Tag Archives: conversation

Confidence = “Business is booming!”

Sheralyn

I had a great conversation with someone recently. It was on the topic of “owning it.” We were each reflecting upon the fact that we operate a business that has more to do with creativity than any “perceived” solid, marketable skill. It’s easy for many of us to identify with what an accountant does or with the services a website designer can offer. For many of us, we also “know what we don’t know.” That is to say, I’m no good with numbers so I KNOW that I need an accountant to help me with that part of my business. But for those of us offering more creative type services, a typical response from many customers is; “I can probably take a stab at that myself,” or “I need to cut costs somewhere so I’ll (insert here – “get my friend to help” or “write my own blogs” or “take my own pictures.”) How is the budding entrepreneur in any of these creative type services supposed to market and sell to the “DIY” audience? By OWNING it! Own your skill set and service and most of all stop apologizing. Be loud and proud about the VALUE ADD that you bring to the table.

When you’re a writer for example, it can be hard to provide quantifiable evidence of your ability to add to a client’s bottom line. Is the increase in customer traffic due to great content or whizbang looking graphics or because the product or service is exceptional? If you’re a photographer, who wants to pay for your services when everyone has an iphone and thinks their shaky video is suitable for posting. The conversation with my fellow entrepreneur sparked an investigation into how creative people tend to sell their services and universally (from my admittedly unscientific research) it would appear that when we undergo the transformation from apologizing for our services to owning our strength and proudly speaking about our value to your business bottom line, that’s when people suddenly realize that YES they need you and YES, they should actually be paying you what your worth.

Owning your work is pretty simple. To “OWN it” means to be:

Out loud. To speak loudly and proudly about what you do and whom you do it for and that your fee is your fee. End of story. Project that you’re worth it and people will pay what you’re worth.

Original. Stand out from the crowd. Differentiate yourself from every one else.

Out in front of people. SPEAKING is important. Grab every chance you get to speak publicly about what you do. Seek out professional groups and opportunities to speak in front of others. Speaking lends credibility to what you do.

Own it also means:

Work hard. It’s true what your Momma told you. You get out what you put in and if you work hard and produce results for your clients word will get around.

Winning Attitude. Project confidence. Tell yourself every day “you’ve got this.” Confidence sells.

Write about what you do. Again, it’s about credibility. If people can see what you’ve had to say online you are positioning yourself as the expert and will be viewed as one.

Finally, own it means to:

Never underestimate your services and never undervalue what you do. You pay a contractor to complete a task in your home, why wouldn’t you expect to be paid for what you do? Content is valuable, artwork draws the eye to the page and a picture sometimes really is “worth a thousand words” so demand a fair rate and be open about what goes into the services you offer and why they cost what they do.

Network like your life depends on it. This doesn’t mean “selling” to folks, rather it simply means get out there and meet people, talk about what you do and treat everyone like a mutual referral source.

Without fail, the entrepreneurs I spoke with all said some variation of the same thing. The moment they stopped “justifying” their service and the price they charged and instead began proudly declaring: “Here is who I am, what I can do for you and the price you should expect to pay,” (in other words owning it) that’s when their business shifted. Change your mindset. Speak with confidence about what you do, project in your voice and actions that you are the “go to” expert and take on any opportunity to speak in front of groups.  Then sit back and watch your business grow!

“O.W.N. IT”

  • Out loud and out front
  • Original
  • Work hard
  • Winning Attitude
  • Write what you know
  • Never underestimate
  • Network!

 

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Networking – it isn’t just about you!

Sheralyn

Many have shared thoughtful insight and opinion on the topic of networking but here’s what sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Networking isn’t always all about you. It really isn’t. I teach emerging entrepreneurs about the benefits of networking and provide a “how to” on creating their own starter statement (most call this an elevator pitch) as a way to get the conversation flowing.  The reality is however, sometimes, the audience with whom you’re networking, just isn’t one you’ll ever do business with.  If that’s the case, should you still expend the effort? Heck yes!

