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Archive for the tag “Finding help for my business”

Power – It’s a Good Thing

by Patricia Guerzo 

Think about the last time you were frustrated.  The problem was probably something outside of your control.  Being hit with a life challenge in one part of your life can sometimes make you feel powerless, and that feeling can linger.  If you could just flip a mental “switch” and get your mojo back!

While I have not found a switch per se, I have learned, observed, and practiced some techniques that can push away those frustrated, powerless feelings.

It’s helpful to look at the sources of power we can have.  The most obvious are reward power, and coercive power – the power of a bully.  While effective in the short-term, they are rarely appropriate for everyday situations.

Positional power is awarded to the boss.  Even if someone is not a powerful person, their title gives them power.  There’s not much one can do to tap into this source right away.  Fortunately, there are others.

Referent power is the power to attract others and build loyalty.  People with charisma, good looks, and interpersonal skills have a lot of this power.  They are powerful because people want to be around them.  Employees with referent power can stall company changes, or help them succeed.  Management needs to identify people on their team with this power source, and make sure they manage them.

Similarly, expert power comes from what you know.  People are drawn to your valuable expertise.  Experts are needed beyond their organizational chain of command, and may have a public presence.

Unlike positional power, referent and expert power are available for anyone to own.  You can become smarter, get into better shape, and learn how to be motivating for others.  Most of the ways to increase your power are free.  Books, blogs, and newsletters everywhere can tell you how to be a better listener, lose 5 pounds, or where to find your industry’s latest white paper.

So the next time you feel frustrated because things aren’t going your way, challenge yourself to increase your personal power.  Take a walk, read an article, call a friend to listen; they all will help.

Better yet, make a list of things you always wanted to learn, appearance-enhancing steps you might want to try, and ways you can improve your interpersonal skills.  Then when life delivers a challenge, you can select a way to regain some power and control.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

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Assertive Communication – 6 Tips For Effective Use

By Lee Hopkins

What IS assertive communication?

Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an  open, honest and direct way. It recognizes our rights whilst still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.

So why use assertive communication?

All of us use assertive behavior at times… quite often when we feel vulnerable or unsure of ourselves we may resort to submissive, manipulative or aggressive behavior.

Yet being trained in assertive communication actually increases the appropriate use of this sort of behavior. It enables us to swap old behavior patterns for a more positive approach to life. I’ve found that changing my response to others (be they work colleagues, clients or even my own family) can be exciting and stimulating.

The advantages of assertive communication

There are many advantages of assertive communication, most notably these:

  • It helps us feel good about ourselves and others
  • It leads to the development of mutual respect with others
  • It increases our self-esteem
  • It helps us achieve our goals
  • It minimizes hurting and alienating other people
  • It reduces anxiety
  • It protects us from being taken advantage of by others
  • It enables us to make decisions and free choices in life
  • It enables us to express, both verbally and non-verbally, a wide range of feelings and thoughts, both positive and negative

There are, of course, disadvantages…

Disadvantages of assertive communication

Others may not approve of this style of communication, or may not approve of the views you express. Also, having a healthy regard for another person’s rights means that you won’t always get what YOU want. You may also find out that you were wrong about a viewpoint that you held. But most importantly, as mentioned earlier, it involves the risk that others may not understand and therefore not accept this style of communication.

What assertive communication is not…

Assertive communication is definitely NOT a lifestyle! It’s NOT a guarantee that you will get what you want. It’s definitely NOT an acceptable style of communication with everyone, but at least it’s NOT being aggressive.

But it IS about choice

Four behavioral choices

There are, as I see it, four choices you can make about which style of communication you can employ. These types are:

direct aggression: bossy, arrogant, bulldozing, intolerant, opinionated, and overbearing

indirect aggression: sarcastic, deceiving, ambiguous, insinuating, manipulative, and guilt-inducing

submissive: wailing, moaning, helpless, passive, indecisive, and apologetic

assertive: direct, honest, accepting, responsible, and spontaneous

Characteristics of assertive communication

There are six main characteristics of assertive communication. These are:

  • eye contact: demonstrates interest, shows sincerity
  • body posture: congruent body language will improve the significance of the message
  • gestures: appropriate gestures help to add emphasis
  • voice: a level, well modulated tone is more convincing and acceptable, and is not intimidating
  • timing: use your judgment to maximize receptivity and impact
  • content: how, where and when you choose to comment is probably more important than WHAT you say

The importance of “I” statements

Part of being assertive involves the ability to appropriately express your needs and feelings. You can accomplish this by using “I” statements. These indicate ownership, do not attribute blame, focuses on behavior, identifies the effect of behavior, is direct and honest, and contributes to the growth of your relationship with each other.

