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Is Your Voice Camera-Ready?

Raise your hand if you hate the sound of your voice when you hear it on a video… I bet if we were in a room asking that question everyone would have their hand raised. But here’s the thing: It’s not actually your voice that’s the problem: it’s what you do with your voice that makes it hard to listen to, and undermines your authority and charisma.

Now that we’ve acknowledged the elephant in the room, let’s look at why it happens, and what you can do about it.

One common goal of any appearance on camera is to come across as a confident and charismatic leader, representing your organization, company, or industry. You want to draw people in and connect with the audience… all of which is much easier said than done.

With all that pressure, knowing your performance will be immortalized on video, most people get nervous on camera; that’s totally normal, even when you’re comfortable with your content. And we all know about putting on a “poker face,” i.e. not letting your facial expressions show your true feelings to the world. But your face isn’t the only thing that can put our feelings on display.

Your voice will tattle on you faster than a kindergartener.

So let’s look at some ways to project a strong, clear, compelling vocal delivery. (You can jump to the end and click the photo with the video link if you want to hear demonstrations of these concepts.)

Sounding Confident

You know how they say dogs can smell fear? Well, people can hear fear. So what does fear sound like?

There are two key factors that will either create or destroy a confident voice.

The first is breath support. When you’re nervous, you subconsciously tense up and breathe shallowly from your shoulders. This pinches your voice, and makes you run out of air too fast, resulting in what’s referred to as “vocal fry.”

Vocal fry also happens when you’re hesitant, maybe because you’re afraid of making a mistake, or just feeling self-conscious. When your brain is holding back, your voice will too.

Of course, if you truly admire the way the Kardashians speak (read: irony) and want to emulate them as modern-day leaders, then keep doing what you’re doing, and fry-away.

But when you take a nice deep breath from your belly and open your throat to let your voice flow freely, it resonates in your chest cavity and head and takes on a full, rich sound.

The second is tonality, or intonation patterns, where you put your high and low pitches in your speech.

On the one hand, there are those of you who are so focused on your getting your content right and sounding smart, that there’s very little tonal variation in your voice, so you come across as robotic. That stiffness comes across as awkward and uncomfortable. It can also make you sound more like the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off than someone who is really passionate about her topic.

On the other hand, another common pattern is referred to as “up-speak” or “up-talk,” which is that lilting pattern that sounds like you’re constantly inflecting “Right?” “Okay?” and “You know?” at every turn, and asking questions rather than making statements. This also sounds insecure, as those implied questions are persistently begging for validation: You’re right! Yes! Okay! I hear you – now stop asking questions!

And contrary to the examples in that last video link and popular stereotypes, men do this just as much as women, older and younger. There are other reasons and patterns for when this happens which I’ll have to detail in another post, or drop me a line if you’re dying for more info. But don’t assume that you’re innocent just because you’re not a recent college grad.

Strong, confident, positive intonation puts the highest pitch on the most important words for emphasis, and drops the pitch at the end of sentences, just like a “vocal period.” This declarative tone sounds confident and trustworthy.

The most engaging voice incorporates good breath support for a full, resonant voice, as well as strategically varied intonation, with the ups and downs in all the right places. Want a demo? Click on the picture below and see what you think!

Once you put all this together, you’ll realize that all those annoying habits that made you think you hate your voice have disappeared, and what you’re left with is your very best “camera-ready voice.”

Of course, it’s a lot easier to hear about different voice qualities and habits than it is to read about the sound of your voice. So if you really want to wrap your head – and your ears – around some of these ideas, here’s a quick three-minute video that demonstrates some of the major vocal pitfalls to avoid, and on the flip-side, strategies to help you sound like the confident, charismatic, persuasive leader you want to be.

Growth Management Personal Development

Birds of a Feather

You know the saying, birds of a feather flock together, but have you ever considered what that means for your business or organization?

In this discussion the birds are your workforce, your employees. Top talent, the Rock Stars that seem to be so elusive want to be in organizations that not only appreciate their hard work and talent, but also don’t put up with mediocrity from everyone else. When you find an organization filled with A players it is because they flock to each other, they support each other, they inspire, influence, and make work a great place to be.

Do you have the Rock Stars that I’m talking about the A and B players? Those who go above and beyond, have new creative ideas, get behind the company and mission, and bend over backwards for your clients and customers? Or do you have average or below average workers (C and D players)? You know who I am talking about, those employees that do the bare minimum to get by or even worse aren’t doing much of anything.

When you find an organization with C and D players it seems like everyone is just hanging in there; no one really cares about doing better. They are getting by with just enough to keep them employed and everyone around them is doing the same. What incentive do they have to become A or B players and why would the A and B players stick around? People want to be around like-minded individuals.

