If you are expecting me to espouse some high-level business school theory, you are wrong and in the wrong place. I’m going to tell you about some simple and easy-to-implement skills that can have an extremely powerful effect on your business. I thought I would take a completely different approach than I ever have before on these podcasts.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 145
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Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[03:03] Tom's introduction to Business Skills That Rock [09:15] Basic skills [10:41] Being on time [14:34] Handshakes [17:02] Eye contact [19:51] Voice inflection [27:20] Smiling
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Episode 145 Business Skills that Rock.. I should have named this business and personal skills that rock because some of the most powerful things you can do in business have nothing to do with MBA or PhD high level theory. You’ll see that is true in this episode. This is one of my Monday trainings. On Mondays I do a more in-depth training on something that has either made me or saved me lots of money and on Wednesday’s and Fridays I interview other great entrepreneurs.
Episode 144 Ed Rigsbee. Ed has raised nearly $700,000.00 for charity and it all started at a Bar in Canada where Ed and a colleague were drinking and smoking cigars.
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I turned the Internet marketing training world on its head around the year 2000.
People like me were charging 50-100K upfront to teach what we knew to clueless businesspeople who refused to learn. I'm a small business advocate and I knew many small businesses could never afford that kind of upfront money. So, I made all those gurus mad by charging a relatively small entry fee to my program that also got a percentage of profits that was capped so you're not stuck with me forever. So, for me to get my big money you have to make way bigger money. Plus, you know I'm not going to disappear on you because I won't get any more money.
I went one step further that has never been done before. I have a big estate home and TV studio where my students as part of their yearlong training come and actually, stay in my house for an immersion weekend and that's just one of the unique
features of the program. Check out the full details at http://www.GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com and I'll have it in the show notes.
Let’s get into today’s topic. Business skills that rock. If you are expecting me to espouse some high-level business school theory, you are wrong and in the wrong place. I’m going to tell you about some simple and easy-to-implement skills that can have an extremely powerful effect on your business.
I thought I would take a completely different approach than I ever have before on these podcasts. The concepts I’m going to talk about today seem so simple that I’m afraid you listeners will simply write off this episode thinking it’s like kindergarten stuff. So, what I’ve done is for each topic I cover today . . . and by the way . . . I’m not covering all business skills . . . I’ll add more in future podcasts. Anyway, what I’ve done is search out articles in highly respected publications that I’ll quote from and then when appropriate I’ll throw my 2 cents worth in. That way I’m hoping you see, these topics were important enough to warrant articles in some of the most highly respected business publications on earth.
Some of the things I talk about today will be a foreign language to many of you younger people out there, but hear me out on this. Many of the people who can finance you and purchase your products and services and really can put you on the map are older. They’ve built up enormous cash reserves and equity in their personal lives and their businesses. They grew up in a different era with different expectations on what behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable in both your business and your personal life.
The older folks listening to this will most likely say that everything I cover here is normal and makes sense. The younger people might not….Let me adjust that, many of the younger people hearing me today absolutely will not think what I say is either important or relevant to their lives.
Let’s take the issue of time. I’ve spoken recently to two experts in genx, y, z, millennials and whomever else I missed. Both of them said time is flexible to these generations. They were trying to convince me that as long as the job gets done, time shouldn’t matter. I said, do you mean I should put a sign on my store that says, “Open at 9 am or 10am or 10:30 depending on when employees decide to show up?” And that’s not a ridiculous example. Time does matter. Deadlines matter. I’m not talking about being fashionably late to a party. I’m talking about your business and personal habits.
One thing I can assure the younger people who listen to this podcast, is that you’re not going to impress anyone in the older, have-the-money-to-put-you-on-the-map generation if you’re late all the time.
You might not care. It might be more important to you to do your own thing and that’s OK which brings me to a mantra I’ve lived by for many years. “You can do anything you want in this world so long as you are willing to accept the consequences of your actions.” If being late or arriving any time you want is super important to you, then you must accept the fact that people like me won’t do business with you. It’s not a hard concept. I, as many in my generation believe “If you’re not early, you’re late.” I’m simply not going to invest in you if you are irritating me and causing me to be late because you’re late. I’m just not going to go out of my way for people who make my life worse.
