Engaging People Is Not Only A “Work Thing”
The only way that you are going to get better at something is through practice. I read a quote in a hockey book once that really caught my attention:
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect” – Vince Lombardi
Even those with raw talent have to practice regularly. Engaging others in sales and other professional roles should not be limited to work relationships. You should practice engaging others when possible.
My dad was a teacher, and is still very engaging to this day – partially because of his personality, but it was also a necessity for his career. Could you imagine being in front of a class of kids and not holding their attention? Teachers who could captivate the crowd were always the ones that remained memorable to me. This also meant that my dad and I could never quickly go to a mall because he was always running into people. Conversations would start, and time would pass by. My mom would always comment upon our return, “Where were you? I just sent you for a couple of things!”
There are so many opportunities to engage people outside of work:
- In line at a store
- At a social events with friends
- Business or community events
- Sporting events
- On a walk or a run
- Groups, associations or teams that you and/or your children are part of
I was thinking about this one day after a run, and I reflected on how many people I acknowledge in that 45 minute period. It was about twelve!
- Some greetings were a simple hello or good morning as I passed by
- With others I would make a quick comment on the weather, or about the degree of difficulty of a hill that I (or they) had just ran up
- Some were a quick stop so our dogs could greet each other
- It was common that I ask for information about their dog, and how the person’s day was going
- I even complimented one guy who was actually attempting to train his new puppy
When I engage people in this setting, most people are pleasant back. It is common for people to jog with an iPod or Mp3 player, but I will still turn mine down to say something, or at least wave. I have done this for so long it is second nature now.
If I never practiced this skill, and instead just went through the day keeping to myself, it would be unreasonable to expect that I’d be very good at it in a short time period. Skills would develop eventually, but carrying that philosophy over to your personal life just means that you have more opportunity to practice. Then before you know it, the skill improves.
This was not always easy for me; because I was quite shy growing up due to my stutter. Speaking up and meeting people was very difficult well in to my teenage years. But with practice and patience, I consider myself very engaging now, and will always take time to speak with others.
- Do you only engage new people in work situations?
- Where can you begin to converse with people starting right away in your personal life?
The most practical business skill that has come out of this for me is keeping conversations going when there is a lot of dead air. I think most of us have experienced conversations that were very one-sided, and it was a struggle to keep it going, and interesting for the other person.
Good luck, and remember to always be in “engagement mode”!
Is It Time To Do Some “Cleaning”?
Building on my theme from yesterday about participating in a “marathon” rather than “sprint” I thought some “cleaning” might be in order too! It was a nice reminder reading this old post today!
Our second child was due this past Monday. Every day that the baby does not arrive, allows my wife and I some extra time to do a few things around the house (even though we should be relaxing by now). Over the past few months we have:
- cleaned the garage top to bottom
- organized a basement crawl space in preparation for building a kids playroom
- donated toys, clothes, and any other household items that we were not using anymore
- And last but certainly not least, put our office back together two nights ago after 8 months of working in the dining room!
The incredible feeling of walking in to my office and finally using it again this week after a hard wood floor renovation made me smile from ear to ear. All of the other tasks that we completed have lifted a heavy weight off our shoulders as well.
It just made me think:
- what are we all “carrying around” personally and professionally that is holding us back?
- when is it a good time to “clear” these things out of our lives?
Perhaps today is finally the day to do something that will make you feel fantastic and help you only look forward.
Jeb Blount once said “a little bit every day” and I have stood by that motto since the day I heard it.
I’m just sayin’ 🙂
The Five Star 5 – Why Public Speaking Sucks!
Many people are terrified to speak in public and/or give presentations. Here are five reasons why public speaking and presenting can suck:
- You were not prepared / did not understand your content
- You did not practice ahead of time
- You did not know your audience well enough
- You did not have a back up plan when things like visual aids had technical issues
- You have not at least visited your local Toastmasters Club as a guest, to see how they can help develop your speaking skills
Public speaking and presenting can be a rewarding experience if you address these five points, and several others.
- Are you due for a public speaking “makeover”?
- What is the greatest challenge that you face getting up in front of a group?
The Waiting (Is The Hardest Part)!
Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part!
We always seem to be waiting. On the surface waiting sucks, but why not take advantage of the down time? Waiting can equal learning while you are:
- Waiting for, or riding public transportation
- Commuting to work and/or driving to meetings
- Waiting for an appointment
- Waiting in line at a store
- Waiting on a golf course between holes
… You the idea. There are many other examples.
- When you are on public transportation or waiting anywhere with respect to your role, have some “catalog time” with your company’s literature. It is incredible how much more comfortable I became with catalogs by focusing on them as little as 10 minutes per day.
- When you are commuting to work in your vehicle, or driving to appointments, listen to podcasts or audio books that will help you with business and/or personal development.
