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Verbal Dexterity: Talking the Talk » Networking

Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

Summary Of All Tips: The Best In Verbal Dexterity (So Far)…

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

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The Art Of The Business Handshake: Yes. In business, you will have to “Shake” your moneymaker. Like a tie, pin or pair of shoes, how one shakes reinforces or reveals a little more about you or your counterpart. Use it as an opportunity to radiate confidence, control and deliberation. If done right, you will leave the other person in a state best described as a “James Bond Martini.”
That’s right. “Shaken, not stirred.” (from Blog Article dated 9-2-08: “You Must Be Made Of Jelly Because Jam Don’t Shake That Way”)

How To Get Rid Of An Annoying Caller: Telephone salespersons are people too. Treat them with respect and politeness. However, if they are not willing to stop when you say so, it’s time to be a little more aggressive. Turn the tables on them and watch how fast they run. Respect deserves respect, but abuse deserves your clever on-the-phone reaction. (from Blog Article dated 8-19-08: “Sorry Wrong Number”).

How To Take Criticism From Your Boss: It’s hard to believe that there are others that might not recognize or appreciate the perfection that is you…but it can happen. If the Boss calls you in and criticizes you: listen, focus, react intelligently and deliberately and maintain a professional composure. How you react to criticism may leave more of an impression on your Supervisor than your screw-up. Exhale, react and move-on…and try not to let the air out of his tires tonight. (from Blog Article dated 8-12-08: “Sticks & Stones & My Performance Bonus”).

The Small Stuff That Makes You Credible : Before you have even opened your mouth, we have all formed an impression of you. Make it a good one. Crappy, dirty and cheap accessories (as well as childish behavior) will persuade us that that’s who you really are. Dazzle us, impress us, wow us. We will pay that much more attention to you when you speak. (from Blog Article dated 8-5-08: “Matching Socks, Combed Hair & Pens that Don’t Leak”).

Knowing How To Make A Good Mistake: NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT: The worst mistake that you can make is to make the “wrong” kind of mistake. Take a shot and go face this week’s challenge on your own: just be thoughtful, flexible and responsible. Remember, a baseball team can still win the game with a couple of errors.
Just make the right kind of errors. (from Blog Article dated 7-29-08: “The Error Of Your Ways”).

The Office Romance: Let’s be careful out there. At the end of the day, co-workers should share a vision, not a bed. Don’t dip your pen where the Company keeps its ink. It’s messy, unpredictable and really hard to get out the stains. (from Blog Article dated 7-20-08: “Love On The Photocopier”).

How To Deal With The Pain-In-The-Ass Client: You can’t turn an Asshole into a Princess…but you can avoid making things worse. Understand your P-I-T-A’s personality, hobbies, preferences and never let them see you sweat. In the long run, preparation, stoicism and successful execution can tame and impress that difficult client. (from Blog Article dated 7-8-08: “If You Weren’t Paying Us I’d Kill You”).

How To Pitch An Idea To Your Supervisor: Don’t just blurt out ideas to your Boss. Prepare and strategize. Treat it like a negotiation. Know their concerns and their next question…and be ready to persuade them. You have a great idea, so go for it and share it with your Supervisor. Clearly, you should Speak Up! (from Blog Article dated 7-1-08: “Speaking Upwards”).

How To Change Your Speech in Mid-Stream: The shortest distance between a speaker and his audience may not be a straight line. Don’t leave home without a knapsack of options, alternatives and tap shoes…and always be prepared to make a sharp left turn! (from Blog Article dated 6-25-08: “Making A Sharp Left Turn”).

Who Can Put The Point In Power Point : Slides should be a thoughtful supplement to an already stimulating presentation. Use them sparingly and don’t make them the center of your speech. You’re too good a speaker to share applause with a screen. (from Blog Article dated 6-18-08: “Hiding Behind The Slides”).

Incentives & Discipline In The Workplace: Only the enlightened Employer can properly decide how to serve the “carrots” or throw the “sticks.” Just make sure that each is serving its purpose (it’s hard to throw a carrot and no one likes to eat a stick). (from Blog Article dated 6-11-08: “Don’t Like Carrots, Not Afraid Of Sticks”).

Using Your Hands While You Speak: Your hands can help or hinder your oral effectiveness. Words and gestures should complement, not conflict with, one another. Clever use of your hands will get you the handshake that you are looking for. (from Blog Article dated 6-3-08: “These Hands Were Made For Talking”).