The same is true outside of work. Have you ever looked at social circles and noticed what they have in common? Usually they have a lot in common. The type of work they do, the amount of money they make, how they spend their money, their health, and their ambitions You don’t often find groups with a big mix because like attracts like and that rule is the same whether you are looking at social circles, family dynamics, or work environments.

It has been said that you will become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around. How does that translate to your business? It means that your business cannot be better than the average of your workforce?

Okay, I know this might sound depressing, so let’s look at the ways to employ Rock Star talent, not only in hiring them off the bat, but turning your average employees into A and B players.

Hire Differently – It is no longer acceptable to hire the way you have in the past. A job description does not actually provide the right information to determine if someone is going to be a top performer or an average one. The experience people have on paper is not who they are and you have to hire the whole person, not just the person’s experience.

For example, my resume reads very well, with lots of technical experience in a very niche cyber security field. If I were to apply to a job where that experience fit the job description I would be a great candidate. But when you peel back the layers of who I am and get to the deeper levels of the whole person I make a horrible candidate for that position. They need someone who can ask the same questions over and over again, enjoys working independently, and is happy to write the same long report for every client. While I can do those things and have done those things with great success I was not happy with the work because I like change and innovation, I like to be in a community and collaborate, and I like to deliver creatively. That job was not one that I was going to innovate, go above and beyond for, find new solutions, or stick around for more than a few years.

It’s about creating a personality or persona for the position and matching the candidate to it before looking at skills and experience. Someone can learn a skill if they are the right match energetically for the position and do much better than someone who has the experience and is not an energetic match for the work.

If a position requires the individual spend 50% their time working independently and the person applying loves to be around and collaborate with people they may have a hard time being engaged and could eventually become an average employee, or they will leave. This of course is just one of many examples on how a person needs to align with the position at a much deeper level than skill set.

There are lots of ways to do this and tools you can use. I personally use the Core Values Index (CVI) to do this and am happy to tell you more about it, just shoot me an email to sharon@c-suiteresults.com subject line: Tell me more about the CVI for hiring.

Create a Culture of Engagement – This does not necessarily mean Ping-Pong tables in the break room or really cool employee benefits like wearing jeans to work and discount movie tickets. A culture of engagement has to do with your workforce being aligned with the mission of the organization, doing work that lights them up, and going above and beyond because they want to provide excellence.

In my 10+ years as a consultant I rarely saw this type of engaged culture; mainly I saw fairly toxic environments, which is why I wrote The Corporate Detox (www.amazon.com or www.c-suiteresults.com/book.) There were too many employees dissatisfied, too many managers who were disengaged from their teams, and too many projects that were behind schedule and over budget.

Engagement happens when people feel heard and honored for who they are and how they work. Trying to fit all employees into a mold of when they come to work or how they work will create disengaged employees. I understand that you can’t have employees coming to work at noon and there has to be some core hours that everyone is working, but you can honor each employee by hearing them, knowing them, and tailoring as much as you can to who they are.

This means having real conversations and caring about your people. Not just once a year during the annual review, but continuously. Do you know their career goals, do they know their career goals, do you know about them on a personal level, do you ask questions beyond that of what they are working on? When people feel heard they will naturally be more engaged. This is not about more employee satisfaction surveys, this is about getting out from behind your desk and talking to your people; but more than just talking, it’s about listening.

Focus on High Performance – This is a topic that I am becoming obsessed with because there is such a difference between those who are motivated to become high achievers and the rest of the world. Since I find that the average person is not focused on high achievement, how do you create a high performance team or organization? Of course hiring those with this mindset helps, but sometimes you end up hiring other people too. So the key is teaching your entire workforce to have a high performance mindset.

When people work together you want them to know and respect each other, have the same mission for the project or organization, and be able to work together regardless of differing opinions. The way you build a team, nurture the team, and foster teamwork will make or break how well your team performs. T
he more creative a team can be in how they think, the better their results will be. This means that there is an environment of safety. There are no dumb answers and no bad ideas. Everyone is invited to participate in discussions and share what they are thinking. This is where each member of the team is able to use their natural abilities, strengths, skills, and unique brilliance in a way that honors them.

Now, where do you go from here? This was a high level discussion on how to create important change. Hiring differently, creating engagement, and focusing on high performance is a process that will take time. It is my role is to help you figure this out, to help you take C and D players and turn them into A and B players. What if it were really possible to only hire A and B players going forward and to completely change the low engagement that is so prevalent in most organizations.

What would your business and your life look like if you went to work every day surrounded by the best of the best people? What will your business look like a year from now if you don’t learn how to do this now?

