Hard Decisions?–The Secret to Making the Right Decision Every Time!

When it comes to making big choices in business and in life, decision making can often be a torturous process filled with stress, worry, confusion, and fear.  When we’re trying to figure out what to do about something that’s going to greatly impact ourselves or others, it can be a really, really exhausting and difficult process.

In this video, I talk to my good friend, acclaimed entrepreneurial and business authority Sandi Stuart, about how to cut through grueling decision-making confusion and figure out the undisputed right decision every time.  I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this idea!  It’s one of those rare things that come along in life that are just so simple but SO surprisingly powerful!

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t in the world of big business where Sandi learned the secret to stellar decision-making. She learned this invaluable key when she and her husband were faced with a very difficult personal decision, and it turned out that executing one extremely simple process allowed them to rid themselves of the fear of regret and make the right decision in an instant.

Watch the video now to learn this simple secret to decision making that will help put an end to all the worrying and allow you to make powerfully positive decisions that will position you for success.

What are your thoughts about this decision making tactic?  Were you as surprised as I was to learn how simple it is?  Please share your feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

How to Combat the Fear of Failure

We all deal with the fear of failure from time to time.  I know I certainly do.  It’s a part of life and it can sometimes cripple us to the point where we’re so afraid of failing at something that we’d rather not even try.  So, what can we do about it?  How can we move past it in order to achieve our greatest goals, dreams, and desires?

Well, the answer is simple.  We stop worrying about whether or not we are going to fail because–guess what?–we very well may and that’s okay!  It’s inevitable; we are all going to be successful at some things and we’re going to fail at other things.  The key is to refuse to define ourselves by our failures and commit instead to both learning from our failures and defining ourselves by our successes.

In this video, I tell a personal story about a time when I was virtually frozen in fear because I was so preoccupied with the prospect of failure, and I explain how it helped me to realize the key to combatting the fear of failure.  The fact is, if we always try, we can eventually win.  But if we let fear keep us from even trying, we will fail without a doubt.

Is there something that you currently want to accomplish, big or small, but haven’t attempted to start because you’re afraid of failing?  If so, make a list of one action you can take each day (no matter how small) for the next week which will help get the ball rolling and move you toward accomplishing what you want to do.  Then, when the week is over, repeat the process of mapping out and completing small daily actions every coming week–before you know it, you will have made real progress!

If you have a story about a time fear of failure stopped you from doing something, or a time you overcame your fear of failure and accomplished something important to you, please share it in the comment forum below–I’d love to hear from you!

Introducing Yourself at Networking Events–Top Tips for Overcoming Anxiety

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If the thought of giving a brief introduction of yourself and your business at networking meetings makes your palms sweat, read on . . .

When participating, even as a guest, in various networking meetings or functions, the fact is that you will be required to introduce yourself sooner or later.  Preparing a script for introducing yourself will improve your results.  One of your scripts should be an overview of what you do.  Other presentations can address various aspects of your product or service.  Here’s the script sequence I recommend:

  • Your name
  • Your business or profession
  • Brief description of your business or profession
  • Benefit statement of one of your products or services
  • Your name again

Your name and your business profession are easy enough.  A brief description and a benefit statement can be separate items,  but more often they are intertwined in your message.  It’s fairly easy to combine your business with the benefits of your product or service.  I suggest telling people what you do, as well as what you are:

“I’m a financial planner and I help people plan for their future” or “I’m an advertising and marketing consultant; I help companies get the most out of their advertising dollar.”  These explanations are more effective than saying, “I do financial planning,” or “I plan advertising campaigns.”

In many situations, you’ll be introducing yourself to only one or two people at a time.  Some networking organizations have all the members stand at each meeting, and in round-robin fashion, give a one-minute overview to the entire group.  If you’re a member of a group like this, it is vitally important to vary your presentations.

Many people who are in networking groups that meet every week have a tendency to say the same old thing, time after time.  From what I’ve seen, many weekly presentations are done weakly.  If you don’t vary your presentations, many people will tune you out when you speak because they’ve already heard your message several times.  Your best bet is to give a brief overview, then concentrate on just one element of your business for the rest of your presentation.

