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zaterdag 16 november 2013

Cold Calls

How to make cold calls

On your next cold call, keep these key points in mind:

1. Never underestimate the person sitting at the front desk. They may have more knowledge or influence than you think.

2. When speaking to the person at reception, always use his/her first name in conversation. It's one of the nicest sounding words they know.

3. Start by asking the receptionist if he or she can help you out. It starts off the conversation on a casual, positive note.

4. Be aware of your surroundings, including pictures, awards, and anything that might get people talking about something they're proud of.

5. If possible, ask for a tour to gain access to other people and places in the company. You may see opportunities to add value.

6. Introduce your prospect to other clients who might use their service. This is one of the best ways to build trust and add value.

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach

CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

dinsdag 6 augustus 2013

The War between Sales and Marketing

The War between Sales and Marketing (and how to end it).

In too many companies there is a fight between Sales and Marketing. Salespeople accuse marketers of being out of touch with what customers really want or setting prices too high. Marketers insist that salespeople focus too much on individual customers and short-term sales at the expense of longer term profits. The result is poor coordination between the two teams which only raises market-entry costs, lengthens sales cycles, and increases cost of sales.
How to get your sales and marketing teams to start working together? Kotler, Rackham, and Krishnaswamy recommend crafting a new relationship between them, one with the right degree of interconnection to tackle your most pressing business challenges. For example, is your market becoming more commoditized or customized? If so, align Sales and Marketing through frequent, disciplined cross-functional communication and joint projects. Is competition becoming more complex than ever? Then fully integrate the teams, by having them share performance metrics and rewards and embedding marketers deeply in management of key accounts. Create the right relationship between Sales and Marketing, and you reduce squabbling, enabling these former combatants to boost top and bottom line growth, together.

How interconnected should your Sales and Marketing teams be? Determine their existing relationship, then strengthening interconnection if conditions warrant.

maandag 15 juli 2013

10 Time Management Tips For Sales Professionals

Top 10 Time Management Tips For Sales Professionals

1. ABS – Always Be Scheduling.
Schedule your tasks and block time to complete them. Also, leave yourself some free time at the end of the day to complete unexpected tasks or to complete tasks that took longer than expected earlier in the day.

2. MITF – Most Important Tasks First.
You are more likely to complete challenging tasks early in the day versus the end of the day when your productivity levels and focus have decreased.

3. Focus On One Thing At A Time.
You will get more done and produce higher quality work.

4. Don't Confuse Being Busy With Being Productive.
Focus on what makes the greatest impact on your bottom line sales results.

5. Schedule Mini-Breaks.
Block out 15 minutes multiple times per day for a break. Your focus and productivity will increase.

6. Shut Off All Technology Distractions.
Turn off  your smart phones, IM, chat, and email alerts when you need to focus on a task. This will not always apply, but try it out for certain time blocks and see how much more you get done.

7. Schedule Times To Check Your Email & Voicemail.
This will give you more time in the day to get things done. Remember, you don't have to be available every minute of the day...In fact, that just will slow you down.

8. Determine Where You Are Wasting Time.
Start tracking any activities daily that you find are wasting your time. Then, eliminate one item at a time.

9. Just Say "No"
Learn to say "No" to requests that get you off-track.

10. Set Deadlines For Yourself.

Give yourself a certain amount of time to complete tasks and your work for the day. With a set stop time, you will be forced to get more done before you reach the finish line.

Drs. Christiaan Janssens MBA
Executive Coach CJ Coaching
CRO Akwa Wellness

vrijdag 12 juli 2013

Cross-selling and up-selling

Cross-selling and up-selling

Cross-selling is the action or practice of selling among or between clients, markets, traders, etc. or the action or practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer. This article deals exclusively with the latter meaning. In practice, businesses define cross-selling in many different ways. Elements that might influence the definition might include the size of the business, the industry sector it operates within and the financial motivations of those required to define the term.
The objectives of cross-selling can be either to increase the income derived from the client or clients or to protect the relationship with the client or clients. The approach to the process of cross-selling can be varied.

Up-selling is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. Up-selling usually involves marketing more profitable services or products but can also be simply exposing the customer to other options that were perhaps not considered previously. Up-selling implies selling something that is more profitable or otherwise preferable for the seller instead of, or in addition to, the original sale.

