Being influential is not about manipulation. To the contrary, it’s about helping others become better and more successful. The power of language is the most overlooked skill by business leaders. While the message, the content, and the purpose might have great merit, if the delivery is poor, the results for everyone is poor. The mistake those that desire to influence make is that they rarely are strategic or thoughtful about the delivery.
Do you want to become better at influencing others whether at work or at home? The do this – uncover what motivates the other person; deliver your message in words that improve their condition, not yours; exude positive outcomes rather than negative consequences; improve your vocabulary; practice your delivery; listen “in the moment;” and remember your not in a competition. Your delivery of whatever message you’re trying to send will fall on deaf ears if given badly. Alternatively, if your motive is to make everyone better, then deliver that message in a way that motivates. Words have great power. Your ability to deliver those words with influence is a skill. Learn how to leverage both and you will become a person of influence.
© 2015 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved
This week’s quote –
~ Winston Churchill
P.S. My new book has an entire chapter dedicated to influential language. It’s called Unleashed Articulation. You can purchase the book – with that chapter ready to help you – below. What are you waiting for?
This one-hour webinar workshop is specifically tailored for small business owners (1 to 100 employees). I constantly hear that there is simply not enough time or budget to spend on crisis strategy and disaster recovery planning.
Okay…now I’ve got your solution!
By attending this live and interactive workshop, you will walk away with your very own disaster recovery game plan for your business. I will walk you step by step through the process, so you will have an actionable plan ready to implement. You will be able to ask questions along the way AND have email access to me for up to 72 hours after the workshop.
September is National Preparedness Month, so it’s an ideal time to get your plan in place. For the investment of one hour and $50, your return will be potentially massive. Don’t leave the viability of your business and the well being of your employees to chance. Being unprepared is negligent. Conquer crisis in your business and safeguard all you’ve worked for.
Register now by clicking on this link~ space is limited.
Note ~ Don’t sit on this information if you’re not a small business owner. Pass this on to your boss, your friends, your clients, your peers, and your colleagues that are. This workshop may just save their business and you will be a hero!
P.S. The workshop will be recorded and sent to all registrants, so they can keep it forever. Also works in case they can’t be there live.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
That is the new question. No longer is it, “what are you going to do when you grow up?” That is for 5th graders who still dream of being professional football players and veterinarians (both things I wanted to do until I realized that I had no talent in the former and I had no stomach to put pets down for the latter). This new question causes a lot of anxiety for both high school and college students, but most especially those matriculating with a 4-year degree from a university.
I know first hand.
My daughter Kelli just recently graduated from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh with a degree in sports management and an emphasis on marketing. She was working with the Pittsburgh Marathon in a job she really enjoyed, yet she was ready to head back home after 4 years. As we talked, she was feeling a little depressed. Her comments centered around the pressure of having to answer this question…over and over again. She knew that she would be asked by well-meaning family, friends, and people in the community she knew. At one point she told me, “maybe I will just tell them that I interviewed with Art Vandalay!” (Art Vandalay was the classic fictitious character that George Costanza made up in Seinfeld)
Here’s the deal…
College kids dread this question because they feel like a failure if they don’t have an answer. There has been so much pressure put on them by parents (yes…that’s right I’m talking to parents and that included me), family, society, and themselves that it actually inhibits their ability to properly strategize. They end up taking jobs they don’t like or offer no career advancement just for the sake of getting a job. Don’t get me wrong, earning some money in a temporary job is fine as long as you have a plan to move forward. No plan usually means no light at the end of the tunnel. All the graduation speeches about having you whole life ahead of you; of being bold and assertive; and of changing the world all vanish when the stress of the implications of this question bubble to the surface.
What are you going to do when you graduate? The right answer for many young adults is, “I don’t know yet, but I’ve got a plan.”
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Want to know how to create your own personal plan to accelerate into the career you will love and takes advantage of all the work you did in college? Then join me on September 30th and October 1st for a dynamic workshop that will help guide you to being “unleashed” on the world! Learn more by clicking here!
It never ceases to amaze me when executives and business owners delay or simply refuse to put a strategic crisis plan in place for their business. I see it over and over again with small businesses. Quite honestly, it’s negligent on their part. They risk their profit, their revenue, their employee’s future, their reputation, and the impact to their supply chain. Other than that, it’s not a big deal.
Later today, I am hosting a webinar for executives in the assisted living and elder care community on the topic. These are some quick bullet points on the reasons to invest time and resources towards a plan. If you are in a position where you’re ultimately responsible for the sustainability and resiliency of an organization, you should all me. Or, allow me to put it this way – If you want to assure that no crisis is fatal to your business, you should call me. You will get a plan that meets these objectives:
- To maximize the prevention of crisis or disaster situations from ever occurring.
- To minimize the likelihood of any suspension of operations.
- To minimize interruptions to the normal operations.
- To limit the extent of disruption and damage.
- To minimize the economic impact of the interruption.
- To establish alternative means of operation in advance.
- To train personnel with emergency procedures.
- To provide for smooth and rapid restoration of service.
- To assure that no crisis is fatal to the organization.