Strong “I” statements have three specific elements:

  • Behavior
  • Feeling
  • Tangible effect (consequence to you)

Example: “I feel frustrated when you are late for meetings. I don’t like having to repeat information.”

Six techniques for assertive communication

There are six assertive techniques – let’s look at each of them in turn.

1. Behavior Rehearsal: which is literally practicing how you want to look and sound. It is a very useful technique when you first want to use “I” statements, as it helps dissipate any emotion associated with an experience and allows you to accurately identify the behavior you wish to confront.

2. Repeated Assertion (the ‘broken record’): this technique allows you to feel comfortable by ignoring manipulative verbal side traps, argumentative baiting and irrelevant logic while sticking to your point. To most effectively use this technique use calm repetition, and say what you want and stay focused on the issue. You’ll find that there is no need to rehearse this technique, and no need to ‘hype yourself up’ to deal with others.

Example:

“I would like to show you some of our products”
“No thank you, I’m not interested”
“I really have a great range to offer you”
“That may be true, but I’m not interested at the moment”
“Is there someone else here who would be interested?”
“I don’t want any of these products”
“Okay, would you take this brochure and think about it?”
“Yes, I will take a brochure”
“Thank you”
“You’re welcome”

3. Fogging: this technique allows you to receive criticism comfortably, without getting anxious or defensive, and without rewarding manipulative criticism. To do this you need to acknowledge the criticism, agree that there may be some truth to what they say, but remain the judge of your choice of action. An example of this could be, “I agree that there are probably times when I don’t give you answers to your questions.

4. Negative inquiry: this technique seeks out criticism about yourself in close relationships by prompting the expression of honest, negative feelings to improve communication. To use if effectively you need to listen for critical comments, clarify your understanding of those criticisms, use the information if it will be helpful or ignore the information if it is manipulative. An example of this technique would be, “So you think/believe that I am not interested?”

5. Negative assertion: this technique lets you look more comfortably at negatives in your own behavior or personality without feeling defensive or anxious, this also reduces your critics’ hostility. You should accept your errors or faults, but not apologize. Instead, tentatively and sympathetically agree with hostile criticism of your negative qualities. An example would be, “Yes, you’re right. I don’t always listen closely to what you have to say.”

6. Workable compromise: when you feel that your self-respect is not in question, consider a workable compromise with the other person. You can always bargain for your material goals unless the compromise affects your personal feelings of self-respect. However, if the end goal involves a matter of your self-worth and self-respect, THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE. An example of this technique would be, “I understand that you have a need to talk and I need to finish what I’m doing. So what about meeting in half an hour?”

Conclusion

Assertiveness is a useful communication tool. It’s application is contextual and it’s not appropriate to be assertive in all situations. Remember, your sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others.

There’s also no guarantee of success, even when you use assertive communication styles appropriately.

“Nothing on earth can stop the individual with the right mental attitude from achieving their goal; nothing on earth can help the individual with the wrong mental attitude” W.W. Ziege

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination. Lee Hopkins can show you how to communicate better for better business results. At Hopkins-Business-Communication-Training.com you can find the secrets to communication success.

Proper Etiquette For Your Business Power Lunch

By Don Doman

Power lunches don’t just happen. If you leave them to chance you might end up at half-power. As in all business communications, power lunches start well before you sit down to talk . . . or eat.