The difference between up-selling and cross-selling are fairly nuanced, which is why many sales reps and marketers talk about cross selling and up-selling as a single discipline. Philosophically, when sales reps up sell, they convince your customers to increase the value of their orders (both to you and to them) by:

- Moving up to a more expensive version of what they're already considering purchasing (e.g., the six cylinder vehicle instead of the four cylinder, upgrading from economy to business class for a flight, a 42” TV instead of a 40”)
- Adding to their orders with additional vertically related products or services (e.g., "Would you like fries with that?", extended warranty, DVD player to go with the TV, paper to go with a printer, a hands free car kit to go with a mobile phone)

Vertically related are products or services that enhance or are related to the core or base product. A cross-sell refers to sales of another product/service type horizontally related (i.e., another type of product/service usually orthogonally related if at all) to what you're already considering. For instance, when one purchases a new vehicle and the car salesman encourages the buyer to use the manufacturer's auto financing capabilities... Another cross selling example is when one calls the reservation centre of an airline and at the end of the call the agent asks if buyer needs a rental car at the destination, and if so, he/she would be delighted to connect him/her to one of their car rental partners.

How to up-sell

A little not a lot
Up-sell works better when there’s only a small difference in price between the item that you’re suggesting your customer purchases and the product they’re looking at. Otherwise it can be as successful as convincing someone who’s taken a second hand Toyota Corolla for a test drive that they should purchase a Porsche instead.

Match key features
Up-sell works best when the key features of the product are kept the same.

Be brand aware
For some products, a customer considering a particular brand is more likely to up-sell to products by the same brand. This is relevant for cross sell as well. Sure, that Canon lens does fit the model of Sony camera your customer’s looking at, but they are much more likely to purchase a Sony lens for their Sony camera. If they’re considering a Nokia phone you’ll probably have more luck up-selling them to the next model up also by Nokia.

Benefits count
When trying to persuade your customer to spend more, make sure you clearly spell out the benefits of upgrading from what they were originally considering.

How to cross-sell

Choose carefully
Certain products work better than others for cross-sell. Think like your local supermarket.

Watch the price
Cross-sell works better when the suggested items are half price or lower than the item being purchased.

Products that naturally go together work better for cross sell.

Higher price
Cross sell tends to be more effective when the original product is higher priced or requires more thought. Cross sell is less successful when trying to convince a customer to spend extra when they were going to buy a lower cost item.

zondag 9 juni 2013

The Triangle of Trust and Respect

Trust and Respect in an Organization

If an organization is lacking trust and respect then leadership, group initiative and creativity suffer. A manager has to provide an environment to develop this through straight talk, listening and making commitments.

The Howard Jackson Model for systematically building trust and respect is a repeatable series of steps that build on from each other in sequence to establish better collaboration.

At the bottom of the pyramid one starts with Straight Talk, and move through the steps of Listening for Understanding, Making Commitments, being Reliable, creating Trust, and then finally earning Respect.

Straight Talk

Open and direct communication is the first building block for trust and respect.
Straight-talk is the product of thoughtful caring relationships built upon trust by people committed to looking out for one another’s success. It entails much more than let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may candor and blunt start-to-finish honesty. And, it’s not brought about by cat-and-mouse, testing-the-waters conversation that evolves into a tell-it-straight, see if you can get the other person to reciprocate discussion. Straight-talk is a caring, other-sensitive, candor-on-demand, loyalty-producing, intimacy-escalating, give-and-take relationship leading to enhanced personal and organizational productivity.

Listening for Understanding

Focus your attention on understanding the meaning behind what people are saying. There is a big difference between waiting for your turn to speak and really listening. Hear, Understand, Interpret, and then Respond.

Organizational Commitment

The concept of organizational commitment refers to a person's affective reactions to
characteristics of his employing organization. It is concerned with feelings of attachment to
the goals and values of the organization, one's role in relation to this, and attachment to the
organization for its own sake rather than for its strictly instrumental value. As a positive
outcome of the quality of work experience, the concept can be regarded as a factor contributing to subjective well-being at work.
Be clear about what you will do. Agree on the What, By When, By Whom, and How steps. Communicate your intentions and stick to them.


Do what you say you will do without fail. If circumstances have changed and it no longer makes sense to do what you said you would do, communicate back and explain why, and discuss and agree on the new steps.  Follow through over-and-over, be reliable, unfailing, dependable.


