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SNI’s Jeff Cochran Receives Top Speaking Scores at 2019 SAMA Conference

Andres Lares

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Strategic Account Management Association, Inc. (SAMA) gathers talent in strategic and key account management from around the globe every year at their annual conferences, one in North America and another in Europe. At this year’s North American conference, Jeff Cochran presented “Influencing Without Authority”.  Jeff showcased SNI’s philosophy on influencing.

His ability to captivate and provide value to his audience was shown in his post evaluation scores and anonymous participants’ comments. Two examples are:

  • “Jeff’s way to deliver the content is simply amazing!”
  • “Jeff is an outstanding facilitator and I highly recommend for his content as well as presentation.”

Here is a summary of scores that made him the #1 ranked speaker at the conference:

Why TED Talks Are the Modern Gold Standard for Presentations

Andres Lares

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Just about everyone has watched a TED talk at some point in their lives. These seemingly ubiquitous presentations are free and easily shared online through social media, and shown in schools, offices, and other meetings. TED Talks have grown so popular over the years that they are seen as the gold standard of modern presentations, in both the business and consumer realms.

Talks stand out from other form of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate, easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The key to their success lies in good preparation, top-quality visuals, professional editing, and speakers who are passionate about the topic.

 

What Is a TED Talk?

The original TED acronym stood for technology, entertainment, and design, and was a small conference on the converging of these topics, started in 1984. The next conference was held in 1990, and then annually after that. As TED grew in popularity, the topics expanded to include everything from politics to feminism, science, music, and business, and many others. Notable celebrities, Nobel Prize winners, artists, politicians, and leaders in all sorts of industries have given TED talks. However, the conferences remained small, and exclusive to those invited and willing to pay for expensive tickets.

The TED organization wanted to bring these exciting conferences to the masses, and so, in 2006, six talks were posted online. Today thousands of talks are available on their website, in more than 100 different languages, and the short videos have gathered more than one billion views collectively. The goals of this nonprofit organization remain to provide nonpartisan educational content, seeking out interesting people to speak and share their knowledge and passions. If you haven’t yet caught a TED talk, a quick browse through the many titles on the TED website, shows the wealth of topics to choose from.

 

What Makes TED Talks So Effective?

TED talks stand out from other forms of presentations as an effective medium to convey accurate easy-to-understand information to a target audience. The organizers of these events and talks aren’t in it for the money – they work passionately to spread ideas. Here are some of the key factors responsible for their explosive success.

1. While some of the speeches may seem simple or spontaneous, lots of preparation goes into them. The speeches are written well in advance of filming, memorized, and practiced to perfection. However, great speakers also know the power of occasional ad-libbing and how to use charisma so their speech doesn’t sound like rote memorization.

2. Props and visual aids. The best presenters know how to use quality visuals – including photos, videos, charts and graphs, as well as 3-dimensional props to help to tell their story in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way that captures the audience. Body language and hand gestures are also important. A recent study noted that the most popular speeches on the site had more hand gestures than some of the least popular videos. And when many people watch videos on mute, body language and visual aids can be very important.

3. Professional lighting and editing. TED talks use top-quality lighting and filming equipment, and use professional editing post-production to give the viewer multiple angles for visual interest and dramatic effect. The talks are shot more like movies than conference presentations and are entertaining to watch.

4. Emotion and Passion. TED speakers go beyond just reciting facts and know how to captivate with emotional influence and speaking passionately about the topic. These presenters touch the hearts of their audience, use enthusiasm, and inspire the audience to positive action.

5. Keeping it short. All TED talks are less than 18 minutes, preventing anyone from droning on too long. These shorter snippets of time allow information to be more easily absorbed and remembered. They also ensure the speaker stays focused on the main topic.

6. One of the most important factors in TED talk’s vast popularity is that they are available online, anytime, to anyone, and for no cost. While the original TED conferences were more elite and expensive to attend, now anyone can benefit from the information and inspiration, even if on a limited budget.

