A client shared, “I get really aggravated with one of my Directors who always has a caboose comment.” “What’s that?”, I asked. He said, “His last sentence is grating. He’ll say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’ or ‘The market can’t maintain this momentum much longer’, or ‘You look tired.’” My client chuckled (kind of) and remarked, “This Director ends every interaction on a sour note.”
How do you end a zoom meeting, or a conversation, or an email? In fact, how do you begin your interactions with others?
My client has me thinking about our engine and caboose financial opportunities.
Not to bash this analogy too much more (!), how do you want your train to enter and depart the station? Do you want to gain your buyer’s attention at the beginning? Do you want to end with the sale, or furthering your relationship?
Money-making ways to begin:
Begin with the word “You”. Ex: “You were great to contact our website for more information.”
Start with a quote, story or question – something compelling.
Ask them questions about them.
Don’t begin with a data dump about you or your company.
Strategic ways to close:
Give your listener a “call to action”. What are we supposed to do next now that we’ve read your email or heard your update? Ex: “Blog readers – become aware of your Engine and Caboose Opportunities!”
Say something positive. Ex: “Always great to catch up with you.”
Ask for the business.
Don’t end on a depressing note!
The way you begin and end your speeches, meetings, conversations and emails are critical! Call us to brainstorm about your “engines” and “cabooses” .
Source: Thanks @EstateLawyer for this blog’s inspiration.
Did you know we offer a free 20-minute communication consultation?
Add your comments here or contact me today to learn how I can share these concepts with you and your organization.
Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, #AlbertEinstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.
You’re getting pretty used to zoom etc. BUT – the odd mishap still happens. Here are ways to handle your 2.0 virtual zoom glitches.
Problem: You’re in a “smart” building and if you don’t move around the room senses no one is there and the lights shut off. So – your room goes dark in the middle of your seated virtual training program.
Solution: Move around more! If you’re facilitating a training it’s best to stand up anyway – you’ll have more energy. And, know your surroundings.
Problem: You’re running a zoom meeting and your Internet goes down.
Solution: Always assign a co-host. Text the co-host to take over till you get back online.
Problem: You share your screen and inadvertently you share a confidential document.
Solution: Close out all running applications before any virtual meeting.
Problem: Your voice sounds tinny.
Solution: Use an external mic and keep the mic as close to your mouth as possible without being seen on the screen.
Trevor Noah interviews Spike Lee virtually. Trevor asks, “Spike – can you please sit back a bit so we can get a better view of you?” Trevor laughs – realizing that he’s directing a movie director. IF Spike Lee needs a bit of guidance — then so do we.
Life happens, even during Covid. In the past 24 hours I’ve been to a funeral (feisty & independent Marguerite dies of natural causes at 95), birthday dinner (my beloved daughter & fiancé serve delicious made-from-scratch pizza in their backyard to celebrate her bday), and a Bris (a Jewish baby naming ceremony for Israel Naftalis).
What do all of these life cycle events have in common? Speeches!
And I have to give it up to George. He wins the speech contest for his fabulous eulogy for his mother-in-law Marguerite. Although Israel’s Dad and my daughter, Courtney, come in as a close second.
Meet George – our Speak For Yourself® Best Speech Winner!
“Your speech was great,” I tell George.
“I credit Ms. Fry, my 9th grade speech teacher,” George replies. “She’s the best teacher I ever had. I’ve used her principles throughout my career.” (I can already see this blog in my head…)
“What did Ms. Fry teach you?”
“Three things.” (I love Ms. Fry. YOU KNOW how I preach the magic power of three.) “First – you have to have structure. A beginning, a middle and an end that ties it all together. Second – you have to have humor. If you make your listeners laugh it calms them down and it calms you down too. Third – you have to keep doing it. You can’t become a better speaker unless you speak. Take every opportunity to speak.”
Check. Check. Check. George made us laugh (and cry). He weaves a great story with a beginning, middle and end. And he must’ve spoken a lot in his career – he is confident and conversational.
For you – as leaders of your various businesses – whether it’s a personal event or a professional virtual live streaming, follow Ms. Fry’s principles. Or hire us. George is retired.
You are not less busy just because you’re not traveling, commuting or happy houring with clients. Congrats. You are the optimistic scheduler you’ve always been and you already know that virtual everything exhausts the best of us. So – keep it concise whether you’re sending emails or doing presentations. An hour is a looooong time.
2 – Face Masks Create a New Smile Technique
For in-person encounters your smile must reach your eyes. Since half your face is covered make sure your eyes meet the eyes of others and if the occasion warrants a smile show that twinkle in your eye. Welcome to your new smile … an eye-smile.
3 – Listening Skills become THE benchmark
Your ability to listen has always been mistakenly underrated. It’s the toughest communication skill. (You never want to shut up.) These days active listening is critical. Information talks, wisdom listens.
4 – Video Communication Requires the “Micro-gesture”
You only have a 2 inch by 2 inch square on most video sharing screens to show your body language and the camera sees only your head, shoulders, and maybe your torso. (Depends how far back you’re sitting or standing.) Your gestures need to model your surroundings. On a stage (back in the prehistoric non-Covid days) gesture big. Now – master the micro-gesture.
5 – Emotional Transparency Goes Mainstream
Good leadership during this pandemic requires empathy, understanding and encouragement. Sometimes you won’t have the answers. No one – wearing their personal or professional hat – is operating on Plan A. And there just might be a precious child screeching or an adorable dog barking while you deliver your version of The Gettysburg Address. Have mercy. Show grace.
Halfway up a 3-story vertical ladder just south of the Botswana/South Africa border I halt.
My husband Jim and I had said “yes” to climbing this tower to observe warthogs from a high platform. Jim is on this platform already.
“What’s the matter, Karen?”, whispered my one-armed guide on the ground below.
“What’s the matter,” I grumbled to myself. “Everything. I do not want to do this! I don’t have to do this. This is not fun. I’ll just wait at the bottom.”
I make an Executive Decision – I go down a few rungs.
Our guide looks up at me and shares, “Karen – we sent the vehicle away. If you come down the animals will smell you.”
I make a second Executive Decision – “Got it,” and UP I climb.
I use this true story to teach audiences HOW to tell a story. I stop here to unpack what I’ve done…. so far. The “rest of the story” still needs to be told.
First – why use stories? A compelling conversation (in a speech or a meeting or even around your kitchen table talking to your “bubble” on its 134th pandemic day) is NEVER just about the data. Stories create visual pictures that make your message stick.
Elements of a good story:
Context: set the stage. Halfway up a 3-story vertical ladder just south of the Botswana/South Africa border
Characters: Make your characters vivid, not plain, in your initial description. Keep the number of characters minimal. Use dialog to shape your characters. One-armed guide who talks to my husband and me
Conflict: What’s challenging your characters? You must have emotion here. I do NOT want to climb this ladder
Done. Done. Done. But wait. There is one more MUST HAVE in story telling …
Conclusion: Resolution I climb up the ladder and RELEVANCE.
What’s the relevance? IF your story has no relevance then you do NOT tell the story! Your story has to relate to your buyers, team, and managers.
Here is where I stop and ask my audiences (that’s you), “What are the various applications/relevance of this story?”
You could make a point about how to make decisions, or how to persuade others, or how to lead your team. Pick the one that resonates for you and your organization’s need.
Today the relevance to you decision makers during Covid, economic craziness and boring zoom family chats is … sometimes you will change your course of action. It depends on the most current data you have. That’s what makes you an effective leader.