12 steps to tactful communication

3 years ago 0 4743

“What we have here is a failure to communicate” –Cool Hand Luke. (Paul Newman) How often is performance derailed by a failure to communicate? We lead and work through others, collaborate and seek to influence beliefs and behaviours. These all take quality communication to achieve. However, communication is perhaps the greatest single opportunity for increased efficiency and effectiveness in any business, organisation or system. It simply does not work well enough, often enough – because although we are taught to talk, we are rarely truly taught to communicate. Communication, at its heart, is about ‘transmitting’ a message of some kind to one or more recipients, in such a way that the message they understand is equivalent to the message that was transmitted. This transmission requires pre-processing by the communicator (translation) and post-processing by the receiver (reception and decoding). The transmission is conducted through a medium using known symbols (language, hand

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social media marketing

Human marketing in a digital world.

3 years ago 0 0 730

Your boss bursts into the meeting “I want us on twitter! We need to update Facebook! Show me the digital strategy!” Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, this has been all too common. The cry has gone out for organisations to ‘get digital’ for fear of missing out. There are great reasons to include digital and social media approaches into your marketing, but unless it is done thoughtfully and strategically, they often end up expensive and damaging to the organisation and its brand.  In many instances, these channels are used a megaphones to yell messages at people with no interest in what is being offered. The shift to digital There has been a massive shift to digital technology. We often hear of the ‘digital natives’ – the generations who have grown up intimately connected to digital devices, who have deep confidence or trust in these channels, and who are extremely

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Pitch perfect – get your audience to yes

4 years ago 0 0 1378

The role of the ‘pitch’ has been magnified through such TV shows as ‘Shark Tank’ or ‘Lion’s Den’. These shows put a pitch in the spotlight, with an assessment and investment depending upon the quality of the presentation as well as the product idea. They can often make the process seem as a ‘one shot for glory’. However, if we view a pitch as this, then it can lead to unnecessary stress and worry, and can negatively impact how we pitch. If, on the other hand, we considered a pitch as simply an opportunity to open a discussion and negotiation, to present our position and influence buy in, then we can use the pitch in powerful ways to create successful uptake of our ideas and secure the support that we seek. Everyone has to pitch – maybe not for a major investment, but politicians pitch their policies for your vote,

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Forecasting excellence – without the crystal ball

4 years ago 0 0 810

I have been working with more than 30 business leaders from around Europe, the Middle East and Africa at a meeting in Barcelona. Our aim was to tackle some of the ‘big issues’ in strategy, marketing and sales, so that they could take back practical and powerful tools to their organisations. When we asked them what they wanted (or more specifically: “What could you take away from this meeting that would have a significant impact on your business”), one answer shone through strongly – most of them wanted to help their key personnel within their organisations to forecast better. I therefore created a hands-on workshop session for the attendees which focused on this topic. It reminded me that, amongst all of the important business skills that leaders and managers are taught, forecasting is often one which often gets less time, effort and attention than other topics. Following a practical case

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A compelling message – or just ‘So What?’

4 years ago 0 0 2090

As part of the process of selling a big idea – whether it is a product or service to a customer, or a message to internal stakeholders- we need a value proposition to help make it understandable by those we share it with. However, too many value propositions presented fall flat, with the customer either thinking – or saying out loud “So What?”. Too many value propositions offer no value, fall flat or are simply uninspiring. A great value proposition is meaningful, contains rich value for the customer and provides them with a compelling reason to change. If we are selling something, we are wanting the customer to change from not purchasing to purchasing. If we are sharing a big idea, we are asking our audience to change their minds and adopt the idea as their own. Either way, the value proposition has to overcome the status quo of what

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Why most sales reps aren’t built to perform

4 years ago 1 0 1154

Our customers today have access to overwhelming volumes of information, have so many choices and are ever more discerning.  The ability for our customers to truly understand what we can offer them can simply be lost in the white noise. How we connect to customers and sell them our purpose, our values and our offerings can be critical in cutting through this white noise and drive business success.  Great sales people are therefore a prerequisite of success – and you need them right across your business. As organisations become more social and customer centric, every person within the organisation not only becomes a brand ambassador, but a ‘salesperson’ of the organisation, and for the organisation, to its customers.  The old days of salespeople on the ‘outside’ and everyone else huddled within are definitely gone. So what really makes a great salesperson? If you had to identify the profile that would

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Customers experience pain

4 years ago 0 0 766

Apple announce that iPhone 6 will go on sale at Midnight next Wednesday. By Monday evening, the queue is already forming.  Apple customers are putting themselves through 36 hours of ‘pain’ to become one of the first to own a new model of something they can get today. You walk about a kilometre, have to drag items out of a warehouse and load them onto a trolley to go through check out at Ikea.  Clients accept this pain to buy furniture (that will probably cause them even more pain when they get home and get out the allen key!) You have to wait on hold for a phone operator for two minutes – and the wait is intolerable! In business, we put our clients into three different types of pain: 1: Brand-reinforcing (valued) pain.  This pain, like queuing outside Apple stores, is part of the ‘story’ and enhances the perceived

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Executive Coach | The CEO Institute

Unexpected Recognition

4 years ago 0 0 871

Sometimes, we do what we do because it is important to us, it makes a difference, or is part of our ‘bigger game’. We don’t directly seek recognition (however, we always seek appropriate feedback!). Then – out of the blue – you are recognised for what you have been doing and it allows you to take stock, and enjoy the realisation that what you do really is making a difference to others. This happened recently to me.  I have been offering presentations to CEO level syndicates for the last couple of years.  I find them highly stimulating in that the level you have to perform at (in terms of content, engagement and delivery) is exceptionally high just to be invited to present.  Further, I find it is is great forum to develop and discuss models and frameworks for making complex ideas around people, psychology and business really relevant for high

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Business Development Excellence

5 years ago 0 0 1147

How do you, and your organisation, approach business development?  That is, how do you work to grow your business? Are you a ‘shotgun marketer’?  Spray your marketing efforts in a wide arc hoping to ‘wing’ a few customers and bring them to ground? Or are you a replay marketer?  Do what you have always done? Or maybe a ‘shiny things’ marketer?  Are you the type that was the first on Facebook, Twitter and any other ‘shiny new’ marketing idea? Business Development is something that is a necessity in any business.  Whether you are a local pizza shop selling to the neighbourhood, or a major corporate selling around the globe, the way that you think about business development will have a massive impact on the success of your business. Working with many organisations across a spectrum of industries on business development, it has become clear that there are lots of areas

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you get what you deserve

Leading Customer Service Excellence

5 years ago 0 0 2171

Leading Customer Excellence Sometimes common themes emerge which run through the work you are doing.  At the moment, there seems to be a deep need for engagement, for resilience and excellence in customer service. Perhaps they all stem from the same place – the environment that business exists in is tough – there are competitors, the customer has high expectations and the landscape is often changing through technology, regulatory change or economic pressure. We know that customers have access to unlimited information, often an overwhelming range of options and know their ‘power’ in dealing with organisations.  This makes the point of customer interface critical – we have to provide an excellence in experience which allows them to remain engaged and want to be our customer. How do we, as leaders, help our front line people consistently deliver great customer service?  This is one of the things I have been working

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