For more information on hiring and retaining top talent and creating high performance teams, schedule a consult call with me by sending an email to sharon@c-suiteresults.com subject line: I want Rock Star Talent!

Best Practices Entrepreneurship Management Skills

Calming your Nerves On Camera

You know the drill.

Your heart starts to race. Your palms start to sweat while your mouth goes dry. You remind yourself to smile and pray you don’t draw a blank at a critical moment.

You’re either about to meet someone on a blind date, or you’re about to speak on camera.

If you’re looking into the eyes of a blind date, sorry; you’re on your own. But if you’re looking into the eye of a camera, there ARE things you can do to calm your nerves, collect your thoughts, and knock it out of the park.

Actually, the more I think about it, some of the solutions to these problems aren’t all that different after all.

For starters, head-games are half the battle. And I’m not even talking about if someone else is playing games with you. (Remember, on a first date those games haven’t started yet.) I’m referring to the internal head-games – some people might call it head trash – that you play with yourself.

Let’s face it: You can be your own worst enemy. And you know I’m right.

You constantly set the bar higher – a good thing in business development, but not when you’re always afraid you could or should have done better, never satisfied with your result. That wrecks havoc on your confidence, which is already under siege in front of the camera.

You’re also a pro at the “what if” game:

– What if I make a mistake?
– What if I draw a blank?
– What if they ask a question I can’t answer?
– What if I forget to smile?
– What if I fidget too much?
– What if the camera really does add ten pounds? I should’ve gone on a diet…

And what does all that accomplish? It sets you on a downward spiral of sabotage and self-fulfilling prophecies.

At that point, you’re like a major league baseball player getting up to bat and saying over and over to himself: Don’t miss… Don’t miss… Just don’t miss…

At best, that’s playing to not-lose. You need to adjust your thinking so you can play to WIN.
Here’s the first trick: Your body doesn’t know the difference between when you’re nervous or excited. Adrenaline is adrenaline. So when you feel the adrenaline kick in, along with the quickened heartbeat and shaky hands, don’t send yourself on that downward spiral by repeating “Oh my gosh, I’m so nervous… I’m so nervous… I’m so nervous” over and over again, mantra-like.

That’s psyching yourself out before you even get started, making the challenge both physical and psychological.

Instead, psych yourself into success. (After all, if you can talk yourself out of something, why wouldn’t it work the other way around too?)

When that adrenaline kicks in, change gears immediately, and repeat to yourself, “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so excited…” and get yourself pumped up!

And it’s not just empty words… you are excited. Think about it: you wouldn’t be nervous or excited if you didn’t care, and caring is good! And you probably care so much because this is a great opportunity for you to shine and get some good publicity for you and your company.
That’s what you should be focused on – and happy about!

Aligning your mind and body that way is the equivalent of getting up to bat and focusing your thoughts and efforts on knocking it out of the park.

Then SMILE as you say this to yourself – it actually has a positive psychological effect as well.

My video below, “Calming Your Nerves” from the series, “Capturing Your Confidence on Camera,” addresses this and other strategies you can use to get a grip on yourself and be calm, cool, and compelling in front of the camera.

And these strategies aren’t just for mastering camera presence. Whenever you need to capture the attention, minds and hearts of your audience, whether in an interview, giving a conference presentation, or on that first date, run through the strategy checklist in the video.

You’re sure to come across poised, charismatic and confident – and win them over!

Entrepreneurship Management Personal Development

5 strategies for getting unstuck

It happens to everyone at some point in time; you are going along in life or business and then one day you don’t feel like you are making progress anymore. You feel stuck, you’re not moving forward and you know there is more you want to accomplish. You want to get unstuck, but you’re not sure how.

Being stuck is not limited to any one area of your life. You may feel great at work, but stuck at home in your family dynamic. You may feel great at home but stuck in an aspect of work or business. You may feel stuck in your relationship and have fallen into the same old boring routine or maybe you are singles and you feel like you will never find that perfect someone.

These are just a few examples. The point is that feeling stuck can be about anything and the good news is you can get unstuck from most situations. Here are five strategies you can implement any time and start moving forward again.

1. Surround yourself with excellence. Start by looking at the people you spend your time with. You want to surround yourself with people who are going in the direction you want to go, who are smarter than you, and have accomplished more.

The reason for doing this is that when you surround yourself with the type of people who already have what you are trying to accomplish you will learn what to do much faster. You will have people you can learn from, whether through asking questions or learning from their examples and inspiration.

In doing this you will also learn habits of those who are successful and have reached similar goals to the ones that you have set for yourself. Then you implement the same habits.

Jim Rohn is known for saying that you will become the average of the five people you spend the most time around. What average do you want to be? Once you decide on that, then ask yourself who should those people be that you spend your time with? If the people who currently surround you do not average the future you want, it’s time to start hanging around new people. Find out where the people you want to be the average of hang out and start going there to expand your horizon.