Trust as a common word in ordinary language retains much of that meaning when
employed as a concept in social science. It refers to the extent to which one is
willing to ascribe good intentions to and have confidence in the words and actions of other
people. This willingness will in turn atffect the way in which one behaves towards others.
Trust between individuals and groups within an organization is a highly important ingredient in the long-term stability of the organization and the well-being of its members.
Trust results from the firm belief that another person can be relied upon. Trust is the result of straight talk, making sure you understand and are understood, and keeping confidences as well as commitments.


Although there are many levels of respect, the respect that follows trust leads to deep esteem for another person. We value their thoughts and input, and we know we can count on them because they have proven themselves out to us.
"Managing with Respect" is the way people put the company values into action.
It is creating an environment where people feel free to offer suggestions, contribute ideas and make contributions to the organization.
"Managing with Respect" creates an environment where people genuinely care about each other and work well together to reach their full potential.

The "Managing with Respect" principles are:
- Communicate Effectively
- Give and Seek Feedback
- Value Unique Contributions
- Promote Teamwork
- Set the Example

Establishing trust and respect can build tremendous support for goals, and likewise losing trust and respect puts us back at the beginning and the process has to start again.

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach
CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

maandag 20 mei 2013

Missie, visie en strategie

Wat is de missie, de visie en de strategie van een organisatie?

Wat is de missie?

Een missie definieert het bestaansrecht en identiteit van een organisatie. Door middel van je missie geef je aan wie je bent, wat je doet en wat je wil bereiken. Je missie is tijdloos, maar wel toe te passen op dit moment. Een missie staat dus, in tegenstelling tot een visie, niet voortdurend ter discussie.
De missie van een organisatie bestaat over het algemeen uit de volgende vier onderdelen:
Betekenis voor belanghebbenden
Normen, waarden en overtuigingen

Wat is de visie?

De visie sluit aan bij de missie. Waar de missie bepaalt waarom een organisatie doet wat ze doet (doelstelling en bestaansreden) verwijst de visie naar de manier waarop de missie wordt bereikt. De visie (op succes) omschrijft hoe de organisatie er uit zou zien als de missie gerealiseerd is. Het bepaalt de te volgen strategie.
In de definitie van de visie kijk je naar de wereld van nu en de kansen in de toekomst en beschrijf je de gewenste droomsituatie. Om een visie voor je onderneming te formuleren kan je jezelf de volgende vragen stellen:
Welke ontwikkelingen (economisch, sociologisch, technisch, politiek) zijn belangrijk voor onze organisatie?
Hoe ziet onze toekomst eruit?
Welke ambities hebben wij op langere termijn?
Welke kerncompetenties moeten we voor de toekomst gaan ontwikkelen?
Een visie geeft altijd een beeld van de plaats en positie van je eigen organisatie in die verre toekomst.

Wat zijn de doelstellingen?

De doelen die je wilt bereiken worden afgeleid van je missie en visie. Van hier uit ga je een strategie bedenken om deze tot een goed eind te brengen. Doelstellingen zijn tastbare resultaten die je nastreeft om de missie, visie en strategie van de organisatie te verwezenlijken. Om doelstellingen te kunnen halen moet je ze SMART maken. Specifiek, Meetbaar, Acceptabel, Realistisch en Tijdgebonden.

Wat is de strategie?

Een visie is wat we willen bereiken, de strategie hoe we het willen bereiken. De strategie volgt op de visie.
Strategie is de manier waarop middelen worden ingezet om doelen te bereiken. Deze doelen bepaal je door naar buiten te kijken en vooruit te kijken. Strategie omvat een selectie van activiteiten waarin een organisatie zal uitblinken en meerwaarde zal creƫren. Strategie is echter geen losstaand managementproces is. Het is een enkele stap in een lange reeks die begint bij de missie, bij de visie, bij de strategie, bij het uitvoerende werk van de werknemers in de organisatie en het eindigt bij een positieve klantwaardering.

How To Give A Great Speech

How To Give A Great Speech

What is a great speech?

- Great speeches are primarily emotional, not logical
- Small shifts in tone make an enormous difference to the audience, so sweat the details
- A great speech has a clear voice speaking throughout
- A great speech conveys one idea only, though it can have lots of supporting points
- A great speech answers a great need

How to organize your speech?

A good speech must have structure. By providing your speech with a beginning, a middle, and an end, you will lay the foundations for a successful speech.