- To set up a communication procedure for employees, supply chain, media, and community.
Hola. Me llamo Dan Weedin. Como esta usted?
Okay, that’s NOT the bilingual I meant, but I wanted to take this brief opportunity to show off and grab your attention.
Being bilingual is critical to your success as an executive, business leader, entrepreneur, and sales professional. Unfortunately, most of you only speak one “language,” and in so doing leave others confused and money on the table. Allow me to explain…
Coming out of the insurance and risk mitigation world, we have our own special jargon. We like to talk about exposures, hazards, perils, exclusions, redundancy, and coinsurance. We reference ITV, ACV, BI, RC, BOR, and DIC. It’s clear to us, but gibberish to normal people. Unfortunately, I’ve watched professionals in my industry use terms and acronyms like this when speaking with current and prospective clients. To say this is painful for their listeners is an understatement. What’s worse is that important information is being misinterpreted and rejected because the message is flawed. They are speaking the wrong language.
I am on the school board in my community. In the beginning, I was inundated with academic-speak. I thought that insurance jargon was confusing. Hang around a school district for a while and you’ll feel like you’re in a different country! The perceived lack of “transparency” and communication to the public is really a misnomer. They are speaking the wrong language.
This affliction is rampant in all industries, yet gets pervasive when the content gets more complex. CFOs, financial executives, financial planners, insurance agents, and attorneys may lead the pack. In an effort to be influential, they lead with methodology instead of results; and speak in their language rather than the intended audience’s. The results are misunderstandings, frustration, extra work, lost time, lost opportunity, and stress. If you want to be influential, you need to become bilingual. You must speak in a manner that is easy to comprehend and clearly states your call to action.
So let’s get started on getting you a quick and simple Business Language 101 lesson! Here are my seven techniques to becoming bilingual and influential:
Translate your language into their language. Stop using jargon that only you know. Find other words to be descriptive. If you must use industry jargon, take the time to explain it. Drop all acronyms, even if you think they know it. If it’s highly technical, make it simple. You already have credibility; your goal is now results.
Strategic or tactical? If you’re speaking to the CEO or business owner, you need to be strategic. Strategic is the WHY. This means big picture; visionary; results; and ramifications. If you’re speaking to vendors, direct reports, or employees, you need to be tactical. This is the HOW. This means techniques, specificity, and instructional. Know your audience and what motivates them to act.
Be results-oriented. Too many of my colleagues get caught up in their methodology. Most people don’t care about the intricacies of how the car starts. They only care about the results of the car starting. Change your language to results — increased sales; reduced risk; improved morale; decreased drama; enhanced product. If you stay focused on results over methodology, people will be more engaged.
Become a storyteller. Since we were children, we humans have always cherished being told a story. This is even truer in a business environment. Become adept at taking personal stories and using them as a metaphor for a business outcome. I promise that people will remember your message more clearly if you have a witty story attached to it. The best speakers in the world always use stories. You should, too.
Add humor. No cheesy jokes; I’m talking about light and appropriate humor to add sizzle to your steak. Stories are the best way to uncover your humor. People learn when they laugh. That’s why advertisers use it. Have some fun and practice this. You will become an object of interest if you do, and that is part of being influential.
Limit technology. Only use a slide presentation if it adds value to your presentation through images. Images. Don’t fill space with bullet points and text. Don’t read to people. I guarantee they already know how! The focus should be on your words, not words on a screen. Simple graphs, charts and images can enhance your message. Use technology for good, not evil.
Call to action. Always leave with a call to action. Even in a one-on-one conversation, you need to be direct and specific about what you want to happen next. Never assume that your verbiage implied next steps. Be clear, concise and direct.
My professional mentor Alan Weiss espouses that language controls conversations; conversations control relationships; and relationships control business. If you’re going to maximize your influence in business, you must maximize your relationships. The best way to do that is to be influential. You can’t be influential if you’re not understood. Become bilingual by turning the complex into simple, and your results will be increased influence, enhanced credibility, and improved outcomes.
Hasta la vista, baby!
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Follow on Twitter – @danweedin
Last Sunday, my hometown Seahawks had an uncharacteristic breakdown on the final play of the first half, which nearly cost them a game.
They lined up with 2 seconds left to kick a chip shot field goal and increase their 7-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans. This is about as routine a play in the game as there is, as it’s akin to kicking an Extra Point. There was, however, one major problem. Earlier in the quarter, the Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka was injured making a tackle (or literally getting run over). He had to be taken into the locker room to be examined. NFL teams (unlike in college) don’t have the flexibility of carrying backup kickers on their limited roster. For the Hawks, the duty went to punter Jon Ryan.
The Seahawks did a decent job of getting the ball as close as possible for Ryan to attempt his first ever NFL field goal. As the snap came back, backup holder (and defensive back) Chris Maragos mishandled the low snap, tried to pick it up and run, and in a scene straight out of the Keystone Cops, fumbled the ball forward. The ball was scooped up by a Titans player who raced 90 yards to the end zone for an unbelievable touchdown to take the lead at halftime. The Century Link crowd, the Seahawks, and their coach Pete Carroll were stunned. Fortunately for the home team, they overcame that adversity and pulled out a win. After the game in his press conference, Carroll took the blame. He admitted in retrospect that the decision to put his players in a position to fail was “egregious.” They had not had enough practice time and it was set up for a disaster. In hindsight, he would have simply gone for the touchdown with 2 seconds left.