2. Be Interested Not Interesting. Do you want to find new opportunities, maybe attract new people to you, or land that new job or promotion? Your goal is to be interested, not interesting. You were blessed with two ears and one mouth for a reason. To listen twice as much as you talk.

To be interested all you have to do is ask good questions about the other person, sit back and listen. Hear what they are telling you and when you have that urge to say “me too” stop yourself. This is not about you being interesting and telling your story, this is about you being interested and hearing theirs.

People want to be heard and they want someone to listen. Most people go through their day, weeks, and even years just wanting someone to really listen to them. Be that person and you will be invaluable to those around you. Not only will they benefit so will you as you start to listen, new ideas and opportunities will come to you.

3. Ask! Ask for what you want. Not asking is a definite No, when asking gives you a 50% chance of getting a yes. If you feel stuck because there is something you want or need from someone else and have not asked for it maybe it’s time to just go for the ask. You might be surprised to find that most people genuinely want to help others, especially those they know, trust, and like.

4. Get Scared. Go for the choice that scares you. Growth only happens when you get uncomfortable. When you go with what scares you, growing is required. When you go with the safe bet there is no requirement or opportunity for growth. Growth is getting unstuck.

Apply for the job or promotion you really want, the one you don’t know if you are ready for. Ask for the business or ask Sally or John out on a date. Do something that scares you and when it is no longer scary it’s time to do something new that scares you again. In all actuality if you can find something scary to do every day that is going to skyrocket your growth like you have never imagined possible. Check out the Book I Dare Me by Lu Ann Cahn to see how she overcame being stuck by doing something new every day.

5. Find a mentor. Sometimes it takes someone else to help you move forward. If you have tried everything and you are just not gaining momentum it may be time to find a mentor, coach, or group that can help. There are professionals in every possible field imaginable that have already figured out the solutions to your problem and they want to help you.

What I have found as a coach and working with my own coaches is that when I have a problem with a solution I can’t see, it’s like trying to examine my own eye without a mirror: It’s just not possible. Your coach (or mentor) can be that mirror for you and help you see what you have been missing, help you gain valuable information faster, keep you accountable to your actions, and help you move forward.

You can do this through a one-on-one coaching relationship or group coaching. In groups you will find others that understand what you are going through and you have the support of not just one person, but many. With one-on-one coaching you have dedicated time that is all yours in a safe and private environment to work through anything that has you stuck.

The point to all of this is that being stuck is completely normal and happens to everyone at some point in time. Some have figured out how to get unstuck faster than others, and you can too. Start to implement these five steps; the more you can implement at once the faster you will see that forward momentum you are looking for. If you are stuck in more than one area and you feel overwhelmed, work on one item at a time until you get that movement and then you can start to implement what is working in other areas of your life.

Don’t give up. Setbacks happen, remember: it’s not your setbacks that define you, it’s your comebacks.

Entrepreneurship Management Skills

The High-Performance Reboot – A Modern Day Version of the American Dream

“Be All You Can Be”? Even though that slogan had its limitations, it was used in the Army for over 21 years to inspire young recruits to do their best and be their best at all times.

Truth is that being all you can be is not just for the Army. It is a choice that everyone has in life. It is about how you want to live your life and who you want to be. Be all you can be! – signifies the American dream, a dream that was coined in 1931 by Historian James Truslow Adams:

“…The American Dream… in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable.”

Each man and woman would have the opportunity to be all they can be and live a life of their choice. Sadly these days, the American Dream has turned into a nightmare consisting of a mad pursuit of riches, power and material possessions. Somewhere along the way we translated the American dream to extra-long hours at work, deadlines and high stress. It seems we have lost balance and have lost our way.

The question is can the American dream be kept alive without being a slave to your business, compromising your relationships or sacrificing your health and wellness? The answer is yes – a new updated version of the American dream can be attained thru High-Performance Reboot.

Why would you choose High-Performance Reboot?

The High-Performance Reboot provides the ability to express your

ultimate potential in life in all areas of your life on a consistent basis. It is the ability to constantly grow, achieve more and be more while still maintaining equilibrium without crashing and burning. Some people might call that work/life balance. Personally, I believe that life has ebb and flow. Balance is when the scales are even and there is no movement. While work/life balance signifies that your work is separate from your life, work is only one dimension of your life. Whereas at times you might need to invest energy in one area of your life, less in another; you then can circle back to the areas that may have been somewhat neglected and give them some extra needed attention therefore maintaining equilibrium.

