June 2017
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials
Welcome to our NEW Emagazine
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5 Tips for Remembering Names and...?


5 Tips for Remembering Names and...?

You're standing at the front of the room at a business mixer with a friend, or your partner perhaps, when you see someone approaching you. You know their face but for the life of you, you can't put a name to it. You're starting to panic. They greet you, "Hi Joe, how's it going?" and you freeze, because your partner is waiting for an introduction. Has this ever happened to you? If so, you're not alone. Many people have trouble remembering names. Here are a few ideas to help you increase your skill at making the connection right at the beginning, and avoiding those embarrassing moments.

Make eye contact and repeat their name. When you first meet someone, it's important to pay attention. If you don't it may come back to haunt you! When the person is introduced, or if they introduce themselves, look into their eyes and repeat their name. "It's nice to meet you Melissa." Using the name out loud improves your ability to remember it.

Mentally repeat the name at least five times. As they are talking, or when they've left you to speak to someone else, repeat their name in your mind five times while continuing to look at them. During the course of the evening or the event, whenever you look at them, repeat their name in your mind.

Immediately introduce the person to someone else. "Hey Bill, I'd like you to meet Melissa Jones. She's the account manager at Hart Beringer." Saying the name aloud again and mentioning what company she is with puts another deposit into your memory bank.

Write down the person's name. If it's possible and appropriate, write the person's name down. Ask for a business card - even if their name is printed on the card - write it down, along with the place you met. Writing things down builds memory association.

Make an association. This is by far the most effective way to remember people's names, but it takes practice to become proficient at it. When you meet someone, really look at them - their face, distinguishing characteristics, what they're wearing, their body shape, and see if you can think of some really identifiable characteristic that you can associate with their name. For a simple name like Bill Brown, you might use visual clues like his having brown hair, and wearing a green shirt that is the colour of a twenty dollar bill. Repeat the association in your mind.

Use these visual clues as nudges to jog your memory. The next time you see Bill Brown, you'll remember his name even if his shirt is red and he's dyed his hair purple. For more difficult names, break them into pieces or use similar words to get your clues. You've just met Chamille Woodruff. She happens to be drinking tea, and your favorite is chamomile - not exactly correct but close enough. She has a large uneven mole on her left arm that looks like a piece of driftwood, and you think it must be rough to go through life with a birthmark like that. Get the picture? It sounds silly but it really works. The wilder your image, the greater the chance you will remember the name.

Now that you have some tricks up your sleeve, you'll never forget a name again, but what do you do when you are caught in a memory lapse?

Use the business card trick. If someone approaches you and you don't remember their name, before you even get to the introductions, ask them if they have a business card. "Nice to see you again - do you have a current business card? I like to keep my contacts current." They hand you their card and voila - you glance down and catch their name on the card.

Use humour if appropriate. In an informal gathering you might point fun at yourself getting old or having a memory like a screen door. If you can make someone laugh, they'll forgive you and you'll be on your way to conversation in no time. If you're in a more formal or serious setting, you might want to defer the humour and go straight to apologies.

If all else fails, be gracious, admit your faux pas and apologize. "I'm sorry, your name has just escaped me." Or, "Please forgive me - I've met so many people today and I can't remember your name."

Remembering someone's name makes them feel important and valuable. Put these skills to work right away. The sooner you implement a new behaviour, the better your chances of making it a permanent one.

5 Tips for Remembering Names and...?


Dealing with Poor Performing Employees Effectively

As a business owner, you have to manage more than just your business. You have to manage the people who help you run your business as well. Much has been written about management styles, human resources methodology, effective supervision, and executive coaching, but what does it all really mean when it comes down to talking to the person you've called into your office because their performance has been poor? It all comes down to communicating in a way that doesn't cause them to erect barriers to what you are saying, and allows you to clearly see the reasons why their performance is suffering.

Get to the Root of the Problem

There are a host of reasons why someone is not performing to their potential. The problem with most managers is they jump to more obvious conclusions, rather than looking for root causes.

For instance, take Bruce in the graphics department, his productivity has been slipping over the last few months. He just never seems to get anything done - piles of paper sit on his desk with most projects half finished, and he always seems to be running behind on each deadline.

At first glance it may appear that he simply needs some time management training, or some assistance with goal setting, but when that doesn't seem to make a difference you need to look deeper. Maybe the fact that he can't seem to focus on his projects at work is because his daughter is struggling with a serious illness, or maybe he is working under a strict and hard-nosed supervisor and is afraid that whatever he produces won't be good enough.

The point is, things are often not all they seem on the surface. Jumping to conclusions may prevent you from seeing the true situation. Make sure you get to the root cause of the behavior rather than simply treating the symptoms. You'll be far more effective in causing positive change in your employees if you use this strategy.

Be Aware of Personality Issues

Although it would be great if we could work and communicate well with all personality types, the truth is we have preferences about the types of people we connect and work well with. Ensure performance issues are not the result of clashing personalities. You'll have those socializers in your office who want to spend the whole day chatting with their co-workers, and the directors who want to take charge of every project, and the relaters who want to get along and have deep relationships with everyone, and finally the thinkers who want nothing more than to be left alone to get their work done.

