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How to Increase Your Productivity at Work

ProductivityHow productive are you being right now? Are you choosing to avoid work and read this? Or maybe reading this is part of your work?

Productivity at work is an important quality for all employees. Those who are less productive tend to be closer to the chopping block than others.

 

Productivity

Employers don’t want someone who plays on their phones all day or looks at their social media accounts instead of working. They expect their employees to be productive.

Productivity is the essential quality of a good employee and provides top ratings for the company. Being productive means you’re striving to focus on your work and finish it in a timely manner. Productivity is knowing that being on social media or reading an article or a book that doesn’t pertain to your work is the opposite of productive.

 

How to Be Productive

There are ten important ways to be productive in your work and make your boss see you aren’t slacking off:

  • Complete tasks in batches
  • Prioritize the important tasks
  • Organize your environment
  • Wake up early
  • Wear headphones
  • Set deadlines
  • Quit multitasking
  • Avoid perfection
  • Work in 90-minute intervals
  • Minimize interruptions

It’s important to follow these steps to ensure you’re being as productive as possible while at work.

 

Complete Tasks in Batches

Focus on working in sections. A good way to go about this is by setting up a single time to fit multiple meetings into. If you have more than a single meeting in a day, try to squeeze them into one time block. This way you aren’t taking up most of your day with meetings and you can be more productive elsewhere.

You can also achieve this by working with the 2-minute rule and working on small tasks in two minutes to move forward with the larger ones later. Or set aside a specific block of time to answer voicemails or work on specific projects that require a longer span of time.

 

Prioritize the Important Tasks

Look at what you’re meant to do for the day. Find the most important tasks on your plate and do those first. You should finish your most important tasks before you start worrying about the others. It’s important to remember that what’s most important should have priority over less urgent tasks.

 

Organize Your Environment

Is your desk or office cluttered or unorganized? This can lower your productivity. You’ll be so focused on the clutter and the lack of knowing where things are that you won’t be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand for the day.

Spend a little time organizing your office and cleaning off your desk. It’s important to have a workspace that doesn’t detract from your attention to your work. You shouldn’t lose productivity because of a messy office or cluttered desk.

 

Wake Up Early

Getting up early is better for your productivity than you might think. Someone had it right when they coined the phrase, the early bird catches the worm. By getting up earlier, you’re able to eat a better breakfast and exercise before going to the office. It’s also possible to give you the motivation you need to start the day off right and be productive.

 

Wear Headphones

How can headphones help you work? Simple. They should be noise cancelling or have some version of music that isn’t distracting to keep you focused. If you can’t hear anyone or anything, you can focus on your work and be more productive. This aids in moving your productivity forward.

 

Set Deadlines

It’s important to set your own deadlines. If a project is due by 5pm, set a deadline to have it done by 3pm or 4pm. Try to work ahead of schedule so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. It’s also possible to set deadlines for future projects to keep your productivity up. If you have a task due tomorrow, try setting a deadline to finish it today. Work toward a better schedule and watch your productivity soar.

 

Quit Multitasking

This is one of the easiest ways to ruin your productivity. Attempting to work on multiple tasks at once destroys the ability to finish a single task in a timely manner. It’s more important to focus on one task at a time and work toward finishing it before starting another than it is to attempt to finish multiple tasks at once. This way of thinking makes being productive a joke.

 

Avoid Perfection

Being perfect, or attempting it, can ruin your productivity as well. Focus on finishing the task the best you can, not making it perfect. Perfection isn’t real and trying to achieve it will hurt you in the long run. Focus on the important tasks at hand. Finish your projects, move on to other tasks, and keep working throughout the day. Focusing on trying to make one project perfect, or the illusion of it, will ruin any chance you have of finishing other projects the same day.

 

Work in 90-Minute Intervals

A proven productivity technique is setting 90-minute intervals of work, then taking a break. This  can help make you more productive while you’re at your desk. Being productive when you’re taking so many breaks seems counterproductive, but it’s actually better to give your brain that break and allow your body the opportunity to relax after working hard for 90 minutes.

 

Minimize Interruptions

Put your phone on silent, let your work phone go to voicemail, place a do not disturb sign on your office door; all of these and more can help minimize interruptions. While some interruptions are unavoidable, it’s important to try as best you can. By trying to minimize interruptions, you are pushing yourself into a productive mode and adding to your productivity, rather than taking away from it.

 

Conclusion

Each of these options, and more, can provide great ways to make yourself more productive at work. Now that you’ve read through them and had the chance to find ones you’d like to try or think might work, go try them. Implement them into your workday and find the ones that work for you. Make yourself more productive at work.

Are You a Hard Worker? Characteristics of a Hard-Working Employee

Hard WorkerCompanies seek to hire top employees for their companies. Top employees can come in a number of packages that make them the best.

One of these packages is hard-working. Having a hard-working employee, or multiple, can move the company into the future on great terms and bring the workforce to a higher level.

 

What Does it Mean to be Hard-Working?

A hard-working employee can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not always about finding the most knowledgeable person for the job or someone who has an idea about your company. Sometimes it’s more about the effort they put in.

A hard-working employee is someone who’s willing to learn and always looking for new ways to grow within the company. They won’t settle for this position or that answer, they want to be the best and move ahead among their coworkers. During an interview, a hard-working candidate will tell the interviewer that he or she enjoys learning new things and wants to be with a company he or she can grow with.