For example: say you had a business project that required a lot of time and effort which may have taken your focus away from your family and your loved ones. Once that project was completed, you would be able to celebrate by taking your family on a vacation, spending uninterrupted quality time with them, therefore putting more energy in an area you had seemingly neglected.

High-Performance is not restricted to a special part of society – it is for anyone who chooses. The High Performance Reboot is about living your best life by tapping into your inner resources on a continuous basis to express the power of your own natural abilities without burning out or breaking down.

The High- Performance Reboot focuses on how you live in life, how you take care of yourself and access your inner resources. Its foundation is The High Performance Triad of Leadership- Language-Lifestyle.

Leadership – The way you conduct yourself as an individual and the influence you have on others, your family, the community and the rest of the world

Language – Your communication skills, your internal and external dialogues. What you say to yourself and other people and how you interact with them

Lifestyle – What your life looks like. How you create a life of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being, a life of true health and Wellness.

My own life journey for over 30 years has lead to the natural evolution of The High-Performance Reboot. My experiences, education and professional expertise have been instrumental in defining and developing the three pillars of the High-Performance triad.
In the upcoming articles we will explore the three pillars in more depth to gain a deeper understanding on how they shape your activities, choices and your life.

Best Practices Economics Entrepreneurship Management Personal Development Women In Business

Conscious Capitalism…Is It Possible?

Headline Speaker | Independent Leadership Advisor to the UN | Expert to 150 C-Suite Advisors | Inc Mag Top100 Speaker

After a presidential year, where candidates get to speak about what they stand for it’s become clear that the people are sick and tired of politics as usual. I think you’d agree that there is a flagrant mistrust of those in power. Much of that mistrust comes out of the belief that those in power don’t care about the other 99%.

The system at the very least seems to have been perverted. In my conversations with other leaders we often speak about whether the system can recover and be repaired, or do we need a brand new system.

Expansive Question:

As leaders we are all aware that there is a clear backlash on the “1%”… Without debating whether that is right or wrong, just or unjust…

The question I would like to put forward to you is this: Do you believe that we could now choose to lead from a place of “Conscious Capitalism”? If so, (or not) what would that look like to you, specifically in the context of leadership?

I trust that you found this question valuable, if so, feel free to send this to your friends. I eagerly anticipate your feedback and comments.

Please share, like and comment below!

I created the Authentic Leadership Matrix after a lot of experience and research. One of the questions I’m asked often is what authentic leadership is and how do we define it. As a result, I created the matrix. It splits what leadership is into five separate categories. So, that you can take a clear look at how you perform in each of the five main areas that are required for you to become a world class authentic leader. The process takes you through each category simply with yes or no questions.http://matrix.fullmontyleadership.com/

With gratitude, Dõv Baron

I also write for Entrepreneur.com:

Is There Life After Success(ion)?

Why 47 Percent of Your Best People Are Ready to Leave — and What You Can Do About It

The 11 Questions Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Ask Themselves

Why Being a Self-Aware Leader Is Not Enough
Unlocking ‘the 4 Cs’ to Create a Fiercely Loyal Corporate Culture

“In 2015, Dov Baron was cited by Inc Magazine as one of the Top 100 Leadership Speaker to book for your next conference! He speaks internationally and is The Leading Authority on Next-Gen Authentic Leadership and creating a Culture of Fiercely Loyal Leaders. FullMontyLeadership.com

Dov on Twitter | Dov on Facebook | Dov on Youtube

P.S. To get your hands on Dov Baron’s new book “Fiercely Loyal” How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent, go take a look here http://fiercelyloyalbook.com and get your FREE: How to instantly bond any team infographic”

To contact: Dov Baron International, and Authentic Paragon Alliance INC. Contact Authentic Paragon Alliance at +1 778 397 7717 http://FullMontyLeadership.com

Growth Management Personal Development

Paying More for Dysfunction

Pay-for-performance incentives don’t work. In fact, they make things worse.

I used to go to Jiffy Lube whenever I need a quick oil change. I like taking care of my car so I get the oil changed exactly on time as best as I can.

One day I was there and the manager came to me. He said, ‘Dr. Hauck, you need a new PCV valve.’ I said, ‘What is that?’ He explained that’s an item that helps with emissions and I really need to replace it. I said, ‘Well wait a minute. I just had the car at the dealer and they inspect everything. Are you sure I need that?’ He said, ‘Oh absolutely; look how dirty this one is.’ And he rubbed his thumb across it and showed me his thumb and it was covered with a black smudge. I said, ‘Ok, how much is it?’ ‘$15’. I said, ‘Ok, fine put it in.’

