First Impressions and How To Leave Them…

What does a great first impression consist of and how do we make them.

An impression is the effect an object or thing has on it’s environment after it is no longer present. An Asteroid leaves a crater, an artist leaves an impression in the soul.

Top tip: Be like the artist…

There are a lot of things that go into making the perfect first impression. Nearly all are under your control, or to some extent influenced by you. So lets begin with the factors you can manage.

Appearance – It goes without saying, but a well turned out person; who carries themselves with confidence and self respect will nearly always make a good first impression. See to it, that if you plan to meet someone or suspect you will, make the effort to tidy yourself up and give the best representation of yourself. Disregard this advice if your name is Mark Zuckerberg and just turn up in a dressing gown…

Social Rituals/Cliches – Another obvious, but often overlooked hurdle in the first impression rule book is the presence of a firm handshake or similar social gesture. The french offer a cheek and the Japanese bow. Different cultures and social settings call for differing levels of appropriate social ritual. If in doubt, lead with a handshake!

The HALO/HORNS – Within ten seconds of meeting a new person, that individual will have made several initial judgments. Based on what they see, hear and feel. A mixture of verbal and non verbal communications will be computed. Often to confirm biases, opinions or self held beliefs. This is a factor that has as much control as luck. You could be nothing but polite and respectful in an initial meeting and not be liked by another person. Solely down to their own self held beliefs and biases. While this is a rare event, we can have some control over this. The best defense against negative judgement in the initial moments of meeting someone is to push the exchange to about 80%/20% talk from you. By that, I mean introduce yourself and your reason for being there, then ask thoughtful and relevant questions. Always address them by their name in this initial stage. It will disarm them and completely sever any inference judgments the person would otherwise make.

Priming – Priming is a technique used in all manner of things in order to lubricate your mind and warm you to something or someone. In a social setting, priming is as simple as an MC introducing a performer. It could be a car company showing you images of exciting and freeing locations and adventures to make you correlate cars and freedom as mutual things, before showing you the price! In a first impression scenario however, being introduced by a mutual contact or friend, is enough to prime the other person. They will have no doubt been told good, positive and reassuring things about you. This bypasses a lot of the HALO/HORNS and/or unconscious biases being sought. Remember also, when you are introducing someone; a positive and light-hearted but reassuring introduction will suffice. This short but relaxed approach, gives a solid start point for their conversation to take place. Plus you will be seen as the very friendly, helpful, honest and witty person who brought people together!

Personal Space – This one is the single biggest ‘bad impression’ behaviour. We have all met someone or know of someone who is a bit too forward, over-familiar or inappropriate when in a social setting. If you are ever in doubt, remember the following:

  • Do not touch someone after shaking hands. Unless you saving them from a venomous animal… 
  • Resist all temptation to make a joke or comment that would make someone uncomfortable, awkward or blush.
  • Scientifically, ‘personal space’ starts at eighteen inches and finishes at four feet. If it is too loud or too crowded, take it outside or elsewhere. Trust me, no one wants to talk into your ear…

Your Legacy – By this, I mean the positive and/or negative memories you leave your acquaintance with. Having a short but interesting conversation. An exciting yet unfinished discussion or perhaps just a mutual love of something. These are all positive legacies that you can re-kindle. The person will be left with fond memories and hopefully a new connection they wish to spend more time and energy getting to know.

“I met this gentlemen/lady at the company day out at the races the other day, we spoke about X and I was blown away by how much money we are leaving on the table at the moment.”  – Leave someone with questions, they will come to you for the answers…

To finish, I would suggest that every time you talk to a new acquaintance, be confident that when you part company; there is a conversation or promise that the other person wants to fulfill with you.

“Leave them wanting more and you know they’ll call back.”

Bobby Womack – American Singer/Songwriter

For more public speaking advice, follow our page and receive weekly articles. Alternatively, please feel free to email –Will@lib-Orator.com for coaching and assistance! 

Wrapping Your Head around Rapport

How do we build rapport with others?

 

We have all heard of ‘having rapport’; hearing someone say “she has a great rapport with her customers”,”He has a great rapport with the crowd”. Rapport isn’t something you can hold in your hands and as a commodity, it can’t be weighed on a set of scales. So what is it? And more importantly, how do we get cultivating some for ourselves.

I would say simply, Rapport is a mutually respected bond between two or more people that is built by complementary exhanges. Be they views, emotions or information.