A hard-working person focuses on growth, knowledge, and experience within a company. They want to learn more and advance themselves within the field.

 

Hard-Working Characteristics

There are a lot of reasons to consider an employee to be hard-working. It comes down to the top ten characteristics that make the employee truly deserve that title:

  • Punctuality and dependability
  • Initiative and flexibility
  • Motivation and priorities
  • Learning and self-reliance
  • Stamina and perseverance
  • Culturally fit
  • Team spirit
  • Marketable
  • Detail-oriented
  • Leadership qualities

What makes these characteristics so special? Each of these characteristics provides one more quality to an employee who gives them a top notch rating and allows them to stand out among their coworkers. Each quality is special in its own way.

 

Punctuality and Dependability

It’s important to have a reliable worker for your company – someone who is on time and you can call into work at the drop of a hat. It’s important from an employer’s standpoint to know that an employee will be on time and do the work you hired them to do. Someone who comes in and leaves randomly or works when they feel like it is not punctual and dependable.

It’s important that, as an employee, you arrive on time and stay at work. Once you’re clocked in, stay there. Work your shift, finish all your work on time, and maybe ask for more if you finish early. You could even use the time to get ahead for the next day or the next week. These are all important aspects of being punctual and dependable. Being punctual and dependable is part of what makes a hard-working employee.

 

Initiative and Flexibility

These two seem fairly straight forward, but there’s more to these qualities than meets the eye. Taking the initiative is more than just doing your work without your boss telling you to. It’s about being positive while working and having the ambition to do the work. Simply clocking in and working on something left over from yesterday isn’t enough to bring you to hard-working employee status.

You need to be positive about your work and ambitious enough to finish it. Show up at work thinking you’re going to finish yesterday’s work, today’s work, and get a jump start on tomorrow’s work. This will provide you with the positive attitude you need to show you’re taking the initiative. It also shows your ambition to work and move forward in your endeavors.

Being flexible is more than just working extra hours or taking on another project. It’s important to assist others as best you can, even while trying to finish your own work. Jump in if you see someone struggling to keep up and offer to help. Become the team player who pushes you into hard-working employee status.

 

Motivation and Priorities

Self-motivation is a key component to being a hard worker. It’s more than just showing up and working. You need to prove you’ve got the motivation to work hard and do what the job without prompting from the boss. Having self-motivation provides the freedom for higher-ups to notice you’re working and worry more about someone else who might need them. They won’t feel as obligated to focus their attention on you if they can see you’ve been self-motivated to work on this project or help that coworker.

Priorities are another important characteristic. It’s important to set goals for yourself at work and have priorities to help you achieve them. If you’re plan is to finish five assignments in one day, focus on those five assignments and decide which ones will take you longer to finish. Prioritize the longer ones in the best place for your abilities. If you feel you can speed through the others first and focus more on the longer ones after, then follow that priority set.

 

Learning and Self-Reliance

Learning all you can at your job is one way to make yourself known as a hard worker. By focusing on the things you don’t know and learning more each day, you’re showing your employer you have what it takes to work hard and provide the quality work they’re seeking. It’s important to continue learning, no matter how much you think you already know.

Being self-reliant is another top quality in a hard-working employee. It shows that managers and others above you don’t need to worry about your performance. If you truly need help, you’ll ask, and they can be free to focus on someone else who needs them more.

 

Stamina and Perseverance

Working hard requires the stamina to perform. In order to be a hard worker, you have to have the stamina to stand strong and put in the required work. It’s not as simple as saying you’re working and you’re trying. You need the stamina to push yourself and finish all your assignments and work to help others when needed.

Persevere to the end. Finishing what you start and working hard to get there is a bigger deal to your employer than you might think. It’s important to not give up and be sure to remain committed and ambitious. Work hard to get where you want to be and have the confidence to succeed.

 

Culturally Fit

Every company has a specific culture about it. They have ways of doing things, a dynamic among the employees, and even specifics about how employees should act toward each other and in general. In order for your coworkers to consider you a hard worker, you need to prove you fit into the culture. If you’re on the border, work harder to fit in once you’ve got the job. If the higher-ups can see you’re trying, they’ll be willing to help you fit in.

 

Team Spirit

Having team spirit is as important in the workplace as it is during the big game. Although, it’s a different type of spirit in the workplace. Team spirit means you’ve got what it takes to work well with your coworkers. You get along with almost everyone and you’re on good terms with people above you. Any effort to make these statements true will deem you a hard worker and provide a more positive environment for you.

 

Marketable

This isn’t as easy to achieve as it seems. Being marketable doesn’t mean you can work anywhere. It means you can work with anyone, namely clients or customers. An employee who’s marketable is someone the company trusts and can present to clients. They are able to interact and relate with clients and keep them happy with the company. Your ability to please clients on this level is a quality that makes you a hard worker.

 

Detail Oriented

This is an imperative quality for a hard worker. Having the ability to focus on details and make specifics your top priority is something many people don’t have. It’s important to pay close attention to specific details and to understand every detail, large or small, matters more than you might think.

 

Leadership Qualities

Do you have what it takes? Leadership is a top quality for hard-working employees. It means you understand what the company’s needs, you’re willing to go the distance to meet them, and help other coworkers do the same. Proving you can be a leader is one quality a hard-working employee can never be without.