I am at the cash register and my car is ready. I handed him my credit card and I look above the cash register on the wall and it said goals for the week. It read, oil changes – so many; air filters – so many; PCV valves – so many. I said to the manager, ‘Wow, that’s interesting, the goals for the week. Where do you get those?’ He said, ‘We get them from the home office; they fax them down to us every week on Monday and we work to meet them between Monday through Saturday.’ I said, ‘Interesting. Do you get paid a bonus on those?’ He said, ‘Oh, absolutely, I get a bonus and the guys out in the shop get a bonus too.’ I said, ‘Really, interesting. How are you doing?’ He said, ‘You know, not too bad. We are a little behind on PCV valves, but we’re catching up.’

Pay-for-performance can create an environment that generates unintended consequences. The pressure to perform created by the monetary incentive to meet the goals set by the Jiffy Lube home office created dysfunction. In addition, the knowledge that his performance appraisal rating could suffer without meeting the goals added to the pressure. This pressure created an environment that caused the manager and employees to focus on themselves and not on the customer needs. These two policies create expensive dysfunction. We see this dysfunction repeatedly in organizations. Another example includes the incentives that caused Fanny Mae, and Freddy Mack to encourage mortgages to be approved for people who could not afford the payments over the long–term. This dysfunction led to the collapse of the trust of the entire financial system in 2008.

The Interior Department’s Mineral Management Service had planned to present two safety awards at a luncheon just days before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf starting the largest oil spill in US history. The nominee for the safety awards was non-other than BP — which operated the oil rig that sank in the Gulf of Mexico.

The awards ceremony was supposed to recognize “outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry.” The big winner of the 2009 SAFE award was Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded last month under BP’s management. BP was also a finalist at the 2009 conference.

In 2017 Volkswagen senior leadership admitted that 11 million vehicles had been equipped with software used to cheat on emissions tests. The software would detect when the car was being tested and would change settings automatically to reduce emissions. VW set aside $20 billion to deal with the aftermath.

Also in 2016-2017, Wells Fargo fired thousands of employees for improper sales practices. Senior leadership at the bank offered bonuses for sales goals and threaten dismissal if the goals were consistently missed.

Instead of relying on these control techniques of pay-for-performance and the performance appraisal (or awards based on competition) an organization could instead study its system and uncover innovative ways to improve performance. Those who rely on pay-for-performance and the performance appraisal embrace the belief that people would do nothing without incentives or threats. Unreasonable goals will create opportunities for cheating or exaggeration as with Jiffy Lube. Easy goals create de-motivation. Either way we are paying more for more dysfunction. Why not just work as a team to continuously improve? Furthermore, why not embrace the belief that people are willing and able to make improvements and innovate without threats or bribes.

Be careful with pay-for-performance measures performance appraisal policies. They often do nothing to create improvement and often combine to create worse results than if you had done nothing.

Paying for Dysfunction Video

Wally Hauck, PhD has a cure for the “deadly disease” known as the typical performance appraisal. Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. Wally has a passion for helping leaders let go of the old and embrace new thinking to improve leadership skills, employee engagement, and performance.

Best Practices Management Marketing Skills Women In Business

The Stage Presence in Executive Presence

As a CEO or other top-ranking executive, you know that a winning leadership “presence” can enhance your professional image and help you achieve the goals that are meaningful to you. It also helps others view you as an authority, problem-solver, and “go-to” person.

“Executive Presence” is much like stage presence, charisma, and star quality. These words mean virtually the same thing: a personal magnetism that makes it impossible for people to take their eyes off you.

Many years ago, when Dick Cavett interviewed Katherine Hepburn on his popular TV show, he asked her, “What is star quality?” Hepburn replied, “I have no idea – but whatever it is, I’ve GOT it!”

The word “charisma” may be the oldest synonym for “star quality”. The Greeks used the word to mean “favor”. Charis was an attendant to Aphrodite, the goddess of love; “Charis” meant beauty and kindness. The word can be found repeatedly in the New Testament and is translated as “grace”. “Charismata” is the word used to refer to gifts from God: knowledge, healing, working miracles, prophecy; qualities that bring benefit to others.

In his August, 2011 article in The New York Times, Zachary Woolfe mentions the perspective offered by Ernest Hemingway:

“In his obsession with the Spanish bullfights, he spoke of the lust of the crowd and its desire to feel something special, a raw authenticity… What he mentions is the hush that would come over the crowd at the entrance of the toreadors. The people could sense the difference between those who did it for the fame, the paycheck, and those who had the old spirit. The crowd can sense the one with the authentic message, the connection to the truth.”

The sociologist, Max Weber, provided some insight with his contemporary use of the word “charisma” to describe a key quality of leadership. He wrote the following:

“Charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or specifically exceptional powers. These qualities are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.”

