Tag Archives: Toronto

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

Demographics of Toronto (Wikipedia)

This is some interesting info on the demographics of Toronto.  Not sure if it’s been updated since 2006, but nevertheless – interesting.

The demographics of Toronto make Toronto one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Data released by Statistics Canada as part of the 2006 census indicates that Toronto is more ethnically diverse than Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. 49.9% of Toronto’s population is foreign-born.[1]

A majority of Torontonians claim their origins from as either in whole or part from England, Scotland and Ireland.

There is a significant population of Afghans, Arabs, Barbadians, Bengalis, Chinese, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Filipinos, French, Germans, Greeks, Grenadians, Guyanese, Hungarians, Indians, Iranians, Italians, Jamaicans, Jews, Koreans, Mexicans, Pakistanis, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Russians, Salvadorans, Somalis, Sri Lankans, Tamils, Tibetans, Trinidadians, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, and Vincentians throughout the city.

Neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, Corso Italia, Little India, Greektown, Koreatown, Little Jamaica, Little Portugal and Roncesvalles are examples of these large ethno-cultural populations.[2].

Christianity is the largest faith group in Toronto’s census metropolitan area, with Roman Catholics comprising 33.4% of the population. The Anglican Church and United Church of Canada account for 6.9% each. Other religious groups include Islam (5.5%), Hinduism (4.1%), Judaism (3.5%), Buddhism (2.1%), and Sikhism (1.9%). 16.6% of the population claim they have no religious affiliation.[3]
 
While English is the predominant language spoken by Torontonians, Statistics Canada reports that other language groups are significant, including Chinese, Portuguese, Tamil, Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Spanish, Punjabi, Somali, and Italian. Canada’s other official language, French, is spoken by 1.4% of the population.

For more info please see the original Wikipedia listing here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Toronto

 

Introducing the Customer Service Category

Hello Readers,

For a number of years now I have enjoyed conversations with friends about terrible customer service or great customer service, and it seems there is an endless supply of stories, especially here in the big city of Toronto.  We Canadians pride ourselves on our stereotypical politeness and our overuse of “please” and “thank you” but the sad fact is that the average customer service experience here in Toronto is mediocre or “good-enough” at best.  Here is the problem:  when we get great service, whether it is at a restaurant or while dealing with a utility company or any other service industry, we are genuinely shocked and almost overwhelmed.  We RAVE about the wonderful service.  Why?  Because it isn’t normal here!  Isn’t that wrong?  So I have created this category in this blog.

As a professional Communication Coach I train people in advanced communication skills which, as you can imagine, includes customer service, building rapport, conflict management etc.  Considering my job, I guess it’s fair to say that I’m a harsh judge of excellent service, but the other reality is that I am a very happy, positive person 99% of the time, and I go in to any interaction with a smile and positive attitude, and the hope that it will be a good experience for both/all of us.   I definitely do not try to be a jerk to anyone!  I used to work customer service myself (most people have at some point).

So I thought I would create a blog category where I can RANT and RAVE about the good, the bad and the ugly customer service here in Toronto.  Heck, there may even be stories in there from outside of this city.  It could be on the topic of public transit, restaurants, utilities, camera shops etc.  No topic is off-limits or too personal.

I can promise you that even though I will use this blog to vent a bit and let people/companies know when they have acted poorly, I will also praise the hard work of others, to make things balanced and fair.  My goal is to be entertaining as well as informative.   I think you will agree that my posts are quite down-to-earth, personable and I hope insightful.

I welcome your comments and stories, but please keep them polite and professional, so I can allow them to be posted.

Thank you!

Yours in pursuit of customer satisfaction,

Coach Ric

When a Customer Asks for Extras – What Would You Do?

We’ve all asked for some extras at the restaurants, right?  We want malt vinegar instead of white for our fries/chips, we want extra ketchup packets from the fast-food place so we can put them in our fridge, we want 2 helpings of the special dipping sauce at Swiss Chalet.  The question the wait staff, managers and owners of restaurants need to ask themselves is – how much is too much?  That’s tricky when you live in a culture of “the customer is always right”.

I remember I used to visit a Red Lobster in St. Catharines (this is going back a long time ago…mid-nineties!) and they were always giving away free appetizers or discounts off the bill if anything was a few minutes late or if the customer ever said “boo”.  I remember thinking at the time, as I ate my comp shrimp cocktail, that the place must be losing a ton of money.

Anyway back to more recent times, a couple of years ago I took my girlfriend (now my wife) to a new restaurant for Valentine’s Day.  We went to Mambo’s on the Danforth.  Let me tell you – it was awesome!  Great service, great tapas, great mojitos…couldn’t ask for anything more.  I immediately signed up for their newsletter to get coupons emailed to me regularly.  We went a couple more times and even when they changed some items on the menu and did some reno (I can’t remember if they changed management hands or not) we still came back for special occasions, or when we were feeling like we needed to be spoiled.

Anywho, here is my story that relates to the title:  I got an email offer that said if it was your birthday you could come in and get a free main/dinner.  I thought that was good, but who eats by themselves on their birthday at a restaurant like that, right?  So I emailed back to the owner asking, since my girlfriend and I had birthdays within 8 days of each other, could we come in and both get a free main in one night?

I know, I know – I was being a bit pushy right?  But you know what they say – you never know until you ask.  I thought I wasn’t asking for that much, since we were returning customers and he would know that from our names since we had signed up for special nights before via internet.

What happened?  He never emailed me back.  Ever!  I guess he felt it was too much to ask, and instead of responding or negotiating with me, he wrote nothing.  I felt a bit embarrassed and so we never returned to the restaurant again.  Ever.

