Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Should You Tell Everyone You’re Writing a Book?

There is a school of thought that says if you’ve decided you want to write a book, you should announce it publicly. The logic behind this strategy is that when you tell other people you’re going to write a book, you’re basically assembling an unofficial accountability team. These are the people who are going be watching your progress. The fact that your progress is being “monitored” provides an added incentive for you to sit down and get to work.  

Before you buy into this strategy though, think about what else gets set in motion. If you announce your goals to others, you are putting yourself in a position to be judged, and possibly even publicly shamed if you’re book doesn’t appear on Amazon within each person’s arbitrarily determined time frame.

  • What happens if you write slower than the people who know you’re writing a book think you should be writing?
  • What happens if life gets in the way and you have to stop writing?
  • What happens if, with all the best intentions in the world, you sit down to start writing and just don’t have a clue about how or where to begin?

Needless to say, I am not a fan of this strategy. Everybody should have goals, and writing a book is an extremely valuable and worthwhile goal. It’s just that while most experts know their content inside and out, they aren’t professional writers, and the process of transferring someone’s knowledge from their head onto the page requires a very different skill-set.
The one time this strategy is a good idea is when you’re within two to three months of the book’s publication date, and you’re telling people about it to build some buzz. By this point, your book is written, and it’s both exciting and inspiring when you get to say things like, “I just saw the cover for the first time and it looks great” or “I’m putting together a launch team for people who want to get a preview of my book before it’s released on Amazon.”
Fortunately, there is something you can do to set yourself up for writing success before you write one word of your book—create an outline. If you go to any of the books on Amazon about writing non-fiction books, creating an outline is one of the first things they tell you to do, regardless of whether their book proclaims that you can write and publish your book in 9 days, 21 days, or 2 months.
You can further set yourself up for success by enlisting the help of an editor or book coach to make sure your outline is succinct enough to result in a book that does a great job of sharing your expert information, knowledge, ideas, and wisdom in a way that successfully meets your audience’s needs.
If I can be of any assistance in helping you set yourself up for writing success—even if it’s just to answer questions—I’m here.  Valerie@ValerieUtton.com

Monday, March 28, 2016

No Value,Low Price,Welcome To Wimp Road

If you were in a room with 99 other sales professionals, and you were about to be ranked based on your skill and professionalism as a sales person, where would you land? Would you be in the top 20%? Or somewhere in the midst of the 80%?
If you were a client or customer trying to decide which sales professional you were going to do business with, would your first choice be to work with someone outside of the top 20%? Would you be willing to go outside of the top 20% if the price was right?
Unfortunately, all sales professionals—both the good and the bad—have to answer the one question a prospective client or customer is trying to answer without asking it. “Which do you care more about – my money or my business?”
The reality is that most sales people should not be in the selling profession. That may sound harsh, but being likable, and having the ability to strike up a friendly conversation with a stranger while simultaneously shaving a few dollars off your competition’s price isn’t selling. It’s the wimp’s version of selling – peddling prices instead of value. For the wimp, it’s all about the money.
Ask the wimp what their value position is, and they’ll stick to talking about price because they don't understand value, and aren’t inspired to put any effort into understanding it. To them, price is enough to get the job done. They believe that’s their potential client’s chief concern too.
A professional sales person understands the competitive advantages of their product or service above and beyond price, and can confidently explain the value proposition their product or service will bring to the business relationship.
The wimp is content to trek down Wimp Road looking to peddle their prices to clients and customers willing to base their decisions on price. For the wimp, success is measured by the next sale that falls their way.
Professional sales people can make informed decisions about when it’s time to walk away from low or no margin business propositions. They want to build business relationships with clients and customers who care about their business, at least as much as they care about the price of the product or service they are thinking about purchasing.
Wimps who are content to focus on price as their main strategy don’t make an effort to improve or grow their sales skills. They don’t read books about sales, or attend training seminars. They believe they know everything they need to know.
A professional sales person knows that building long-term business relationships with clients and customers who say, “We just love doing business with them,” happens when they continue to educate themselves and stay current with innovations, ideas, and best practices that might have an impact on their client’s or customer’s business.
So now, I’ll ask the same question from a slightly different perspective. Are you in the top 20% of your immediate competition? Or are you moving dangerously close to detouring down Wimp Road?

