Archive for February 2008

7 Key Things You Must Do To Effectively Maintain Your Work-Life Balance?

February 16, 2008

Two days ago, on Wednesday and Thursday, I was conducting another run of “Work-Life Skills for Individual and Organizational Benefits.” We discussed several real-life issues and the applications of what it means by getting balance in your work-life.

It was also extremely fun and entertaining when the participants shared about how they have been looking at their own life. And I proceeded on to further discuss the ways to resolve various issues and getting their lives in order and balance.

In a nutshell, here are also some key things that a person must work on to maintain better balance in their life:

1. Be informed of the upcoming trends in society. You can be better prepared for what is to come when you can sense the changes.

2. Understand that your happiness is first determined by your attitude and paradigm instead of the events and environment.

3. Nip negative stress before it traps you and rises beyond control. Convert that negativity into positive stress to spur you on.

4. Accept that changes will always occur instead of remaining the same always.

5. Reevaluate your expectations of yourself and others. Check that they are realistic within a reasonable time frame.

6. Embrace the spirit of life-long learning and improvement. There is no end to getting new knowledge and understand.

7. Keep yourself active in all areas. Get together with positive people at work and during your personal time. Do exercise regularly to stretch those lazy bones. Participate in some hobbies that you’ve always wanted.

At the end of it all, the quality of our life is what we make of it. Hence we must consistently strive to seek a better way to manage our lives, both at work and at home. For is it when we have master our life then can we further Excel Beyond Excellence!


Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 10)

February 13, 2008

It was my own Toastmasters Club’s meeting last night. As the General Evaluator for National University of Singapore Toastmasters meeting, I highlight several positive points of our chapter meetings and dished out some advice on how we could further improve. After all, this is the reason why we are Toastmasters, to improve and to excel.

I am also extremely pleased to report that it was overall another well received meeting. It came down the commitment of the organizers, executive committee as well as the attendance of members and guests. No wonder we laughed so hard at the meticulously crafted speeches.

As usual, more speaking tips were shared at the post-meeting chats:

1) Check for over-exaggerations that distract your audience rather than enhance your speech.

2) Ensure that your speaking platform does not have any distracting props.

The Essential Truths You Must Know To Get Even More Sales And Close More Deals

February 12, 2008

I had just finished conducting a very intensive in-house company training on “Closing Deals-How and What?” today. This course focuses on the crucial final stage of any sales and negotiation process. And it is specifically designed to help participants close more deals and get better returns than before.

Here are more of the essential things that you must indeed keep in mind so that you can get your deals and sales going:

1. Remember that to close a deal is a natural part of the process.

2. People can detect your sincerity or the lack of it.

3. New customers tend to give smaller deals first. They do this in order to test you out. Get your foot in. Take these deals first and convert to larger deals over time.

4. Objections are the gatekeepers. Interested customers tend to have objections before giving you the deal. You must know how to handle the objections before you can close the deals.

5. Play for long term. Provide the justification in your customers’ eyes to continuously get return deals.

How You Can Excel With The Three Laws Of The Universe?

February 11, 2008

It was a few weeks ago that Yuyuan, an ever-enthusiastic Toastmaster, made his project presentation. He did some research and decided to share with us his thoughts on the three laws of the universe. With his kind permission, the following are the general notes on what he has shared during his presentation.

Three Laws of The Universe

First of all, let me assure you that you will not be asked to sit for an examination to test your understanding of these three Laws, because I believe we all have a phobia for exams. These laws are for the heart. I wish that at the end of my speech you will be able to identify the three laws in operation in your daily life.

These three laws are Laws of ABC.

The first Law is Law of Attraction. The law states that we attract what we focus our thoughts upon into our life. To illustrate this point I would like to use my personal example. I joined Toastmasters because I believed that communication and presentation skills were very important in my life. To make an analogy, my belief is like a magnet and Toastmasters, an iron bar. My mind attracts Toastmasters into my life the way a magnet does to an iron bar. This is Law of Attraction.

The second law is Law of Belief. Law of belief states that: when we believe with feelings and conviction, our belief will become realities. I’d like to use a true story to illustrate this point. A worker accidentally locked himself inside a huge fridge. That is a fridge that contains tons of food. It is way below zero Degrees Celsius in the fridge, cold enough to turn soft flesh into hard rock.

