Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Do Your Co-Workers Like You?

In arguments, avoiding arguments, being different at work, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career-related problems, communication skills, compassion, conflict resolution, feeling accepted, feeling safe at work, impress, Insults, keep negativity to yourself, Liked by coworkers, professional behavior, professional boundaries, Respect, respect by coworkers, self-worth, Uncategorized, work relationships, work-related problems, work-related stress on January 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Hey, who doesn’t want to be liked? The problem is we can’t be liked by everyone and that’s a hard concept to take in. In fact, some people get so stressed about how much they’re liked that they’ll go out of their way to be part of the group: hanging out after work even if they’d rather be alone; going along with someone else’s idea (even if they think it’s a bad one), and being ingratiating and over-complimentary (while being insincere). It’s all an attempt to feel accepted, included and made to feel a-okay. It’s so understandable.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “People cannot make you feel inferior without your permission.” Think about that. Are you giving away your power to someone else’s judgment of you? True that it’s demoralizing to be ostracized by a colleague with a strong personality or by a team of followers. But, any act that undermines one’s self-worth to fit in is not the route to being liked, anyway.

So, are you actually liked? In truth, people generally think mostly about themselves and gauge others on how safe they are around them. When I say ‘safe’ I mean that the brain is checking every 12 seconds or so to see if we are safe. If you, for whatever reason, are not safe in another person’s mind, you are probably not liked. It may have nothing to do with anything you’ve done to that person, it could be because you are confident and assertive, or are generating more revenue than your colleague, or you’re thinner, or you’re up for a promotion…whatever the trigger is for that person, decides how safe you are. However, if you are not a trigger (meaning, not perceived as a threat) you are probably liked. It’s such a subjective thing. While being liked might feel safe to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are respected, especially if you are going out of your way to be liked!

My advice to you: go for being respected. Respect goes a lot further in helping you, your team and the company. Here’s how to gain respect:

  1. Always be sincere and diplomatic in your honesty. So, instead of saying, “No, I don’t like your idea,” you say, “I like your courage to change the program and think that the idea itself needs more flushing out.”
  2. Don’t get pulled down into others’ fear, anger, or jealousy. Say someone’s trying to undermine you; is talking behind your back and condemning you. Don’t Energize. Rise! Don’t try to mollify or ingratiate yourself. Don’t try to retaliate. Don’t gossip about it. Look within. What about you might be causing this reaction to you? What can you do to improve? What about him/her would create such jealousy or fear? Let your insights help you become stronger. Focus on being the best you. Yes, it’s unfair! But remember that you are being shown how to separate yourself from negativity – you are learning to set boundaries and keep your emotions in check. (Now, this is very different from hearing that a co-worker is upset and doesn’t know how to address you. In this case, you gently work to improve communication and ask that person what you may have done. Sincerely look to patch things up. Be accountable and work to compromise. That action gains respect.)
  3. Avoid being argumentative. State your opinion only after you’ve made sure that others feel heard and validated. You can even agree to a point of their opinion without actually agreeing to something that goes against your beliefs. Instead of “I don’t think we should just hike our fees next year by 35%.” You say, “I can agree that we should initiate a new fee structure; it protects our company. If we do this incrementally, clients will be more apt to go along with it. I hope we can figure this out together.”
  4. See things through others’ eyes. Judgment is being placed upon you, yes. But, you can stay above the negativity by not judging others. People are where they are in their level of conscious understanding and awareness. You be the one with the high awareness and objectivity. When you can free yourself from judging others, you can climb to a place of compassion.

With this compassion, you awaken to the point that you don’t NEED them to like you. You will stop seeking acceptance from people who can only project who they think you are through a lens that is foggy, at best. Instead, you will be liked – and admired – by people who see who you truly are; those who are self-contained, aware and compassionate, and not threatened by your greatness or your differences. The best news is that the more you become the detached, respected professional, the more you will find yourself surrounded by people just like you!

Do your co-workers respect you? That’s the real question and the thing most worthy of your focus.

Respectfully,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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How to Handle Opposing Political Views at Work

In anger management, anxiety, arguments, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, building rapport, bullies at work, business relationships, change, Change the Subject, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, keep negativity to yourself, political beliefs, politics, sharing political views at work, Uncategorized on December 8, 2016 at 6:21 pm

You are thrilled that Trump won. Or, you’re horrified. It doesn’t matter; trying to be right and fighting for your beliefs in this extremely divided climate isn’t good for healthy work relations.