As a crisis management expert, I look at this play as a microcosm of business (much easier to accomplish because the Seahawks won the game). Carroll did the right thing with his mea culpa and taking responsibility. The interesting thing is a similar situation occurred in a playoff game last year against the Washington Redskins. Even though a kicker getting hurt is pretty unlikely, the need to be completely ready and prepared remains.
Here are some other salient points…
1. NFL teams are always prepared for an injury to their most important player, the quarterback. The likelihood and significance is greater than the kicker. The backup (redundancy) is always ready to go. Business is the same way. You are ready for that fire, windstorm, or earthquake. However, how ready are you for the minor “injury” that could cost you big time? Your injured kicker might be an intruder due to lack of security; a wet floor in the office cafeteria just waiting for someone to slip; or an inefficiency in the production line that sends out a defective product. Are you too focused on the big picture and overlooking the other perils?
2. To make a field goal or extra point in an NFL game, you must have three things work well – the snap, the hold, and the kick. Any one of those things that goes awry will create a problem. The Hawks had a backup plan. They had their punter Jon Ryan ready to kick. Unfortunately, Ryan is the regular holder. Maragos probably takes under 5 snaps a week in practice to prepare for this. The snap was low and mishandled. You undoubtedly have processes that require precision and consistency. What happens if your redundancy isn’t prepared to deal with less than perfect conditions? Are your backups ready to handle a low snap?
3. Can you bounce back? The Seahawks regrouped and were able to respond to adversity. Why? I can’t say with certainty as I wasn’t involved with the play other than screaming from my living room. What I can imagine is that Carroll, as any good CEO or President, took the blame, remained calm, trusted in his management (coaches) and employees (team) and stayed on the plan. What’s your plan in crisis? Do you have one? Is it written, communicated, and practiced? How can you move forward without one?
4. Timing is everything. This calamity happened with a whole second half to play. If it had been the final play of the game, all would have been lost. What if your crisis falls in it’s worst time. For the Seahawks, they lose a game (which in their business is crucial). For you, you might lose your business.
You’re in the “what if” business as an executive. This is a strategy decision. Like Carroll, it’s your responsibility to make sure all the “what ifs” have answers that are clearly communicated and implemented. In the end, you’re the one that faces your board of directors, employees, customers, media, community, and your family.
What are you doing to assure that your team is ready to compete for a championship? This year wasn’t without its adversity and I guarantee next year will give you ample opportunity to overcome adversity. They always do. The better prepared and ready you are to meet hose challenges, the more likely you will be playing for a championship at the end of your “season!”
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Decision making is always a hot topic when discussing leadership. Yes, there are many factors that go into making strategic decisions, but I would wager that over 95% of decisions we make every day as a business professional/executive and as a person can be made swiftly and simply. We just make it harder than it needs to be.
Decision making is fraught with peril when we over analyze, over think, and self edit. There are really only 3 steps according to the Weedin method to make sound decisions. Here they are…
1. Will you be better off? Will you be happier, smarter, richer, better looking, thinner, have more hair, or take strokes off your golf game? Whatever the result you want, are you better off? If this is a hard question to answer after about 60 seconds of pondering, then you simply don’t have enough information to continue going on. Note – this isn’t about ROI (yet). It is a simple yes or no question. Will your condition be improved?
2. Can you afford it? Money is always a legitimate concern, yet we often use it as an excuse to delay or send someone away because we simply don’t want something. When I say “afford,” I really mean it. Can you make this investment without potentially crippling your organization or yourself? Do you have budget for it? Even if it’s more than you thought, will you be able to sleep at night if you go forward? Money is NOT a resource issue; rather it’s a priority issue. “Can you afford it” means that you are willing to allocate money away from something else for the value received
3. Do I believe it? Is the Return on Investment real to you? Do you believe in it? This involves trust and experience in the person or organization you’re dealing with. It means that the person, service, or product has sufficient credibility for you. Not only will you be better off, but you will be exponentially better off. If I asked you to invest $100 with me and I promised you a 10 to 1 return of $1,000 in 6 months, the only way you would do that is if you had full confidence in me, my process, my product, and/or my word. I would have to be credible and you would have to believe in me.
The biggest fear that decision makers have is they will make a wrong decision. Memo…there are no guarantees in life except for taxes (even when the government is closed because they can take your money, they just can’t write you a check) and death. If you allow fear to paralyze you through the self editing and the over thinking process, the delay or lack of action have greater consequences.
Don’t make decision making harder than it needs to be. Look at my 3 steps and understand that in nearly 100% of the decisions you will make today and in the future, this process will serve you well. It doesn’t guarantee that the decision is right (that’s what hindsight is for), but it will allow you to move forward.
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved