Life Changes May Require Image Changes

Sometimes, life’s changes and challenges can be tough, disappointing and confusing. They may come on so quickly we wonder “what happened” and “how will I ever manage beyond this?” They can also open the door to so many new and wonderful possibilities. Release, rebuild and raise up your inner architect and create impressive new images from the puzzle pieces of life. Explore ways to thrive and excel.

Following are suggestions to recharge your battery. Please take time to carefully examine each point to determine:

• “What is the most important area that I would like to change as far as the perception I am giving to others?” Could it be getting in better shape to appear more energetic and feel better about myself? Ask yourself: “Would I want to do business with myself? Why or Why Not?” How about a new professional image in appearance, communications and outlook?                          (I can help you make powerful transformations that will last a lifetime!) 

• Would it be helpful to make simple changes in my demeanor and body language such as a more confident handshake, erect and confident posture and good eye contact, or remembering to smile more and center myself to be calm if I am a bit nervous?
• Could a few adjustments in grooming show others that I take good care of myself, therefore, I will also take equally good care of them, their business and relationships?
• What would make me “feel” more confident in my exciting new card game of life? Shall I take a class in public speaking, get a makeover, or join an organization or committee where I will make new friends and gain new skills?
• What kind of image am I formulating in the mind of others by my attitude, energy and appearance? Write your answers in a journal for a time and notice any patterns that emerge. Team player Tom? Negative Nancy? Tired Tonya? Happy and confident Harriet? Super Smart Sadie?
• What kind of energy am I projecting? Is it positive, negative, forceful, supportive? Energetic or tired? Hopeful or hopeless? Determined or deflated? Ask a close confidante for feedback. If it resonates with you, make some changes. Get a second opinion if necessary from someone you know you can trust! You want positive feedback that builds you UP!

As Jim Rohn said: You can’t change your ‘destination’ overnight but you can change your ‘direction’ overnight. “Later” is a dream killer. So…think about creating your own growth plan! That’s what new days are for!! Rita Rocker, Transformation Academy, LLC

Engaging Presentations: How to “silently” talk to your listeners

Every day we present our thoughts and ideas to business prospects, teachers, parents, and organizations. Our first interaction can leave a lasting impression! Since 55% of our message is non-verbal, make sure your body is relaying the same message your mouth is. Whether you are giving a sales presentation to a large number of individuals or sitting across from two people at a table, use the following tips to ensure you have engaging presentationsto bring the success you are looking for. The more positive and confident your interactions, the greater your success in building a relationship that will last for many years. Following are signals that can either enhance or destroy, future business.
 
Your energy. Be aware of the energy you are transmitting! Is it motivating, positive, exciting, confident, worrisome, pre-occupied? Set a positive tone with your facial expressions, sincere eye contact and friendly, yet controlled body language. Signs of defiance, angst, fear or frustration will send the listener packing, even if your words are saying something entirely different!
 
Hands. It is said that eyes and hands are open and closed with the person’s mind. They tell so much about your current state of mind. Hands should face palms up with fingers open (welcoming them to come into your “space”) or at your side. If you are new at speaking and feeling uncomfortable, hold a pen in one hand. Having one hand in your pocket briefly is acceptable but both hands in your pockets give the impression of either being arrogant, lacking confidence or hiding something.
Pointing. Pointing a finger or a pen in someone’s general direction immediately puts them on the defense. When asking an individual a question or to sign a paper, hold your pointer or pen like you would if you were writing, at an angle. It seems like a very small matter but can give a strong message subconsciously.
Touching. A friendly touch on the shoulder is often meant as a welcoming gesture, however, note their response. If they recoil, smile and back away. Touching sometimes reminds individuals of an unpleasant experience and is not anything personal against you. We just always want to be respectful of their reactions.
Eye contact. In the U.S., eye contact is a necessary for honest, productive conversations. In some other countries, looking someone in the eye could be considered disrespectful. Good eye contact gives the impression that you are trustworthy, confident, credible, and serious about your conversation or presentation.
Your eyes. Avoid darting eyes, scanning people’s shoes, or any eye messages that give the impression you are not completely engaged in a conversation with them.
Statements or questions. When people raise their voices at the end of a statement, it sounds like they are questioning themselves rather than making a statement. The listener may think, “If you are not sure of what you are talking about, why should I take your seriously?” Result? You can be overlooked in business meetings and presentations. Approximately 80% of voiceovers on television are done by men because of their lower pitch which lends to their credibility.
Letting others finish your sentences. If individuals in your audience interrupt, your first mode of defense is to raise your volume slightly. If that does not work, hold up your index finger while slightly raising your volume. If they didn’t get the message, raise your hand in the “stop” position. As a last resort, hold your hand up in the “stop” position and say, “Excuse me, I wasn’t finished yet.” This act should keep you in control and maintain your composure.
Adjust your mode of speaking. According to the type of group you are talking to. Be more energetic if talking to someone of like manner and do not overwhelm someone with a strong voice if they are quiet and reserved.
Non-verbal messages can diffuse hostility by maintaining a composed demeanor. Restraining your own body language when someone is angry with you can actually have a calming effect on them. Keep your voice low and limit gestures while preserving a relaxed posture to discourage others from a potential rant.
 
