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Don’t Fear the Pause

If you listen to experienced speakers, it’s easy to see some real differences in how they step through their presentation than maybe how you go about giving a talk when you are called upon to speak in public. But it is a good exercise to use every opportunity to listen to different public speakers and learn from them. From speakers who are not effective, study why they are and learn how to correct those problems in your presentation. For speakers who are very good, learn what they do that works and copy their methods without shame. It’s all part of learning from each other.

One thing that jumps out when an experienced public speaker is holding an audience in the palm of his hand is that he is totally relaxed up there. That is a calculated relaxation. In fact most of the methods he uses such as his use of hands, the vocal range of his voice, where he looks and how he moves are all carefully planned and part of that presentation and who that speaker is. And all of those things come with time and practice. So if you need a few times in front of a group, or a few dozen times before you can begin to get that relaxed, be generous with yourself and allow that public speaking is the kind of thing that you can read about all day long but you donít get good at it until you get good at it.

One thing that very often jumps out in a speaker who is at ease with his style is that for most of us the idea of a pause is terrifying. But notice smooth speakers often will pause and allow that moment of quiet in a presentation to just hang there. When that pause happens for that other speaker, you may have felt as terrified as if it was happening to you. But not to worry. As you noticed, that skilled speaker uses pauses to create interest and isn’t afraid to let his presentation stop for a moment either intentionally or to check notes or make some other adjustment.

The pause is actually a very powerful communications tool that if you can master it, you can use it to make points, add drama or just wake up an audience that may have begun to doze off on you. That is because as you speak along, if your presentation is somewhat long, it is easy for people to be lulled into an unintentional trance of sorts. The mind can wander and that is the condition people get into when they doze off as you speak. They track to the continuous sound of your voice and the melodic tempo that you naturally fall into when you speak in public.

When you begin to use pauses and changes to the tempo of your presentation, you break that natural rhythm of your talk. The pause will jar the audience back to you and they will suddenly be attentive with that “what did I miss” look on their faces. That is a real tool to you to help your audience stay focused and to use particularly when you are approaching a point that is an important part of what you have to say.

Most of us when we are just starting out in public speaking fear the pause in our presentation in the worst way. That moment when you are not speaking and that audience is looking at you and nothing is happening can feel like you are falling to your death. But in truth, all you have done is focus the concentration of the group on you and on your talk. So don’t fear the pause. If used with caution and sparingly, it can be a powerful communications tool to help you make your point.

Social Networking for Business

Associations and trade organizations are great places to meet individuals. Usually organizations have a common theme, and it is an understood implication that all members participate to improve themselves and their businesses.

Whether it is a chamber of commerce or a trade association, members have common problems, issues and concerns. By sharing issues and resolutions, members can benefit by the experience of others. Many business owners participate in organizations, not only to network, but also to hopefully circumvent some of the pitfalls encountered by other small businesses–learning from others.

Networking Tips.

Many trade organizations provide forums for networking. In some cases, these might be private online newsgroups, casual meetings, or even professional events with speakers. In order to take full advantage of these networking opportunities consider these tips.

Who You Know.

It is often not who you know, but who they know. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone put-off someone who is clearly a beginner only to learn that the “beginner” is the brother or friend of a contact they’ve been trying to meet for weeks.

Honesty.

Be honest. Pretending to be something that you are not, or implying you can deliver a product or service that is outside of your abilities, will foster an environment of distrust and potentially harm your reputation. Keep in mind that networking is viral?vital? and if promises are not kept, word will spread. Establishing yourself and firm as an honest, reputable company.

Professional.

Keep conversations to strictly business subjects. In a business environment, it is important to focus on safe non-emotional topics. The last thing you want to do is alienate or offend a potential client because of an outspoken view on a controversial topic. There is a time and a place for everything and discussing political views or cultural issues is not a generally accepted business topic. Bearing that in mind, it is also important to be aware and sensitive to cultural differences. The Internet has opened doors to a global market and respecting cultural differences is critical to establishing strong business relationships in the global marketplace.

