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Let Me Tell You a Story…

By Jeff Beals

If you ask any historian to name the greatest leaders in western civilization, there’s a good chance the 16th president of the United States will make the list. He willed his country to victory in the gut-wrenching Civil War, issued the Emancipation Proclamation and facilitated the eventual ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.

A number of traits contributed to Abraham Lincoln’s greatness. He possessed a brilliant intellect. He had an uncommon amount of common sense. He was a thinker, someone who philosophically examined the world and crafted a rationalized set of personal beliefs by which he steadfastly lived.

While he was blessed with many talents, Lincoln’s greatest attribute may have been his ability to communicate. He was a skilled orator who eloquently wrote many of his own speeches. He listened sincerely when others spoke. He empathized. He mastered the art of interpersonal communications several decades before the term “interpersonal communications” was coined.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to credit Lincoln as one of history’s greatest communicators. But of all the communications techniques he so successfully employed, there was one where he especially shone.

Abraham Lincoln was a remarkable storyteller.

Lincoln succeeded under some of the most difficult leadership conditions any U.S. president has had to face. To communicate is such times, he often resorted to stories. Instead of berating the incompetent generals who blundered in the Civil War’s early battles, Lincoln educated and motivated them by using stories. To smooth over ruffled political feathers with members of Congress, Lincoln would pull out a story and use it to establish common ground.

Among history’s eminent leaders, however, Lincoln was not unique in his reliance upon stories. Political leaders throughout the ages have moved the masses by using stories to communicate their political platforms. In modern days, big-time CEOs use storytelling to mobilize international staffs in the quest for billions of dollars of profit. Jesus Christ himself used parables and story-based lessons to enlighten his disciples.

Indeed, stories pack a punch. They’re powerful. They paint pictures. They work, because our human brains are conditioned to listen to and be receptive to stories. Long before the written word, and long before Gutenberg invented the printing press, people used stories to communicate histories and traditions as well as norms and expectations. In other words, our ancestors sat around the fire every night and told stories. The propensity to tell and listen to stories is essentially a part of our DNA.

So, if people are so receptive to storytelling, you and I would be foolish not to use stories in our work. Good storytellers tend to be effective leaders and successful salespersons. If you manage people, teach them and motivate them by conveying important information through stories. If you sell products and services, use a story to paint a picture in your prospect’s mind. By making the product or service part of a story, prospective clients mentally project themselves into the story. Once someone makes that kind of psychological commitment, they’re much more likely to buy.

Let’s say we asked the same prospective client to sit through two sales presentations for competing products. Both salespersons touched on features and benefits. Salesperson One was very straightforward and focused on delivering factual content. Salesperson Two was accurate but explained the features and benefits using stories. A couple of the stories were about previous clients who enjoyed positive results from using the product. I guarantee the second salesperson has a higher likelihood of landing the client.

One of the most important skills in sales is the ability to overcome objections. Well, if you get an objection, tell a story to keep the deal alive. Are you ready to deliver your close? Make it more desirable by couching it inside a story. Has the process become mired? Advance it by telling a story.

Whether you are managing a staff, selling a service, delivering a speech, trying to persuade voters to elect you or attempting to resolve a conflict between two of your colleagues, make it easier by spinning a yarn. Stories reassure people and disarm them.

As you make a commitment to including more stories in your daily work, keep a couple things in mind:

1. Stories must be relative to the situation at hand.

2. Know when to shut up. If a story goes on too long, it loses its effectiveness

3. Think about the work you do and determine what kinds of stories could be effective in certain situations.

4. Catalog stories in your mind. Look back on your own experiences as well as the experiences of your colleagues. Make a list of stories to have at your disposal, so you can use them whenever it’s expedient.

Every product, service, business and person has a story, probably multiple stories. The trick is to pull out these stories and use them to your benefit at the appropriate times. After all, if President Lincoln used stories to save a country, we would be wise to use them to save our businesses and careers.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Relax. You’re Doing the Audience a Favor

By Jeff Beals

When you see the old films of Elvis Presley performing live on stage, you can’t help but notice his energy, his extreme talent and his confidence. A guy would have to be awfully darned confident to perform the way Elvis did especially considering how edgy he was for that period of time.

Wait a minute…Not so fast.

