Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Importance of Having a Personal Strategy for Success

Impact strategist Avery Blank is our guest this week. She talks about why having a strategy is crucial to your success, and how to create one and progress your career.

On today’s podcast:

  • It all starts with your strategy
  • How to become a strategic thinker
  • Make small steps
  • Market yourself for maximum exposure
  • Keep up with the news


Before you start, you need to have a strategy

Leadership is both an art and a science. You have to be able to understand the science before you can paint the portrait of organizational success.

Success doesn’t happen by chance. American comedian Milton Berle once said that if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

Women are expected to mostly be team players, and not be so much focused on themselves.

Being strategic about your career is about having a plan: knowing where you want to go and how to get there. Strategy is a key to success.

How do you become a strategic thinker and use it to progress your career?

First, you need to think about what you want, and then identify the steps that will lead you to your goal.

Second, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you. You may have a goal, but you also need to understand how other things might impact your goal. You need to understand the context in which your goal sits.

Third, put yourself in other people’s shoes. Understand what it is that other people want or value. In order to add value, you have to be valuable to someone else.

Where should you start developing your strategic plan?

You have to take small steps. Sometimes our goals are massive, and we don’t know where to start.

Make daily, weekly, monthly sub-goals that continue to move you closer to your ultimate goal.

Also, write it down. When you see it, you can pursue it better. Sometimes people are hesitant to put down numbers.

Share your goals with others, if it helps you to be more accountable. If you are not intrinsically motivated to achieve your goal, it’s going to be difficult for you to do so. It has to come from you. You have to want it more than anyone else.

How do you market yourself for maximum exposure?

Your mindset is critical to your future success.

You are your best advocate. You have to identify your opportunities. Every great company has a marketing team. You have to think of your career as your business, and you have to be your own marketer.

It’s absolutely critical to know what is going on around the world. Our knowledge is only valuable if it’s timely. People are not going to listen to you or pay for your services if what you say or what you provide is outdated.

The brands that survive are the ones that keep up with the times. Your career is your business and your brand.

You should ask yourself these questions:

  • How does my knowledge apply to what is happening in the world?
  • How is the world impacting my work?

Keep up with what’s going on around the world

Avery is constantly reading, keeping up with the news, with current trends.

It takes discipline to stay updated with what’s going on in the world.

Staying current with the news is a career advancement strategy. Some people think it’s wasting time. It’s not. It’s strategic.

Keeping up with the news allows you to see opportunities.

Mastering Your Elevator Speech

Mastering Your Elevator Speech

On this episode of The Ultimate Leadership Podcast, speaker and coach Fred Miller shares his nuggets of wisdom on how to deliver the most effective elevator speech to take your business to the next level.

On today’s podcast:

  • Elevator speech vs elevator pitch
  • Delivering your elevator speech in a group vs one-on-one
  • Phrases you should use
  • Clarity is not optional
  • Be conversational
  • Practice, practice, practice


What is an elevator speech?

There is a difference between the elevator speech and the elevator pitch.

The elevator pitch is about pitching your product or your service. The elevator speech is giving an infomercial of yourself.

The DNA of Fred’s elevator speech is: “Speaking opportunities are leadership, career and business opportunities”.

When you discover your why and make that the DNA of your elevator speech, it changes everything.

Goals of elevator speeches

In a group, the goal of the elevator speech is wanting people to know exactly what you do. Clarity is not optional.

For a one-on-one elevator speech, you want to disqualify the people you are interacting with. Not everyone is a prospect for what you do and your time is limited.

Go-to phrases that work

An elevator speech is a speaking opportunity that can boost your career. If you don’t develop and practice one, you are losing opportunities.

An important phrase to use is: “Businesses hire me because…” You shouldn’t say “I work with…, I help them with…” “Because” is an influencer word.

If you are not comfortable with the phrase “They hire me”, don’t use it, because it will come across that you are not comfortable. You can say “They become my clients” instead.

A friend of Fred who works in real estate uses the phrase “People choose me”.

If it’s hard to pronounce, leave it aside

If you have a hard to pronounce last name, you should introduce yourself using only your first name.

You shouldn’t use buzzwords or acronyms. Clarity is very important.

People should have different elevator speeches for different audiences.

Practice is the key to perfection

You have to deliver your elevator speech in a conversational manner. You have to practice, practice, practice.

You should record yourself using audio and video. Then watch it again with the sound off. Check your body language.

The second time, just listen to yourself. The third time, watch and listen. The fourth time, have someone next to you.

Seven Secrets to Better Communication

Seven Secrets to Better Communication

We are joined by author and coach Denise Dudley who shares her seven communication components to ensure state-of-the-art communication and maximize your success.

On today’s podcast:

  • Denise’s seven communication components
  • How important is eye contact?
  • Mastering the art of handshaking
  • Hand movements done right
  • Control your voice tone
  • Avoid using fillers


Keep an eye on your facial expression

Oftentimes people assume that communication will happen naturally. In order to be a really great communicator, we need to study our communication skills.

Denise teaches seven communication components. The first one is facial expression.

Initial research showed that the first impression occurred in 10-15 seconds after talking to someone. Recent research has discovered another first impression that occurs in under one second. This impression is based on facial expression.

When you first look at another individual, the best facial expression to have is a neutral-to-positive open facial expression.

How important are eye contact and posture?

Denise’s second component is eye contact. We should mostly make eye contact, but we should break it a little bit every once in a while.

If we stare at someone and never look away, we tend to come off either as aggressive or attracted to the person.

The third component is your posture. We should make sure our posture is straight and erect, shoulders back. Posture will communicate to people whether we are interested or engaged, or even reliable.

What about the handshake?

In order to make a positive impression with your communication skills, you need to control your handshake. When we are shaking hands with someone, we are offering the person visual, tactile, and auditory information about ourselves.

A handshake communicates whether you are assertive, passive or aggressive, or whether you are glad to be there.

The just right handshake is firm but gentle. Along with the handshake, you are making direct contact, smiling and saying your name.

Use your hands more

The fifth component is about your hand movements. You should use your hands to describe and elaborate.

If you are nervous and fidgeting with your hands, put them on your side.

You shouldn’t touch your face or your hair if you are sitting at a table or in a group.

Control your voice tone

The sixth component is voice tone. It communicates whether you are feeling powerful or sure of the message you are delivering.

If we want to sound powerful and assertive, we should stay in the lower ranges of our voice tone.

Women tend to speak a bit higher. They have a widely varying intonational pitch pattern. That means that women like to go up and down the scale.

Avoid using fillers

The seventh component is loudness. A lot of people are too soft or too loud, and it becomes too distracting to the listener.

If we are too soft, people are making an effort to hear us. It is the speaker’s job to look for feedback in the listener to make sure they are loud enough.

We should also pay attention to our content and avoid using verbal crutches. These are repetitions of “um…” or “you know”. It’s more powerful to be silent than to use fillers because they take away your credibility or your power.

In order to become a great communicator, you have to practice, practice, practice.