The first minute of your speech are very important. In those sixty seconds you must grab the attention of the audience, and engage their interest in what you have to say in your speech. This can be achieved in several ways. For example you could raise a thought-provoking question, make an interesting or controversial statement, recite a relevant quotation or even recount a joke.
Don't make a incoherent opening. There is nothing worse than the speaker who starts with something like: "When I was asked to speak on this subject, I wondered what to say .."
Instead make a dramatic opening which seizes the attention with the very first words. This might be a stirring statement: "This year we are going to make a fundamental transformation of our whole organisation". It might be a challenging question: "How can we turn ourselves into an even more successful organisation?" Whatever you do, don't ask a question that invites a cynical answer from your audience.
Once you have won the attention of the audience, your speech should move seamlessly to the middle of your speech.

The middle part, the body of your speech

The body of your speech will always be the largest part of your speech. At this point your audience will have been introduced to you and the subject of your speech (as set out in your opening) and will hopefully be ready to hear your arguments, your thoughts or even your ramblings on the subject of your speech.
The best way to set out the body of your speech is by formulating a series of points that you would like to raise. In the context of your speech, a "point" could be a statement about a product, a joke about the bridegroom or a fond memory of the subject of a eulogy.
The points should be organized so that related points follow one another so that each point builds upon the previous one. This will also give your speech a more logical progression, and make the job of the listener a far easier one.
Don't try to overwhelm your audience with countless points. It is better to make a small number of points well than to have too many points, none of which are made satisfactorily.


Your speech closing is the most critical part of your speech even more important than the opening. An effective speech closing summarizes your main arguments, resolves loose ends, provides some further food for thought, leaves your audience with positive memories, and ends with a final thought. A poor speech closing is usually one that is absent altogether, one that drags on for half the speech, or one that fails to make any sort of conclusion at all.

How to prepare for your speech?

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”

Making a good speech starts weeks before with thorough preparation. You should have been thinking of themes and points, noting down ideas and sources, crafting phrases and sentences.
Without a great familiarity with your speech, you are putting yourself at a significant risk of failure.

It is very important to practice the speech:
- Set a timer. You should know how long your speech needs to be. If you can't deliver the speech within the given amount of time, then you may need to shorten it or lengthen it. Remember to include time for a Q&A period if appropriate.
- Practice your speech in front of a friend or a mirror. Practice looking up at your audience so that your eyes aren't always on your notes.
- Speak slowly and annunciate clearly. Pause between the sections of your speech so that your audience can digest the information.
- Mark up your speech as you go with a pen or pencil. If words sound unnatural to you or a sentence is awkward as you speak it, mark it out and edit it to make it sound natural.
- Make a video recording of yourself as you make the speech. Analyze your appearance, your body language and your delivery.
- Practice. If you've delivered your speech in rehearsal multiple times, then you will feel much more confident on-stage.
- Find the story of your speech, find the outer outline. If you can remember the flow of the speech, its story, from start to finish, then you're OK. It will be very unlikely that you will lose yourself when delivering  the speech and you will be very comfortable during your delivery.

It is also very important to know your audience. Are you speaking to children or adults? Are you speaking to people who know nothing about your topic or people who are experts on your topic? Understanding your audience will help you to target your speech appropriately.

Not knowing the location where you will give your speech can be devastating.
This checklist should act as a guideline to items you should consider when preparing

What is the capacity?
How many people will attend?
What are the dimensions of the venue?
Is the venue on a single level?
Will you be at the same level as the audience?
Will you be speaking with microphone?
Will there be a power source?
Will there be a computer?
Will there be water available?
Will the computer be connected to a screen visible by the audience?
Where will you be positioned prior to the speech?
Will you be standing during your speech
Will there be a lectern or table?
Will the lights be on? On stage?

How to deliver the speech?