Networking is in fact almost always about the referral.  It’s possible you will never have reason to do business with the financial representative you just met over coffee and unlikely you could buy from each of the lovely “Brand X” nutritional shakes or skin care reps you meet along your networking journey. But guess what? If you make a favorable impression on them or they on you, its entirely possible you might know someone else who is willing to do business with them and/or needs their product or service.  Because you took the time to have a great conversation, to network and get to know them, each of you are now more than willing to act as a referral source for the other. That’s how networking works.

Too often people go into these opportunities with a “what’s in it for me” attitude.  Recently, I was at an event where someone was selling a health food product with nuts in it.  I didn’t notice and when I asked if it was nut free she was quite sarcastic in her response. That’s not a person I want to do business with.  I made an honest mistake and I actually know two individuals who own and operate establishments where this person might have wanted to have her products featured. I did pass along the names of the establishments to her (I’m not that mean) but I certainly didn’t offer to act as a referral source because our networking conversation wasn’t a pleasant one.  I had no confidence in her product because I had no confidence in her.  It also meant I was unable to discuss my business with her so it was a missed opportunity for us both.

So yes you should still expend some effort even when the networking isn’t about you.  Think of the time spent as an opportunity to share your core values with the world. By sharing who you really are, not just what you do, you are sending a strong message to the world about what is important to you, how you do business with others and how you treat people. I don’t know about you, but knowing these kinds of things about a person is much more likely to encourage me to want to do business with them and I believe makes others more interested in potentially working with me.  Be the kind of referral you would like to get from others and meet others with the intention of acting as a great referral for them.  That’s what networking should be all about.

 

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Name That Tune…

Sheralyn

I may be dating myself but years ago a show on TV called Name that Tune asked contestants to “name that tune” in as few notes as possible. What you ask is the relevance of this memory? It brings to mind that moment your eyes begin to glaze over at a networking event when someone tells you EVERYTHING you ever DIDN’T want to know about their job, position, title, company and number of years on the job. I know you know what I’m talking about and I know exactly how you can avoid it. Just follow “The Rule of Ten.”

In Name that Tune, the music was so good and the “hook” so memorable that people instantly recognized the song. That’s what you want for your business.  An introduction that is catchy and memorable – your own personal “hook.”  The Rule of Ten is my personal guideline to developing a solid, short and simple introductory sentence that succinctly describes you and your product or service. It’s derived from the “Tenplate for Success” which includes ten critical communication tips for those in business. Taking ten means taking the time to distill your business mission statement or your vision into just ten words (or less!) using catchy lingo that will draw in the audience, inviting them to have a conversation with you. Isn’t that the whole idea behind networking? You don’t want the  “glaze over,” you want to encourage and enable a conversation. For that to happen, all you need is something catchy to get the conversation started.

So – what is the Rule of Ten? It’s simple: Take your main product or service, your goal or vision for your business and distill it down to the BEST TEN WORDS that describe your service and sound enticing to potential customers. Think it can’t be done? It can. Your first attempt might rival War and Peace but I assure you, with a little effort, some fine-tuning and perhaps a hint or two courtesy of Google Thesaurus, you CAN create a ten words or less elevator pitch that gets your potential customer talking to you not running from you.

Compare “I am a freelance writer and editor providing website content, editorial, blogging and advertising services for the small business entrepreneur” vs. “I help small business succeed using words that work!” or this one: “At a loss for words? I’ll help you find them!” In the first intro perhaps all you’ve heard is the word “Writer” and immediately images of a lonely, rumpled and wild haired women in front of an ancient typewriter comes to mind.  In the second or third example however, you’ve created the possibility of a conversation between you and your prospective client.  “Really,” they might say. “How do you use just words to help business?” There’s your opening, your invitation to have a conversation with a prospective client, without any pre-conceived notions that might possibly be associated with the word “Writer.”

Tammy Elliott of The Leadership Forum in Caledon calls this finding your passion and letting it shine through in your “5 second intro.” Using this technique helps you position your passion as a value statement and your client is much more likely to connect with you if you are like-minded and have similar values. Using words like “help” implies genuine caring, enthusiasm for what you do and again, it encourages a conversation over an eye-glaze. Try it. Throw a bunch of words on a page and then start working with them. Break out the Thesaurus or Google words.  Choose the best ten, formulate your catchy sentence and then give it a try at your next networking meeting. Have fun with it and hopefully soon your customers will be singing your favorite tune!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead

selfy photo

I recently attended a meetup at Ryerson University, in their Transmedia Zone.  It was a fantastic evening of discussion and debate about content, media, and how the platforms we are using to communicate – social media, Youtube, The Internet itself – are changing our ideas around production and consumption of content, and even ownership of media.