 

TED’s Global Impact

Aside from analyzing the details like speech preparation and fancy, professional filming equipment, perhaps the single most important reason why TED is so important is the impact its speeches have had on the lives of millions. Because of all of the factors we already mentioned, these little videos are making their way across the globe. People share them with friends on social media. The speeches discuss such important topics as social justice, equal rights, and the environment, and because of the charismatic, passionate speakers, more people are inspired to make positive change.

Sometimes, these videos challenge the audience’s viewpoints, using empathy and emotional influence to shed light on an important issue, and even change minds. The organizers at TED report that over the years, thousands of people have written them messages praising the impact of one speech or another, and how it has changed their lives.

 

The Future for TED

The next step for TED is the newer TEDx events. These events focus on local issues in a specific community and have already been hosted in 1200 cities across 130 countries. The TED organization notes that they would like to have all of their TED and TEDx talks not just available online, but translated to multiple languages (both spoken and subtitles) to make all of the inspiring presentations even more accessible. Thankfully, they plan to continue to be a source of educational content for years to come.

We can all learn from the style of TED talks for presentations and conferences. Following the key factors of TED’s success can infuse your presentations and speakers with energy and inspiration. If you’d like to capture some of the explosive energy of TED talks in your own professional presentations, but need a little direction, Shapiro Negotiations can help. We have experienced keynote speakers, as well as training programs to help you and your organization. Contact us for more information.

Are In-Person Networking Skills Still Important in a Social Media Age?

Andres Lares

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In the Age of Social Media, how important are face-to-face networking skills? Very, according to recent surveys. The majority (68%) of entry-level professionals place more value on face-to-face networking than online interactions. Furthermore, just over half (51%) of professionals do not have LinkedIn profiles, showing significant dissonance even with the most popular business networking site. Face-to-face networking skills are still critical for working professionals who wish to advance their careers or grow businesses.

 

The Importance of Business Networking

Sales center on people. People making connections and building relationships with other people are what keep companies in business. Networking is at the heart of business. This remains true whether the networking is online or in person. Business networking is essential for people who want jobs, career advancement, or business growth. Salespeople especially rely on networking. It is the number one way to establish trust, introduce oneself to potential customers, and increase brand awareness and product visibility.

The art of networking has undergone significant changes in the last few decades. From business cards to business Instagram accounts, everything has gone digital. Sites like LinkedIn target business people specifically, aimed at helping professionals build their networks, earn endorsements, and get better jobs. While connecting online might appear to widen a person’s career network and help forge relationships, in reality it still falls short of in-person networking for most business people.

Networking at corporate events, conferences, and sales meetings can help businesses and prospects connect. Sales professionals, for example, can exchange information with potential customers and leave lasting impressions from their face-to-face meetings. Virtual networking can also add value to professional relationships. It can help a person develop contacts, connect with important people in the industry, and get in touch with the right people. Despite the push toward online connections, in-person business networking is still highly valuable.

 

What Do the Numbers Say?

Many different sources agree: nothing is more effective than in-person networking. Research proves that face-to-face interactions tend to be more positive than online interactions. The people who achieve the greatest results from their networking efforts almost always engage in face-to-face interactions. When searching for a new job, 46% of people still find the most success in traditional, in-person networking.

While actual words are important, they make up only 7% of a person’s perception of sincerity. Nonverbal cues are much more important when it comes to discerning whether to trust someone. Facial expressions while we talk make up 55%, while inflection of tone makes up 38%. A whopping 72% of people say looks and handshakes influence their decisions. One survey from 2015 found that 9 in 10 people choose small, face-to-face meetings as their preferred communication method.

When it comes to personal preference, in-person is a clear winner across multiple surveys. Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents in the Virgin survey say they prefer in-person meetings, while 95% say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. If companies eliminated business travel for in-person interactions, they would lose around 17% of their total profits. Despite the pull of the “Social Media Age,” it’s clear business professionals still value in-person networking highly.