A look at Elvis’ life history might surprise you. At times, Elvis suffered from stage fright, that terrible feeling characterized by shallow breaths, accelerated heartbeats, dizziness, sweaty palms and a dry mouth.

Well, if the King of Rock & Roll struggled with stage fright, the rest of us shouldn’t feel so bad. Almost everyone deals with that inconvenient form of social anxiety at least sometime during his or her life. I speak professionally, and I still get a tinge of it every once in a while.

Fortunately, stage fright can be managed. Learning how to control it is important, because most professionals have to speak publicly on a periodic basis. In a loud and crowded marketplace, your success may very well depend on your ability to deliver the goods in front of an audience. The better you are as a speaker, the more business and career opportunities you’ll enjoy.

Know that stage fright is a very natural part of public speaking. Some nervousness is a good thing, because it pushes us to prepare, concentrate and do a good job. When you run the risk of embarrassing yourself in front of a large group of people, you are likely to focus on the task and do your best.

The key to overcoming stage fright is to manage it. Here are a few tips that help me deal with it:

Accept stage fright as a fact of life – The first few times you speak, you will be nervous. As you become more experienced, most nervousness will subside. For your first speech, just stand up and force yourself to do it. Once you start speaking and get a few sentences out, the nervousness usually fades.

Stall for a bit – If your heart is pounding and your lungs are breathing rapidly as you approach the podium, take a few moments before you jump into your script. Straighten your papers, adjust the microphone, thank the person who introduced you and say something nice about him or her. Look out at the audience and smile before you begin talking. This small sequence of events can help you catch your breath and settle into speaking mode.

Don’t let the joke be on you – A lot of people will advise you, “tell a joke at the beginning; it loosens up the crowd and calms the speaker’s nerves.” That’s true as long as the joke is actually funny. A bad joke goes over like a lead balloon. If you are not positive your joke is funny, and that you are capable of delivering it properly, don’t do it. Nothing flusters an inexperienced speaker more than a joke that bombs.

They’re only human – Here’s some age-old advice: “pretend the audience members are all wearing underwear.” I can’t say that I’ve ever done this, but I like the spirit and intent of this advice. In other words, audience members are only human. They have as many or more problems and inadequacies as you do. Don’t build them into some monolithic gathering of super beings. Most of them would be nervous too if they were in your shoes.

A friendly face – Pretend you are talking to one person you know very well. It could be a spouse, parent, best friend, whoever. This personalizes the audience. For most people, it’s much easier to talk to a trusted friend instead of a room full of strangers.

Get a little cocky – Remind yourself that the audience is there to see and hear YOU. That means you are doing them a favor. You are providing them with education, entertainment and energy they do not currently have. They are lucky you are willing to take your valuable time to give it to them.

Confident body language regardless of how nervous you may be – When I am introduced as a speaker, I stand up, and walk confidently toward the podium. I look the introducer in the eye and give him/her a firm handshake. It’s hard to explain why, but an outward show of confidence helps me feel more confident on the inside too.

Pauses aren’t as long as you think – Don’t panic if you lose your place or if you become short of breath during the speech. Simply pause until you find your place. To the speaker, pauses seem ten times longer than they really are. Actually, pauses are important speaking tools. They break up the monotony and can wake up a drifting audience member.

Dream about the end – With each sentence you utter, you move closer to the end reward – the applause. Remind yourself that your hard work, concentration and endurance of stage fright all pay off when the speech is done.

Be proactive – The more you prepare, the more confident you are about your material. Secondly, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Practice not only makes your speech better, it makes you more comfortable. The day before a speech, drive to the venue. Simply seeing the place and knowing the route to get there can put your mind at ease.

Arrive at the venue early – If you are weaving in and out of traffic desperately trying to beat the clock, you will be flustered before you even get there. Arriving early allows you to chit-chat with audience members ahead of time. This helps you to bond with audience members and serves to “warm you up” before going on stage.

Finally, take some time the day before or the morning of the speech to “visualize” success. It is common for coaches to have their athletes imagine themselves making great plays. I believe in the power of positive visualization and use it frequently. When I am driving to any important event in which I have to perform or accomplish something, I imagine myself being confident, knowledgeable and successful. Try it sometime. It really works.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Value Lives in Your Client’s Mind

by Jeff Beals

If you want to sell more widgets, stop selling widgets.

If you want to sell more real estate, insurance or financial planning services, stop selling real estate, insurance and financial planning services.

