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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zeitgeist: The Movie | Official Trailer by Peter Joseph, 2007

Fun.: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe (ACOUSTIC)

This song reminds me so much of my kids;
when I was their age ready to 'set the world on fire'!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Napoleon Hill - Think And Grow Rich - ORIGINAL Full Length

Thursday, June 21, 2012

3 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid | LifeHealthPro

3 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid | LifeHealthPro

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DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-teamwork.gifTEAMWORK  June 21, 2012
Tough times can take a toll on teamwork and highlight frustrations. Salespeople often take it personally when the numbers are down, and their egos mandate that they fight back. Many times the battle spills from the marketplace into the company's own ranks. It's not uncommon for some salespeople to speak negatively about their company's products, promotions, or pricing policies. To successfully control the infighting, sales leaders must curb their own aggressive impulses, calm frayed nerves, and channel their salespeople's fighting instincts back to healthier outlets.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-rejection2.gifREJECTION  June 20, 2012
Struggling salespeople often say, "I can't stand this daily stream of rejections." People who can't stand rejection should pursue a less stressful career than sales. Professional salespeople are professional because they've learned to mentally toughen themselves. Salespeople need to be as well prepared to succeed as Olympic athletes, physically and mentally, and they need to keep on succeeding. To be prepared mentally (in addition to knowing your products, services, etc.), you must push the "plus" button in your mind to on, and never touch it again. When we think with our "plus" buttons on, we add positive power to our selling efforts and insulate ourselves from rejection.

Apple vs. Microsoft: Microsoft's Surface Tablets Raise the Bar for PC Pals By Ashlee Vance on June 18, 2012

Microsoft's Surface Tablets Raise the Bar for PC Pals

On a wonderfully bright Monday afternoon in Hollywood, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief executive officer, appeared at an art and film studio to deliver what looks like Microsoft’s finest, most controversial product in ages. In fact, it’s a family of products—a line of “Surface” tablet computers aimed at both consumers and workers.

As it does with the Xbox, Microsoft has opted to make the Surface tablets—both hardware and software—on its own. This stands as a huge affront to Microsoft’s longtime PC partners. Making matters worse, the Surface products look far better than anything else the PC makers have shown to date on the tablet front. Even Apple (AAPL) has been put on notice, if the hoots and hollers from the event were any indication.

The first Surface device shown weighs about 1.5 pounds and is 9 mm thick. A second, the Surface Pro, is slightly thicker and heavier. Both tablets come with a built-in kickstand, so you can stand them up to watch movies and the like. Microsoft also did something innovative with its new tablet covers. It had them attach to the the tablets with a firm click and designed them to be keyboards. The Type Cover has keys printed into the cover while the slightly bigger Touch Cover has raised keys.

The keyboard/cover combo is a fantastic idea that immediately makes you question future laptop purchases. That’s yet a further blow against Microsoft’s PC buddies. When Windows 8 launches this fall, Microsoft will sell the tablets through its own online and retail stores and nowhere else. The company declined to reveal pricing details at the June 18 event.

In an interview afterward, Ballmer said Microsoft’s PC partners had been made aware of its plans. When asked to describe how they felt about Microsoft’s moves, Ballmer responded that he had used very precise language on stage and would not go beyond that. (He said nothing on stage that I recall as to how they felt.) As for plans to sell the tablets beyond Microsoft’s own channels, Ballmer again would not budge. “That’s all we are going to announce today,” he said. That’s that, then.

During his speech, Ballmer talked about the push and pull of software and hardware: Sometimes the hardware makers can’t keep up with the software makers’ innovation. So Microsoft decided to take matters into its own hands and showcase all that Windows 8 can do at a time when the company is feeling tremendous pressure from Apple. “This is a tool to surface your passions,” Ballmer said.

Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows, followed Ballmer on stage and was visibly nervous. His voice shook, as did his hands—to the point that he wrecked a couple of touchscreen demos. Still, he returned again and again to the industrial design work Microsoft did to make the Surface products. Gushing about the kickstand, he said: “The hinged design is like that of the finest luxury car.” About the cover, he said, “Click. You heard that. It’s solid. It feels great in your hand, like a book. It just fits there.”

Microsoft designed 200 custom parts for the tablets and said that if you tried to cram a piece of sticky tape inside the device, it would bulge with imperfection. Steve Jobs would be proud.