Socialize.

Now is not the time to be a wall flower. Whether you participate in social business events, or monitor trade forums, it is critical that you participate. Participation will help you distinguish yourself in your industry. Attempt to remember individual personal details and foster introductions among others in the industry.

Positive.

Stay positive. It sounds simple, but it will really impact how others view you. If you are constantly negative and pointing out the flaws in others, it will reflect on how others view you. Presenting the best and positive business experiences will enhance your image.

Help.

Provide genuine assistance to others. Whether or not they are able to reciprocate, networking is viral?vital?. Helping others will establish you as a useful member of your business community and will endear you to others. If you are unable to help an individual, attempt to refer them to someone who can.

Research.

A little research goes a long way. Be sure to research people and companies in your business community. Knowing their common goals and interests will build topics for discussions.

Acknowledging the need to connect with others to grow and expand a business may seem like common sense. Cultivating business relationships and interact with other small businesses is often mutually beneficial and should not be underestimated.

Networking is about building relationships and mutual interaction benefiting both parties. Being proactive and following up, you can have a network of contacts that you will be able to access quickly when you need them. Whether by more traditional means, such as in person or over the Internet, personal networks are essential for furthering your business. Relationship networking is give and take, be sure to help others in your quest for help.

Speak With More Than Your Voice

There is a bit of a misperception about the phrase “public speaking”. The misperception that the technique of becoming good at public speaking is all in how you speak. The truth is that your voice is only part of what you need to be successful in giving a presentation to a group of people. To be an effective public “speaker”, you should use every resource you have including your body language, your arms and your legs to capture the attention of the crowd and hold it.

There is nothing more boring than a speaker who stands in one place and never moves his arms and speaks softly just putting out the information of the talk. So to avoid this curse, learn not only to communicate with your entire being when you are in front of an audience. Learn to express yourself with facial expressions, with gestures of your arms and with movement. Because that extra effort is what can make a fair presentation good or a good presentation a great one.

A good public presentation can be compared to eating a meal in a restaurant. A good chef knows that there is more to fine dining than just food because you also must have good service and ambiance so the presentation of the food makes the meal delightful to eat. The same is true of a public speaking situation. It isn’t enough just to stand up there and speak out the information. You are not just speaking because you are only really successful when you are communicating. And to communicate, your audience has to grasp what you are saying and be prepared to make it real in their own lives.

Movement is probably the most underused public speaking method but it is also one of the most effective. To put it bluntly, when you speak to a group, don’t just stand there. Get out of the podium and move around a bit. Walk from one side of your speaking area to the other. Use your hands to help you describe an illustration or to gesture with emphasis toward the crowd when your text fits that kind of expression. This movement is good for you because itís a way of walking off your nervousness. It’s good for the audience because it keeps them interested. And it’s very good for your presentation because it is a powerful way to get your point across and to assure you are being understood.

The relationship between public speaking and public performance is unmistakable. When you watch a speaker, the key word is “watch”. Taking in the presentation of a speaker is an event that brings in all of the senses. And the more your audience actually “experiences you” rather than just hears what you say, the better they will like your presentation and the more likely they will be to agree with what you have to say or take action in the direction you had hoped they would.

Of course, it can be a nervous moment the first time you decide to step away from the podium and use your body as part of your presentation. If you walk and move in front of people, there is always the chance an accident can happen. You could swing your arms in emphasis and knock something over. You could trip over a microphone cord and be in danger of falling down. Or your wardrobe could malfunction because of the increased stress and that would be a horrible thing to deal with when everyone is looking at you. You can do take some extra measures to be sure your wardrobe is secure beforehand and to evaluate the speaking setting so you are aware of potential causes of accidents. But the possibility of a mishap is just a risk that you should be prepared to take because the movement you use is so powerfully effective that the rewards are too great to pass up.