Rapport is built slowly in a business and professional setting, cultivating and maintaining ties, offering assistance and providing help. Going the extra mile for the other party with no real expectation of immediate payoff.

Sometimes though, you need to put your rapport building into overdrive. Occasions like networking events, public events, social gatherings etc. You need to build a fairly firm connection with another person or group and have them or mutual parties, vouch and confirm that you are geniuine and have a genuine desire to connect. Sure, you can leave them a business card, contact details, Linkedin request and/or schedule another time to meet. But you need to get the initial hook in and start building rapport. This will build that genuineness and demonstrate your credibility.

Read Credibility – What is it? 

How do we consciously build rapport then I hear you ask. Well, we have a plethora of options available to us. We just need to temper them to the situation we find ourselves in.

Firstly, we need to understand that building rapport is a risk and reward exercise. generally the safest acts and rituals will not move the needle, because you are only conforming to normal standards, i.e shaking hands when you meet. (99% of people in a business setting do that). You need to be further up the risk ladder if you are to get the result you want. If you are sharing your emotions and deep thoughts, whilst engaging in a riveting conversation or exchange, be it in agreement or not. Then you are up the risk ladder and your payoffs and rewards are potentially greater. Read my piece on debates and exchanges here.

The middle ground to this aproach is a happy medium which you can achieve after you have shaken hands, kissed cheeks, bowed respectfully to one another or even performed a curtsey. This green zone is an area where you share facts and information, these exchanges are safer as they are grounded in reality and if you are both passionate about the subject you are sharing, you will likely be able to agree on; or add more information and facts to the conversation. From here, as confidence increases and nerves setlle, you can then go up the ladder to the emotions, ideas and judegements plateau!

Some key takeaways for building rapport and demonstrating a genuine, authentic and mindful personality are:

  • Not rushing the encounter or overloading the other party
  • The conversation makes sense in the context of the interaction
  • Equality and Empathy – treat your conversation partner(s) with respect and dignity
  • Discuss Topical Issues, extracting their views or opinions to help shape your response – this shows you are an active/attentive listener (fantastic trait)

Some key red flags and definite rapport burners are:

  • Over famliarity
  • Lack of professionalism
  • Arrogant and officious demeanor or attitude
  • Judgemental or pious stance on others andn the views they hold
  • Poor communication (goes without saying)

On a final note, I would advise anyone serious in their career, passion or just self development, to understand the value and potential massive ROI you can receive from just being a good conversationalist and rapport builder. Most successful people I know, in business and leisure have stumbled on more opportunities and life changing moments because they made the right connections and sparked the right minds into conversations. Get out there and show people just how much you can bring to any conversation and moment.

 

“Rapport equals trust plus comfort.” – Neil Strauss, American Author, Journalist and Ghostwriter.

For more public speaking advice, coaching and assistance please feel free to email –Will@lib-Orator.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Payed What You’re Worth

How adding value adds dollars to your paycheck…

It is simple in essence. You work harder, you get paid more. Right?

Wrong. You get payed whatever the going rate for your skill and what the market demand is. Heart surgeons are in short supply and are very skilled. Warehouse operatives are in surplus and can be replaced almost daily. Put yourself on the scale of skill and demand and be brutal with yourself. What is your current market position?

So how do you go about becoming the metaphorical heart surgeon of your field? Firstly you need to understand value and its relative nature. Everything has a value, however small or seemingly irrelevant. Like the saying goes, “one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure”. What you think might be useless might be useful to someone else. Understanding what the ‘other person’ wants is the key to adding value.

Value can be subjective, but if it is coupled with insight, experience and evidence it is undeniable. You want the final idea and piece of ‘value’ to be objective though. By doing so, you further demonstrate your ability and knowledge.

The aim of adding value is to draw people to a new idea or a way of thinking that is beneficial to them or the company’s bottom line. It could be to solve a problem the company has been experiencing, it could solve a problem that the company didn’t even know it had! These ‘pain points’ and areas in friction, might have solutions. You may be the person who recognises and resolves them!