 

Conclusion

With so many qualities required or helpful for being a hard-working employee, it’s easy to fit that category. Finding a way to work harder and prove your worth is important to having a job at any reputable company.

 

A Case Study on eLearning: What It Is and Why Your Employees Need It

eLearningA growing business in employee training is eLearning. It provides 40-60% less time learning than in a classroom and increased retention rates to 25-60%, compared to the 8-10% of classroom learning.

eLearning also has a material rate of five times more than a classroom setting. 42% of businesses say eLearning for their employees has increased their revenue.

 

What Is eLearning?

Reading those statistics makes a person wonder what eLearning is and how it can become so great for companies to have such high statistics. A web-based approach to learning, eLearning provides courses online for training, classroom, and book learning opportunities. As the world moves into the digital age, eLearning has become more popular with every passing year.

From a business standpoint, eLearning requires less time – the employees have to be out of the office for training. By providing emails, video conferences, books, and classroom information, eLearning allows employees to train in comfort from their desktops. Should a company require a training program, eLearning would allow the employees to work on this training while being on site at their desks.

Employees can use eLearning to work on training activities on their own. If they have deadlines to meet or projects to finish, they are able to do those things and train after. By providing eLearning, employees don’t have to miss deadlines or be away from their work to attend an offsite training course.

 

Advantages of eLearning

Having your training at your fingertips provides a lot of advantages for employees. It’s easy to link to resources you may need during training because you’re already on the computer. Flexibility and efficiency provide resources and courses any time the employee is able to login and work.

There are so many options for eLearning to provide advantages over other training. Having eLearning available means the employee can work at his or her own pace and still meet deadlines or finish projects they might have been in the middle of but would need to stop if required to attend offsite training.

With eLearning, employees have discussion boards and chats to work with other employees on training as if they were in a classroom together. There are even options for videos and video instructors. Having these options allows the employee to feel like they’re in training but still able to get their work done and meet deadlines.

 

Disadvantages to eLearning

Despite having many advantages, eLearning does have some disadvantages. While they are very few, it’s important to note them for reference so you can see eLearning as a whole. The disadvantages, while small, include limited questions and security and authenticity of work.

Because eLearning is computer based, it’s easy for someone to cheat on the work or have security concerns with their eLearning classroom. This isn’t generally a major problem, but it would be a disadvantage should it occur.

Another concern is the limited number of questions available. Being computer-based, questions tend to be more generic and knowledge-based rather than practical or subjective. Should a company require their employees to use eLearning, it might be pertinent to check the eLearning information and ensure the questions fit the needs of the training.

 

Benefits of eLearning

The disadvantages above provide an insight into eLearning as a whole. However, it’s an overall benefit for employee training.

Providing your employees freedom and abilities to work from their desk will give them a sense of empowerment. They’ll have the ability to continue working on partially finished projects while watching training videos. Or maybe they have to meet a deadline and they will chat with others in the training about certain talking points while working toward that deadline.

Allowing employees the opportunity to get the training you feel they should have without taking them away from their work provides a less stressful environment. Since they don’t have to leave their desks to receive training, they won’t be stressing over missing a deadline or finishing a project. They won’t feel the need to rush back to the office after training to finish that project or pray they can make their deadline.

Employees stress more if they have to leave their desks for training. Especially if they’re dedicated to their work and meeting deadlines.

 

Conclusion

Providing eLearning for employees can provide the training a company requires without the stress on the employees of walking away from their work. By preventing the stress on employees, the company is boosting morale and providing a better way to achieve the training they feel necessary.

How can you get an eLearning training set up for your employees? With a little help from Shapiro Negotiations. Shapiro provides effective eLearning for all situations. Your employees can use LMS, smartphones and virtual reality options for training opportunities. This will provide a number of options to keep them at their desks and stress-free.

Worried about the disadvantages mentioned earlier? Don’t be. Shapiro finds innovative ways to provide exercise-driven webinars and on-demand modular training that eliminates the worry of cheating, knowledge-based questions, and objective learning. Shapiro will provide your employees with the best training available for their needs and give the company peace of mind in the training they’re providing.

Ensure your employees are working hard and training harder for your company. Does your training have top of the line opportunities and innovative methods to keep up with the times? If you can’t answer yes, you’re using the wrong training. Let Shapiro Negotiations help you fix this problem.

It’s time to provide your employees with a less stressful training program. Provide your employees with top training to receive top results. Give them a stress free opportunity to receive the training you require while still meeting the deadlines and finishing the projects they’re so concerned with.

Contact Shapiro Negotiations today for all your training needs and keep your company morale at its peak with stress-free employees. Don’t wait until morale has dropped past the point of no return. Contact Shapiro today.

 

Training vs. Consulting: Why Your Employees Need Both

Training Employees need support from their employers and management on multiple levels. The best, and easiest, way to provide this support is by utilizing both training and consulting. So, how can these two supportive ideas help? What’s the difference between the two? Knowing the difference and how they can help is the first step to helping employees become better at their jobs.

 

Training

Although training and consulting are very similar, they are not quite close enough to be considered the same thing. Training provides the knowledge and examples required to perform the task at hand. From a customer standpoint, it’s the idea of providing them with tools to make the decisions at hand. Providing training for your employees allows them to have the skills and knowledge base to effectively communicate and work with customers.

Employees require training to ensure they’re updated on any new policies or approaches in working with customers. Ensuring your employees know their job and are able to provide the best customer service should be your number one priority.