Sure, you and a team of co-workers may be in agreement, and you feel relatively secure speaking your mind with them. But, not only is it likely that there’s the one or the few or the many within hearing range of your political conversations; those people may end up causing you and your friends some very undesirable consequences.

What I mean is that most people already don’t handle conflict well in the workplace. I’m talking about the kind of conflict that arises out of a need for power, control and to be right, which plays itself out with things like: how to handle a client, who should lead a project, etc. What’s erupting now is a type of conflict that arouses hate and vitriol, hence what’s happening on our streets. The stakes are extremely high and walls between folks are being fortified. So, the goal here is to not mix political views with business needs. Avoid creating a hostile environment that will make being at work unnecessarily impossible.

So, what do you do if you are hearing political views that you find despicable?

  1. Concentrate on the common ground you have with the person on the work-front. In what ways do you need to cooperate? Focus on the work.
  2. Remind yourself that everyone is coming from their unique experience and has the right to an opinion without being told, “You’re wrong.”
  3. Remember that no matter how factually correct you can prove yourself to be, the office is not the place to persuade people to change their political views.
  4. See yourself as tolerant. Behave with tolerance. This is what a great leader does.
  5. Remove yourself from political conversations that could disturb others. Tell your friends that you don’t want to inadvertently alienate anyone and want to stick with work-related topics.

Whether you’re anticipating that great things will unfold or are scared to death by what is happening, remember that we are truly all in this together and are all going through change. At the least, you can play your part in keeping your workplace a safe place.

Wishing us all the best,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You’re 50 and Your New Boss is 30. Now what?

In assertiveness, baby boomers, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, diversity, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, generation x, generations in the workforce, gossiping, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, millennials, networking, office politics, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, training, Uncategorized, working with a younger boss on September 1, 2016 at 10:15 am

I’m a Baby Boomer, born in 1959, and I’ve had this experience.  I was once VP of a sales department, having been overlooked for the open SVP slot.  A woman, 10 years my junior, became my boss.  I immediately read what I thought was fear in her eyes and I did what I could to show that I supported her. For several months she kept telling me, “You’re great!  What would I do without you?” Then at around the three month mark, she fired me. Not based on my performance, not because I was acting out against her.  I asked her point blank, “Why?” and her response?  “You’re not a fit.”  You can imagine what that felt like!

Not all younger boss scenarios end badly, although they may be challenging. If you’re currently reporting to someone who’s your junior, and there’s tension around this reality, then this article’s for you.

Here you are, sharp as ever, valuable as hell, and watching your peers leave (voluntarily or by being pushed out).  Inevitably, you are wondering what’s going to happen to you and your job. Plus, you have this younger person as your boss. From your perspective, you might be tolerating what you see as the bumps and blunders your manager goes through to gain respect and be an effective leader (only to show signs of vulnerability and feelings of inadequacy). Just think of how threatening it must feel to manage someone older than yourself!

You may be observing that he or she likes to run things a bit loosely. This person is likely to want more contact via email and text and less in-person contact. Your manager might be in a state of unconscious incompetence (which is another term for, not knowing what we don’t know) and may think your view on leadership is antiquated.

The truth is, good leadership is ageless. That being said, your younger boss comes from a different era, and has generational tendencies for which you should be aware.

Here are some traits associated with our younger colleagues, the ones about whom I am referring.  They likely born after 1975 and before 1987.  (The full span of “Generation X” is 1965-1981 and of “Millennials” is 1982-2000).

Techno-literate

Grew up embracing diversity and informality

Want to achieve balance between fun and work

Self-reliant

Enjoy a lack of rigid structures

(*Source: The Generations, Gary Trotta’s Training Games, Inc.)

Some of these tendencies are a breath of fresh air! So, what to do when there’s a conflict or you feel critical of your boss’ ways? Try to see things from your boss’ perspective. Imagine you’re 30 again and people the age of your parents report to you. Threatening, maybe a little? Much to prove? There’s a really powerful interpersonal dynamic that can become an opportunity to show your ability to dance with change, with people of all ages, and with the demands of the job.

When you see them struggle, offer assistance without being obsequious, pedantic or passive-aggressive. Just be you with all of your experience and wisdom.  Ask about your manager’s vision for the department and the role he or she sees you playing in it.  Occupy your space with confidence. Show interest in your boss’ perspective and demonstrate respect.  Become curious and enthusiastic about working together.

