Monthly Archives: November 2016

Best 10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

No one ever became a great leader without first becoming a great communicator.

Great leaders connect with people on an emotional level every time they speak. Their words inspire others to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Great communicators are intentional about it, and there are 10 secrets they rely on to deliver a powerful message. Put these secrets to work in your communication and watch your influence soar.

1. They Know Their Audience
Great communicators don’t worry about sounding important, showing off their expertise, or boosting their own egos. Instead, they think about what people need to hear, and how they can deliver this message so that people will be able to hear it. This doesn’t mean that leaders tell people what they want to hear. Quite the opposite—they tell people what’s important for them to know, even if it’s bad news.

2. They Are Experts In Body Language
Great communicators are constantly tracking people’s reactions to their message. They are quick to pick up on cues like facial expressions and body language because they know this is the only feedback many people will give them. Great communicators use this expertise to tailor their message on the fly and adjust their communication style as needed.

3. They Are Honest
The best leaders know that for communication to be effective it has to be real. They can’t have people parsing every word trying to separate fact from spin. When great communicators can’t share certain information, they come right out and say it because makeshift, half-truth answers breed distrust and anxiety. In good times and bad, honesty builds trust.

4. They Are Authentic
Great communicators don’t try to be someone they’re not just because they’ve stepped behind a podium. There’s a reason Mark Zuckerberg presented Facebook to investors in a hoodie and jeans. Great leaders know that when they stay true to who they are, people gravitate to their message. They also know the opposite happens when leaders put on an act.

5. They Speak With Authority
Great communicators don’t try to cover their backs by being ambiguous, wishy-washy, or unassertive. Instead, they stick their necks out and speak very directly about how things are and how they need to be.

6. They Speak To Groups As Individuals
Leaders rarely have the luxury of speaking to one person at a time. Whether it’s a huddle around a conference table or an overflowing auditorium, great leaders know how to work the room and make every single person feel as if he or she is being spoken to directly.

7. They Have Ears (And They Use Them)
Great leaders know that communication is a two-way street and what they hear is often more important than what they say. When someone else is speaking, great communicators aren’t thinking ahead and planning what they’ll say next. Instead, they’re actively listening, fully focused on understanding the other person’s perspective.

8. They Use Phrases Like ‘It’s My Fault,’ ‘I Was Wrong,’ and ‘I’m Sorry’
When great leaders make a mistake, they admit it right away. They don’t wait for someone else to find and point out their blunder. They model accountability for their words and actions, even when they could have easily “gotten away” with the mistake. And they do it matter-of-factly, without drama or false humility.

9. They Solicit Feedback
The best communicators never assume that the message people heard is the exact same one they intended to deliver. They check in to verify that their message was understood correctly, and, if it was not, they don’t blame the audience. Instead, they change things up and try again.

10. They’re Proactive
Leaders with the best communication skills don’t waste time playing catch-up. They’re quick to head off the rumor mill by sharing bad news in a timely manner. They also give clear, concise goals and directions so people don’t waste their time heading in the wrong direction.

Bringing It All Together
Great communicators stand out from the crowd. They’re honest. They’re authentic. They listen. They excel in communication because they value it, and that’s the critical first step to becoming a great leader.

Know Some Ways Introverted Entrepreneurs Can Market Themselves

It’s a myth that introverts can’t become successful entrepreneurs. In fact, about four in 10 top executives are introverts, according to USA Today, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Steven Spielberg.

Many people (falsely) assume introverts are automatically shy, unassertive and even nebbish — not qualities associated with leadership. The truth is introverts can be as social and interpersonal as extroverts; they just prefer to return to an inner world to recharge. In fact, their many strengths — introspection, analysis, awareness — make them effective and successful leaders, perhaps more so than those who feel at home entertaining a large group of coworkers.

Introverts are great observers, which means they get more opportunities to study what other people want; on the other hand, they may not be as comfortable elbowing their way in front of people to get their ideas out there.

Because of this, introverted entrepreneurs can face problems when it comes to marketing themselves. In a work environment where extroversion is considered the norm, marketing can become an impossible hurdle for those who would much rather take over the business world from behind a laptop. Introverts don’t need to change who they are, they just need to learn a few tips about selling themselves as an entrepreneur.

1. Focus on one-on-one networking opportunities.
Marketing yourself can seem like bragging or showing off — and for those who think the entrepreneur world is already too flashy, it can be a pain. That said, introverts have a range of people skills that not everyone has and these can be put to good use in business situations.