 

Consulting

Consulting with your employees is a way to ensure their training has done its job. By having one-on-one consultations, each employee can prove their able to provide customers with accurate information. This information should include pros and cons of each offered service. Consulting is important for your employees to showcase their skills with you. By doing this, they are providing you with insight into the training you offer.

A consultation with your employees shows whether the training you’re offering them is working based on the knowledge and skills they have about their job and the company’s products and services. It’s important to know your employees are knowledgeable about the company and their jobs.

 

Training vs. Consulting

Many people think training and consulting are the same, or at least similar enough to go hand-in-hand. They’d be partially correct. Consulting and training are similar enough for both to be acceptable in a company; however, one without the other could be trouble.

Training has its basis in knowledge and skill. It’s knowing exactly what and how to teach employees. Training is ensuring they’ve got the knowledge and skill to go back to the customer and explain what products and services are available and what each includes. It’s a broad spectrum of knowledge to understand products and services and the full information about each one.

Consulting is more in-depth. It’s based on team building and the ability to provide specifics about the products and services. This is the ability of the employee to tell the customer this product or service has these pros and cons as compared with the pros and cons of another product or service. Employee knowledge at the consulting level should be more in-depth and specific to the customer’s needs and the inner workings of the products and services offered by the company.

 

When to Use Each

Both training and consulting are important resources, but you don’t always need both at the same time. It’s important to understand the differences and know when to use one over the other.

Training is important when your employees need the knowledge and skills to explain products and services to a customer on a general level. They require the ability to provide examples and give the customer an overview of each product or service to assist them in choosing the correct one for their needs.

Consulting is necessary to provide more specific details to the customer. It’s important for a customer to have an employee versed in consulting when they want the pros and cons of the product and what that might mean versus the other product they’re considering.

While training and consulting are a great skill set to have, it’s important for your employees to have the best knowledge of both and know when to interchange the two. Perhaps they need to use both skills on a customer at once. There are circumstances where an overview of the product or service helps the customer narrow down what they’re looking for, but then it’s required for the consulting side of the employee to provide pros and cons to aid in choosing between what’s left.

 

Conclusion

Having the skills to perform your job is important in any company. The best options in a company that requires one or the other of these skills is to have both. Why both? It’s important for employees to have both skills to ensure they are able to properly perform customer service.

Individual customers have different needs and require specific information about products. By having the skills and knowledge of training and consulting, employees are able to understand the customer’s needs and perform the tasks required to assist the customer in their endeavor to find the perfect product or service.

If an employee only had the training and not the consulting, they could potentially lose a sale. When customers ask for information about a product or service and have an employee who only has information about the pros and cons, they have a tendency to walk away if that’s not the information they were looking for. The same is true of the opposite. A customer seeking pros and cons won’t be happy with an overview of information on a product or service.

Many customers also won’t be satisfied with hearing phrases like, “I don’t know” or “Let me find someone to answer that” when they want answers now. The employee doesn’t look knowledgeable and the customer won’t be happy with that. No customer wants to purchase a product or service from a company where the employees don’t seem to know what they’re doing. It’s important for employees to have and retain both skills to ensure optimum customer service.

Though having both skills may require more training through the company or attending a seminar or workshop, it will be worth their time in the long run. By providing your employees with these skills and the opportunity to improve in each of them, you’re giving them a chance at knowing and working their job better.

SNI’s Jeff Cochran Receives Top Speaking Scores at 2019 SAMA Conference

Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, Jeff Cochran presented “Influencing Without Authority”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on influencing.

His ability to captivate and provide value to his audience was shown in his post evaluation scores and anonymous participants’ comments. Two examples are:

  • “Jeff’s way to deliver the content is simply amazing!”
  • “Jeff is an outstanding facilitator and I highly recommend for his content as well as presentation.”

Here is a summary of scores that made him the #1 ranked speaker at the conference:

How to Tell If You Are Experiencing Burnout

We all know the stereotype of a salesperson: bubbly, energetic, a go-getter, and a people person. Some might guess that this type of person with a seemingly endless supply of energy and things to talk about never wears out. However, in a career full of high-pressure goals and demands, burnout is very common. Let’s find out more about what burnout means, and how to handle it when it happens.

 

What Is Burnout?

We all feel stressed at work from time to time, but when that stress is extreme and all-encompassing, it becomes job burnout. It can happen to the best of us, even those in high-powered jobs, with great attitudes and outlooks. This is when the job-related stress is so extreme that it leads to a lessened sense of accomplishment or personal identity. While not a medically recognized condition on its own, burnout can lead to a number of dangerous health conditions, and is often tied to depression.

 

Symptoms of Burnout

The feeling of job burnout can creep up slowly on you, but suddenly feel quite despairing. There are many warning signs that burnout is on the horizon. Here are a few to watch for:

1.Good sleep may be hard to come by, especially in high-pressure jobs with long hours, like sales. But even with decent sleep habits, stress can make you feel tired all the time.

2. Lack of appetite. When you are constantly busy and over-stressed, you may not pay attention to your body’s hunger cues, or may not even feel them at all. You run on adrenaline and may lack healthy eating habits and schedules.

3. Everything feels harder. Sales calls that used to be easy seem to take all day. Tasks that should be a breeze feel monumental. Extreme stress can make simple tasks seem more difficult. It’s also harder to focus, so distractions take hold and it’s more difficult to complete necessary work tasks.

