Holster that Cell Phone!

Today’s professionals can stand out among their peers by simply developing appropriate communication habits. Of course, good communication requires proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, but other considerations are just as important.

Email and text messaging are among the greatest business tools ever invented. They have increased productivity and lowered communication costs exponentially. Unfortunately, these technologies sometimes tempt us to be lazy, careless communicators.

Too many professionals write business emails the way they text their closest friends: “How R U? Cool seeing U – i up 2 L8 last nite! – LMAO.” While this may make complete sense to you, it’s a foreign language to many. Even if a colleague understands “emailese,” business writing should be professional.

Similarly, be careful in your choice of email addresses. I’m amazed at the juvenile-sounding email addresses I have seen printed on business cards. If you have a silly or suggestive email address, ditch it. Nobody wants to conduct serious business with “rugbydude@hotmail.com.” Nobody is going to hire “sexykitten@gmail.com.”

Cell phones have revolutionized productivity, but with that revolution has come one of the biggest mistakes a business person can make – rudely interrupting a face-to-face business meeting to take another call.

You may think that taking calls at any time makes you more efficient. This is a fallacy. Every time you take a call during a meeting, you have to pause, offering an insincere apology for your intention to take a call. Then you speak on the phone. Because there is someone sitting across the table staring at you, you will probably not be at total liberty to say all that you would if the conversation was more private, which means you’ll be calling the person a second time after the meeting.

When you finally hang up, you then take time to apologize for the interruption. Then it takes time to catch back up to where you were in your first conversation. Meanwhile, the momentum and flow of your meeting has been compromised. This is inefficient and ends up costing you more time in the long run.

Even worse, answering a cell phone is incredibly inconsiderate of the other person. Everyone is busy – not just you. For every minute that your meeting counterpart has to sit staring at you conversing with someone you perceive to be more important, he or she becomes restless, irritated and resentful of you.

If you truly want to make an impression with colleagues and clients, make a commitment to communicating properly and politely. Your reputation depends on it.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to friends, colleagues, clients or anyone else who might benefit from it.

Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

“What side of the ball do you want to play on?”

By Jeff Beals
 
At the beginning of 1991, Marshall Faulk was a wanted man – wanted by many of the nation’s most prestigious football schools.  He had just finished a stellar senior season as a star high school player in New Orleans, and college coaches were camped outside his front door 24/7. 
 
Faulk had a rough childhood, growing up in one America’s most notorious housing projects.  As a youngster, football was his passion.  From an early age, he was good at the game and caught the eyes of several college scouts.  Recruiters courted him as a junior, and by the time he was tearing up the fields as a senior, scholarship offers were pouring in.  
 
As 1991’s National Signing Day drew nearer, Coach Tom Osborne and his staff at the University of Nebraska were high on Faulk and confident he soon would be wearing the Huskers’ scarlet and cream.  After all, Faulk liked Nebraska.  So did his mother, his guidance counselor, and even his English teacher, who had a great deal of influence on him.
 
During an in-home visit, Osborne sensed he made a connection with Faulk and his family. As an experienced recruiter, Osborne knew when personalities “clicked” in a player’s living room. There was no doubt in the coach’s mind that Faulk felt good about Nebraska. In fact, Osborne admits that he thought it was almost a done deal – Faulk was practically on his way to Lincoln, Neb.
 
On National Signing Day, Marshall Faulk signed with San Diego State University, far away from and far less prestigious than the many football powerhouses that were courting him. Osborne was surprised.
 
“It turned out we had been recruiting him as a defensive back, which most people had,” Osborne said. ‘But Marshall deep down always wanted to be a running back.” 
 
Of course, SDSU told Marshall they would be delighted to have him play running back, but with his blazing speed, Nebraska would have loved to have him in its backfield too. Faulk had the talent to excel on either side of the ball.
 
“Although we had been thorough, and we had done our home work,” Osborne said, “we hadn’t asked him a key question: ‘Marshall, which side of the ball do you want to play on?’  That’s why it’s really important to do a lot of listening.  I think we could have had Marshall Faulk if we had just recruited him as a running back.”
 
The rest, as they say, is history. Faulk flourished at SDSU, running for 1,400 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns in just his freshman year. During a 13-year professional career, Faulk amassed 12,279 rushing yards and scored 136 touchdowns, some of the most impressive statistics in NFL history.
 
Surely, it must have been frustrating for Husker coaches watching Faulk’s career from afar, knowing they came so close to signing him. It’s a feeling that haunts many coaches.
 
It’s a feeling that business people deal with too. Like football coaches, professionals must listen carefully to their “recruits” – their clients. How many deals does a salesperson lose, because he or she talks too much and doesn’t respond to what the client really wants? How many star employees does a hiring manager miss out on, because he or she doesn’t truly listen?
 