If you prepare your brief introduction using these techniques, you will begin to get much more confident at introducing yourself and, what’s better, you’ll begin to get better networking results.  If you try introducing yourself in this way at your next networking meeting or function,

I’d love to hear how it turns out for you–please come back and share your experience in the comment forum below.  Or, if you’ve already done some things to help you with this issue – please share your tactics with us.  Thanks!

Public Speaking–5 Ways to Ditch Your Fear for Good

In many surveys over the years, people have ranked the fear of public speaking as worse than the fear of dying!  Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, networking for your business is going to involve public speaking.  You may find yourself giving a sixty-second elevator pitch at a networking meeting, a ten-minute presentation at a chamber function, or a forty-minute educational presentation to a prospect.

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The following 5 strategies are my top tips to help you lose your fear of public speaking and start winning over your audiences with confidence.

1) Prepare, prepare, prepare!  Don’t wing it!  Prepare an outline of what you want to say and practice it.  Use note cards, or type your remarks out on a piece of paper.  (Print with large handwriting or type in a large font–make it ridiculously easy to read so you don’t lose your place in the paragraph.)  Don’t over-prepare though; this can just lead to more anxiety.

2)  Be specific and talk about the things you know best.  At networking meetings, don’t try to teach people everything you do in one short pitch.  Think in terms of teaching the audience something of significance.  Focus on just one or two areas of your business–the topics you feel you understand best.  This will increase your comfort level and reduce stress.

3)  Use handouts, visuals, or PowerPoint slides to support your presentation.  If you’re worried about stage fright, props such as books, slides, handouts, or gadgets will help you keep your mind on your topic, add a special element of interest to your presentation, and give the audience something to concentrate on besides you.  PowerPoint can be a great tool, but it becomes a noticeable crutch if you fall into the trap of reading from the slides.  PowerPoint should support your presentation, not be your presentation.  Read a few of the many books and articles available about how to effectively use PowerPoint.

4) Remember, you’re the expert.  It’s true.  In the eyes of the audience, you are the expert and they want to hear what you have to say.  They’re eager to learn something from you.  If you focus on what you know best, you will feel more confident and be more credible.  Believe in yourself and in your message.

5)  Be creative.  Find a way to communicate that makes you comfortable.  Instead of talking to a group, engage them in conversation; or start with Q & A, and then answer at length.  Don’t be afraid to be different.  Surprise your audience.  Walk around the stage or up into the seats.  People get tired of the same old approach and are invigorated by something unexpected.  Have fun with your message; it will help you turn your nervous energy into positive energy.  The audience will feel it and radiate it back to you, and before you know it, your anxiety is gone.

Here’s the deal . . . you can’t get better at something if you never practice it and the best time to start practicing is now.  So, start this coming week off by looking for opportunities to practice the above tips.  If you’re nervous, start small with your one-minute elevator pitch.  Make it a point to fill the entire minute exactly.  Work up to five-minute and ten-minute talks as you gain confidence.  When you feel ready, look for an opportunity to make a lunchtime educational presentation.  The program chairs of many associations and membership organizations are always on the lookout for speakers.  Position yourself as the expert; enjoy the satisfaction of educating other people.  When you remember to apply the tips in this strategy, we feel confident that it will alleviate much of your speaking anxiety.  One final thought: It’s good to be a little nervous.  Just convert that into positive energy, and you’ll have the audience in the palm of your hand.

I’m really interested in getting some feedback from all of you reading this blog, so please respond in the comment forum below to any or all of the following questions–and/or offer any thoughts related to overcoming the fear of public speaking. Thanks so much!

  • On a scale of 1 — 10,  1 being “not really afraid” and 10 being “more afraid than death,” how afraid would you say you are of public speaking?
  • What mental and physical manifestations of fear and anxiety do you experience when faced with having to speak in public?
  • What tools/strategies/tactics have you personally found to be helpful and effective in managing your fear of public speaking.  Alternately, what tools/strategies/tactics have you found to be useless or ineffective?

Fear of Rejection–Don’t Let It Stand in the Way of Your Success

Back in 1994 I authored the first edition of The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret.  I was out promoting the book and trying to get bookstores to carry it.  Back then, one of the ways to do that was to go to book stores and do what I liked to call “drive-by signings” (what can I say – I’m from L.A.).  A friend of mine said there was a local neighborhood bookstore that didn’t have any copies of my book. The store was literally on my way home one day so I stopped off there but couldn’t seem to talk myself into moving from the seat of my car—I was too paralyzed to actually enter the store.

I wanted to ask them if they would mind carrying a few copies of my book.  However, I just sat in the car, too nervous to go in.  I thought, what if they say no?  What if they say they don’t want the book but thanks anyway for asking?  It wasn’t a big bookstore and I wasn’t sure that they’d be willing to carry a book from an unknown author.  I sat there too embarrassed to make any moves toward the entrance.  I swear I almost put the key back into the ignition, turned it on, and backed out.

I was so close. Then I thought, okay . . . if I don’t go in, what’s going to happen? I decided chances were pretty good that if I didn’t go into the store, absolutely nothing would happen and they’d continue to not carry the book. If I did go in and ask, there was a possibility they’d tell me they didn’t want the book and then I’d still be in the same position I was currently in.

But then I thought, what if I go in and ask and they say yes?  That made me realize that the only choice which would most likely lead to a positive outcome was to go in. Doing nothing would get me the same thing that I had now, which was nothing. So I literally sat in the car and said to myself, “Suck it up and go on in. This will be over in ten minutes. Nobody is actually going to get injured. There will be no hospitalization involved. It’s not that big a deal. It’s just a possibility of a ‘no.’”

So I went in. I brought a copy of the book and said, “I’m the author of this book. Some of the stores in your chain are carrying it. I live locally and I just wondered if you would mind carrying a few copies, maybe three or four.  If so, I would be more than glad to sign them when they come in.”

They said, “Oh great! You’re a local author! We’ll get 20. Will you come back and sign them for us?” I was like, yeah, I’d be glad to come back and sign them. So they ordered 20 copies and I came back in a couple of weeks and I signed them all. I remember thinking back, that the experience was sort of a nexus point in terms of rejection for me. I could do something or I could not do something. Not doing anything would have put me in the same situation that I began with, which was having no books in the store. Only taking the risk could result in success.  So, this is one of the reasons I tell people, “Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from doing what you are excited about. If you are excited about your business, don’t let rejection stop you. You have to just know that when it comes to asking somebody to do something; some will, some won’t, so what?  It’s not the end of the world.”  For me, I just had to put myself in the frame of mind that what I was facing was simply not that big a thing. I now do this same thing whenever I’m faced with a situation which opens up the possibility for rejection.  I just tell myself that if someone doesn’t want to do what I’m asking, that’s fine. God bless them. I love them. It’s not that big a deal.

A good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston likes to say: “We have a lot less control over winning or losing at something than we do over trying or quitting something. Always try. You can eventually win. If you always quit, you can never win.”

When people give up, even in their thoughts, it’s game over. I make a point to remember that I may not be the most successful man in a room and I may not be the smartest man in a room, but I am pretty confident that I am usually one of the most persistent men in the room. That commitment to always trying has helped me succeed. I think it is one of the things that consistently helps anyone have long term success. The whole process has to begin with the old axiom: if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’ll be right.

I’d love for you to share a story with me about a time that you had to take leap of faith to do something and it turned out well.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Clueless When It Comes To Conversing?–Four Tips

Networking is about building relationships and one of the main ways to build relationships with people is to have effective, productive conversations.  However, that can seem like a daunting task for some people who are at a total loss when it comes to the art of conversing.

If you shy away from going to networking events because you’re consumed by the fear of not knowing what to say, pay attention to these four conversation tips from my good friend Susan RoAne (a.k.a.: The Mingling Maven®):

  • Always keep in mind that a conversation should be balanced dialogue.  It’s good to ask questions that get people to talk about themselves, but remember: people who ask too many questions are sometimes perceived as prying probing busybodies.
  • If you haven’t brought something to the banquet of conversation, make an “ask” of yourself.  Though most people don’t mind a question, even two or three, if you are asking all the questions, there is no exchange, no real conversation, just an interrogation or Q&A.
  • Try reading local and national newspapers and a pop-culture blog or a popular magazine.  Pick three to five items to use as emergency restarters in case there’s a lull in conversation–national news, local topics, sports, fitness, movies, books, hobbies.  And food–everybody likes to talk about food.
  • Tell stories about things that have happened to you or others.  People connect with stories, not the factoids and figures of life.

If you liked these tips, you can find more of Susan’s networking advice and resources by visiting www.SusanRoAne.com

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