4. You’re frustrated with clients and co-workers. Burnout comes with a shorter fuse, and you may find yourself easily annoyed or angered by simple irritations. Every little thing can seem so overwhelmingly annoying when you are stressed to the max.

5. You feel pessimistic. All of the previous factors can create a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that lead to an overall lack of optimism in your job. Your numbers might be slipping, and it feels utterly hopeless. You no longer enjoy your job.

 

Consequences of Burnout

If you have any of the above symptoms, it is likely that you are experiencing burnout, or will soon be. It is definitely possible to recover on your own, but do not take these symptoms lightly. Dealing with burnout for too long can have serious repercussions on your career – and your health.

This heightened level of stress can lead to many side effects on the body. Those experiencing burnout can also feel extreme levels of fatigue and insomnia. The high stress can also lead to self-medicating and overuse of alcohol and drugs. A suppressed immune system and lessened ability to fight off common illnesses are also common with higher periods of stress. Over an extended time period, extreme stress and burnout can be a factor in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Depression is often tied to burnout, and should be taken seriously.

Beyond the serious health consequences, burnout can also affect your career. If you are experiencing extreme fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms of burnout, it’s easy to see that your job performance can start to slip. If you cannot gain control of a burnout situation, sales numbers can easily go down, and your job may be in jeopardy.

 

 

What Can You Do About Burnout?

If you are feeling burnout creeping in, it is best to take action quickly to get back on track. First of all, if you feel any of the intense physical symptoms of stress, check in with a doctor. And if you feel any signs of overwhelming depression, seek out a mental health practitioner for help.

There are also several actionable steps you can take to gain control of this intensely stressful situation:

1.Seek help and support. Healthcare and mental health practitioners are trained to help. Sometimes confiding or venting to friends, family, or trusted co-workers can also help gain perspective.

2. Try relaxation. Whether you prefer yoga, exercise, meditation, or massage, find ways to practice self-care.

3. Increase your sleep. It’s difficult with busy lives and high-pressure jobs, but try to find ways to go to bed earlier, or sneak in naps or rest periods. Relax and recharge on weekends and days off.

4. Talk to supervisors. Discuss your concerns and try to find solutions that may reduce stress. Is it possible to take a day off or to have some of your responsibilities (at least temporarily) reduced? Your mentors should want to help you succeed and may have suggestions to help your situation.

5. Find structure and routine. Organize your day and have specific goals and lists so that you feel accomplished each day. Stick to your action plan and avoid interruptions if possible.

6. Improve efficiency. Perhaps some of the burnout comes from strategies that just aren’t working. Talk to mentors or do research on other strategies you can try to be more effective and efficient.

Any of these tips can help to improve the situation when burnout has crept in. They can also be used as a roadmap for prevention of burnout. If you are not yet at the point of burnout, but feeling some stress build up, practice these tips and seek out measures for self-care to keep yourself healthy and ready to keep tackling those sales goals.

Sales jobs can be a marathon, and like a marathon runner, you need effective strategies to keep running at top speed, while taking care of your body, mental health, and your job. Shapiro Negotiations has the experience you need to train your team. We offer speakers and training to keep your sales team running, with tips for habits and tools for sales success. Contact us for more information.

 

 

Why TED Talks Are the Modern Gold Standard for Presentations

Just about everyone has watched a TED talk at some point in their lives. These seemingly ubiquitous presentations are free and easily shared online through social media, and shown in schools, offices, and other meetings. TED Talks have grown so popular over the years that they are seen as the gold standard of modern presentations, in both the business and consumer realms.

Talks stand out from other form of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate, easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The key to their success lies in good preparation, top-quality visuals, professional editing, and speakers who are passionate about the topic.

 

What Is a TED Talk?

The original TED acronym stood for technology, entertainment, and design, and was a small conference on the converging of these topics, started in 1984. The next conference was held in 1990, and then annually after that. As TED grew in popularity, the topics expanded to include everything from politics to feminism, science, music, and business, and many others. Notable celebrities, Nobel Prize winners, artists, politicians, and leaders in all sorts of industries have given TED talks. However, the conferences remained small, and exclusive to those invited and willing to pay for expensive tickets.

The TED organization wanted to bring these exciting conferences to the masses, and so, in 2006, six talks were posted online. Today thousands of talks are available on their website, in more than 100 different languages, and the short videos have gathered more than one billion views collectively. The goals of this nonprofit organization remain to provide nonpartisan educational content, seeking out interesting people to speak and share their knowledge and passions. If you haven’t yet caught a TED talk, a quick browse through the many titles on the TED website, shows the wealth of topics to choose from.

 

What Makes TED Talks So Effective?

TED talks stand out from other forms of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The organizers of these events and talks aren’t in it for the money – they work passionately to spread ideas. Here are some of the key factors responsible for their explosive success.

1. While some of the speeches may seem simple or spontaneous, lots of preparation goes into them. The speeches are written well in advance of filming, memorized, and practiced to perfection. However, great speakers also know the power of occasional ad-libbing and how to use charisma so their speech doesn’t sound like rote memorization.