 

The Benefits of In-Person Networking

The internet is growing as a way to network and build relationships. However, the media richness theory finds that seeing someone in person is still the richest form of communication. The next-best form is video conferencing, which still allows those in the conversation to see facial expressions and hear inflections. Then comes phone communication, then emails, and lastly, texts. The richer the mode of communication, the better it is for developing relationships. Although many online tools today facilitate networking, in-person interactions come with the following benefits:

  • Reading body language
  • Customizing the conversation
  • Showcasing your personality
  • Building a human relationship and trust
  • Establishing chemistry and sharing energy
  • Having more diverse and memorable conversations
  • Getting insider knowledge
  • Preventing harmful miscommunications
  • Taking business relationships to the next level
  • Bonding with others in a shared setting
  • Having fun during the interaction
  • Arranging the next (follow-up) action

No amount of sophisticated technology can replace in-person networking. Being with the other person in the flesh can forge stronger bonds and create a better foundation for a long-lasting business relationship. The numbers support this conclusion, with the majority of today’s business professionals preferring in-person interactions to digital ones. There is no question – it is still important to cultivate in-person networking skills. The next step is improving your face-to-face exchanges.

 

In-Person Networking Tips

Networking in person can give you opportunities you would not have over social media alone. To take full advantage of these opportunities, you need a few networking tips to help you make the greatest impact. The amount of time you spend preparing for your in-person interaction can make a difference in its outcome. Set yourself up for success by embracing available tools, tips, and tricks. If you’re planning an in-person networking event or situation soon, keep the following in mind for optimal engagement:

1. Prioritize building trust and credibility. One of the greatest downfalls of communication over social media is not knowing who to trust. Establishing trust is possible through smart marketing content, but it gets much easier when you can meet someone in person.

Whether your goal is to get a new job or clinch an important sale, prioritize establishing trust between you and the other person. Do this by showing others your similarities in the time you have together. People tend to trust what they know more than what they don’t. Make human connections with people to earn their trust and strengthen the relationship.

2. Use positive emotions to your advantage. Logic can help form a buying decision, but emotions seal the deal. Face-to-face interactions give you the power of using emotions to your advantage. Be open and transparent with the other person, supporting your words with the appropriate facial expressions.

Make an emotional connection with the person, whether it’s fear, compassion, empathy, or having fun at a business event. Connecting with a prospect or professional on an emotional level improves your odds of having a lasting positive impact.

3. Let your personality shine. You have the opportunity to truly show the prospect what you’re like during face-to-face meetings. Don’t miss out. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to show what makes you unique.

Show off your sense of humor, warmth, friendliness, and other traits that set you apart from other salespeople, brands, or job prospects. Let the other person see you’re more than just a social media profile – you’re a flesh-and-blood person who can check all the boxes of what they’re looking for.

In-person networking can be more daunting than an online interaction. You must put your best foot forward, or you could miss out on an important business opportunity. Everything must count, from the clothes you wear to the words you say. Pay special attention to body language, presence, and inflection during face-to-face meetings. Nail important aspects such as the first impression and initial handshake. Do your research, prepare talking points, and – most importantly – be yourself.

 

Improve Your Business Networking Skills Today

Whether you are a born social butterfly or you identify as an introvert, influence and persuasion training can help you. The training program at SNI helps participants influence others and the decisions they make. It focuses on credibility, emotion, and logic – Aristotle’s three elements to influence. It can help you become more persuasive and effective in your techniques during both in-person and social media interactions. Sign up today to start developing your networking skills.

How to Prepare for a Keynote Speech

Jeff Cochran

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The primary objective of making a keynote speech is to captivate and influence your listeners. To do so, the speech must be highly persuasive and successfully inspire the audience to take swift action. No matter where you are speaking or what you are speaking about, there are a few fundamental components that are instrumental in preparing to give a keynote speech. Refer to the following guidelines in hopes of delivering a compelling and eloquent keynote speech.

