Posts Tagged "Leadership Training"

The Problem with Fighting Fire with Fire

A week out from the football Grand Final is not uncommon for the head coach to bring in a coach from another sporting discipline. It might be a hockey coach, golf coach or any other similar but different expert in their field.

They bring them in for a different perspective. They have climbed their own mountain and can offer their insight that the team will benefit from. They give the team a slight edge…that something that their opposition doesn’t have.

Without this slight edge the coach is relying on the team to execute the same moves as the other side but to a higher standard. If the grand final has the best teams of the competition this is a risky strategy – there is no differentiation.

If you do the same training as everyone else you don’t differentiate. If you don’t differentiate you are back to where you started – the same as the opposition.

Look outside the box when getting training.


This is an edited extract from my new book “Better Positioning Deeper Conversations More Sales”. To find out more or to purchase copies of this book click here


Speak to Me

Speaking has an unusual paradigm.

The speaker is in a one-to-many relationship and speaks accordingly. They structure their sentences to speak to everyone (e.g. How many of you have been sailing?)

The problem is, that the audience is not in the same paradigm. They are in a one-to-one paradigm. If you want them to hear you then speak as though you are only speaking to one person (e.g Have you been sailing?)

When you speak to one, every person in the audience thinks you are speaking to them. This generates greater buy-in to your message.

This works well in e-mails too.

Would love your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.

What do you do with your hands when speaking?

When speaking, how you feel about your hands tells you a lot about your message. They’re the canary in the coal mine. If you’re not sure what to do with them, then there is something else wrong with your presentation.

Check your message, your reason for speaking and your slides. Do you know what you are trying to achieve while speaking? Check every area you can and you will find the issues that are distracting you.

When you address these issues, the problems you have with your hands will disappear.

Would love your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Go Mr Squiggle-esk

Microsoft estimates there are over 30,000,000 powerpoint presentations given every single day. How they measure this I have no idea, but let’s assume it’s true.

There is good evidence to think it is. After all, most presentations you attend will have someone reading out bullet points at you.

So how do you stand out in this environment? How do you present in a way so you don’t like just look everyone else? How do you zig when everyone else zags?

You need to go old school, you need to go low tech, you need to go Mr Squiggle-esk.

The flip chart is great for this. When you build your message on a flip chart it does three things:

  1. Creates a sense of joint ownership.
  2. Allows you to build your message out in layers so your audience understands its flow.
  3. Sets you apart from everyone else who uses slides.

The flip chart builds theatrics into your message and allows you to have some fun. This builds great energy and is what your audience wants – it keeps them entertained while you deliver your message to them.

Next time you speak, channel Mr Squiggle and stand out.

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Please Do Not Start This Way

As with everything, there is a right and wrong way to do something. Opening a presentation is no exception.

Many people use the techniques below to build a connection with their audience. However, it usually builds a weak and undesirable connection that does not position you as a leader.

Speaker focus

Questions. Questions don’t always bond the audience to your message, nor does it get them agreeing with you. Questions are risky – what if no one answers? To get around this, speakers often ask a low risk or irrelevant question. This weakens your positioning.

Jokes. There is a reason why most jokes can’t be told in polite company – it’s because they have a victim. If the audience relates with the victim more than you, they won’t like you. You’d be hard pressed to get a joke that relates to your message.

Platitudes. Many speakers think the audience wants to have their ego stroked and open by telling the audience how wonderful they are and how they are honoured to be speaking. The audience doesn’t care about how you feel about speaking to them – they care about themselves.

Apologies. Starting with an apology does not set you up as a leader. By definition, it puts you in a position of weakness. The audience wants a strong leader, not a weak speaker.

Would love your thoughts on this, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Begin with a Bang – 4 Ways to Get your Audiences Attention

Every marketing student knows that you have just a few seconds to grab the customers attention. If you get their attention, you have a chance to sell to them. But if you don’t grab their attention, your chances of selling something are slashed.

It’s the same when presenting. There are four ways you can get the attention of your audience.

