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Self Development

Become Known as an Industry Guru

Make your customers come to you by becoming an expert in your field.

Douglas Kruger

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iNDUSTRY_gURU

When you become noted as the foremost name in your industry, a wonderful little thing starts to happen. Instead of fussing and fighting for every incidental customer, you discover that they start coming to you. And that’s a good place to be.
Think of your target market as a large crowd, gathered at the scene of a spectacle. Most business owners act like the longsuffering pie-man at the back, running back and forth, tapping each person on the shoulder and asking whether they would like a pie. Most say no. Sometimes, someone says yes, and the pie-man makes a sale. It’s a lot of work to sell a single pie. And he must keep up his incessant to-and-fro in order to sell the next one, and then the next, if he hopes to survive.

You don’t want to be the pie-man

Instead, cast your glance over the heads of the crowd and observe what it is they have come to see. There in the distance, elevated on a hillside, is the guru, and the crowd have all assembled to hear him speak. That’s who you want to be. Business — and life generally — becomes a different proposition when they start coming to you.

Be a producer

So how do you go about cultivating the public perception that you are an expert; someone actually worth listening to? How do you become the thought leader in your own industry? The first part of the answer is to become a producer.
Let me give you an example from my own industry:

In the realm of professional speakers, who all consider themselves content experts, it’s surprising to see how many of those billing themselves out on the speaking circuit are simply not producers. They’re performers, yes, with a single keynote presentation, but they get stuck in time and cease to produce. They may very well be specialists in their field, but people tend to forget them, because they’re not constantly innovating, not constantly putting out into the world; and this changes their role from thought-leaders to mere performers. There’s a phrase written by an author from the previous century, James Michener, which I find inspiring. He recalls a period in his life when he was writing over 7 000 words a day. He described this act as an ‘almost indecent display of industry’. The phrasing of that statement hits the spot for me. Michener was seen, worldwide, as the foremost author of historical fiction, and a mind to be reckoned with. And just like Stephen King, who is often lauded as the bestselling living author today, he ascribed his astonishingly high-level reputation to honest hard work. Lots of it. He was a constant producer.

The next big thing

Imagine if Stephen King had written Carrie, then sat back in his chair and declared, “Right! I’m done. People should give me a career now.” It may have even worked. For one year. After that, no one would remember who Stephen King was. And yet, forty years later, he remains at the top of the bestseller lists. The ‘one great novel’ approach would be equivalent to what many experts are trying to do today. It just doesn’t work. You have to go on to novel number two. It’s a constant gradient of productive output that ultimately adds up to a real career and has people recognising you as someone at the top of your game.

So, if you are an expert in flowers, when will you write a book on the topic? And what will the second book be about? And the third? What new things can you do around flowers? Is there some novel way to present them to your market? Is there a TV show that you could do about them (and preferably something a little cleverer and quirkier than just a gardening show)? Or perhaps a road show? What’s the next big thing in flowers? Have you stamped your intellectual mark on it? When people think about flowers, why should they think about you? Constant output is the key. It’s one of the most important elements in positioning yourself as an expert. If you’re a financial advisor, write a small guide. When you’re done, think of the next thing. Take a careful look at your own approach to being an entrepreneur. Are you actively positioning yourself as the guru on the mountainside? Or are you still behaving like the pie-man? N

UPSKILL NOW

Hone your speaking ability

Joining a local Toastmasters chapter is a proven and enjoyable way to practice communication and leadership skills. A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a friendly atmosphere. A typical group has 20 to 40 members who meet weekly or bi-weekly to practice public speaking techniques. South African toastmaster chapters are members of Toastmasters International. To find your closest club, visit www.toastmasters.org and click on the ‘find a location near you’ link.

Douglas Kruger is the only speaker in Africa to have won the Southern African Championships for Public Speaking a record five times. He is the author of ‘50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker,’ published in South Africa and Nigeria, ‘50 Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert,’ and co-author of ‘So You’re in Charge. Now What? 52 Ways to Become a Better Leader.’ See Douglas in action, or read his articles, at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Email him at Kruger@compute.co.za, or connect with him on Linked In or Twitter: @DouglasKruger

Self Development

25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

If the harshest thing you have to say about someone is partly true, say the other part.

John Rampton

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word-choice

Did you know that in every language, there are more negative words than positive ones? It seems we need lots of words to describe our negative feelings, but we’re content with a handful of positive ones.

For instance, researchers have found that most cultures have words for seven basic emotions: Joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt.

That’s one positive emotion, and six negative

It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time keeping our negative comments in check. Over the past six months I’ve been working on the verbal language that I’ve been using that I don’t even realize hurts others and in some cases makes them feel inferior. I even noticed that I’ve used a couple on my personal and business website. This is a “no-no” that I needed to fix.

This post will list 25 negative words you should avoid…so that you stop hurting, belittling and intimidating those around you!

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Self Development

How To Control What You Can And Influence What You Can’t In Your Life

Every day you need to get up and face numerous challenges. Here’s how you can keep your head in the game — even when all you want to do is quit.

