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Normally when we give presentations, they tend to be pretty dry affairs. We marshal the facts, relate what happened, tell stories perhaps but in a one dimensional way. We are relating what happened, but are not making any attempt to bring it alive. However, what do we seek when we are looking for entertainment or education – we are looking for dial…
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“I would be able to sell a lot more except for all the external factors over which I have zero control”. Actually, you have never heard this line of argument before from a salesperson. This is because this statement is an honest appraisal of what they see as the problem, but they don’t express it that way. Instead they bitch about the boss, the mar…
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Sometimes you see a confident leader really bomb their presentation. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, the contrast is vast. If they are totally hopeless and they bomb, well that is understandable. But a competent leader shouldn’t bomb their presentation. He did and I was wondering why that happened? It was only at the end, when i…
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I have often thought there are so many lessons from the martial arts for our businesses. Here are my musings after 53 years of training in traditional Karate. Stepping on to the floor The dojo is the ultimate equalizer. Whether you arrived by chauffeur driven Roller or took Shanks’s mare, once you step on to that dojo floor only your ability and ch…
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Salespeople don't set the price of what they sell. This is usually an obscure outcome decided by someone else inside the machine. It might actually be an elaborate process, where multiple variables are carefully calibrated, mathematical formulae are applied and a price is arrived at. Or, it might be a slightly moist index finger boldly thrust skywa…
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The hardest sales job in the world is selling something you don’t believe in yourself. The acid test is would you sell this “whatever” to your grandmother? If the answer is no, then get out of there right now! It is rarely that clear cut though. The more important test is whether what you are selling solves the client’s problem or not. Selling clie…
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One of our problem areas is what to do with our hands when we speak. Judging by most of the presentations I see in Japan, few speakers have worked this out yet. Here are some common habits we can improve upon to make ourselves much more persuasive and professional. 1. Hands in front of the body. The arms and hands when held in front of the body cre…
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Okay, now its time for the show, Soredewa ikimasho, so let's get going. The hush has now swept across the room. All eyes are fixed on the MC, breaths are being held, awaiting the announcement of this year’s winner. Amazingly, it registers that it is your name they are calling to the stage. Emotion wells up. Your team join you for handshaking, shoul…
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If we are presenting a brochure, flyer, price list, hard copy slide deck or any other typical collateral item, then we should adopt best practice for greatest success. Have two copies always, one for you to read and one for the client, unless you are a genius of reading upside down (which by the way seems to include all Japanese!). At the start, pu…
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We are all pretty average on recalling events, people’s names, locations, sequences, inanimate objects, etc., but we are geniuses on remembering feelings. We are especially good on how people made us feel and what super memories we have developed in this particular department. Business is deemed to be logical – cool, balanced, unswerving on the roa…
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The Master of Ceremony (MC) goes to the microphone to get the programme underway but the audience are simply oblivious, caught up in their own riveting conversations. The situation is much worse at receptions where alcohol is already flowing and the people down the back are generating a roar, a positive din, that drowns out the speakers. Here are s…
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Usually this isn’t even a question for most presenters, because the organisers have already set up the room when you arrive. Our speaking spot has been designated for us. But have we been designated a spot by experts in public speaking or by the venue crew who usually just haul chairs, lug tables around and set up the stage? Sadly the coalescence b…
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To succeed in our own business, we need three critical skills: the ability to master our time, to clone ourselves and to be persuasive. Time: Poor time control leads to inefficiency, wasted efforts, stress and missed opportunities. Entrepreneurs are geniuses at trying to do too much. This means they are run ragged with time demands and no good solu…
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There is an old truism in sales, “sales is nothing more than the transfer of the enthusiasm of the seller for the product or service to the buyer”. What are we doing when we are speaking? We are selling! “Hang on a minute there Greg. I am a professional, I am not a car or vacuum cleaner salesman”, you might be saying to yourself. That sort of self-…
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Having a buying need and doing something about it can often be quite disparate ideas. When the buyer is looking at the gap between where they are now and where they want to be and they judge it is pretty close, they don’t feel any urgency or need to buy. They will have certain drivers pushing them along in their role in the business, but this gap p…
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Sadly, not everyone is like us – wonderful, charming, amusing, attractive. Despite our best efforts to be a role model of perfection, setting them a good example, others persist in being a major pain. Here are some selective tips on negotiating with the difficult amongst us. 1. Meet on mutual ground Try to meet, rather than engage in a protracted e…
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The chances of speaking to a 5000 person business audience happening and happening regularly in Japan are remote for most of us. Nevertheless, in case you find yourself in front of a very large audience, here are a few hints on how to adjust to the increased size of the event. Get there early and go and sit in some of the most far-flung locations. …