Besides, what are the options?  Just walk away? Fight the system?  Disregard the new manager’s responsibility for you?  We Boomers have been through a lot and we know that change is inevitable.

If we can accept what’s happening, grow with it and be a role model of flexibility and integrity, we can lead our younger managers to victory.

Enjoy the ride,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Detach & Breathe

In aggression, assertiveness, body language, business relationships, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, gossiping, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, negotiating, non-verbal signals, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, working with a younger boss on October 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

Many people have been asking me lately about how not to overreact emotionally, aggressively or undiplomatically in a work environment when things go wrong (usually caused by someone else, of course!).  People also want to know how to stop those unconscious non-verbal signals that tell the truth about what they are really feeling in the face of not being able to say it.

I have such a simple, yet excellent solution that it almost seems silly.  But it works.  It’s called, “Detach & Breathe.” It’s something I came up with to save myself in a highly stressful work environment years ago. I had been struggling with a manager for two years, battling over his way vs. my way.  As a result, he had begun to cut me out of important decisions and it forced me to realize that my stubbornness was what had been hurting me. I had been so intent on being right that I had not allowed him to be ‘the boss.’  Lesson in letting go of having to be right, in the face of being smart!

One day, during a usual confrontation, I realized that I was battle-fatigued and had put my job into jeopardy.  He had authority and that was that. I had to let go of the idea of protecting “my turf” and doing things my way, despite the fact that he didn’t know as much about my job as I.  I said, “Rich, you know what, from now on, I will defer to you and I give you my word.  I’m done fighting and I want to show you that I support you.”

I went into my office and wrote DETACH and BREATHE on post-its and placed them at eye level on my computer.  For the next few weeks he’d tell me how and when to do something and before any response I would DETACH AND BREATHE and then say, “Yes.” Well, by the third week, he started giving me the latitude do just go ahead and do things my own way. He began to include me in decisions. He was done trying to capitalize on his authority because I had stopped fighting it.

So go ahead! It’s effective! Detach & Breathe when you:

1. Feel yourself getting angry, hurt, teary; if the emotion is intense and its display could hurt the perception of you.

2. Begin taking things personally, which is affecting your ability to think and act objectively.

3. Find you are struggling for power with a co-worker.

4. Want to condemn someone else and are ready to snap, yell or scream.

Besides, what else is there at this point?  Quit, get fired or have a stroke?

Place the words DETACH and BREATHE on two separate post-it notes and have them visible at all times.  Eventually the brain will automatically sound them off to you, but you must keep at it!

The only thing we are truly attached to is what we think and believe.  We must first look deeply within to see how these attachments are negatively impacting how we react.  Once we can detach, we are free.  I mean really free.

Sympathetically yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What Does it Mean to Be Assertive?

In assertiveness, business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, managing, people skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 6, 2013 at 11:40 am

It means that you say the thing that must be said in a way that encourages and inspires the other party to listen and respect you. The goal isn’t necessarily to change another’s perspective or to get agreement (that’s the art of persuasion), the goal here is to speak up for yourself, and command the space to be heard.

Here are some quick tips:

  • lead with facts, not feelings
  • be willing to state what’s good about you
  • give-up overly emotional responses for even, calm, predictable reactions
  • ask for what you want
  • say ‘no’ when you mean no
  • speak in terms of the value to the other person for hearing your point
  • do not accept terms that do not work for you
  • accept the other party’s right to differ
  • defer a heated confrontation until both parties are willing and open to hearing one another
  • show respect for the other person’s opinion
  • never disclose too much personal information about yourself (despite a promise of secrecy and confidentiality)
  • openly admit your mistakes
  • dare to be uncomfortable and say it anyway
  • strive for being respected; view being liked as a bonus

Aggressive people may get themselves heard but don’t attract friends along the way.  They are good at winning the battle but even better at losing the war.  Passive people generally do not get heard and go along with others so as not to make waves. This does not engender respect. Passive-Aggressive people are a category unto themselves — a quick way to locate them is to find the source of the conflict in a group; they send out mixed messages and find a way of getting what they want through manipulation.

The true assertive individual is confident, trusted, liked and heard.  Confidence is an appealing quality that others gravitate towards. As a communication specialist, the only way I know to effectively become assertive is to practice these techniques with everyone, everywhere.

