Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reinvent Yourself

- Brian Tracy

Increasing Your Value
Your goal is to organize your life in such a way that you enjoy a good income, a high standard of living, and that you are the master of your economic destiny rather than a victim of changing economic times.

Contribution Is the Key
Your job is an opportunity to contribute a value to your company in excess of your cost. In its simplest terms, your job is as secure as your ability to render value in excess of what it costs to keep you on the payroll. If you want to earn more money at your current job, you have to increase your value, your contribution to the enterprise.

Add Value Every Day
If you want to get a new job, you have to find a way to contribute value to that enterprise. If you want any kind of job security, you must continually work at maintaining and increasing your value in the competitive marketplace.

And here's a key point. Your education, knowledge, skills and experience all are investments in your ability to contribute a value for which you can be paid. But they are like any other investments. They are highly speculative.

Knowledge and Education Are Sunk Costs
Once you have learned a subject or developed a skill, it is a sunk cost. It is time and money spent that you cannot get back. No employer in the marketplace has any obligation to pay you for it, unless he can use your skill to produce a product or service that people are ready to buy, today.

Prepare For Your Next Job
Whatever job you are doing, you should be preparing for your next job. And the key question is always: Where are the customers? Which businesses and industries are growing in this economy, and which ones are declining?

Where Is The Future?
I continually meet people who ask me how they can increase their income when their entire industry is shrinking. I tell them that there are jobs with futures and there are jobs without futures, and they need to get into a field that is expanding, not contracting.

Never Be Without A Job
There are three forms of unemployment in America: voluntary, involuntary, and frictional. Voluntary employment exists when a person decides not to work for a certain period of time, or not to accept a particular type of job, hoping that something better will come along. Involuntary unemployment exists when a person is willing and able to work but cannot find a job anywhere. Frictional unemployment is the natural level; this includes the approximately 4 or 5 percent of the working population who are between jobs at any given time.

Three Keys to Lifelong Employment
However, there are always jobs for the creative minority. You never have to be unemployed if you will do one of three things: change the work that you are offering to do, change the place where you are offering to work, or change the amount that you are asking for your services. You should consider one or more of these three strategies whenever you are dissatisfied with your current work situation.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, look around you at your current job and find ways to create added value every day. There’s always something more you can do.
Second, identify the kind of work you want to be doing in the future and then make a plan to develop the knowledge and skills you will require to do it well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

10 Steps To Achieve Excellence in Anything

By Donald Latumahina

When I was a kid, people would constantly speak in admiration of those who were excellent in whatever they were doing. These could be students who achieved academic excellence, successful business people, top athletes, celebrities, and so on. Envy aside, no one ever spent any time to think about why or how they were excellent. It was seemingly natural for most to just accept that certain people were meant for excellence while others weren’t.

As I grew up, I started to form personal goals which I pursued fervently. I would set different goals, generally anchored on academia and performance-related goals, since the country I lived in (Singapore) was a meritocratic society. In the process of my goal pursuit, I would experience the natural process of success and setbacks.

As I gained more experience and observed people who achieved excellence, I started to identify a certain pattern that linked up successes – a pattern of certain principles and beliefs. And when I acted in accordance to these, I would experience excellence in whatever I did – whether it was being on the dean’s list, graduating as the top marketing student in my Business School, nabbing a job offer in a Fortune 100 company against hundreds of applicants, delivering historical record-breaking results when I was working there, creating my personal excellence blog which has tens of thousands of readers after a short-span of months, getting overwhelming demand for my coaching services (which currently has a waiting list of 3 months), and so on. As long as I keep focusing on these key principles, results would be eminent.

If you have ever looked at the achievements of others and thought “Wow, if only I can do that!”, or if you have ever wished that you can perform better, earn more money, make more friends, have better health, achieve higher level of success, and so on, here’s the holler-out to you: You are capable of all of that. Everyone has all the potential in the world to do whatever it is they dream of or want. Following these key principles of personal excellence will go a long way in bringing you to excellence:

1. Have the hunger for excellence
You need to want to achieve excellence. The emphasis here is on what ‘you’ want, not what others want. Make sure the goal is something you set for yourself, because unless it is, chances are you don’t really want it. And if you don’t want the goal badly enough, it doesn’t matter what you try to do since the drive will not be there to keep you moving forward. It’s pointless to sign yourself up for something and put in a half-baked effort, because a) it’s not being true to yourself b) it’s just wasting your time at the end.This is why I always make sure I aim for the best in whatever I set myself to do.

2. Benchmark against the best
What is it you are working on? Who are the people who are the best in this area? What are the results they have achieved? Set your targets to the same level as their best results, or even higher if you are feeling up to it.
At the moment, I’m setting up my school of personal excellence for anyone who has a passion for personal excellence. My long-term vision for this school is to be as big as the Xavier’s School in X-Men. ;) (In fact, I have the picture of Xavier’s School up on my vision board since last year!) While this vision may seem far-fetched to many, it’s a vision which I’m working towards and one which I have absolutely no doubt will come to life given time and effort.

3. Believe that you can do it
Self-belief is paramount to every success. You need to first believe in yourself to get somewhere. If you don’t have self-confidence, who is going to believe in you? If you have often experience low self-belief, look back at the times when you achieved something, regardless of how big or small it was. From there, build up your confidence and leverage it as you pursue your goals. As you begin to see results, your confidence will increase over time, which will create an upward spiraling effect.

4. Build concrete strategy & plans

Every goal needs a proper strategy and plan for it to come to life. Setting a goal and not following through with proper planning is like getting into your car to drive to your destination without knowing how to get there or even having a driving license. Many people fail in their goals because they fail to follow-through with planning. The bigger your goals, the more important that you invest proper time in building your plan.

5. Learn from the best
Hook up with people who are the best in the field and learn from them. They have the best practices, insights and tips which will be extremely valuable in your pursuit of excellence. Rather than trying to learn everything from scratch, it’s easier to leverage on the learnings from others and build on from there. This will jumpstart your learning curve by a huge degree.

6. Do not limit yourself
Don’t be afraid to try every single thing that might take you to your goal. In fact, be more concerned about the potential opportunities you might be missing out on when you don’t try something. Opening yourself up to possibilities will enable you to pick up on things which might be fundamental to your success.

7. Go all out; Work really hard
With every success, comes hard work. Without hard work, you cannot achieve results. People who try to find the easy way out are kidding themselves if they think they can achieve excellence without putting in hard work. If you observe around you, the people who seek out ‘get-rich-quick’ methods are also the very people who don’t achieve much in their lives. Hard work is the universal quality that will pay off in the long-term. Once you invest the due time and effort, the results will start coming in.

8. Focus your efforts

Once you have finished trying out every single thing that you can see, now focus your efforts in the areas which bring you the most results. I subscribe to the 80-20 principle, where 20% of causes lead to 80% of effects you see in a situation. Focus your energy in the few key drivers of success which will lead you to the results you want. This way, you will utilize your efforts more effectively, which can be subsequently channeled into more value-added activities.

