Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Facilitation Skills Are Essential to Have

As part of your job, chances are you spend time each week in a meeting. Some of these meetings are put together effectively, while others appear to have been put together at the very last minute. This means that an employee's facilitation skills are going to put on display in front of everyone and to give them a fair chance at success; you may want to consider enrolling them in meetings training.

Good facilitation skills allow an employee to understand what objectives should be placed in a meeting and the logical order that they should be presented. There is a defined path that allows this individual to move between each objective so the presentation is focused on easy for participants to follow.

With their meetings training, the presenter can also better understand how to interact with attendees while guiding them through the process. This means addressing questions and concerns when they come up and then using that information to introduce a new area that will be discussed in the meeting.

Since being prepared will also be an important part of the facilitation skills that presenter will need, they will also learn how to prepare for a meeting in advance during their meetings training.

This will include meeting with important people in the company and gathering accurate information before the meeting takes place. They can use this information to better understand he process and have potential solutions that they can present to participants.

During the presentation, the facilitator will be able to manage the group and to encourage people to participate in the conversation on a topic and coax shy employees into opening up about this process. This helps to ensure that all voices are heard and that there is value placed on everything that is said in the meeting, until solutions are presented that help to close out areas of concern. This can lead to fewer follow up meetings and make sure that each meeting the company has becomes more valuable in the future and those in higher positions have less time wasted in meetings that don't address items and situations that they will need to handle.

With a little practice of the facilitation skills that they learn through the meetings training out there, these leaders will ensure that more time is spent on obtaining results, rather than idle chatter. They can also focus on information that is going to move meetings forward. This of course comes with having defined goals and logical flow of any information that is being presented in these meetings.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Become Successful Through Consulting Skills Training

If you plan on being successful in sales consulting, then you need to have the skills in place that will ensure you continue to bring in sales. For this, you need to understand that only part of the process will be having luck on your side and there are things you can actually do to land sales. What you will find is that while past experience can help you with this, group facilitation experience can also help you to shine.

The first and most important pieces of sales consulting will be the ability to communicate with others, when you aren't face to face with them. You need to have the ability to control the conversation and have it result in return calls. For this, you will find that everything from the way you talk on the phone, to referencing benefits from the start of the conversation can be important. Some of this may come naturally; other parts of it will come from your consulting skills training.

Just as important as communicating over the phone is important, listening to what others are saying will also have some impact. You need to be able to hear what people aren't saying when they are communicating with you and understanding that the perceptions of others can also be how you will eventually sell them on a point. The goal is to listen to them and allow them to believe their concerns are new to you and that you are taking a fresh perspective to this viewpoint. What consulting skills training can show you is that if you present information according to a script, it will push people away, no matter how valuable the information is.

Another point to keep in mind is that when you are doing group facilitation, you know that the more knowledge you have, the more you can guide the conversation. This is why you need to ensure that you know the ins and outs of the sales consulting benefits and options that there are. This can help to provide customers with accurate information, while gaining their trust and their full respect as you are going over the options that are available.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Focus on Success With Strategic Planning Training

Any company looking to further their success, while find that strategic planning training will be essential. As part of the facilitator training that their supervisory team goes through, the company will experience an improvement in how the company operates and the company will continue to thrive and develop in other areas.

Take for example a company that provides strategic planning training to its training staff. These individuals who provide the education to your future staff will have a better understanding to enhance adult education and ensure that they retain more of the information that is presented to them. They can also successfully address areas where people struggle when entering your company and ensure that they are setup to succeed, rather than fail. If you do find that there is an area of weakness, this will be the time to start thinking about how you can make improvements that can get you closer to the right direction.

This facilitator training can also help with personal development of individuals. Those who go through the training process will learn how they can be proactive and further enhance the skills and understanding they have so they can further advance in the company. This helps them to become valuable assets to the organization as a whole and enhances productivity and success.

Another benefit those who go through the strategic planning training will find is that they gain a better understanding of how to work with others. This makes networking within the company more effective and there is more of a chance of people being open to learning from each other. Along with this, the ability to establish future professional relationships can be important as new departments are formed to further strengthen the business.

While going through this process, employers will also discover who has the ability and potential to become a successful supervisor. This can help those who might not otherwise begin to shine and find that they are rewarded for the areas that they excel in. This will mean a stronger staff and supervisory system that will be dedicated to taking your business to your next set of goals faster.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Internal Communications - A Key Part of Effective Strategy Execution

One oft-forgotten practice which should be considered even more important during this turbulent time is communications within your company. As you might consider once you reflect on the situation within your company, people are concerned about their futures, the future of the company and generally how things are going.