 

Remain in Sync With Your Goal

Maintaining the attention of an audience depends on you pacing and your ability to align with the purpose of your speech. Make your purpose clear and the chances are you won’t need a teleprompter or notecards.

 

Be Passionate

Speaking isn’t only about providing people with information. People attend a keynote speech because they want someone to move them. Tap into this desire and never hesitate to display your passion when delivering a keynote speech.

 

Make a Connection with Listeners

Without establishing a connection to your audience, your words will be essentially meaningless. Start by respecting your audience and recognizing you are on stage to please. Establish an authentic connection using stories from the real-life experiences of your audience and relate them to your own experiences.

 

Tell Stories

Teachers have used stories as a means of communication since the beginning of human history. To this day, storytelling remains the most efficient method of presenting meaning in a truly unforgettable way, and a compelling story is a key element of a successful keynote. Use stories relevant to your own experiences or look for current topics in books or the newspapers. If you want to make your speech memorable, pick an original story rather than an overused one. Avoid repetition to keep your credibility in front of your audience.

 

Be Confident

Maintaining your composure and confidence is vital to ensuring an audience’s attention. Individuals who demonstrate confident vibes draw people to them, so be sure you walk out on the stage feeling great about yourself. If you are prone to stage fright, take time to address what is hindering you before it’s time to make your speech.

 

Use Visuals

Visual aids can be excellent when you use them optimally. Incorporate relevant pictures or videos into your keynote speech when appropriate. These visuals can serve as a means of grasping audience attention and of inciting their imagination.

 

Utilize Humor

Display humor in keynote speeches through powerful stories, particularly within the dialogue. Insert humorous lines within your stories to add some comedy to your speech. A major advantage of placing humor inside dialogue is it that even if listeners don’t get the joke or miss the humor, they will still grasp the nature of your story. This reduces the risks associated with making a direct joke and failing.

 

Express Your Own Inner Dialogue

Sharing your inner dialogue with the audience is a great way to establish a firm connection and insert humor into your speech. Since your inner dialogue is usually personal, sharing its contents in front of a big audience allows listeners to realize your honesty and authenticity, which can help secure a connection and increase audience engagement. Adding excerpts from your internal dialogue is also an excellent opportunity to add some comedy to the speech. Hearing someone’s internal thoughts can be a funny experience, so try making your thoughts both funny and truthful to make give listeners inset into your personality and make your speech truly memorable.

Leading by Influence: Are You Ready?

Jeff Cochran

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With the right amount of influence, an individual can compel others to join a cause, dedicate themselves to a goal, and successfully fulfill a unified vision. Contrary to popular belief, an authentic leader does not have to maintain a position of power. Whether you are a manager or employee, you have the capacity to become a leader if you put effort into it.

A highly influential person is generally one who uses leadership traits and skills such as effective communication, dependability, and the strength of influence to lead others while on the job. In many cases, employees will follow a leader’s example with no regard to what position they hold. Leading by influence can have an exceptional effect on your business’s prosperity. If you are ready to embrace leading by the power of influence, here are some ways you can become a model for leadership in the workplace regardless of your title.

 

Contribute

If you are a director or manager of a region in a business, take the time to do some of the duties your employees would normally do. Since people don’t like it when the person giving them orders hasn’t demonstrated his or her ability to contribute, a director who is eager to be hands-on will help encourage employees to be proactive as well.

 

Remain Positive

Even though no one can be positive 100% of the time, it is important to try to remain upbeat no matter what the circumstances. Positivity can be contentious, and employees are far more likely to respond positively to someone who is kind and demonstrates an ability to maintain a good attitude. Express gratitude toward others by making them feel good about their achievements and rewarding them for making progress toward their goals.

 

Have an Open-Door Policy

If your employees or associates are uneasy when approaching you, they will have less respect for you as their leader. Make sure your associates know you are accessible at any times and are willing to address any concerns they have. Being approachable helps cultivate a strong sense of mutual respect and understanding between you and your employees.