A word to the wise, don’t share your idea or logical insights with your colleagues, someone always takes them and claims them, or drops you in hot water by making out you were bad-mouthing the hierarchy, going against the grain and/or shedding light on their woeful managerial skills – This is coming from experience… 

                                Read – How Do I Gain Credibility

The key to adding value is learning how to communicate effectively. Be clear in every point of your talk. If you don’t, you risk sounding like a complainer or just an old fashioned moron. Use the Lib-Orator approach and cause some HAVOC…

  • Highlight the problem/issue and any analysis used in the process
  • Allocate VALUE(S) by statistical evidence to the problem/issue
  • Volunteer a solution/practice or an entirely new system
  • Outline your new proposals benefits with statistical evidence (tests results)
  • Calculate estimates – Show how much VALUE your new proposal will deliver!

Be sure to field all questions at the end to ensure that no one is scratching their head! The point of causing HAVOC is to demonstrate your abilities, help the company and prove you have a pro-active approach to problem solving and show initiative. This adds value to everyone involved!

Now to use this golden ticket! but how? Well, there are several ways of going about it. You might be doing this by the water-cooler (is that still a thing?) or more likely, in the conference room or bosses office. Either way, stick to this format and you will be able to deliver your piece with total confidence like the true professional you are!

Like always, feel free to drop us a comment and Follow the Lib-Orator Blog for more.

What Makes The Perfect Pitch?

Read on to get a few pointers on how to pitch like Babe Ruth…

firstly, lets clarify what a ‘pitch’ is. A pitch is a verbal presentation of your business plan; in essence, you should be presenting to investors that you have a working idea, product, (realistic) future projections, (realistic) financials and of course you will need to have an intimate knowledge of your idea/business. Showing that you lack a depth of knowledge in what you are delivering to an audience/investor is the quickest way to ensure no one gets their cheque-book out.

Investors will want to ‘stress-test’ your business model, your pricing,  your future predictions, your actual product and of course they will play hard ball when it comes to the question of how much of their money you want. Be prepared and expect that you will be under the spotlight. Remember that this person is potentially handing over his/her money for your endeavour. I only hope you would be critical of someone/something if it was asking for your money with little information in return. Be transparent with your audience and honesty is truly the best policy.

Lastly, don’t wear jeans and t-shirt. You are not Mark Zuckerberg. At least not yet. Wear what is considered ‘professional’ in your field. If you are a Creative and pitching something wearable. HIRE A MODEL. Ever tried to pay attention to someone wearing the product? It is terrible and makes you look like a moron. Models are paid to stand around and look good. Spend the money and it will make a huge difference. So lets get down to brass tacks…

Understand that you are not the smartest person in the room. You are the expert when it comes to understanding your business and you THINK you are the expert at what your customer wants. The real lesson here is appreciate what you do know, accept that there is a lot that you don’t know and lastly, what you don’t know is what will kill you (unless you make strides to solve those knowledge gaps). To that end, if you don’t know something, hire someone or ask someone. If that isn’t your MO – surround yourself with people and friends that do know about the knowledge you lack. Just don’t try to pull the wool over your audiences eyes!

Fictional waffle is no contender against cold hard results. We all no someone who can talk a good game, but never seems to show the results of them actually going through with something. It’s pretty easy to spot and it does not lend itself to being a credible ‘go-getter’. The simple fix for this crippling ailment is EXECUTION. Go out there and just get results. Good or bad. Its all data you can use to add credibility and punch to your Pitch. What customer feedback to you have? How many sales have you made? What does your orders forecast look like for this year? Questions like that will de-rail someone who hasn’t done their homework or their hustling. If there is a way to test a part of your business and get some cold hard data, feedback, figures, financial etc etc. Whatever it is, try and capture it and record it. then you can deliver way more to your audience than just anecdotes and waffle.

Keep it short and concise. Just like this paragraph; control the urge to throw everything at the audience. Aim for an ‘elevator pitch’, two minutes or so is ample. You want to get across your big hitting points and demonstrate a water tight model. The ‘nice to know’ information and filler can be saved for the questions at the end. If your delivering a tight presentation that peaks interest. Trust me, there will be questions.

Do one thing perfectly, then repeat. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Which is true as it took centuries to become the Hegemony of that period and boast such an Empire. My other favourite ‘Rome’ related phrase is “It was like the last days of Rome in there”. My point – Your business won’t be huge overnight, it takes years to build momentum, size and market share. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Perfect one service and then once you have a core strength, expand. Rome didn’t wake up with an Empire, it built it. But Rome did see its empire fall down around its ears in the blink of an eye.