The other risk is that by stepping away from the podium, you step away from your outline. To enable yourself to wean away from having to have that outline in front of you all the time, select one or two sections where you will depart the outline and share a personal story. Then your movement will be confident and effective. And when you can integrate confident movement into your presentation, your public speaking skills will go from good to great instantaneously.

Networking Is More Than Just Handing Out Business Cards

At a Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange several years ago a well-dress woman walked up to me, business card in hand and, in perfect form held it in both hands in front of me, gesturing for me to take it. I took the card from her and smiled. She looked up and in a polite voice, said “Thank you,” and walked away. How sad. Here was this obviously well-intentioned woman, who most likely owned an interesting business but never learned what to do at a card exchange. Somewhere she bought into the idea that you were suppose to hand out as many business cards in as little time as possible. Clearly, this does nothing but waste business cards. Great for card businesses, not so great for yours.

The other extreme is the person who spends the entire time at a card exchange talking to the same individual, sometimes even people from their own company. Again, this is quite unproductive. The purpose of a business card exchange is to get to meet new people in a pleasant atmosphere.

While there are many good books to help you hone your networking skills including, Sue Roaneís How to Work a Room, the essence of networking is quite simple.

Businesses run on relationships. Iíve always felt that everything that we do is about personal relationships and a business just gives us a playing field on which to do it.

Following that theme, growing your business is about developing and nurturing relationships and card exchanges and similar networking events are really the starting point to begin what will hopefully become a mutually rewarding relationship.

Since your time is limited, it is a good idea to spend only a short time speaking with people, especially those you already know. If you feel a resonance with someone youíre talking with, make arrangements to follow-up your connection at a later date and move on to meet someone else. Iím sure the shy looking person in the corner, who is probably there for the very first time, has something interesting to say. Why not go over and extend your hand.

The other big faux paus I see over and over again, are the people who approach the networking meeting with a “me, me, me” attitude. A better approach is to learn about the other person first. You then have the option of explaining how what you do might be of interest to them. This establishes a stronger platform for communications, for as speaking legend Zig Zigler says, “You get what you want by helping other people get what they want.”

Care about the other person

There are better ways to network and meet prospective business contacts. For openers, (no pun intended) people are more responsive if you first show some interest in them and what they do. There is an old clichÈ that says we have one mouth and two ears for a reason. If you listen more than you talk, you will automatically find people more interested in talking with you and being around you.

Marketing guru, Jay Abraham, once said that “Discovery is the fuel of competitive advantage.” Get curious. Become interested in other people and what makes them tick. Really care about the other person. If you take the time to investigate, you will find that even those people who appear quite ordinary have a story to tell. If you show an interest in them and their lives, you will not only increase your chances of doing business with them but you may gain a friend as well.

How do you do that?

When you do introduce yourself, do so in a way that states the benefit of doing business with you. Saying “Hi, my name is Mary and I sell insurance” is not very exciting. However, if you were to say, “My name is Mary and I help people prepare for the uncertainty that may be in their future.” This causes the other person, if they are at all curious, to ask, “How do you do that?” At this point, you have opened the door for a further explanation or “commercial” for your business. You can go on to explain the benefits of your products and services.

As an exercise, devise three or four ways to introduce your business. Let each one focus on a different benefit of your product or service. Test each of them at your next networking event.

Remember: people do not buy products or services, they buy benefits and solutions.
The more you focus on communicating the benefits gained from using your products or services, the more you will benefit from the increase in business.

With prospecting new business becoming more and more difficult, a personal relationship is even more important and the Chamber of Commerce Card Exchange offers the perfect playground for you do it, besides the food is usually pretty good too.

Job Hunting: Networking With Others is the Keys to Success

You can never underestimate the power of networking. Often success is directly proportional to the size of the social circle.
Whether you are looking for an entry level job or wanting to climb the career ladder you will need some kind of networking savvy in order to survive in the business world.