9. Be adaptable.
Adaptability is one of the essential pillars of excellence. As you may already know, change is inevitable – You can either cower in the face of change, learn to deal with it or even turn it into your favor. Be ready for change at all times and develop a friendly relationship with change.
This also applies to changing your plans. Don’t be overly attached to your plans and be prepared to alter them where needed. If there are certain things you are doing which are not very effective, be prepared to improvise them or drop them totally.

10. Never give up.

There is no failure except in no longer trying. - Elbert Hubbard

Don’t ever give up. Remember that defeat never occurs unless you accept it as defeat. If a certain problem is too big for you to handle, break it down into smaller pieces so it’s easier for you to tackle them. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually achieve your goal.
A favorite story of mine is Sylvester Stallone’s rags-to-riches story of how he overcame overwhelming odds in his life to be the international movie star we know him to be today. When he was a baby, he was born with a half-paralyzed face due to birth complications, which led to a slurred speech. This was the key reason why he was rejected thousands of times by casting agents. Because he never gave up, he finally got his big break as the star of Rocky one day – and this only came after years and years of relentlessly trying.
Work on embodying these 10 excellence principles in you and start seeing yourself soar to excellence.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Advice and Guideline to Accomplishment in These Hard Times

Nothing in life comes easy. Whenever you see a successful project, realize sacrifice was the driving force behind its feat. Success comes through hard work and commitment.

Remember to also touch other people's lives by serving honestly, diligently and faithfully. Seek to be friendly and kind to others and more so to those who are less fortunate in society. Be persistent in pursuing your goals as you also help others pursue theirs.

Since patience is a virtue, be a person of great endurance. You must never act on impulse but always take time to think through issues before reacting. This way you also gain peoples respect.

Be careful of what you share with others. Do not be quick to share your secrets, since your success will be envied by many. After all, you never know who is tirelessly working for your downfall. Therefore, learn to choose your friends carefully as they determine who you later become in life.

The decisions we make are usually dependent, to a large extent, on the environment we live in. It goes without saying, a positive environment is necessary to shape you to become the best and improve your personality.

Perhaps the best piece of advice I could offer you is to try and live your life to the full, making your our judgments and decisions. In whatever you pursue, give it all you've got while appreciating your abilities and talents. Don't look down at yourself but instead embrace self esteem, then realize and recognize yourself as a special human being.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

There are times when we must go through negative situations. Maybe people say something negative about us, or they show rejection or even resentment against us. In such situations, it may be difficult to stay positive. We may be inclined to react negatively to them. That won’t do us any good though; doing so will just make the situation worse. People may behave even more negatively to us. Our day would be filled with anger and disappointment. At the end, nobody wins.

Though it’s not easy, it’s important to stay positive in negative situations. Beat the negative situations by staying positive. Here are 15 tips on how to do it; pick the ones that work for you:

1) Never respond when you are not calm. If you are not sure that you are calm, don’t respond. Take time to calm yourself down first.

2) Take a deep breath as a first step to calm yourself down.

3) Speak in gentle tone to reduce the tension of the situation.

4) Realize that you can find opportunities in negative situations. Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

5) Look at the content of what people say to you for something positive that you can act upon to improve yourself. Don’t just reject the whole messages.

6) For the rest of the messages which is negative, simply ignore it.

7) Maintain positive view of the people. Maybe you don’t like their messages or behavior, but that doesn’t mean that you can hate them personally.

8) Realize that having negative feelings will just hurt you, not them. So there is no reason for you to have any negative feeling.

9) If you make mistakes, be open to admit it.

10) If you make mistakes, remember this quote by George Bernard Shaw: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

11) If you can, listen to motivational audio program to feed positive thoughts into your mind.

12) Talk to a positive friend who can encourage you.

13) Remember your favorite quotes to give you inspiration and motivation. This is one reason why you should have quote of the day.

14) Look at the negative situations as your training sessions for real life. The higher you climb in life, the worse the negative situations would be, so you’d better be prepared for them.

15) Realize that you can’t please everyone. In fact, nobody can. Sometimes you need to just let some people go. Realizing this will relieve you from a lot of unnecessary burden so that you can focus on the people that you can positively interact with.

Monday, October 26, 2009

8 Ways to Stay Focused on Your Goals

Any worthwhile challenging goal requires sustained effort. It is effort sustained over time. Not short-term, unfocused effort.

You know how easy it is to get distracted. There are so many things competing for your attention: mobile phones, text messages, instant messages, kids crying, the fine man or woman you met recently! The list goes on.

The question is: What can you do to stay focused on your goals when everything around you has the potential to make you unfocused?

Check out the 8 suggestions to keep you focused below.

1. Have a Powerful Purpose. Take on tasks that will serve your greater calling. Do things that can keep your attention long enough for you to not be distracted. Work on things which are so exciting that it doesn't seem like WORK.

2. Write your objectives down. As business consultant Michael Angiers says, "Don't think it, ink it." When you write your goals down they are permanently stamped into your consciousness.

3. Speak your Goal into Existence. You have to believe it in your mind and confess it with your mouth. Your words are powerful. AFFIRM your success. Make a powerfully positive statement about your intended outcome.

4. Take Action Every Day. Don't put it off and say, "I'm gonna get to this tomorrow." You and I both know that one day often turns in to two days. Two days turn into a week. The next thing you know you haven't touched your project in a month. Be CONSISTENT!

5. Pace Yourself. You want what you want and you want it now. But, don't try to do everything in one day. Slow down, take a deep breath, and proceed gradually.

6. Visualize your Success. See yourself as already having what you want. How does it look? How does it feel? The more detailed and real you can make your vision, the more powerful and clear it will be.

7. Focus on One Goal at A Time. "There are too many Jacks of all trades and master's of none." Don't be overextended by having to much on your plate. Concentrate your efforts on one or two things only. Don't pursue every idea you have at once.

8. Get a Good Coach. If you truly have a hard time focusing on your own, get somebody who will keep you accountable. Get somebody who'll tell you the truth when you're backsliding. Get rid of those people who tell you that you're doing great when you're really messing up!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to free yourself from a personal loan!

How to free yourself from a personal loan!

Any debt is a trap if not handled diligently! And during these tough times best managing your resources can go a long way in living a debt-free life! And it takes more than just a steady stream of income and paying your bills on time to save you from falling into a debt trap!
There might also arise some real contingencies when one needs to raise money to meet them. And more often than not many of us consider a personal loan as the best option to meet contingencies.

But availing a personal loan without studying its terms and conditions and services could cost you more than what you intended! But if you are already in debt having taken some personal loan then here's an outline of things to free yourself from your clinging personal loan!

Evaluate other options before you take up a personal loan

In a case of any eventuality you could try the other time tested avenues of finding emergency funds. Monetizing your assets, or selling off your shares, bonds or debentures or premature closing of your fixed deposit could help! And if you a salaried individual the best way to get funds to meet a contingency is to approach the bank where your salary credit is done.

Having known your track record and your exact income and withdrawal transactions, the banks are the best option available for you to secure a loan. The rate of interest could be relatively lower for you, as you bank with them. The same option holds good for any businessman having a current/savings account with a bank.

