One of my readers, Deborah Smith, recently sent me this great article by Miles Jennings of Recruiter.com (thanks Deborah!). Many of the author’s comments are relevant to what I teach about achieving success with business communication, so I wanted to share the article with you. Give it a quick read, then check out my commentary below on each of the five points.
1. “I’m not an expert.”
I agree with the author that expertise doesn’t take a lifetime to establish. If you’ve been working in your job or field for two or more years, you’re probably an expert at it. You’ve honed your skills in that area by working on them every day. Therefore, you’re absolutely qualified to speak on that topic as an expert. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
2. “It’s already been done.”
Unique ideas are extremely rare. No matter what business you’re in, you always have competition – even if it’s simply other products or services competing for your customer’s dollars. What’s most important is how you do business. Stand out boldly from your competitors, and be able to articulate exactly how you’re different. Your pitch should make it obvious to anyone listening that you’re one-of-a-kind, even in a crowded market.
3. “I don’t know the right people.”
If you don’t know the right people to help you in your business, get to know them by not only reaching out, but also standing out. Chances are good these talented people get lots of calls and emails from others looking for help, so think about how you can make your approach unique. Use a catchy subject line, speak from the heart, offer something helpful in return (not money), write a poem, etc. Let your creativity and determination shine through in your communication.
4. “You need money to make money.”
I tell entrepreneurs all the time that “being small can be an advantage, too.” It’s easy to feel helpless when going up against big players in your industry, but you no longer need a ton of money or power to be successful in business. Be scrappy. View your flexibility and small, personal touch as an advantage. Use online tools to get tasks done cheaply, or even for free. It takes very little money to get up and running nowadays. For more on this topic, I love and wholeheartedly recommend Chris Guillebeau’s book The $100 Startup.
5. “I always…”
Your mindset is everything – in life, business, and presenting. I love how for this section the author uses a public speaking example: “When you catch yourself saying, ‘I always…’ (such as ‘I always mess up when I talk in front of people’), know that you’re chiseling that negativity into stone.” And he’s exactly right. Thinking negatively increases the likelihood of a negative outcome. Instead, view any of your business shortcomings as opportunities to learn and improve, just as your presentation or pitch should be viewed as an opportunity, not an obstacle. Change yourself before trying to inspire change in others.
This is powerful, powerful stuff. Thanks again to Miles Jennings for crafting a great piece.