Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Part Two: The Art of Selling Yourself


Read the first part here.

4. The Sound of Your Voice

How do you sound? Were you born with a deep, full voice that commands attention? Often we fail to use our natural talents, and what the listener hears is monotonous, uninteresting and totally lacking in enthusiasm. You can learn to vary your voice, speak more slowly or be more enthusiastic.

To begin analyzing your voice quality, listen to yourself on an audiotape. Listen for whether or not you use pauses to emphasize important points, raise or lower your voice for emphasis and pitch. When you work to utilize the full range of your voice, a listener will be more interested in what you have to say. You have heard me say it before, and I am saying it again: Practice is the key!

5. Tailor Your Look

From your Web presence to your office, are you telling the story you want a client to see and hear? Take a look around you and assess if all encounters are inviting. Every aspect of your business sends a not-so-subtle first message to clients and potential clients. Once communicated, this impression will be lasting and difficult to change. Humans are visual learners, and what they see is a reflection of you.

6. Using the Tools

Now that you have some tools for selling yourself, begin to use them. If you are hesitant, you are not alone. But remember that you can’t sell yourself if you adopt the attitude of sitting and waiting. I can guarantee you won’t have much success attracting new clients or building a business in isolation. So get out into the business community and be seen. Seek and grab every opportunity to speak to a few or a group. Don’t wait for someone to find your blog or learn about you from your website.

Right now, if you have been following the twists and turns of the Republican candidates for the presidency, you are an eye witness to the struggles and challenges of developing and honing the skills necessary to get their stories to the public. And, generally in spite of themselves, they have gotten better at articulating their brands and messages. You can too, and in doing so you'll become more effective at the art of selling yourself!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

3 Super Tips on the Art of Selling Yourself

People buy from people. How well you sell yourself can determine whether or not you will successfully bring in new clients. To sell a product, company or service, you must first sell yourself.

Are effective selling skills the result of good genes or a talent that some possess and others do not? Certainly some people have a natural ability to speak and persuade. If you lack a flair for selling, take heart; the skills can be learned! Even if you have a natural ability to promote yourself, you can polish your selling techniques and gain new ones. All it takes is the desire to know yourself better, an understanding of communication techniques, and practice.

#1. Know Yourself: A Simple Exercise
To sell yourself you must first have an understanding of who you are, what you do well, and how you're perceived by others. Self-awareness can begin with this simple exercise. List 10 adjectives you feel best describe you. Ask two friends, a loved one, or associates to do the same.

Compare the three lists. Frequently others identify characteristics of which you may not have been aware previously. On the other hand, it may surprise you that others agree with your self-perceptions. Getting this kind of feedback can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, more often the process is enlightening and even flattering. The better you know your strengths and weaknesses, the more comfortable you will be with yourself. Awareness of your natural strengths is essential to developing a personal style that's more effective in attracting clients.

#2. Get Visual Feedback
Once you have an idea of your best qualities (as well as the less flattering ones), you need to see yourself as others do. When you speak, how do you look and how do you sound? Being videotaped can show you. If it's combined with a professional critique, it will provide you with invaluable knowledge. Many of the clients I coach are truly amazed at how dull they look and sound after watching themselves. We tend to think we're much more animated and dynamic than we actually are. Video doesn't lie.

#3. Make Your Total Image Count
How important is your image? Most experts agree that content accounts for only 8% of a successful speech or presentation. Fifty percent depends on how you say it, and 42% depends on how you look.

Those statistics suggest you should pay attention to the non-verbal message you project. Let me give you an example: A smile is probably the most underused mannerism we have. A smile sends a positive message of warmth and enthusiasm to a listener. We all know how much warmer we feel toward a person whose handshake is accompanied with a smile rather than a grim, expressionless "pleased to meet you."

Some people even suggest that a smile can come through your mobile; try it.

This is Part One in a two-part series on the Art of Selling Yourself. Part Two is here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Media Skills Must Adapt to the Medium

Over the past few months we've seen Republican presidential candidates, with mind-numbing frequency, in debates and TV interviews. And, we've witnessed their popularity rise and fall in ratings depending on a good or bad debate night.

Some, such as Rick Santorum, are getting better at crafting their message, debating and endless TV interviews. Others, including Newt Gingrich, appear to be suffering from perhaps overexposure and what I call the "pure visual effect."

From my vantage point, the rigors of campaigning are showing, as Newt is looking older, puffier and heavier. Youth and fitness he doesn’t have, and unfortunately every campaign appearance can’t be a sparkling debate where he can demonstrate his formidable oratorical skills.

So that brings me to my first point: the importance of the visual, or how you look and communicate your message on camera. It's generally accepted that we get our first impression of someone within the first 10 to 20 seconds. And it's well documented that our visual memory is stronger and longer lasting than our auditory recall.

Rick Santorum, whether in or out of his not-so-cool sweater vest (I know Scarlett Johansson thinks they're old-fashioned.), conveys a crispness and energy that is invigorating and downright likeable. Whether or not you agree with his positions on the issues, the likeability factor is huge in winning votes.

In contrast, Newt—now sometimes referred to in the press as an "old war horse"—appears for TV interviews and is photographed in rumpled and ill-fitting, too-tight suits.

Unlike the typical debate forum, which Newt enjoys and where he's very successful when talking to a large audience, he hasn’t mastered the TV interview: an intimate and personal conversation to generally two to three persons watching from their living room. In this setting he falls short on connecting.
Too often he comes across as hostile and defensive, with a good dose of self-pity.

Unless you live in a caucus state, you'll probably never see or meet any of the candidates in person; you'll get your visual exposure to them over the Internet or TV.

Visual effect changes depending on the medium and should be studied, practiced and mastered for each audience.