Tips of the week

Tips of the Week – March 18th

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Making A Positive First Impression

You have 90 seconds to make a positive first impression

Seven ideas to increase your success with a first impression include:

  1. Dress respectfully.  This means be as formally dressed as they might be.  It’s always easier to dress down than to dress up; to remove a jacket or roll up your sleeves.
  1. Get feedback from people you trust on your handshake.  Too firm or to lax can easily be corrected.
  1. Be on time.  Allow extra time and anticipate potential delays.
  1. Start with a smile.  Let your warm personality melt any initial resistance.
  1. Make eye contact and remain focused on their face until you know the colour of their eyes.
  1. Build rapport by using their name.  Be careful not to overuse this practice.
  1. Use the headline technique; keep your sentences short.  You will be asked to elaborate if they are interested in more detail.


Tips of the Week – March 11th

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Negotiating Skills

Everything is negotiable.

Seven ideas to increase success include:

  1. Determine your primary objective?  Clarify what is important to you.  Be specific.  Also consider your secondary goals.
  1. Try to anticipate the other person’s objective.  Prepare questions to help discover their objectives.  Never assume….always seek to clarify and confirm.
  1. Establish mutual benefits and be prepared to communicate these to motivate the other person to see the value of your position.
  1. Know “when to fold ‘em” i.e. when to walk away… set specific limits. It’s OK to say, “That’s more than I ‘m prepared to do.” or “That’s more than I‘m prepared to spend.”
  1. Use silence as a technique to gain more information and more power.  The other person will fill the silence with information that will be potentially useful to you.
  1. Think of compromise …the 50/50 split, as your secondary strategy.  A collaborative effort where you both uncover common ground and mutual benefits is the best approach and will produce a better outcome for both of you.
  1. Ask questions like:
  • What will it take to resolve this conflict?
  • What will it take to earn your trust?
  • What will it take to satisfy you?
  • What will it take to fix this?
  • What will it take to close this deal?

Tips of the Week – February 4th

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Handling Complaints

As long as there are customers or clients there will always be complaints.  Complaints can sometimes provide valuable feedback and an opportunity to improve.  We need to be appreciative of those who take their time to bring problems to our attention.

Seven ideas to increase success include:

  1. Listen.  Sometimes just having an opportunity to be heard is enough.
  1. Empathize… put yourself in their shoes.
  1. Apologize only once.  This does not necessarily mean you are accepting responsibility for the problem; merely regretting their inconvenience.
  1. There is no need to apologize for your rules or policies.
  1. Don’t attempt to justify actions or blame anyone, within or outside of your organization.
  1. Ask questions to get all the facts; make no assumptions.
  1. Mutually agree on a course of action.  Sometimes the course you identify is not satisfactory to the person complaining.

Tips of the Week – Feb. 2nd – Business Writing Skills

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Business Writing Skills

Get your message across with less effort and greater impact.

Six ideas to increase success include:

1. Before you write, consider your purpose.
• What do you want to accomplish?
• What do you want them to do?

2. State your purpose in the first sentence.

3. Replace business clichés with conversational words.
Replace: With:
• along the lines of like
• at which time when
• for the purpose of for
• for the reason that since, because
• in order to, in order that to, so
• in regard to about
• in the event of if
• in the near future soon, shortly

4. Establish an appropriate tone by focusing on the reader. Replace some of your “I’s and we’s“ with “you”.

5. Accentuate the positive by telling what you can do. Always state your ideas in positive terms.

6. Use bullets and numbers to make your writing easier to understand and easier to read.

Tips of the Week – Feb. 19th

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Presentation Skills

Making dynamic presentations with confidence is an essential skill that demonstrates your leadership ability and earns respect.

Whether the intention is to motivate, to inform, to influence or to defend, the way you present yourself and your ideas is key to your success.

Six ideas to increase success include:

1. Pay attention to your appearance and your physical stance. 55% of your message comes from what they see. If you want to be perceived as reliable or powerful, consider what clothing and what posture would contribute to that perception.

2. Vary the speed of your delivery as well as the inflection and the volume. 38% of you message comes from your voice.

3. Strive to be perceived as dynamic/enthusiastic; comfortable; believable; knowledgeable and humourous when appropriate.

4. Slow down your breathing so that your whole body becomes relaxed.

5. Focus on your objectives and plan to overcome their objections.

6. Remember, the larger the audience the more dramatic the presentation with respect to voice inflection, body movement and gestures.