So the question is now upon you; if you were the customer,  waitstaff,  manager or the restaurant owner, what would you do?   How would you respond to my email/request?  All straight-forward and also creative answers welcome!

Good Reason to Live in Vancouver, Toronto or Calgary

A survey published by the Economist Intelligence Unit says Calgary is the fifth most livable city in the world.
The U.K.-based group analyzes 30 factors to establish its annual rankings, including stability, health care, culture, environment, education, infrastructure and personal safety.
Calgary was among three Canadian cities to land in the top ten, with Vancouver taking first spot for the fifth year in a row.
Toronto was ranked fourth on the list of 140 cities worldwide.
The highest ranked U.S. city is Pittsburgh, at 29th place.
The most unlivable city in the world is Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, the list’s authors said.

Worse Than a Fly in Your Soup?

The other night I took my wife out for dinner at a restaurant that currently has 3 names (which is quite confusing – I guess they are merging or something) just south of Yonge and St. Clair.  We had a beer and a meal and all in all the service and food were good enough.  Nothing fancy, but the place isn’t pricey either, so it was fine in my books.
Anyway, after we paid and left, my wife starts laughing (outside) and asks me “Did you see that?!”

She continues to laugh hysterically even though I had no idea what she was on about so I asked her to fill me in.  Still smiling, she said the waiter who served us and everyone else in the room had his fly fully open!  She said it had been that way since the moment we walked into the joint!  WOW!  Really?  I couldn’t believe it!  Poor guy.  I wonder how many other people noticed.  I wonder if it positively or negatively affected his tips?
Let this be a warning to all servers – check your clothing before you go on, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, and do a final fly-check okay?

Mike Does Right at Leon’s

My current couch is falling apart, piece by piece.  It’s an Ikea futon couch and it was never meant to be my main couch but for some unknown reason (laziness) it has been in the living room for far too long, breaking down both itself and anyone’s back who sits on it for too long.  God help you if you tried to sleep on it!

So my wife and I headed out today couch/sofa-shopping.  We didn’t find what we were looking for at the Urban Brick so we headed down to Leon’s which we remembered spotting when we were on a tour of the awesome SteamWhistle Brewery a while back (that could be another post…) down by the Rogers Centre.  Anyway, we walked in and started sitting down on couches.  We put down our shopping bags and took off our winter coats and couch-surfed a while, hmming and hawing.  I asked a lady a question regarding pull-out couches and she handed me off to Mike, who asked my name, introduced himself with eye contact, a good handshake and a smile.  I like this guy already.  The fact that he is well-dressed in not only nice clothes but ones that fit him properly gets him bonus marks on personal presentation.  Anyway Mike pulls out a couch and leaves me to discuss with my wife.

A short time later we walk to him and he asks what I think, and I say I think that the sofa-couch is a bad idea!  He laughs and we agree that a proper couch would feel better.  I tell him we need to look around and try out some couches and he offers to put our bags and jackets behind the desk.  His stock is rising…

He leaves us alone for the appropriate amount of time (a good sales person KNOWS when that is…) and by the time he re-appears we are down to 2 possibilities.  Mike assures me both choices are good and customer-favourites, i.e. big sellers.  I’m not sure that’s true, but it’s okay, because a good sales rep is supposed to reassure the customer that they have made an excellent choice, no matter what they pick.  I fish for a discount which is politely ignored.  I like that confidence.  He is not pushy and not needy.  It makes me want to spend money because I believe high-quality stores do not need to discount all the time.

Anyway we decide on a couch that is nicknamed “Fiona”, which I think looks strong and elegant but practical, and my wife agreed, but I think it also had something to do with the Shrek movies we recently watched together that I got her for Christmas!

The couch felt good and was within our budget, and Mike was a confident but calm and non-pushy  salesman who understood genuine rapport-building, and so what the hey, we even ordered the upsell Scotchguard!

Our new couch is to be delivered Saturday, and we can hardly wait.  Tonight as my wife and I sat on our current Ikea futon couch I cursed it several times and told it that it’s time was up and it had to leave.  I don’t care if I hurt it’s feelings, because everyday it hurts my back!
Sayonara Futon!  Hello Fiona!  (Well, at least on Saturday I can say that…assuming there are no problems with delivery!)

Christina’s on the Danforth

This isn’t recent, but I was sitting here thinking of some of my favourite restaurants to go to because of excellent customer service, and I thought I might start to mention them one at a time, in random order, here on the blog.

For many years I used to live just off the Danforth.  (Man I miss Greek food sometimes…)
Anyway, whenever I wanted to impress a lady on a date, or my Mother when she visited Toronto, I would take her to Christina’s.  What I like about that place is the decor, the food, and the service.  The gentlemen wear formal black and white and talk softly to you.  Even bringing butter is done professionally and with an air of importance, without feeling stuffy or snobby.

I went there many times in my life, and only had one bad experience.  I had taken a girlfriend out for a romantic night of wine and seafood, and the restaurant was not too busy.  We were seated alone.  20 minutes later a small but loud group of ESL students and their teacher came in, and for some strange reason, were seated right beside us!!!  I couldn’t believe the daftness or insensitivity of the hostess.  There were plenty of open tables available in the room.  (It was not the group’s fault, of course.)

Anyway after grumbling and scowling a bit I quietly went up to the bar and made my complaint so that the small party could not hear, and we (my girlfriend and I) were offered a new, more private table.

The lesson for servers and hostesses here is – look before you seat.