Taking up a personal loan should be your last resort!

You should opt for a personal loan only if you do not have any assets to monetize or none of the above options works out for you! The reason is that a personal loan, the experts say comes in various packages with varying terms and sources. For example, an unsecured personal loan or a signature loan comes loaded with higher rate of interest due to the inherent risk factor involved in it.

A single default on your loan payment could not only put you into trouble in paying your current loan but could mar your credit repayment history and subsequently your chances of getting any other loan in the future.

Before going in for a personal loan it is advisable to put in your best efforts to find out the best deals available in the market.

Online portals could give you the personal loan details you are looking for. And beware of accepting a flat rate of interest for your personal loan!

Superficially, it may appear to be the best bet but in many cases and down the road it turns out to be a much expensive proportion.

Now if you have already taken a personal loan and thinking of ways to pay off your debt, here's how.

Asset monetization

If you have one or more of these assets such as car, home, life insurance policies, tax saving certificates, shares, bonds and debentures, or gold jewelry, bank fixed deposits, or mutual funds, you could monetize them to pay off your debt. In fact, some banks offer loan against assets that carry a decent rate of interest which could be used to settle your personal loan.

Consider debt consolidation

Another effective way of dealing with your debts is through what is called debt consolidation. In this method, you could pay a relatively lower installment every month over a longer tenure to the lender who will combine all the components of your debt portfolio into one. Debt consolidation is an effective option if you have too many loans to take care of and not enough monetary capacity for astute financing as this method will give you a built-in view of your credit worthiness. Though beware that when you calculate the total loan cost in the long run, it might become expensive. However, the idea is to obtain a short term relief under the current circumstances. Once your finances improve aim to close the loan earlier than planned.

Top up or convert to a secured loan

If you had taken a home loan you can move to a lower cost credit by going for a top up on your current loan. Another viable option would be to talk to your bank and if they agree convert the current loan into a secured loan against your vehicles, house, but only if the property is free form debts, liens or mortgages.

This way, you can restructure the loan for a lower monthly payment after taking into consideration the loan tenure and the interest rate.

Perhaps, the only drawback in converting a personal loan into other loans having collateral is that you stand to lose the collateral at risk in case of default on your loan amount, which could mean a lot when there is a contingency in the future.

Hence, it is advisable to convert your current debt into a secured loan only after analyzing your capacity to repay the secured loan so that you don't stand to lose the collateral at risk.
As said, even a single default on your personal loan could trigger unexpected after effects in the repayment of your current loan and getting a future loan. In cases of the first default, it is ideal for you to talk to your lender and find a way out.

Under normal circumstances, the lender could impose a penalty of roughly around 2% on the default amount, which will only add to your current burden! So strive to discuss any problems you face with the lender to seek advise on possible solutions.

Remember, a personal loan is always a risky alternative finance with a higher rate of interest and it is better to close the loan as early as possible.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Concentrate on Your Resources

By Brian Tracy

The Principle of Mass requires that you concentrate on your best people, your best energies, and your limited resources in those areas where the greatest victories are possible. Restructure and reorganize your activities so that your best talents are focused on those results that can get you out of the crunch faster than any others.

Stay Flexible
The Principle of Maneuver is one of the greatest battlefield successes; it requires that you out-maneuver your enemy by attacking from the flank or the rear. In business, the practice of this principle requires that you try something new, and if that doesn't work, try something else. Be flexible and creative in your approach. Think of doing exactly the opposite of what you have done up until now. Keep all your options open. Survival and victory are your only considerations.

Gather All Available Information
The Principle of Intelligence means that you must get the facts about the situation. Learn everything you can. Ask questions, phone people, go onto the Internet. The more and better information you have, the better and more effective decisions you will be able to make.

Get Everyone Working Together
Concerted Action makes sure that everyone on your team is working together with common goals, common values, and clearly understood work assignments. Everyone should know what is going on and what everyone else is doing. One of the rules for military victory is that you never trust to luck or wish that something will turn up. Hope is not a strategy. Look to yourself and don't expect an easy victory.

Napoleon was once asked if he believed in luck in warfare. He replied, “Yes, I believe in luck. I believe in bad luck, and I believe that I will always have it. I therefore plan accordingly.” You should do the same. If you do have a streak of good luck, consider yourself blessed. But don't count on it or hope for it to happen.

You're the Boss!
Unity of Command is a military strategy that means that everyone must know that you are completely in command. You are in charge of your financial future. You are calling the shots. Everyone reports to you and answers to you. You can go back to democratic consensus later, but during crunch time, it must be clear to everyone that you are the boss.
Total Commitment to Your Financial Success
Finally, in taking action to resolve a crisis, perhaps the most important quality you can have is a total commitment to your financial success, to winning, to overcoming your difficulties, no matter what they are. The key to financial victory is for you to go on the attack, relentlessly moving forward. It has been said that boldness and audacity will get you into a lot of problems, but more, boldness and audacity will get you out of your problems as well. Take action immediately, and keep on taking action until you win.

Action Exercise
Identify the goal that you must attain, usually financial, to resolve the crisis and get out of the crunch. Be sure that everyone is clear on this one objective.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nine Common Objections You Must Answer

By: Brian Tracy

Unspoken Objections
The first type of objection you will get is an unspoken objection. The customer has concerns with you offering but doesn't tell you anything. The solution to unspoken objections is to let the prospect talk more. Ask open-ended questions, lean forward, and listen intently to the answers. The more a prospect has an opportunity to answer your questions; the more likely it is that she will tell you exactly what might be holding her back from buying.

Excuses, Excuses
The second form of objections is excuses. These are usually instinctive reactions to any sales approach. Excuses are not really serious. The best salespeople nod, smile, agree, and then ask a question to take control of the conversation. The very best way to handle any initial sales resistance, including excuses and impulse responses is with these words: "That's all right. Most people in your situation felt the same way when I first called on them. But now they have become our best customers, and they recommend us to their friends and family."

Malicious Objections
Then there are malicious objections. Because you call on many different people, you will occasionally call on individuals who are unhappy or angry about their current situations. Since they cannot shout at their bosses or spouses, they take it out on the friendly salesperson. These people tend to be negative in their demeanor and behavior. The way to deal with malicious objections is to realize that you are not the target. Your job, as a professional, is to remain calm, confident, positive, and polite throughout.

Request For Information
The fourth most common objection is a request for information. This is the best type of objection for you to hear, because you know how to answer this as well or better than any other part of your presentation. Whenever a prospect asks for information about the results or benefits of your product or service, you are moving into an excellent field position to make a sale.

Show—Off Objections
Another type of objection is the show-off objection. Sometimes prospects try to show you how much they already know about your product or service. They make sophisticated observations or ask you complex questions about your product, service or industry. When this happens, respond by taking the low road. Show how impressed you are by how much the prospect already knows. Remember, when you make a prospect feel important by listening to him with rapt attention, he is much more likely to warm up and buy from you.

