Blind Spots ~ Solving Hidden Business Problems (Excerpts Part Four)

Why is it that some leaders are successful, while others struggle?  In this guide in narrative form, Russell Baxter, a fictional character and outgoing CEO, shares his secrets of success with incoming CEO Amir Ahmed.  Baxter demonstrates that great leaders need tobookcoversmall be aware of their vulnerabilities or blind spots and take action to make necessary changes.Filled with practical advice, Blind Spots shows the value on drawing on experts to develop valuable skills that can take your business to the next level.  For the month of September our blog will highlight short excerpts from our book Blind Spots ~ Solving Hidden Business Problems.

Blind Spot Ten: Presenting Without Authenticity

GOOD PRESENTATIONS USE CONGRUENT ELEMENTS

A presentation is more than just saying the right words. It’s about being your personal best. This performance hinges on congruency: making sure how you look, how you speak, and what you say, is aligned with your intent for the presentation.

When we prepare for a presentation, too often we focus solely on our words. We don’t practice delivery, and we don’t wonder about the time, place, or mood of the audience. But, we can harness these elements to empower a presentation.

EASY WAYS TO ENGAGE AN AUDIENCE

Use a golden thread. It’s not enough to just ramble on in a presentation, you have to connect everything you do in a certain flow. A strong opening and closing are vital, as are that congruency we talked about earlier.

 Ask questions. Genuine or rhetorical questions can quickly grasp an audience’s attention. It brings them into an engaged role with the presenter, as opposed to being passive observers in the presentation.

Minimize distractions. Think of the setup of your room—does it focus audience attention on you? Think of when you’ll give handouts—will people start reading ahead and divert their attention from you?

Go minimal for Powerpoint. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one slide is worth eight minutes of talking. Instead of overloading your slides with transcripts from your speech, use them as visual aides to highlight your points. A good rule of thumb is to have a maximum of eight words per line, eight lines per slide and one point on every slide.

Be comfortable. You don’t have to be Tony Robbins, just be your authentic self. If you try to be someone you’re not, the audience will sense it, and they’ll disengage from your message.

 Blind Spot Eleven: Selling Without Understanding Needs

 GOOD SALESPEOPLE ASK QUESTIONS

Good sales aren’t about picking up the phones and talking; good sales are about asking great questions, listening to the client, and then helping them discover how your products and services can help them.

Neil Rakham’s SPIN model is one mode of selling by asking questions. In SPIN selling, the salesperson lets the client do the talking by asking questions. These questions begin by understanding the client’s situation, learning about the client’s problem, finding out the implications of that problem, and then discovering the payoff that they would receive from buying your product. Throughout this period, the client voices their concerns, and comes to their own conclusions about buying. Since a client naturally trusts an opinion they arrive at themselves more, this makes for a powerful selling tool!

EDUCATE YOUR STAFF ALL THE WAY UP

Your entire sales team, from top to bottom, exists to sell your product. As such, your entire team needs to be geared towards that goal.Sales is a unique business practice, and managers need insight into that practice to drive sales. Salespeople benefit more from coaching than from managing. A manager can say “go make this many sales” but a coach can fire up their staff, driving them to complete their task. By giving your senior staff management and coaching training, you’ll give them superior tools to manage your sales staff, and to coach them to achieve more results.

Blind Spot Twelve: Not Engaging Your Remote Workers

 WHY VIRTUAL TEAMS?

With the world becoming increasingly connected and globalized, the need for work to be done face-to-face is diminishing. And with the evolution of technology, it’s cheaper and easier than ever to hold a virtual meeting and conduct business from around the world.

 ENGAGE VIRTUAL WORKERS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL

Virtual teams have a downside. If nobody initiates social interaction or makes an effort to build enduring relationships, it’s easy for employees to become disengaged. Think about how isolated and disconnected a virtual team member can feel from the rest of the team!

The solution is to build more intimate relationships with your teammates. Although work-related chatter is important, it’s necessary to get to know the personal side of your colleagues.

You can do this by making room for small talk. On special occasions, such as welcoming a new team member, you can arrange virtual pizza parties—just have pizza delivered to your team at lunchtime, and for those in a different time zone, send them a gift certificate for their local coffee shop. Gestures such as these will make everyone feel like an integral part of the team.

You can even play games to kick off a meeting, such as posting a map of the world and asking your team members to use a pointer tool—available with many web conferencing tools—to pinpoint their location. Engaging in any kind of game or activity gets team members involved in pre-meeting discussions.

Your associates will reciprocate your persistent attempt to get to know them better by being more interested in you.