Returning To Work After A Vacation: Vacation Get-Aways are for getting away. Make the most of your down time and relax. However, easing your transition back requires foresight, planning and a pink umbrella. (from Blog Article dated 5-27-08: “Where Did My Drink With The Pink Umbrella Go”).

The Over-prioritization Of Work In Your Life: You need to be focused and driven to succeed in today’s business world. The pace is relentless…but can come at a real cost: to your spouse, your kids and your health. Just remember that if you actually win the “rat race,” you are nothing more than the best rat. (from Blog Article dated 5-14-08: “Praying To The Work Deity”).

Humor In The Workplace: Everyone wants to make their colleagues laugh. The real question is: What is the cost of a workplace guffaw? People love when others are made fun of (it eases tension and keeps attention away from them) but always remember when they were the butt of the joke. So, be funny, respectful and make sure that your next “punch-line” doesn’t knock you out. (from Blog Article dated 5-6-08: “Your Boss Slips On A Banana, Crashes Into A Stack of Dishes and Gets His Tie Stuck in The Shredder”).

Differentiation: Kermit the Frog was wrong. It IS fun being green! Recognize your competitive difference (size, location, volume, flair, service, uniqueness, background, language, etc.) and shout it to the marketplace. Differentiation is the spice of life and utilizing it is the key to success! (from Blog Article dated 4-28-08; “Viva La Difference!! -Differentiation In The Market Place”).

Bargaining For Everything: Consider all purchases to be subject to negotiation. Sellers want to sell and buyers want a bargain. Try to find the secret middle ground (4-23-08: “Bargaining For Bread, CDs and Carpet”).

Feeling Sick At Work: Getting sick on the Big Day is a prescription for disaster if not handled properly. Don’t let your ego get in the way of the correct remedy. Take two minutes to assess…and call me in the morning (4-18-08; “Getting Sick On The Big Day”).

Being On Time: Lateness does not reflect well on you or your troops. “Watch” the clock, manage your calendar, take control of meetings and try to beat deadlines. Anything less is going to “tick” someone off (4-10-08; “Johnny Come Lately -Timely Advice To Beat The Clock”).

How To Pitch A Prospective Client: If you want to throw the right business pitch: get a firm grip on the ball, measure your strike zone, size up the batter and always be prepared to throw the curve. Further, a client (or prospect) will always respect the high heat or an inside pitch (4-7-08; “How To Pitch Business Like A Pro”).

Real Teamwork: A Team needs to be nurtured, trimmed, fed and cared for. Don’t just bring strangers together and hope. Help create the proper “chemistry” and watch the Team flourish (3-26-08; “There Is No Jerk In “T E A M” ).

Trade Show Success: Trade shows can be wonderful opportunities to meet fellow specialists, network, to learn or to drive new business. Be polite, aware, aggressive, strategic and always be ready to put on your Spock ears (3-24-08; “Who Put The Swag in Swagger-Trade Show Strategies”).

Good E-Mailing: Write your business e-mails in a pithy, spare manner and think about who really needs to be a (cc: or bcc:) recipient. Before sending out an enraged diatribe, take a couple of hours to cool down and assess. You can never delete a bad impression (3-17-08; “Mail Pattern Boldness -The Secrets to Good Business E-Mailing”).

Attaining A Verbal Return-On-Investment: Businesses that truly invest in their associates’ verbal skills (speaking, presenting and persuading) will see a significant and dramatic ROI (3-11-08; “Does Your Business Have A Favorable Verbal ROI?”).

Improved Sales: Sales don’t improve because they need to. They improve because the pitch, the execution and the follow-up are thoughtful, honest and energized. Clients (new and old) are magnetically drawn to superior fundamentals (3-4-08; “How To Triple Your Sales In 5 Minutes”).

Tele-communications & You: Always keep all of your business contact info (telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc.) in at least two separate databases/locations. Otherwise, you will be only one computer meltdown away from a personal meltdown 2-28-08; “Giving Good Phone”).

Summarizing You & Your Business: Don’t watch the elevator doors close. Always be ready to explain your business to others in a concise, clever and alluring manner (2-25-08; “Your Elevator Speech: Is The Elevator Going Up or Down?”).