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new
product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at Luoma@snet.net 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Being Relevant and Relatable to Your Audience As a Professional Speaker

I'm not mountain climber, marathoner, or military veteran with a heroic or inspirational story of overcoming the odds, pushing through personal physical and mental barriers, or cheating death.

Nor am I someone who has faced tremendous personal struggles due to physical, health or financial issues.

As a professional speaker trying to make my way in the speaking industry transitioning from breakout session seminar level to keynoter it can be pretty intimidating to sit in the back of the room and hear those stories.

Often, I find myself thinking, "I haven't come close to having to deal with something like
Skip Weisman, professional speaker delivering a keynote address in California
that," or  "I have no interest in consciously putting my intestinal fortitude and physical limitations to the test like that

Every time I'm on the speaking bill with one of those speakers the “imposter syndrome” kicks in and I question my right to appear on the same stage.

Yet, my speaker ratings at conferences and specific feedback and testimonials from both audience members and meeting planners inspire me to keep going.

I must be delivering value beyond those other speakers.

What it is, is that I continually strive to learn every time I step off the stage, from my audience members:

Here are some audience member quotes that inspire me to keep going and keep getting better:
  • "Skip, your talk was a perfect combination of practicality and inspiration!"
  •  "Skip, your presentation drew out the confidence in me that was lying dormant!
  •  "Skip, the energy and enthusiasm you brought to our audience along with the practical communication strategies, tips and techniques, exceeded our expectations in kicking off our event!"

There are 3 reasons I believe these comments continue:
  • Most of the people in the seats at the events at which I speak are more like me than those I identified at the beginning of this article.

    Only a small percentage of the audience is, or was, a long distance runner (or similar) and even fewer have the military experience to relate to the soldier's story.

    For that reason, despite the fact that the learning points from those speaker experiences can be connected to every day life in the workplace, it is difficult to make the connection.
  • Virtually everyone struggles with daily communication to connect with a co-worker, boss or significant other. So my message may feel more relevant.
  • The way my presentations are structured consciously sets out to ensure that the practical, relevant connection is made for as many people sitting in the audience as possible

Few speakers do this well enough.

Their stories, although interesting, intriguing and inspirational, often fall short in making the connection they could.

Their stories are too loosely crafted.

The connection to a relatable, relevant learning point is too hard to find and often non-existent.

Too many speakers think their story is good enough and people should be able to make that connection back to their own situations.

That’s making the audience work too hard.

As speakers, we need to sell the audience on the relevance of our points to their specific situation. 

And, the cool thing is we don't even have to know what their specific situation or environment is, because they do. 

We just have to ask the right question at the right time allowing the individual to make that connection themselves.

That's why the framework I use as a World Class Speaking coach works!

Regardless of whether you are just making a presentation to your small office team of four, leading a worldwide global project team, or trying to inspire an audience of hundreds from the main stage, the World Class Speaking strategies and format works, and will have you making the sale every time.

If you'd like to explore how you can create a powerful presentation that influences, inspires and impacts your audiences from one to one million, use this link to schedule a private, complimentary, strategy session with me.

Skip Weisman is The Workplace Communication Expert and a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches.

Skip works with aspiring speakers to improve their presentation skills and programs around content, organization and delivery, while also working with the owners and CEOs of small businesses with between 6-60 employees to improve communication in the workplace.

The work Skip does with his small business clients can transform work environments in as little as 90-days to create a championhip company cultures that are more positive, more productive and even more profitable.

For more tips on making your speeches even more dynamic go to www.PresentationPowerForLeaders.com.

Friday, March 18, 2016

    When I believe It.....

There was a time when I would have a lot of questions with the idea of when I believe it I will see it. After all, didn't most of us grow up hearing the phrase, " I'll believe it when I see it." not the other way around?