Assertively yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mastering The “60-Second Elevator Pitch”

In assertiveness, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, interpersonal skills, leadership, networking, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, selling, Uncategorized on January 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

I sometimes attend a women’s networking group where we are given an outline for how to introduce ourselves to other professionals and the opportunity to practice our pitches several times over.  Some people do this well, but for others the pitch and the opportunity to practice it don’t seem to help them master their delivery.

I’ve been watching people struggle with this and have identified two main areas that need improvement:  1. clarifying and communicating one’s uniqueness and 2. overcoming the insecurity about claiming expertise in one’s field.

So, in thinking about how to help those who are still shaky in these two areas, I’ve come up with this outline for creating a solid 60-second pitch:

1. Your name, your company’s name.

2. Your company’s mission (one line about why your company exists).

3. Your credentials ( ie:  accreditations, certificates, licenses, published works).

This helps you substantiate your value in your field of expertise (and sets the stage for  #4).

4. Your unique value proposition (one sentence about what differentiates you from your competition).

What makes me stand out from the competition…

Why I’m the best at what I do….

5. How what you do benefits your listener (one sentence on the strongest value your listener or customer gets from working with you).

I can help you specifically with…

I can provide a solution for….

Practice, Practice Practice!  I bet you make some solid connections.

Happy pitching!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When Networking for Business, Talk-Up Your Strengths!

In assertiveness, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, networking, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

(Except when you are trying to prove that you aren’t inadequate.)

Here’s what I mean:  I went to a networking function recently and met a zealous young man breaking into the coaching business. He was a main presenter for the event and did a fine job, but when we chatted later, he said, “I didn’t do as well today as I normally do — in fact, most of the time I’m the best speaker at these events. I have awards to prove it.”

Bragging is a form of conceit, but more-so, a compensation for feeling less-than-zippy.  I felt compassion for him (because I know what it feels like to under perform), and think he could benefit from learning techniques in one-on-one communicating. Other than that, I don’t want to forge a business connection with him.

The point is this:  you must come from strength in order to communicate your strengths.  It’s okay to want others to think highly of you, but let them make that assessment.  Humility has a far more commanding presence, anyway!  The goal is to be memorable in a positive way, to communicate your strengths quickly and to seek an opportunity for re-connection.

So, here’s how to humbly state and prove your strengths, while making an instant, positive, business connection:

1. Body language first:  stand arms’ length apart, firmly shake (not break) hands, smile and make direct eye contact.  Say, ‘hello!’ with enthusiasm.

2. Introduce yourself:  slowly state your name, your company and your position, audibly enunciating every syllable.

2. Focus on the other person first:  state something positive — comment on something you’ve seen, heard or read about this person’s body of work.  If you know nothing,  ask what he/she does and what his/her strengths are.  You immediately want to show interest; this proves you have good people and networking skills and will get the other person asking all about you.

3. Ask what kind of help you can offer to the other person.  This generosity will quickly make others perceive you as having true value, and create the opportunity to leverage yourself.

3. Now talk about you:  say something to the effect of, “I’m expert in my field with ‘X’ years in the business and have ‘X’ accreditations, awards…”etc.

4. State one or two core strengths:  these are qualities about you that you can back up with evidence.  My example is:  I help people improve their thinking and make positive impact upon others.  My company is PointMaker Communications. I’m a professional development trainer and coach who specializes in both brain-based coaching (to facilitate improved thinking) and skills-based training– the art of interpersonal effectiveness and communication (public speaking, presenting, pitching, networking and one-on-one communicating).  My accreditations come from Dale Carnegie Training and The NeuroLeadership Group (click on About Jackie Kellso to view my resume).

5. Show gratitude:  thank the other person for his/her time, for listening and learning about you.  Then ask to exchange cards and for permission to make contact.

Many people fear stating their strengths because they fear it will come off as bragging. But it isn’t. You have the right to feel good about the results of your hard work and your sharpened skills.  You have the right to tell others that you are good at what you do. Your business depends on your ability to communicate effectively.  And, when you let others discover you, they benefit from knowing you (or at the least know people who could use your services).

So remember — you must come from strength to successfully communicate your strengths.

Humbly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What Would Dale Carnegie Think of Humanity in the 21st Century?

In business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, Dale Carnegie, effective communicating, executive coaching, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, networking, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, sales, Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Dale Carnegie’s 30 Human Relations Principles were available to the world in 1936. They were introduced in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which still reigns as the almighty in guiding people to value and act with humanity.  I owe Mr. Carnegie so much personally for how his brand of goodness has changed my life for the better, and will continue to be his champion until I leave the planet.