The worker began to shiver as soon as he realized that he was locked. “It is cold in here. Everyone has gone off and I am going to die here.” Indeed, what he believed in turns out to be reality. He was found dead lying on the floor of the fridge, hard as a rock. However his fellow workers were puzzled because they found that the fridge had a leak and the temperature was about 10 Degrees Celsius in the fridge. Staying in a fridge with a temperature as high as 10 Degrees Celsius does not freeze a person into death. What actually killed the worker? BELIEF! It is the belief that he was going to die that killed him.

At this juncture, some clarification is necessary. Many people say that they believe in something strongly but that does not turn into reality. For this, I’d like to use an example for which we all stand on the same ground. That is, we all have been students. As a student I yearn for good results. I used to believe that I can get excellent results and that belief gave me strong motivation. However, when I received my test papers I was in disbelief. It was a glaring C on my paper. What had gone wrong?

When I looked back I realized that I doubted myself. There was a voice constantly echoing in my ears, “What if I fail? What if people laugh at me?” RIGHT HERE is the problem. I had two conflicting beliefs in my mind at the same time. Thus, the result is, I am regretful to say, disheartening. My point here is: be 100% certain about what you are doing! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER doubt yourself. This is Law of Belief.

The third law is Law of Correspondence. The law states that what happens in the outside world is a reflection of our inside world. I would like to use a demonstration to illustrate this point. Do you see a sad face like this? Nope. I think it is more like this (action). Eyes are dull; facial expression is expressionless; head is down as if eyes are tied to the toes. This example shows that even though we do not know what exactly is going on inside of us but we can judge easily from the outlook of a person. And this is Law of Correspondence.

To sum up, the three laws of ABC governs our life in general. Law of Attraction tells us that we are like magnets and that we attract what we focus our thoughts on into our life. Law of Belief tells us that with 100% certainty in what we believe in, our belief will become reality. And Law of correspondence explains that what we have in our mind and heart is illustrated in the outside world. At this moment I hope that you are able to identify the three laws in operation in your daily life.

My final challenge for all of you is: believe that you are happy so that you will attract happiness into your life.

How To Motivate Your Team Members And Increase Their Productivity?

February 10, 2008

While a leader must have the ultimate goal in mind at his work, it does not imply that he is a mere slave driver or a dictator. Simply barking out orders and blindly pushing responsibilities to team members will only accumulate animosity over time.

Modern leadership and management are no longer just about people who pass instructions down to others in the hierarchy and assume that their words are to be followed without questions.

Although obedience may appear outwardly, de-motivation actually emerges within the executive team. Needless to say, most people eventually become numb, no longer taking initiative and stop contributing beyond the minimum.

In my trainings on Leadership, Management and Teambuilding and the likes, these are also highlighted as key issues to be addressed. Indeed, there are many more areas that must be looked into by the leaders and managers. Resting on the laurels is hardly on the cards because leadership is an ongoing process of influence and inspiration.

Here are some elements that can be implemented to promote productivity and motivate your team members:

1. Ensure everyone understands and accept the ground rules of the workplace.

2. Build in work structures and culture that reflect fairness, trustworthiness and openness.

3. Allow your members to take personal ownership and responsibility out of their willingness to act.

4. Pay attention to your team members; address their own objectives, opinions and emotions.

5. Lay down worthwhile challenges for them to take on.

6. Communicate regularly at a suitable setting.

7. Celebrate success and reflect on failure together.

When a team is led effectively by you, the leader-manger, it becomes a force to be reckoned with and to be respected. Hence your goal must truly be to consistently allow your team to perform more than what they first believed they could.

In this way, your entire team will surely Excel Beyond Excellence!

Top 8 Essential Things Salespeople Forget During Their Selling Process

February 9, 2008

In the midst of conducting actual sales and under the pressure, it can be easy to start forgetting certain aspects of selling. A lack of experience and practice are often common causes but they are no excuse for forgetting these essential points.

Whenever I conduct the various workshops on Sales, Closing Deals, Negotiation, Persuasion and Influence, Communication, Customer Service and the similar courses, I highlight and look out for areas where the participants can exponentially improve their relevant skills. These key areas can make the difference between a mediocre sales amateur and a super star sales performer.

The following are the top actual and essential items forgotten by salespeople when they are conducting sales:

1. Forgetting to Compose Themselves.
As a salesperson, you must remember to psyche yourself into the proper mindset whenever you conduct your sales. In fact, the more unfamiliar or unfriendly a client appears to be, the more you must compose yourself. At times, with an inexperienced salesperson, you can almost hear his teeth cluttering and heart pulsating in double quick time. That’s hardly a deal closer. Confidence within your composure is essential. Get composed, not decomposed.