 

Be Consistent

If you tell your employees something and don’t follow through or do the exact opposite, you will damage your integrity. Losing credibility with your employees is extremely hard to come back from, so once you commit to do something, always honor it.

 

Communicate

As a force of inspiration, effective communication  helps guide others in pursuit of achievement, so it is essential to be an excellent communicator in order to lead by influence. Enhancing communication skills will enable you to use your inspirational power to motivate others so keep the following notions in mind when expressing ideas to employees and associates:

  • Understand what you want to achieve.
  • Consider the perspective of your listeners.
  • Pay close attention to how they respond.

 

Use Rewards

Being in a position of power allows leaders to use rewards to motivate others, but outstanding leaders can recreate the notion of coercive power by transforming it into influence no matter what their position is. Handing out rewards, including bonuses and promotions, in accordance with a clearly expressed batch of criteria helps promote productive activity. Maintaining a rewards system also includes adhering to rules and being fair always, which will increase your credibility and establish a foundation of trust between you and your employees.

 

Be an Example

The referent influences you have, the more others will want to align themselves with your cause.

You can increase your referent influence by being ethical, reliable, and embodying the qualities of professionalism. Illuminate the values of honesty, fairness, respect, and company pride to establish a strong model for others to look up to.

I removed the link here to the influence training page and instead placed it under “leading by influence” as that anchor text is more relevant to the link.

The 10 Most Famous Motivational Speakers

Jeff Cochran

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A truly outstanding motivational speaker never fails to inspire his or her audience members with gravitating and compelling speeches. While there are many good motivational speakers in the world, there are only a few who truly stand out from the crowd. These few captivating speakers can seize the attention of crowds to help get their messages across. Here is a list of the top 10 most famous motivational speakers who have demonstrated their capacities to make an impact on millions of lives throughout the world. Each of these speakers has the uncanny ability to get his or her message across in a way that is impactful

 

1. Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas not only dropped out of high school, he was homeless as well. Nowadays, he is one of the most passionate motivational speakers known. Using his personal experiences to provide guidance to others, widely regarded as blunt advice, but highly credible and truthful. He refrains from delivering sugar-coated speeches and highlights the fact that each person has a different definition of success. But no matter what it may be, he tells audiences that success can take many years to achieve. He stresses the importance of being willing to sacrifice and sustaining true dedication to achieve success in the future.

 

2. Tony Robbins

At 6 feet 7 inches tall, Tony Robbins has a demanding stage presence, which allows him to grasp the attention of his audience with ease. As an individual who genuinely enjoys helping others achieve their goals and make the most out of their lives, he speaks to listeners with vigor and passion. While many inspirational speakers lack depth, Tony understands the psychology of achievement. He tells audiences that people who create spectacular results take specific steps to establish themselves. He starts his speeches with the fundamentals, including what you want to do with your life and why this goal is important to you. He proceeds to go more in-depth about strategies and ideas to assist you in persevering on behalf of your dreams.

 

3. Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born without any arms or legs, but he never let his condition hinder his ability to seek fulfillment and achieve success in his life. With gratitude and compassion for others, he is an incredibly happy man who speaks about the significance of remaining strong and never giving up on yourself. He believes nothing is truly impossible, and the word “quitting” is not a part of his vocabulary. He emphasizes the importance of not concentrating on what you can’t do in life. Rather, he advises people to concentrate on what you can control and what you can do to move forward.

 

4. Naseer Khan

As one of the most highly regarded motivational speakers in India, Naseer Khan believes that to achieve, you must believe in yourself. Working as a door-to-door salesperson until he was 18, Naseer lived a humble life as one of nine children in his family. Nowadays, Naseer focuses on inspiring others to exceed objectives through corporate training techniques including employee motivation, confidence building, power selling, and many more.