If you are looking for an entry level job your networking skills might be more important than the quality of your CV. Research shows that most jobs are obtained through contacts before the jobs even become open to the general public. In the established business world strong networking skills are shown to be one of the most powerful predictors in success. If you struggle with people skills and need some help expanding your network read on.

You will need to collect up all the business cards and contact numbers of the people you already know. Make one central place where you keep all your contacts’ information.

The Internet opens up a myriad of opportunities for those nervous about networking and interpersonal skills. With email and web sites you can reach a wider network than you ever could the ‘old fashioned way’. Even building a simple website could open up many new (international) contacts and opportunities. If you are able to effectively network online can be one of the most effective tools for those seeking jobs. Discussion forums, newsgroups, discussion groups and exchange ideas – and most importantly contact details.

There is no substitute for good old fashioned networking. You cannot replace the value of a first impression or underestimate the importance of really meeting people vs meeting online (although online meetings can reduce the stress and pressure associated with the first meeting).

If you are hesitant about networking because you lack confidence, then perhaps consider joining an organization such as Toastmasters. This is a public speaking organization which will help you build confidence and you can join from anywhere in the world. An added bonus – you will meet many new contacts and expand your circles.

Get creative with your networking. Look for opportunities to meet people and widen your social and business circles. If you are new to the job market, here are some networking strategies for first time job seekers. If you are looking for a job you need to keep expanding your network continually.

  1. Make sure you understand how to use the internet to search effectively. Use all ways you can think of to come across new opportunities as they arrive
  2. Create a spreadsheet or table, of all your contacts. Add as much information as you can: things like company names, titles, names of key contacts, phone numbers, and emails – any information you can. Leave space for notes and keep your table as organized and up to date as possible.
  3. Regular contact: this is vital to the success of your network. Use any opportunity to connect. Ask advice, offer information you think will be useful to them – find reasons to communicate. When they respond make sure to thank them. It’s important not to take your network for granted.
  4. Initiate face to face contact whenever possible.
  5. Never pass up an opportunity to get out there and network. If you are in an industry that requires more networking and socializing then limit the amount of times you may say ‘no’. For example for every 2 invitations you turn down you must attend one.
  6. Collect your contacts and feel free to call on them should the need arise.
  7. Thank your contacts whenever they do something for you. Always be polite and courteous and do your best to respond to them timorously too. You want to come across as professional.

Four Ways to Boost Your Online Business Through Networking

When you think about networking, do you visualize a bunch of people standing around schmoozing, trying to pitch their services to each other while exchanging business cards and elevator speeches?

You know, some people actually enjoy that sort of thing. And when they do it right (which is a rare talent), they reap genuine rewards. Rewards such as new clients, joint venture partners, knowledgeable advisors, helpful friendsÖ in other words, mutually beneficial relationships.

But for many of us, the idea of going to a networking event ranks right up there with bathing an angry cat. Even if we think it ought to be done, weíd rather be flea food.

Donít worry. Thereís much more ñ and less ñ to networking than you think! You can reap the same wonderful rewards without having to mingle with a bunch of strangers.

Important: With any kind of networking, the key is to build powerful relationships by giving. Give your attention, advice, ideas, suggestions, support, compliments, referrals and maybe even your business to others. Give, give, give then receive more than you can imagine!

There are many ways you can get freelance work by networking, even if you hate schmoozing. Below are four powerful examples.

  1. Tell your family and friends about your online business.

This seems like a no-brainer, but youíd be amazed at how many people fail to do this.

You donít have to pitch your services/products to your family and friends, but you certainly should not be keeping them secret! Youíll have many opportunities during normal conversations to mention that you enjoy internet marketing and earning money with your online activities. Just plant the seed and eventually it can grow into unexpected business.

And remember, even if your family and friends have no need for the products/services you offer, itís very likely that they know someone who does.

Key: Every person has connections to an average of 250 other people. When you decide not to mention your services to cousin Annie and neighbor Tom, youíre missing an opportunity to offer your services to hundreds of people they know!