Bottom line: always check to ensure your body is saying the same thing your mouth is. Your goal is to have the clearest, concise, confident message possible.

The Human Aspects of Customer-Winning Customer Service

To have a quality staff that respects themselves, their management and their customers, it is imperative to have a good internal customer service program for everyone to follow:

1. CREATE EFFECTIVE FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  Because that first (and critical) impression is made in as little as seven seconds, it is imperative to immediately form a good first impression. Our posture, appearance, attitude and communication skills can create a professional, welcoming environment that encourages business…or it can repel people…even if our prices are the best.

Meet and Greet–where the most common mistakes are made in the customer service process. These first few moments set the tone for the entire interaction. By energetically and professionally welcoming your customer, you make successful customer interactions not only possible, but very likely. Customers want to be 1) recognized, 2) appreciated, and 3) treated with courtesy and understanding.  To accomplish this, you have to be at your best in the meet and greet stage of the service process AND know what your customers truly want!  You don’t want customers to get turned off in the first few moments of their interaction by someone making a negative impression so the customer chooses to take their business elsewhere.  A slovenly appearance, negative body language and annoyance lack of interest can send someone heading for the door. Be open, focused, well groomed and looking at the situation from their point of view.  Think about the characteristics that make you want to do business with someone.

Following are some relationship-damaging mistakes you want to avoid at all costs:

Ignoring waiting customers:  Sometimes we are short-staffed or too busy with current customers to help a waiting customer immediately; HOWEVER, never ignore a waiting customer. Establish eye contact, wave, or say something like “I’ll be right with you” to let the customer know that you are aware of them and will get to them as soon as you can.

Distractions:  It is easy to become distracted by other customers, other responsibilities, and the variety of other things going on at the same time. When customers see that you are distracted, they sense other priorities are more important.

Answering questions or taking calls while assisting a customer:  It is challenging to make every customer feel equally valued, and some customers try to push their way to the head of the line.  Don’t let these customers overstep earlier customers,  rather, say a few friendly words to the individual indicating that you will help them as soon as you are finished serving the current customer.

Giving a bored, indifferent greeting: Greet the customer with energy and be more creative than, “May I help you?” Make it a fun,  personal challenge to say something specific, which will make the greeting portion of the sales process more interesting and rewarding.  Get staff involved and create one specific one for your company.  “How can I help you with your computer selection today?” 

Although customers are all different, certain basic principles apply to nearly all of us, and you can safely assume that most customers are looking for the same things in their interactions with you as you would with them.

For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, National Speaker, Communications, Image and Presentations Coach, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250 rita@transformationacademy.com, www.transformationacademy. 

Tips to Develop Successful Rapport!