On the other hand, if you say to yourself, “I know the older generation who has money wants me to be on time for our meetings and product delivery and deadlines so I’m going to do whatever I can to impress them.”, If you do that, then untold riches will be coming your way.
And guess what, you don’t have to do too much to impress us because so many others in your generations won’t step up to do what you’re doing. I.e. You can easily stand out in the crowd because most others won’t change their ways.
I just can’t impress upon people enough if they get the attitude they are going to cater to those people that can and will do business with them if they dummy up, then their businesses will skyrocket.
And another thing. It doesn’t even matter if you believe in what you’re doing….I mean like being on time when you don’t think it matters. It only matters that you do it to please your customers, suppliers, bosses etc. I’ve had to do lots of things I didn’t want to do in my career and now I don’t have to because so many people have given me money for doing those things. That’s not to say I don’t believe in many of the tips I’m going to give you today. Most of them were ingrained in me since I was a little kid so they come naturally. You may have to stretch a little more to do them. I’m just trying to get through to all you businesspeople out there young and old, enormous amounts of money and financial freedom can come from doing the simple things I cover in today’s episode.
OK. I’ll get down off my soap box and lets’ get going. And ah heck how about a little history lesson here? Metaphorically I was “on my soap box” somewhat lecturing people to be on time. In the old days people would stand on a wooden box which was used for shipping stuff before the use of cardboard and do public speaking on all kinds of topics. So, that’s being on a “soap box”.
OK I digress hahaha Let me now get into some of the things I feel are super important AND major publications and websites also feel are super important when running a business. Any one of these ideas could be the making or breaking of your business and I’m certain you will do way more business in the future than you would have if you implement and work on these ideas.
So, in this episode I’m going to talk about some purely personal basic skills and I may as well start with what I was just harping on.
This is a quote from businessinsider.com and I’ll links to all the articles I quote today in the show notes for episode145. Here we go:
“If you're habitually late for meetings, if you miss deadlines, if you're often late for work, then you're going to be killing your chances of promotion - and even putting yourself in line for dismissal. (I’ll throw in a sidebar here. Many of you that listen to this may still be working. Why do you think someone would fire you if you’re late? It’s because it’s hurting their business. If it was your business and a customer complained one of your employees was late with things, they promised the customer, you would fire them too.) Ok back to the article.
You might be an intelligent, creative person with a ton of skills and experience. And in some countries, where time-keeping isn't seen as very significant, your lateness wouldn't matter at all. But if you live in the West (or work with a number of Western clients), it's really important. Because if you're always late, you're giving people the impression that:
• You're disorganized and careless - you can't get yourself together to set off on time.
• You're self-centered - you're keeping people waiting for you.
• You're a liar. You said, "I'll email you by Wednesday" - and you didn't get in touch until Friday, not even to explain the delay.
• You're stupid (or, at best, far too optimistic). If "traffic was bad" is your excuse every morning, people will wonder why the heck you can't just plan for it.
That article and all the rest will have links in the show notes.
Here are some quotes from “Entrepreneur Magazine”:
“Some people are chronically late to business meetings, know that they’re doing it, but still can’t seem to stop. Some don’t realize that tardiness can come off as rude and unprofessional. They say things like they’re overwhelmed, they have too much on their plate or that traffic was horrible. None of these are good excuses for being regularly late.
Do a quick self-check. Are you this person?
Being late shows coworkers, supervisors and potential business clients that you are undependable, not well organized or perhaps don’t even care.”
Now this isn’t from a website I’ve heard of, but if you have a business already, it’s an article about improving staff punctuality.
“Staff punctuality is a critical component of a successful business. This is because managers need to rely on staff members to be at work on time. If managers cannot rely on staff members to be on time, then they cannot know for sure that certain work responsibilities will be taken care of.
Consistently tardy employees can have a strong negative impact a business. Because of this, it is a good idea to know how to improve staff punctuality. Here are some great tips for improving staff punctuality at work.”
They go on to give tips on how to improve this by rewarding on time employees, punishing latesters and helping to figure out how to overcome the reason for the tardiness
OK. On to the next topic of handshakes
There was “a study, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, this is a journal published by the American Psychological Association (APA). It found that consistent with the etiquette and business literature, there is a substantial relation between the features that characterize a firm handshake (strength, vigor, duration, eye contact and completeness of grip) and a favorable first impression.”