I had heard other people talk about it a little bit here and there so I was familiar with the idea but still didn't have a real understanding of it but then in 2004 with the movie The Secret the sequence with the shaman on the beach seeing the ships for what they were made it possible for the others to see the ships as well, that really clarified the idea. I still did not really understand what that meant though. Why would I only be able to see it when I believed it?

Fast forward to the year i bought my first Audi, my pride and joy! I was on my way to a Christmas party and happy to be showing my new beauty off to friends and family. I was excited to be driving and showing off my car!

I was driving through my country neighborhood and came around a corner to see headlights coming in my direction on the other side of the road. I also noticed a big plastic bag on my side of the road. I did not want to slam on the brakes. I wasn't really sure how the car would react. I certainly didn't want to risk hitting anyone or damaging my new car. It was after all only a plastic bag. I didn't even know if it had anything in it or if it was just dancing in the wind the way bags sometimes do. Mind you all of these thoughts took about a half of a second.

My mind was made up! The bag was the lesser of the other possibilities. The other vehicle passed and I hit the 'bag'. It turns out that the sound of plastic snapping and metal crunching and grinding was not from a 'plastic bag' at all! It was a huge bolder a little bit bigger than a two drawer filing cabinet. It weighed a few hundred pounds from my guesstimate when I helped to push it off the road. 

I had spent a lot of time wondering how it could have possible gotten into the middle of the road that night. That is no longer important to me. I am still (to this day) absolutely amazed that the huge bolder was right in the middle of the road in plain sight and I could not see it for what it was. Why, was that so? It's so incredibly simple to me now. I couldn't fathom the idea of it being a boulder. That idea didn't make sense to me. 

My brain convinced me that what I was seeing was a billowing plastic bag. Even though the boulder was most likely not blowing in the wind, I couldn't see it for what it truly was. I was still a little bit shocked and confused at impact. Still not understanding what was in the bag that made my car stop. Clearly as I was within a few feet from head to this object in the road with clear vision I couldn't make it out because it was inconceivable to me.

Eight thousand plus in repairs and a month long car rental later you can believe me when I say, I am much more open to the possibility that things are not always what they seem. I have had a first hand experience to grasp fully the understanding that when you believe it you will see it. I also know when approaching any problem, that there are a multitude of solution to it, I just have to be open enough to perceive them so that I can see them.

Have you had a similar situation to share? Please share in the comments section or message me through my website.

Lucinda Smith
Coach ~ Speaker
Life Transformationalist
Soulutions 4 Living

Thursday, March 17, 2016


As the new manager, it is appropriate for you to conduct an in depth examination of payroll criteria. This is especially true if incentives are involved. Look for unintended consequences that can have multiple, counterproductive outcomes.

For example, imagine you have taken over an outbound call center that works with nonprofit organizations. Your department calls your client’s members to request contributions. Some donors make immediate gifts on their credit cards, while others ask to have a pledge card issued, and they remit at a later date.

As part of learning about your new department you review base pay, commission and bonus metrics. You notice that one representative consistently receives the shift bonus for most pledge dollars written. Although she is a top pledge producer, she is not a top donation producer. You investigate further by listening to her presentation~~and you hear her advising donors of the amount she will enter on their pledge cards. She adds that they are welcome to remit a lesser amount if they prefer.

In your particular system, donors who send less than the full amount will now have accounts marked with partial payments on their donations, followed by correspondence reminding them to remit the balance of their pledge. This results in a strain on the donor’s patience and good will. The donor may contact your firm, causing the added expense of customer service hours and energy. Worse, the unhappy donor may contact your client organization to complain, which is never a good thing. Additionally, your team correctly perceives the bonus structure to be unfair, which impacts on their attitude and morale.

In this (hopefully exaggerated) scenario, the fund raiser is simply playing the game according to the department’s established rules. The metrics actually encourage inequity. Will you waste time being upset with your caller, or will you adjust the metrics? What solutions can you find to correct this situation?

Jeannie Newman, Chief Solutions Officer of JZN Associates, is available for speaking engagements and for workshops tailored to your company's specific needs. You are invited to connect with her on LinkedIn or at http://jznassociates.com.