 

5. Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar is an author and inspirational speaker whose words have the influential power necessary to transcend time. He has been traveling the world since the 1970s, speaking out for positive progression to foster enthusiasm for change. He specializes in personal development training and coaches many individuals in topics including sales, presentation skills, and more.

 

6. Jim Rohn

Known for his moving speeches that stimulate the mind and inspire the soul, John Robin has helped thousands accomplish their goals. His legacy continues to impact the lives of many individuals worldwide in their endeavors to establish meaningful goals and pursue personal development.

 

7. Iyanla Vanzant

Once a welfare mother, Iyanla Vanzant is now an Emmy award-winning, New York Times best-selling author, and one of America’s most adored motivational speakers. With a straightforward approach, Iyanla uses her energy, passion, wit, and sense of humor to deliver a message focused on using love, acceptance, and perseverance to live your ideal life.

 

8. Vikas Jain

Vikas Jain is an author and worldwide motivational speaker known for his exceptional keynote speeches. Specializing in developing motivational sales training, he has created unique employee training programs on a variety of topics including leadership, team building, youth motivation, entrepreneurship, and more.

 

9. Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma is one of the most world-renowned motivational speakers on business leadership. As a best-selling author of several books, he travels the world to give moving keynote speeches at companies and organizations committed to developing dedicated leaders.

 

10. John Assaraf

John Assaraf has spent the last 25 years on a quest to achieve his goal of helping others understand their capacity to utilize their innate talents to live their best lives. As a student of human consciousness and behavior, he holds the belief that everyone can use cognitive tools to retrain the brain to concentrate on specific motivating principles.

Years of Negotiations Finally Allow Facebook to Creep into Music

Jeff Cochran

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Facebook has been working for years to gain its share of the music industry. Music on the social media site is extremely popular, garnering the most shares of any subject on the site. The problem with that popularity is that music posts and videos link users straight to YouTube, Facebook’s biggest rival. With more than two billion registered users, Facebook could make a tremendous impact on streaming music, and many expect the social media giant to release a Facebook music streaming service in the very near future.

Recent Facebook Licensing Deals

In February of 2018, Facebook closed negotiations with ICE, a European online rights hub. ICE remarked that the deal was of “landmark” significance as it is the first music licensing partnership for the social media giant. The deal covers 290,000 rights holders in 160 territories and allows Facebook to license these properties on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Oculus.

The ICE deal follows several deals Facebook has previously completed with record labels and publishing agencies. In December of 2017, Facebook signed a multi-year licensing deal with Universal Music Group and a separate licensing agreement with Sony. Facebook also has licensing agreements with Global Music Rights, HFA/Rumblefish, and Kobalt Music Publishing. While these deals indicate Facebook is heavily investing in music streaming on their existing applications and will likely want to start producing more original content, many speculate that these deals are signs of a Facebook music-streaming service in the works.

Why Make These Moves Now?

The streaming music market value could hit $14 billion by 2030, and Facebook is likely gearing up to be a competitive force in this quickly growing market. Currently, major music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play Music have vastly more free subscribers than paying subscribers, and converting free users to paying users seems to be a hurdle for every music-based streaming service. However, Facebook may have an advantage due to its already staggeringly large user base. If even a small fraction of Facebook users convert to a paid music streaming service it could disrupt the music streaming service industry tremendously.

Negotiations between Facebook and various rights holders, publishing agencies, and record labels have lasted for several years at this point, and deals of this magnitude take time to close. Facebook needs to build an extremely competitive offering of streaming music to make a dent in the existing industry and encourage users to convert to paid subscriptions, but if they pull it off it could restructure the entire music streaming industry.

4 Tips for Answering Influence Skills Questions in Interviews

Jeff Cochran

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We’ve all been on that interview where a prospective employer asks you to “Give me an example of a time when…” While building rapport is very important in the interview process, it often feels as though the interviewer is just reading off a list of prepared questions. Well, he or she most likely is.

But what does the prospective employer really want to know?