In another study, “Beckman Institute researcher Florin Dolcos added that it’s not just any handshake that leads to positive feelings, but a particular way of shaking hands, such as a firm, confident, yet friendly handshake, as is often promoted as good business practice.
He went on to say….I think it’s a he . . . “In a business setting this is what people are expecting, and those who know these things use them,” he said. “Not a very long time ago you could get a loan based on a handshake. So, it conveys something very important, very basic. Yet the science underlying this is so far behind. We knew these things intuitively but now we also have the scientific support.”
For you women out there as I was looking through all the literature on handshakes in business, I got the feeling that your initial handshake had a bigger impact on people’s impression of you than things you did later to try to fight things out in male dominated industries.
Bottom line is the limp wrist handshake along with other poor body language will hurt your chances of business success.
OK. The next topic is Eye Contact. This is from the BBC:
We make assumptions about people’s personalities based on how much they meet our eyes or look away when we are talking to them.
In a psychology today articles scientists in several different studies found significant changes in each person’s brain waves when eye contact is made.
Here’s some really interesting stuff from another “Psychology Today” article indicating you really need to pay attention to eye contact because sometimes it can be bad. Here’s the quote:
“Additional work suggests that when being confronted or challenged by someone, eye contact can serve to enhance perceived aggression. In fact, a study investigating the role of eye contact in persuasion found that direct gazes impaired the ability to change others' opinions, contrary to the assumption that eye contact always works in favor of increasing warm feelings between two people.
Research has shown that most people are comfortable with approximately 3.2 seconds of eye contact from a stranger—but more if that stranger seems trustworthy ……
Eye contact can have a memory-boosting, prosocial, and stimulating effect as long as it's wanted by the person being looked at. If you're trying to use eye contact to your advantage, pay attention to the cues coming from the person you're staring at: If they're returning your gaze, lighting up, becoming more talkative, or straightening their posture or relaxing as you look into their eyes, you're doing great. But if they're shying away, acting nervous, looking annoyed, or they keep trying to turn their attention back toward the book you just distracted them from reading, it's probably a good idea to look (and possibly, go) away. [end of quote]
Only One study slightly debunked eye contact in saying that it didn’t matter if you looked at a person’s mouth instead of their eyes, but I’m not sure how credible that study is.
Now let’s take a look at voice inflection. I feel this is an extremely important issue especially if you do a lot of business on the phone. Let’s see what Inc magazine has to say about it:
Research has shown people enjoy deeper voices. No one seems to relish listening to a high-pitched, nasally voice that lacks any peaks or valleys in tone.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher realized this and endeavored to change the inflection and pitch of her voice. Sure enough, a distinct change is noticeable in her tone of voice from earlier in her tenure as prime minister to the later years.
How do you lower your pitch and add vocal variety to the way you talk? Record yourself. Only by hearing your own voice and how you currently speak can you change your habits. Lower your voice and practice keeping it there. Record and compare. Repeat until you sound like a low, smooth bass line instead of a high-pitched chirp. There’s a lot more in this article.
Let me throw in something I’ve been teach public speakers for years. This is how to make yourself more interesting instantly. In general, emphasize the adjectives and the verbs when you speak. If you don’t know what adjectives and verbs are, then study English a little bit more, but here’s an example where I’m going to say a very short sentence. First, I’ll say it monotone and then I’ll repeat it and emphasize the adjectives and the verbs. Here we go:
I’m sitting in one of my gorgeous living rooms
I’m sitting in one of my gorgeous living rooms.
You try it and you’ll see an immediate increase in the interest level of what you say.
OK. Let’s see what “Forbes Magazine” has to say about voice inflection: Now this is kind of interesting and maybe a little bit oddly sexist because it’s written by a woman, but it quotes a study of 792 males executives. Anyway, it’s worth looking into a little more.
“The results of the Duke study are consistent with other experimental predictions suggesting a role for voice pitch in leadership selection for politicians as well as the upper echelons of corporate management.