There are a number of elements which you should include in your planning for your internal communications:

First: To whom are you addressing your communication? When you want to get a message across to some or all of your company personnel, you should determine which group you are addressing, so your communication is couched in terms that are meaningful and relevant to that specific group. Generally, one doesn't speak to engineers the same way that one addresses accounting or purchasing people. This is not because they are not all capable of absorbing your message, but rather because you want to make it as easy for them to get the points you are trying to deliver in the most effective manner for them to understand and remember.

Second: After determining how you should address each group to get the best from the interaction, you need to be very specific about the message you are trying to communicate. As a good leader you need to be clear, unambiguous and direct. Do not hint at what you are trying to say, bring it out loud and clear. Be specific and don't ramble. Don't make excuses and don't apologize for laying out the facts and their impacts on the company. It is important for everyone hearing your message to believe that you are being open and forthright. If they can't trust you to be honest with them, they won't accept the validity of your message.

Third: Be sure to take time to build your message carefully. It is imperative that you say what you need to say, and that you are very clear in what you are planning to do. Think about what the impact of your words will be on your audience. Don't scare them if there is little reason to do so. But don't pull your punches either. Be sure you have a clear understanding of not only what you will say, but how you will say it, as both parts of the message will be read by your audience, and if your body language and actual words are not consistent with your intent, they will perceive this, and will not trust your communication.

Fourth: Make your message one which they will remember. As stated above, clarity and consistency are vital. Be clear, be memorable to the extent appropriate to the message, and the audience will respond as well as can be expected under the circumstances. In order to get your point across, follow the old rule about speeches: Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you have told them. Do all of this in terms that your audience will respond to and will remember.

Fifth: The final point to make here is that once you make a commitment to your audience, you must live up to it. If circumstances change in such a way to prevent your being able to follow through as you originally committed, you need to bring the group back together, explain what has happened that prevents your meeting your commitment, and explain to the group what the new direction is, and why it is appropriate for you to change direction.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Five Hot Trends In Getting Hot Prospects For Your Business Today

Is your business in touch with current consumer behaviour? Are you well informed about your market segment and how your target consumers are living their lives, what their most into these days, and if their online activities have drastically changed over the last couple of years? It's important for any business to obtain current market data, not just to survive, but to actually thrive and to make a better transition into the future. Information, as you already know by now, is power so here are five hot trends on how your company can get the hot prospects it needs.

Get your business on mobile phones. People have changed the way they get on the Internet as handheld devices like tablets and smartphones turn into mobile computers. No longer will you find your consumer waiting to get home to log onto his or her computer to check out a website, purchase products, or read their email. ComScore predicts that the number of mobile users will topple desktop users by 2014 as multi-device ownership (people who have mobile phones also have tablets) skyrockets to 308 percent since 2011. You can even send coupons to your valued customers as Prosper Mobile Insights finds that 82 percent are open to getting coupons on their smartphones and tablets; 51 percent prefer getting coupons through email, 31.9 percent said they'd prefer getting a QR code and scanning it in the store, and 31 percent want to get it through text messages.

Distribute your content through social media like Facebook or Twitter to drive traffic to your website and to promote your business. If your business goals do not include social media marketing customised for one of these highly popular sites, you may be losing out on valuable prospects. Just consider how a mass merchant gets an average of 2.1 million fans and retailers of toys and hobbies have an average of 1.6 million fans on Facebook.

Use forums. Forums, whether they're on social media pages or blogs, will allow you to provide a valuable solution to prospects who may be asking questions that relate to your products or services. When you offer an answer and you do enough of these forums to build credibility for your brand or company, it's only a matter of time when prospects come to you to buy a product or obtain a service.

Show it, don't tell it. Use image-driven campaigns and not just written content. People want to watch a quick, engaging video about your new service or product rather than read a 500-word article about it. So produce videos for your website, your social media page, and your YouTube channel. Consider doing a web TV show. Present stunning images related to your business on Pinterest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Competing in a Tough Market

"It's tough out there!" and I think unless some kind of economic miracle happens within the next few months it will continue to be a challenging climate for businesses of all kinds and all descriptions.

I feel that the word 'magic' could be thought of as a great metaphor for business activities and approaches and so the word become a much used acronym for many vital business processes.

It is my intention to offer a short series of 'magical thoughts' for businesses and and entrepreneurs which sum up some important ideas for the survival and success of businesses.