Vance is a technology writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-mistakes.gifMISTAKES  June 19, 2012
Be grateful for your mistakes. A despondent attitude cannot coexist with a grateful attitude. Correct your mistakes as soon as they occur. To some degree, we are responsible for many of our problems. Carefully examine all facts contributing to your troubles. Recognize your shortcomings in order to shore up your weaknesses. Don't feel ashamed; there are no mistake-proof people. We become wise because failure teaches us what we must learn to move forward.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Help Prospects Heed Your Call BY ALAN BLUME JUNE 16, 2012

that you would like this person to do during his or her visit? Though there are many nuances to your website and the experience your visitors may have there, one thing you want them to encounter early and often is your call to action (CTA).

Yes, you need to ensure that your website is professional, that it conveys your value proposition and that your content is current and relevant. However, you need to optimize your chance of engaging with prospects by displaying a prominent, “above the fold” call to action. Your CTA may vary based upon the individual character of your business, but some examples of effective CTAs include:

Join us for a webinar
Sign up for our newsletter (or blog, bulletin, feed, alert)
Follow us on Twitter (or Facebook, LinkedIn)
Watch our video
Get a quote (or estimate, demonstration, presentation)
See our solution (or short video, PPT, recorded webinar)
Whatever your CTA, make sure it is prominent, highlighted, above the fold and preferably redundant. And ask yourself this simple question: When an important prospect visits our website, what do we want them to do? Once you have your answer, make it easy for the prospect to accomplish this. I’ve visited many attractive websites that fail to accomplish this simple but very important task.

Alan Blume is an author, and as founder and CEO of StartUpSelling Inc., he works with small businesses on lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information, go to www.StartUpSelling.com.

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-vitality.gifVITALITY  June 18, 2012
Activity stimulates energy and restores vitality. A person creates upbeat feelings through energetic actions. Walk with confidence. Sit with your shoulders back and head up. Recall the feelings associated with your triumphs. Your memories will stimulate a positive attitude. Spend at least 10 minutes before you go to sleep thinking of everything you have to be grateful for, both in the present and past. Visualize yourself accomplishing acts that will help you lead a vital and vibrant life. Eventually, expressing your vitality will become second nature.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Need to Connect? Then Disconnect. BY ANTHONY IANNARINO JUNE 17, 2012

May I have your attention, please? Not some small sliver of your already-too-divided attention but your full focus and attention. No? Then, you are too distracted. In this information-saturated age, we are all of us too distracted.
We aren’t paying enough attention to whatreally matters, and what’s worse, we aren’t paying enough attention to who really matters. Instead of living in the present moment, we have allowed our focus to be spread across too many things at once.
We pride ourselves on our ability to do many different things at once, even though the results we produce across the whole range of activities are far less than they would have been if we had given ourselves over to one activity, one outcome. We pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task, as if it’s a positive attribute. It is anything but, and our results prove it.
We sit across the table from the most important people in our lives, and instead of being engaged with them for the relatively short time that we have them, we stare into a small screen and divide our attention among people who aren’t even there, most of them strangers.
Lost are the shared moments that make up intimate human relationships, lifelong friendships and love, since our little screens demand that we pay attention to the trivial, the unimportant. And we pay for giving the small screens our attention with lives that are less than they might be because our relationships are less than they might be.
We have allowed the tools that facilitate communication to destroy our ability to communicate with the people closest to us, the people about whom we care the most. By being forever connected, we are, in actual fact, always disconnected.
In the future, the most successful of us will be those who are able to disconnect from our small screens and give our full focus and attention to the people next to us, standing in front of us. The most successful of us in life will be those who are fully connected to our loved ones. In business, too, the most successful of us will be those who are able to give our full, focused attention to what’s truly important rather than dividing it among the trivial and unimportant.
To connect, disconnect.

Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, so go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/

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Responding to 'It Costs Too Much' by Geoffrey James

You can gently transform the world's most common sales objection into a commitment to buy your product.
Haggle