If you represent Tupperware, Avon or Pampered Chef, stop selling those things too.

The world’s most successful salespersons don’t sell products and services. They sell VALUE. In other words, instead of selling insurance, you’re selling security, protection and peace of mind. Instead of selling Pampered Chef products, you are selling prestige, coolness and an easier way to prepare gourmet food.

Now, before all you “non-salespersons” stop reading this article, consider this: Regardless of what you do for a living, you are in sales. Everyone sells. Here’s why: 1. If you work for a company, you have a moral obligation to promote that company whenever you have the chance. After all, your job might depend on it. 2. You’re always selling yourself – possibly for a new job, a promotion, a better assignment within an existing job or for perks/benefits. 3. If you have an idea that will make your employer more successful, you may have to sell that idea to the ultimate decision maker. 4. If you are involved in a civic or philanthropic organization, you may have to sell the organization’s mission in order to raise funds and attract volunteers.

Suffice it to say, you are indeed working in sales. Everyone is in sales. That’s why it’s so essential to understand the importance of “value” in your work.

That point was driven home when I attended a recent workshop facilitated by Steve Lishansky, CEO of Boston-based Optimize International, a consulting firm that coaches Fortune 500 company executives. Lishansky teaches that clients are eager to pay for those individuals or companies that provide them with compelling value.

You don’t want to be paid for the job, hour, gig, order, product, showing, presentation, contract, deal, project etc. You want to be paid for the value you bring to the client. And if you do a truly effective job of establishing value, you then can receive regular income from that client on an on-going basis. As Lishansky teaches, you must be seen as an investment, not an expense.

How do you go about convincing a client that you provide great value? Lishansky identifies several prerequisites.

Delivery – Consistently deliver outstanding results. With so much competition in the world, clients have the right to assume that all providers are competent. Make sure you are more than competent in your operations.

Interpersonal Communication – You will have a hard time determining what the client values if you don’t communicate thoroughly and listen carefully.

Relationships and Trust – Do what it takes to build a strong bond with your clients.

In the seminar, Lishansky asked participants to close their eyes and imagine their most difficult clients. Then he asked us what was noticeably different between those clients and our best clients. The answers all came down to relationships. If the relationship is strong enough, you can trust your clients to tell them what they need to hear as opposed to what they want to hear. Even if the client gets mad, your relationship is so strong, that he or she won’t leave you.

Once you establish trust, you pave the way for value, because as Lishansky says, “value lives in your client’s mind.”

Next, we must understand what Lishansky calls the Client Clarity Paradox: 1. You understand what is most important to your client; and 2. You can do something about it. Importantly, numbers 1 and 2 must happen in this exact order. The problem is that many professions get the order backwards. They are too focused on proving they can do something for the client before they take the time to truly understand who the client is, what is important to the client and what problems the client desperately needs to solve.

As you continue moving forward in your career, and you sell whatever it is that you must sell, remember Steve Lishansky’s teachings on value. Focus on the client. Determine what is most important to him or her. Remember that value lives in their minds, not yours.

Ultimately, you are not in the product- or service-selling business. You’re in the results-selling business. The right results, along with a trusting relationship are what your clients truly value.

By the way, you can learn more about Steve Lishansky at OptimizeIntl.com.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Top 10 Ways to Build a Bigger Personal Brand

By Jeff Beals

As a hard-working professional, you’re not just a person. You’re a business, a business of one, a business unto yourself.

As a business of one, you have a personal brand, a reputation that must be carefully maintained and zealously promoted. In today’s economy, effective personal branding has never been more important. You need to build a big presence in this loud and crowded world.

Regardless of your occupation, you are probably struggling with the increasing “commoditization” that now defines our economy. You may be the best at what you do, but there are still so many competitors in your marketplace. In an era of commoditization, consumers have more choices than they know what to do with. Clients often assume all providers are competent, so they end up making their choices based on a professional’s personal brand.

So, when someone is ready for the products or services you provide, how can your personal brand stand out in a crowd? If you’re a good self marketer, you have little to fear. You need to be the professional whose name and face pop into the client’s head when it’s time to buy.

Building a bigger personal brand takes work, but anyone with at least moderate talent can do it. The key is to follow certain steps.