  • Engage in virtual networking.

You do this online, from the comfort of your home office. Besides the benefits of not having to deal with people face-to-face, virtual networking allows you to create contact lists and join online communities comprised of people from all over the world. Most of these people you would probably never meet in any other way. Your virtual network can grow larger and faster than any form of traditional network.

Are you on someoneís email list? (Of course you are!) When they ask for opinions, give yours. When they raise an issue thatís of interest to you, send them a response about it. If theyíre selling something you can benefit from (and it fits your budget), buy it ñ then give them positive feedback about it.

Key: Become someone they know and enjoy hearing from, rather than just one of the many anonymous names on their mailing list.

Participate in online discussion forums, especially those where your ideal clients hang out. Lurk before you leap so you donít jump in and accidentally make a fool of yourself (not good for winning clients). Read the posts, get a feel for the ambiance. When you have something worthwhile to contribute, start participating. If the forum rules allow it, include a signature block that has a link to your website. But do NOT sell your services! Give valuable advice freely. The idea is to show your knowledge, expertise and desire to help others.

Key: Eventually the forum members will get to know you, like you and trust you. The next natural step for them is to think of you when they (or people in their network) need the products/services you provide!

  • Show off your talent.

Write, write, write! Submit articles to online article directories, write reports and/or ebooks, create your own website and e-zine ñ put yourself and your knowledge/skills on display, always including your contact information. When appropriate, offer to provide free special reports or articles for people with whom youíre building connections through your virtual networking activities.

Consider giving free workshops related to your niche through your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or other groups. If you have a job, check into offering ìbrownbagî (lunchtime) sessions on topics such as ì10 Tips for More Earning Money Online in Your Spare Timeî for your coworkers.

Key: You want to become the obvious person people will think of when they need your expertise, or the products/services you provide.

  • Attend seminars.

What types of seminars, workshops, conferences or meetings do your customers attend? Go to those events. They are networking goldmines and offer many opportunities to engage in natural conversations with people you want to meet. You donít have to schmooze or pitch your services. Just be friendly, ask questions, participate in discussions, and be yourself.

Key: Youíll not only learn about the specific issues and topics your target customers are interested in, youíll build relationships with them at the same time!

How Well Do You Know Them?

It is often said that it is not who you know that matters, it is who knows you. Well I would like to extend this statement by saying that it is not only who you know and who knows you, but how well do you know them and they you?

In business, networking is the ultimate form of promotion. It can help you to obtain new clients, a new job, or even help you to move up the corporate ladder. It is the process of building relationships. Any time that you attend a meeting, trade show, or a social function, you are networking whether you realize it or not. It is the relationship that you have with people, a prospect or a client that makes the difference between success and failure.

Often we fail to realize the reasons that we have for doing business with an individual or a company. In the case of products that we regularly buy, what helps us to make the buying decision? There are those that will buy a specific brand of product because they trust that brand to be of a high quality or durability. There are others that will make a buying decision based on price, although this is less frequently the case. Often we simply do business because we feel good about it. In fact most purchases or decisions to do business are based on two things. Trust and comfort. Trust is a very intangible emotion or feeling. How do you measure it? How do you develop it?

Trust is measured by the feelings that are generated by a process of letting someone get to know more about you than just product, features and price. I know a gentleman who provides a seminar on selling to C-level executives. He says that to sell to the C-level executive you have to be more than a salesperson selling a product or service. To sell to the executive level, you have to be more of an advisor. You have to find needs other than the ones that you can fulfill and help them to fulfill these needs. In doing this, you become a “trusted advisor”. They feel “comfortable” that you have their interests in mind more than just making a quick sale and a commission.

In our daily process of seeking prospective clients, do we often just look for a person to pitch, or do we spend a bit more time getting to know them before we try to sell?