2. Props and visual aids. The best presenters know how to use quality visuals – including photos, videos, charts and graphs, as well as 3-dimensional props to help to tell their story in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way that captures the audience. Body language and hand gestures are also important. A recent study noted that the most popular speeches on the site had more hand gestures than some of the least popular videos. And when many people watch videos on mute, body language and visual aids can be very important.

3. Professional lighting and editing. TED talks use top-quality lighting and filming equipment, and use professional editing post-production to give the viewer multiple angles for visual interest and dramatic effect. The talks are shot more like movies than conference presentations and are entertaining to watch.

4. Emotion and Passion. TED speakers go beyond just reciting facts and know how to captivate with emotional influence and speaking passionately about the topic. These presenters touch the hearts of their audience, use enthusiasm, and inspire the audience to positive action.

5. Keeping it short. All TED talks are less than 18 minutes, preventing anyone from droning on too long. These shorter snippets of time allow information to be more easily absorbed and remembered. They also ensure the speaker stays focused on the main topic.

6. One of the most important factors in TED talk’s vast popularity is that they are available online, anytime, to anyone, and for no cost. While the original TED conferences were more elite and expensive to attend, now anyone can benefit from the information and inspiration, even if on a limited budget.

 

TED’s Global Impact

Aside from analyzing the details like speech preparation and fancy, professional filming equipment, perhaps the single most important reason why TED is so important is the impact its speeches have had on the lives of millions. Because of all of the factors we already mentioned, these little videos are making their way across the globe. People share them with friends on social media. The speeches discuss such important topics as social justice, equal rights, and the environment, and because of the charismatic, passionate speakers, more people are inspired to make positive change.

Sometimes, these videos challenge the audience’s viewpoints, using empathy and emotional influence to shed light on an important issue, and even change minds. The organizers at TED report that over the years, thousands of people have written them messages praising the impact of one speech or another, and how it has changed their lives.

 

The Future for TED

The next step for TED is the newer TEDx events. These events focus on local issues in a specific community and have already been hosted in 1200 cities across 130 countries. The TED organization notes that they would like to have all of their TED and TEDx talks not just available online, but translated to multiple languages (both spoken and subtitles) to make all of the inspiring presentations even more accessible. Thankfully, they plan to continue to be a source of educational content for years to come.

We can all learn from the style of TED talks for presentations and conferences. Following the key factors of TED’s success can infuse your presentations and speakers with energy and inspiration. If you’d like to capture some of the explosive energy of TED talks in your own professional presentations, but need a little direction, Shapiro Negotiations can help. We have experienced keynote speakers, as well as training programs to help you and your organization. Contact us for more information.

What Is Emotional Influence, and How Does It Affect Sales

Our emotions guide us in our decision-making every day, sometimes without us even realizing it. We all have primal instincts that influence our choices. When we feel hungry, we seek out something to eat. We sleep – or find another cup of coffee – when we’re tired. When we see a small animal or new baby, we want to pet, cuddle, or hold them. These are all examples of instincts in action, emotional responses that affect our choices without much extra thought.

Most influencers and advertisers know about these emotional responses and understand how to use them to effectively market to target audiences. They use images and videos that incite our emotions, making us feel happy, relaxed, excited, or wanted – and “sell” these emotions to us, not just a product. These emotional responses can influence our buying decisions.

 

What Is Emotional Influence?

Emotions are what give color to our daily lives: happy, sad, angry, and many more varieties; and each of these affect how we feel, what we do, and yes, what we buy. And the emotions we feel when we make a decision, or a purchase will affect if we make that choice again. A positive emotional experience can easily create a repeat customer, or a customer that will share those positive experiences with friends, drawing in new business for you.

Good marketers know exactly how to use these positive emotional responses to encourage customers to buy, and to keep coming back. Consider the following example of two coffee shops. Shop number one is a basic café to grab a cheap donut and quick cup of coffee. Shop number two has a wide selection of fancy, while more expensive, coffee flavors and choices, comfy couches, hip music playing, and a vibe that says, “all the cool kids hang out here.” Even with shop number one’s cheaper prices, more people are going to flock to shop number two for the cool-kid vibe and comfy atmosphere. This is a prime example of emotional influence in action.

 

Why Emotions Are so Important

Even though consumers may believe they use their logical mind to make decisions, the truth is that most of these decisions are highly influenced by emotions. And this idea is well documented and studied. Advertising research shows that our purchasing decisions are influenced more by our emotional responses than the ad content itself – sometimes two to three times as much. Other research has even used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show how we use our emotions more than information, including facts, to make buying choices.

 

How to Use Emotional Influence

So, we know that emotional influence is important in understanding how consumers make choices, but how do we tap into this? Smart marketers appeal to these emotions by giving brands a personality. Rather than just stating facts about a product or brand, infusing a personality gives the brand life and will attract consumers that align with those traits much more easily. These traits can be expressed in everything from visual advertising to packaging, atmosphere, and the language used to describe the brand.

 

Creating Personas

One of the best ways to understand how to use emotional influence is to create personas for your ultimate target customers. A persona is a made up profile of a target customer, that can also be quite detailed in the specific traits and attributes of each. Getting to know the personas you want to target in your marketing helps to understand your audience, humanize them, and better understand how to appeal to their emotions.