Tips of Weeks – Feb. 10th

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Assertiveness Skills

Many job-related frustrations and stresses can be traced to discomfort in handling difficult situations:  We may avoid dealing with these types of situations or may offend others by coming on too strong.  We need to learn to act assertively by expressing concerns directly, firmly and with composure.

Six ideas to increase success include:

  1. Strive to be realistic, responsible and respectful.
  1. Build your confidence and your self esteem every day by reflecting on “what’s good about you?”
  1. Structure your sentence to begin with “I” followed by either “expected” or “prefer” or “need”, when you are providing feedback concerning performance problems.
  1. When saying no, remember to be gracious by always offering an alternative.
  1. Use three sentences to disagree diplomatically.
    1. Paraphrase to demonstrate your understanding of their recommendation
    2. Acknowledge the value of their recommendation
    3. Present your own recommendation
  1. Ask questions to ensure that you work together to a resolve conflict when an issue is important to you. i.e.:
    1. What do you need?
    2. How can we resolve this situation?
    3. What would it take to fix this?

Information is power; use the additional information to then go on to establish common ground and mutual goals.

Tips of the Week – February 4th

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Overcoming Procrastination

Today’s greatest time saving device is sometimes tomorrow.

Procrastination can result in poor performance related to quality and missed deadlines; unnecessary stress and stress related illness.

Six ideas to increase success include:
1. Just thinking about something you need to compete is a step in the right direction. Planning how you are going to act is a big step forward.

2. Choose one action that appeals to you. Just get started…inertia will keep you going.

3. Identify the behaviours you exhibit when you procrastinate. Do you engage in lengthy social conversations; spend extra time reading; search for things to eat or drink? Recognizing these behaviours will help you to realize when you are procrastinating and signal you that it’s time to get started on something more important.

4. Overcome perfection paralysis… unless you are a brain surgeon 90% right is better than 100% of nothing. Having all the information before taking action either takes too long or is not possible. Build your self esteem and your intuition.

5. Engage in the “dirty practice” of self-discipline by committing to someone else. We work harder at not disappointing others. Simply “announce your intentions” or if you really want to succeed, sign a contract agreeing to pay a large sum of money if you don’t complete the task or behaviour.

6. Use the 21 day success habit check list. Post a visible calendar and give yourself a check each day you complete a task or behaviour After 21 days it will become habit.

Tips of the Week – January 28th

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Listening Skills

8 ideas to increase your ability to listen:
1. Maintain steady eye contact with the speaker.
2. Sit or stand tall.
3. Give the speaker encouraging cues like: “I see” “Tell me more” “That’s interesting”
4. Remove physical barriers. Stand or sit near the speaker. Turn off your cell phone or pager. Relocate to a quieter setting if necessary.
5. Paraphrase to demonstrate effective listening. “If I understand you correctly…. “ then allow the speaker to confirm your understanding or offer clarification.
6. Demonstrate empathy.
7. Keep an open mind. You can’t learn less; the opportunity for more is always present.
8. Listen for intent as well as content. Explore beyond the words spoken by probing for the real meaning.

Tips of the Week – January 21st

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Strategies For Personal Success

Success means being able to answer “YES” to the following two questions:
• Are you happy with the way you spend your time?
• Are you happy with your relationships?

Six ideas to increase your personal success include:

1. Take responsibility for whatever you are doing; however you are behaving, responding or thinking. Get out of the reactive mode and into the pro-active mode. You can always make choices.

2. Develop your confidence by building your self-esteem; as a result, you will increase your productivity. Tell yourself “five things that are good about you” at least three times every day.

3. Identify attainable and relevant goals. List the activities necessary to accomplish the goals and complete the activities. Every accomplishment counts.

4. Communicate with power; assume the body language and the voice of a winner. Look and sound the part.

5. Build your listening skills. No one has ever said, “I can’t stand how that person always listens to me.”

6. How you think determines how you act; think positively. Don’t be so busy “awfulizing” that you miss the best parts of life. You can be as happy as you make up your mind to be.

Tips of the Week – January 14th

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Time Management

There is no such thing as time management. We need to practice the difficult habit of self-discipline during the time we have.

Six ideas to increase success include:

1. Assign all of your “To Do’s” to a specific day in a planner.

2. Identify short and long term goals.

3. Identify activities to accomplish your goals and schedule them in your planner.

4. Start each day working on activities that have to be completed on that day. Finish all of these tasks before you move on to other tasks.

5. Make sure that every task assigned to you has a specific deadline… either assigned to you or self-imposed. “As soon as possible” has no clear meaning.

6. Organize tasks that do not have to be completed today by the date they need to be started.