There's a point in nearly every sales situation where the customer says something like "it costs too much" or "the price is too high."  The dumbest thing you can do at this point is to trot out the kind of canned answers they teach in sales training courses.
Here's a much more powerful approach, based upon a conversation with Bob Nicols, CEO of Axiom Sales Force Development. Take these steps, one by one.
1. Uncover the Real Objection
When you encounter a price objection, find out whether it's a smokescreen for objections to your product or service. To do this, ask the following question:  
"If we set price aside for a moment, do we have the products that you want to buy and the support organization that you want to buy from?" 
That's powerful stuff, because it smokes out reality.  Here's how.
If the customer's response is "no" or "maybe," price is not your only problem and may not even be the problem.   In this case, you'll need to ask further questions to determine what concerns the buyer has with your product and/or support.  Handle those objections first–because negotiating price is meaningless if the customer does not want to buy what you are selling.
For example, if a customer has a global operation and you don't have service centers outside the United States, that prospect might question whether your firm can adequately provide service after your product has been purchased.  Your challenge now is to describe why remote service from the U.S. is a viable option.
On the other hand, if the customer's answer is "yes," it's entirely appropriate to focus on price.
Your job is now to figure out how the customer is assessing your price.  Is it "too high" compared to a competitor?  Is it "too high" to fit into a budget?  Is it "too high" relative to the perceived economic benefit of having the product?
These are all quite different situations and demand a different response. For example, if a competitor's product is cheaper, you need to explain why your product is still the better value.  Contrariwise, if the price doesn't fit into the budget, you may need to introduce payment terms.
2. Find Out: Objection or Condition?
Once you understand what's going on, you need to determine whether you're dealing with it's  whether the objection is actually a condition.  This is absolutely critical: Objections are negotiable, but conditions are non-negotiable.
To discover whether an objection is actually a condition, ask the following question:
Is this a big enough concern that it will keep you from getting what you want to buy?
You will get one of three answers: no, maybe, or yes.  If the answer to the question is "maybe" or "no," you're dealing with an objection.
If the answer is "yes," you're dealing with a condition.
For example, if a "price is too high" objection is based upon a comparison with a competitive product, it is possible to negotiate the objection away by differentiating your product so that it seems to be the better value.
However, if the "price is too high" because the prospect literally does not have any money (say, it just filed bankruptcy), that's a condition.  It's pointless to attempt to negotiate it away, because the money just isn't there to spend.
Similarly, if a "you don't have feature X" objection is based upon a preconceived notion of how to solve a particular problem, you can negotiate the objection away by changing the prospect's notion of how to solve that problem.
If, on the other hand, the "you don't have feature X"  objection is based upon a statutory requirement to have feature X, that's a condition.  You're out of the running, so you might as well withdraw from the opportunity.
3. Show Empathy to the Customer
Once you've confirmed that the objection is an objection–rather than a condition–you can begin to position the discussion so that you and customer become partners in the process of coming up with a solution.
Start by stating that you understand and empathize with the customer's concerns.  For example, if the objection is price relative to a competitive product, you would say something like:
"I completely understand.  Price is extremely important to you, and you are looking to choose the vendor that will provide the best value for your company." 
This kind of statement puts you and the customer on the same side of the issue, and helps prevents the customer from assuming that you think the objection is foolish.
4. Identify the Problem to Be Solved
Negotiations become difficult when one or both parties view an objection as a conflict between two positions, where the person who abandons his position is the "loser" and the person who sticks to his position is the "winner."
To avoid this kind of impasse, say something like:
"Let's put that objection on the table and see if, between the two of us, we can't figure out a creative way to get you what you want to buy."
The idea is to strip the objection from any emotional attachments that both the buyer and seller may have associated with it.
5. Brainstorm Possible Solutions
Ask the customer to participate, then try to come up with every possible combination of ideas and events that would allow the objection to become overcome.  Even ideas that might seem ridiculous can be entertained at this point, because the determination about what approach makes sense will be made after all the ideas have surfaced.
Between virtually any buyer and seller, there is always some series of events that can take a buying decision from "no" to "yes." Once those avenues have been laid out, you can then guide the discussion to the ones that are practical.
For example, an objection about the lack of global service might be overcome by a guarantee of Internet support from a central location.  Similarly, a budget objection might be overcome by scaling down the purchase or coming up with payment terms over time.
Note: Bob Nicols is a true genius when it comes to sales strategy and tactics.  I doubt whether I've done more than scratch the surface of his ideas, so if you're interested in this kind of advanced sales training, go ahead and contact him directly.

Friday, June 15, 2012

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-determination3.gif
DETERMINATION  June 15, 2012
Determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds doesn't come naturally. It is an acquired characteristic. Many people have exceptional talents, a stable background, an excellent education, and assets anyone could want, except the one characteristic that could make them winners: the ability to fight hard when hardest hit. Self-discipline requires that we push ourselves beyond what is comfortable. As we keep exercising self-discipline and stretching and strengthening our abilities, we develop the power to persist under the most difficult circumstances. By trying hard enough, we can become determined enough to win.