Here’s what to do before your client arrives for lunch:

          • If it is up to you to suggest the restaurant, have one in mind that will be conducive to conversation. A sports bar just doesn’t make it.
          • Call and make reservations. If you are familiar with the restaurant and the staff, ask for a table that will suit your meeting.
          • Call your client to confirm. Inform the client that reservations have been made under your name.
      • Arrive early so you can make sure everything is in order.
      • Talk to your waitperson and give them your credit card. Learn the waitperson’s name.
      • Look over the menu and decide on your order.
      • Order something non-alcoholic to drink while you wait.
      • Be well aware of your client’s interests so you can easily slide in and out of small talk.
      • Keep your cell phone on vibrate in case your client needs to cancel. This way you’ll not be kept waiting at the table through lunch.

Before you even think about a power lunch you should of course brush up on your table manners. If you are in doubt, and even if you are pretty sure, it never hurts to review proper dining etiquette. One of my favorite etiquette training programs is called The Art of Dining: The Business Lunch. The video covers the basics and acts as a good reminder for the steps involved as well as table manners.

“Hosted by Marjabella Young Stewart, this program dramatically increases your social confidence when dining as a host or guest.

The business lunch includes setting up your appointment, choosing the restaurant, ordering the meal, managing hard-to-handle foods, tipping and ending the meeting. Stewart is internationally known through her television appearances on “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.”

This video will help stop you from making the wrong moves and pave the way for an enjoyable business lunch that should make good friends and good clients.”

– Ad copy for The Art of Dining: The Business Lunch

For less than hundred dollars this wonderful training video will repay you many times over. You can share the video with your fellow employees, or keep it to yourself.

The next step involved in the business or power lunch begins when your client arrives. The waitperson will probably show your client to your table and then take drink orders.

  • If your client orders an alcoholic drink you should consider ordering one, but no more.
  • The time it takes for the waitperson to reappear is time for small talk about the food, about the weather, about the client’s interests.
  • If the client asks what’s tasty and well prepared at the restaurant, you can offer your favorites.
  • While the client looks over the menu, turn your cell phone completely off.
  • When the waitperson returns ask them to list the specials, and place your order.
  • After the order has been placed you may begin talking about business.

Enjoy the meal, enjoy the conversation, and enjoy your business dealings. You both should be in a good mood following a well thought-out business power lunch.

Don Doman is a published author, video producer, and corporate trainer. He owns the business training site Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com), which he says is the home of the no-hassle “free preview” for business training videos. He also owns Human Resources Radio (http://www.humanresourcesradio.com), which broadcasts HR and business training information, program previews, and training samples from some of the world’s great training speakers twenty-four hours a day. You can listen and learn on Human Resources Radio.

Try a Virtual Assistant

by Keridak Kae Silk

Virtual Assistants are usually home-based workers, who have a wide variety of expertise valuable to businesses.  In this way business can have the luxury of a secretary, a “Girl Friday”, a greeter, gate keeper, book keeper, social net-worker, techie… and on the list can go. Each VA has their own set of skills and abilities.

Owning and running any business is time consuming.   It is important to decide how best to spend your time.  Isn’t  it best spent making money, working directly with clients?  Wouldn’t you rather spend your time following your passion? If so, make a list of all the tasks that are needed to successfully run your business. Include all the tasks that you wish you had time to get to.

Perhaps, you’d like to start a blog or create a following with twitter. Perhaps, you are ready to create an event. (With all the possibilities of receiving payment, keeping track of ticket sales, marketing the event, and what if there is a chicken or fish option?) How to you find the time?

The great thing is that you don’t have to. Virtual Assistants fill the gaps and free you up to do the things that you do best.  Most businesses don’t think twice about hiring an accountant or book keeper.  Use that same freeing way of thinking for the other tasks you may have been avoiding or just haven’t had the time to get to.  Take your list and look for a VA to fill the gap.

Virtual Assistants range from the new & less experienced to those with strong, well managed, high tech skills.  Fees also have a wide range.  You need to decide your budget, the level of expertise you will need and the level of professionalism.  Is your business best served by a bargain basement VA or are you ready to work with higher end, high skilled professionals?

Once you have a list of needs; go through and rate each with how important it is to your business success.  Then go through the list again and place a star next to the things that you either love to do or feel you cannot let go of.  All the tasks that are left are possible tasks that a VA can take off your hands.