When we take the time to know a persons desires, dreams, and needs, and make an honest effort to help them realize that these things are important to us, we are really on the fast track to doing business with them. We are building the trust, confidence, comfort level, and most importantly the relationship that is needed to not only make the sale, but to create in them a resource for endless referrals.

As we go into the community meeting people who are prospective clients, we should keep the following in mind. The customer is a person just like me. The customer has needs other than the one that I can fulfill. Until I understand what the ultimate goal or dream of the prospect is, I cannot fulfill it with my product or service.

Selling and networking are about relationships. You sell in everything that you do whether you realize it or not. The time is now for more effective selling. Change the way you think about the prospect and the prospect will change the way that they think about you.

How To Build a Duplicating Downline

Regardless the controversy that the term Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing brings to mind when mentioned in a conversation, the success of such an industry cannot be denied at the moment.

The long existence of multitudes of MLM organizations is a wonderful indicator that network marketing is here to stay and flourish. As such, additional people are trying to join the bandwagon, building their own MLM .

But, a lot of people are completely misguided or misinformed resulting into the collapse of several network marketing businesses. True that it is difficult to maintain multi-level marketing that could proliferate well, but undoubtedly there is one key component for a network marketing organization’s success, and that is a duplicating downline.

Most people do not know how to build a duplicating downline, but hopefully with the tips to be presented, one may be able to gather a well generating force that almost immediately translate into a productive MLM business.

Multi-level marketing certainly entails leadership, specifically when building a downline. Since building a downline is only another designation for the recruitment process, great people management skills is important in order for the downline to operate well, and thus duplicate.

A lot of people think that network marketing is a self-generating business, but if that was the case, then no MLM organization would have had failed. Downlines certainly not duplicate on their own, even if the product being marketed is perfect. The people in the downline are to be trained and mentored well or else the business would take no direction and would lastly fall flat.

The person on top of the downline may be able to sign multitudes, but that does not guarantee duplication. Without a clear direction, the network would not expand towards success, but instead be paralyzed. The ones on top may easily put the blame on the ones at the bottom, but who recruited the people down there anyway’ Managing a multi-level marketing organization entails a lot of generosity and selflessness.

Duplicability is after all not just the expansion of people in number, but the duplication of the success throughout all the people in the downline.

It is a sad fact in human life that a lot of people think only for themselves. The people on top could think only of their success and see the ones under as nothing but machines to propagate the success. But that cannot happen in multi-level marketing.

In order for the top to succeed, the bottom should be able to succeed as well. When building a downline, one should have a mindset that allows the success to trickle downwards, and not just to remain on top.

The founder of the network marketing organization should be very conscious that what he or she was able to do, the people in the downline could do perfectly as well. There should be no secrets within the organization for the downline to duplicate.

The topline should be able to share and teach the downline the same philosophies and techniques so that the success of the top could be replicated by people in the downline.

Building a duplicating downline actually means duplicating one’s self. This means that when building a downline, one does not just inform people how to sell, rather, one influences or even infects others with one whole self, well at least just the business component of one’s self.

When building a downline, one has to transmit the psyche of the top to the bottom, the bottom should be able to act in the same way as the ones on top.The downline ultimately becomes one with their organizer or founder, they should be able to share the same dreams, anxieties and hopes so that the success that the ones on top experienced would be replicated by the ones on the bottom.

This speaks a lot about the recruitment process itself. True that is hard to enlist exact copies of the founder, but one has to carefully enjoin individuals who have the capacity to act and think in the same wavelength as the recruiter.

In this light, the leader of a network marketing organization should reflect and see how the connection with the downline, or the prospective downline is. First one has to be sure if the people in the downline could relate with the leader and vice-versa. Duplication is unachievable without proper relation. Second, the leader should act in a way that is not so alienating to the downline, otherwise they might think too highly of the leader that they might assume they would never be able to be like him or her.

Again a duplicating downline should have a duplicable top. With this in mind, building a duplicability can be ensured as well as the success of the business.

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