2. Forgetting to Analyze the Client.
Now I don’t mean you put your client through a psychometric test or psychiatric diagnosis. Flipping out a piece of paper with odd shapes or situational questions are not quite the way to go. What I am referring to here is a quick mental analysis to assess the type of client you are facing. Take into account any of your past sales trainings where you have learnt to understand the clients’ profiles. Not understanding your client will only make you beat around the bush in the sales process, risking the annoyance of your clients and increase rejection.

3. Forgetting to Build Rapport.
Rapport is key. I repeat: Rapport is key! It reflects the sense of trust and credibility you have in the eyes of your clients. Without rapport, the sales relationship is like oil and water that refuse to mix. Clients often grow suspicious of the person that attempts to sell an unlabelled potion. If you take time to build rapport with your clients, you get better chances of pedaling your wares.

4. Forgetting to Listen.
It is often not the rampant regurgitating of a sales script that gets you the sales. It’s the listening. While an overly rehearsed sale pitch may get hits occasionally, a highly productive salesperson is able to attain more sales by doing lesser talking. When you listen and truly pay attention to your clients, they feel appreciated. Listening to your clients will also allow you to get sufficient information to sell in a superior manner.

5. Forgetting to Speak… Appropriately and Artfully.
Your word selection in your speech matters. Not every word can work the same sales magic. Not every phrase spoken in a random order will get your sales to shoot through the roof.

This calls for you to remember to use your influencing language patterns and verbal communication skills to the best of your ability. You need to select your words diplomatically to avoid upsetting your clients or getting them in an agitated manner (…unless you have already found a way to make angry customers part their money to you.) Appropriateness and artfulness in language use comes with experience. Practice them well and listen out for feedback from those who hear them. Adjust your sales vocabulary as required.

6. Forgetting to Ask for the Sale.
Sometimes the conversation goes so smoothly that it becomes more of a chit-chat session, the overly interesting topic deviates the entire purpose of that meeting up. You need to remember to ask for the sales. It’s a natural thing for clients to want your products if they find it suitable. Whenever you have transited through the process well, asking for the sale should be simple and smooth.

7. Forgetting to Make the Client the Central Element.
Within the few elements of the sales process: the salesperson, the products and the clients, the clients are the central figure. It’s about them. Let the clients feel they are respected and they are important. Allow clients to know they have a significant role to play as your partner in making the sales a mutually beneficial transaction. Provide them a most pleasant buying experience.

8. Forgetting What the Client Want.
Remember there’s a reason why clients will buy. And simply put, when clients buy, they’ve discovered what they want, be in from their own needs or because of your eloquent persuasion. However, if you truly forget the specifics of the item they want, you might just get a return of goods. Understand and remember what items make their eyes sparkle and which model they have ticked on their survey forms. Letting your clients know you have well fulfilled “what’s in it for them” is the way to create long term returning and satisfied clients.

Selling is often a rather challenging process, yet the rewards are immense. Through your practice, allow these commonly forgotten points to reemerge again. Learn to be patient as you work through the fine art of selling. Integrate these essential things and you will find your sales Excel Beyond Excellence!

The Meaning Of Your Own Special Holiday

February 8, 2008

The second day of the Lunar New Year marks an extension of joy, fun and celebration. Just think, how often do you actually get a holiday that goes beyond a day, what’s more, I do see some businesses stretching the Chinese New Year holiday breaks for four days or even five days.

Holidays become special because of the meanings and reminders behind the dates. When a certain day comes by every year, people are told of the respective significance, and often, the origins of it. For certain holidays that have been celebrated over the years, the customs and practices have changed and the true meanings are sometimes lost or forgotten. Nonetheless, they are usually welcoming periods of rest for most people.

Over these couple of days, have you ever thought of adding some other personal meaning to these holidays?

For example, while this can be Day Two of the Chinese New Year, you can add in a purpose where it’s a day of close friendship and gathering. Round up your closest friends and renew the friendship WITH good food of course!

How about a day where you actually call up a person whom you have not dared to contact for a long time? Name it A Day of Bold Contact, perhaps. Who knows what may result from this simple action of yours. J

Other people can dedicate this to a day of giving, visiting the less privileged and sharing the joy of the festive season. Hence it becomes a day of compassion.

I believe that human beings are not designed to become robotic. We are engineered to make sense and give meaning to our lives. That’s why we are also made unique rather than mass produced.

It’s not just a mechanical performance of what is merely given to us, but to make meanings and even make merry out of life itself. We don’t usually excel unless we have the passion behind our work, and of course, our rest during this period.