As a business person, you may not need the charisma and star quality of Katherine Hepburn, a bull fighter, or a “divine one”, but you can still cultivate a personal magnetism that will help you achieve your professional goals. Here are characteristics of Executive Presence that you can cultivate for success:

Candor: The appearance of honesty, through the willingness and skill to constructively tell it like it is.

Clarity: The ability to tell your story in an intuitively clear and compelling way.

Openness: The appearance of not prejudging, of being willing to consider another’s point of view.

Passion: The expression of commitment, motivation, and drive that shows people you really believe in what you do.

Poise: The look of sophistication, conveying a background of education and experience.

Self-confidence: The air of assurance, such that others know you have the required strength and resolve.

Sincerity: The conviction of believing in and meaning what you say.

Thoughtfulness: The projection of thinking or having thought through something before responding.

Warmth: The appearance of being accessible to others and of being interested in them.

Each of the characteristics listed above is revealed through your physical presence/body language, as well as your verbal/vocal presence.

Gestures can add warmth and personality to a conversation or presentation and help illustrate a point. If your own personal style includes only small or very few gestures, remember to at least nod your head appropriately. This is an easy way to show that you are listening to, understanding, and connecting with your conversation partners.

Eye Contact occurs when two people look at each other’s eyes at the same time. In human beings, eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and is thought to have a large influence on social behavior. In the United States, eye contact is often interpreted as a meaningful and important sign of confidence, respect, engagement, and even honesty.

Facial Expression: Smiling is one facial expression that is likely to put other people at ease and help them feel accepted and comfortable. You exude happiness and encouragement when you smile, so try to add it to more of your conversations. Scowling, chewing your lip and raising your eyebrows can all signal different meanings, so it is important to be aware of how your face looks during a conversation. When you speak for business and your topic is not a happy one, remember that you actually do have something to smile about: the fact that your listeners will benefit in some way from understanding the message you are bringing them.

Movement: We use body movement and proximity to send information on attitude toward a person (facing or leaning towards another), and desire to control the environment (moving towards or away from a person). Be aware of how your body movement sends messages. The physical distance between you and others signals your level of intimacy and comfort and is interpreted differently in different cultures.

Posture: “Body orientation” (the way you hold your body) sends strong messages to others. Remember that your posture is revealing and may ‘give you away” at any moment. Letting your body relax appropriately in a given situation (having fluid, smooth movements and facing your conversation partner, etc.) indicates confidence, poise, and engagement.

Appearance: This refers to everything you were not born wearing: all the choices we make in clothing, accessories, hairstyle, and makeup. The choices for a presentation range widely. A good rule of thumb is to dress “one step above” your listeners. See what highly-regarded people in your workplace are wearing during their presentations and emulate them – and/or ask someone in authority.

Speaking Pace (the speed at which you speak): Increase and decrease your pace strategically. A monotone is boring, and so is monopace; it can lull people to sleep! Pace also includes dramatic pauses to communicate many things, including to (1) emphasize a point, (2) give people a moment to think, and (3) surprise your listeners to deepen their level of engagement.

Speaking Pitch (the high and low tones of the speaking voice, altered with jumps and glides): Pitch can be used to convey energy, warmth, and sincerity. In American business, finishing a statement with a downward glide sounds certain and authoritative; ending with an upward glide communicates a yes/no question or uncertainty. To sound confident and authoritative, always end your statements with a pitch glide downward.

Vocal Projection (the energy and commitment in your voice, including volume): Emphasizing certain words by being louder or softer can add to the impact of what you are communicating. It’s important to project you voice so that everyone can hear clearly what you’re saying. Even if your volume bec
omes soft for dramatic effect, your energy level and commitment must successfully project your meaning and your passion.

Cultivate these qualities, and you won’t have to worry about stage presence, charisma, or star quality. You will possess a winning executive presence and enhanced power to influence and persuade your business listeners

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Be The Speaker You Want To Listen To

Do You Really Know Your Audience?


One rule of thumb that applies to almost every aspect of life is that just because something is simple, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy.


When I was faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for a decade or so, teaching in a master’s program for educators, one of the rules of thumb I constantly reiterated was, “be the teacher you wish you’d had.”


That seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Yet so many of my students seemed to find it surprisingly difficult to apply in practice.


We can all recall boring lectures given by teachers and professors who seemed to be burnt out after years of teaching the same content day in and day out. For many, sadly, this seemed to be the rule rather than the exception.


But we can also recall those instructors who stood out, who made their subjects come to life, and lit a fire of curiosity and genuine interest in us that we never would have imagined possible in that subject.


This dichotomy is no different from what happens in corporate life.


When speaking to a group, whether in front of a camera, on stage or in the conference room, the seemingly simple rule of thumb is: be the speaker you’d actually want to listen to.