So remember, always ask your clients, “What side of the ball do you want to play on?”  Then listen carefully to the answers.
Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

Turn “Socializing” into “Networking”

By Jeff Beals
 
Most professionals know they must network in order to achieve long-term business success.  I remember as far back as high school being told by my guidance counselor that I needed to “meet a lot of people and build a network.”  That was great advice back then and even better advice today.
 
It’s critically important to participate in the public arena and interact with the people who could become your clients, provide you with valuable information or help you further your causes and beliefs.
 
While they understand the importance of networking, many professionals do a lousy job of it.  It’s easy to show up at an event, grab a drink, eat some free hors d’oeuvres, say “hi” to a couple people, then go home and pat yourself on the back for being involved in the community. 
 
Unfortunately, that’s not networking.  It’s merely socializing. 
 
There’s nothing wrong with socializing.  In fact, it’s generally a good thing, but it’s not efficient. In order to convert socializing into networking, you need to have a three-tiered goal planted in your mind before you even enter the venue where networking will take place.
 
I call it “goal-based networking,” and here’s how it works:
 
Goal #1
“I will get a direct opportunity”
This could be a new client, an invitation to join a prestigious organization, a job offer, a promise to donate money to your pet cause.  While Goal #1 is ideal, it unfortunately doesn’t happen at most networking events. 
 
Goal #2
“I will get a solid lead on a direct opportunity”
This is almost as good as the first goal, because it moves you closer to what you really want.  Goal #2 should happen at the vast majority of networking events you attend.  If it doesn’t, you’re not meeting enough people or not asking the right questions.
 
Goal #3
“I will meet new people and learn valuable information”
This is the bare-bones minimum goal that you should achieve at every single networking event you attend.
 
Make a commitment to network more and remember to think about these three goals before walking into your next networking event.  Setting these goals consistently over a long period of time will maximize the return from your investments in networking.  That means you increase your public profile, connect with the right people and become that person who always seems to know about business happenings long before your colleagues do.
Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information.To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

Top 10 Ways to Get Involved

By Jeff Beals

Three quarters of the biggest clients are acquired only through relationship building.

The vast majority of job openings are never advertised.

These two statements prove one thing: in order to be successful, you must be involved. As professionals, we have to be active, energetic and engaged in our communities. We have to get out of the cubicle, jump off the couch and embrace the world around us.

Involvement helps you find new clients. It taps you into the job-market grapevine. It allows you to be “top-of-mind” in your profession.

Simply put, involvement helps you reach your goals. As long as you don’t burn the candle and both ends, being involved can actually make you more effective in your work.

But what’s the best way to get involved? There are many options, and what you choose to do is entirely up to you. To make your choice a little easier, here is my list of the Top 10 Ways to Get Involved:

  1. Chambers of Commerce – offer an array of programs designed for professionals. Chambers provide an opportunity to learn from and network with professionals from a wide variety of businesses from all parts of your city. They are great for client acquisition, B2B sales and for bolstering your career opportunities.
  2. Professional & Trade Associations – bring people of one profession together for educational and networking purposes. These groups are particularly useful for career advancement assuming you want to stay in your current field.
  3. Philanthropy & Non-Profit Boards – allow you to make the world a better place while fostering friendships with fellow board members and philanthropists who can help you reach your business and career goals.
  4. Politics – include interest groups, political parties and election campaigns. Political involvement is “hands-on” and allows you to grow close with fellow members as you work toward a common cause.
  5. Service Clubs & Fraternal Organizations – are groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Freemasons, Knights of Columbus, etc. These organizations can be demanding of your time but allow you to build meaningful relationships with fellow members. People who join these groups tend to be social, caring “go-getters” who have done well in their careers.
  6. Religion – provides spiritual and emotional benefits while exposing you to people who hold similar beliefs. What’s more, places of worship tend to be among the most active, lively organizations you can find and are especially good at connecting people.
  7. Tips & Networking Clubs – are carefully chosen groups of professionals who get together on a regular basis to share ideas, give each other referrals and talk about rumors in the marketplace. In order to receive value from these organizations, you must first be willing to give value.
  8. Youth Organizations – Kid’s activities need parents and grandparents to provide leadership. In so doing, you are connected with other adults. The downtime provides great networking and relationship-building opportunities.
  9. The Arts – allow you pursue an enjoyable passion while making contacts and establishing name recognition. Most arts organizations are in need of many volunteers and will welcome you with open arms.
  10. Sports & Recreation – keep you healthy and fit while building friendships. There’s just something about physical activity and team competition that naturally fosters healthy relationships.
Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information. To discuss booking a presentation, contact Jennifer Goaley at (402) 637-9300 or jgoaley@worldgroupllc.com!