These questions, also known as competency-based or behavioral interview questions, are designed to discover how you may respond in real-world situations. They’re useful for helping hiring managers weed out applicants who look good on paper from the ones who understand how to influence others and deliver the results that they need.

In almost every field, from government to project management to customer service, these negotiation and influencing skills can have a strong impact on a worker’s success. Negotiation interview questions allow prospective employees to demonstrate where these negotiation and influencing skills have helped them in the past—situations that may not show up in the applicant’s cover letter or résumé.

Some examples of influence skills questions are:
  • Tell us about a major challenge you encountered in your current position. How did you adapt and overcome?
  • How do you handle projects that require a lot of initiative and teamwork?
  • What is your approach to dealing with an angry customer? Can you tell us about a specific time when you solved this type of situation?
  • How do you contribute to your organization’s long- and short-term goals?

Even though these types of negotiation interview questions style of interviewing have become increasingly popular, questions like these can still throw you for a loop. SNI offers a variety of courses to help develop the communication skills necessary to excel in situations like these, but we’ll start with the basics. Here are four tips for answering these influence skills questions that will help ensure you project competence and authority, highlighting your value from the moment you enter the room.

Reach for the STAR

The challenge with influence skills questions usually isn’t thinking of an example; it’s organizing your thoughts efficiently and communicating them powerfully. The STAR acronym outlines four steps to breaking down an influence skills question – no matter how complex it may seem. Keep this in mind when a hiring manager lobs one your way.

1. Situation. Describe the situation or context of the example. For instance, “We were far behind our projected sales goals and had lost two key members of our team.”

2. Task. What goal were you trying to meet? What obstacles were you trying to overcome? “We had three weeks to make up 50% of the difference.

3. Action you took. Take ownership and use “I” statements frequently. Remember, they are interviewing you – not your former coworkers. “I pulled some long hours running numbers and I discovered missed opportunities…” Also, specifics are crucial here. Try to use actual facts and figures instead of generalizations. “I analyzed three months of account revenue and found 30–40 instances of missed opportunities.”

4. Results. Again, using “I” statements and specific facts, sum it all up. Example: “I restructured the working hours of the staff to allow for more coverage during high-volume times, resulting in a 35% increase in our closing rate and an additional $500,000 in revenue. My department ended up exceeding our goal by $10,000–$15,000.”

Follow STAR and the other tips outlined above. The next time an interviewer tries to surprise you with an influence skills question, you’ll be more than prepared to demonstrate your strengths when it comes to getting results.

To learn more about our sales, negotiation, or influence training for your organization please click here.

Dominate the Conversation in Your Industry

Jeff Cochran

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As a professional who has spent many years in your industry, you have the expertise to spot trends and potential problems. But how do you get your voice heard? By positioning yourself to sway the conversation in your industry, you can be a force of change and create credibility that increases sales as well. Follow the three steps below to become an influencer in your industry.

Focus on Your Niche

Unless you are Leonardo da Vinci, it is likely that your expertise is strongest in a particular niche. To be the authority on a subject, you need to devote your focus to one area that you are highly knowledgeable about. This means committing to staying current in your area of expertise as well as having the knowledge and foresight to analyze trends and anticipate where things are heading in the future. Broaden that niche too much, and you lose the ability to speak authoritatively on a subject in a way that makes your voice one that is listened to.

Make Time for Social Media

You probably are not going to be asked to be an expert panelist on CNN today. On social media, however, you already have an audience. For those serious about becoming an influencer in their area of expertise, social media isn’t a nuisance or waste of time. On the contrary, it is one of the first channels available to get your voice heard. Regularly plan time for creating concise and well-written statements for social media that highlight your expertise on a subject. This might involve a short daily block of time when you create a single post or two or a longer block on one day of the week where you create several posts that you schedule to release over the course of a week.