This article focuses upon the "Magic Formula for Success"

M - make good decisions based upon information, feedback, research and reflection

A - know what it is you are trying to achieve

G - generate a plan to meet those needs, review it but follow it

I - investigate other ideas and possibilities carefully - be creative

C - collaborate with trusted colleagues, businesses and services.

All pretty obvious stuff, but the kind of things which are sometimes overlooked and are always worth thinking about.

Making Good Decisions.

This implies that you know what kind of information you need; the kind of metrics you will be able to use and have the thinking skills to make effective (not emotional) decisions.

Edward De Bono has frequently noted how often people think they are thinking clearly when they are, quite frankly, not. As William James said, 'most people think they are thinking when they are simply rearranging their prejudices!"

Good thinking is about process based upon critical, evaluative and creative thought processes built around accurate information.

Knowing what your Aims are.

Again this seems like an obvious thing, but as a business can you clearly state your aims in terms of what you need to survive economically and how these aims link to your core values and attitudes?

In an economic crisis it is easy to see that some businesses forget their higher goals in the race to capture income and increase profits - which of course is a very short term view.

Generate a plan to meet aims

Business plans are those things which small businesses in particular generate for other people (i.e. Banks) and forget how vitally important for reviewing progress. They are not meant to be dusty documents, but active, evolving and dynamic records of a businesses ambitions. In all businesses cash flow is king, so actively reviewing plans is a vital strategy when it comes to survival in an economic downturn.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How To Network Successfully At Events and Conferences

Even the most confident person can be intimidated by a crowd. Take for example the classic 'house party' scenario - you're invited to a soiree by someone you barely know, and everyone else there is a complete stranger to you. How do you react? Do you clutch your drink and try to fade into the corner, hiding behind the cheese plant until you can make your escape - or do you throw yourself into the mix, socialising, getting to know people and taking numbers?

Now enlarge that scenario to a business event at a conference centre, but add into the mix not cheesy nibbles and a rather disappointing Chardonnay, but your company's future and hundreds of potential business contacts. So it's hardly surprising that networking at conferences and events can intimidate even the most capable social butterfly. However, there are things you can do to make your networking efforts pay dividends and allow you to mine the potential you're faced with at these important events.

1. Planning Is Everything

Don't just launch yourself into the melee and hope for the best. Before you even arrive at the venue, check the schedule. Use your time wisely - make sure you're in the right places at the right time. Look for opportunities to be in the same room as people with similar interests and you'll find it much easier to strike up a conversation.

2. Smile!

Your introduction is your metaphorical 'foot in the door'. Present yourself as someone who is easy to talk to, confident and business-like. Avoid too many jokes (especially if you're not good at them!), and have faith in what you have to offer. One of the hardest things to do is convince complete strangers that you're worth listening to. So convince yourself first, and that confidence will shine through.

3. Hashtag

Use other methods of communication, not just talking. Conferences today will inevitably have their own Twitter feed, so join in and add something worthwhile to the discussion (not just derisory comments about the buffet). And while we're talking about social media, blog about the event and then Tweet it to the delegates. Again, make sure you have something worthwhile to add to the conversation and invite comments.

4. Business Cards - Doing It 'Old School'

While bumping smartphones may be the latest way to transfer information, not everyone is as tech-savvy as an Apple Genius, so make sure you've got plenty of business cards with you.

5. Stand Out From The Crowd

You don't have to turn up in an Hawaiian shirt or wearing a silly hat, but make sure you're easily identifiable in a crowd. If you've developed an interesting piece of tech, carry it with you and demonstrate its charms to anyone curious enough to point at it and ask, "What's that, then?" By the same token, don't be afraid to talk to people in return. Recognise someone from a previous conference? Go up and introduce yourself with a cheerful, "I saw your presentation at XYZ Expo last month... "

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Get the Very Most From Your Business Cards

Business cards represent a fantastic opportunity for any business man or woman or for any entrepreneur. A huge part of business as most people are aware is who you know and if you have the right connections then spreading the word on a new product or finding more work can be significantly easier. However at the same time it's also important to recognize that this doesn't make business down to luck - knowing the right people and getting them to respond to you and to want to work with you is a skill in itself and it's something that the business savvy will put a lot of time and effort into if they are going to be successful. And a fantastic tool to help you do this? The humble business card, which can turn any interaction into a potential lead or business partner. Here we will look at how to get the most out of your business cards.