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In sales in Japan we chill, cruise and take the foot off the pedal. We get lazy. We start cutting corners. We get off our game. The temptation is when we get to a certain level of success we think well, we have done enough. We have to facedown “average is good enough” self-talk. We need to make sure we are doing the basics like a demon on fire. The…
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The classic movie half-time locker room Churchillian oratory from the coach, whipping the team into a frenzy for the coming onslaught is now gathering dust in Hollywood’s archives. Today’s most successful coaches are masters of human psychology, combining insight with superb communication skills. What about leaders in business in Japan? In my exper…
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When we stand in front of an audience, we are representing our personal brand and our firm’s brand. People evaluate us and our companies based on how we perform. Think back to the presentations you’ve seen and I’m sure you’ll agree that many speakers are missing passion and commitment to the topic. Don’t be like that. Typically, we speakers enter a…
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Often the first reaction to hearing no from the buyer is for the salesperson to panic and go harder. They somehow imagine they can force the buyer to buy. The immediate impulse is to go straight to the answer to counterpoint the objection. This is mainly an emotional reaction based on the adrenalin flooding the brain with the fight response. We nee…
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Bosses are often oblivious to the idea of diversity. I don’t mean diversity as mainly considered in Japan, which is usually about lack of inclusion of women in the workplace. Diversity here means variations amongst the team in terms of communication preferences. Here are two decisions to determine the best communication style to deal with your boss…
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The usual frequency for most people for giving formal presentations is once in a blue moon. In other words, we don’t do so many in a year. This presents a problem, because as we know, repetition is key to learning and improvement. Instead of hanging around waiting for someone to invite you to speak, you need to get out there and beat the bushes for…
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Buyers should buy and not quibble, hesitate or question. That at least is what salespeople hope for. The reality is we want buyers to object. If we don’t get a commitment to buy right then and there, the next best case is they give us an objection. No objection then no sale. Let me explain why. If we are giving our presentation and at the end the b…
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You are at an event, it could be internal presentation or an industry event and you are been chosen for a prize or recognition. Award awarded and now you have to speak. This is where we are genius at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, as we make a dog’s breakfast of our remarks. Very depressingly, we go from hero to zero in rapid order. It …
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The hardest sales job in the world is selling something you don’t believe in yourself. The acid test is would you sell this “whatever” to your grandmother? If the answer is no, then get out of there right now! It is rarely that clear cut though. The more important test is whether what you are selling solves the client’s problem or not. Selling clie…
  continue reading
 
Getting the team motivated is hard enough without us screwing it up. Here are seven things we should eliminate: Showing a lack of common courtesy You are a super busy boss. Are you barking out commands like a tyrant, with no thought to say “please” when requesting action or adding a ”thank you” when it is completed? Do you come to work full of worr…
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Why are so few business leaders good communicators, given all the education they have received, starting at varsity and then later, through their workplace organisations? Leaders are often told they need to be “authentic”. That means to some, that it is fine to be dull, obtuse, monotone and forgettable. While dramatic oratorical flourishes are not …
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Building rapport in the first meeting with a prospective client is a critical make or break for establishing likeability or trust. The first three to thirty seconds is vital, so what do we need to do? Here are three things we need to get right: Pay attention to our dress and our posture! Looking sharp and stand straight – this communicates confiden…
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There is a lot to do and once you get to a certain scale you realise you can’t do it all by yourself. This is when you need your staff. That is fine, but they didn’t start the business or if it is an established business, they are not the boss on much better money. How do you get your people to actually really care about the business? There are fou…
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Cold calling is dead! No cold calling is not dead! Lots of debate and advice on this subject and many a fortune funded as a result no doubt. For Japan it is not dead but it is diabolically hard. We need to select ideal prospects who are not presently clients. We need to list companies up who are look-a-likes for current clients or fit into our swee…
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There are a number of common structures for giving presentations and one of the most popular is the opening-key points/evidence-closing. We consider the length of the presentation, the audience, the purpose of our talk and then we pour the contents into this structure. Generally, in a 30 minute speech we can only have a few key points we can cover,…
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Sales cannot run like a manufacturing production line. We are not making industrial cheese here. This is more like an artisanal pursuit, closer to art than science. Yet, every sales force on the planet has targets which are usually uniform. Each month, the sales team has to deliver a specified amount of revenue, rolling up into a pre-determined ann…