It's time to deliver your speech in public. You're probably nervous, but that's normal. As seen above there is much preparation you can do that will put your mind at ease and make your public speaking event a comfortable, enjoyable, day.
Once you are called upon to make your speech, pause for a couple of moments before actually starting your delivery. If you've had to walk up to a platform this will give you time to steady your breath. If you are nervous it gives you time to take a few shallow breaths. In any event, it gives the audience an opportunity to settle down and focus on you and your message.
If you are not using a microphone, be aware of the need to speak sufficiently loudly that the furthest member of your audience can hear you clearly. Take the opportunity to move around a little which will help to command attention.
If you are using a microphone, speak at normal volume, but a little more slowly and distinctly than if you were not using amplification. Don't move around because you'll leave the microphone behind, unless it is fixed to you.
You should convey a sense of enthusiasm for the subject. This will effect your delivery and how your speech is received.
Occasionally alter the speed, volume and tone of your delivery. Speaking slower or faster and quieter or louder and being more cheerful or more serious all adds dramatic effect and keeps the attention of your audience.
Regularly sweep your eyes left-centre-right and back and front-middle-rear and back, so that you engage all members of your audience.
It is good to use your hands expressively but do not wave your arms around which will make you look manic.

Count up to 5 in your head before leaving the podium at the end of your speech. Acknowledge your audience with a smile, a brief nod or a slight bow, if appropriate.

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach
CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

zaterdag 4 mei 2013

Sales & Marketing: Closing The Sale

Sales & Marketing: Closing The Sale: Close the Sale Empathy Empathy is an intimate understanding of the feelings, thoughts, and motives of the other person, the pros...

Closing The Sale

Close the Sale


Empathy is an intimate understanding of the feelings, thoughts, and motives of the other person, the prospect or the customer. That's why empathy is of prime importance in selling. Empathy is putting yourself into the prospect's shoes. It's knowing and feeling what your prospect is feeling. It's knowing exactly how to proceed depending on the information the prospect has given you.
Until you develop empathy for your customers, until you develop the skill of calling for and getting a favourable agreement that sales people call consummation, you probably won't make it in selling. The customer should sense that you understand and care about helping them solve their problems, not that you are just looking for a sale.

As a salesperson, you must truly believe that you can satisfy the prospect's needs, you must see the benefits, features, and limitations of your product or service from your prospect's view; you must weigh things on the prospect's scale of values, not your own, you must realize what is important to the prospect.
Focusing on your prospect enables you to answer the crucial question in any selling situation: When should you close the sale?

Watch for signs that a deal is near

There's a certain electricity in the air when the prospect is ready to go ahead, but here are some positive buying signs to watch for:
The prospects have been moving along at a smooth pace, and suddenly they slow the pace way down. They're making their final analysis or rationalizing the decision.
They speed up the pace. They're excited to move ahead. Suddenly, they start asking lots of questions. Like anyone else, they ask questions only about things that interest them.
They ask questions about general terms of purchase before they settle on one particular model. Some people immediately start asking questions about initial investment, delivery, and so on. They feel safe doing this because they know you can't sell them everything. If they ask these questions after you know exactly what they want, it's positive stimulus.
Go for a test close after you get positive stimulus. If you think that your customers are ready to buy, try a test question to make sure you are reading the stimulus correctly. As you get more experience in selling, you will become more proficient at reading body language and other buying signals..

Don't shorten the sales process

Some people start relying so much on positive readings that they short cut other vital steps such as qualifying or demonstration. When you shorten the overall selling cycle, it's hard to go back and restore the steps you skipped. Invariably, shortcutting steps causes you to lose many sales. Although it is important to become better at knowing when to close the sale, each prospect should get your full presentation to make sure you don't come up short at the end.
When you ask a question from which you expect an answer confirming that the prospect wants to go ahead with the purchase, you want one of two things to happen:
- The prospect gives you a yes or an answer that indirectly confirms their desire to go ahead with the sale.
- The prospect gives you an objection or asks for more information to enable them to make a -decision.
If you start talking before the prospect answers, you lose control of the negotiations. And you gain nothing. You have neither a confirmation to go ahead nor an objection; you wasted your attempt to consummate the sale.
Would you like delivery on the 10th or the 20th? They pause to think when would be the best time to have the product delivered. You get uncomfortable with the silence and start thinking that they don't want it. You panic and say, Okay, how about if I give you another 5% off? When the total investment wasn't what the prospect was considering in the first place. That's why you always wait for them to respond before you speak, after asking your consummation question, and why it is so important to keep quiet after you ask your final consummation question. If you have a big mouth, this would be the time to put your foot in it (literally) to keep yourself quiet.
If you start looking around or fidgeting, you distract the customer and let them know how uncomfortable you are. Neither of these scenarios helps you move toward a successful consummation. Try to focus your stress in a way that they will not see or recognize it as a nervous action. For example, recite the ABCs backward to yourself, or wiggle your toes — they can't see that, either. Your stress-release can be that simple.