Sales and Marketing: A Truce BY DAN HUDSON JUNE 15, 2012

In the last two years I have read more than 200 articles and blog posts on the importance of sales and marketing alignment. Despite the importance of this alignment, a recent report from marketingfirm Marketing Sherpa showed that 50 percent of survey respondents say it is a significant challenge.
You will often hear salespeople complain about the quality and quantity of marketing leads, while marketing teams accuse the sales department of not selling effectively. If this process of aligning sales and marketing is so important, why is it so difficult for most firms to figure out?
The report identifies one of the primary causes of sales and marketing misalignment stems from incompatible goals. Establishing common goals and objectives is one important step toward improved coordination between sales and marketing departments.
Here are three steps to better sales and marketing coordination:
  1. Performance must be measured using metrics agreed to by both departments.
  2. The two departments must meet frequently and regularly to discuss progress toward mutual goals.
  3. Last, and probably most important, company leaders must make sales and marketing alignment a priority.
With the right approach, sales and marketing can declare a truce and work together for the greater good of both.

Dan Hudson is the co-founder and president of 3forward and has a B2B sales and sales leadership background of more than 30 years. He can be reached at dan.hudson@3forward.com.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-resilience2.gif
RESILIENCE  June 14, 2012
To become more resilient, fill your mind with thoughts of stories of resilience. Read stories or biographies of tough people who have overcome hardships. Watch movies that have a theme of courage. Associate with courageous and disciplined people. Ask your courageous friends to share some interesting stories. Do your best to avoid negative people, and don't listen to negative conversations. Humor eases tension and anxiety; pay attention to the things that make you laugh and smile. Keep in mind that your objective is to become a more resilient person – not to escape reality.

Be Graceful Under Pressure: 7 Tips by Jeff Haden

Why do some choke, while others stay cool and calm? It's all about how you prepare.