This article may be published in your blog or newsletter by including the following:

Authored by Keridak Kae Silk, MS, DTM: Virtual Freedom VA Services/Funding Success Grant Services, 866-279-8666, keri@fundingsuccess.us , http://www.fundingsuccess.us/wp/

The Attitude of Entitlement and How to Fix It!

By Stephen J. Blakesley 

 

Recently, I spoke to a wonderful group of Human Resource executives. The group from the Houston area known as the Bay Area Human Resources Management Association (BAHRMA) met to “sharpen their saws.” I was asked to participate and shared my thoughts on Strategic Performance, its value and how to get it.

During the presentation a young lady raised her hand to comment and told of a situation that echoes around our country, today; She told of an attitude of “Entitlement with which they struggle.”

The “Big E,” as we call it, is when employees express their belief that others and the organization to which they belong, are somehow blessed by their presence. Often there is no evidence supporting their right to a favored state, just a belief in their own minds that they, somehow, deserve special treatment, recognition, pay or all three.

She put it like this; “We are consistently faced with younger employees believing that we (older employees and the company) are somehow fortunate in our association with them.

They come to work late or miss deadlines and believe it to be Okay,” she says. “It seems, as if, they believe the organization should be thankful that they decided to come to work, at all.”

The Entitlement attitude seems to be more prevalent among younger employees. Our experience has been that many of the Generation Y employees do, somehow, believe that they have a right to a job. A belief, I support, at least in part. I believe that there is work for anyone who wants to work, not necessarily the work you may want, but work from which you can earn a living. That does, somewhat, differ from the Generation Y notion.

So, what can or should you do about an attitude of entitlement, whether it comes from Generation Y employees or elsewhere? We believe that corporate America is in control and if the attitude of Entitlement is an issue, in your company, you can do something about it. Here is what we recommend:

  1. Clearly state expectations before you hire anyone.
  2. Get agreement before you hire
  3. Have a “Zero Tolerance Policy”
  4. Operate with integrity

Many organizations complain about poor attitudes but shoot themselves in the foot by not being clear about the values of the organization, their expectations of the employee and enforcing their own rules. Organizations should know their values and clearly share them with potential employees, but few do, they should create a “Top Ten Reasons People Work for XYZ Corp.”, A Values Statement, and a clear, easy to read statement of expectations in the job a candidate is being asked to fill. Get them to sign and date those documents and keep them as a permanent record that the candidate acknowledged your expectation and agreed to them. That document should go in the employee file. That takes care of item 1 & 2, now let’s talk about the rest.

Many organizations want people who have a great attitude, many do not, but it is their own fault. They continue to believe that they can put into someone something that is not there, hire someone that is marginal, and somehow expect superior performance. That seldom occurs. The key to having the right people and attitudes on your bus is hiring excellent people, in the first place and realizing we are all human and make mistakes, sometimes hiring the wrong person. When you hire someone who does not wish to adhere to something they agreed to before the hiring and obviously the wrong person for the job, fire them. That takes care of 3 & 4 above.

Applying these four simple rules will, I guarantee, diminish the number of employees that believe they are entitled to their jobs, but most importantly, send a clear message to the many people in your organization that you value their good work ethics and operate with integrity.

Stephen J. Blakesley, Managing Partner, GMS Talent L P ( http://www.gmstalent.com ) is a Successful Entrepreneur, Marketeer, Author, Radio Show Host, and Speaker. His two, most recent books, “The Target-The Secret to Superior Performance; ( http://www.targetthebook.com ) and Strategic Hiring – Tomorrow’s Benefits Today are top resources for business owners, mangers and C-Level executives.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_J._Blakesley

  

Employee Issues Resolved

Have you ever thought one thing was your problem, only to find out it was something different?

In business, it is especially painful to solve a symptom instead of the root cause. The money spent is essentially wasted on a band-aid. Instead you should focus on preventative care or surgery that cures the root of the problem.

At Guerzo Business Solutions Center, we have heard employees described alternately as, “The problem that keeps on giving;” and “We are just like a family with the infighting and favoritism.”  Does this sound familiar?