For one, introverts are typically great listeners who make meaningful one-on-one connections. Though small talk isn’t really their jam (never ask an introvert about the weather), they excel in “big talk,” and love debating an issue they’re passionate about.

To put that skill to use, introverts should still sign up for networking events and seminars but find ways to zero in on one person at a time — this will allow them to make a personal connection, develop of list of contacts, have in-depth conversations and soak in information using their great listening skills.

2. Use technology to your advantage.
Words are an important tool in business and in marketing yourself and introverts have a way with them. But unlike extroverts, who often talk as a way of thinking, introverts tend to hold back, gathering their thoughts and giving eloquent, perfectly formed answers — rather than blurting something out. Understandably, many introverts prefer writing to speaking.

Well, there’s a platform for that. The Internet is a great way for introverts to put their ideas and words out there — and it’s also essential for any entrepreneur who wants to brand him or herself. These days, personal websites, blogs, emails, newsletters, podcasts, videos and an active presence on social media are crucial for people who want to market themselves, increase their business following and network, and get somebody’s attention.

3. Don’t worry about impression, worry about results.
It’s a rule of thumb that applies to everyone, introverts and extroverts alike: Don’t focus too much on the impression you’re leaving people with, focus on how your ideas can help them. People want to know how you can make their lives easier, so that should be the first thing you talk about when you’re marketing yourself and your product.

Of course, one of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur, especially an introverted one, is worrying about making a good impression. So, take that task off the table. Instead, simply focus your conversation around your ideas.

When you become an entrepreneur, your main job is to use your skills to provide the public with something that will make their lives easier. If you’re an introvert, you can use your attention to detail, one-on-one people skills, aptitude for listening and intense empathy to find out exactly what that will be. The next, crucial step is to promote these ideas, which you can do by relying on the exact same set of skills. You’ll end up giving the public the one thing that was missing from their lives.

Best Steps to Become a Networking Beast

The thought of networking at conferences and industry events makes some entrepreneurs nauseous. If you go into it feeling uncomfortable, your results will be disastrous. Networking is a major part of being a successful entrepreneur, so it’s in your best interest to get good at it — really, really good at it.

Here is a simple plan to make connections and unlock new opportunities by transforming into a networking beast.

1. Identify your goals before you even arrive at the event.
You should have all of your goals identified before the event.

What are you looking to get out of the event?
Are you there to prospect for leads?
What attendees do you want to target?
What speakers do you want to target?
Reach out to the targets that you know will be attending in advance. Exchange contact details and stay in touch — plan to meet in the evening and belly up to the bar. Some of your most valuable connections will be born at the venue hotel bar.

2. Leave your sales pitch at home.
Remember that you aren’t there to sell. Avoid rambling off the reasons why your product or service is the best. Instead, ask everyone whom you speak with if there is anything you can do to help their business. This unselfish approach will leave an impression that guarantees they will answer your phone call or email after the conference.

This strategy helps you set the table for a future discussion. Don’t forget to follow up with everyone — open up a dialogue within 72 hours of the event. This helps to ensure your encounter remains fresh in your new contact’s mind.

3. Don’t sound like a robot. Let your personality shine.
Establishing a half dozen meaningful connections is better than collecting 50 business cards from people you will more than likely never speak to again. Spitting out the same script-like spiel might get you a business card, but probably just to make you go away.

Take time to engage in conversations with the goal of making an impression — it’s that follow up after the networking event that’s important. Those are the conversations that lead to business deals and opportunities.

4. Be heard and seen.
Nobody is going to remember interacting with you unless you are memorable. If you are at a conference make an effort to ask at least one question during the Q&A session following every keynote you attend.

Don’t just fire off a fluff question — you need to make sure your questions and interaction is intelligent. This is a great way to get on the radar of everyone in the room. People will approach you after looking to connect and they will even initiate the conversation. If you are memorable, you become a magnet, pulling in contacts from every direction.

5. Work the crowd with a partner that compliments your weaknesses.
It’s always easier to work a crowd when you have a wingman or wingwoman — it gives you that extra confidence and if you strategically select your networking partner you can make sure you are equipped with someone that makes up for your shortcomings.

For instance, if you are shy, partner up with someone that is very outgoing. Let them open up every conversation and then introduce you to bring it home and make that new connection.

You attend networking events and conferences to make connections, right? Then use this simple plan to make sure you make the most out of every event you attend.