The Top 10 Ways to Build a Bigger Brand:

1. See yourself as a business entity, not just a person
2. Think like a marketer (apply classic marketing principles to yourself)
3. Determine who is in your personal target audience, your “sphere of interest”
4. Exploit the part of your expertise that is most interesting to outsiders
5. Live actively and network every day (yes, that’s literally every day)
6. Foster relationships with local media
7. Become a writer and speaker within your area of expertise
8. Promote yourself 24-hours-a-day on the Internet (when people Google your name, they better see you show up)
9. Use social media (make sure what you say is interesting and not just inane personal stuff)
10. Make people feel important – (when you are talking to someone, make him or her feel like the only person in the world who matters to you at that moment).

You have sole ownership of your personal brand, but it comes with a burden. You bear the responsibility for building that brand, shaping it and promoting it to the general public. As a self marketer, you can recruit the services of others, but the responsibility to carry out a marketing strategy is ultimately yours.

Don’t let other people or any haunting feelings of self doubt stand in your way. Successful professionals have to stick their necks out and take risks. Not only is it worth the risk, but establishing a well-known personal brand is essential in today’s ultra competitive marketplace.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Should You Try to Be a Big Fish in Two Ponds?

By Jeff Beals

On a dark and stormy night…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. No serious writer would start his article with such a tired old cliché. You probably think I’m some boorish amateur.

But seriously, it is a dark and stormy night. And kind of lonely too. And other than the thunder, it’s awfully quiet.

It’s late Wednesday night, and I’m sitting by myself inside a barbeque joint at 47th and Paseo in Kansas City, Mo. There’s nothing like driving rain to keep people away from late-night pork ribs and baked beans, so essentially, I have the place to myself. In fact, I’m kind of surprised they bothered to stay open.

So, the scene here is set – stormy night, deserted restaurant, and a booth next to the window which constantly fills with flickering light from cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. It’s the perfect time to think, contemplate and reflect.

Right now I’m thinking about the day that was. It was a good day, a productive day. I attended a meeting here in Kansas City earlier this evening.

As a professional speaker, I’m a member of the National Speakers Association. It’s a professional association designed to help speakers become better at their craft and find new sources of speaking business. I joined NSA a couple years ago, but I was never a member of a local chapter. My city doesn’t have one. Kansas City has a very good one. The Kansas City chapter is 165 miles away, but it is the closest to my home. So, despite the distance, I attended a meeting and submitted an application for membership.

As a new guy, I enjoyed a warm welcome. The current members seemed amazed that someone would drive so far to attend the meeting. I heard comments like:

“Wow, I’m so impressed you came all this way.”

“Sorry you had to drive so far.”

I must admit at one point I did question myself, thinking it was an awfully long way to drive for a meeting, but then I remembered why I sought out this organization in the first place. Like people in any industry, professional speakers benefit mightily when they have a group of colleagues they can help and from whom they can receive help.

But as I quietly sat in that restaurant, another thought came to mind. By joining this “local” organization, I get the rare opportunity to build a “local” base in two geographic markets. In fact, it’s a privilege to be involved in a local organization outside my home market.

Think about it. I’m already well connected at home. I have lived in Omaha, Neb. most of my life. I work there. I’m raising my kids there. I host a radio show there. I like it there. I already have great colleagues and trusted mentors in my home town. In other words, I’m doing things right at home.

By joining a local organization in Kansas City, I now have the chance to build friendships, develop referral networks and foster mutually beneficial professional relationships in a different place. It also gives me easier, more direct access to a whole new market of prospective clients.

It’s like I’m living two professional lives!

Hmmm…Perhaps I’m on to something. Maybe other people could benefit from this.

Admittedly, some readers of this article work only “virtually” or have a truly national or international focus. Most of us, however, benefit by having a strong local base. We can milk that base and also use it as a foundation, upon which we can stand as we chase national or worldwide business.

Given all of this, there are several questions you might want to ask yourself. How can you broaden your local base? What can you do to make areas outside your home market feel like your own turf? Does it make sense for you in your industry to dip your toes in two local ponds?

What a great day this turned out to be. Something as simple as seeking the closest NSA chapter appears to be leading me to potential benefits I didn’t quite grasp just a few hours ago.

I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities arise from my new “local” colleagues in Kansas City, and I’m hopeful that I can help them do better in their businesses as well.