vrijdag 19 april 2013

Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma in a nutshell

Six Sigma

Six Sigma created a generalized problem solving methodology called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control). In the first step, Define, you must talk to the user of your output to understand what they would like to see improved.  In the Measure phase, you collect data to verify the users’ issues.  The Analyze and Improve phases use the Statistical Process Control tool to reduce variation.  Finally, the Control phase requires the owners of the process to sustain the benefits achieved.  Another key element of the DMAIC process is that management is required to review each project before it moves from D to M, M to A, etc.  The goal is to make sure projects are showing promise are properly resourced, while those that do not show promise are either ended or restructured.  Finally and perhaps most importantly, Six Sigma prescribes organizations assign 1% of its workforces to be trained for five weeks as process improvement specialists known as Black Belts, and to assign them, full time, to process improvement projects.


Lean is an approach to organizational improvement that focuses on process speed and efficiency. It does this by a relentless search for all kinds of waste in the functions the organization performs. This waste is generally identified as non-value-add tasks, process steps, review cycles, reporting requirements and personnel practices that distract and take away from the absolutely essential functions the organization must perform. By identifying and eliminating these non-value-add activities, the organization decreases costs and shortens the time required to deliver goods and services to its customers.

Power of the Combined Lean Six Sigma Methodology

The tools for eliminating waste that we get from Lean and the focus on customers and quality improvement from Six Sigma combined with the latter’s prescribed management and implementation infrastructure has created the most powerful quality improvement methodology available today.

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach

CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

woensdag 17 april 2013

How To Give An Effective Presentation

How to give an effective presentation

If you are to communicate an idea, concept, or a product, you need to have good presentation skills in order to grab the attention of the audience and become the centre of attention.

This way, it is easy for you to get the audience's support. The audience can range from your direct colleagues to an executive board of a multinational company.

Having just an idea or a product to communicate and PowerPoint do not make you an effective presenter. For this, you should prepare yourself in advance and also should develop some skills. Let's take a look at some of the pointers that will help you to become a top class presenter.

Guidelines for designing a presentation:

The design and the layout of the presentation have an impact on how the audience receives it. Therefore, you need to focus more on the clarity of your presentation and the content.

Following are some points you should consider when designing your presentation.
- Derive the top three goals that you want to accomplish through your presentation. The entire presentation should focus on achieving these three goals. If you are not clear about what you want to achieve, your audience can easily miss the point of your presentation.
- Understand what your audience is. Think why they are there to see your presentation and their expectations. Study the background of the audience in advance if possible. When you do the presentation, make sure that you communicate to them that they are 'selected' for this presentation.
- Have a list of points that you want to communicate to your audience. Prioritize them accordingly. See whether there is any point that is difficult to understand by the audience. If there are such points, chunk them further.
- Decide on the tone you want to use in the presentation. It could be motivational, informational, celebration, etc.
- Prepare an opening speech for the presentation. Do not spend much time on it though.
- Point out all contents in brief and explain them as you've planned.
- Have a questions and answers session at the end of the presentation.

Choosing the presentation materials:

When your presentation is supported by additional material, you can make more impact on the audience. Reports, articles, and flyers are just a few examples.
If your presentation is informative and a lot of data is presented, handing out a soft or hard copy of your presentation is a good idea. Do not distribute this before but after the presentation. Your audience may read it during the presentation and miss what you say.

Following are some guidelines on presentation materials:

- Make sure that you check the computer, projector, and network connectivity in advance to the presentation. I'm sure you do not want to spend the first half of your presentation fixing those in front of your audience.
- Use a simple, but consistent layout. Do not overload the presentation with images and animations.
- When it comes to time allocation, spend 3-5 minutes for each slide. Each slide should ideally have about 5-8 bullet lines. This way, the audience can stay focused and grab your points.

Presentation Delivery:

- Delivering the presentation is the most important step of the process. This is where you make the primary contact with your audience. Consider the following points in order to deliver an effective presentation.
- Be prepared for your presentation. Complete the designing phase of the presentation and practice it a few times before you actually do it. This is the most important part of your presentation. Know the content of your presentation in and out. When you know your presentation, you can recover if something goes wrong.
- Use true examples to explain your points. If these examples are common to you and the audience, it will have a great impact. Use your personal experiences to show them the practical point of view.
- Relax! Stay relaxed and calm during the presentation. Your body language is quite important for the audience. If they see you tensed, they may not receive what you say. They may even judge you!
- Use humour in the presentation. Use it naturally to make your point. Do not try to crack jokes when you are not supposed to do it.
- Pay attention to details. Remember the old saying: the devil is in the detail. Choose the place, people, and materials wisely.