Know When to Hand Them Over

Going around being trigger happy with your business cards and giving them to every single person you meet isn't going to help your business. In fact this might even damage your business as people avoid you and as you ruin your reputation in front of those people. Make sure that you only give business cards when someone shows a genuine interest in your company, or when you would otherwise be swapping numbers. Getting to that point in the conversation is again a skill in itself.

Get a Great Design

When you hand over your business card you want this to tell the recipient that you are serious about what you do and that you are smart enough and have enough foresight to have gotten them printed. Of course though your business card isn't going to say this at all if it's badly designed and if it looks ugly, so make sure you use a good company to get the card printed who will make the card in high definition and crisp colour, and that you come up with a great design or outsource the design process if you don't trust yourself.

Make Them High Quality

Meanwhile you also want to make your business cards high quality and as durable as possible. This way they will be more able to stand up to punishment meaning they're more likely to get passed around, but at the same time they will reflect better on the quality of the service or product that you provide.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

As We Gather 'Round the Table (for Business)

We'll be gathering 'round the table this month for a meal or two with family, but if you're in business you most likely will find yourself across the table from a client or business associate. Do you know your dining etiquette? What you don't know could blow the big deal, or at least be embarrassing.

OK, so you're probably not dining with royalty here. You won't often be faced with four forks (one for dinner, fish, salad and dessert), but you might find yourself wondering which cup and napkin is yours at a crowded dinner table or how to elegantly eat pasta. If your grandmother were dining with you today would she lecture you? Would grandpa flick you on the temple? If so, you might want to review these contemporary business dining tips.

Get to know everyone at your table. If there are "hosts," let them take the lead in sitting, starting the meal, toasting and guiding conversation. Depending upon the industry, culture and time allowed an appropriate level of "chit chat" or social conversation generally occurs before business is discussed.

Know basic table settings. I use the BMW method (left to right: bread, meal, water) to remind myself the order. Use utensils placed farthest away from the plate and work inward. Just for fun, get to know each type of glassware. Place your napkin on your lap as soon as your host does. When you're done eating, put your cutlery at the 10:00/4:00 to signal you have finished.

· Thoughts on food. At a business meal, it's good to consider how easy it will be to eat. It may not be the time to "try out" oysters on a half shell or ribs. If you have special dietary issues, check in with the restaurant in advance to plan your meal. Review basic manners. One common question is the proper way to eat a roll (place butter on your plate, tear off a piece of bread and butter the portion-do not butter an entire roll or slice of bread). Pace your eating speed with other diners and if discussing business, plan enough time to stay for coffee; especially if it means completing the deal.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Benefits of Solenoids in Modern Industries

The industrial revolution ushered in whole new level of industry, where society has increasingly relied on advanced machinery and technology to fuel economic growth and allow us to live at a level of comfort that is unprecedented. In order to run the advanced machinery, complex processes such as radioactivity, high pressure and temperature control are needed. Fortunately, we have machines that can perform these sorts of tasks reliably and safely. One of the mainstays in industrial processes are valves. They are used to control pressure, temperature, capacity and the flow of liquids in machinery and industrial processes. One of the most useful types are solenoid valves.

Solenoid valves make use of electricity to control the rate and flow of fluids in various types of systems and machines. Electrical energy flows into a solenoid coil which results in the creation of a magnetic field that opens a plunger to allow gas and other liquids to flow through. When the electricity is shut off, the valve closes.

Solenoids are used in many different industries and a wide array of machines and processes. They are used in linear as well as rotary applications to control fluid power motors, cylinders and other types of industrial processes. Some of the major industries that use solenoids include the dental, appliance, energy, medical and transportation industries. Linear applications include the use of solenoids in brakes, vending machines, door locks, copiers, coin changers, pumps, disc drive locks, film processors and electric typewriters. Rotary solenoid applications include circuit breakers, counters, defibrillators, machine tools, and textile machinery. Solenoid valves can be found in dishwashers and washing machines where they control the flow of water. In dentist chairs they control both water and air flow. In other words, solenoids are part of our everyday life without us even knowing it.

The use of solenoids are so beneficial in a wide variety of machines and industries because of their reliability, cost effectiveness and longevity. There are also several different types of solenoid valves to meet various specific needs of industry. Solenoid valves are either direct-acting or pilot-operated valves. They also come with two or more ports. Direct-acting solenoid valves are most often used for controlling low volume valves. This is because they contain just one electromechanical control set. Pilot-operated valves are comprised of a combination of valves, making it possible to use them in higher volume applications.