In a small business, any dynamic can become an issue due to a lack of written procedures on the jobs, policies, and company. The problems that result look like unmotivated employees, finger-pointing errors, ducking and covering, turnover, and a lack of profitable growth.   Because the owner created the whole dynamic, he often does not have the perspective to change it.

This is where Guerzo Business Solutions Center can be your employee relations team.  With a MBA concentration in Organizational Design, and an Internal Auditor Certification, Patti Guerzo is well positioned to see the root cause and fix it the first time.

Here is a situation Guerzo Business Solutions Center (GBSC) addressed in 2010.

A 2-location medical spa was experiencing employee non-compliance to policies and disrespect toward management.  The negative environment was evident to clients, and was also causing staff turnover.

Our field process began with a DISC Assessment of each employee to understand their underlying personalities, and a confidential interview with each.  This led to a report of findings, which identified previously unknown issues.  After agreeing on each point, we prioritized the list, and GBSC created a project timeline.  Patti coached the owner and management to understand the rules and policies that created the friction.

The specific fixes and outcomes for this client:

  • Job descriptions for all, included in the employee manual
  • Revised policies, compliant with all rules
  • Employee handbook rewritten to increase motivation and commitment
  • Retool employee goal tracking system
  • New Team incentive geared off company sales
  • Assessment of how the business can increase profitability
  • Two problem employees quit
  • One problem employee was terminated
  • Better morale and increased trust from remaining staff

The owner now has the confidence to make future changes without jeopardizing the progress he has already made.

What are the employee concerns in your company? Do you know? Imagine how your company would benefit from having a field assessment. How would your company morale, employee and client satisfaction grow through clear employee handbooks, tailored HR training and other proven techniques?

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com/contact_us.asp

Finding Help in Difficult Business Times

When was the last time you asked yourself, “What do I want?”

Business owners may begin by asking that question, but it soon gets replaced by others – That bill is due already?  Sally called in sick?  Our insurance premium went up again? Over time, “what I want” turns into “what I am left with.” 

This thinking hurts the precious optimism and bravery necessary for the owner to overcome the noise and hassles of running a business.  Like household dust, it can’t be seen, but over time, covers every aspect of the business.  Pessimism easily recalls the reasons why it didn’t work before, even if the attempt was done poorly.  Any attempt to change is shot down as foolish – just wait until the economy improves; no one is spending.

And the worst part is, the owner doesn’t see it coming.  He/She started the business, or bought it, because he was optimistic that it would be a success. 

 What is an owner to do?

Accept that no person is an island, and find someone to help you.  Sometimes, an owner can benefit from someone to listen to the problems, and shed new light on them.  That someone should meet a few criteria to ensure the advice is trustworthy.

The most important quality of this person is their objectivity.  You need to be free to share your dreams and fears without them coming up at Thanksgiving or the company holiday party. If the listener has a financial interest in the company’s outcome, the listener cannot be objective.  This rules out employees and most spouses. 

The next quality is experience.  It is important that any advice you act on comes from someone who has experience, and who stands behind it later.  I once heard an owner tell of someone they met on a bus whose comment changed their whole strategy.  She did not remember his name, or know his business background.

The last is chemistry.  If you don’t like someone in the first hour, chances are that in two months you will feel the same way.  The right confidante will make you more confident.  Your fears will take a back seat to goals and optimism.  And the owner who started the business will see their vision come to pass. 

 Or, you can remain an island, and wait until the government fixes everything for us.   

 Here is a commentary about change.  While change can be easy (usually when it’s intended for others), or difficult (ourselves), it is most definitely fragile.  Read on:

It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system.  For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones. 

 

The hesitation of the latter arises in part from the fear of their adversaries, who have the laws on their side, and in part from the general skepticism of mankind which does not really believe in an innovation until experience proves its value.

 

So it happens that whenever his enemies have occasion to attack the innovator they do so with the passion of partisans while the others defend him sluggishly so that the innovator and his party are alike vulnerable. 

 This was written in 1513 by Niccolo Machiavelli.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com/contact_us.asp

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