Erik Kruger

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resilience

On Monday you wake up ready to take on the world. You’re focused, determined and business is doing well. Tuesday feels like you’re invincible and things could not be going any better. Wednesday, your world collapses. You doubt your ability to deliver to your clients. You wonder whether you should still pursue the same business. You think that quitting at this stage is easier than dealing with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And you are dramatically reminded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Mix in human nature and it becomes borderline insanity to try and build a business. And yet, the reward is worth it. I therefore want to share three strategies that might help you cope with this tough but deeply rewarding pursuit.

Influence and control

Most of the things in business and life are out of our control. You cannot control how other people react to your service or product. You cannot control how your employees will show up. You cannot control how the market will react and how that will affect your business.

Related: How You Can Do Big Things

This makes it very important to control what you can and then influence the rest to the best of your ability.

So, what can you control? You can control your actions, reactions and perceptions of the challenges you face. Meaning essentially, that you can control yourself and your efforts.

Do this with excellence and you will automatically influence the people around you and the situations you find yourself in.

Override your moods

If we only did the hard work when we felt like it, we would hardly get anything done. Our moods fluctuate like the tides of the ocean. Not because we are temperamental but because the external world has a profound impact on us.

When you wake up to news that the economy is in recession, it has the potential to plant seeds of doubt in your mind. When you receive an email from a disgruntled customer complaining about your service, it has the potential to ruin your day.

The fact is that you can receive a hundred testimonials singing your praise, but you will obsess and become despondent over that one negative comment.

This means that we have to move beyond our emotions. Sure, they are important in the decision-making process and for fostering meaningful relationships. But you cannot allow them to dictate when you will do work.

In other words, work hard, irrespective of your moods, especially on the days when you don’t feel like it.

Create a calibration practice

One of the best ways to deal with this rollercoaster effect is to create a daily calibration practice. I am a big fan of any action taken on a daily basis. Not only because of the accumulation effect that occurs over time, but also because it keeps you focused.

So, what does a daily calibration practice look like?

It differs for everyone. It could range from meditation to a vision board to journaling to listening to a specific playlist of songs. My suggestion is that you give journaling a go.

Because it’s sometimes difficult to start a new calibration practice, I have included my journaling template for you.

It’s called ‘J1G’ (pronounced as jig). I use Evernote or a notebook from HumanWrites for journaling purposes.

J: Journal

For the first few minutes, simply allow your hand to run across the paper. The idea is for you to dump as many of your thoughts onto the paper as possible.

Some questions you can answer in this section are:

  • What am I currently excited about?
  • What am I currently worried about?
  • Where am I currently winning?
  • What can I learn from what happened yesterday?

1: The one thing that you want to get done today

In this time, I usually have a look at my to-do list and decide which one action I want to get done today. Write it down and then expand on why it is the most important action. How will it move you or your business forward?

Related: Better Thinking For A Better World

G: Gratitude

In the last section, you simply write down three things that you are grateful for. Trust me, this is an important daily practice, but even more so on the days when you feel as if life is beating you down.

When you focus on the things that you are grateful for, you crowd out fear and shift your state of mind to a more positive and productive one.

The punch line

If you can stick to the three ideas I outlined above, I guarantee you will develop more resilience and perseverance. You are an entrepreneur because you chose to be one. Do not allow life to impose its will on you. I have no doubt that you will be better off because of all the challenges you face. Not in spite of them.

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Self Development

Practice This Important Skill To Get Your Way Every Day

Listening is a powerful tool to deepen trust and understanding.

Julie Christopher

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silence

“Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.” – Richard Branson

Did you know that an anagram for the word listen is silent? As an entrepreneur, have you ever found yourself frustrated trying to speak to someone who would not be silent and simply listen?

Whether you were immersed in a conversation with a client, at a company meeting or stuck in the negotiation of a business deal, it can be annoying when someone interrupts the flow of things, stealing away from your experience.

Related: Are You Listening Enough?

It can be especially difficult when you have an urgent need to communicate something important or accomplish an objective and you need to get your way.

However, did it also occur to you that perhaps you’d been the first to interrupt, thus neglecting to listen? Oftentimes, though largely unintentional, we force our opinions upon others, simply due to a lack of awareness.

The act of listening seems like it should be natural. However, in the business world, it’s one that needs to consciously be developed to manifest greater success. The act of listening varies from situation to situation, but it can be used as a powerful weapon to overcome adversity and ignorance.

So, ask yourself: Are you merely hearing, or are you actively listening? If your honest answer isn’t a favourable one, consider these five steps as reliable ways to not only connect on a deeper level with people through listening but to get your way as well:

1. Repeat or rephrase to demonstrate understanding

First, listen intently to what was just said. Then, either repeat or rephrase it so you know you’ve understood. Even better, your listener will know you did what mattered most – took the time to actually listen. This forces you to stop thinking about a response. Later on, if your audience makes a strong claim about what was said, you’re able to reference what you did to ensure mutual understanding.

Related: (Video) Shut Up and Listen!

