November 2018
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials


2nd Annual Chamber / LDBA Christmas Social

Celebrate the Holidays with fellow business people!  Members and guests are invited to the 2nd Annual Chamber / LDBA  Christmas Social at Cottonwood on Tuesday, December 4th from from 12 pm to 2 pm.  Book a table for you, your staff and guests!   Silent Auction donations are welcome. Please RSVP by Friday, November 30th.   Read More...

3 Keys to Effective Conversation


3 Keys to Effective Conversation

Have you ever been chatting to someone and by the end of the conversation realized you've told them everything about you, and perhaps your company, but you know little about them? Some people have a knack of putting others at ease—of getting them to open up. People enjoy talking to them and feel good after a conversation. What do they have, that many of us don't?

Great communications skills are almost a necessity for business owners but communicating and being a great conversationalist can actually be quite different. Conversations are an important part of how we relate to one another, and for a business owner putting people at ease by being easy to talk to is a vital component of success.

People long to be heard and developing your skills as both a listener and a conversationalist will increase the level of trust people have in you. Whether it's with your customers or your staff, or your next sales prospect, these three keys to having effective conversations will assist you in becoming the kind of person that encourages people to open up to you.

Use Level Four Listening

Steven Covey (7 Habits for Highly Effective People) says there are four levels of listening.

Non-listening or ignoring. For example, those conversations where you tune out almost before they begin.

Selective listening. Where you hear only what you want to hear (kids, and some customers are very good at this type of listening).

Attentive listening. This is where you are listening, but you're listening with the objective of speaking next and you are focused more on the response you are formulating.

Empathic listening. Covey says this is where you listen with your heart. Empathic listening requires tuning everything else out (including your own desire to speak) and focusing on the words being said and the meaning behind the words.

Often words are deceiving. An empathic listener hears between the words. They observe body language and perceptions and hear what the people are saying beyond the words they are using.

Most people don't manage to move beyond level three listening. However, if you want to become the kind of person people want to talk to, practice listening at the empathic level.

Show Interest in Them

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and while you're talking something behind you catches their attention and they continue to sneak glances in that direction? It doesn't make you feel like that person is particularly interested in what you have to say and usually, when that kind of listening occurs, the conversation is cut short.

Show an interest in what someone is saying by asking questions, by leaning in with your body, by nodding your head or giving indications that you are hearing them. Ask open-ended questions that encourage further discussion. Refrain from offering opinions or advice. Most often people just want to tell you their story, not hear your opinion about it and if they do, they'll ask you. Wait for them to say something like, "What do you think?" or "What's your opinion on this?" or, "How do you see this situation?" If they don't ask, don't offer.

Create Memory Clues

People are always impressed when you remember what they told you the last time you had a conversation. If, the next time you meet, you can remember something they said in passing during a casual conversation and bring it up with them again, it will make them feel like you've really listened; like you care enough about them to remember the details of their life, and that you really are interested in them. This builds enormous levels of trust. When talking with someone (at level four of course), try to create memory clues that will help you remember some of the details to bring up at another time. For example, if the person is talking about a parent or child who is ill, or just achieved something of which they are proud, can you create a picture in your mind that will jog your memory the next time you see them? Perhaps make a few notes on your cell phone or tablet after the conversation. Or simply ask for their business card and make a note on the back about something you might follow up on at a later date.

Creating memory clues, takes conversation one step further and shows the person you really have been listening.

By implementing these few steps in your conversations, you can increase your credibility and build trust. These skills will enhance relationships with your co-workers or employees, your customers, and even your friends and family.

3 Keys to Effective Conversation


What Do Successful Business Owners Have in Common?

How do you measure success? Is it by how much money your company makes? Is it by how satisfied your customers are? Or, do you gauge your success by the positive, synergistic working environment you have created, and the happiness enjoyed by you and your employees? Perhaps, it's a mix of all three.

In the end, success is achieved when entrepreneurs demonstrate business acumen; they exhibit a series of traits that consistently improve the way their businesses operate, and how they reach their goals. Here are seven traits successful entrepreneurs have in common.

Bounce-Back Buoyancy

All companies go through highs and lows in terms of sales cycles, productivity, staffing, cash flow, and many other aspects of business. How you weather those highs and especially the lows, will affect your overall success. Your ability to "bounce-back" when the going gets tough is imperative to your chances of success.

Play the "what-if?" game and run through a series of disaster scenarios. Then, come up with plans to deal with whatever is thrown at you. This is called risk management and is a trait successful businesspeople have in spades. Bear in mind, it's always easier to make plans before a catastrophe than during one.