One idea that came up was the idea that media, or content (we were primarily discussing video but it could as easily have been a discussion of any kind of media), is no longer something that we just consume.  It is something that we produce and in fact, it is a way we communicate as much as anything else.

We express our identities, our thoughts, and our ideas in media, as media.  We speak “video”.  And for those who don’t create their own, from scratch, we share what others have produced, as a kind of shorthand for what we want to say.  When I share a captioned photo on Facebook, or content created by a brand like Coke or Red Bull, I am speaking volumes about who I am, what “tribe” I belong to.

Where does content marketing fit in?

I stared to think about what role content marketing plays in this content-sharing-as-communication ecosystem, and why it is so important for business.  To define what I mean by content marketing, have a read of this article, or download a handy infographic here.  Content Marketing is a system in which a business uses content, not advertising, to generate and nurture leads for their business, build trust with their customers, and get found online.

I encounter an objection again and again when I work with clients who are-shall we say-not digital natives, when we get around to a content marketing discussion.  The objection goes something like this: “I am a private person; I don’t want to put myself out there in social media, or by blogging…I’m sure no one wants to hear what I had for lunch.  Plus, I am not willing to give away all my secrets in a blog!  If people want to get my help, they’ll have to hire me!”

That is kind of like moving to France and refusing to speak French.   Digital Media is communication tool, and content is a language that, as a business, you can’t NOT speak.  The best way to get your brand out there is to use media – video, photography, blogging, graphics – to communicate with your customers, and in fact to use media that they will want to share.  To use what Henry Jenkins calls “spreadable media”.

Henry Jenkins: Spreadable Media

This video, titled Spreadable content makes the consumer king, is an episode from Pull: How Technology is Changing the Conversation.  IT was produced by TVO and Q Media and it is taken from  a discussion I had with Jenkins in 2013.

Spreadable media is the best reason I can think of to generate content marketing for your business.  It is how you leverage your existing customers and followers as marketers, giving them the media they need to spread your message for you.

Jenkins also speaks in this interview about the new digital divide, that he calls the participation gap.  He talks about kids in schools who may not have access to skills and opportunities, but it just as effectively applies to business people who don’t have the skills, the training or worse, the willingness to participate in this new language of identity and brands, the language of content.

As Jenkins says: if it doesn’t spread, its dead.  Creating high value, sharable content that your customers can use is the best way to close that participation gap.

Christine McGlade is a Business Analyst, Content Strategist, and Usability Consultant.  With over 25 years experience in the media business, Christine helps small business, social enterprise, and Not for Profits how to leverage the power of the Internet to grow their business.  Learn more about Christine at analyticalengine.ca

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Networking Etiquette

Martina New

 

How does it make you feel, when someone you just met launches into a full-on sales pitch? Probably not so dandy. It may make you feel the same way as those sales calls you get after 8pm all right during dinner, and you just want to tell them to go away.

When this happens at a networking event, it’s awkward. Someone just introduced herself to you, or you said hello and asked what she does, and suddenly you’re finding yourself trying to back out of the conversation.  If you’ve attended more than a couple of networking meetings, you know exactly what I’m talking about! 

I admit that at my very first networking event as a fresh business owner, I hadn’t yet figured out the best way of going about things. Somewhere I had heard or read that it was a good opportunity to get and give as many business cards as possible, and many business owners support that view. Because you never know whom you`ll meet, or whom they know.

Being competitive as I am, yet also feeling a little nervous in a downtown pub stuffed to the hilt with small business owners, I “worked the room” as much as I was comfortable. In between greetings, I excitedly felt the growing number of cards in my pocket and felt somewhat proud over how many I had at the end of the night.

Yet therein lies a problem. As Christel Wintels, franchise owner of the BNI Golden Horseshoe groups, shared at a recent big networking bash, some informal ‘research’ had shown that of all the people who attend any given networking event, only around 5 per cent are there to buy something, yet a good 90 per cent or more are there to sell! So Christel’s commandment is: Thou shalt not sell!