Of course, when dealing with difficult individuals, there’s not much that can be done. As is the case with every rule, there’s an exception, and for this one, this is it. To avoid this kind of situation, should a critical conversation be on the horizon, consider taking notes. When it comes to listening, it’s one of the most sincere forms of flattery.

Also, be sure to pay close attention to listen to what is not being said, too. Like subtle body movements and other nonverbal cues that will alert you to critical information that will help you to get your way. Pay attention to them. They will help you to get a better feel for where a discussion is headed and how you can be more persuasive.

In his international bestseller What Every BODY Is Saying, former FBI counterintelligence officer Joe Navarro states, “Just as careful listening is crucial to understanding our verbal pronouncements, so careful observation is vital to comprehending our body language.”

bill-clinton2. Make your listener feel important

This isn’t easy, but if you can completely focus your attention and energy when listening, people will like you more. As stated above, the people you engage with want not only to be recognised but to be understood. When you don’t actively listen, it’s all but impossible for a favourable impression to be made.

Make your listener feel like they’re the only person in the room. Give them your undivided attention. Resist the urge to look around or check your phone. In today’s day and age, with so many competing distractions, this kind of focus is rare. You’ll be remembered and respected as someone who does things differently.

Former President Bill Clinton was famous for his ability to do this. No matter how long the engagement, treating people properly can curry favor for a future need. It’s no secret that people typically will help those they like, right? Needless to say, it’s much easier to get your way when you’re liked, and this is a great way to increase the likelihood of that happening.

3. Resist the urge to always be talking

In any business-related conversation, you’d prefer to be in the “driver’s seat,” right? Believe it or not, during a negotiation, the person who speaks the least tends to be perceived as the one in control. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs believe the opposite – if they’re busy talking, they’re in control.

The truth of the matter, however, is that he or she who’s loudest frequently comes off as aggressive, egotistical or even desperate.

By listening, you learn. As you learn, you gain knowledge and wisdom. As you grow wiser, you’ll gain influence and become more charismatic. If you develop your listening skills and become an exceptional listener, you’ll be amazed at how attentive people will be when you finally do speak your mind.

Related: Are You Prepared To Listen To Your Board Of Directors?

Now that you have their attention, you can share everything you’ve learned from your conversation and you’ll know exactly what to say to get your way.

4. Be present in the moment and listen to your intuition

Imagine for a brief moment that you’re in a conference room at a large networking event. The majority of your peers can’t wait to “vomit’ all over you with mind-numbing information about what they do, how they offer it and why you stand to benefit.

Sound familiar? It’s a familiar scene for relationship-driven entrepreneurs.

Yet, what’s funny about all this is that it really takes only one introduction to the right person for your business to take a quantum leap forward. So, rather than trying to meet everyone, focus on how you feel around those in attendance before introducing yourself.

Related: Why You Should Be Listening To Informal Entrepreneurs

Are you ready to learn the secret of being a great listener? Simply pause for a moment and take a deep breath.

When you breathe deeply and in a controlled manner, you’re forced to focus on the present moment. This allows you to sharpen your self-awareness as you observe your surroundings with clearer and broader vision.

In this deeper, more intuitive-driven stage of listening, you’re free to release tension and doubt, helping prepare you for difficult questions, rejections or even objections. When not placed under pressure, you’re able to listen with your entire self: the body, the mind and the heart.

Bringing consciousness to your breathing develops intuition. With intuition on your side, you’re prepared to listen and (and learn) through the lens of your highest logic. The result? Others feel content and confident. Even better, you’re in a position to truly connect, as opposed to correct. All this from taking a much-needed breath or two before talking.

robert-cialdini5. Invest in building “relationship equity.”

Have you heard of the term “relationship equity”? It’s become very popular recently. Truth be told, there’s a reason for it – every time you demonstrate the ability to listen, you deposit “relationship credit” into your audience’s account.

Then, when it’s your turn to speak, the chances of the favour being returned with deliberate listening are increased. If not, gently remind the other person of the fact that you gave her the stage to speak her mind first and you’d simply like the same respect and courtesy now.

By listening first, you’ll influence others to reciprocate and return the favour. Reciprocity is a powerful subconscious tool to creating influence according to behavioural scientist, Robert Cialdini, in his latest bestselling book, Pre-Suasion – A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. As an entrepreneur, you can use reciprocity to your advantage through listening.

People not only need to be heard, but they deserve it, too

Both inside and outside of the working world, at the core of each one of us, lies a need to be understood and accepted. Active listening is a simple method that supports emotional intelligence. It not only makes others feel special but also demonstrates your ability to focus.

With this new focus, we can now effectively shift our attitudes from those of want and neediness to those of gratitude and even compassion. Actively listening summons feelings of security and stability in others. This is important, as it is actually an evolved form of recognition.

Even in business, listening is one of the best gifts that can be given. Listening magnifies your perceived value and validates your power of authority as a leader and an expert in your field. Intentional listening unlocks greater self-awareness, which is a state of consciousness that leads to joy and fulfillment.

In this state, you have a much better chance to influence conversations and get your way by listening, as long as you have the best intentions in your heart and that it is for the highest good.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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