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How to Capture an Expert’s Value: 12 Tips

How to Capture an Expert’s Value: 12 Tips


    In bringing Managing with Aloha to the world of business I speak a lot; everything from 20-minute keynotes to week-long seminars and retreats. This week I’ve wrapped up 2005 with some terrific speaking gigs before ending my year with a 3-week holiday hiatus, a tradition in my leadership coaching company. These gigs were terrific because my clients were terrific, and I felt I wasn’t just a hired gun; we collaborated on the design of my presentation, and they gave me the opportunity to give more than just another speech.

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    With my very last presentation I had the pleasure of staying in a magnificent hotel, and part of my fee included an extra night’s stay so that I could end my time with them much more leisurely than I normally have the opportunity to do. Their offer was irresistible to me and I took advantage of it. Smartly, so did they; it was win for both of us. They helped me create a defining moment for them and their company.

    The entire experience caused me to reflect back on all my speaking over the last year, and I thought of all the clients associated with them — the good, the bad, and fortunately none I would call the ugly! In this, my last Thursday column for Lifehack.org for 2005 (I’ll be back after that hiatus I mentioned) I thought I’d share with you my best clients’ smarts.

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    There have been those clients who took full advantage of our engagement knowing how I am more coach than consultant by nature, and I think they were exceptionally clever. By the time our project was over they had received oodles of free coaching from me, and I didn’t mind one bit. In fact, they usually left me wishing that all my clients were just like them. This is how they did it.

    1. First, I didn’t intimidate them. All of 5’1” and soft spoken when I’m off-stage I’m not an intimidating person, however they didn’t let my “expert” and “author” aura and reputation hold them back either. They took the time to have telephone conversations with me and get to know me. They shared their objectives with me, and the stories of why they called me in the first place. In short, they got me to know them, like them, and want to help them as new friends who had a vision and mission similar to mine.
    2. If I was traveling to see them, they played meeting planner and travel agent, booking as much of my “free time” as possible, before I filled in the blanks myself. As managers and leaders, they’d get my free advice over morning coffee the day of my seminar, or because they picked me up from the airport instead of sending a driver for me. They entertained me and gave me the niceties of “VIP service” so that I’d “pay” them for it with my knowledge and my free coaching.
    3. They got me to use their products and services during my stay, whatever they were. They asked me to test them, and offer suggestions. My “thing” is management and leadership in business, and I travel a lot. I get welcomed into a lot of different companies, perhaps including their competitors, and others they should benchmark. I am not going to disclose anything I shouldn’t. Still, knowing my frame of reference, they considered me a living, breathing, opinionated “guest comment card” for what they offer.
    4. They understood that those of us who speak are always looking for new stories and new examples to pepper our presentations with personalization (say that quickly 3 times!) and they took me on plant/ property/ company tours, and introduced me to many of the people who would be in my audience both before and after my presentation so we’d make a personal connection.
    5. Along those same lines, they deliberately set out to be my newest fresh-in-mind and memorable “great story,” the one I would take to future speeches in future places, giving them fantastic, highly favorable free press in the process. Knowing I speak to thousands and thousands of your prospective customers each year, and that people ask me for my recommendations all the time, what would you like me to say to them about you?
    6. Most speakers, me included, are eager learners, always on the prowl for opportunities to meet the visionaries, movers and shakers in an organization. We love to interview the big shots and get inside their heads. My best clients, the ones determined to make MWA part of their culture going forward, used me to secure their boss’s buy-in because they put me in the golden opportunity to discuss vision and mission with them.
    7. If I were just one speaker in their conference, they invited me to the entire conference so that I would be available to their participants both on stage and off. You can bet this strategy also made me pretty competitive, and determined to be their best speaker, and the one sharing the most aloha with their people.
    8. They understood that they’d be flushing their money down the drain if my presentation needs were not taken care of (audio-visual, lighting, desired room logistics) and I was not well seen, heard, and experienced by the audience.
    9. They had read my book, or at least had skimmed it pretty thoroughly and read the book reviews. They were very familiar with my blog and website. They distributed an article I’d written to their audience ahead of time in a newsletter, announcement, or email blitz to create some anticipation and excitement, and so they’d start thinking of questions.
    10. They asked me to help them with my introduction before my presentation, i.e. What part of your bio should I mention? and — the part most people miss — they asked how they should end it, i.e. if they were offering my book at a special price, my website links for continuing MWA education, if I was sticking around for the remainder of their conference etc. Speakers don’t like to end presentations with a sales pitch — even free resources sound like less than a good deal. When the organizer does it, they get the credibility for negotiating that free e-book out of me exclusively for their audience.
    11. If they have asked me to include a Q&A time, they planted people with good questions to start us off with, questions on things they wanted me to cover briefly anyway. Better than a Q&A time, they scheduled round-table discussions immediately after my presentation, asking their groups to come up with Next Action idea lists connected it, and asking me to remain and walk the room as speaker turned coach — what I do best!
    12. They scheduled a post event debrief with me. The more involved and longer my presentation, and the more of your people I meet, the more feedback I am going to have for you. Will you secure your opportunity to get it out of me, or are you letting me escape with it as you politely say thank you and goodbye? They ask the critical question in this debrief: What is your advice on how I inculcate this into our organizational culture, so the learning sticks?

    Think about these things the next time you hire any consultant or expert — get your money’s worth. All you speakers out there in cyberland and blogsville, please chime in the comments here if you feel I’ve missed something.

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    Mele Kalikimaka, Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou: A wonderful and blessed holiday season to all of you. I’ll be back with my next Thursday column for Leon on January 12th of 2006.

    Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. Rosa is founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. She loves speaking: click here for more on her speaking engagements.

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    Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Holiday Gifts for Working Stiffs.

    (Photo credit: Word “Expert” via Shutterstock)

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    Rosa Say

    Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

    Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

    So what changed?

    I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

    My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

    Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

    But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

    1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

    Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

    If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

    Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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    How to Tackle It?

    Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

    For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

    Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

    2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

    This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

    The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

    How to Tackle It?

    Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

    If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

    Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

    3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

    This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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    The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

    The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

    How to Tackle It?

    Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

    For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

    A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

    If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

    4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

    Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

    Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

    How to Tackle It?

    It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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    Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

    For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

    Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

    In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

    This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

    Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

    However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

    How to Tackle It?

    Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

    Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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    Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

    If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    Bottom Line

    I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

    You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

    I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

    I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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