Paralinguistics is a form of nonverbal communication – concerned with how you say what you say. It includes your vocal volume, pitch, inflection, intensity, clarity, as well as your rate of speech and use of silence.
Paralinguistic cues are important in any conversation, and they are crucial when you want to project authority and leadership.”
The article goes on to tell you to belly breath, and prepare your voice before important meetings and gives some other tips.
Let’s see what the business journals says about this:
“You might look the part, and your message might be exactly on point, but if you don’t sound like a confident professional, your message will be misunderstood or ignored.
So, the next time you are preparing for a presentation, or maybe just headed out of town on vacation and setting up your out-of-office message, take the time to listen to a recording of your own voice and consider it from the perspective of how others hear you.
Listen for the following:
Tone of voice
One other example I’d like to give from a customer service standpoint. I’ve had great luck over the years simply being empathetic and soothing when people call me all freaked out because they got ripped off by a scammer or their website is down or all their orders got cancelled accidentally in their merchant account etc.
Let me give you an example of how I might respond and yes, I may use different words to respond, but ignore that and concentrate on how I say things in this example as opposed to what I say. Let’s say someone has a website down and is all freaked out and they sound like this.
“Tom, my website is down and I’ve got a big promotion and I don’t know what to do.” …..basically, they are freaking out. In the first example I’ll be harsh in the second example I’ll use my voice to calm the situation. Here we go:
What’s the domain name?
Where’s it hosted?
Do you have a backup like I told you a month ago?
Can you log in to your hosting site? OK. That’s enough for this example.
Now I’ll use my voice to calm down the situation.
Don’t worry. We’re going to help you through this. Now What’s the domain name?
Alright, where do you have it hosted? Do you have a backup of the site? Remember I helped you with that last month. Ok great!
Can you log into the hosting site?
Do you see how much better that was with an empathetic calm voice?
Let’s move on to smiling. Forbes had a great article on this. I actually broke into the speaking business doing humor in the workplace and we talked a lot about smiling. Here’s how Forbes Magazine started out their article on customer service.
“A smile alone doesn’t guarantee excellent customer service, but excellent customer service almost always starts with a smile.
A smile is more than an expression. Smiling isn’t just something your face does. It communicates your state of mind. A smile—or the nonvisual sense of a smile for telephone customer service representatives—can be the most significant part of a business transaction.”
I’m done with the quote, but I want to emphasize, that yes, smiling is even conveyed over the phone.
Entrepreneur magazine quoted several studies about smiles:
“According to a 2003 study in Neuropsychologia. The simple, often spontaneous flexion of facial muscles, combined with a slight tightening of the skin around the eye sockets, can literally make other people feel like they are winning. As smiles are contagious, this sentiment of reward is passed along to the next unsuspecting soul. according to a 2003 study in Neuropsychologia. The simple, often spontaneous flexion of facial muscles, combined with a slight tightening of the skin around the eye sockets, can literally make other people feel like they are winning. As smiles are contagious, this sentiment of reward is passed along to the next unsuspecting soul.”
They went on to say:
“A ‘Psychology Today’ article explained the functional usefulness of stretching the mouth into this position. “Each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favor. You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel good chemicals in your brain."
An article in the Business Journals talks about tons of benefits of smiling. I remember in the early 90’s when I was teaching this talking about how even if you are forced to smile it makes you feel better. They made people hold chopsticks in their mouth which forced the mouth into the smile position and recorded better feelings after stressful situations. Crazy isn’t it?
And listen to this. Meg Seleg in her Psychology Today” article called the ‘9 Superpowers of a Smile” cited a University of Missouri study that smiling actually makes you look thinner and younger. I’m not kidding about this but you can be sure I’m smiling about it. LOL
OK So I’m sitting here smiling at my dogs because they are looking at me and giving me eye contact that means I’m going to pee here on the floor unless you take me out pretty soon.
So, I want you to work on the things I covered in this episode, let me recap:
Be on time, Good handshake, eye contact, voice inflection, and smiling, I highly encourage you to go to the show notes and read all the articles. Then in episode 154 in a couple weeks I’m going to do another episode like this and talk about other skills like Consistency, reliability, Speed, Persistence and copywriting and how they are great for your business.
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