Not that I can pretend to know if he would have tweaked his principles for a world in which texting has replaced an actual conversation, but I will try to imagine what additional principles he might have added on to include the world we now live in. Assume the first 30 principles are still in tact, as is.

31.  Turn off hand-held devices when in the company of another human being.  Engage!

32. Be respectful, compassionate and responsible in honoring diversity: race, gender, sexual-orientation, ethnicity, culture, religion and politics.

33. Use cell phones in public only for emergencies.  Honor others needs for peace, quiet and space.

34. Ask for help when you don’t understand.  People love feeling that they have something to offer.

35. Offer personal help and support whenever and wherever you can.  You can forever change someone’s life with the smallest action and also become part of the “Pay it Forward” cycle in which someone will come to your aid.

36. Be generous about introducing people to others in your network.

37. When in a conversation, make direct eye contact and listen to understand.

38. Take full responsibility for your own feelings — never blame others for your circumstances.

39. Recognize the greatness in others and allow them to influence you.

40. Apologize, even when you have inadvertently hurt another’s feelings.

41. Build and look to work with teams of smart, devoted, dignified people who have complementary strengths to your own.

42. Say what you mean, be honest, and clear about your intentions.

43. Read the first 30 principles over and over and over.

Happy “Winning Friends and Influencing People,”

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Smart Business Networking: Show Interest in Others First

In assertiveness, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, networking, people skills, professional behavior, sales, training, Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I met a professional image consultant recently, who’d had her own successful business for some time. I was eager to discuss the industry and to share experiences with her, thinking I was in for a wonderful conversation!  I enthusiastically asked, “When did you discover that this was your calling?”  She smiled, clearly delighted with the question.  Unfortunately, for the next three to four minutes, she didn’t stop talking about herself — not once — to include me, and went on and on about herself.

Suddenly, she turned her head to the left, then back at me, and said, “You know, I’d like to hear this.” She then turned her body away from me and joined another conversation. Just like that.  A little lack of social grace?  Self-absorption, perhaps? I laughed later that evening; shortly after our encounter I was introduced as the guest speaker of the event.  At the end of my presentation she ran over to me and asked for my business card to talk some ‘alliance we might form.’ It was too late. I simply said, “Sorry, I’m all out of cards.  May I have yours?”

This was probably the rudest situation I’d encountered at a networking function, but the truth is that most people don’t show genuine interest in the people they are meeting.  Their goal is to obtain business cards, which is a backwards pursuit.  I assure you, no one sets-out to be your business connection.  There has to be a perceived pay-off.  So, it’s best to start off on the right foot and make the effort to build new alliances.

Here are some tips to successfully meet and make quality connections:

1. First show curiosity — ask the other person questions about  him/herself before you try and talk about you.

2. Ask meaningful questions that are deeper than just, “Where do you work?”  Find out what motivates, inspires and drives the other person.

3. Offer help and support.  Once you have some information, you might know someone who can assist him/her along the path. This way, you can become a follow-up item on his/her to-do list.  Smart, heh?

Invite people to speak about themselves, first.  Your turn to talk about yourself will come and the wait will be worth it.

Happy networking!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

9 Egregious Communication Errors of Trade Show Exhibitors

In Business Expo, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, effective communicating, executive coaching, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, networking, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development, sales, selling, Trade Show Exhibitors, Trade Shows, training, Uncategorized on November 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I had decided to attend the recent NY Business Expo held at the Jacob Javits Center here in NYC.  This was my first time at this event, so I was eager to see the exhibitors and hear some of the speakers.  I picked an aisle and started walking into the frenzy.

Suddenly, a man I recognized leapt out at me – he happens to be my neighbor, and asked if I wanted to meet the president of his sales training company – someone for whom he clearly would stand on the firing line.  I said, “Sure!”

My neighbor’s job was to recruit walkers-by and reel them into the exhibit.  The promise was, MEET THE MAN and find out how he can help you increase your business.  This is a smart tactic, but…as I reached over with a smile, said, “Hello,” and gave him a firm handshake, THE MAN took my hand and without ever looking at me, started speaking with the woman behind me.  I stared into his face waiting for him.  But he never even looked or acknowledged my presence.   I felt like I needed a shower.

I let go of his hand seconds later while he continued talking to someone behind me. I told my neighbor that I pity his clients. I walked away.