Wrapping up:

Presenting your idea to convince an audience is always a challenge.
Every presentation is a new experience for all of us. Therefore, you should plan your presentations way in advance.
Pay close attention to the points we discussed above and adhere to them in your next presentation.

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach

CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

zaterdag 13 april 2013

How to finish meetings on time

How to finish meetings on time


Meetings often run overtime and consequently many agenda items don't get adequate coverage or don't even get covered at all. There are various reasons why meetings run overtime some of which include:

- The meeting did not start on time in the first place and thus the group got behind schedule.
- The sequence of topics was not based on their significance thus too much time may have been spent initially on items of lesser importance.
- Meeting time was not managed well
- Too much was planned for time available
How to finish on time?
There are several strategies you can use to ensure that your meetings end on time:

- Designate a timekeeper to watch the clock and let participants know when time for an item is almost up, and then when it is really up.
- Prioritize
- Place topics that require more discussion at the very beginning of the agenda
- Start your meeting promptly on time
- If you are the team leader and wish to extend a meeting another 15 minutes to half an hour, ask the group if they are willing to remain to finish the task at hand.
- In planning a meeting make sure it has a stated end time. If attending a meeting that does not state an adjournment time, bring it to the leader's attention at the beginning of the meeting.
- Keep track of your own meetings. Do most end on time? Be clear that it is your aim to end at the appointed time.

How to prepare, lead and follow-up meetings

How to prepare, lead and follow-up meetings

What to do before the meeting


 A large part of what makes a meeting successful occurs in the preparation phase. Although it may vary by committee, department or unit, there are seven key responsibilities expected of chairs or team leaders before a meeting takes place. Each is explained in detail below.

1. Clarify purpose and aims
A clearly stated purpose or aim describes the key decisions that must be made or actions that must occur at the meeting. The purpose of a meeting should be stated at the top of the meeting agenda.

2. Create an agenda
An agenda is a framework that guides and supports the meeting. Agendas are like roadmaps, blueprints, flight plans, and recipes. An agenda helps focus the group's work toward achieving desired outcomes. Good agenda items provide focus and structure for a meeting.

3. Schedule the meeting
Scheduling a meeting involves much more than just making a list of attendees. It requires identifying key people who must attend and either finding times that work for them or notifying them of the meeting's time and location. Once an optimal date and time are agreed upon, a meeting location can be selected.

4. Post and send out agenda
An agenda should be sent to participants ahead of time to help them prepare to participate.

5. Circulate supporting information
You should always circulate supporting materials to participants in advance of the meeting. However, deciding how much information to send in advance can present a conundrum. Some people won't look at anything prior to the meeting and some will conscientiously read all the supporting information they can. Here are some things to consider when deciding what and how much to send out ahead of time:

6. Make room arrangements
Ensure that room arrangements (including refreshments) are made. Room arrangements can make a big difference in how well a meeting goes or doesn't go. Most important is that participants can see and hear each other. 
Although a U shape arrangement or open square is ideal for smaller groups of 20 or less, it is not usually a good choice for larger groups. The yawning hole in the middle makes communication difficult. A herring bone arrangement of tables is usually better for these larger groups.

What to do during a meeting

The meeting leader can make a huge difference in a group's productivity. These ten leader actions can maximize the group's time and productivity. Each is explained in more detail below.

1. Start meeting on time
Start the meeting promptly on schedule and do not wait for others to arrive. A large amount of professional time is wasted by leaders who wait for more people to arrive before starting a meeting. It may require a change in the culture, but once people know that you start your meetings on time, they will arrive on time.
2. Ensure quorum
A quorum is the number of members entitled to vote who must be present in order that business can be legally transacted. The quorum is usually the majority of the members unless a different quorum is decided upon.
If a quorum is not present, any business transacted is null and void.
3. Review agenda
Always briefly review the agenda including the aims and purposes as the meeting gets started. This helps participants focus their attention and understand what will be required of them.
In reviewing the agenda, the meeting leader should make it clear what decisions must be made or actions must be taken.
4. Keep discussion focused
Focus on agenda items. Even if these items are clearly listed and emphasized, creative, intelligent and committed people may stray from the topic.
To get a runaway meeting back on track, the meeting leader can say, "We are getting off topic and need to move back to XYZ." Then he or she repeats the topic, issues or question again.
5. Encourage participation
Effective meetings are participatory and good leaders try to get everyone involved.
6. Help group come to decisions
A group reaches consensus when it finally agrees on a choice and each group member can say: 
  • "I believe that others understand my point of view"
  • "I believe I understand others' points of view"
  • "Whether or not I prefer this decision, I support it (and will not undermine it) because it was arrived at openly and fairly and is the best solution for this committee or group at this time."

