I’ve been speaking more than usual lately, and I love it.  Mostly, because I was scared to death of speaking for years and never thought I would never have the nerve to get up and talk about what I know best: PR, branding, small business marketing and being able to combine the core values of your business and personal brand to help you achieve your best version of success.

For some it could mean improving your expert status, credibility, reputation or visibility. For others, more speaking gigs, opportunities for joint ventures or sponsorships. And that all leads to sales of one kind of another. No sales, no business.

Confidence in sales is a must have.

Here are 7 Confidence Building Exercises to Increase Sales (and your Mojo)

  1. Begin with a pep talk every day. Make one up according to where you need to go, who you need to see, how you need to feel. Practice conversations in your head and in front of the mirror. Change it up frequently. Ask your partner, spouse, friend or dog to tell you how great you are.  Say thank you.
  2. Smile and say hello to at least 5 strangers and tell them what you do. Change up your approach and see which intro gets the best response. I’ve been at the copy desk at Staples and met prospects who turned into clients. Put yourself out there – then follow up!
  3. Learn how to tell at least 3 jokes, and get good at it. You’ll never know when you need one to break the ice! Make sure they’re appropriate for the crowd.  Remember, you’re representing your brand, even after hours and that second cocktail.
  4. Challenge yourself in some new way. Go to a new MeetUp or networking group and talk about your services. Join Toastmasters®. That’s where I started. Start small if you’re nervous about the big stage. Serve as a chair person of a volunteer group.  Acknowledge, accept and put yourself out there as someone everyone should know.  You are the expert in  _____(fill in the blank), right?
  5. Give yourself lots of chances. Throw a party! There are so many adjacent possibilities to trying something new. Just like marketing and PR, you don’t put one media pitch out there, you have a MIX. It’s the same way in building confidence. Revving up your energy creates new energy.
  6. Be a better receiver. Accept compliments, ask for testimonials, build a referral program.  Sometimes, we forget how good we are or don’t ask for the business.  Make a decision to reach out to happy clients. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations. Send surveys to get feedback. Use all of the good, and learn from the not so perfect. Isn’t that how we grow?
  7. Review your progress. How are you feeling on a day by day basis? What are you accomplishing in your career or in other parts of your life? Make note of your successes, sales and growing pains and take a look at the week’s end. See how small changes in your attitude, change you!

Confidence is a game changer even if you have to act as if, for just today.

PS – This is an updated version of a blog from 2014.  I made it more relevant to the Sales and PR process. I’m a bigger believer now more than ever. Confidence is a game changer!

RSI College GradsIt’s a story that’s being re-told pretty much everywhere across the country: on the one hand, we have new college grads who can’t find an opportunity that launches them towards a great career, and on the other hand, we have employers that desperately need an infusion of new talent. So why isn’t supply meeting demand?

There are many reasons for this, including the fact that some employers, frankly, need to do a much better job of making their workplaces more “new grad friendly” – which, by the way, has nothing to do with catering to the whims of Millenials, and everything to do with finding smarter ways to challenge, engage and inspire them.

However, there are plenty of employers out there who “get it” and are offering exceptional entry-level opportunities – provided, of course, that new grads know what really matters at this early stage of their career journey.

So, with this in mind, here are 5 things that college grads like you need to know about building a great career that will reward you professionally and personally in the years and decades ahead:

1. Focus on Experience — not just Income

Landlords, credit card companies, banks, and even the super-friendly Baristas at Starbucks don’t accept “experience” as a form of payment (and showing them this article won’t change that, though you’re welcome to try). Obviously, you need to ensure that you’re being compensated at a level that enables you to, well, live.

However, at this point in your career, experience is far more valuable to you on two levels: one, you’ll significantly increase your earning capacity that will pay off exponentially down the road; two, you’ll discover some helpful – possibly even profound – insights into what really motivates you. Indeed, many of the world’s most successful people in all walks of life started their careers doing something very different. Who knows where you’ll end up, what you’ll do, and how far you’ll go?

2. Master the Art of Networking

If you haven’t discovered this already (though chances are you have), most employers don’t care much about where you went to school or your grade point average. What they’re really interested in knowing is whether you can develop strong relationships and work well with others – because those traits translate very profitably in the business world.

So take that as more than a hint – it’s a pretty blatant signal, really – to start mastering the art of networking. Seek out groups, mentors and like-minded professionals within and outside your current field, and become a proverbial sponge. Soak up every last piece of advice! And of course, find ways to be valuable to others. True, you may not have the influence or power to “make it rain”, but you can certainly find other ways to stand out and demonstrate that you’re a valued member of anyone’s network – including those who will directly and indirectly shape your career journey.

3. Create your own Spotlight

Yes, the job market is competitive. But guess what? It has always been competitive, and don’t let anyone’s nostalgic reflection of the so-called “good old days” convince you otherwise. Hindsight sometimes isn’t 20/20 – it can be fictional as well.

So in light of this competition (which again, isn’t new and will never go away), you have a choice: you can wait – possibly forever – for the spotlight to find you, or you can create your own spotlight by showing prospective employers what you can do!

Now, just so there’s no misunderstanding: this isn’t about bragging or self-promotion. It’s about demonstrating that you’re investing in yourself, and that a savvy employer should do the same. Perhaps you’ll create a website that features your work (it doesn’t necessarily have to be creative/portfolio type work either – you can provide case studies of your projects and successes). Or maybe you’ll volunteer with a professional association or a community group. Whatever you do, remember: don’t be the best kept secret in your field! Shine on and see how many opportunities appear.

4. Learn the Art of Engagement   

Do you look at people in the eye when you speak and listen to them; not in an aggressive way, but in a warm, welcoming and open-minded way? Do you turn off your phone’s ringer when you’re engaging in a conversation?

Believe it or not, but the quality of your attention is enormously important and, frankly, valuable. Other people can literally feel when you mentally “aren’t there” (and even worse, they can see it when you’re checking your email in the middle of the conversation). In my hiring experience, it’s very refreshing to see a candidate who looks at me in the eye, and isn’t tethered to their gadgets. In fact, it often tells me more about them than anything they might say.

5. Audit your Social Media Profiles

And last but certainly not least…

If you’ve traveled in the last couple of years and stayed in a hotel, there’s a very good chance – it’s probably close to 100% — that you did some background research by reading reviews and seeing what other guests had to say. Well guess what? Travelers like you aren’t the only ones doing some background research: employers are, too. And they’re starting with (and sometimes ending with) your social media profiles – e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.

Now, this doesn’t mean that your social media profiles should be sanitized to the point of being generic. After all, they’re your profiles, and should reflect and express your individuality. However, this does mean that you need to audit your content and ensure that it’s “work safe”.

Essentially, for every post, tweet, picture or comment you create – on your social media profiles, and those left by you on other people’s or organization’s — ask yourself whether you’d want a potential employer asking you about this in a job interview (whether they will or not is beside the point). If your answer is yes, keep it. If your answer is no, get rid of it. It’s really that simple.

The Bottom-Line

Although this is much harder for a new college grad to see than it is for someone reflecting back on decades of experience, believe me when I say that the journey ahead of you is going to be far more interesting, exciting and rewarding than you can imagine – but that’s not going to happen by itself. You need to play a major part in your career story, and the 5 tips above will launch you in the right direction.

 

 

 

TV Commercial (1)It’s May Day – a day of celebration around the globe, often heralding spring – and I’m hopeful here in New England that we’ll see it soon!

I’ve always been a believer in celebrating. Some people reflect their accomplishments at the end of each day, others take stock at the end of each month, and some not at all. If you’re not a celebrator, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest joys. Taking time for reflection and acknowledging accomplishment is powerful, and creates a visual smile line of where you’ve been so you can determine where you want to go!

This week, I celebrated a birthday with a dear friend at the White Barn Inn in Maine (yes, it was fantastic), and to top it off, we both had a part in a TV commercial for the Nova Star cruise line which is launching its new ferry service from Portland to Nova Scotia on May 15. We were extras with part of the Partner Promotions team, and even had a few wardrobe changes!

Going to Maine without enjoying lobster or the ocean isn’t celebrating in my mind, so we also shared love with Mabel’s Lobster Claw for their famous lobster roll, then walked the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, a beautiful ocean footpath that’s not to be missed.

Life’s journeys take us to places we’ve never been, and you can complain or celebrate. Small celebrations can be just as powerful as big ones. It’s the thought behind it.

In business, celebrations could be a sale you’ve just closed, a positive review of a book, program or workshop, a referral from a former client, a press mention (had a great one this week, thank you Monster) or getting a prospect to say yes to an appointment, after the 8th phone call.

Take a moment to celebrate something today. It’s an opportunity to reflect upon your attitude and interaction with life. A high five is always there – the question is, where’s your hand?

YOUR TURN

What has to ‘click’ in order for you to celebrate?

Did you grow up as a family celebrating small successes with a pat on the back, or something more?

What’s the most fun celebration you ever had – this year, last year, in your whole life?

It’s been a busy week here in Los Angeles, where I’ve been at a four day meeting for the “Millions Within.”

A couple hundred entrepreneurs, with businesses ranging from just the idea stage to seven figures got together to learn about being marketable and what’s stopping us from our greatest success. It was a powerhouse opportunity to learn, be humbled by our innermost desires and fears, inspired by passion, and the longing for great change.

It’s always enlightening to re-visit some of the roadblocks we have to becoming our greatest selves in business, and our highest selves to serve our life purpose. I am continually amazed at the high level of energy, commitment and intensity of entrepreneurs who want to make a difference – and find it fascinating to see who will give up when it becomes uncomfortable, and who will welcome being uncomfortable (or bring it on) because they know it’s the only way to grow. No “if’s”, “ands” or “but’s.”

For myself, growth is only possible by stretching beyond my greatest fears and limits, and facing what’s known as the “terror barrier,” an invisible stop sign that’s there to keep me safe. It’s a must to go beyond, and I cringe when I see or feel it coming. And before each breakthrough, there seems to be another roadblock, to keep me at my same level. No choice but to bust through.

Having a coach helps you get through these challenges and obstacles, and keeps you focused, in line with where you want to go, even if it’s terrifying, and you want to give up in the worst way. Trust me, I’ve been there.

The good news is you’ll know you have success when you have a result. It doesn’t have to be the end result. It’s the journey, not the destination, because in all reality, there is no finish line. It’s invisible. We make it up so we’ll feel better.

My circumstances and successes may be different than yours, but they’re no less important. My results are directly proportionate to my efforts, as are yours.

Think of that next time you want to give up because you’re tired, or frustrated, or angry because you need to alter your course – because success isn’t always easy.

Make your action count with a plan. Get the help you need, and don’t stop.

Success is right in front of you.

Give + give freely. Your time.Your insight.Your expertise.Share your successes and failures.Your community wants to connect with you to solve a problem,be more successful,learn and grow.Give and you will receive. Serve and you will be served, all ways!

Thanks to The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur for sharing my tip! Be sure to read all of the tips by clicking here: Ways to Embrace Your Community and Audience