DON’T EVER CHALLENGE “WORSE”
Many years ago, a now infamous comedian recorded a live performance at a Las Vegas Casino and without a doubt, it was one of the funniest things I have ever heard. His use of self-deprecating humour combined with his fantastic story telling skills made for entertainment on a grand scale. In one routine, he recites his experience at the roulette wheel and after yet another losing spin, in absolute frustration he cries “things can’t get any worse!” to which “Worse” replies, “don’t ever challenge worse!” and indeed things DID get worse for him.
We are currently experiencing, what is being termed, a once in a generational crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to its knees and here in Australia, we have not been spared the effects. We are seeing business closures and unemployment on a mass scale likened to the great depression. Add to the financial and economic cost is the emotional strain. We were asked, now ordered to stay home to control and eliminate the spread. People feel isolation and depression not being able to socialise with friends and loved ones and whilst we are encouraged to seek the “safety” of our homes, the spectre of domestic violence raises its ugly head and for some, home is not safe.
We are pummelled with details, statistics and images of this global horror from every angle and from every medium and it’s fair to say, things will get worse before they get better. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to filter the information, limit the intake and create some perspective with what is going on in the world. The reality is, no matter how “bad” we see things, there is ALWAYS a worse version. I’m an optimist by nature and so my hope for the readers of this post is to instil some positivity and create some perspective.
There Is Help
We really need to go polar opposite and consider and be grateful for what we do have, which for the majority, prior to this, we took for granted. A roof over our heads, food only the table and our health just to mention the obvious. Between the government, ATO and financial institutions, there is help on an unprecedented scale. Now I know some readers will be very cynical about that but each to their own. In my “A Cuppa with The Con Versationalist” interviews, I have learnt that many of the rules and means testing for obtaining assistance have either changed or been relaxed so more people can qualify. I urge you, don’t just assume you don’t qualify….ASK THE QUESTION. Put pride and ego aside. It would be awful finding out down the track that you could have qualified for assistance.
Being Self Isolated Doesn’t Mean You Can’t be Connected.
We understand why we have to self-isolate but we don’t have to disconnect. Technology gives us infinite ways to stay in touch and connect with our friends and loved ones even if it’s just a good old fashioned phone call. Humans crave contact, it’s in our biology. Why do you think solitary confinement in prisons is considered such a harsh penalty? You don’t have to be alone.
Look At All The Spare Time!
One of the most common excuses is “I don’t have time”. Guess what? Can’t use that excuse now! For some, they have more time than they know with to do with. While we have no idea when this situation will end, one thing is for sure….It WILL end. The question then is, how are you using this precious commodity which currently seems to be in such abundance? Are you learning a new skill or undertaking some online course? It’s fair to say the labour market will be more competitive than ever. How will you stand out? Are you building stronger connections and enhancing your relationships at home i.e. your parents, spouse, partner or significant other and your children.
The choice is ours on how we see things and the label we attach to them be it good or bad. As much as some hate the saying, it is what it is. Don’t be like the comedian, don’t ever challenge “worse” because things can always be worse….much, much worse.
As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback.
Until next week, stay safe, stay positive and stay connected.
My name is Con and I am The Con Versationalist
Chaos In Review
There is no doubt the current pandemic is creating havoc in every aspect of our lives. Hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs literally overnight, thousands of small businesses closing, some sadly forever and an enormous strain on the health system. There is fear, pain and suffering everywhere we look.
No one has any idea how long this will go on for. Depending on what you hear or read, it could be anywhere from 3 months to maybe a year or more but the important thing is IT WILL END! This is not the end of humanity and civilization. There will no doubt be some major changes at the other end but the human race will survive. Will all this be in vain or can we all learn something from this experience, be it about business or indeed ourselves. I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
The Majority of People Are Good
The ridiculous and unnecessary hoarding has been widely reported. It has put unprecedented pressure on the supply chain and the most vulnerable of our community have been unable to buy essential items. This is created by a minority in the community. The majority of people are good and care. The amount of support I have seen on line is phenomenal. From other business owners providing support and information on line, people setting up support groups and grocery stands where you can take what you need or exchange items with no questions asked. I’ve not seen anything like this ever.
There is Always Something You Can Do or Learn
It took a few days for me to process what was going on and how life and business as I knew it was changing and fast. All face to face contact and workshops cancelled. In the back of my mind I always knew I needed to have digital product and more on line events. I have now been forced into doing what I always knew I needed to do. How can you diversify? I read about a chain of hotels in Sydney that started selling essential goods. Think outside the square and discount NOTHING. It’s forced me to learn a new skills like Zoom. The great Les Brown said “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to get an opportunity and not be prepared” What can you do to prepare for the opportunities on the other side.
If you are not part of a Mastermind group or some kind of network support group, you should be! What I also found concerning is that some are abandoning these as a cost cutting measure. This is the time we need support and guidance. I urge you to reconsider. As a collective, we will get through this.
Be More Visible, Not Less
We all have value and useful information to share and we need to share more of it and more often. We will come out the other side and when that does happen the people and businesses that continued to be top of consumers mind will reap the rewards. Don’t slow down, ramp it up. Social media costs nothing but your time.