Subjective Objections
The sixth most common type of objection is subjective or personal objections. These objections are aimed to you as a person. Whenever a prospect becomes critical of you, it could be a sign that you are talking too much about yourself. If this happens, it is important to make the customer the center of attention, and the subjective objections will stop.

Objective Objections
You may also hear the objective or factual objection. These are directed at your product offering and the claims that you make in terms of what it will do for the customer. If you can answer an objective objection, you can often close the sale.

General Sales Resistance
The eighth most common form of objection is what we have called general sales resistance. This always occurs at the beginning of a presentation. Until you neutralize this general sales resistance, the customer will be listening to you with a closed mind. When the prospect relaxes and gives you permission to ask him questions, you immediately begin your pre-selected open-ended questions to qualify the prospect and find out what he really needs that you can provide for him.

Last Ditch Objections
The final most-common objection is called the last-ditch objection. You have made your presentation, and the prospect clearly sees how she would be better off with your product or service. She knows and understands what you're selling and how much you're asking. She is on the verge of making a buying decision, but she still hesitates. Listen with respect to your final objections; then assure the prospect that yours is an excellent product or service, at a good price, and that everyone else who is using it today is very happy with their decision. You have then overcome the last-ditch objection.

Action Exercises
Hear the prospect out completely each time he objects or asks a question, practice all your listening skills.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Making a Great First Impression!

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for the all the relationships that follows.

So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression. This article provides some useful tips to help you do this.

Be on Time

The person you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.

Be Yourself, Be at Ease

If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that’s a sure way to create the wrong impression. If you are calm and confident, so the other person will feel more at ease, and so have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one.

Present Yourself Appropriately

Of course physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.

But it certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression. (Unless you are interviewing with your local model agency, of course!)

The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so the “picture” you first present says much about you to the person you are meeting. Is your appearance saying the right things to help create the right first impression?

Start with the way you dress. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting, what is the appropriate business attire? Suit, blazer, casual? And ask yourself what the person you'll be meeting is likely to wear - if your contact is in advertising or the music industry, a pinstripe business suit may not strike the right note!

For business and social meetings, appropriate dress also varies between countries and cultures, so it’s something that you should pay particular attention to when in an unfamiliar setting or country. Make sure you know the traditions and norms.

And what about your personal grooming? Clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. A good haircut or shave. Clean and tidy clothes. Neat and tidy make up. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel “the part”.

Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “the part”, and so feel more calm and confident. Add all of this up and you are well on your way to creating a good first impression.

A Word about Individuality

The good news is you can usually create a good impression without total conformity or losing your individuality. Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree. But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation. If in a business setting, wear appropriate business attire. If at a formal evening social event, wear appropriate evening attire. And express your individuality appropriately within that context.

A Winning Smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too.”* So there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions. But don't go overboard with this - people who take this too far can seem insincere and smarmy, or can be seen to be "lightweights".

Be Open and Confident

When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.

Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake. All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person feel better at ease.

Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check. And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease.

Small Talk Goes a Long Way…

Conversations are based on verbal give and take. It may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, does he play golf? Does she work with a local charitable foundation?

Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.

Be Positive

Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.

Be Courteous And Attentive

It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior help make a good first impression. In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. So be on your best behavior!

One modern manner worth mentioning is “turn off your mobile phone”. What first impression will you create if you are already speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time? Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention. Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Managing and Motivating: Five Ingredients

By Brian Tracy

Thousands of employees were interviewed about what they considered to be a “great place to work.” The answers they gave were different from what the managers expected.

First Ingredient

The first ingredient of a good job was "challenging, interesting work." This is work that kept the employee busy and involved all day long.

Second Ingredient

The second ingredient was a feeling of being “in the know.” A good job was defined as one where the employee felt that he or she was fully informed on what was happening in the company. The employee felt like an insider, like an important part of a larger group.

Third Ingredient

The third ingredient of a great place to work was a “high trust” environment. This was defined as a job where a person could feel free to do his or her best and to make mistakes, without being criticized or fired. When employees felt that they were free to make mistakes with no punishment or hostility, they enjoyed their work much more, became more creative, and worked more effectively with other people.

Fourth Ingredient

The fourth ingredient in a good job was a caring boss and friendly co-workers. Often, the human environment was more important than anything else. People like to work in a place where they get along well with everyone. The happier they felt their work relationships, the better they worked, the lower the level of absenteeism was, and the more productive they were.

Fifth Ingredient

The fifth ingredient for a good job turned out to be good pay and opportunities for promotion and advancement. To the surprise of many managers, the issue, of pay was number five among factors that constituted a good job or a great place to work. Psychologists have found that a certain level of pay is essential for people to feel comfortable with their jobs, but above that level, it does not have much motivational impact. It is only when pay is sub-standard or below what would normally be expected for such a job that it becomes a de-motivating influence.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Reduce Stress With Increased Assertiveness

What Is Assertiveness?:

Assertiveness is the ability to express one’s feelings and assert one’s rights while respecting the feelings and rights of others. Assertive communication is appropriately direct, open and honest, and clarifies one’s needs to the other person. Assertiveness comes naturally to some, but is a skill that can be learned. People who have mastered the skill of assertiveness are able to greatly reduce the level of interpersonal conflict in their lives, thereby reducing a major source of stress.

How Does Assertiveness Compare to Other Behavior?:

Sometimes people confuse aggressiveness with assertiveness, seeing that both types of behavior involve standing up for one’s rights and expressing one’s needs. The key difference between the two styles is that individuals behaving assertively will express themselves in ways that respect the other person. They assume the best about people, respect themselves, and think “win-win” and try to compromise.

In contrast, individuals behaving aggressively will tend to employ tactics that are disrespectful, manipulative, demeaning, or abusive. They make negative assumptions about the motives of others and think in retaliatory terms, or they don’t think of the other person’s point of view at all. They win at the expense of others, and create unnecessary conflict.

Passive individuals don’t know how to adequately communicate their feelings and needs to others. They tend to fear conflict so much that they let their needs go unmet and keep their feelings secret in order to ‘keep the peace’. They let others win while they lose out; the problem with this (which I’ll go into in more detail momentarily) is that everybody involved loses, at least to an extent.

What Are the Benefits of Assertiveness?:

Assertiveness affects many areas of life. Assertive people tend to have fewer conflicts in their dealings with others, which translates into much less stress in their lives. They get their needs met (which also means less stressing over unmet needs), and help others get their needs met, too. Having stronger, more supportive relationships virtually guarantees that, in a bind, they have people they can count on, which also helps with stress management, and even leads to a healthier body.Contrasting with this, aggressiveness tends to alienate others and create unnecessary stress. Those on the receiving end of aggressive behavior tend to feel attacked and often avoid the aggressive individual, understandably. Over time, people who behave aggressively tend to have a string of failed relationships and little social support, and they don’t always understand that this is related to their own behavior. Ironically, they often feel like victims, too.