- When you are waiting for a business appointment, go over your notes to prepare and focus before the call. Don’t get distracted by email or phone calls. That can wait until later
- When you are in line at a store, always be in engagement mode (check out earlier post here http://bit.ly/KAcGXS )
- If you are golfing with customers, take time to really get to know them when you are waiting between holes. You have their undivided attention.
I used to get VERY frustrated with all the waiting that goes on in everyday life. But now I embrace it, and get as much done during business hours when I have time to spare. If I have put everything in to my work during the day, it gives me more time to devote to my family out of “office hours”.
- Do you make valuable use of your “waiting”, or do you just waste time?
- If not, what improvements can you make going forward?
Remember, waiting can equal learning if you use your time wisely!
Let’s connect on Facebook! Stop by and “like” my page if you like what you see at:
How Does Music Motivate You?
I love music! I have loved it since I received my first cassette tape (oh wow) when I was ten years old. That Christmas I received a ghetto blaster too, and my love for music was solidified. My wife is always amazed at the “UBI” (Useless Bits of Information) that I know about music. But when you love something, you are a sponge for every little detail!
Family, sports and my career are the most important things in my life, but my passion for music is not far behind. If I had more time, I would go to a concert per week, and travel the outdoor music festival circuit all summer. Getting together with friends under blue skies and the stars to bond and watch incredible music have provided me with some of the greatest memories in my life.
I have connected with many people who have the same passion for music. I have been an active participant in Paul Castain’s LinkedIn Group called “Sales Playbook!” for well over a year now. I have enjoyed posting discussion questions during that time, with two of those threads being very specific to music. The number of comments posted, and the depth of the discussion far exceeded the results that I have received on any other question! People apparently love to talk about music!
Three years ago, I had a one hour drive to work, and I listened to a lot of music on the open highways. I soon realized that I did not have all of my favourite music on a specific iTunes Mix. I had to fiddle with my iPod while driving (now that would result in a distracted driving ticket if caught). I was experiencing some work challenges and my attitude was all over the map. I needed something to help me get back on track at a moment’s notice, or even get me pumped up to a higher level than I already was.
The result was the “Get It Done Mix”. I wanted the title, and not just the music, to have meaning. Every time I looked at my iPod, I would see the words, and it would subconsciously help get me going too.
I am not here to tell you what to call your favourite mix, or what kinds of music to put on it. My point is that if you love music, YOU NEED ONE, if you don’t already have one. Only you will know what feels right. My rule with the “Get It Done Mix” is to never skip a song. If it is all of your favourite tunes, there will be no need to skip!
The nice thing about current technology is that you can add to your mix as you discover more music that you love. Don’t worry about making the “perfect” list, just get one started and let it evolve over time as you discover (or remember) songs that pump you up! If you are as passionate about music as I am, you can connect certain songs to very specific times in your life. Focus on the times that made you very happy, and make darn sure that those songs are on your mix!
When I first checked out Paul Castain’s website ( www.yoursalesplaybook.com ) I went directly to his “Playlist for the Aspiring Sales Rock Star”. I was initially drawn to him by his love for music. I soon realized that his sales content and messages for life were second to none as well! Paul provides incredible suggestions for a music mix if you want to check it out at:
The sales profession and business in general can be very demanding. Incredible swings in emotion can happen even hourly. I do not know how many times that I have played my mix over the years when I needed a pick me up, or to take me to another level of awesome. While driving, I recommend taking some deep breaths to help relax you if the mix is being used at that moment to calm you down!
The true test if your music mix is working may occur when you are driving. If the people in the car next to you catch you singing, drumming on the steering wheel, or nodding your head to the beat, then my mission is complete!
What songs MUST be on your playlist?
Wanna talk music and take a break during your busy day? Stop by the best place to talk music on LinkedIn – The Daily Music Sanctuary. Paul Castain has given myself and my good friend Roger Demas the incredible opportunity to oversee this group. We have met many fantastic people, and are having a blast. Hope to see you there soon!
The Five Star 5 – Why I Am Loving Toastmasters!
You should stop by a Toastmasters meeting if you are interesting in developing your speaking and leadership skills. The best way to find out what this organization has to offer is to see for yourself!
Here are the top 5 reasons that I am loving Toastmasters:
- Practice public speaking in a very positive environment
- Develop as a leader
- Meet new people (network within your club and district)
- Hone organization, preparation and time management skills
- Have fun and laugh!
If you want more information on Toastmasters stop by http://www.toastmasters.org/
I have started a Facebook page for my Toastmasters group. If you have any questions you can post them at:
Or email your questions to:
I will let you know about my personal experiences as part of this fantastic organization!
My Video – We All “Default” To The Couch
I have wanted to do some new videos over the past couple of months, but just have not made the time. I will finally be “taking action” over the next few weeks and develop some new ones. I can’t wait!
In the interim, I wanted to share a couple of my favourite videos today and tomorrow. I hope you enjoy them!