Don’t Be Embarrassed to Ask For Help
We are usually quick to “bank and government bash” and I have sure been guilty of that in the past but right now the level of assistance is unprecedented. With loan repayments able to be put on hold and business grants and loans just to mention a couple, help is available. Quick disclaimer: This is not financial advice. Don’t assume you don’t qualify. Speak to your financial institution, accountant or financial advisor or go on line.
Don’t Go Out Unless You Have To
The sooner we get the flattening of the line the sooner our lives will get back to normal. We need to practice social distancing and washing our hands regularly. This virus is super contagious and whilst for the majority of the population it is not fatal it can be for the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions.
We are definitely in unchartered waters and there will be new challenges every day but I am a firm believer that this situation will create enormous opportunities.
Good luck and stay safe.
Until next week, my name is Con and I am “The Con Versationalist”
How Lucky Are You?
Many years ago, the great golfer, Gary Player, was being interviewed by a journalist after an outstanding round. “Great round Gary, certainly had your fair share of luck out there today”. After a brief moment of thought and contemplation, Gary replied “Yeah… I did, but you know it seems the more I practice and the harder I work, the luckier I get”. Clearly a tongue in cheek, subtle back hander to the journalist for the mere implication that luck had anything to do with his score and without a brief mention or acknowledgement of the enormous amount of work and the countless hours of practice Gary had put into his craft. Typically, “luck” is thrown around cheaply in describing someone’s outstanding achievement or success in all forms of endeavour with little or no mention of the countless hours on the practice court or years of study to attain that success. The general public only see the tip of the iceberg, the game winning shot or the billion dollar company float.
Communication and Public Speaking is no different to sport or other professional endeavours. We all must continue to practice and improve our craft. Through my courses and coaching I see some wonderful transformations, but here’s the kicker, if you don’t continue to work and build on the skills you have learnt, they’ll quickly leave you. We’ve all heard the phrase “Use it or lose it”. This applies to all areas.
I strongly encourage our students to join an amazing, global organisation called Toastmasters International. Founded in the 1940’s in the USA, Toastmasters has grown and spread into most countries and cities in the world. With regular meetings, it provides an educational and leadership program for members to develop and build on existing skills. I joined Toastmasters International years ago to improve my technical skills. I had no issue with fear or speaking to groups, but I recognised my skills needed work to help me progress to the level I needed to be at in order to deliver programmes and workshops within the corporate sector at the level which was expected.
I see such a diverse demographic at toastmasters. All age groups, from PHD students who have to deliver a thesis, managers and executives from all levels to new international residents with English as their second language and the really cool thing is, I ALWAYS learn something from the other participants, all of them. The American motivational / inspirational speaker, T Harv Ecker said you’re never too old to learn and never too young to teach. This certainly applies!
Let’s get back to Gary and “luck”. Luck has been describe as where preparation meets opportunity. My view is winning a lottery is luck however kicking the winning goal, making the buzzer beating basket or building a successful business is so far removed from luck it’s not funny. In most cases it years of practice, hard work and MANY disappointments along the way. The great Les Brown said “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than have an opportunity and not be prepared”. Are you prepared or preparing? Why do I need to be able to speak in public you ask? Well, firstly let’s clarify the term “public speaking”.
There is a misconception in the broader community that speaking in public is standing on a stage with a microphone and speaking to hundreds of people. Whilst that is indeed an aspect of it, Public Speaking at its core is Communication. It’s all about your ability to adequately and clearly convey your message. Ask a girl out on a date, ask your boss for a pay rise, suggest an idea at a managers meeting, tell people about your business and so on……get the point? What’s the likely hood you’ll get your pay rise if you can’t articulate and justify why you deserve it or you show nerves and can’t manage eye contact? None and nought!
So, while you may not be looking to ask for a pay rise or even currently attend managers meetings, it’s inevitable that one day you will. Will you be prepared or will you be unprepared and blind, metaphorically speaking? Imagine this, your manger happens to be sick when an extra ordinary meeting is called with particular relevance to a project your department is working on and as his number 2, you’re called in to brief the other mangers………AHHHH!!!! Oh, if only I had been prepared! why didn’t they give me more notice, I can’t do this etc. etc. Effective public speaking and having adequate public speaking skills is the difference between success and failure and it looks like your “lucky” break has just been flushed and sadly for you, these “lucky “breaks seem to be few and far between.
I’ve attended many personal development and educational seminars over the years and in most cases, the speaker or facilitator would always remind us that the real seminar started when we got home. In other words, we had learnt all the skills from listening and via some of the practical sessions but the real stuff was putting it all into practise in our business and lives and the importance of practice! I can show you how to putt but if you don’t practice you’ll never improve and your putting ability will be somewhere between mine and zero!
Courses are designed to give you the framework and foundation but constant and continual improvement starts and ends with you.
Until next week, good luck and bye for now.
