December 20, 2007

Three Communication Tips: Jokes, Length, Offense

In the days of my youth,
I was told what it means to be a man.
Now I've reached that age,
I've tried to do all those things the best I can.
--- Led Zeppelin, Good Times Bad Times
Now that I'm a man, I'm being told how to present better. Before a session this week, I got three tips:
  1. Skip the jokes: if you think it's funny, it isn't
  2. Keep it short: the brain can't absorb more than the seat can bear
  3. Avoid offending anyone: (examples given which I won't repeat)
The first two were easy. I only know banker's jokes (you know, the ones where only the tellers laugh?). As usual, I ended on time even though we started late. What about the third one?

Speak No Evil
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued.
--- Paul Simon, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Naturally, I mind my language but the mildest statements can be taken the wrong way. At 13 letters, "Merry Christmas" ties with "life insurance" as the longest four-letter word. How can that be?
Quick to judge. Quick to anger. Slow to understand.
Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand.
--- Rush, Witch Hunt
We don't know what's going on in the lives of others. You may innocently say "have a nice day" to someone who's going to work or "good evening" to someone who's going home to wrap presents or "enjoy the holidays" to someone with kids. It's so easy to cause offense ;)

Bland On The Run
When it comes to clients, if we're too careful we risk sounding bland and boring. Forgettable. Since communication is primarily nonverbal, how much do the words matter anyway? We can usually understand what was meant. Let's hope that others follow a universal principal of reciprocity.
My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
--- Bob Hope
This is my last post in 2007.

All the best to you and yours during the holidays.
May your 2008 be really great!

December 12, 2007

HOW WOULD YOU SELL SOAP (2007 edition)?

I've heard it all before.
You're saying nothing new.
--- Supertramp, Child of Vision
What if what you offer looks like a commodity to your clients? This is a problem for wholesalers and advisors without a range of products. Distributors also suffer as firms and advisors can look like commodities too. If the client doesn't buy from you, they look elsewhere. No sale for you.

You cannot make me listen.
I cannot make you hear.
--- Supertramp, Child of Vision
How can you get clients to see --- and value --- the differences in what you offer?

What If You Sold Soap?

Wouldn't that be tougher than selling insurance and investments? Here's an interesting video with marketing ideas.

The Lesson
You need to convince a maven, centre of influence or decision-maker. Their endorsement is much more convincing than anything from you. You already know that. The video is a nice reminder.


December 4, 2007

Gift Ideas For Your Business

The greatest gift that you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention.
--- Anthony J D'Angelo

'Tis the season to give and get gifts. Is your business on your list?
Here are ideas to improve your business. The focus is on increasing your revenue in 2008 by saving you time and increasing your effectiveness.

Presentation Helpers
Here are some items to improve your presentations:
Productivity Helpers
The following items will help you work smarter instead of longer
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking (voice recognition works remarkably well; used to compose this post)
  • wireless Bluetooth headset certified for voice recognition (also usable with your cell phone and Skype)
Travel Helpers
you can reduce stress and improve your journey with
  • GPS navigation (less stress, more safety)
  • Audiobooks (fiction or nonfiction)
  • Skype Unlimited Calling (call any phone in Canada or the US for 12 months for $29.95 US)
Don't despair if you don't receive business boosting gifts from Santa or his helpers. According to a Japanese proverb: It's cheaper to buy than to receive a gift.