Uh oh…The bus boy is giving me dirty looks. Bet the staff wants to get rid of me, so they can go home. I have overstayed my welcome. Problem is…I don’t want to leave. I like it here. It’s really cool sitting by this window thinking and writing – protected from the storm.

Oh well, all good things come to an end. I just hope I can run to the car fast enough to avoid a complete soaking. After all, the 165-mile drive to my real home town won’t be comfortable if I’m drenching wet.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Name Recognition Is a Great Place to Start

By Jeff Beals

I once volunteered on the political campaign of a local businessman who was running for city council.

During the campaign, I attended a number of political events with him, but one candidates’ forum stood out in my mind. Candidates from each district gathered in a high school gym in front of an audience comprised of community activists, neighborhood leaders, local busy-bodies and a smattering of other interested persons. Each candidate had a couple minutes to tout his or her candidacy.

An odd-looking fellow – a long-shot, political newcomer who ended up losing in a landslide – had the most unique speech. He stood at the podium and said, “They tell me that political campaigning is all about name recognition. If that’s the case, my name is…” He proceeded to repeat his name over and over again in a melodic/rhythmic way. He would say a couple sentences of substance and then once again repeat his name over and over.

It was cute. People laughed. I’m not sure how seriously the audience took him, but he made an impression. I vividly remember that stump speech many years later.

While this nontraditional politician didn’t win (he had no money for commercials and yard signs), he was right about one thing – it’s all about name recognition.

At the very basic level, a politician running for office must focus first and foremost on establishing name recognition.

The same thing applies to any professional working in any field. If you are going to market yourself, and reach your goals, you must establish a recognized name among members of your personal target audience.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Networking as Your Sole Marketing Vehicle

By Jeff Beals

As people realize we like them and respect their opinions, they share information about themselves that can be helpful in analyzing whether they can use our products or services.

So says Canadian businessman Michael J. Hughes, who is known as “THE Networking Guru.”  Hughes runs a highly successful Ottawa, Ontario-based consulting business that works with Fortune 500 companies and international associations across North America.

The most interesting thing about Hughes’ business? He built it using networking as his sole marketing vehicle.

Networking is simply one of the most important activities in which professionals engage. As Hughes says, the opportunity to create, nurture and develop relationships is one of the most rewarding processes of human activity. If we capitalize on networking opportunities properly, they can be quite profitable for us while making the world a better place for everyone else.

The problem with networking is that too many professionals don’t do it very well. What’s worse is that some people are terribly intimidated by the process.

That’s where Hughes comes in. He breaks networking encounters into six logical steps. To succeed in networking, you need to master all parts of the process:

1. The first five seconds

2. The next 20 seconds

3. The next two minutes

4. The last five seconds

5. The next 24 hours to seven days

6. The final outcome

At the beginning of the networking encounter, Hughes believes the key is to make your discussion partner comfortable. After all, most people are stressed by networking events. You will make a great impression if you take charge, smile, listen carefully and “pretend you’re the host.”

In the next 20 seconds, the key is to build rapport and make your networking partner feel “safe.” Active listening is crucial, because “wanting to know more about a person is one of the biggest compliments we can pay,” Hughes says.

The most important part of the networking process occurs in the next two minutes. Hughes says this is where the real test occurs for both partners. The more you structure the discussion around your partner, the more earnest interest you show in him or her, the more you develop trust.

Once you have trust, your discussion partner is open to your ideas. This is when you present your message, your unique selling point. But don’t get preachy, because as Hughes says, “the objective of networking is to create a relationship, not make a presentation.” The value comes over time.

Trust is especially important if the purpose of your networking efforts is ultimately to make a sale and land a deal. “Selling is a people business, not a product business,” Hughes says. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

When the networking encounter is coming to an end, Hughes recommends you take control in order to transition out of the conversation and help the person bridge to another conversation. In the last five seconds, try to create an opportunity. An offer to keep in touch or a scheduled appointment makes the conversation much more productive.

Finally, be sure to thank the other person for conversing with you and for giving you their precious time.

Lest you think you are done, remember that networking is a process. Follow up with the person or you will eventually be forgotten. That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Find a legitimate reason – one that benefits the other person – to stay in contact. Not only does follow-up keep you front-of-mind, it makes an impression in other ways. After all, “following through on commitments and promises goes against the grain of how the world works today,” Hughes says. In other words, you will shock people if you’re one of those rare professionals who actually returns email and voice mail messages.

