Archive for the ‘presentation techniques’ Category

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Leadership in a Matrix Environment

March 30, 2011

As a professional speaker, the toughest crowd is the one filled with folks who talk for a living.

Salespeople understand how to tell stories; they understand that the customers’ story is where it all starts. Then, on to proposing and closing…and whoever tells the best story, wins. Delivering a product or service in a complex sales process is never the work of just one individual. Resources must be engaged, in order to respond to the RFP, or address particulars of technology, service level agreements (SLAs), etc. Many times these required resources have no direct reporting responsibility. In other words, the challenge facing sales executives is how to create leadership, without real authority. Creating a keynote on leadership can be challenging, especially for a bunch of sales pros. But, who wants the easy route, anyway?

Some believe that it is easy to inspire good behavior when you have the power and authority to influence bonuses, paychecks, and annual reviews. However, relying solely on a title, or the ability to hire and fire, is not about true leadership. Managing the day-to-day actions of a team of employees is a separate task from leadership in a matrix environment. Handling your reports is about direction; leading others without authority is about inspiration.

In a recent presentation to international sales executives at HP at HP Sales University, the topic of “acceleration” came up. In complex sales, there is no real way to accelerate the IT decisions or cap-ex (capital expenditure) investment that major corporations will make. However, it is possible to accelerate the role of the leader, fostering greater trust in a matrix environment.

Inspiring team members (even virtual team members) begins with recognition. Identifying and connecting with others means understanding a person’s unique contributions. Sure, it’s easy to see that the engineer or security specialist brings their own particular talents to the customer engagement; but what’s beyond the skill set? How can you recognize the unique contributions of the individuals on your team? More importantly, how can you demonstrate your ability to value (and leverage) those contributions?

Recognition really starts with “Why?” We all do our thing from 9-5, to collect our paychecks. But not all paychecks are created equally (even if the numbers are exactly the same). Consider: Why do you do what you do? Just to make money? OK, maybe so…but what does that money allow you to do? What are you able to do for yourself, your family, your church, your parents…because of what you do? Understand your “Why”, and then understand the “Why” of your team members. Get engaged in their story, and they will get engaged in yours.

Leadership is about influence.

It starts with recognition of others, as the first step towards trust. True leaders are able to be clear and transparent with their teams. By understanding the capabilities and the needs of the members of your team, you understand how to create an environment where individuals are not just recognized, but valued. Everyone, at every level, wants to make a contribution that is recognized, and valued. Prove that value to others, and you are telling the story that everyone wants to hear. Through trust and recognition, you earn the right to lead — not just in a matrix environment, but in any environment.

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Your Career Potential

December 3, 2010

For more information on reaching your potential, consider one of the upcoming seminars in Dallas – featuring career management strategies with Chris Westfall.

December 6 – Career Strategies with Chris Westfall, Westfall and Associates LLC

December 17 – Interview techniques with Chris Westfall, Westfall and Associates, LLC

For more information: Contact Chris Westfall at Westfall and Associates, LLC http://westfallonline.com

214.205.4662

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The Interview Question

November 16, 2010

What’s the one question that most job seekers forget to ask, in the interview? Professional development coach Chris Westfall provides insight that can help you to know exactly how you compare to your competition, and what you need to discuss in the interview to move your career forward.

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Professional Development Coaching

October 4, 2010

Chris Westfall talks about “what they don’t teach you in business school” (video)

Are you looking for ways to capitalize on the value of your educational experience?

Produced by Your Online Video, Inc. Dallas, TX  http://youronlinevideo.net

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Are You Ready for Your Close-Up

August 16, 2010

For most companies, and customers, video has become the most authentic method of telling a story. It’s authentic because people tend to trust what they see in a video, the visual cues and clues are more comprehensive than in a written story. After all, you can see expressions, body language and more via video.

Yet for executives with little or no experience in front of the camera, an interview or presentation can be a daunting task. Not everyone is suited to being in a video, but here are some tips that can help when it’s time for “Action!”

In the Studio with Your Online Video

Picture Yourself Here

  1. The camera is your friend. When you look at the camera, what do you see? An evil lens, peering at you like some hyper-critical judge, ready to expose all your flaws and add 10 pounds to your waistline? Don’t let your preconceptions get in the way of what you are saying.  As mom always used to tell us kids:  if you don’t like your preconceptions, time to get some new ones.  The camera can’t hurt you, but you can hurt yourself if you grimace when that little red light comes on.What if you were to think of the camera as an old friend – a friend who accepts you just the way you are?  If you look at the camera the same way you view the dentist’s drill, chances are the people watching will feel uncomfortable, too.  Turn the camera into someone who has known you for a very long time, who accepts you as you are, and laughs at [most] of your jokes.  The magic of working on camera is forgetting all the studio lights, microphones, and behind-the-scenes distractions, and concentrating on telling your story.  If this idea of the “camera as an old friend” sounds phony, contrived or imaginary…you’re right!  But, if you would rather flinch and scowl, go for it! Imagination is for little kids, anyway.
  2. Enjoy telling your story. What you have to say has to be engaging, so make sure you’re engaged.  If you say, “I’m passionate about…” in a monotone, you can bet that your audience will be snoring before they find out about your true “passion”.   Similarly, there’s no need to go all-out Ballmer to make your point.  But be authentic and engaged in the words you are saying.  If you’re into it, the audience will be too!
  3. Photo of Harrison Ford

    This is not you.

    What if I still don’t like what I see – How can I get better? First of all, congratulations for being brave enough to watch yourself before others do. YouTube is littered with videos of executives and would-be DeNiro’s who have created a new level of personal embarrassment, completely unbeknownst to their ego. So, while there’s no magic formula to turn someone into Harrison Ford,there is a way to present your authentic self on camera, and it has to do with being relaxed and comfortable with your own style. For many, knowing the material is key – feeling comfortable with the presentation is the focus. But, often the best speakers are the ones who are comfortable with themselves. There’s only one Harrison Ford, but there’s also only one “you” – and no one is better qualified to tell your story than you are.  The real trick is to make sure that you give yourself every opportunity to create the best possible online image you can.

The most authentic medium on the internet is video – that’s why YouTube and other sites are growing exponentially.  But, growth is not the same as quality.  Make sure your content is easy to find – and easy to watch – if you want to create an effective online brand.