In a workplace where these differences are not understood or accepted, it can drastically reduce confidence and productivity. Make sure when reviewing personal productivity, you look at whether personality differences are a factor.

Eliminate Communication Barriers

Create an atmosphere that allows your employees to speak freely with you about what their issues are. The quicker you can get to the root of their problems, the faster you can all get back on track. Some of the most common barriers to communication include:

  1. Self Esteem - if people don't feel good about themselves, it's very difficult for them to communicate their needs, and to talk about their failures. Establish a way to affirm the good work people are doing, even if your purpose is to talk about a decline in their performance.
  2. Unclear Roles - when work roles are not clear, it causes stress, tension, unmet expectations, anger, resentment, and a whole host of other unproductive emotions. Talk with people about how they perceive their role both in their job, and within the company. Once they give you their perspective, it might give you some clues as to where the problems lie.
  3. Lack of Trust - have you been the kind of manager who has inspired trust in your employees? Have you kept your word? Have you kept people's confidence? Have you run your business with integrity? If you haven't been trustworthy, it will be hard for people to open up to you.
  4. Emotional Impact - no communication is free of emotion, so being cautious with your words, your tone of voice and your body language when talking with someone has an enormous impact on the outcome, especially when someone is in an emotionally vulnerable place.
  5. Active Listening - as with any communication, listening is the most important part of any conversation. Listen to what's not being said as well as to what is; listen for things the person might not even realize are impacting the situation, listen for the emotions behind the actions, and listen for situations that are contributing to the problem. This can be difficult, especially if the person is wilfully uncommunicative or unable to express what they are feeling. Thoughtful, open-ended questions may be useful if you're dealing with someone who is not offering the information you need. Active listening and wise questions can be a great tool for helping them to get their thoughts out more effectively.

Dealing with performance issues is never easy, and rarely pleasant, but setting the stage for a positive exchange can help you take a negative situation and end with a positive result. What's more, you can help your employee gain confidence and increase self esteem by making them feel valued and respected. The long-term results of this kind of relationship-building will impact your business in a positive way.

5 Tips for Remembering Names and...?


Cooperative Marketing - A Great Win-Win!

Cooperative marketing is one of the most inexpensive and underused forms of marketing in the business world today. It can be as simple as two retailers putting flyers up in each other's windows or holding a joint customer appreciation event; alternatively, it can be as complex as several companies coming together in a strategic partnership to jointly promote themselves in media advertising.

Whatever it is, the purpose of cooperative marketing is mutual profitability. So how do you go about finding cooperative partnerships?

Make a list of potential cooperative markets. Look out your window and write down all the businesses who provide a product or service within your sight - almost any business could potentially offer an opportunity for cooperative marketing. Contact your key suppliers and ask for their ideas. Ask your customers what kind of service they might like that would complement what you offer. Get a business list from your local chamber of commerce.

Once you've created your list, move on to the next step.

Look for companies with a similar, or allied market. If you own a car wash, and the business next door is a European deli, doesn't it make sense that people having their cars washed might want a sandwich while they wait, or that people who are having lunch might have their car washed while they eat?

Ask what your business might have in common with another. What might a bottled water company have in common with a company that sells organic gourmet coffee? People who drink expensive gourmet coffee are likely to use bottled water to make it. The water company has a rack of the gourmet coffee by its checkout, and the coffee company provides a flyer from the water company to each of its customers. Everyone wins. Ask yourself this question in relation to a dozen or so businesses in your area and see what fun you can have trying to come up with some cooperative marketing ideas.

Approach other businesses with your ideas. Since cooperative marketing is about mutual benefit, it's hard to imagine that people won't be excited about increasing their marketing potential by helping you with yours. Be enthusiastic and prepared. The more well thought-out your idea, the more likely someone will want to participate. Talk about ways to share marketing expenses. Can you share the cost of printing flyers if each business is featured? Could you add their flyer to your next business mail-out and they add yours to theirs? Can you plan a customer appreciation event together that maximizes both your contact lists? Can you offer free advertising on each other's web sites? The possibilities are endless. Go a bit crazy with your ideas.

Keep looking for new partners. Chances are, you're going to find cooperative marketing such a great way to do business, you'll want to keep looking. Every time you get an advertisement in the mail, or purchase a product or service, ask yourself whether this might be the kind of business you could partner with.

Don't forget about web marketing. If you have a website you owe it to yourself to employ this strategy to maximize your Internet marketing dollars. Do a search of companies who offer similar or complementary products, or who do business in your geographic area. Search for established websites of organizations or associations in your industry, and approach them with a cooperative marketing plan.

Cooperative marketing does require somewhat of a paradigm shift in the way you may have traditionally thought about marketing, but it can push your sales and profits to a level you might never reach on your own. Not only will you increase your bottom line, but you'll increase your network and potential customer base at the same time. Cooperative marketing is a win-win strategy. Be creative in finding businesses to build strategic relationships with to increase the value of your marketing dollar.


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112