Not every investor is looking for a Unicorn. Understand ‘angel investors’ and high risk individuals might be throwing money at Silicon Valley start-ups and digital wearable developers, but 99% of investors want to see tangible products and results. Don’t try and excite and mesmerise investors with projections and valuations that are untrue or unattainable. Show them best case, worst case and the most likely course you see the business achieving. Back that with data and numbers (because you have been executing and hustling). Give them a warm sense of reassurance and a taste of potential if they invest in you and the business.

Learn frugality. This one is a difficult topic to dissect. People see frugal individuals as boring and miserable. Scrooges and misers. Here is my take on the matter: If you are asking someone for their money, do no then host lavish company outings and launch parties, Up your salary to an excessive amount. Don’t upgrade your car instantaneously and renovate/move home. An investor wants to see that you are maximising every penny and pound they give to you. Demonstrate that the company is on line and is fighting for its success.

So there you have it. Demonstrating all of these in your short and concise presentation/pitch should have you walking away with a handshake and hopefully an opportunity to take discussions to the next level. Don’t let the images of Shark Tank and Dragons Den deter you from getting the backing that your idea or business deserves.

“I have found that an effective elevator pitch is nine things: Concise, Clear, Compelling, Credible, Conceptual, Concrete, Consistent, Customised and Conversational.” – Chris O’Leary – American Author

 

 

 

 

 

A Fear of Public Speaking? 

Is it really a ‘Fear’?

A lot of people can relate, over 50% of the UK and US to be more precise. Speaking in front of people can be a daunting and uneasy affair.

Now you know that you are not alone. Even I still get cagey leading up to a talk. So it is easy to see why people sometimes lose control of their natural aversion. A natural aversion can become a fear without warning. That’s all that it is, an aversion. We just take it to an unhealthy level. So how do we grasp, identify, break and then reprogramme our minds?
Here is what we will cover in this post.

  • Understanding Fear

  • Framing Our Aversion

  • Breaking Down Our Aversion

  • Building A New System

Understanding Fear

A lot of people ‘fear public speaking’ apparently. A lot of mentors and coaches have products and systems that sell you the ‘silver bullet’ with offers like -“Overcome your fear of public speaking with our one week course”. Overcoming a fear is not a simple fix that takes a week or can be solved by a one day workshop. Genuine fears are things that are deep rooted and often stem from traumatic events in the past.

These boulders in a persons mind can’t be ‘blasted out’. They need to be chipped away with a pick-axe, with consistency and patience over time. We don’t sell silver bullets or quick fixes here. If you want to up your game, you have to work at it.

While 1% of us may have a genuine old fashioned Phobia of public speaking. 99% of us just have a plain and simple healthy aversion to it. As the Oxford Dictionary states, FEAR is –  An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm.

Fear is a response, and automatic sensor suite if you will. A suite designed to protect you from the aforementioned threats stated above. Ironically, as good as our evolved brains and bodies are at getting us out of the path of danger and jeopardy. They also get us off the path of success and recognition.

How many times have you kicked yourself for not answering a question? Held yourself back from saying what everyone was thinking only to see someone else get the praise? In trying to keep us safe and secure in our safe zone, our nervous system actually holds us back from the success and credit we deserve.

We internalise emotions. Our stress levels and heart-rate increase. Whether in a conference room, under pressure to deliver. Or on a backstreet being held at knife point for your personal possessions. To your brain, you have found yourself in a situation you do not want to be in and so a “fight or flight” instinct triggers. It begins to take control of your body, kind of like a master override switch. Once switched, the system then has one purpose. SURVIVE.

In a conference room, you are not at knife point and no one is threatening you. But your brain does not distinguish between scenarios. It has emotions to feed it’s sensors. Your brain has it’s wires crossed and needs to be reigned in!

We have to turn the SURVIVE switch off. Then in it’s place, we build a new switch. One that YOU control and turn on when YOU need it. One that makes you THRIVE.

Framing Our Aversion

Now we know what fear actually is, we can go about framing our own aversion of public speaking. Fear is not a factor. Aversions are what keep you out of discomforts. An aversion is a dislike or a disinclination to do something. For example, a lot of people don’t like Sushi. I.e. They have an aversion to it.

Public speaking is the same, we are averse to it. But if we try both, continue to sample and test small bits. We learn to appreciate and understand the thing in question. For example, I like Sushi and hate wasabi. I like to speak on scientific topics and I am terrible at Improv/Comedy. We learn about each new thing and its nuances, at the same time learning about ourselves.