Passive people aim to avoid conflict by avoiding communication about their needs and feelings, but this behavior damages relationships in the long run. They may feel like victims, but continue to avoid confrontation, becoming increasingly angry until, when they finally do say something, it comes out aggressively. The other party doesn’t even know there’s a problem until the formerly passive individual virtually explodes! This leads to hard feelings, weaker relationships, and more passivity.

How Does One Become More Assertive?:

The first step in becoming more assertive is to take an honest look at yourself and your responses, to see where you currently stand. The answers to the following questions will help clue you in:
  • Do you have difficulty accepting constructive criticism?
  • Do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to requests that you should really say ‘no’ to, just to avoid disappointing people?
  • Do you have trouble voicing a difference of opinion with others?
  • Do people tend to feel alienated by your communication style when you do disagree with them?
  • Do you feel attacked when someone has an opinion different from your own?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Thinking On Your Feet

Staying Cool and Confident Under Pressure
Whether you are put on the spot while attending a meeting, presenting a proposal, selling an idea, or answering questions after a presentation, articulating your thoughts in unanticipated situations is a skill. Thinking on your feet is highly coveted skill and when you master it, your clever and astute responses will instill immediate confidence in what you are saying.

When you can translate your thoughts and ideas into coherent speech quickly, you ensure your ideas are heard. You also come across as being confident, persuasive, and trustworthy.

Confidence is key when learning to think on your feet. When you present information, give an opinion or provide suggestions, make sure you know what you are talking about and that you are well informed. This doesn't mean you have to know everything about everything, but if you are reasonably confident in your knowledge of the subject, that confidence will help you to remain calm and collected even if you are put unexpectedly in the hot seat.

The secret of thinking on your feet is to be prepared: learn some skills and tactics, and do some preparation for situations that might put you under pressure. Then when you do find yourself faced with unexpected questions and debate, you'll be ready to draw on these tactics and preparation, and so stay poised while you compose your thoughts and prepare your response. Here are some tips and tactics:

This is often the opposite of how you are feeling when you're under pressure, but in order for your voice to remain calm and for your brain to "think", you have to be as relaxed as possible.
  • Take deep breaths
  • Take a second and give yourself a positive and affirming message
    Clench invisible muscles (thighs, biceps, feet) for a few seconds and release.


It comes as no surprise that listening is critical to thinking on your feet. Why do you need to listen? To make sure you fully understand the question or request before you reply. If you answer too soon, you risk going into a line of thinking that is unnecessary or inappropriate. To help you with your listening remember to:

  • Look directly at the questioner
  • Observe body language as well as what is being spoken
  • Try to interpret what is being suggested by the question or request. Is this an attack, a legitimate request for more information, or a test? Why is this person asking this and what is the intention?

Have the Question Repeated

If you're feeling particularly under pressure, ask for the question to be repeated. This gives you a bit more time to think about your response.

At first glance people think this will only make them look unsure. It doesn't. It makes you look concerned that you give an appropriate response. It also gives the questioner an opportunity to rephrase and ask a question that is more on point. Remember, the questioner may well have just "thought on his or her feet" to ask the question, so when you give them a second chance, the question may well be better articulated and clearer to all.

By asking to have the question repeated you also get another opportunity to assess the intentions of the questioner. If it is more specific or better worded, chances are the person really wants to learn more. If the repeated question is more aggressive than the first one, then you know the person is more interested in making you uncomfortable than anything else. When that's the case, the next tip comes in very handy.

Use Stall Tactics

Sometimes you need more time to get your thoughts straight and calm yourself down enough to make a clear reply. The last thing you want to do is blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Often this is a defensive comment that only makes you look insecure and anxious rather than confident and composed.

  • Repeat the question yourself. This gives you time to think and you clarify exactly what is being asked. It also allows you to rephrase if necessary and put a positive spin on the request. "How have I considered the impact on customers in order to make sure they have a continued positive experience during the expansion?"
  • Narrow the focus. Here, you ask a question of your own to not only clarify, but to bring the question down to a manageable scope. "You're interested in hearing how I've considered customer impacts. What impacts are you most interested in: product availability or in-store service? "
  • Ask for clarification. Again, this will force the questioner to be more specific and hopefully get more to a specific point. "When you say you want to know how I've analyzed customer impacts, do you mean you want a detailed analysis or a list of the tools and methods I used?"
  • Ask for a definition. Jargon and specific terminology may present a problem for you. Ask to have words and ideas clarified to ensure you are talking about the same thing.

Use Silence to your Advantage

We are conditioned to believe that silence is uncomfortable. However, if you use it sparingly, it communicates that you are in control of your thoughts and confident in your ability to answer expertly. When you rush to answer you also typically rush your words. Pausing to collect your thoughts tells your brain to slow everything down.

Stick to One Point and One Supporting Piece of Information

There's a high risk that, under pressure, you'll answer a question with either too much or too little information. If you give too short an answer, you risk letting the conversation slip into interrogation mode. (You'll get another question, and the questioner will be firmly in control of how the dialogue unfolds). When your reply is too long, you risk losing people's interest, coming across as boring, or giving away things that are better left unsaid. Remember, you aren't being asked to give a speech on the subject. The questioner wants to know something. Respect that and give them an answer, with just enough supporting information.

This technique gives you focus. Rather than trying to tie together all the ideas that are running through your head, when you pick one main point and one supporting fact, you allow yourself to answer accurately and assuredly.

Prepare some "what ifs"

With a bit of forethought, it's often possible to predict the types of questions you might be asked, so you can prepare and rehearse some answers to questions that might come your way. Let's say you are presenting the monthly sales figures to your management team. The chances are your report will cover most of the obvious questions that the management team might have, but what other questions might you predict? What's different about this month? What new questions might be asked? How would you respond? What additional information might you need to have to hand to support more detailed questions?

In particular, spend some time brainstorming the most difficult questions that people might ask, and preparing and rehearsing good answers to them.

Practice Clear Delivery

How you say something is almost as important as what you say. If you mumble or use "umm" or "ah" between every second word, confidence in what you are saying plummets. Whenever you are speaking with people, make a point to practice these key oration skills:

  • Speak in a strong voice. (Don't confuse strong with loud!)
  • Use pauses strategically to emphasize a point or slow yourself down
  • Vary your tone and pay attention to how your message will be perceived given the intonation you use
  • Use eye contact appropriately
  • Pay attention to your grammar
  • Use the level of formality that is appropriate to the situation.

Summarize and Stop

Wrap up your response with a quick summary statement. After that, resist adding more information. There may well be silence after your summary. Don't make the common mistake of filling the silence with more information! This is the time when other people are adsorbing the information you have given. If you persist with more information, you may end up causing confusion and undoing the great work you've already done in delivering your response.

Use words to indicate you are summarizing (i.e. "in conclusion," "finally") or briefly restate the question and your answer.

