Five tips to help you think on your feet

Whether you’re attending a meeting, pitching an idea, presenting a proposal, speaking at an event or answering an unanticipated client question, being able to think on your feet and speak clearly and intelligently at a moment’s notice is a vital skill in business.

But it’s not the easiest to do when you’re under pressure and feeling nervous and intimidated. So how do you keep your composure when put on the spot? Here are five tips to help you think on your feet.

1. Listen carefully

The key to responding to a comment well, answering a question effectively or understanding a statement is to listen carefully. Look directly at the person speaking and ask them to repeat their statement or question if necessary.

Asking them to repeat the question will also give you a chance to think about what was said and respond better, often people will rephrase and clarify what they mean the second time around.

2. Breathe

While the person is talking and before you respond take slow deep breaths. This will give you more oxygen to your brain and help you think more clearly and calmly.

Being able to control your breathing can really help you to master your nerves and quieten the inner voice that goes into overdrive with negative and limiting thoughts when someone asks an unexpected question or gives an alternate view.

3. Pause if you need to

Provided you don’t look terrified, pausing can actually help you to look as though you are carefully considering your answer in order to give the right response.

Don’t feel pressured to fill the silence immediately. This can lead to rambling or giving a response that isn’t well thought out. A thoughtful pause will give you time to compose yourself, think about your answer and deliver it confidently.

4. Don’t be afraid to delay your answer

For those questions that are a little more intricate or you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to delay your answer.

If in a presentation (and it’s applicable) say you will talk to them after to go into more detail with their specific circumstances. If one-on-one with someone say you will investigate it further, think about it in more detail or find out the answer for them.

When handled right delaying your answer won’t be seen as a sign of weakness, inexperience or lack of knowledge like we all worry it will. It can actually be seen as a sign of professionalism, that you want to make sure you give the right answer and information to help your audience.

5. Be an expert in your area

The best way to be prepared for the unexpected is to become an expert in your product or service, topic and industry.

Knowing your subject will give you greater confidence, help you to give better answers and equip you to handle tricky questions by having a strong knowledge base to draw on.

Do you have any tips for thinking on your feet?


Four tips to be more authentic in business

In a growing digital world that is becoming more and more disconnected, customers are looking for more. They don’t just want to purchase a product or service – they want an experience.

But not just any experience. A genuine, transparent, honest experience from a business that knows who they are and stays true to what they stand for. A business that is authentic.

While “authenticity” seems like the latest business buzzword, businesses who are taking it on board and creating an authentic approach are cashing in. So to ensure you’re one of these businesses, here are four tips to help you become more authentic in business.

1. Be real

Know who you are, what you do and who you’re targeting. Work out what you’re passionate about, what you stand for and what the purpose of your business is – beyond making profit, and share it with the world. Be real, be honest, stay true to what you stand for and believe in. The best way to be seen as being authentic is to actually be authentic.

2. Be consistent

We often here this in reference to the look of our brand, but it’s more than that. Be consistent with the messages you create, the tone of voice you use, the quality of your products and services, your work ethic and professionalism and in all other areas of business. Not only will it help your business stay on-brand, it will resonate in the minds of your customers and you will be trusted for your reliability.

3. Back up your claims

If you make a claim, prove it. Show testimonials, reviews or case studies, display your portfolio or give a product demonstration, do whatever you need to do to prove your claims, establish your expertise and show how you can help. This will build your credibility, show you are who you say you are and that you are a trustworthy professional.

4. Be accountable

Take responsibility for your actions and be accountable. If you make a mistake own it, if you have an unhappy client address it and if you’ve made a wrong decision correct it. Be humble, be professional, stay within the lines and apologise for any wrong doing. Protect your reputation. By doing this and being open, honest and accountable for your mistakes you will often turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity.

How do you ensure you stay authentic in business?


Four marketing mistakes that could be costing you big money and business

When done right marketing can generate you thousands of dollars in sales and grow your business to levels you had only dared dream of. But when done wrong, it can be a very costly exercise, not just in wasted spending, but also in lost opportunity and credibility.

To ensure your marketing is effective as possible, here are four of the most common mistakes businesses make regularly that could be costing you money and potential business.

#1 – Not following up

One of the biggest and most expensive mistakes you can make in marketing is to not follow up.

Whether you’ve attended a networking event, sent a sales letter, conducted a meeting or distributed a media release, if you want to increase your marketing results – always follow up.

Not every letter is delivered, not every email is seen, not every business card is kept and not every media release is opened. Following up gives you a second chance to convert the sale or opportunity.

#2 – Not up or cross selling existing customers

The second biggest marketing mistake a business can make is to focus only on bringing in new business instead of utilising their existing customers and database.

These are people who already have a need for your products or services and have seen the value in buying with you or at the very least hearing from you.  

While bringing in new business is important, look to up sell, cross sell and generate repeat sales your existing customers and database. They will always be the easiest leads to convert.

#3 – Targeting everyone

The third marketing mistake is to not be clear on your target market. There is no quicker way to waste your marketing dollars than to target anyone and everyone.

To be more strategic with your marketing know who needs your product or service and who has the problems you solve.

Once you know who they are look at their key motivators and influencers. What is most important to them? What keeps them up at night? What do they read? Who do they listen to? Who do they follow on social media? Where do they network?

Start to develop a profile of your audience so you can identify strategies and platforms that will make your marketing more targeted.

#4 – Not establishing your value

The fourth mistake is to not clearly articulate your value and why a customer should come to you above anyone else.

Even the cleverest advertising and most targeted marketing campaigns won’t help you if you can’t establish your value and convert the people you are talking to.

Before you embark on your next marketing campaign or print thousands of brochures, work out your target market’s needs, challenges and frustrations, how you can add value and why you are different to every other person out there offering the same products and services.

Are any of these marketing mistakes costing you business? What can you do today to ensure your marketing is more effective, targeted and profitable?


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