Just like any other set of manners, networking etiquette has its pitfalls. Understandably, we’re excited about our business or idea and want to tell as many people as possible. And isn’t it all about exchanging business cards with lots of new people? 

It is in a way, but of course certain guidelines should apply so that you are remembered in a positive way. For example:

  • Prepare your introduction. Have a well-rehearsed pitch or ‘infomercial’ of 60 seconds or less. It should tell the listener about your key services and main benefits to them. Make it engaging, use some intrigue.
  • Listen! Cany people “don’t listen with the intent to understand, merely with the intent to respond.” Make the conversation about the other person, and hope they’ll do the same.
  • Ask new people for introductions to other specific businesses, and also ask them whom they would like to meet. You will be a superstar if you can introduce them to somebody else you met at that event!
  • Wait for a break in conversation or an obvious end before jumping into a still ongoing dialogue between two or more persons.
  • Avoid introducing yourself to someone just as they’re putting food in their mouth. I always find this one particularly challenging to handle when on the receiving end! I struggle for a suitable and polite response when asked “So what do you do?” while I’m currently balancing hors d’oeuvres on a napkin, and trying to keep crumbly filo pastry off my face and clothes. Needless to say I also don’t want to talk with my mouth full. Maybe say hello to someone else first and come back later.
  • Be humble and accept the fact that not everyone will be interested in your business. Start a dialogue and then wait to hear if that person would like your business card or not. If they don’t prompt you, maybe they’re really not interested or in need of your service.

In any case, enjoy the event! Every networking event is a good opportunity to improve on and perfect your sales conversation, get a feel for which aspects of your conversation and benefits spark the greatest interest, and you never know whom you might meet and whom they know!

Just remember to leave the kind of impression you actually want to be remembered for.

 

Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE co-working space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new start-ups. Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

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Enhancing Communication

anna

Throughout our business and personal lives we meet wonderful and unique characters and those memories remain with us.  We encounter individuals that have a personality that we may define as odd or quirky and yet we are drawn to them because of the individuality.  They add to our own enlightenment and growth in being able to communicate.

We also encounter some very quiet and simplistic characters and with these lovely individuals we admire the uniformity and calmness in their methods of communicating their thoughts and feelings. Once again they teach us new methods to communicate as well.

There are all types in between from quirky to simple and how lucky we are to be able to meet them all.  Each individual is an inspiration of communication.  Even those that do not communicate well are an inspiration on what we want to avoid and maybe what we can teach.  I get excited when I meet someone new.  I tune my ears and open myself up to the wonders of meeting a new friend or colleague along with honing my skills on how to be an effective communicator.

The most important part of communicating is LISTENING!

In this quick paced and ever-moving world we hurry through everything; including our conversations.  As a matter of fact, I can sense that the next words coming from someone are before I have even finished my thought.  Did they hear me and my ideas all the way through?  Have I answered their concerns and they weren’t even paying attention?

There are some tips when trying to effectively communicate:

  1.  LISTEN! You need to know the question before answering.  You can take a lot of information away from the conversation that will help you in future if you stop and really listen!!!
  2. Two way speaking is very important.  Focus on the person you are speaking with and train your mind to STOP trying to find the immediate answer. Take a breath before replying and if you don’t have the answer or want to take the time to think over your thoughts tell them so. The answer, “I believe I really would like to think this through”, is much more thoughtful than a half hearted, “Sure”.
  3. Know that there are different communication styles and you need to know how you communicate and what others need to hear and feel to understand you.  I am happy to help with different communications styles as I love to explore this avenue and enlighten others.

Speak with integrity. Your enthusiasm and honesty shows through to your words and sincerity is the key.  Be yourself and explore!

Anna Ottaviani is a Board Certified NLP Master Practitioner & Master Coach, Board Certified Master Hypnotherapist,Creating Your Future® , Time Line® Therapist Practitioner and Reiki Master. Her methods are unique and tailored to each individual client. She can be reached at www.sucessfullyyou.ca or by phone at 289-221-5772. You can follow her onFacebook 

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