My name is Con and I am “The Con Versationalist”
Powerful Secrets of Persuasion
I recently spoke to a business acquaintance who has been having trouble getting his proposals accepted. “I know my facts inside out and my presentation material is first class but I don’t seem to be getting them over the line” he confided in me. Sadly, not an uncommon problem. We can share valuable information with our work colleagues, friends or clients which we really believe will make a difference and have a ton of facts to support it but the proof of the pudding is in the eating….did we convince and persuade the audience to adopt out ideas or proposal and ultimately, take action?
Your ability to persuade and influence people, i.e. to get them to understand, accept and ultimately act on your ideas, is the difference between success and failure. People who speak persuasively have greater personal power. They get more done and achieve their goals faster. So what are the Powerful Secrets of Persuasion?
People deal with people they know, like and trust.
Trust underpins everything! You must develop trust, be it from your reputation or past dealings. One of the most powerful tools in building trust and rapport is eye contact. I’m sure you have had conversations with people and they just can’t look at you straight. You’re naturally suspicious and you don’t trust them. Now eye contact doesn’t mean stare at them and burn a hole in their forehead! It means make and retain genuine eye contact particularly when you’re making a point.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Show a genuine interest in in the other person’s needs. How does your product, service or proposal serve the best interests of the other parties? The quickest way to lose your power is to go on about you and your product or service. Ask questions and people will open up about what they need. Talk to people about what they need and you’ll have their attention. There has to be a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) for your audience or the person you’re speaking to.
First impressions are lasting impressions.
What we see is just as important as what we hear. Like it or not, people will judge you at first glance and thanks to millions of years of evolution, you have less than 30 seconds to make a good impression! Your body language, behaviour, character and dress all have a lasting impact on your ability to persuade. An early mentor of mine once told me “always dress better than your best dressed customer”. Make sure you dress appropriately.
Look confident, be confident.
How can you possibly expect anyone to accept your ideas or buy your product if your behaviour does not match that belief? People feed off others confidence and certainty. All your behaviours must demonstrate a level of confidence and certainty which creates trust and comfort in the other people and a belief that what you’re saying is right and in their best interest.
People listen to experts. Fact! By demonstrating authority, you’ll get the “yes” quicker and more often. How do you become an expert you ask? Knowledge…… knowledge is power. Being an expert doesn’t mean you have to know everything about your product, service or proposal, it just means you know more than your audience and how it will benefit THEM.
Control your emotions.
Stay calm and keep your emotions in check at all times. People turn to those in control of their emotions, especially in times of conflict, pressure or stress. Would you adopt an idea or proposal of someone who has become either angry or agitated? The answer is obviously NO. You need to maintain your demeanour at all times, even if the other party does not. Your ability to stay calm and not reactive demonstrates your confidence.
What you’re suggesting or offering can’t be available anytime and at the same price. Why? Because if it were, there is no reason for the audience to act now or for the consumer to buy that product now. They could take their good old time and think about it. You need to create some urgency. This is not relevant to just products. It could be your idea at work to improve productivity or implement a new strategy. The scarcity or the urgency you need to convey is that the time is right now, the conditions and all other factors demand action be taken now. Genuine scarcity is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion.
This is more applicable in a sales environment. Neediness is one of the most unattractive qualities and as dogs can “smell” fear so can your consumer “smell” your neediness. One of my mentors once told me “That which you need will control you.” So imagine going to a sales appointment and all you’re thinking about is “God, I need the commission on this sale”. Not a good place to be and trust me, the other person can sense it. The ability to get up and walk away if you feel your client isn’t interested or is being difficult is ultra-powerful. How many times have you seen it where the party which may have been difficult in the negotiations all of a sudden changes their tune, “hang on, where are you going? “ For example, “ Well John, what I’m hearing is that you’re not committed to the program at this time so there is not much point continuing this meeting” When you get up to walk away, I assure you, John will become very interested all of a sudden! Of course this only works when you honestly believe your customer can benefit from your product or service.
As people can smell neediness, they can sense fear. Fear demonstrates a lack of confidence and belief in what you’re saying and creates a barrier to persuasion. As I have written earlier, if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, how can you expect others to? If Fear is one of your biggest challenges in your ability to persuade, stay tuned. I’m writing an EBook focusing only on Fear and useful tips and tools to help control it. Fear is definitely an issue for many people and as such we deal extensively with it in all my courses.
Well, I’m pleased to report my acquaintance had a better result in his last presentation. Being armed with the above tools gave him a sense of belief in his own ability, and that in itself is a huge win but actually implementing these strategies has made a difference to his results.
Go forward in confidence to your next speech or presentation using these “Powerful Secrets of Persuasion” and expect greater success.
I look forward to your comments, feedback and any questions you may have to help you become not only a better conversationalist but a better speaker and communicator because as I say, the quality of your communication will ultimately determine the level of success.
Until next week, my name is Con and I am “The Con Versationalist”
Con is an accomplished and articulate speaker, trainer and certified coach who is passionate about helping businesses and individuals create greater success by teaching speaking and communication skills. These skills contribute to improvement and better outcomes in every area of business, such as sales, customer service and controlling fear and anxiety around presenting your thoughts and ideas (standing up and speaking out).