As a motivational speaker who speaks to inspire, it is always nice when the group I am speaking to inspires me in return. This past weekend I had the pleasure of presenting to the San Angelo, Texas police department. Before the engagement, I spoke with the chief on the phone and asked him what type of transformation they have been focusing on as a department lately. He told me that recently they have been focusing on moving from a responding-oriented service to a policing service. This means that rather than simply reacting to people breaking the law, it is their goal to be more proactive when it comes to fighting crime. He said that there is more to being an officer than just putting bad guys in jail. In his message on their website, the chief says "the gun, badge, and handcuffs are secondary to community spirit, community interaction and community service."
The department is obviously fulfilling its purpose. Click here to see what the residents of San Angelo are saying about their police force. As you read these testimonials from members of the community, it immediately becomes apparent that the officers are valued by the people they serve and protect. These men and women go above and beyond the call of duty as officers - as their missions statement says, they are committed to improving the quality of life in their community by policing in a professional and courteous manner. Each officer brings his or her own magic to the community, and the result is that their crime rate has gone down 32% in the past year! Their goal is to become the safest city in the country - what a great Mark to Make! And what a great testimony to all of us, whatever our job may be, to become more service oriented in what we do.
Congratulations San Angelo Police Department on sharing your magic with your community and on a job well done!
As a motivational speaker who focuses on business development, one of my major focuses, whether speaking to entrepreneurs or executives, is the area of personal branding. What comes to mind when you hear the word brand? Do you think of names like Pepsi, Energizer, and Ralph Lauren? Perhaps unmistakable logos such as the Nike Swoosh or Mac's apple come to mind. Although names and logos are key ingredients for image and marketing purposes, a company's brand is more than just a clever title, cutting-edge graphics and a catchy slogan.
Ultimately, your company's brand is about perception. How do people perceive your company? Do they see quality? Integrity? Good customer service? Whether you are a small business owner or an employee in a big corporation, the brand of your company starts with you. By you I mean your ideas, your input, your attitude and your actions. These are all components of your personal brand which contribute to the greater good of your company's brand. I call these components your magic. As an individual, you contribute to your company's brand on a daily basis. Whether you deal in external affairs (eg: sales) or internal affairs (eg: management), sharing your magic is about maximizing your ability to build, maintain, support and convey your company's good name at all times.
The question then is, what is your magic? What are your strengths? What do you bring to your team on a daily basis? Is it your positive attitude during difficult projects? Is it your ability to smile at your clients and make them feel like they matter? Is it the special way you appreciate your employees for their hard work? The sum of your company's overall brand is made up of the personal brands of each individual; therefore, your ideas, input, attitude and actions all matter.
My high school choir teacher used to tell us that if just one of our voices was taken out of the choir, it would change the quality of our sound. I dismissed this notion for years, not believing that my voice truly mattered to the overall sound. I now know that my choir teacher was right (of course he was right, he was THE Jack Ballard, who was recently inducted into the Kansas Music Education Association Hall of Fame) - if you take away just one voice from a choir, the sound is altered. And just as one beautiful voice adds to a choir, it only takes one person singing off key to ruin the entire sound altogether.
The same is true for your company's brand. Without the touch of your personal brand, the overall quality of your company's brand is changed, whether for good or for the bad. Everywhere you go, everything you do and in every interaction you have, you are a reflection of your company's brand. Remember that you are important and that your "voice is heard" in one way or another at all times, whether by your boss, your co-workers or your clients. Share your magic to the full and continue to develop your personal brand in order to add value to yourself and in turn add value to the good name of your company.
Listening skills are crucial in any area of business development, including client retention, effective management and increasing sales. In college I learned about a non-verbal listening process developed by Gerard Egan for his "Skilled Helper" approach to counseling. The process is S.O.L.E.R., an acronym which has amazingly stuck in my mind for about 9 years. Although this device is primarily used in the training of counselors, I have found it is useful for anyone wanting to improve their skills as a listener. Try this out on your clients, colleagues, employees or family and you will immediately see its effectiveness in communication.
-S (Squarely) - Sit squarely to the person. Also, position yourself at a comfortable distance.
-O (Open) - Maintain an open posture. Do not cross your arms or fold your legs which convey a defensive attitude.
-L (Lean) - Lean in slightly. This shows interest and concern.
-E (Eye Contact) - Of course, maintain eye contact. I recall our teacher telling us that when you are the talker, it is okay to periodically break eye contact with your listener, but when you are the listener, you must maintain eye contact. I have found it takes practice to maintain eye contact without making the person feel as though you are staring at them.
-R (Relaxed) - Be relaxed. Being relaxed can help the talker relax. Likewise, appearing uptight can make the person feel uncomfortable.
Good luck and please let me know your results!