Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Artisan Fan, Mar 1, 2011.
Thank you for this thread!
Great thread, AF.
I have a lot of advice for presenters/teachers, but for business: Connections are everything, make them, keep them and treasure them.
If you're nervous about eye contact when presenting, don't actually look at their eyes. Look at their necks, foreheads, or shirts. Everyone will still think you're looking at them.
If you're *really* nervous about public speaking, focus on your voice, its inflection, pacing, and volume. You will be so focused on controlling it to sound how you like that you'll forget about all those eyes and ears on you.
New Rules for the Office Treat everybody well. Administrative or Executive Assistants? A rich source of quality information. Quality of work trumps face time. Is face time valued in your company? Find another company. In a consulting firm, collaboration is important. Have a hard time talking to senior people? Take a public speaking course. Builds confidence. Find a common interest. Executives, yeah I know a few. Most are hard working, good people. Not as many play golf as you think. Just regular people. Nothing to be afraid of. Show initiative. We had a very senior guy join my company. He was going to need some help in an area I work in. I sent him some background slides and a LinkedIn request. Made his life easier. Old advice of waiting for a proper introduction? No thanks. Cover your ass. There is backstabbing which sucks but what can you do. Look out from all angles. Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you. Need a raise or a promotion? Tell them about it but present an airtight case. Reticence? Those guys are still waiting. Of course, have your points prepped. How did you add value? What sales or improvements did you bring in? Have people in your favor to bear witness. Create internal champions like you do external champions at a client. Find a mentor at the company. This can be tricky but there is a certain personality type that is good at this.
Great stuff here, AF! Looking forward to your advice on negotiations.
Great stuff here, AF! Looking forward to your advice on negotiations.
Great idea...there is a terrific book on negotiations by a sports agent...will search my library.
I like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Ne.../dp/0140157352
Here ya go, this is money. Leigh Steinberg, the inspiration for the Jerry Maguire movie: http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Integr...9036597&sr=1-1
Cover your ass. There is backstabbing which sucks but what can you do. Look out from all angles. Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.
AF, I am interested to hear more about this. Can you dig deeper? I have found this to a big challenge especially when there are multiple consulting companies around. By the way, there is an incredible amount of stuff that you have put up here today, have you been writing this up for a while? Good stuff.
Great Thread AF! Awesome idea.
My experience is vastly limited in comparison with others here but one thing I'd like to share that worked well for me. It also saved me a lot of time and added work.
Backstory: I used to write reports that would be reviewed by the governing agency (usually city/county/other jurisdictions) and ultimately approved. These reports were part of the environmental process for new development and one of several areas that my clients had to get completed and approved before project approval. One area that worked well for me that others didn't follow was establishing a good relationship with those that would be reviewing and approving the document.
At the beginning, I'd make sure to call/meet them briefly and always keep them up to date as to what was going on. I made sure to get their approval right away on certain key details on what I will be analyzing and how I will be doing so, and in writing (e-mail). Once this information (data) had been approved, it was a safety valve of sorts for me as any future comment upon completion of the report concerning the changing/addition of this data (constant data), would just require my producing these documents showing it had already been signed off on. A very small change to this data would require me completely redoing the whole analysis. Since I always kept those reviewing my reports in the loop and getting them to sign off on it, I never had any comments regarding this data...even though others who didn't do this did and would complain about having to redo the whole report. This small investment of time sure covered my ass and saved a lot for time later on.
Also, for just about every report, I'd get comments back from the reviewing agency concerning certain issues they had with the report. This was inevitable because even if they had no concerns, they had to comment on something for job justification purposes. In these events, comments would just be the rearranging of sentences or wording something differently. 10 second changes.
Typically, I'd get an e-mail with an attachment letter of the comments the reviewing agency had. Usually there'd be about 10 comments. I'd look through them and most were just minor comments or changes they wanted to be made that were cosmetic and didn't have any effect on the actual data and analysis. The other ones I would be concerned with because I didn't agree with them. If I did agree, I'd just make the changes but it wouldn't be but an hour or so of work.
Others would just get the comments, bitch about them, make the changes, resubmit, get more comments back, and repeat the process. I never understood why they spent so much time revising reports (which was not billable by the way), when I wouldn't. I had already established a relationship and would a) look at all comments b) pick out the ones I agreed with and would change in the report, and c) pick out the ones I didn't agree with and would cost me a lot of additional time if I had to make those changes. Then I'd call the person who reviewed the analysis.
Right off the bat I would quickly bullshit about how busy they were and how business was doing. This also gave me info as to new development in the area. Then I'd tell them that I wanted to go over the comments for a couple minutes. I'd start by telling them that they had made some great comments and that we will get them squared away and get the report back in their hands quickly. I'd go over these comments I agreed with while giving praise. Basically, I was giving them a sense of self worth and making them feel good. Then I'd get into the comments I didn't agree with. I wouldn't say so, but one by one I'd go over those comments giving reasoning as to why I did what I did, and that while the comment was a valid one, the report was done in the correct fashion. Of course I'd explain so more eloquently than just telling them that what I did was right and better than what they wanted done. Usually, as the conversation progressed they'd start agreeing with my original analysis and just tell me to disregard that comment. By the time I hung up the phone, I'd only have 5 of the 10 comments left. Those 5 were the small inconsequential ones that I didn't care about. The 5 that I didn't like and would cause me a lot more work were removed by the reviewing agency.
In summation, I found that initiating conversation on a friendly level with praise towards the others work would loosen them up to the point that later on when it came down to the matters important to me, they were way more susceptible to change their original positions to suit mine. Even if they still stuck by their position, more often than not, by using this strategy of communication, they would be willing to give me the benefit of the doubt and disregard their stance.
Tl;dr version - Start a converation with respect and praise, and the chances that you get what you want increase dramatically. Should be common sense, but I rarely saw anyone else do it.
On selling: Product pitches never work. A client doesn't care about feature function. They want solutions that solve their pain points. How do I get more customers? How do I retain those customers? What do my highest value customers look like? How do I eliminate expense? How do I improve innovatiion? This type of consultative selling is proven. Want to learn more? Miller-Heiman is a great course.
I could answer all of these questions except the last one, legitimately, with "pretty young co-ed's". If I added "big tits" to the end of the sentence would I get some sort of McKinsey innovation award?
This is a great thread, AF. I know we don't always see eye to eye on politics, but all that aside, you get mad props for this. I'll add to the list a time-tested rule: Your big presentation should never, under any circumstances, be the first time anyone in the audience is hearing your argument, pitch, conclusions, recommendations, etc. Always make sure to talk things through with the key decisionmakers (ideally winning them over) before the big meeting, so that the meeting itself is almost a mere formality. This is not always possible, at least for everyone in the audience. But try to win over in advance as many key audience members as you can. Corollary: Nothing kills a great presentation more quickly than a confused audience member who derails you with "Wait, let's talk about this for a second before we move on." When you hear those dreaded words, or something similar, you're about to get derailed, and you're about to go down in flames. You can maximize your avoidance of this scenario by following the first rule, i.e., engaging everyone before the preso.
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Great great thread Lee. Thank you.
I like this with one small exception. I don't like Dopp kits. One of the secrets I learned from McKinsey is to buy gallon sized ziplocks...why? They lay flat in a rollerboard pocket. Also I stuff my socks into my shoes and fold any sport coats inside out which helps with wrinkles.
Agree. I'm planning a week long [recreational] trip and though I've always wanted to use dopp kits (those supple leather ones) they take up too much space (especially when using carry on luggage for a week). I will likely be using one of these:
Separate names with a comma.