Is Motivation a Myth?
Have you ever tried to motivate yourself to start a task? Did you conjure up all sorts of means, but after all the conjuring, nothing changed? You were still stuck. Except, you were also feeling guilty about having wasted more time without getting any closer to the accomplishment you were after.
If you can relate to the experience, you’re not alone. Everyone has been in that situation at some time in their life…perhaps many times. And like others, you, too, discovered that waiting for the wave of motivation to wash over you and get you moving was futile.
So, what is the secret to creating real, meaningful, and lasting motivation? The secret is…
Well, there is no secret. Motivation is not some external force that can be switched on or off at will. It’s not some magical feeling that comes over you, energizes you, and propels you into action. And, it doesn’t come in pill form with a “take as needed” prescription.
So, what is motivation and where does it come from?
Motivation comes from the goals you truly desire to accomplish AND your commitment to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the goals. Now is a good time to review the goals you set last year and plan for the coming year. Making note of the goals that weren't meet, were they not really important or did they lack your focus? If they are important set them again but this time with a plan to complete. Set realistic goals with stepping stones that will keep you focused and succesful.
What do holiday parties mean to you? For me, they mean more than just free food and fun, but it can also bring entrepreneurs a multitude of new opportunities to build relationships and network.
When thinking about networking, most people think of it as traditional venues, whether Chamber of Commerce events, online sites such as LinkedIn, contact referral groups, but holiday parties, including professional and industry social events where you can network with people outside your business, can be an even better time to introduce yourself to a new contact or share a friendly conversation with someone you already know.
To make the most of holiday party networking, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be prepared. Try to learn in advance the names of people you will likely chat with, their jobs and their recent accomplishments. You will need to do a little homework, perhaps a Google search and a look at their LinkedIn or Facebook pages. Use the information you glean to break the ice.
- Ask good questions. From the CEO to intern level, people love to talk about themselves. Here are some suggested conversation starters: How did you get started? What were some of the challenges with. . . ? Have you read any good books lately? My favorite is: How can I help you?
- Have a "teaser” topic ready. Approaching the end of the year, every business executive is thinking about how to increase profits and performance in the New Year. Have an idea ready that describes the steps you'd take to improve your networking contact's business. Make this research part of the homework you do ahead of time. But don't give away the goose; save the details for a later conversation.
By: Joanne Jonna
Many local businesses are content if their customers seem “generally satisfied” overall. Others aspire to something more -- they seek the kind of passionate customer satisfaction that inspires glowing thank you letters and backyard fence comments like “My plumber (or dry cleaner, pet groomer, dentist, insurance agent, hair salon, etc.) is really great! I highly recommend them.”
If you suspect customers aren’t quite feeling that kind of love for your business, you’ve probably got some work to do. In a sense, customers who aren’t wholeheartedly with you might as well be against you. Customers who lack the love factor can actually be more damaging to your business than those who do business with your competitors.
That’s because people who aren’t yet customers of yours might at least try you out in the future. But those who are blasé about your business have already tried out your product or service and found you lacking in some respect. That’s not good.
Earning true customer loyalty – the kind that translates into recommendations and referrals – takes commitment, innovative ideas, energy and a little old-fashioned elbow grease. You, as business owner, must clarify for everyone else just what it is you want to accomplish with customers. This includes partners, employees, vendors and others who support what your business does.
And lest we forget, customer “love” also translates into a better bottom line. A recent American Express survey found that 75% of small business customers are willing to spend more with businesses that provide great service – up from just 58% two years ago.
And here’s the kicker: A hefty 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of poor service.
Here are eight things that will help customers find the love:
1. End the obstacle course. Take the initiative to find out when customers need (or will soon need) service or help – before they have to ask. The magical customer service moment is when your call, email or postcard offering help arrives as the precise moment the customer needs it. Meanwhile, make it clear to each and every customer exactly how they can get service or help from your business when they need it – including a name and contact information.