So why is it so difficult?


Whether professor or executive, it’s unlikely that most speakers aspire to be boring. Nobody actually wants to be remembered as the worst example of anything. But somewhere along the way, something gets lost in translation.


When you give a speech or presentation, facilitate a meeting, or even have a one-to-one conversation, what impression do you leave? Do you project confidence, approachability, authority, leadership, enthusiasm, and overall positive energy?


But what if you were sitting in the audience? Put yourself in their shoes (or seat, as the case may be.) What kind of speaker would you want to listen to? You’d probably use words like “inspiring,” “passionate,” “open” or “relatable.”


But in the vast majority of the meetings I’ve sat through, presentations I’ve seen and talks I’ve attended, the speaker comes across as under- or over-emotional, intense and unapproachable or bored (and boring), or like they’re just going through the motions to get the discussion over with and go back to whatever they’d rather be doing.


So what happens that creates such a gap between how you come across when you speak and how you want to come across?


First and foremost, you forgot the rule of thumb: to be the kind of speaker you’d want to listen to if you were in their seat.


Here’s video #1 from my mini-video series, “Capturing your Confidence on Camera,” with tips on how to connect with your audience:


It gives you ideas for how to frame your content and your delivery in a way that will help you connect with the audience.


Because when people walk into the room, subconsciously they are hoping you will answer one single question: “What’s in it for me?”


You can’t just run through your material with the sole purpose of checking off all the topics you think you need to cover. While this is the default approach most people take, that makes it all about you, and it comes across like a laundry list.


You have to think about who is in the audience, what matters to them, and what would make them leave feeling like their time spent with you was the best possible investment of their time, when there are so many other competing priorities.


Then, you not only need to consider the value of the content from their perspective, which gives people a reason to listen, you have to be mindful of how you deliver that information.


That’s where the experience shifts from one where your audience appreciates your content, to one in which your audience connects with you.


And that’s where the magic begins.

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Cheers to Remembering Your Customers’ Names!


Do you remember the sitcom Cheers? It was a popular television show that started in 1982 and ran for over ten years. If you remember the show, you probably also remember the theme song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” which was also the theme of the entire show.

Now, I’ll bet you don’t resemble the character Norm, the accountant who loved beer, nor Cliff, the postman who knew everything, on the show. Neither do I! But a few weeks ago I frequented one of my favorite places, First Watch. On that particular day I wasn’t all that hungry so I ordered just a single pancake. Typically, when I add a pancake to my meal, the server charges me a dollar. But this time, when the server left the check on the table I noticed he had charged me five dollars – for a single pancake!

I was stupefied by the bill, so I asked about the high-priced pancake. I then learned there was as difference between adding a pancake and ordering just one for breakfast. Not only did the reason make sense, the server was very nice about it, so I was happy to accept the reason. The server then jokingly told me the next time I came in he was going to serve me a pancake for just a dollar. I laughed, thanked him and left him a nice tip for his great service and outstanding attitude.

Two weeks later we went back to First Watch for breakfast. That day we had a different server. (Sometimes on Cheers, Carla was your server, other times it was Diane.) I ordered my usual big breakfast. Surprisingly, a few minutes later the server came back with my plate. On it was – a single pancake! She said that the pancake was compliments of Tomas, the gentleman who took care of us the last time we were in for breakfast. I looked over and he gave me a wave and a smile.

I was impressed. First, you should know why I like First Watch. While the bar Cheers may have had great beverages and great service, First Watch consistently has great food and great service. The servers are always friendly. Nobody is perfect, but First Watch comes as close to perfection as you can get. That’s why I’ve been a consistent customer of theirs since they first opened their stores in St. Louis more than a dozen years ago. I always know exactly what I’m going to get.

But, now I have yet another reason. Like Cheers, First Watch remembers me. Actually, they didn’t remember; Tomas remembered me. But to me, Tomas represents the restaurant and all of the other employees. Tomas is the face of the entire organization.

The ability to remember your customers is huge. Why? Here are four good reasons.

  1. It makes your customers feel special. Who doesn’t like to be remembered and appreciated? On Cheers, Norm and Cliff were so remembered and appreciated, everyone else was careful not to occupy their chairs. 
  2. It makes the customer experience personal. I was remembered, but more importantly, I was given a special experience based on Tomas remembering the pancake. 
  3. It creates a connection with your customers. People like being around people they feel they know. The first step is to recognize and remember someone. 
  4. It increases the likelihood of a return visit. How often do you think that Norm or Cliff frequented the bar down the street? Or any other bar in the neighborhood, for that matter? Probably never. People like going to – and like going back to – places where they are remembered. It’s simply a big part of good customer service. 

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken


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