You're on stage. Three hundred pairs of eyes are fixed on you. You're killing: Twenty minutes in and the audience is in the palm of your hand.
Then your slide show freezes up.
Your skin tingles. Your body tenses. You stammer. Your eyes dart back and forth from the audience to the screen to your laptop to the stage manager in the wings.
You fall apart.
As Beilock and Carr describe it, "Pressure raises self-consciousness and anxiety about performing correctly, which increases the attention paid to skill processes and their step-by-step control. Attention to execution at this step-by-step level is thought to disrupt well-learned or proceduralized performances."
Or, as those of us less learned describe it, you choke.
Still, some how, some way, in the very same situation, other people don't choke. What do they have that we don't?
Maybe it's coolness under fire. Maybe it's what the more colorful call knowing what to do when the crap hits the fan. Whatever you call that sense of grace under pressure, some people are just born with it, right?
Wrong.
Some people do seem naturally confident and poised under pressure. But poise isn't natural. Poise is a skill that some people develop.
People like you.
How? Let's start with a basic premise. When you panic, you don't freak out because you lack bravery or courage. You don't lose your cool because you aren't born with the right stuff.
You panic because you face an uncomfortable situation and you don't know what to do. You freeze because you haven't done the work to change, "Oh-my-God-this-can-NOT-be happening-to-me-right-now..." into, "Oops. That's unfortunate. Oh well. No problem. I know what to do."
That's why hanging tough when things go wrong isn't the result of bravery. Bravery is the result of knowing what to do and how to do it when things go wrong. Thinking clearly and staying at the top of your game is easy when you've actually practiced for the worst.
And that's why the key to maintaining your poise during even the most stressful situations is to gain experience. Not just any experience, though; the right kind of experience, the kind that builds confidence.
For example, say you're scheduled to do a product demo for an important customer. The pressure is high because your business is struggling and if you don't land this customer you might have to let some employees go.
Here's how to ensure you can stay cool--no matter what happens:
1. Practice the basics.
Run through your demo a number of times. Smooth out the kinks. Make sure you know it cold.
Make sure you can perform it on autopilot--in a good way--so that some of your focus can be applied to reading the room instead of wondering, "Okay, what do I do next?"
Then think about the most likely questions or interruptions. Rehearse what you'll do if the client wants to see a certain function again. Rehearse what you'll do if the client wants to know how a certain function applies to their processes. From the customer's point of view, the best demos are interactive and informal--make sure you're ready to present the demo as a conversation rather than a presentation.
2. Then rework the basics.
All your initial practice will result in a set of logical steps: 1, 2, 3... To really know your stuff, change it up. Start with step 5. Start at the end and work backwards. Skip a couple of steps.
Rehearsing a different order helps reinforce your knowledge of your material and also prepares you for those inevitable moments when the client says, "That sounds good so far... but what I really want to know is this."
When that happens you won't need to say, "We'll get to that later," and frustrate your client because you're fully prepared to get to it now.
3. Practice the "What if?"
Once your presentation is in good shape it's time to prepare for things that could cause you to freeze. What if your software locks up? Figure out what you'll do. What if your client is delayed and you only get 10 minutes instead of 30? Decide how to shorten your presentation so you still hit key points. What if you get questions you aren't able to answer? Decide how you will respond.
Go ahead; go crazy. Think of some outlandish scenarios and decide how you'll handle them. It's actually kind of fun.
Then...
4. Visualize.
Athletes mentally rehearse; they imagine themselves performing an action. It works for them--and can work for you.
There's no need to make your product fail on cue so you can practice what to do. Just rehearse it in your mind. There's no need to get a few friends to role play hijacking your meeting so you can rehearse how you'll respond. Just picture it happening, and picture what you'll do.
Not only is visualization effective, it also has a calming effect: Picturing yourself succeeding is a great way to build confidence and self-assurance.
That's especially true if you:
5. Create solution shelves.
Responding quickly is a skill that can be developed; that's why the military, police, and emergency workers train relentlessly. There's no need to think on your feet if you've already done the thinking. Stick your solutions on mental shelves, and when you're faced with a tough situation, reach for the solution.
Go back to your "What If" scenarios. If a key employee doesn't show, what's the solution? Stick the answer on your shelf. What if price is an issue before you even get a chance to start? Stick the answer on your shelf. What if the room you're shown into isn't appropriate for the demo? Stick the answer on your shelf.
The more answers you prepare and shelve, the more you can rehearse and visualize. Instead of having to think on your feet, it's stimulus-response.
Stimulus-response is easy.
6. Learn from close calls.
Say something goes wrong; your client doesn't notice, but you realize it was a close call that could have ruined the presentation. Don't just walk away relieved. Think through what you could have done--and add the solution to your mental shelf.
Close calls are like gifts, because they let you learn painlessly.
7. Rinse and repeat everywhere.
You can apply this approach to almost any situation, whether business or personal: Giving feedback, pitching investors, disciplining employees, dealing with confrontation, playing a sport, starting and building relationships... it doesn't matter.
You don't need to be brave. Just take a systematic approach to developing skills and gaining confidence.
Do the work and bravery, composure, and coolness under fire are unnecessary.
They're automatic.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up fromghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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Networking: A Two-way Street BY ADRIAN MILLER JUNE 12, 2012

If you go to networking events, you’ll hear participant after participant say something like “a good lead for me is __________.” Really?

I must admit to having some difficulties when I hear one of my fellow networkers recite that familiar line, and here’s why: I make lots and lots of “cyber-introductions,” and when I do so, I always endeavor to explain to both parties exactly why I think that the introduction could be beneficial for each of them.

Perhaps they both network with similar types of referral sources and can help each other to expand their respective sources.
Perhaps they are both on the speaking circuit and can help each other to get speaking gigs.
Perhaps they work with similar types of clients and can (potentially) see opportunities for each other.
Let me clarify further: I’m not talking about introducing someone to a contact who has actually asked me for a referral or introduction. I’m talking about the intros that are more often born from networking and are valuable in terms of “six degrees of separation” rather than immediate client acquisition.

A good networking lead is reciprocal; contacts often wonder what’s in it for them. In order to be a successful, an introduction must benefit both parties. So think about changing it up a bit at networking meetings, and when introducing yourself, make certain to tell people how a good lead for you is…a mutual one.

Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go to http://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

boost-discouragement.gifDISCOURAGEMENT  June 13, 2012
Many of us dream of a fantasy world without problems. In reality, we all will meet obstacles and suffer setbacks or misfortunes. Realize that security is an illusion. No matter how well we plan and prepare for the future, problems will sometimes wear us down, drain vitality and enthusiasm, and make our goals seem out of reach. Discouragement is like quicksand; we must pull ourselves out quickly or sink ever deeper. To keep discouragement at bay, recall past successes. Record in a notebook every time you've overcome a hardship. Write down every successful incident you can remember from childhood to the present, and read this list as often as you can.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why We Resist Change BY SIMON REILLY JUNE 11, 2012

I have just returned from a 12-day trip that saw me visiting Toronto, Coral Springs, Fla. and the Bahamas. The exhaustion had caught up with me, since I wasn’t able to do any real cardio on the trip (aside from some yoga stretches).
Now, I’m on my exercise bike along with today’s client files, getting ready for five client calls while getting 90 minutes of cardio and writing this blog—all at the same time.
While I have long multi-tasked, the idea of doing a cardio workout while preparing for client appointments (reading the notes that I send my clients after each call as well as my client’s notes sent in advance of our call) hadn’t dawned on me until now.
This prompts me to wonder: Why don’t we change? Why do we do the same routine things over and over and over?
While routine is a good thing, it can also become our jailor. We bury ourselves in routine so that we can put ourselves into a trance and disconnect from the way we feel. There are times when routine keeps us safely tucked away from the way we feel about things that are simply not working or could be improved, things that we have been doing the same old way that could be done in a more productive way.
Sooner or later, we will feel. We may become tired of the way we feel when we do the same thing over and over again, or we can be open to change and approach a particular project or task by asking ourselves “How can I change my routine and become more productive and enjoy the process?”
Life is about messages. If we receive the message, then we get an attainment. If we don’t get the message, then we create a problem. If we don’t fix the problem, then we create a crisis.
And then we get the message.

Simon Reilly of Leading Advisor Inc. is a financial advisor coach, speaker and writer. Simon writes a daily blog and can be reached at www.leadingadvisor.com/blog.

DAILY BOOST OF POSITIVITY

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CRISIS  June 11, 2012
It's been said that a crisis can bring out the best in people. When we're in a crisis, we leverage our resources to rise to the occasion. This may be one of the positive values we can learn from any challenging environment. But we don't have to experience a crisis moment to sell at our best. All we have to do is to make use of the mental and emotional powers within us and go after what we want. Analyze your everyday put offs, shortcuts, and minimal efforts. Plug into the power that a crisis gives you, and use it to jump to higher and higher achievements.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Tell a Great Story by Geoffrey James

Use this seven-step process to develop and tell a business anecdote that will you help close the deal.
The Campfire Story 2

There are few sales tools more powerful than stories, if they're appropriate and well-told. Because they are always about people and events that changed people's lives in some way, anecdotes create emotion and interest. They teach without preaching. They paint mental pictures that are worth a thousand buzzwords.
Last year, I had the privilege of working with two really smart guys–Mike Bosworth (of "Solution Selling" fame) and Ben Zoldan, one of Mike's top trainers–on a early draft of what later would become their new book about business storytelling.
Since then, I've been thinking about what I learned, and using it in my work.  I thought I'd share my own "take" on how to tell a memorable business anecdote, based upon the ideas that Mike and Ben were developing.
Here's a seven-step process:
1. Decide on the takeaway first.
Figure out exactly what you want the listener to believe, understand or do when you've completed the anecdote.  In social settings, stories are generally told to strengthen relationships; you might tell a funny story, for instance, so that everyone can laugh and feel closer.
The same thing is true in business relationships–except that, in addition to creating a better relationship, the anecdote should advance whatever business transaction is taking place.
For example, if you're selling an inventory control system, you might want to tell an anecdote about a customer you helped, or a disaster that you helped avert. Similarly, if you're trying to foster trust, you might tell an anecdote about how you overcame temptation and did the right thing.
2. Pick the ending that will create the takeaway.
When you tell the anecdote, you'll start at the beginning of the story.  However, what's most important is the ending of the anecdote, which should make the point that you're trying to communicate.
For example, if you want to convince a customer that your company has a dependable service department, you might select an anecdote where your support team worked through a holiday weekend to make sure a customer had their system up and running. (Hint: That result is the ending.)
3. Begin with who, where, when ... and a hint of direction.
Here's where most people falter when telling anecdotes. Memorable anecdotes engage the imagination, which is only possible if you create images in the listener's mind to make the story real and relevant.
Every great story–and indeed, every great movie, novel, or TV show–starts with a person (who is going to do something), a place (where things are going to happen), a time (so people can relate "then" to "now"), and just a hint of direction, indicating where the anecdote is headed.
Here are some examples from famous stories (and a gold star to anyone who recognizes all three):
  • It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time.
  • Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do ...
  • As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. 
4. Intensify human interest by adding context.
Memorable anecdotes add emotional power by putting the four elements above into stronger context.  For example, suppose the bare bones of your anecdote begin like this:
It was late Friday before a holiday weekend, and we got a service call from our biggest customer.  Their system was down and they were losing money by the minute.
Now, here's the same beginning, but with some additional details for context:
A few months ago, our engineers were on the edge of being burned out. They'd just released a new product, after many months of hard work and overtime. Everybody was looking forward to a long holiday weekend, the first in months without a looming deadline.  As you can imagine, that Friday was almost like a holiday itself.  Everyone was relaxed and happy. Then we get this call ...
The first version might spark some interest, especially among people who live and breathe customer service, but the second version makes you "feel like you're there."
5. Describe the goals–and the obstacles.
Every memorable story has a plot–usually a goal that the protagonists must achieve, along with the obstacles that might prevent them from achieving the goal.
For example, in the story about product support, the complications might be:
  • A key individual had already left for vacation.
  • The customer was frustrated and uncooperative.
  • The engineers were exhausted.
  • The customer problem was difficult to solve.
  • The clock was ticking toward a hard deadline.
6. Describe the decision that made achievement possible.
In every story, there is a turning point–a decision–that allows the person or people involved to overcome the obstacle and achieve the goal.
In the case of the customer support story, for instance, the turning point might be when the engineering manager decides to delay his own vacation, inspiring others to do the same.
It's important not to confuse the decision (or turning point) with the ending of the story.  The turning point is not "what happened"–it's the decision that caused what happened to happen.
7. Provide the ending and highlight the takeaway.
You end the anecdote by describing how the goal was achieved, thereby tying that ending to the takeaway that you want to leave in the mind of the listener.  For example, the customer support story might end with:
At around 6 p.m. Sunday, we not only had the customer's system up and running, but had figured out how to shave 20 percent off their compute time, making the application run even faster than it had before.
That's my simplified version of the more comprehensive method that Mike and Ben teach.

