Archives for June 2014

The way you schedule a meeting can make or break your team’s productivity

Keep your makers out of meetings as much as possible

If you’re a manager, one of the core activities in your business life is meetings. That’s what you do. You schedule meetings, prepare for meetings, run meetings, follow up meetings, go to meetings, implement what’s been decided at meetings, and then do it again…constantly.

If you’re a manager, you have what Paul Graham of Y Combinator calls a manager’s schedule. Your day is full of meetings, some short, some long, usually a lot of them. You look at your calendar and see a lot of meeting commitments in a single day. And it is good. That’s part of your gauge of success—to do the things the company hired you to do. [Read more…]

Reframing your focus leads to unbelievable changes in your employees and your business

Focus on the solution, not on the problem

Are you happy with the outcomes you’re getting in your business?

If the answer is no, you probably already have a sense that generating, balancing, and maintaining outcomes is a complex and delicate exercise. There are so many factors involved, like your finances, your employees, the economy, your health, your attitude, your personal life, your good or bad fortune, your fears…. The list goes on and on.

Let’s look at just one of those factors: your employees. The challenge you face is getting the best performance possible out of your people in order to achieve the best outcomes possible. [Read more…]

Why it’s so important to give your body and brain time to relax

Biltmore Estate

Jennifer and I went on a trip recently to the mountains of North Carolina to visit her parents. For a week, I laid around doing nothing much other than reading novels and eating. It’s been a long time since I did that.

Before we headed east, I had no idea I would see such huge benefits from shutting down my brain and body for a while; there was too much going on before we left for me to even consider it. [Read more…]

4 things you need to know about connecting with your audience — and customers

How to connect with your customers

I recently delivered a one-day class called Public Speaking for the Faint-hearted. The basic idea of the class, as you can imagine, is to provide useful tools and advice for getting up in front of an audience. To that end, throughout the day, participants had an opportunity to give brief presentations to the group.

During a break, one of the participants said, “Everything you’ve told us applies directly to sales.” He was referring to the first half of the day when I discuss the psychological aspects of public speaking, diving into the role that fear plays in preventing people from enthusiastically getting up in front of a group. That part of the class addresses the speaker’s relationship with the audience.

A few things are necessary for a good presentation that connects you with your listeners:  [Read more…]

4 steps to successful networking (from your desk!) for stronger relationships

You can easily network right from your desk!

Building business relationships has certainly changed in recent years. The “winner” at a networking event used to be the person who went home with the most business cards. The cards piled up in a desk drawer only to be thrown away months and even years later, with little to show for the time spent networking. Today, you don’t even have to go to an event to network, but the contacts still pile up.

Of course, successful networking has always been about building relationships, and the idea of taking time to nurture the contacts made has finally taken center stage in the mainstream. Perhaps paradoxically, the faster the business world moves, the slower networking should take. Trust takes time to build, and with so many options available in the marketplace these days, trust is a critical factor in business success. [Read more…]