Confident, considerate communication skills can open so many doors to new personal and  business relationships.  To build and maintain the kind of rapport that attracts new clients and friends, try to following:

  • Adjust the way you speak according to the type of person your are talking to; i.e., raise or lower your volume if it is easier for the listener to understand you
  • Use the person’s name 2-3 times during the conversation
  • Let your body talk (it keeps blood circulating and energizes you.
  • Use positive, active words (they’re understood three times quicker)

Example:  “excited” “looking forward to “

Business professionalism tip:  When addressing a group in the “business” world, it is NOT ok to say “you guys” as if just hanging out with friends.  In this multi-cultural world we live in, many professionals look on the reference as crude, careless or even insensitive to the group with whom you are speaking.  You can always refer to them as “everyone,” “all of you,” or in a more formal setting, something like “ladies and gentlemen.”  Attention to even this small detail can positively impact future business transactions.

  • Never belittle your title: “I’m only an assistant.”
  • Say what you will do, and when.
  • Pay attention to power talkers and pick up phrases that work for them that your personality is comfortable with.
  • Purge phrases (um, you know) from your vocabulary that are negative or annoying.
  • Get to the point (rambling causes annoyance, boredom and loss of attention)
  • Always tell the truth.  Do not sacrifice your integrity.

For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, National Speaker, Communications, Image and Presentations Coach, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250 rita@transformationacademy.com, www.transformationacademy. 

 

Marketing Yourself to a New Industry

To successfully market yourself, especially if you are trying to get into a different career, sell your skills and experience rather than your job descriptions.

Write a new definition of “who” you are in the workplace.  Avoid identifying yourself with the job description but rather identify yourself as a package of skills.  This keeps you from determining your value and security by your position.  The closer you tie your self-image to your job, the more you will feel its loss if your position is eliminated. 

Example:  Think of how many skills an administrative assistant must use:  desktop publisher, work-life organizer/scheduler, writer, negotiator, mediator, gatekeeper, skilled company representative, etc.  This is in addition to answering phones, filing, word processing and spreadsheets.  What are your contributions and the impact you can have on the prospective company?  Be creative!

Examine your history by compiling a comprehensive list of as many achievements, both personal and professional, as you can.  Include:  personal achievements (which contain valuable and saleable skills).   Write a page describing each achievement.  Use action words like organize, negotiate, lead, create, sell.  These are clues to your skills.  Review the list and notice recurring patterns.  Use this list as the basis for your skill-based resume.

When thinking of ways to market yourself into a new position, be creative in thinking about all of the experience you have had using the skills the company is looking for but maybe weren’t part of your previous job descriptions.  Most of us have a myriad of skills that we have used in professional organizations (leader–president of the group for example; promoter/sales; fundraiser; treasurer, etc.)

If your childhood lemonade stands were very successful, you may need to get out from behind that desk and into a public relations or sales position, right?  If you get excited just thinking about using those skills that may have been put on the shelf for a while, you’re on the right track to experiencing your new career!

Examine your skills.  You will see a mix of the following characteristics.  These will help you determine the best career path.

Influence.  You have a knack for influencing people through leadership, public speaking, marketing, motivating (not manipulating).

  • Organize.   Your organizational and monitoring/tracking ability help keep you and others managed and on track.
  • Helps.  You derive enjoyment from teaching, encouraging, nurturing and counseling.
  • Creative: You are artistic, theatrical or creative in designing products or environments.
  • Analytical.  You enjoy using math, analyzing data or keeping up with the latest scientific advancements.
  • Producer.  You like to see the fruit of your labor using hands-on skills—cooking, crafts, and construction or building projects.
  • Adventuresome.  You are competitive or like to take risks—law enforcement, fire fighting, military, athletics.

It may take some time to overcome pre-conceived notions, family expectations, negative comments from teachers, etc., BUT it’s time to pursue YOUR Life’s Goal! Start writing your new life’s career goals now!

For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, Chief Communications and Image Officer, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250 rita@transformationacademy.com, www.transformationacademy.  

Business Social Events–Tips for Standing Out in the Crowd!

There are a myriad of helpful business  and social etiquette tips for greater confidence, engaging conversation and a winning demeanor . Here are a few techniques to keep you out in front:

At business social events, you are still under scrutiny.  Your attire should not be too casual or revealing as that impression will carry back to the office and can affect promotion opportunities. You still want to be remembered as the polished (and fun) professional, not for what you wore. Have extra clothing in the car (dressier/more casual/different accessories or shoes,etc.) to make a quick change if need be to fit in more comfortably with the crowd.

