. Though her intentions were probably in the right place, her actions were surprising and not helpful. So what did I do? You can bet I informed my room monitors in all future presentations not to change my timing instructions; they were informed that Q & A will come before the closing story.
Now that you know when to conduct Q & A, the question is how do you handle Q & A? Set the expectation in advance by informing the audience that there will be a time for questions prior to the closing story. Why tell them a closing story will follow the questions? Some may depart immediately after the questions assuming that is the end of the session or they will start wrapping up their notes and gathering their materials, causing a disturbance during your powerful closing story.
- Set the expectations as to the number of questions you will take or the amount of time allotted for questions.
- A timely pause serves as impact; however, asking for questions and being met with an uncomfortable silence generates a negative impact. Asking closed ended questions such as “Are there any questions?” or “Do you have any questions?” may generate a “no.” Try asking “What questions do you have?” This approach leaves the answer open to a valuable question rather than a yes or no answer. Now they start to think of questions.
- If no one speaks, try saying, “Asking the first question may be difficult, May I pose it myself?” “You may be wondering about _______________.” (Insert a frequently asked question. It will break the tension of being the first audience member to speak.)
- Not everyone in the audience may be able to hear the question. Rephrasing the question affirms the person who asked the question and makes them feel heard and understood. Rephrasing also helps others hear the question as well as the answer. Rephrasing also gives you a few seconds to formulate your answer.
- Preparing your speech is extremely important. Even though you prepared with the intention of not leaving the audience hanging on any point of wisdom, there will usually be a few questions. Doing your best to anticipate those questions in advance will assist you in formulating clear, concise answers to the questions which do arise. Give brief answers in order to allow time to answer more questions. If the answer will be extremely lengthy, arrange to meet the audience member after the session.
- Select questions from each section of the audience: front, back, sides, center and all four corners if possible.
- When someone asks an especially astute question, acknowledge it. It is better to recognize an excellent question than to say good question to everyone who asks a question.
- Once in awhile you may choose to ask for confirmation that you totally answered the question they were thinking. It is possible for you to interpret a question differently than the person who asked the question was intending. Saying, “Did that totally answer your question” or “Does that make sense to you” can be asked when you detect a puzzled expression on the questioner’s face. It builds your credibility to care about the audience.
- If your response has multiple facets, indicate that you will be giving a three-part response. Detail carefully each strategy, technique or step in your solution.
Answering questions carefully and as thoroughly as possible within the time frame builds your credibility. Letting the audience know in advance how many questions you will answer or how much time you will dedicate to questions sets parameters and honors their time as well as yours. If they have more questions than the allotted time, invite them to join you at your sales table or walk with you to your sales table. Doing so will honor them, continue the conversation and also bring them to your products.
In the words of the esteemed Patricia Fripp, first female president of National Speakers Association, “last words linger.” Q & A can enhance an excellent presentation or destroy the walk away impact depending on how the question portion of the presentation is handled. Insure that they are leaving with your powerful walk-away message. Let the last words lingering in their minds, be your message.
Thus is a sample of the value to come. Also on tap will be Industry Specific workbooks and audio.
For more information on visionary leadership and positive impact presentations, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com. Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com
Your knees are shaking and your throat is dry. Your nerves are all firing and the speech is 3 days from now.
You know your subject matter. You have researched the company, spoken with the meeting planner and know exactly the problem you are being hired to solve, and you even practiced your speech. What’s the problem? You are so nervous that your mind is flashing images of suddenly forgetting your speech, being so tongue tied that you can’t deliver a coherent sentence and even having such sweaty hands that you can’t hold the microphone. Stop! Breathe! It is time for a mind shift.
You need to calm down. Quiet your mind and refocus on positives.
An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man gently replied, “The one you feed.”
If you fear failure, you are feeding your mind negatives instead of encouragement. Refocus your thoughts. It is all about what you think, feel and do.
Give yourself advantages instead of handicaps. Start with something very easy to do.
If you are like me, you always feel better when you are wearing one of your favorite outfits. When you wear your special outfit, you hear compliments. “Wow, you look amazing today.” “That color brings out your eyes.” “You look great today.”
When you feel attractive, you naturally relax. Give yourself every advantage possible. Dressing in one of your favorite outfits increases your feeling of success and relaxes you.
Try visualizing the audience smiling and nodding approval. See the audience members taking notes and slightly leaning forward in their seats with rapt attention to you. Picture them relaxing and enjoying your content; they even laugh at the appropriate sections.
Top salesmen frequently visualize in advance of their presentation how the client will demonstrate signs of approval during their presentation. The most successful salesman will picture the client smiling as they sign the sales contract. Top earners picture every deal of a successful sales call in advance of stepping one foot of their designer shoes in the lobby door.
Successful stage performers picture the audience engaged and enjoying their entire performance. They may even picture the audience giving them a standing ovation at the end.
Sales, actors and speakers are all giving presentations. They are all seeking approval and repeat performances. The difference is that a speaker is seeking a standing invitation more than a standing ovation.
Success starts with a positive expectation. Success starts with the desired image prior to the actual performance. Success begins within your own thoughts and feelings. Give yourself every advantage.
- Research the company in advance
- Know exactly what problem you are hired to solve
- Customize your solution to the audience (client)
- Think and visualize positive outcomes throughout the presentation before the event
- Write, tweak and rewrite your message until it flows easily
- Practice, practice, practice. Practice speaking your message aloud. Spoken messages need to sound conversational, not as if you are reading.
- Dress in your favorite outfit to look and feel your best
- Step on stage with confidence. Focus on doing the best for the audience.
- Deliver the message you intend to convey with poise, conviction and authenticity
Remember the words of the wise old Cherokee; the wolf who wins is “The one you feed.” Rephrased as the tag line of the book Emotional Ice Water, “It is about what you think, feel and do.” You have control of the situation when you have control of your own mind.
For more information on visionary leadership and positive performance, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com. Anticipate the arrival of the new book Now to WOW scheduled for publication in 2013. Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or presentation coaching. Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com