Key points:

No one enjoys being putting on the spot or answering questions that you aren't fully expecting. The uncertainty can be stressful. That stress doesn't need to be unmanageable and you can think on your feet if you remember the strategies we just discussed. Essentially, thinking on your feet means staying in control of the situation. Ask questions, buy time for yourself, and remember to stick to one point and make that one point count. When you are able to zoom in on the key areas of concern, you'll answer like an expert and you impress your audience, and yourself, with your confidence and poise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To-Do Lists

Do you frequently feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do? Do you face a constant barrage of looming deadlines? Or do you sometimes just forget to do something important, so that people have to chase you to get work done?

All of these are symptoms of not keeping a proper "To-Do List". To-Do Lists are prioritized lists of all the tasks that you need to carry out. They list everything that you have to do, with the most important tasks at the top of the list, and the least important tasks at the bottom.

While this sounds a simple thing to do, it's when people start to use To-Do Lists properly that they often make their first personal productivity / time management breakthrough, and start to make a real success of their careers.

By keeping a To-Do List, you make sure that you capture all of the tasks you have to complete in one place. This is essential if you're not going to forget things. And by prioritizing work, you plan the order in which you'll do things, so you can tell what needs your immediate attention, and what you can quietly forget about until much, much later. This is essential if you're going to beat work overload. Without To-Do Lists, you'll seem dizzy, unfocused and unreliable to the people around you. With To-Do Lists, you'll be much better organized, and will seem much more reliable. This is very important!

Preparing a To-Do List
Start by writing down all of the tasks that you need to complete, and if they are large, break them down into their component elements. If these still seem large, break them down again. Do this until you have listed everything that you have to do, and until tasks are will take no more than 1-2 hours to complete. This may be a huge and intimidating list, but our next step makes it manageable!

Next, run through these jobs allocating priorities from A (very important, or very urgent) to F (unimportant, or not at all urgent). If too many tasks have a high priority, run through the list again and demote the less important ones. Once you have done this, rewrite the list in priority order.

You will then have a precise plan that you can use to eliminate the problems you face. You will be able to tackle these in order of importance or urgency. This allows you to separate important jobs from the many time-consuming trivial ones.

Using Your To-Do Lists
Different people use To-Do Lists in different ways in different situations: if you are in a sales-type role, a good way of motivating yourself is to keep your list relatively short and aim to complete it every day.

In an operational role, or if tasks are large or dependent on too many other people, then it may be better to keep one list and 'chip away' at it.

It may be that you carry unimportant jobs from one To-Do List to the next. You may not be able to complete some very low priority jobs for several months. Only worry about this if you need to – if you are running up against a deadline for them, raise their priority.

If you have not used To-Do Lists before, try them now: They are one of the keys to being really productive and efficient.

Key points:

Prioritized To-Do Lists are fundamentally important to efficient work. If you use To-Do Lists, you will ensure that:

· You remember to carry out all necessary tasks
· You tackle the most important jobs first, and do not waste time on trivial tasks.
· You do not get stressed by a large number of unimportant jobs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Analyze Your Competition

Analyze Your Competition
By: Brian Tracy

There is a military adage that says, "No strategy ever survives first contact with the enemy." No business strategy ever survives the first contact with the marketplace either. It must be adjusted to deal with the realities of the moment.

Know Your Enemy

Here is a question for you: Who is your competition? Exactly? Your choice of competitor determines almost everything you do in your market, just as the choice of an adversary determines everything a general does in the process of conducting military operations.

Determine Customers' Buying Motives

Once you have determined why it is that people buy from you, you must then answer the question "Why do people buy from my competitors? What value or benefits are your potential customers convinced they receive when buying from your competitor rather than from you?"

Marketing Myopia

Many people dismiss or ignore their major competitors. They criticize or belittle them when their names come up. Often they think and say that customers who prefer competitive offerings are simply ignorant or misled. As a result of this self-inflicted myopia, they fail to observe and learn how to outdo their competitors in tough markets.

Offset Competitors' Advantages

As you study your competitors, look for ways to offset or neutralize the advantages their customers perceive them to have. What are your competitors' weaknesses? How can you exploit those weaknesses? What do you do better than they do? In what ways are your products or services superior to their offerings? In what areas do you have a distinct advantage over your competitors? What can you do to offset your competitors' strengths and maximize your own advantages? How can you better position yourself against your competitors in a tough market?

You Must Be Clear

The greater clarity you develop with regard to your competitors' strengths and weaknesses and to the reasons your potential customers buy from them, the better able you will be to counter them and compete effectively. Rigorous competitive analysis can be a vital key to business success. In its absence, you will always be at a disadvantage.

Action Exercises

Who is your competition with the exact customers you are trying to attract?
What would happen if you changed your offerings in such a way that you targeted a different group of customers who would be easier to sell to?
Why do your potential customers buy from your competitors? What advantages do they perceive?
What are your competitors' unique selling propositions? What special feature or benefit do their products or services have that yours does not?
In what ways are you superior to your competitors?
What can you offer that they cannot? How can you emphasize this advantage in your sales and marketing efforts?
Where are your competitors vulnerable? How could you exploit their vulnerability to your advantage?
How could you alter your marketing strategy in such a way that you could achieve dominance with a specific customer or market segment in a particular area?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Win-Win Negotiation

Do you feel that someone is continually taking advantage of you? Do you seem to have to fight your corner aggressively, or ally with others, to win the resources you need? Or do you struggle to get what you want from people whose help you need, but over whom you have little direct authority? If so, you may need to brush up your win-win negotiation skills.

The purpose of negotiation is to resolve situations where what you want conflicts with what someone else wants. The aim of win-win negotiation is to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and leaves all involved feeling that they've won – in some way – once the negotiation has finished.

There are different styles of negotiation, depending on circumstances.

Where you do not expect to deal with people ever again and you do not need their goodwill, then it may be appropriate to "play hardball", seeking to win a negotiation while the other person loses out. Many people go through this when they buy or sell a house – this is why house-buying can be such a confrontational and unpleasant experience.

Similarly, where there is a great deal at stake in a negotiation, then it may be appropriate to prepare in detail and legitimate "gamesmanship" to gain advantage. Anyone who has been involved with large sales negotiations will be familiar with this.

Neither of these approaches is usually much good for resolving disputes with people with whom you have an ongoing relationship: If one person plays hardball, then this disadvantages the other person – this may, quite fairly, lead to reprisal later. Similarly, using tricks and manipulation during a negotiation can undermine trust and damage teamwork. While a manipulative person may not get caught out if negotiation is infrequent, this is not the case when people work together routinely. Here, honesty and openness are almost always the best policies.

Preparing for a successful negotiation…

Depending on the scale of the disagreement, some preparation may be appropriate for conducting a successful negotiation.

For small disagreements, excessive preparation can be counter-productive because it takes time that is better used elsewhere. It can also be seen as manipulative because, just as it strengthens your position, it can weaken the other person’s.

However, if you need to resolve a major disagreement, then make sure you prepare thoroughly. Think through the following points before you start negotiating:

Goals: what do you want to get out of the negotiation? What do you think the other person wants?

What do you and the other person have that you can trade? What do you each have that the other wants? What are you each comfortable giving away?

Alternatives: if you don’t reach agreement with the other person, what alternatives do you have? Are these good or bad? How much does it matter if you do not reach agreement? Does failure to reach an agreement cut you out of future opportunities? And what alternatives might the other person have?