When you create the personas to target (and yes, you can – and should – have more than one), you gain a clearer understanding of who your customers are. Your personal profile should include things like age, gender, location, job/career, marital status, and other demographics. You should even give them a name and attach a stock photo. What are their life goals? Their frustrations and pain points? Their motivations? Write up bios for each of the personas you create and want to target. These bios can be used by your entire marketing staff, to unify the team and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

 

Marketing to Your Personas

Once you’ve established your ideal personas to market to, you can tailor your approach when marketing your product or service. Ask what your persona’s needs are. What are their pain points and how can your product offer solutions and appeal to them? Consider these personas as real people and find a way to use their emotions to draw them in.

Think beyond your product and consider the feelings that your product gives to consumers. For example, think of how the latest technological gadget makes a consumer feel – happy and excited, but also possibly part of an “in” crowd, smart, and hip. They may be relieved to have solved a problem or updated from an older version of the gadget. Now, you are selling a lifestyle, not just a product, and appealing to your customers’ emotions. Marketing in this way sells the emotions that your product evokes, and will lead to greater success in sales.

 

Making a First Impression

First impressions matter, whether in meeting new people or seeing a new ad for the first time. Study after study shows that we form these first impressions in mere seconds, using our instincts and gut reactions – emotional responses. This is why knowing how to market your product is so important. The first exposure a consumer has to a product, or its advertising, will have an immediate impact on their feelings toward it, and create a bias for the future.

Your first impression should have a strong emotional appeal. Consider utilizing the psychological power of colors, as well as storytelling. Inspire your customers, create a sense of community, and project an ideal image of your product and the lifestyle it supports. Shapiro Negotiations has experts knowledgeable in emotional influencing and can help guide you through the process. Contact us today for more information on influencer training, and so much more.

Can “Dealing With Difficult Conversations” Be Trained?

Difficult is defined as needing much effort or skill to deal with.
Conversation is defined as a verbal exchange between two or more people.

Why are difficult conversations such a hot topic in articles, academic literature, social media, and training? Because they are so important and unavoidable.

Whether it is bringing up a potentially sensitive subject with a coworker or talking through contrasting opinions with a difficult client, there are many instances in people’s careers when the need for difficult conversations will not only arise, but be necessary. Avoiding these conversations is an option, but rarely the most effective.

Knowing how to have a difficult conversation is an invaluable skill as a professional in any industry or place of work. SNI can help you prepare, script, and role play for situations in which these kinds of difficult conversations may arise. We do this by pulling content from our sales, negotiation, and influence training and focusing on improving the interpersonal business skills that will improve you or your team’s ability to manage these challenging interactions.. The result? More successful navigation of tough conversations without hurt feelings or potential damaging conflict .

Here are some of the topics you can expect to learn about and master with difficult conversations training from SNI:

 

Focus On What You Can Control

Going into a tough conversation, the first thing that you need to do is focus on the things that you can actually control. This is a critical mindset. For example, on some occasions that may be when and where you talk to the other person, such as a location that is both professional and comfortable for both of you. Or, you may wish to strategically select a very public or public place, based on the nature of the topic.

While generally people focus most of their time thinking about how the other person will make a difficult interaction even more challenging, we should instead be focusing more on ourselves. Only you control your preparation (see next topic), state of mind going into the interaction, emotion during the meeting, etc. Control yourself and your emotions, and you will be more successful in these difficult interactions – it’s that simple.

 

Prepare

Preparation is the only aspect of a difficult conversation over which you have control. As such, it should be where you focus most of your time. You cannot control the other person’s responses, emotions, or feelings, so, outside of preparing various outcomes there is little value in spending time worrying about the other side. Rather, work on thinking through (even writing down when possible) the most likely directions the conversation will go – e.g. objections they make, questions they may ask, etc. – and how you will respond to each. Think of it as a sports team practicing a play before they run it in a game. Won’t you feel more confident responding to a tough objection you have already methodically thought through rather than hearing it for the first time during a heated exchange?

In our years of research and experience we have found that most people do not prepare adequately for these kinds of situations because they feel they neither have the time nor do they know how to. This is where SNI comes in. We provide your team with a preparation checklist that provides a process and systematic approach for them to use.

 

Write a Script

An excellent use of your prep time is to write a script for the conversation. This process starts with drafting out everything you want to say. After you write down your script, take a step back and read it again with a fresh but critical eye. Perhaps you should consider having someone you trust read it and play devil’s advocate. . Finally, read it out loud to see how it all sounds and feels.

The first step -writing everything you want to say – can be cathartic, in addition to a great brainstorming process. The second step, reviewing it or having someone else do so – is where strategy comes in. It’s what allows you to refine and fine-tune your messaging. Finally, the third step – practicing the delivery – is what gives you confidence going into the real interaction.

Scripting your conversation and potential responses will make you feel more prepared, increase your confidence, improve your strategy, and ultimately make you more successful during difficult conversations. And, as counter intuitive as it may seem, it’s the process of scripting which provides the most value not the final product. Even if the interaction does not go as planned, having systematically thought through it helps in the “heat of the moment.”

 

Keep your Emotions in Check

As mentioned above, your emotions are one of the few areas that you can and should control during these challenging situations. Thus, one of the most important factors of learning how to have difficult conversations is understanding how to keep your emotions in check. Keep in mind that you can prepare for their emotional outbursts, but you can’t control them.

 

Role Play

The scripting process introduced above plays a crucial part of preparing for a difficult conversation. However, we suggest taking this one step further, when needed, byactually role playing the situation. This might just come in the form of running through the conversation in your head or asking your trusted devil’s advocate to play the other party. Either way it’s a worthwhile experience.

