Tag Archives: professional communications

Improve Business Communication Skills at Toronto Event

Professional Development and Networking Event: Key Communication Skills to Grow Your Business!

The key to successfully starting and growing a business is effective communications.  Your great idea will not get interest from anyone if you can’t share your vision, persuasively pitch your company to investors, and clearly market your products and services.

NCCA Canada is proudly partnering with YEDI and City of Toronto to co-host a half-day professional development and networking event at Toronto City Hall where you will learn how to develop these vital business communication skills. Our President, speaker extraordinaire and body language expert Mark Bowden will deliver a keynote not to be missed, which will be followed by your chance to join mini-workshops hosted by our industry professionals on the topics of pitching, networking, and clarifying your business vision.

This is an exciting and unique opportunity to meet coaches, trainers, learning and development professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners, gathering together to connect, share and learn. This event is open for everyone, but space is limited.  Please join us!

Toronto City Hall – Friday October 13th 2017, 10 – 2 pm
Cost: $20 (**free for NCCA Canada Members)

To Register with EventBrite: https://ncca2017.eventbrite.com

**Discount code will be emailed to NCCA Canada members.  If you didn’t get yours, please contact NCCA Admin and we will email it to you.  Hope to see you there!

Schedule:

In Main Chambers
10-10:45 – Welcome, Opening Remarks, Body Language Expert Mark Bowden’s keynote on how to use non-verbal communication to persuade, assist with selling and add credibility to the business individual

10:55-11:30 – Mini-Workshop 1 – The Art of the Quick Pitch

NCCA Executive Director and 3V Communication Coach Ric Phillips leads an interactive class on how to effectively pitch your business in a very short time, with or without a slide deck

In Member’s Lounge with Select Vendors

11:30-12:15 – Lunch and Networking

*Note – Member’s Lounge will be open to all for food and networking until 4 pm!

Mini-Workshops in Committee Room 3 (2nd Floor)

12:15-12:45 – Mini-Workshop 2 – Networking: It’s Telling Not Selling
Networking guru Colleen Clarke shares her top tips and formulas to make networking less painful and improve your elevator pitches – something every business person needs to help self-market better!

1-1:30 – Mini-Workshop 3 – Know Your Vision

YEDI President and successful serial entrepreneur Dr. Marat Ressin leads a dynamic seminar on understanding the importance of having a vision for the entrepreneur/coach/small business owner, and how to identify and communicate it to others. This skill is essential if you want to get buy-in, gain followers to your cause, or lead a team in business.

1:45-2:30 – Round Table – Coaching and Learning & Development Trends

Informal discussion on the coaching and learning and development industries, their trends and how they can help businesses and individuals grow. Hosted by Ric Phillips and L & D Consultant/NCCA Designated Trainer Lauren Waldman. Bring your questions!

Our half-day event is complete, but networking remains available in Committee Room 3 and the Member’s Lounge until 4 pm.

 

Register with EventBrite: https://ncca2017.eventbrite.com

Threat vs. Collaboration: How Do You See Others?

cautionWe are hard-wired to default to the negative, whenever not enough positive information is available about a person or situation. In other words, we do not automatically trust in the good of people or the world, unless we have sufficient reason, past experience or ‘proof’ to do so. We cautiously default to the negative to prepare for anything bad, just in case.

A few weeks ago I received an aggressive email from some lady far away, demanding that I remove a blog post that contained her original article. It was from at least two years ago, and it was for all intents and purposes, forgotten, and buried among my other posts. So why was she upset?

When I had copied the article to my blog, I also included the hyperlink to the original place where I had discovered the excellent article. I always cite the author and original website properly, because I know exactly what it feels like to see your articles posted on someone else’s blog or website, and not have proper credit given. I get it. To us authors, coaches and trainers, we spend a lot of time building ‘street cred’ on the internet to be recognized hopefully as a thought leader. It is our intention that our pieces of writing get shared and circulated, but we hope that sharing will lead people back to our site, and to our product and service line.

In this case the hyperlink now led to nowhere, as the hosting site where I originally found the article had shifted, been shut down or had been sold. The point is, the hyperlink I had placed in good faith years ago now did not lead to proper accreditation and this lady was upset that her work looked too much like it was ‘my’ work. I can understand her wanting to rectify this situation.