High Energy

  1. Data – Creates a logical connection. Use facts and figures (e.g. 74% of all statistics are made up on the spot.)
  2. Stories – Introduces emotions that we bond too (e.g. We were approached in July by customer X to…)
  3. Statements – Draws a line in the sand and sets up your argument (e.g. Over the next 12 months we will see the market grow and we need to be ready to capitalise on it.)
  4. Directives – shows the room you are the leader (Raise your hand if you have made budget this year.)

Each type of opening has strengths and weaknesses, and no one is better than another. It’s about knowing what each type is good for, and using it accordingly.

Would love your thoughts on this, leave a comment in the comment section below.

Your Verbal Stance

How well do you fight for your position?

One characteristic that strong leaders and people of influence have is the ability to hold tight to their vision. When they come to a meeting, they know what they want, and they fight for it.

When you walk away from your meetings, after your phone calls, after emails that you’ve written, reflect on the type of language you’ve used, and how much you’ve fought towards staying on your message. Were you persuaded away from what it is you wanted to achieve? If you were persuaded away, what caused that? How strong were those arguments? In hindsight, were they strong arguments or weak arguments?

There is nothing wrong with you changing their mind. What is important, is how easily you changed it. How compelling was the evidence that caused you to change your mind? In instances where you were persuaded to change your mind, how comfortable were you with that decision? If you were not comfortable with that decision, what caused you to change? Was it within your control to not change?

The strength with which you hold your message will show those around you how committed you are to what it is that you stand for. When you can do that, you will be seen as a person of influence, someone who has authority, and is able to get their message across.

Start at the End

When I was a kid, my Dad was a pilot. I loved going to the airport with him and flying all over Victoria. It was the greatest place to hang out.

Prior to each flight, Dad would have to submit a flight plan, and I’d watch in awe as he prepared it. He’d take out the maps of the area and study them, starting with where he was going to land. Once he knew his destination, he’d look at the path he needed to take so he could approach the runway in an optimum way. From there, he’d work back to ensure that he avoided any restricted airspace and that he had taken the most direct flight path. Then, once he knew which runway he’d be taking off from, he’d plan his climb out.

As it happens, this is also the best way to prepare a presentation too. You need to start with the end in mind to ensure you reach it. If the first thing you write is the opening, how will you know what to say so it leads into the body of the presentation if you haven’t written it yet?

Start at the end. It’s much easier.

Would love your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Permission to Stop

Do you give yourself permission to hold your ground, and stop speaking when you need to?

Many people feel when there is silence, they need to fill it. In sales, it’s called the ‘pregnant pause’. When you ask the customer for the order number, you then keep quiet; the next person who speaks is usually the buyer or customer. The idea is, to keep quiet long enough and build the pressure on the customer so they buy.

To build your influence practice giving yourself permission to stop. If you’re asked a question, answer the question that has been asked, then stop. If people want more information from you, they will ask you for more information. But don’t offer it up – because when you start offering it up, you end up digging yourself a hole, and you potentially go into the “could, should, and shouldn’t” information.

When you control the information, when you deliver it as required, you’ll be seen as someone with influence.

Choose, Cut or Concatenate – Presentation Skills

Most conference presentations go for around 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, most speakers try to squeeze 60 minutes of information into their 30 minutes and then of course, they go over time. This wastes everyone’s time and kills your opportunity to position yourself as an industry leader.

There are three types of information you can deliver in a presentation:

  1. Could say – everything you know and could say about the topic.
  2. Should say – the relevant parts of your message that the audience wants to hear.
  3. Shouldn’t say – the sensitive information that the audience may want to hear, but you need to keep quiet.

When you know what you want to say and how long you have to say it you need to choose, cut and concatenate your material.

Choose what must be included:

  • Cut irrelevant information that does not further your objective.
  • Concatenate points together to save on time.

It’s a mix of art and science to get this combination right. But if you include too much information, and go over time, no one will listen to you, and you will have wasted everyones time.

As always, I’d love your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.

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