Relationships: what is the history of the relationship? Could or should this history impact the negotiation? Will there be any hidden issues that may influence the negotiation? How will you handle these?

Expected outcomes: what outcome will people be expecting from this negotiation? What has the outcome been in the past, and what precedents have been set?

The consequences: what are the consequences for you of winning or losing this negotiation? What are the consequences for the other person?

who has what power in the relationship? Who controls resources? Who stands to lose the most if agreement isn’t reached? What power does the other person have to deliver what you hope for?

Possible solutions: based on all of the considerations, what possible compromises might there be?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Top 10 Leadership Qualities

By David Hakala

Leadership can be defined as one's ability to get others to willingly follow. Every organization needs leaders at every level. Leaders can be found and nurtured if you look for the following character traits.

A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it. But it’s not enough to have a vision; leaders must also share it and act upon it. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., said, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion."

A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is contagious.

A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the mark of a leader. A leader does not suffer “analysis paralysis” but is always doing something in pursuit of the vision, inspiring others to do the same.

is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person of integrity is the same on the outside and on the inside. Such an individual can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. A leader must have the trust of followers and therefore must display integrity.

Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of tantrums and harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in integrity will be more approachable by followers.

Dedication means spending whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show followers that there are no nine-to-five jobs on the team, only opportunities to achieve something great.

Magnanimity means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the company. Conversely, a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. This sort of reverse magnanimity helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together. To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership.

Leaders with humility recognize that they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone. Leaders with humility also understand that their status does not make them a god. Mahatma Gandhi is a role model for Indian leaders, and he pursued a “follower-centric” leadership role.

Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking. Good leaders are able to suspend judgment while listening to others’ ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.

Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains solutions. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions. The most important question that a leader can ask is, “What if … ?” Possibly the worst thing a leader can say is, “I know this is a dumb question ... ”

Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.

Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.

A sense of humor is vital to relieve tension and boredom, as well as to defuse hostility. Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Humor is a form of power that provides some control over the work environment. And simply put, humor fosters good camaraderie.

Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Cold Calling Tips

The obituary for cold calling is premature. While in the perfect world, your phone would be ringing off the hook all day with clients offering you business, the reality is that if you want business, you need to go after it, and cold calling is an effective sales tactic if it's done properly.

But many small business people would rather spend an entire day in a dentist's chair than go cold calling. Does the thought of cold calling makes your stomach drop to your toes? These cold calling tips won't eliminate your fear, but they will help you make cold calling a more successful experience.

Focus on the goal when cold calling.
Beginners tend to think that cold calling is about making the sale. It's not. It's about getting the chance to make the sale. Specifically, the purpose of a cold call is to set an appointment to make the pitch.

Research your markets and prospects.
You need to target your cold calling to the right audience. Use market research to focus on your target market. Then find out as much as you possibly can about the company or individual you're going to cold call in advance. This gives you the huge advantage of being able to talk about their business and their needs when you call them.

Prepare an opening statement for your cold call.
This lets you organize your thoughts before cold calling, and helps you avoid common mistakes in the cold call opening that would give the person you're calling the chance to terminate the conversation. For instance, you should never ask, "Is this a good time to talk?" or "How are you today?" Don't read your opening statement into the phone, but use it as a framework to get the conversation off to a good start.

What should be in the opening statement of your cold call?
Include a greeting and an introduction, a reference point (something about the prospect), the benefits of your product or service, and a transition to a question or dialogue. For example, 'Good afternoon, Mr.Mehta. This is Raj Singh with XYZ Company. I read in the local paper that you recently broke ground for a new office complex. We specialize in commercial landscape services that allow you to reduce in-house maintenance costs and comply with the city's new environmental regulations. I'd like to ask a few questions to determine whether one of our programs might meet your needs.'

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Staying Positive - Useful Advice on Staying Positive Around Negative People

One of the most challenging things we can face sometimes, is staying positive when people around us are very negative. We all know that this is not easy to here are 3 powerful ways for you to consider.

Firstly, when it comes to other people, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind which may help give you some perspective on things:

Your Life is your own
Your life is your own and not theirs, which means people often like to project their own state of mind on to others and this can be for many reasons such as jealousy, fear, or just plain old gossip-mongering. Have you ever noticed how people only seem to see, hear or believe what they want to ? This is because internally, they are only seeing things from their own point of view and not yours.

Some people are just Negative and Cynical
Some people have got themselves into a cycle of negativity and being cynical. Others just like to suck all the energy right out of you. These people are often called the 'Energy Vampires', 'Dreamstealers' and 'Naysayers' and it is not easy staying positive around these people, so its vitally important you remember that these are lessons they need to learn, and that it is their pain and their lesson and it is not yours.

Don't blame, instead, practice forgiveness
One of the hardest but most powerful things you can do is to practice forgiveness. Don't blame, hate or resist as this will only create the very thing you wish to avoid...negativity...try to practice forgiveness from the point of view that it is their problem they are trying to solve and share...not yours. Acceptance and Forgiveness are very powerful states of mind and adopting them will give you an immense sense of freedom and perspective which will make staying positive a lot easier.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Frustration and Regret

By Jenny R

Two of the most difficult emotions that interfere with positive creation and achieving desire are frustration and regret. The two can be felt alone but many times accompany each other. Overcoming frustration and regret can be such a difficult task. People are conditioned to look back at past decisions and dwell on them. Past decisions that they believe brought them to where they are now.

The hardest thing for many to understand is that those decisions may have played a part in bringing them to where they are but did not create how they are. Differentiating between the two can be troublesome.

To succeed in achieving lack of frustration and regret, there are a few steps that one can follow.

First and foremost, is remembering forward thinking, thinking of the good that lies ahead. With that being said, many people need to practice forward thinking often to achieve relief from frustration and regret.

A way that I found helpful when practicing forward thinking in regards to frustration and regret is to think back for just a moment, and realize that at the time of the decisions you were making the best decision you could with the knowledge you had at hand.

The above technique promotes forgiveness and although every decision that was made may not require forgiveness, the forgiveness promotes relief. The relief then guides the individual to bring on more relieving thoughts.

A final technique I have used is the flow chart. The flow chart has many different aspects which I will cover in a later post. In a nutshell, a flow chart is the actual drawing out of different times, what you was thinking at those times, and why you made the decision. The flow chart assists in releasing frustration and regret because people can actually see that they did their best at that time. Since individuals have a great tendency to be visual in nature, this process of having something tangible in there hands for them to see can be very beneficial.

When all else fails, facing the harsh reality that you are frustrated and regretful because of your own choosing is in order. This tough love is not comfortable but can smack you back into alignment if you listen to yourself.

He who angers you conquers you, and unfortunately at times that person is yourself.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Three Mental Barriers to Time Power

By Brian Tracy

If everyone agrees that excellent time management is a desirable skill, why is it that so few people can be described as “well organized, effective, and efficient?” Over the years, I have found that many people have ideas about time management that are simply not true. But if you believe something to be true, it becomes true for you.