Once you can identify ‘aversions’ in your life. You will quickly be able to identify between a simple dislike and avoidance. Maybe you don’t like pork but still eat beef. Cats but not dogs. You get my drift…

Logically you can now frame public speaking and your aversion to it. Go deeper still and get into the weeds of it. I wasn’t averse to standing in front of people but I was painfully worried about getting facts wrong, or stammering/stuttering (I had a stutter as a kid). Understand what it is about being in the spotlight that makes your heart skip a beat.

Breaking Down Our Aversion

Breaking down the aversion is simple in essence. we get exposure to it. We take small steps in confidence building. Play to your strengths, use them to accelerate progress. If you are a good listener or love to read. Use those skills to research and absorb new information and techniques, (like you are doing now…).

A Break-through occurs when you consistently make small progress towards goal(s). Turn up and be consistent. This is how empires were built, how rail-roads conquered mountains and why professional success in any field occurs. Progress is progress, no matter how slow or small.

Aim to simply be slightly better than you were yesterday and ensure that you monitor your progress. People generally give up doing or trying something because they fail to notice small progress and see their goal as one huge target in the distance.

Building A New System

Stumbling into greatness does not work. ‘Greatness’ is also a relative term. I.e. what level I consider to be great might be different to what you see. If you are a terrified public speaking, don’t see Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King as the benchmark. It is about building a system in which YOU are the best speaker that you can be. Its not about imitation or replication, anyone can do an unconvincing portrayal of someone else and their style.

Instead, we want to build our own individual and unique style. A system whereby your personality, style and individuality are on show. Be great in your own way. Not by someone else’s barometer of greatness.

A new system does not happen overnight. After all, it takes times and commitment to break down an aversion and change your behaviour to something you are not comfortable doing. So make it about smaller more manageable goals and then work on them. Tiny and consistent progress on the micro level makes huge break-throughs on the macro level.

Focus on grasping and perfecting the fundamentals. Do exercises that build up confidence and muscle memory. The same principles generally apply in breaking down an aversion and then building in its place. You want to make slow and steady progress towards an end state. In this style, you can monitor the smaller details, the nuts and bolts of your grand vision. The Eiffel Tower is amazing. But if someone didn’t work on the nuts and bolts, it would have never of been built.

 

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. – Frederick Douglass – social-reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman

Avoid Becoming A Yes-Man

How Do You Avoid Becoming The Captain’s Parrot?

Everyone is familiar with the image of a Ship’s Captain with a Parrot on his shoulder. The Parrot echoes the Captain, squawking nonsense from the top deck of the ship. That is what I see when working with someone who is unable to think for themselves and just agrees with the companies ideas, policies, etc… They do not rock the boat. Which is fine in most situations, however it shows a lack of drive, imagination, knowledge and initiative.

We have all worked with or know of someone who always seems to take others opinions. Taking their information from the mainstream media without questioning its validity or bias.

Those who generally do not form their own opinions or question the nature of life’s different offerings tend to be easily misinformed, refuted and led. These are the people that you are working alongside and may even find them as your superiors from time to time. A scary thought right?

Something ‘Yes-Man’ don’t have, Read – Credibility – What is it? 

So how do you avoid becoming the Captain’s Parrot? At work for instance, just echoing company rhetoric and always taking the bosses word for it are two prime examples of parroting. A business practice might be unethical, maybe even bordering illegal, the captains parrot will not speak out against his master.

But someone who is informed and knowledgeable will speak out because they don’t just take what they are told as Gospel truth. The quickest and most sure-fire way of avoiding the title of ‘Yes-Man’ is to strive to be informed. From multiple sources. Never rely on a single source when it comes to forming opinions and ideas. Everyone can be guilty of this from time to time. ‘Gossip’ is by far the most dangerous medium for information. Inaccurate, twisted, subjective and nearly always intended to undermine who it pertains to.

I take great pride when someone informs me of gossip pertaining to myself. See it as a barometer of success. The more you achieve, the more people will want to bring you down or dash your efforts.

If your success has afforded you the luxury of having people work for you. Then congratulations. But before you go ahead and pat yourself on the back, look at your talent and take stock of who you have employed. Employing a ‘Yes-Man’ is just as dangerous as being one.

Don’t be the stick in the mud or the party pooper, but always seek to question things. That is how you demonstrate your value and communicate to others you are happy to follow the majority when required but if the moment requires it, you can stand up and inform your peers clearly and concisely on an alternative idea.

“I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job”. – Samuel Goldwyn – American Film Producer