Be clear before the discussion begins how the final decision will be made--if vote will be taken or if decision will be made by consensus and/or prioritization of options.
7. Summarize decisions
When a group seems to have come to a consensus or decision, restate and summarize what the final decision is. This helps to ensure that all members hear the same thing. Clarification at this point can prevent problems later.
8. Agree on action plan
An action plan outlines the specifics that must be done. Not every goal needs an action plan, but for goals that involve more than one person, it's usually helpful to be specific about who will do what by when. Every goal should have a point person-an individual charged with ensuring that the goal is moving forward. The point person is not expected to complete the goal personally but to connect the people involved, make progress reports, and seek assistance or resources needed to keep the goal moving forward.
9. Draft agenda for next meeting
Ask for agenda items for the next meeting. People are more likely to participate in a meeting if they have had some input into building the agenda. Even if every item suggested cannot be dealt with in a meeting, look for ways to provide information via handouts, E-mail, or creating connections with others.
10. Evaluate meeting
Before the meeting adjourns, try to do a brief evaluation. Ask some informal questions such as, "Do you feel like we accomplished what we needed to today? Did everyone participate?" The meeting leader can ask the questions with group members answering in turn or the questions can be asked for anyone to answer.
Don't assume that ideas discussed during a meeting will be put into action or even remembered. To ensure follow-through and accountability a meeting leader needs to do three key tasks after the meeting ends. These are discussed in detail below.

What to do after a meeting

1. Distribute minutes
Ensure that minutes are produced and promptly distributed to all attendees. Meeting minutes don't need to include everything everyone said. They do need to include following:

Date, time location
Key points raised and decisions made
Motions and voting results if votes taken
Who is responsible for what follow-up action and by when
Name of the Recorder
Most word processing software includes templates for agendas and minutes.
2. Archive meeting documents
All meeting documents including the agenda, minutes and supporting documents should be kept together and archived.
These records can be checked when questions arise about past decisions or actions. It is discouraging to committee or group members to rehash prior discussions or decisions because of poor record keeping.
3. Check on action
Often people need a gentle nudge to remind them about completing action items. Leaders need to check to ensure that action is taking place as agreed. The check can be an E-mail or phone call to the point person or a meeting devoted to checking on progress. Not checking may send a message that not much action is really expected.

zaterdag 6 april 2013

Pretending to work or being productive

Pretending to work or being productive, it's your choice.

Here are three ways that people pretend to work:

Attend meetings

Even though meetings are largely ineffective, attending lots of them keeps you very busy. When you attend lots of meetings your calendar stays full and yet you accomplish very little. This is perhaps the best way to pretend to work without really working.

Be hyper-responsive on emails and phone calls

Don’t read or think too much about each email, just respond quickly. In fact, responding to emails while passively attending a meeting can ensure that neither activity is truly productive.

Focus on speed and quantity, not quality, of communication

The accepted best practice around emails is this: If the third email hasn’t clarified the issue pick up the phone. Ignoring this rule means you can have long strings of emails that show activity without really accomplishing work. Make sure you have an email trail that recaps every action taken. This ensures that you can always justify your lack of productivity by pointing to a flaw in someone else’s email.

Caught by any of these strategies? Although I don’t know anyone who deliberately uses these strategies to avoid work, I suspect we have all had extremely busy days when we questioned our productivity and accomplishments.

But if you want to be productive:

Carefully choose which meetings, and how much of each meeting, you will attend.
Focus on the quality of your communication, including reflecting or researching before you respond. Let others know your priority to set aside times for focused concentration, professional development, process improvement, and idea generation. Let people know when you will and won’t be available to respond quickly.
Working like this will require less energy, less activity and fewer emails. Therefore it will result in higher productivity.