Your beliefs cause you to see yourself and the world, and your relationship to time management, in a particular way. If you have negative beliefs in any area, these beliefs will affect your thinking and actions, and will eventually become your reality. You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.

Barrier 1: Worries about Organization

The first myth of time management is that if you are too well organized, you become cold, calculating, and unemotional. Some people feel that they will lose their spontaneity and freedom if they are extremely effective and efficient.

Many people hide behind this false idea and use it as an excuse for not disciplining themselves the way they know they should. The fact is that people who are disorganized are not spontaneous; they are merely confused, and often frantic. The key is structuring and organizing everything that you possibly can: thinking ahead; planning for contingencies; preparing thoroughly and focusing on specific results. Only then can you be completely relaxed and spontaneous when the situation changes.

The better organized you are in the factors that are under your control, the greater freedom and flexibility you have to quickly make changes whenever they are necessary.

Barrier 2: Negative Mental Programming

The second mental barrier to developing excellent time management skills is negative programming, which is often picked up from your parents, but also from other influential people as you are growing up.

If your parents or others told you that were a messy person, or that you were always late, or that you never finished anything you started, chances are that as an adult, you may still be operating unconsciously to obey these earlier commands.

Time management and personal efficiency skills are disciplines that we learn and develop with practice and repetition. If we have developed bad time management habits, we can unlearn them. We can replace them with good habits over time.

Barrier 3: Self-Limiting Beliefs

The third mental barrier to good time management skills is a negative self-concept, or what are called “self-limiting beliefs.” Many people believe that they don't have the ability to be good at time management. They often believe that it is an inborn part of their background or heritage. But there is no gene or chromosome for poor time management, or good time management, for that matter. Your personal behaviors are very much under your own control.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Law of Ambition

By Brian Tracy

Leaders have an intense desire to lead; they have a clear vision of a better future, which they are determined to realize. Vision is the one common quality that separates leaders from non-leaders. Leaders have a clear picture of the kind of future they want to create, and they have the ability to communicate this vision to others in an exciting and inspiring way.

Key Responsibility of Leadership
People may work steadily for a paycheck, but they perform at high levels only when they are inspired by a vision of some kind. The development and articulation of this vision is a key responsibility of leadership.

Leaders Visualize
Leaders have the ability to visualize, to see the big picture and then to inspire others to work together to make it a reality. The true leader sees leadership as a tool he or she can use to bring about a result that is bigger and more important than any single individual.

Become a Leader
You become a leader when you set a goal, make a plan, and then throw your whole heart into making it a reality. You become a leader when you develop an inspiring vision for yourself and others. You become a leader when you know exactly where you want to go, why you want to get there, and what you have to do to achieve your vision.

Leaders Explain
Leaders can explain clearly to other people what it is they are trying to accomplish, why they are trying to accomplish it, and how they are going to bring it about. They are eager to get results and they are impatient with delays. They are excited about what they are doing, and as a result, they get other people excited as well. Leaders have goals, plans, and strategies that they are working to implement every day. They are in a hurry. They have a lot to do and they feel that they have too little time.

Perhaps the most important part of ambition is clarity on the part of the leader. The leader has a clear vision, clear values, a clear vision, and clear, written goals, plans, and strategies for his or her department or organization. Most of all, leaders want to lead, to be in charge, to be responsible, to make things happen. They are willing to endure the risks and the sacrifices that are required to make a real difference in their worlds.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Now, coaching classes will be a field for M&As

Now, coaching classes will be a field for M&As
Coaching Class St is priming for some M&A action.
Mahesh Tutorials, which was perhaps the first coaching class to get private equity funding in India, is working on an acquisition strategy to expand across the country.It's perhaps a harbinger of what lies in store in the space as intensifying competition among students leads to a relentless boom in the extra-curricular coaching industry.Mumbai-based entity gave itself a corporate structure --- it was re-christened MT Educare Pvt Ltd in 2006 -- after the funding.A leading player in the preparatory or tutorial business in India, MT has earmarked $6 million for buyouts in the private coaching space across the country.Mahesh Shetty, director of MT Educare, said the company has brought on board a chief strategist, Chhaya Shastri, who has worked in real estate, media and healthcare. She will advise on potential buyouts.
"A few players have been identified across different verticals where we are still not present. Negotiations are currently at various stages, so it is too early to get into specifics now," said Shetty. An IIT tutor that MT Educare has been eyeing for quite sometime now may be the first one to be bought.Online coaching is another space where the MT is assessing things.The company currently operates in four verticals --- training solutions, commerce, science, schools and pre-school.Being largely a fragmented business, there are no official numbers on the overall size of the private coaching business in the country.
The market size in Mumbai alone is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 crore, growing at 10% annually. MT needs the inorganic growth to touch a topline of Rs 75 crore topline this fiscal, from Rs 43 crore last fiscal.In August 2007, the Mauritius-based, India-focussed fund Helix Investments put $12 million for a 30% stake in MT. The company will fund acquisitions from some of this money."Approximately 50% of the money raised has already been deployed towards expansion besides putting the technology and infrastructure in place. The balance will now be spent on merging and acquiring players in the new verticals we want to have our presence in," pointed Shetty.
The gameplan is to list the company down the road, when the stockmarket turns favourable.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Using the Six Laws of Persuasion

Here are the six laws of persuasion and how they can be used to enhance your business. For further detail check out the references at the end.

1. Law of Reciprocity
When people are given something, they generally feel compelled to give back. This is one reason why the free sample is a popular business strategy. Give something to your customers and potential customers of value, preferably of low cost.

2. Law of Commitment and Consistency
Most people prefer security. Once committed, they tend to consistently be committed. This is a key factor that explains why you should always continue to sell to your current customers. Make sure you take a look at your current customers and find out what other needs they may have. If you can serve those needs, look at partnerships and affiliate programs.

3. Law of Liking
Many times this law is the determining factor of any decision. Check out HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE to get good at applying this law.

4. Law of Scarcity
When people feel like something is scarce, they tend to feel more attracted to it, feeling that if they don’t act now, the item will no longer be available. Here is where limited promotions and editions work well. When you run a promotion, make sure that you only run it once. You will likely have recurring promotions, but try to make them different so your clients will not think something like, “I’ll just wait for the next promotion”.

5. Law of Authority
When someone of authority or an “expert” gives endorsement, may people will then automatically grant their trust. Many companies have taken advantage of this, by paying doctors and celebrities to give endorsement to their products. You can start by gaining quotes from all of your current customers. A more powerful approach is video testimonials.

6. Law of Social Proof
When the masses are buying, that makes your buyer feel more secure in taking the risk of purchasing your product. When you see a stadium full of raving fans a sports game, it implies that buy going to the game, you will have a fun time, making the purchase of the ticket less risky. You should highlight the mass usage of your product. When starting out, you can go into more depth for each particular user. Another strategy to use here is a live seminar. If you can get a few enthusiastic buyers, it is likely other in the audience will follow suit.

How have you used these laws to improve your business?