2. Avoid customer hot potato. Whenever possible, the person who speaks to a customer first should “own” that customer for the duration of their visit. Companies send signals of disrespect by passing off a customer to “someone who can better help you with your problem.” Yeah, right.
3. Streamline your website. Many small business websites seem cobbled together – a collection of different areas with different terminology and logic for getting around. Figure out one look and message you want to send, and stick with that.
4. Fix (for real) the big issues bugging your customers. Millions of businesses ask, ever so thoughtfully, “How can we improve?” That’s good. But how many really listen and act on what they hear? Customers read inaction as lack of caring and won’t bother to respond the next time you ask. A business that makes changes based on what it hears from customers earns more love.
5. Invest in customer loyalty. Customers have had it with loyalty programs that are just too much work or offer skimpy benefits. Try offering customers something without them having to ask or pay extra for it.
6. Offer customers real choices. Don’t bind customers into the fake choice of letting them “opt out” of something. Let them know up front that they can decide to get emails, offers or whatever from you and give them a choice.
7. Make someone responsible. Maybe it’s you. Or perhaps you make it part of someone else’s responsibilities. Either way, you call attention to your company’s passionate and persistent commitment to customer care. Be sure to reward employees publicly for exceptional customer care performance.
8. Put your money where your mouth is. Define specific customer care objectives that are right for your business, put some resources behind them, and figure out how you will measure the results.
Thank you to Score for this information
In the future, leaders who believe that what they say carries more weight than anything they do, will be asked to step down from that position — or simply step down. The most successful leaders will be those whose policies, actions, behaviors, and, yes, body language are strategically aligned with their verbal messages.
From “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help or Hurt How You Lead,” here are three predictions that link the future of effective leadership with nonverbal communication:
PREDICTION #1 – The visual technology revolution will make body language skills even more crucial than they are today.
Leaders have always been under scrutiny, but with future developments in visual technology, a leader’s body language will even more exposed to evaluation. For example: There is no doubt that videoconferencing — especially with products like Cisco’s Telepresence, which allows participants to see and be seen as life-size images — can help build stronger bonds and improve rapport. But video communication can also heighten participants’ anxiety and self-consciousness because there is no hiding behind a text message or computer screen. Leaders will need to develop their nonverbal skills to make the most of these tools.
PREDICTION #2 – The body language of effective leaders will become increasingly “warm.”
There are two sets of body language cues that followers look for in leaders. One set projects warmth and empathy and the other signals power and status. Both are necessary for leaders today and both will be critical to the success of leaders in the future. But if your organization is headed toward a collaborative structure and philosophy, then effective leadership becomes less about projecting power and more building relationships. And relationship-building, in turn, is all about the body language of trust, inclusion and empathy. So the “soft side” of nonverbal communication (which has been undervalued and underutilized by leaders more concerned with projecting strength, status, and authority), will become central to achieving business goals.
PREDICTION #3 – Authenticity will be increasingly revealed through body language.
Warren Bennis, one of the most prominent authorities on organizational development and leadership, was speaking at a conference I attended. An audience member asked if Bennis had ever made the following statement: “Leadership is 85% character.” Bennis paused and answered, “Probably. But I’d change that now. Leadership is 100% character.”
Body language reveals character. No leader, regardless of how skilled a nonverbal communicator, can fool the people who work with him or her over an extended period of time. Sooner or later, your body will give you away. Like good manners and good grammar, body language is a tool for expressing your “best” self in a certain situation. And it is a highly valuable tool. It just can’t hide your character.
You can become aware of and change ineffective body language habits, you can develop a deeper understanding of the impact that certain nonverbal behaviors have on your audiences, and you can add more effective gestures, postures, and expressions to your leadership repertoire. But the most charismatic, influential, and powerful body language will always be that which is totally congruent with who you are, what you stand for, and what you truly believe.
Thank you to Carol for allowing us to share her insights with you.
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
Keynote speaker and leadership communications coach.
Leadership blogger for Forbes, expert contributor for the Washington Post's "On Leadership" column, business body language columnist for "the Market" magazine, and author of "The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt - How You Lead"and "The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work."