Book Seminars

As you begin to gain attention for your area of expertise, it pays to move beyond the screen to speaking to people face to face. Booking a seminar to educate people in your chosen field of interest can set you apart as someone worth listening to. Make time to attend seminars as well. This provides you with opportunities to network with others interested in your area of expertise as well as providing an opportunity to learn from others in your field.

Let your passion for your niche shine through and be a force of change for good. The benefits will not only be reflected in sales, but also in helping shape the future of your industry.

Learning to Make an Impact at Work and in Life

Jeff Cochran

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Everyone wants to be able to have an impact—to know that the things that they’re doing really matter. There’s a drive to influence our circumstances and the people around us. While the ability to influence others doesn’t come naturally to everyone, however, it’s certainly a skill that can be learned.

At SNI, we offer comprehensive influence training, teaching our clients how to work with and influence others by helping them to understand the people with whom they’re working. Our clients often call these types of courses we offer “impact training” as they are all about how to make an impact on others. The content we cover is more than we can lay out in a single blog post, but we’d like to introduce you to a few of the core elements. To get the full benefit, take a look at our influence training program.

 

Ancient Strategies Adapted to a Modern Environment

Whether you’re talking about influence training for salespeople or any other of our impact training programs to help in general interactions, it all goes back thousands of years to Aristotle. The ancient philosopher taught about three elements to influence: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos—credibility, emotion, and logic, respectively. What that means is that in order to influence someone, you need to convince them that you know what you’re talking about, then appeal to both their hearts and their minds. Even now, thousands of years later, Aristotle’s philosophies hold true.

Show What You Know

In order to persuade someone of anything, you first must convince them that you’re worth listening to. Essentially, you have to demonstrate your credibility to them. While the heart of this is proving your knowledge of the subject you are discussing—whether that is a product or service you offer or a policy you are hoping to influence—it goes beyond that. You must also convince them that you have a full understanding of the situation from all perspectives, particularly that of the other person. They need to feel that you have their best interest in mind. If you can’t show that you see where they are coming from, it will be difficult to have any effect on them.

In order to build credibility, you need to listen closely to what the other party is saying. If you are working on a sales floor, chances are the other person has come to you with some need they are hoping to fill. Ask them questions to figure out what that need is, then actively address it. To truly demonstrate your understanding, listening is at least as important as talking, so pay attention.

Forging a Connection

Although some people claim to remain detached during any negotiation, there is an emotional component to any negotiation. That’s why one of the core skills you will find as part of any impact training is the ability to forge a connection with someone else. As you demonstrate an understanding of your audience, you can establish common ground and use language that they will respond to. Some words are charged with particular emotions, and as you learn more about your audience, you can use those words to evoke an emotional response.

Quick Tip on Forging Relationships: Next time you have a conversation with someone listen to which sense they tend to use the most – do they say “I heard this…”, “I felt like…”, I keep seeing…”, “I could smell…”, or “I could taste…”? People tend to use one sense more than others, if you mirror (mimic the other side – in this case, focus on that describing an experience with that same sense) you will find that the other party is more receptive, which in turn can help develop a connection.

Walk Them Through the Steps

Once you’ve established your credibility and made a connection with someone, you’ve earned some degree of trust. This means that they are more likely to pay attention to your logical appeal. Careful not to be condescending, you should lay out each point, citing facts, statistics, and other evidence to back up what you are saying. During your logical appeal, don’t embellish with flowery language; simply lay out each point, leading them to your conclusion. End with a specific call to action to give your audience a purpose on which they can act.

Lead—Don’t Push

When you are trying to influence someone, whether to agree to a proposal or to make a purchase, it’s important not to push. The instant someone feels as though you are trying to push them in a specific direction, the natural response is to resist. In the end, even if you’re able to convince them, it will likely leave a sour taste in their mouth, which can cause distrust down the road. Someone once said that the definition of the word “diplomacy” is “the ability to let someone else get your way.” At SNI, that is what we teach, but we do it in a way that focuses on finding solutions that benefit you, while ensuring that others are satisfied in the process.