Don’t want to attend an event? Go anyway! Spend at least 30 minutes making the rounds, shaking hands and being seen by as many people as possible. That way, you will show your interest in the company and the attendees in the most favorable light. Later, just slip out quietly. Be sure to discuss the event, thank the organizer, etc., the next day. They will appreciate it and you score points for being so engaged in the process.

When in a networking environment with food and drinks, avoid trying to talk to individuals while holding one in each hand. It can be awkward and messy trying to talk while juggling your hors d’oeuvres. Eat at a standing table first, then go out on the floor and concentrate on those you meet, giving a warm and confident handshake.

Always hold your glass in your left hand when mingling so the right one is dry and free to shake hands. No switching!

Have a glass of water or coffee between alcoholic drinks to maintain a sharp, professional conversation at all times. If you are socializing with upper management or clients who are not drinking alcohol, it is usually better to abstain during your conversation with them. This may sound old fashioned but it shows you are respectful of their time, preferences and totally engaged in your conversation with them.

Make it a habit to introduce yourself to at least five people you don’t know to build up your network and make new friends and associates. Always focus on them (which also helps if you’re self-conscious talking about yourself). If you want to talk with them again, ask for their card first rather than hand them yours. This is primarily “social” time, not business development time. You can then set a time to meet for more in depth conversations.

At social events, your date is also under scrutiny. Adults never want to introduce someone as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” but rather just offer their first and last names. If it’s your spouse, provide that designation.

Help your date be more comfortable by telling them as much about the people they will meet while on your way to the event. Knowing what subjects are good and which ones are off limits makes for a more fun (and profitable) event.

Always thank the host or hostess and let them know how much you appreciate their hospitality. Handwritten thank-you’s are a nice touch for more formal parties. Even an email can show you are thinking about them and their thoughtfulness.

When attending an event at someone’s home, a small gift life a bottle of wine or box of chocolates is usually a welcome gift to show your appreciation for all of their work.

If at a sit-down meal, follow the host/hostess for when to put your napkin in your lap and begin eating.

Wait until they begin eating in case they want to ask a blessing or make a toast. It is embarrassing to begin and then put that fork down.

The lady should sit to the right of her male date/partner.

Look around to see if someone needs an item in front of you and pass them as soon as you have used them: salt and pepper, cream for coffee, etc.

If the host/hostess does not have professional help for their event, it is a very nice gesture to gather plates, glasses and other items you notice laying around. The harried host can then enjoy more time with guests and it only takes you a couple minutes of thoughtfulness.

Never plank your knife between plate and table. Set it across the edge of your dinner plate or bread & butter plate if you have one.

Your bread and butter plate is on the left! Liquids on right—solids on left.

Place your napkin on the back of your seat if you get up briefly and lay it back on your lap as soon as you return. Old order etiquette says to lay it in your chair but think about that…who wants to put it back to your mouth? 

When you are through eating, you are “finished” and never “done.” (My elderly mentor used to scold me about that and said, “Meat is done, you are finished.”)

Good manners and engaging conversation are always a hit!!! For more valuable tips, check out my book “Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success” at https://www.amazon.com/Rita-Rocker/e/B00B788DIU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1518195479&sr=1-2-ent

 

Another Meeting??? Tips to Making Them More Successful!!

Okay now, is this meeting really necessary??  It probably is if you need to communicate beforehand a specific, relevant objective with a pre-determined (if possible) time limit. To keep from losing your attendees as their minds wander to other duties that await them, observe the end time unless everyone agrees to continue with items listed on the original agenda. 

  1. Thank members for their valuable time and participation (yes, even if you’re the boss) and TELL them how their participation helped (or will help) meet the objectives. This will help them stay motivated and innovative when they know how their contributions count!
  2. Distribute minutes and objectives of the meeting in an email before the meeting and then what the outcome is after the meeting, again by email.
  3. Avoid any personal heated disagreements that should be discussed privately rather than in a group if it does not specifically pertain to everyone and always be careful with pointing fingers. We have all seen the dreaded dump on Mary or Bob day. Not good for anyone’s morale!
  4. Avoid assigning action items to someone not present unless absolute necessary. It helps them buy into the cause/project when initially involved and shows greater respect. Respect and consideration go a long way towards more successful employee performance.
  5. Playing musical chairs for the power seats?Being an expert on the subject, asking insightful questions, and making clear, relevant observations are more important, regardless of which seat you are in at the table. Key participants usually sit up front so  be watchful of where you sit when entering the conference room.