Corporate Jargon: Don’t fall into the corp-speak trap. Use clear, concise language to direct others or ask your leader to clarify. Nodding your head to phrases that are meaningless WILL come back to haunt you. You can bet your evolving paradigm on it! (2-21-08; “Drilling Down To The Synergies Of Leveraged Empowerment Opportunities…or Does Anyone Speak Plain English In Corporate America Anymore?”).

Complaining: Before you go into a stream of consciousness rage, think before you complain. Use logic, past relationships and respect to score points with the listener.
Your goal is to get what you expected, not a pound of flesh(2-14-08; “The Sweetest Whine Of All”).

Networking: Your business card is a reflection of you.
High quality, dependable and memorable individuals have cards of similar construction (2-11-08; “A Font Of Information”).

Meetings: Schedule some unscheduled time into your workday to cover extended meetings and unexpected developments, emergencies and delays.
It will help you finish the day “on time” (2-6-08; “Minutes To Go Before I Meet”).

The Business Meal: A business meal is not a relaxing event. You need to be “on” from beginning to end and very aware of your manners.
Others may judge your credibility and competence by your table behavior (2-4-08; “Some Things Are Hard To Swallow”).

Conducting An Interview: An interview is like a first date. Your candidate will never look, sound or act better.
Develop your interviewing X-ray vision and figure out exactly who the person across from you really is (1-31-08; “How To Interview Applicants With X-ray Vision”).

Standing In Front Of A Room: Don’t let an upcoming speech stress you out. Forget the imaginary naked people in the audience
Believe in yourself, ooze self-confidence and never let them see you sweat (1-28-08; “The Naked Truth”).

Eye Contact: In any business context, eye contact can make or break you (1-25-08; “The Eyes Are The Window To The Goal”).

Public Speaking: If you shake it up by changing your speaking location, voice and presentation, your audience will follow (from Article dated 1-23-08; “Is This Mike On”).

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Matching Socks, Combed Hair & Pens that Don’t Leak: The Small Stuff That Makes You Credible

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

None of us are supposed to “judge a book by its cover”…but we do.
All the time.

Most people understand the importance of doing good work, having a great attitude, being a team player and being punctual.
However, many smart employees miss the opportunity to score even more points by managing their “observable peripherals”.

So, go ahead. Ask away. Don’t be shy.

What the heck is an observable peripheral?

It’s all of the little and subtle cues that cause someone to form an impression about you.

Here are some examples and suggestions that will make a significant difference in what others think about you:

  • You see that leaky 19 cent pen in your hand? Throw it out. Right now. Go buy a nice Waterman (or something similar), with weight, and use that from now on. A serious pen means you are a serious worker.
  • Taking notes in one of your daughter’s 4th grade Composition books is equally unimpressive. Dump it and go get a leather binder that allows you to use 8 1/2 X 11 or X 14 note pads. Jotting down today’s meeting assignments on the back of your Wendy’s receipt isn’t going to get anyone to take you seriously.
  • Upgrade that disgusting watch with the dried paint chips on it, to something elegant and attractive.
  • Stop wearing that Disney sweatshirt into the office. We see you wearing it as you come through the door and can only suppress the laughter some of the time.
    (If you dress like a joke, you will be treated like one).
  • Sorry to tell you this one…but that tie that your wife/daughter gave you with “Sponge Bob” on it is ridiculous. You are not a cartoon character (and your crabby pattys don’t taste so great either).
  • Your shoes always need to be shined and clean.
  • Your glasses cannot have any kind of tape holding them together.
  • Kiss that pocket protector goodbye.
  • Men, please put collar stays in your shirts and always button the top button if you are wearing a tie.
  • Ladies, regardless of our fantasies, please do not show us your bellybutton or wear any garment that has a phrase more appropriate for a strip club than an office (”Sexy,” “Man killer’,” “Good In Bed”). You get the idea.
  • Wearing your college ring beyond the age of 30 screams “loser” to the rest of us…even if it was an Ivy league school.
  • Get rid of that uni-brow.
  • Use perfume or cologne sparingly. If I can smell you on the Interstate, you may have put a tad too much on.
  • Never leave uneaten/open bags of food/candy on your desk.
  • Never wear the same outfit in the same week. If we see that blouse one more time, we are going to puke.
  • If you borrow money for the soda machine, pay it back the next morning. We will remember.
  • We are watching and observing you from the moment you park to the moment you leave (and yes, we did note that you took more than an hour for lunch).
  • Assume that we are all looking into your car when we walk by it (we loved spying that DVD of “Teenage Love Vixens” in the backseat, right next to the empty Coors 24 pack and 1500 of your scattered business receipts).
  • Use your “indoor voice” when taking a call on your cell phone.
  • Never be the last one to walk into a meeting or the first one to leave.
  • Today’s Tip: Before you have even opened your mouth, we have all formed an impression of you. Make it a good one. Crappy, dirty and cheap accessories (as well as childish behavior) will persuade us that that’s who you really are. Dazzle us, impress us, wow us.
    We will pay that much more attention to you when you speak.