Couches are a comfortable place to hang out. Most of us spend too much time relaxing on them. Check out my latest video to see why less couch time leads to a more fulfilling life!
A Certain Amount Of Arrogance
I enjoyed this post this morning, and I hope you do to! Have an awesome week…
We need a certain amount of arrogance if we want to:
- Make a difference in the world.
- Become an expert in our field.
- Share our brilliant ideas.
- Stand up in front of a group and present with confidence.
- Make that call to sell whatever it is we’re selling.
- Dare to maximise our potential.
I know that arrogance is often an unattractive and unwanted attribute, but it can come in handy sometimes.
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Increase Your Confidence In Less Than a Day
Leanna Dindal and Kevin Rae from http://www.theleagueofchampions.com reached out to me last week, and I am so glad that they did! We agreed to guest post on each other’s blogs, so I am very excited to present their contribution on Confidence. Have a read; I am sure that you will like it as much as I did!
Confidence is like money – everybody wants more of it. And, just as we’d like to lessen our working hours while simultaneously increasing our cash flow, is it possible to gain more confidence in just a short time? We think so.
Try the “One-Day Confidence Course” below and see if you agree.
1. Get up in the morning and work out – 1 hour
Not only does exercise increase your serotonin levels, you’ll feel great knowing you’re doing something for your health. What better way to increase your confidence than feeling good about yourself? Be sure to pick a form of exercise you enjoy.
2. Think of something you believe in and find references to back it up – 15 minutes
Everybody needs reassurance. When it comes to things you’re really passionate about, that you really, desperately want to be true, it’ll boost your confidence if you know that other people are on your side. A few minutes and a quick Google search will take care of this.
3. Buy some new clothes – 2 hours
This doesn’t have to be a full-blown, redo your whole wardrobe shopping trip. Just go out and try on a couple of things. If you look in the mirror and think, “I look good in this,” then other people will think you do, too. You’ll feel more confident knowing you’re bound to catch a few eyes.
4. Go to lunch at a restaurant alone – 1 hour
Think of this as a gift to yourself. You’re worth it, so you’re taking yourself out to lunch! If it‘s outside your comfort zone to say, “Party of one,” then good! Your confidence level will jump up because you’re doing something different and because you’re validating yourself.
And, since you’re there……
5. Learn some new fun facts – 5 min
While you’re waiting for your food, pull up the internet on your phone and learn a few things you didn’t know. The next time you strike up a conversation, how great will it be to confidently share those interesting topics?
6. Make a connection with your server – <1 minute
We so often treat people we interact with as robots, like they’re only there to serve a function. Other people are humans too, and if you recognize them, they’ll recognize you. Bolster your server’s confidence by giving them a personal compliment or taking the time to ask them how their day’s going. They’ll probably do the same back – reciprocal validation.
7. Share your expertise or take a class in something you’ve never done before – 1 hour
When you teach other people, your confidence in your skill grows. When you have to act like an expert to help them learn, you’ll probably realize you are an expert. Alternatively, trying your hand at something new by taking a class will prove to yourself that you’re smart and adaptable. This one will take some pre-planning, so scope this out prior to your confidence day.
8. Go dancing or do some karaoke – 3 hours
Dancing and singing are two things a lot of people fear, especially in public. But you’ve got to break through that barrier of self-consciousness to achieve ultimate confidence. Commit to it, even if it’s uncomfortable at first, and you’ll reap the rewards. You may even have fun.
And while you’re at it…….
9. Let a moment of silence pass <1 minute
You’ll enjoy the previous step more if you take someone with you. So, during your conversation with this person, allow for some time without words. People who are comfortable with each other are okay with sitting in silence, and it’s also a good way to feel more comfortable with yourself.
10. Talk to strangers – 5 minutes
Engage in conversation with people you don’t know while you’re out on the town. Doing so means you’re worth commanding their attention, and your confidence has no choice but to increase.
Total time spent: about 8 hours
People underestimate what they can accomplish in a day, or even a lifetime. Grow your confidence and get in your own corner so you never underestimate yourself.
What have you done outside your comfort zone today?
The League of Champions was founded by two friends, with the intention of empowering people to achieve their own, personal definitions of success. Together, Leanna Dindal and Kevin Rae developed a systematic way to change their lives, and to help others do the same. The League focuses on unlocking creativity and finding the inner strength to be a Champion. Find out more at: http://www.theleagueofchampions.com
Could You Be More Focused?
Eben Pagan is one of my true inspirations from the internet marketing space. I could listen to him speak all day!
A couple of years ago he launched a program called “Wake Up Productive”, and some short videos are posted on YouTube. I absolutely love the message in this series, and I have included his video on “Focus” for your viewing pleasure today.
It is only a little over 3 minutes long if you skip the promotion of the series at the beginning and end.
If you would like to see the series of videos, click this link to the “Wake Up Productive” channel on YouTube.
Have a great day!