  For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, Chief Communications and Image Officer, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250 rita@transformationacademy.com, www.transformationacademy

The Meet & Greet – You Had Me From Hello!

As we know, that first impression is made in as little as seven seconds when people are checking us out physically (demeanor, handshake appearance, our-non-verbal signals) which makes it more difficult for someone to remember our name if given immediately. They haven’t quite started “listening” yet. Before we have said a word, judgments can start forming about our own self-image, outlook on life, economic and educational levels, social position, trustworthiness and future success. Sound like a bit much? Yes. Has research proven this to be true? Yes. Sigh! Here are a few quick tips to keep the conversation going in a relationship-building manner:

At business social functions, shyness may be misunderstood as being socially unskilled so try introducing yourself to as many people as possible. Even if you really don’t want to be there, stay at least a half hour and make the rounds before leaving. This can keep you in the winner’s circle by exhibiting a team player attitude and is beneficial for your work and social relationships.

Why is it so hard to remember someone’s name? As mentioned above, during the first seven seconds we meet someone, we are checking them out visually (looking at their clothing (wow, nice, organized or oh no), hair (just get out of bed?), grooming (gardening this morning?) or a myriad of other things) before we start listening…so we aren’t really hearing them! The best way to introduce yourself, particularly in a large group of people you do not know where you have about ten seconds to stand up and sit down, is to say 1) what you do, 2) for whom, 3) then your name.  Example:  Hi. I provide rapid results programs in professional communication, image and career development with Transformation Academy. My name is Rita…Rocker!  Take a slight pause between your first and last name, adding emphasis (giving a little punch) to your last name. By then, the person should be more focused on listening to you versus giving you the visual once-over.

When shaking hands: Women usually offer their hand first but either gender is welcome to initiate the universal greeting of the handshake. Take the other person’s hand with medium pressure, palm to palm, in a vertical hold and pump 2-3 times, leaning slightly forward. If you can tell what color their eyes are when shaking hands, you have completely connected. If someone takes your hand and turns it horizontally (yes, that really happens), just keep smiling and turn it up in a vertical hold again.That keeps you on a more “psychologically” level playing field! Turning your hand horizontally is a silent signal saying they have “the upper hand” and seek to control the direction the conversation will go. Now, go out and enjoy networking. It’s a wonderful way to build new relationships! And one more thing…if you’re shy, seek out those standing alone. They will welcome you gladly.

While talking, stand approximately 18? from them in order to respect their “space.” Only hold your beverage in your left hand so the right one is free to give your impressive handshake. Find out what “they” do first. Ask for their business card first (if you want to give them yours). Find out what kind of connections they are seeking to enhance their business or lives. Erect, positive, confident and engaged demeanor and posture goes a long way in making lasting relationships. Go for it!!

Rita Rocker, International author, speaker, consultant, Transformation Academy, LLC

Unleashing the Powerful Phoenix Within Your – Rise!

Greek mythology has a very important story that most of us can relate to at one time or another in our lives. Something devastating happened to a creature called Phoenix (a powerful bird) that destroyed it and burned it to ashes. We can often compare such a tragedy to something that has happened (or is currently happening) to us and see the Phoenix as a representation of our own life. Know that there is a new beginning, that no matter how bad (hot) things may get, you will get back up on your feet and once again rise from the ashes. Allow this to be a time for your strength to increase. Make it a permanent mindset that a Phoenix always rises from its own ashes. Let this be your new mantra: you can, and will, always pick yourself up when you are down, broken, used and abused or just plain worn out! Let this picture be absorbed into your mind! Feel Power! See Victory!