And passion comes from personal appreciation of our own life, its rest, its play and its work. In short, there is Unique Significance.

Hence a world wide holiday can become a personal special day… for you.

As long the significance of this day makes sense to you, you can always make it special.

In these ways, a holiday thus becomes one that is peppered with unique and fond memories. A delightful event kept by you in a special place within your heart. Ultimately, it’s a day where you will look back and appreciate this significant experience.

It does not really take much to add meaning and turn a public holiday into your special own holiday. As long as you care to provide that little dash of creativity and guts to excel, then a holiday will also become a day where your life can Excel Beyond Excellence!

Make this season special for yourself. Make it an excellent holiday!

Happy Holidays!

Are You Ready To ‘Rat-zzle’ And Dazzle In This New Year?

February 7, 2008

Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, the most important and widely celebrated season of the Chinese holidays. And based on the Chinese astrological cycle, this year is known as the Year of The Rat. Hence you will find that many of the decorations, goodies and wishes have ‘rat’ as the central theme.

Besides enjoying the festive season, it’s also the good wishes that we want to manifest. Let’s make it more than just lip service of positive words, but truly the fruition of our wishes.

As we proceed on from this year on, new events and excitement will come our way. More changes are in store for the new year, socially and economically and that affects people too, psychologically and mentally.

The key point is to be better prepared and ready for the year’s challenge. Fortune favours the prepared.

Be ready to ‘rat-zzle’ and dazzle for this new year. Be equipped to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Wishing you Gong Xi Fa Cai! Wan Shi Ru Yi!

What Will You Clear Out For The New Year?

February 6, 2008

According to the Chinese calendar, today is the eve of the Lunar New Year. If you are staying in a predominantly Chinese country, you will notice the Chinese people getting ready to welcome the New Year. A rather busy period indeed.

On the other hand, people will also welcome the forthcoming prolonged holiday break starting from New Year’s day tomorrow.

Besides preparing for the goodies, they will buy new clothes and perform spring cleaning for their residence. Acts that represent the arrival of the new and discarding of the old, a symbol of auspiciousness and a wish of prosperity for the coming year.

Suppose if you are to clear out the old and unuseful things in your life, what would you choose to clear out in preparation for the new year?

Bad memories?

Unproductive habits?

Unhealthy characters?

Negative energies?

No matter what these items are, once we are resolute in clearing them out, we can then focus on bringing in the new useful stuffs for the new year.

Why not besides clear out the unwanted physical things in our house, we clear out those unuseful traits of ourselves. A good time is now, on the eve of the new year.

In this way, we are even more equipped to Excel Beyond Excellence for the New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

How You Can Become An Even More Effective Coach? Proven Pointers To Enhance Your Coaching Skills

February 5, 2008

At the final day of the “Coaching for Enhanced Performance Management” training today, we had an intensive sharing session. The participants took time to share their experiences as a coach, opinions of coaching and the coaching strategies covered.

While some related their encounters, others chipped in to provide even more tips to further the learning. It’s also great that these coaches are gelling well with each other, having known each other better over time. Keep up the positive work, everyone!

Being an effective coach demands more than just the want, it must be a desire; for you are literally influencing the future of another person. Take time to read through the following points to incorporate them into your current and future meetings with your clients. They are proven and with proper practice, will make you an even more competent coach.

1. Understand that coaching can happen anywhere. It may not be as formal as a sit-down brainstorming session in a coaching room. It might even be occurring over the coffee-shop or the canteen. When you are truly in your groove, it can happen right there and then. Of course, there are always better venues or timing, but as a coach, you’ve got to be prepared at all times.

2. Coaching and counseling skills can be used in conjunction with each other. There is no real exclusivity with each other. As long as it is needed, you need to use it. Remember, they have overlapping processes so it doesn’t matter even if you don’t consciously remember the steps. The most important thing is to utilize the appropriate skills for the benefit of the client.

3. Keep it objective instead of getting all too personal. Yet remember to show empathy than coming across as overly ‘robotic’. If you have to comment negatively, structure yours words ‘external’ to the client’s behavior rather than to make it attributed to the client himself. People tend to be defensive as long as you criticize about them in terms of character. Avoid this.

4. Sincerity from the heart matters vitally. Coaching is not a mere data punching or numbers-filling exercise. It is a people-help-people activity. As long as you are not as sincere, your client will not fully maximize the supposed benefits of coaching. Reason? Insincere and passionless people tend to not take their work seriously. And clients will not benefit in full.