She came at me guns blazing, defending her work, threatening serious action if the article that I ‘stole’ was not taken down, or a new link to her new site was not put in place. I was a bad guy I guess in her eyes, and she had me in her cross-hairs.

She didn’t know me, had no proof of my innocence, and therefore defaulted to the negative. I must be a guy trying to pass off her hard work as my own, and leverage her article to gain my own new clients. I understand this from a psychological and evolutionary point of view. It’s a natural instinct to protect yourself and your stuff. What I want to preach today is to learn to recognize that evolutionary auto-warning system, shut it off, and think before you respond.

It would have been much better in my opinion if she would have approached me (or any other author in a similar situation) as a potential collaborator, not a competitor. After all we are obviously in the same market space.  Here’s my suggested email:

Dear Ric,

I noticed you have published my article titled “ABC Great Article” in your blog post (dated month day year). First of all thank you for sharing my work. It is much appreciated. I noticed that you included a link to the site where you found the article but you probably had no way of knowing that the site has changed owners/function and so the link is unfortunately dead now. I was hoping you could simply exchange Link A with this new Link B in your blog post, so that readers of your blog may follow the article back to me with no problem. Alternatively you may choose to remove the post completely, but I hope you choose to keep it up on your blog.

Thank you so much for your time and once again thank you for sharing my article with your readers. Perhaps I could post one of your articles on my blog for our readers, since we share a common target market?

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Sincerely,

Mrs. J. Smith

Had I received an email similar to the above, I would not only have changed the link immediately, but would have personally responded to the email and began to find out which of my articles would best suit her blog. It could have been the beginning of years of collaboration between colleagues.

Instead, what I did was delete the article immediately and not respond at all to the email. I won’t even cite it here in this blog post. It is dead to me.  Which response do you think is better for her business?

I wish her the best and hold no grudge at all.  I just thought it would make an interesting topic for a blog post.  Please feel free to share this post, and I trust you will properly cite it.  😉

Dealing with “Fishy” Customer Service

gone-fishingMy friend recently received some strange customer service while dealing with a mid-sized company located in the USA.  He had purchased some sport fishing products about a year ago and, to his surprise, when he reached for the pole a couple of weeks ago, it broke in two.  He is very familiar with and loyal to this particular brand, and was shocked with the pole snap because it has a good name in the market.  Therefore he was convinced this breakage was not normal and must be faulty, and so took pictures to send to the company via email.  He also included a photo of the original receipt.

He emailed the company with the 3 pictures, and their response was so short and to the point it gave him the feeling of rudeness.  It read basically “Please send us the pictures in a standard format, like JPEG.”  Now I’m a big fan of making emails short and to the point, but that is ridiculous.  Where’s the sugar?  Where’s the concern, empathy or reassurance that they will look into this matter?

This is the point when my friend contacted me as apparently I’m a bit more tech-savvy than he, and so I helped covert the 3 original photos to .jpg and we emailed the company again, referencing the new file number they had also provided him.

He got an email the next day basically saying the same thing – that they could not see the pictures and to please send them in standard format.  I double-checked our email and assured him that we did indeed send the photos as jpeg, but also suggested we send a new, fresh email with the jpegs attached, so that they do not get them confused with the old pictures that are sure to be on the thread.  That is what I assume might have happened.

The response to that email was basically “Send us a picture showing the date of purchase.”  What?  We wondered who was on the other end of this computer.
Regardless we took a new picture of the receipt that showed the date of purchase and jpeg’d it and emailed it to them with the reference file number.  Their response the next day was “Please pay a processing fee of $9.95.”  I kid you not.

This morning my friend had reached his limit in patience and wrote an email complaining about the time wasted in these emails, noting his confusion over the mysterious processing fee, and swearing that he would never use nor recommend their products again.  He luckily called me before he pressed SEND.