Pro Tip: Consider recording yourself, audio only or with video, using your phone as you roleplay and then looking back at the tape.

 

Keep Perspective

When all is said and done, perhaps the most practical and actionable piece of advice when entering difficult conversations is simply to remember to keep perspective. Take a step back for a minute and think about how this conversation is not that daunting after all. When you look back after years of professional and personal growth, you likely will have had tougher conversations, and possibly even forget that this conversation took place at all. Keeping this kind of perspective may be a huge help in making this conversation seem much less intimidating.

Taking part in SNI’s difficult conversations training can provide you with valuable lessons and experience in navigating challenging conversations in all kinds of business environments and situations. Our proven methodology will not only give you greater peace of mind, but actual deliverable results. So whether it is a difficult client or sensitive coworker, contact us today to turn those “difficult” conversations into easy and successful ones.

15 Reasons Successful Influencers Admit Their Mistakes

To err is human. As we go through life, in any endeavor we are going to make mistakes from time to time. Even experienced professionals make mistakes in their field.

A mistake does not have to be a disaster, though. In fact, a mistake can strengthen your position as a leader and make the group you are a part of more cohesive. There are several reasons why a mistake can ultimately lead to better things in the future.

  • Learn from your mistake. A mistake can be a great teacher. It is best to learn from others’ mistakes, of course, but when you make your own mistake, don’t miss the opportunity to grow from it.

 

  • Earn respect. When admit you were wrong, you will earn the admiration of your colleagues. Admitting a mistake is hard and everyone knows it. When you show you can admit your own, people will notice and think better of you.

 

  • Establish trust. If a person is honest about his or her mistakes, people will trust that they will be honest in other areas as well. This builds team cohesion.

 

  • Lead by example. The best way to lead is with your own actions. If you want those who follow you to admit their mistakes and thereby improve the cohesiveness of your team, you can start by showing them how it is done.

 

  • Face your fears. You can gain a great deal of personal growth by facing your fears. Everyone fears admitting a mistake. This is a chance to display your emotional maturity. There is no courage unless there is fear to overcome.

 

  • Prevent larger problems. Don’t wait for mistakes to pile up and turn into a disaster. When you admit your mistake quickly, it allows for an earlier course correction, which avoids larger mistakes in the future.

 

  • Get rid of your pride. Humility is important in a leader. People will follow a person they love and admire. Humility in the face of error earns the admiration of those you work with, and will help to cleanse you of your own pride. It makes admitting future mistakes that much easier.

 

  • Improve relationships. Relationships sour when one party believes another party owes them an apology that never comes. Admitting a mistake smooths over hurt feelings and resentment.

 

  • Gain defenders. Many people will flock to your defense when you admit your mistake. They will be moved by your humility and good judgment.

 

Sometimes, a mistake is minor and hardly needs more than a simple acknowledgement. Other times, a mistake is more damaging, or even involves a lack of good judgment. In many cases, you may owe someone or a group of people an apology for what you did or failed to do. No matter how much you may have learned from making a mistake, without a proper apology many people may not be ready to move on.

There is an appropriate way to apologize when the time comes. A poorly fashioned apology can sometimes be worse than the mistake, and worse than not apologizing at all. There are a number of factors that go into a true apology, one that mends the damage that has been done and allows for team and personal growth.

 

  • Express remorse. Use the words, “I’m sorry.” It is important to use the first person. Don’t say an action was regrettable, and don’t use the passive voice. Mistakes were not made, YOU made a mistake. Be careful not to word it in a way that makes it seem like you are shifting blame.

 

  • Explain what you are sorry for. You don’t want people to think you are not fully sorry for the entirety of the act, or that you are only sorry that your error was discovered. An apology comes with a reason. Make sure the people to whom you apologize are on the same page about what exactly you are sorry for.

 

  • Take full responsibility. Apologize for what you said or did, or failed to say or do, and leave it there. When you try to explain what you did, it starts to sound like you are making excuses. It is best to simply admit you were wrong and fully own up to it.

 

  • Don’t give a false apology. If you aren’t sorry, you aren’t ready to apologize yet. A false apology is never a convincing one. Instead, think back on the mistake and try to understand why and how this has affected others. When you are ready to make the apology, make it sincere.

 

  • Don’t spread the blame around. Even if you were not the only one to blame for the mistake, don’t try to highlight anyone else’s role. Apologize for your part and leave it at that. If you start talking about the fault in others, it sounds like you are trying to duck the blame you have earned.

 

  • Explain your new understanding. If you ever explain why you did something, be sure to follow it with how you realize that it was wrong now. Never let your apology get covered up with excuses. When you explain how you see things differently, you can follow with how you plan to do better in the future.

 

If you are a team leader, you may have to apologize for someone who works for you, even if you had nothing to do with the mistake and were not there. As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for your employees. If you apologize for an employee, apply the same rules as if you were apologizing for your own mistake. The apology needs to be sincere and you need to take responsibility.

A mistake, even a major one, can lead to growth and improvement.  It can lead to your improvement as a person, a team member and a leader, it can improve relations and even performance in your group, and it can act as an important demonstration of what not to do and how not to do it.

When you make a mistake, own it. If an apology is warranted, make an honest one and do it the right way. It says a lot about you as a person, and that will only make you a better, more respected leader in the future.