While you are allowing your life, mind and body (the physical, mental and emotional you) to rebuild, know that it is okay—actually a very good thing—to back away (avoid negative encounters, words and harsh treatment), in a sense and for a time, so your wings can be strengthened, grow bigger and stronger and take flight. Allow yourself the opportunity to heal from wounds to your mind, body and soul—from the once devastated Phoenix you may have been that possibly crashed and burned…temporarily. Never feel guilty—ever!! Is it time for restoration from a wounded body or spirit? Take refuge under your Creator’s wings. Let His breath sustain you as you rise again so you can then, with a renewed spirit, burst forth with unapologetic passion and strength. Rise Phoenix and soar to new heights. Look back at the picture again. Feel your strength rising!

As legend goes…when the Phoenix rises from the flames to the life it was originally created for, it is so much more powerful than it was before!

(from Rita’s book “Create Your Destiny: Power Steps for Mind-Body Renewal”)

10 Tips to Becoming a Super Presenter

Need to speak to 5, 50 or 500 people? It is said that most people would rather get a root canal than speak in front of a group. Aarrgghh! With adequate preparation and practice videos from your smart phone or laptop, you can create presentations that make people want to come back for more! We will be covering more tips over the next few weeks. For starters…  

  1. Begin your preparation early.

Start developing your talk sooner, not later. Your thoughts often evolve over time so you will likely want to edit and “tweak” before you go live. The more time you have to prepare, the more confident you’ll be…the more you can watch yourself and have a close confidante also watch (go ahead and send them a short video clip). This also helps not leaning hard on notes or PowerPoint slides.

  1. Research your audience.

Find out everything you can about WHO you will be speaking to. What do your audience members have in common? What are the challenges they face? What is their education level? The more answers you have to who they are, what they are all about and what their need/pain is, the more you’ll be able create a presentation that they will want to hear. The shorter the allotted time, the more “meat” and less “fluff” is critical.

  1. Don’t worry about being original.

When you speak passionately, from your heart, and believe what you say, it doesn’t matter if you’re the first person or 15th to speak about your particular subject. The originality that you provide is your 1) voice and your 2) passion.If it is not your favorite subject, learn why it is so important to those you will be speaking to!!

  1. Keep it simple.

Smaller, shorter chunks of information are easier for audiences to absorb. Again, it’s the meat of the subject that can be turned into valuable bullet points if the time of your presentation is limited.

  1. Make them an offer.

Offer your audience a solution to a problem, a challenge to how they think or act, or an opportunity to learn something new. Create your Presentation around that offer (“Today I’m going to give you 3 tools to eliminate procrastination from your life forever…”). Wow, I’ll listen to that! The audience is all about WIIFM…What’s In It For Me. It is very important to switch the camera from the “selfie” mode to them!

  1. Create a conversation.

Instead of creating a “Presentation,” develop your talk as a conversation between you and the audience. Quickly determine by their attentiveness, facial expression, body language, etc., if they are engaged. Try to determine ahead of time if they are a group involved in fnances (state the facts ma’am, just the facts) or if they are a happy marketing group wanting great human interest (but definitely applicable) stories and some warmth included. It really makes a difference! Watch and respond!!

  1. Involve the audience.

To create that sense of conversation, interact with your audience if possible. Ask them questions (“How many of you would agree with that?”). Give them things to do (“I want you to write this next fact down…”). Being interactive helps retain engagement.

  1. Listen to yourself.

How your Presentation sounds is much more important than how it reads. Create your Presentation for the ear and make sure your body language is speaking the same language. If you are speaking on a product or program where you provide services or items, remember “Only sell what you would be willing to buy yourself!!!!

  1. Rehearse. Revise. Repeat.

Practice your Presentation as much as possible, revise it continuously so that it’s just the perfect Presentation for YOU to deliver.Years ago I noticed excessive eye blinking on camera. Smart phones and laptops are great for eliminating those signals before you are upfront.

  1. Have fun!

Keep the process of creating your Presentation simple and light. If you make the process fun, your Presentation will reflect that. Remember all of the outtakes (bloopers) that you sometimes get to watch after a movie? Well, that’s what practice and rehearsals are for. Go for it!

Contact me if you would like private or group coaching on presentations. Rock it!!

Stay tuned for more tips on reading your audience and what a confident demeanor can do for you! Rita Rocker www.transformationacademy.com