Necessary Nurture

Successful businesspeople know the value of staff development and employee morale to a successful company. Create an environment where staff feel free to voice their opinions, ideas, complaints, and suggestions. Be approachable. Care—really care about your employees. Provide training, develop their skills, empower them. Remember they are giving a third of their life to you and your company.

Going with your Gut

A winning trait among successful entrepreneurs is trusting their intuition. They observe what's going on more than the average businessperson and therefore their intuition is stronger—more developed. Increase your powers of observation and your ability to anticipate and troubleshoot problems, before they get out of hand.

Capacity for Creativity

Successful people, especially successful business owners, are almost always creative people; they see things that don't already exist. They look beyond the obvious, same old solutions. They find new ways to sell, ingenious manufacturing advances, clever social media approaches, methods of improving the customer experience—no idea is a bad idea. And, they encourage creativity in their employees.

Passionate Productivity

To be successful in business you have to maintain your passion—the passion you had when you first started out in business. If you meet a successful business owner you will undoubtedly be confronted by an energetic, enthusiast who is passionate about what they do. Too often businesspeople get caught up in the everyday grind of running a business and lose their passion. Once that happens it's a race to the bottom. Ensure you don't get so embroiled in the challenges that you forget the bigger picture. As much as possible delegate the day-to-day activities and dealing with problems to your staff and focus on the creative growth and potential of your company.

Living Leadership

Successful people in business are those that lead from the front, not those who sit in a back room playing with the numbers. Everyone involved with your company from staff, suppliers, and your bank, to customers and competitors are all watching you so live by your principles and values. Someone once said that integrity is defined by what you do when you think no one is watching. Embrace your personality, your leadership style, your strengths and weaknesses, your experience, and your passion, and live them out on a daily basis. Living leadership is so much more effective than "telling" leadership (do what I say, not what I do). After all, who would you rather follow?

Bravery in Balance

It can sometimes feel easier to live your business 24 hours a day than to strive for work-life balance. The latter means making tough choices and prioritizing. If your business is controlling your life, you may feel successful in the short term but the toll on your family will be great and the long-term consequences won't be worth it. Your personal life deserves as much attention as your business—maintaining strong relationships, volunteering your time to serve others, having hobbies and interests beyond work - all of these things make you a more balanced person, and a balanced person is a much more effective manager.

The list of "success" traits above is not exhaustive by any means, but if you set yourself some goals in these seven areas you will soon notice that success is more about your approach to life and business challenges than you might have imagined.

3 Keys to Effective Conversation


Executive Leadership: Habits for Success

We all have habits, some work for us and some work against us; the questions is, what habits are seen to be part of a successful person's day? Are there some common threads that seem to be contributing factors to their success?

One important habit that many successful people have is focus. They understand their priorities and put first things first.

What is that over-arching goal you have for yourself, your career and your company? Keeping your focus, is one of the key elements in achieving the success you desire.

Following focus, another habit worth developing is to minimize distractions. Distractions and interruptions often derail you from what is important. What strategies do you use to minimize distractions or interruptions? Sometimes this might involve carving out some time for yourself by closing your door, turning off the phone, and letting people know that you do not want to be disturbed.

What are your intentions for the day or week? What do you wish to accomplish and why is it important? Planning your day and even your week ahead of time is another key habit worth pursuing. Taking a few moments to write down what you want to work on ahead of time will allow you to focus on the important/urgent and important/not urgent things on your to do list. By writing down your intentions and following them, you move another step towards achieving your goals for success.

Often, having a morning routine is helpful in creating a successful life. What does your morning look like? What happens when things don't go according to your routine? How does it affect your day? By looking at your routines you can identify what is working for you and what is not. Consider; are there patterns that you need to change for the day to be more positive and productive?

What are your habits for better health and fitness? Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is important to your success. Often a person with improved health and fitness is less stressed, or better able to handle stress. It is reported that getting into a habit of working out 3 – 4 times per week will greatly improve your health and outlook on life. If you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of others in your personal and business life.

Finally, getting into a habit of reflection is as powerful as writing down your intentions. Taking time each day, to look back on what you accomplished, what went well, and what you might have done differently, allows you to grow and learn on your way to achieving the success you envision. What would it look like for you to state your intentions prior to the day, and then take a little time at the end of your day to reflect on how things went?

Habits are important in the lives of successful people. What habits do you need to incorporate in your life?

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching


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