He read it to me over the phone and asked for feedback.  I asked him “What is your goal?”  He replied to tell them how he feels.  I suggested that the chance of resolving the original issue is very low if you share your feelings and then sever ties.  I advised him to use the 1-800 number and call the company and speak to someone about this issue instead of firing off the ‘burning-bridges’ letter.  I told him we both understand that the person on the other end of the computer is customer-service handicapped, so more emails, including the letter, will get no response or at best a one-liner.  I told him to keep calm and call them, and just ‘follow up’ on the previous emails, and ‘inquire’ about the processing fee.  He agreed.
He called me back swiftly and told me that the company will be sending him a new fishing pole – but they just require a small processing fee.  My friend should receive the new product in a week. 🙂

By keeping his cool and not resorting to threats and ultimatums, and by not allowing the truly terrible customer service emails to interfere with his right to seek answers and possibly get reparation for his broken pole, my friend was able to find the true meaning behind the cryptic and stunted emails.  By ‘upgrading’ the communication from computer to phone, he found out the company’s true intentions to replace his product, and will now get it in short order.

The main lessons here I think are:
1 – don’t lose your cool not matter how frustrating the communication is
2 – if you don’t understand emails, pick up the phone
3 – never close the door on a brand you actually like and want to keep using
4 – don’t assume you know what the other party is thinking.  Get a clear answer.
5 – Jpegs are a common format for sharing photos
6 – It’s okay to use friends who are tech-savvy and/or knowledgeable about professional communication strategies. ☺

Your Communication Coach,

Successful Networking Top 10 Tips

To be successful at networking first of all you cannot allow yourself to be a wallflower. Here are my personal tips for success at a networking function so that you can be prepared (which will help combat any anxiety you may have about going and meeting strangers) and come off looking and sounding smooth and successful.

1 – At home, write out a list of your strengths, attributes, special skills, etc. so that you know why someone should be interested in your services, your resume, etc. Now these strengths are in your head to boost your confidence and remind yourself of why people should talk to you or listen to you.

2 – Visualize the room; visualize smiling, shaking hands, talking to people, exchanging ideas, asking questions, exchanging cards, etc. Visualization works well, especially for shyer people, and many successful people in business, sports, entertainment etc. use visualization to get an image of a successful action before going out to the event.

3 – Show up with confident posture, a controlled walk, a smile and firm handshake, and lots of eye contact.

4 – Use the immediate environment to get the conversation started, like talking about the venue, the host, etc. and then find a common bond to keep it going. For example, talk about different networking functions you have attended, talk about any common interests regarding vacations, work, hobbies. Small talk first is normal, then get down to business.

5 – Now, have questions prepared to ask, to get people to talk about their needs, and then shape your conversation to reflect how you or your services could help in those areas. Don’t be pushy. Soft sell yourself. Build interest. For example instead of saying “I sell office insurance…do you need some?” you might instead say “Do you have your own office? What insurance rate are you paying, if I may ask? I am just wondering if you are getting the best value for your money. I am in the industry, so I am aware of the fair market value of the offices. What size of office do you have?” etc. Now they are more ready to be “helped” by you.

6 – Remember to repeat their name back to them, actively listen, and keep a mental database of some details of the person with whom you are speaking to.

7 – Always collect a business card if possible, and feel free to be the first one to ask for it. Ask with some enthusiasm and at the time when he or she has just talked about what they do or how they can help you. Smile and offer yours. Ideally, if you are talking about yourself correctly, people will ask you for your card. However, if they don’t, you may choose to offer.

8 – When you go home, write out information on the back of the card or on a sheet of paper, stapled to the card. These details help build and maintain rapport for the next and subsequent meetings, emails, and phone calls. Everyone appreciates being remembered!

9 – Email them within 24 hours to say that it was nice to meet them, and perhaps mention a detail you remember, and the suggestion to ‘keep in touch’.

10 – Unless you had already planned a meeting previously, follow up a week later and see if you can arrange a drop-by visit or a coffee, if you think this relationship has potential. It is okay to initiate contact. Be a leader!

Body Language Tips for the Boardroom

Is it a good thing to centre your hands while speaking?

Hello fellow communicators!

Do you often wonder how you could improve the results of your meetings and presentations in the boardroom?  Do you wish you could read the body language and non-verbal communications of business people across the table from you during negotiations?  Well a global company called FIRMEX believes these are valuable skills to learn and partnered up with “yours truly” to create a couple of no-cost body language videos.  Please watch and enjoy these vital and easy-to-apply tips to modify your non-verbal communication and gestures, as well as become more attuned to others in business.  Body language isn’t everything, but it’s a very large part of effective business communication!  Click the link below to see the video on Firmex’s blog:

http://www.firmex.com/thedealroom/body-language-in-the-boardroom/

I hope you enjoy the tips and more importantly put them to good use immediately!