When it’s all said and done, good networking can lead to career-long relationships. This means you might take care of clients together, create referral opportunities and find complementary products. Gaining exposure to others’ networks will increase your opportunities.

By the way, if you would like to learn more about Michael Hughes, go to NetworkingForResults.com.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Confidently Stand Up to the Legend

By Jeff Beals

The young upstart and the living legend clashed in battle back in 1979.

It wasn’t on the field of play, rather inside a high school guidance counselor’s office.

The young upstart was Jim Donnan, a brand-new assistant football coach at Kansas State University. The living legend was none other than Paul “Bear” Bryant, who was fresh off winning his fifth National Championship at the University of Alabama.

Both men were recruiting the same star high school football player. Donnan was hoping to lure the kid to Manhattan, Kan., while Bryant wanted him to play in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Donnan had an appointment with the player and the high school football coach and was just about to sit down in a small conference room to begin his pitch. But before he could start, the high school coach nervously shared some news.

“Coach, Alabama just called and said Coach Bryant wants to see this guy, but he doesn’t have an appointment. Would you mind him going before you?”

Whoa. This was an awkward situation. Donnan wanted to make a name for himself in his new coaching career, and Bryant was someone every young coach wanted to impress. Disrespecting the Bear was not good for a young coach’s career. But Donnan had things to do to. He took a deep breath and protested.

“I gotta go somewhere else after this,” Donnan said. I have an appointment with a kid at another school. It’s not my fault that his secretary didn’t make an appointment.”

The high school coach went back to the phone and told Alabama they would need to find a different time to visit. Problem solved. Conflict over, or so it seemed. Just as the conversation was warming up, Bear Bryant walked through the door.

Donnan stood up, shook the Bear’s hand, and said, “Coach, you know I respect you, and I’ve always admired you, but I had an appointment with this young man, and I gotta go to another school after this. I won’t keep him long.”

Bryant wasn’t too happy. After all, this meeting was taking place inside the state of Alabama where most people bowed down and traffic halted whenever the legend passed by. The Bear was not accustomed to waiting.

“Well, that’s okay,” Bryant growled in his famously deep voice, “but doesn’t make any difference. I’m gonna get him anyway.”

Sure enough, Bryant was right. The kid enrolled at Alabama and starred for the Crimson Tide.

Donnan referred to it as a “bitter reality pill.” It’s hard to compete with a living legend, especially in his own back yard. While he lost this battle, Donnan benefited from the experience. He showed confidence. He stood his ground. He didn’t lose face or compromise his pride as a coach.

In the long run, Jim Donnan had a very successful career as a coach. His success never matched Bryant’s, but nobody has had a career like the Bear. Nevertheless, Donnan would go on to become a head coach, leading Marshall University to the Division I-AA National Championship and the University of Georgia to four straight bowl victories. His success landed him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Today, the 66-year-old Donnan works as a television broadcaster and travels the nation speaking about football and leadership. The confidence he showed in the face of the legend 32 years ago has served him well.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

The Positive-Sum Game Leads to Victory

By Jeff Beals

By now, you hopefully know you need to market yourself to stand out in today’s cluttered marketplace. Just remember that successful self-marketing requires a big dose of healthy attitude.

You can’t market yourself if you have nothing to sell. That means you must work hard at all times. Marketing without solid performance behind it is a lie. As you promote yourself, constantly work hard. The harder you work, and the more you produce, the more confident you will feel. That makes your personal branding efforts convey better thereby creating a snowball effect – the better your self-marketing is, the more opportunities you will have to be productive. Search for opportunities everywhere. Be curious. Sometimes the best opportunities come from the places you least expect.

You must think big and take some risks. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. Perhaps you are somewhat shy or are new to your profession and thus intimidated by industry veterans. Don’t waste time on fear and worry. It leads to disappointment and inaction.

For many people, their first forays into self-marketing are small. That’s a fine way to gain experience and build self-confidence. Grassroots self-marketing can start humbly. The key is to keep building up your efforts. You will never gain the highest levels of name recognition and respect if you don’t do something big at some point. Once you break through the big risk barrier, all subsequent activities will not seem like such a big deal. There is an old saying that life comes down to just a few big moments. Don’t let timidity prevent you from seizing big opportunities.