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10 weirdest sports for this summer Added by Editor on June 10, 2012 Saved under News On Deals Tags: weird sports

This summer you can be one of those boring types who play backgammon, racquetballs or volleyball on the beach. However, you might want to do something different. If you want this summer to try something new and unforgettable, you should try one of the following sports:

Zorbing or Rolling Plastic Stones

Water Zorbing
Water Zorbing
What is a better way than descending a hill in a plastic ball? Now that summer is coming it is evenmore fun in the water

Foot Volleyball on a trampoline

Foot Volleyball
Foot Volleyball
A mix of volleyball and football on a trampolineIt’s totally crazy!

Polo on elephants for riders that want to improve their balance.

Elephant Polo
Elephant Polo
After the normal polo, the water polo and the bike polo, the challenge comes from the elephant polo.It’s supposed not to make you bored with the same old polo.

Cheese races or cheese hunting

Cheese Races
Cheese Races
Instead of eating fat cheese chase it on a downhill.

Water Jet Packing

Water Jet-PackWater Jet-Pack
Water Jet-PackWater Jet-Pack
The Jet pack wearers are young RescuersNot only do they walk on water, but they do fly manymeters high by pressing a button.

Hockey under water

Water Hockey
Water Hockey
Instead of being burned by the sun on the golf ground hockey, you can transfer the game under the water. In a cool pool and you can use special sticks for clubs and balls that do not float.

Trike Drifting

Trike Drifting
Trike Drifting
A bicycle without brakes and the adrenaline goes above red.

Ping Pong without Racquets

Ping Pong without Racquets
Ping Pong without Racquets
This summer you have to prove to yourself that you can play Ping Pong with your bare hands only.

Pole Climbing (something like pole dancing)

Pole Climbing
Pole Climbing
Nowadays, the new fashion on beaches is to climb columns. The difficulty rises when the column is full of sun cream.

Fish-throwing competition

Fish-throwing
Fish-throwing
In Australia there is a national sport festival with tons of fishThe fish – throwing record is 25 meters.
Photo 1: Mel Fones,Photo 2:bossaball, Photo 3:lindawaves, Photo 4: blogs.wsj, Photo 5: Jeffrey20, Photo 6: interestingtopics, Photo 7:rileybathurst, Photo 8: bleacherreport, Photo 9:newshopper.sulekha, Photo 10:visitperdido.com

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