    Who Put The Swag in Swagger (Trade Show Strategies)

    Monday, March 24th, 2008

    No matter what your vocation, somewhere, sometime, somehow, there will be a dedicated trade show.

    Whether it’s “Vegetarian Paintball Enthisiasts” or “Celibate Star Trek Cat Lovers,” there is probably a trade show scheduled somewhere near a Casino or Spa with speakers, swag (those lovely monogrammed goodies that break during the ride home) and networking opportunities.

    Here are some tips for the trade show wars.

    For Attendees:

  • Grab as much swag as you possibly can. You never know when you will need glow in the dark golfballs with pliars and an air pressure gauge.
  • Figure out where the people that you really want to meet will be and run there.
  • Do not start your day without putting a large pile of your Business cards in your pocket…and try to give them out.
  • Remember, you are always on.
  • The real networking takes place between meetings as well as at Happy Hour. Save your energy for after 5:00 PM.
  • Start conversations with seatmates and get their Business card (hey, you never know).
  • Try to have dinner with someone that you met during the day or with their friends.
  • Pick the lectures that you will attend carefully. Make sure that your real goal will be enriched (e.g. networking, education, certification credits, etc.).
  • Talk to the Exhibitors and the Organizers to get the low-down on who is who and where your time is best spent

  • If you are an Exhibitor:

  • Bring lots of water, snacks and breath mints
  • Paint that smile on your face and don’t take it off until you pack up.
  • Make sure that your swag has your “brand” on it and make it tasteful (avoid the monogrammed plungers).
  • Sign up for the conference early to get the best booth price and a corner location near the middle aisle (best walk-in traffic pattern)
  • As soon as you set up, establish a great relationship with your Booth neighbors. They can be helpful during the day ( for bathroom breaks, errands, watching your goodies, etc).
  • Greet each attendee as if it counts (and pretend that their personal annecdotes are relevant and funny).
  • Keep a good list of high potential clients…and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
  • Bring a genuinely coveted item to raffle off to the masses (avoid Grandma’s old couch covers).

  • Today’ Tip: Trade shows can be wonderful opportunities to meet fellow specialists, network, to learn or to drive new business. Be polite, aware, aggressive, strategic and always be ready to put on your Spock ears.

    Your Elevator Speech: Is The Elevator Going Up or Down?

    Monday, February 25th, 2008

    Your “elevator speech” is the 30 second explanation of your business, service or product that you would presumably give to an executive or a prospective client/customer if you were riding in an elevator together. Could you do it? Go ahead. Say it aloud right now.  Come on. 

    You have 25 seconds left.  I ‘m waiting. 

    Tick tock 

    Stop.

    Times up. 

    The elevator door just opened and closed.You are still fumbling the words while your next job just left the building. OK.  Relax.  I didn’t mean to slap you around (well, maybe just a little).  The point is that it is much harder to boil down what you can do or provide to a 30 second sound bite.  But you need to.  You never know when you may meet someone at a bus stop, networking event or in an elevator.  So, exhale.

    Now let’s take the time to get you ready for that next magical moment. Here’s what you need to do:

    1)     Carry business cards with you at all times (on vacation, to a doctor’s appointment, when you go pick up a pizza, etc.). 2)     Write down on a piece of paper what you or your business can really do to help someone.

    3)     Why and how are you different than the 450 other people that I could use (including my cousin Ernie who is sloppy but cheap)?

    4)     Come up with a quick and memorable tag line (“I help people retire 10 years earlier than they expected to”).

    5)     Acknowledge the current market or landscape and rise above it (“I know that there are thousands of contactors out there…but I’m the one whom customers return to.”

    6)     Whittle down your comments to 2 sentences and practice saying it and hearing yourself say it out loud. 

    Ok. Now go find yourself an elevator.

    Today’s Tip:  Don’t watch the elevator doors close.  Always be ready to explain your business to others in a concise, clever and alluring manner.