Egregious error #1 – AVOIDING EYE CONTACT AND UNGRACIOUSLY DISENGAGING FROM YOUR VISITORS

Egregious error #2 – MAKING PEOPLE FEEL THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE BETTER OR MORE VALUABLE

So, after that, I decided that my mission was to look for other mistakes exhibitors were making, because I hadn’t considered it going into the ordeal.  I continued walking around to find them.  They were everywhere!

You get hungry walking around a space like the Jacob Javits Center, and I soon noticed huge bowls of candy placed on tables at the front of many vendors’ booths to lure in sugar addicts.  I watched people walk by, grab fistfuls of swirly, little things in plastic, Tootsie Pops, and bite-sized Mary Janes.  Chewing, they continued on their journeys without ever stopping to chat with the vendors themselves.  Of course, the vendors were busy standing at the back of their booths chatting with one another.

Egregious error #3  – THINKING THAT CANDY INSPIRES VISITORS TO STOP AND ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

I moved onward without any candy.  Why couldn’t they have bowls of Lindt Truffles anyway?  Next up:  a young man in a t-shirt and worn jeans enthusiastically jumps from behind a table as I walk by, to stop me and say hello.  He got my attention!  Then I shook his hand.  Limp and damp.  I needed another shower.

I looked over to find the name of the company he was representing.  It had a high-tech logo with no distinctive name.  There was no tag line, no explanation of the product or service either visually or in writing.  Just a meaningless logo.  (I soon found out, and only because I had asked — it’s an IT service firm, designed to support small business owners who don’t have their own IT departments.  Hum, I thought.  Could be good for me.   Here’s how the conversation went:

“Hi, I’m Jim.”

“Hi, Jim, I’m Jackie.”

“Um, like, pretty groovy space we’re in, right?”

Suddenly a young woman appeared in my periphery.  She had a name card with a title on it that said, “Director of Marketing and Sales.”  She stood back and listened.

“What do you do for your company, Jim?”

“Oh, I work in the operations department.”

The sales and marketing maven stayed back there while I asked, “ So, Jim, what’s good about your company?”

“You know, like, we …” and he explained the company’s mission.

“Well, Jim, thanks for saying hello – maybe I’ll look on the web and see if your company can meet my needs.”  At that very moment, the Director of Sales and Marketing actually walked behind a desk and picked up her cell phone.

Egregious error #4 – TALKING TO YOUR PROSPECTS LIKE IT’S 1969 AND YOU’RE ALL HANGING OUT AT THE MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL WAITING FOR A FREE PORT-A-POTTY.

Egregious error #5 – HAVING A LIMP HANDSHAKE; NO HANKIE TO DRY YOUR SWEATY PALM

Egregious error #6 – NOT HAVING A BRAND AS RECOGNIZABLE AS COCA-COLA WITHOUT A PROMINENT UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION OR TAG LINE THAT CATCHES THE ATTENTION OF PASSERS-BY

Egregious error #7 – LETTING YOUR OPERATIONS GUY MISRESPRESENT YOUR COMPANY WHILE THE DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING WATCHES THE DISASTER UNFOLD

By this point, I’d had enough. As I was walking out, a very friendly man came up to me and with a firm handshake and great eye-contact asked how I enjoyed the expo.  I thought this was refreshing and told him it was a great experience and asked what he did.  He said, “I’m a real estate broker but I also sell a nutritional product that can guarantee weight loss of up to 10 pounds in the first month.  It can also be a great source of income if you sell the product.”

I said, well good for you, why don’t you give me your card?”  He did.  It was for the real estate business.  He said, “It’s the only one I brought today.”  I took it and told him I help people become effective communicators, networkers, business pitchers and presenters and handed him my card.  We said goodbye.

In thinking that he could be a potential prospect for me, I went to his website, as listed on the card.  There was no such company and he was not anywhere to be found in a Google search.

Egregious error #8 –MAKING A STRANGER FEEL FAT WHILE ATTEMPTING TO ENGAGE HER IN A NETWORK MARKETING SCHEME

Egregious error #9 – GIVING AWAY A BUSINESS CARD OF THE THING YOU AREN’T PROMOTING THAT IS ALSO UNTRACEABLE AND UNVERIFIABLE.

Trade shows are great places to showcase your brand and business, and increase your network of prospects.  Being innovative and standing out from the others seems to be a huge challenge, but slacking on things that are so easily fixable can do a lot of damage.  I’d rather not generate business at all than create a negative first impression.

At trade shows, even bad press isn’t good press.

© Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.