Self-marketing is a positive-sum game, not a zero-sum game. Everyone can win. Just because one person becomes a rock star in an industry or community, doesn’t mean that someone else cannot. Too many people have a difficult time understanding this. No doubt you have come across someone who can’t stand hearing praise about someone else. You say something nice about someone else and that person feels compelled to refute it, bring up a negative thing about the person or at least minimize it with a quick barb or roll of the eyes. Anyone who behaves like this is telling the rest of the world that he or she has low self-esteem or a compromised sense of self-worth.

One of the most important rules of the self-marketing game is to never tear down others while promoting yourself. In fact, we should actually go out of our way to build others up as we promote ourselves. Nothing looks so bad as to come across as jealous, envious or spiteful.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

How Not to Work Evenings & Weekends

By Jeff Beals

Jane Schulte is really quite remarkable.

She’s an entrepreneur, who runs two successful businesses. She grew her company, PRISM Title, from eight to 60 employees in only 18 months. She has published four books, two of which are award winning. She speaks to a variety of audiences about business success. She has been featured in Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Sales Caffeine” newsletter and many other media outlets. On top of all this, she’s an accomplished artist whose works have been commissioned.

That’s certainly an impressive bio.  But do you want to know what’s most remarkable about Jane Schulte?

She doesn’t work evenings and weekends.

“I might log in on my laptop for a minute right when I get home,” Schulte said, “but I don’t work in the evening unless it’s a crisis or some client needs my help and absolutely can’t wait.”

Imagine that! How can a person accomplish so much, yet do it so efficiently, that she doesn’t take work home with her each night?

The answer is time management.

When asked how she can accomplish so much, Schulte gave a lot of reasons – a talented and loyal staff, energy, drive – but she focused mostly on time management.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Schulte is obsessed with time management, but she has definitely mastered it in a way very few others have. That discipline has allowed her to excel in many wide-ranging things simultaneously.

Schulte’s path to success is kind of old fashioned in that she worked her way through the proverbial “school of hard knocks.” She grew up – and still lives – in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. She started working as a legal secretary in 1981. She was promoted to a real estate paralegal two years later and landed her first management job in 1985. A few short years later, she was an executive. Just recently, she started an additional company, PRISM Business Advisors. She and her husband Greg together have three sons, one of whom works at NASA. The other two are enrolled at the University of Kentucky.

Certainly tenacity and drive mixed with competence and business acumen are important, but more than any other skill, time management is number one.

In fact, when asked what advice she would give a young entrepreneur, Schulte quickly said they should get a handle on their time.

“If you don’t control your time, all things are not possible,” she said. “I can’t stress that enough. I’ve seen so many people, who could be so much more successful if they weren’t so scattered, and they didn’t get overwhelmed and bogged down. They become immobilized. There are so many things hitting them, and they don’t have any systems in place to take care of that or keep their stress at a manageable level.”

The sad thing is that many of these overwhelmed and ultimately burned-out people are full of talent.

“Get a handle on your time, because we only have so much,” Schulte said. “In order to be really successful, you have to be able to do more than just one thing. You have to be diversified, flexible and agile enough to go where there are opportunities.”

Schulte is so committed to good time management that she authored a how-to book, Work Smart Not Hard: Organizational Tips and Tools That Will Change Your Life. In the book, she describes both strategies and tactics for getting a grip on life’s most precious resource.

She preaches the importance of de-cluttering our desks and email in-boxes. She describes her PEND system, which stands for “Put an End to Needless Distraction™. PEND consists of a folder for each day of the month where paper items are strategically filed. She also has an electronic PEND system for emails. She uses Microsoft Outlook’s task feature, dual monitors on her desk PC, and takes full advantage of the power offered by smart phones and remote access to office computer databases.

Ultimately, the effective time manager uses all the tools available.

“The idea is ‘don’t remember anything,'” Schulte said. “Use your tools and system, so you are free to take care of the task at hand whatever that might be.”

There’s another tool that is incredibly important: delegation. Accomplishing things through other people is fundamental if you want to succeed and enjoy a fulfilling life. By leveraging the work of others, you multiply your own abilities. In fact, Schulte said delegation is one of best strengths as a leader.

“I’ve taught a lot of people what I know and what I do,” she said. “That way, I can send a lot of projects or parts of projects to other people.”

By the way, if you would like to learn more about Jane Schulte, go to PrismSuccess.com or find her books on Amazon.com.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide.  To discuss booking  a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.