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As professionals how do we grow in our business careers? Academic studies usually form the platform to which are added: on the job experience; books, articles, blogs and websites; mentors showing us the short cuts; cleverer colleagues providing insights and continuing professional development through training are the usual solutions. One of the iss…
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All of our problems walk on two legs and talk back”. I can’t recall when I first came across this expression, but it is true isn’t it. Most business problems can be fixed with more capital, technological breakthroughs, greater efficiencies, patience and time. People problems though are much trickier. An after work drinks session erupts into an alco…
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How much is enough data in a presentation? How much is too much? Generally speaking, most presenters have a problem with too much, rather than too little information. Your slide deck is brimming over with goodness. And you just can’t bring yourself to trim it down. After all the effort you went to assembling that tour de force, you want to get it a…
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Finding clients is an art and so is building trust and credibility that you can actually help them solve their business problems. We might be very charming when we first meet the client, sending out a competency vibe that the client relates to. They are open to our inquiries into the current state of their business, where the gaps are located and t…
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There is a great Simon Sinek video floating around about how companies say employees are important, but don’t really act like it. He lines up the typical CEO hit list of growth, shareholder value, customers and in fourth place, employees. Richard Branson is also a powerful advocate for putting employees first before all else. It makes sense. We wan…
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Suddenly you hear your name being called upon and you are being requested to make a few remarks. Uh oh. No preparation, no warning and no escape. What do you do? Extemporaneous speaking is one of the most difficult tasks for a presenter. Usually the time between your name being called and you actually being handed the microphone can be counted in m…
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Pushy salespeople are very, very annoying. They try to bug you into buying and none of us like it. We may actually buy, but we don’t like them anymore and probably won’t become a repeat buyer. Fair enough, but what about when you are the salesperson? At what point should we give up on convincing the buyer that our solution is the best for them? Hav…
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No one wants to be sold, but we love to buy. The difference between these two approaches comes down to the mindset of the salesperson and their sales abilities. The hardest sales job in the world is selling something you don’t believe in yourself. The acid test is would you sell this “whatever” to your grandmother? If the answer is no, then get out…
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Trying to explain Japan to your boss back at HQ is a real pain. HQ ideas on solutions for Japan rarely hit the mark. One of the dubious delights of running an international business in Japan is dealing with the Mother Ship or it’s Regional Hub spin off. Trying to explain Japan to those who don’t know Japan, has always proven tremendously character …
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Doing more, better, faster with less, screams out for innovation. This could be a kaizen approach of continuous improvement or it could be breakthrough leaps. . How much scope can we allow in the creative process? At the practical level, this is really asking how many and how huge are the mistakes you will tolerate to achieve good ideas? Leader hav…
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It is so easy to become “Johnny One Note” when presenting. We get locked into a modality of voice and body language power. We just keep hammering away with that mode throughout the whole talk. That might be fine for us, but for our audience it is killing them If we have a lot of energy, are excited about our topic and eager to share the goodies wit…
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Speaking in front of others makes many people tongue tied and nervous. They struggle to get through a simple presentation, internally, in front of their colleagues. A public audience is something they would flee from, screaming and waving their hands in the air. Why is that? We all learn how to talk. The presentation is just a talk, so what is the …
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Most talks and presentations we hear, we cannot recall. Why is that? We were there presumably because we had an interest. Part of the problem is the way people present their information in the first place. The slides are too dense and confusing. The delivery is done in a lethargic manner, devoid of passion, with zero body language backing up the ke…
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The vast majority of us are amateurs, when it comes to negotiating. Even in business, we would only be involved a few times a year perhaps in a major negotiation. Rather than trying to work it out by ourselves let’s take a look at some guidelines to make the whole process easier. Sadly, not everyone is like us – wonderful, charming, amusing, attrac…
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The content was really great and the way the words were put together was quite clever. The speech was a dud. It failed miserably because it was a written speech, read to us. He could have emailed it to all of us and we could have read it for ourselves. The next speaker just spoke. He wasn’t such a fluent talker, sometimes stumbling over some of his…
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I was amazed to see one of the captains of industry, a hostage to his adrenaline release. His curriculum vitae was perfect. A Prince of the First Water, yet he would explode with instant white hot rage, when he didn't get the results he wanted, and would viciously tear strips of the offending patsy. We learned to sit on his right or left at the end…
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Questions in general are powerful tools for speakers. They bring focus to key points we want to get across. They are particularly useful in getting our audience engaged. They also have a danger within them. Knowing when to use questions and what types of questions to use, are things which must be worked out in the planning of the presentation and s…
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