Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Your Voice is an Instrument

We know that communication involves much more than actual words being said.
Body language, appearance and gesture play a big role in how we are perceived. One aspect of communication that is often overlooked is our voice.

Whether you are a teacher, a public speaker or in any other kind of profession that requires speaking you might want to begin to think of your voice as your instrument. An instrument that must be finely tuned, developed, and practiced in order to successfully play the sound that appeals to those who hear it. Here are seven tips of how to better "tune" up your instrument:

1. Speak clearly. Avoid dropping the endings off of your words such as "gettin', goin', shoppin', sleepin', etc." Finish the "g's" and you will sound much clearer and professional.

2. Instead of using filler words, such as "uh", "um", or "you know",  simply pause in between words or sentences. Gather your thought during the pause and your customer won't be distracted by your inability to quickly find the right word. The pause sends the message that you are thoughtful, which is an advantage.

3.  Keep your head up when you talk. If your head is down, looking at a screen, your hands, or the floor, you aren't providing your voice with the best position to project and sound engaging. With your head up, you are stretching out your vocal cords, allowing them to vibrate naturally. This is particularly important if you tend to sound monotone.

4. Smile into your words. When you smile, your vocal cords lift up and you sound friendlier, warmer, and more engaging. Try re-recording your outbound voice mail message by standing up, smiling into the phone, and then listen. You'll know when it sounds right.

5. Maintain vocal variety when you speak. Use inflection to emphasize certain words or phrases, you may want to get louder, softer, inflect an emotion on particular words. Try this exercise: Say the following words out loud and speak them as you would want your customer to experience the emotion:  "Delicious", "Great", "Reward", "Smooth", "Fine", "Amazing", "Profit". Hear the difference?

6. Record yourself and listen to how you sound by reading a story or a white paper out loud. After you have taped yourself, listen to what your voice sounds like. You could record your phone calls for a morning, too. See what you think after those are done.

7.  BREATHE. If you are breathing correctly, from your diaphragm, you will find you don't run out of breath at the end of sentences. In the meantime, you are expanding your lungs (great for when you go skiing this winter). When you breathe out, your tummy goes in, when you breathe in, your tummy goes out. See if you are doing this correctly, and start practicing when you can concentrate to improve your breathing, breath, and your voice.

Remember, your voice is your instrument. Keep it in tune!

by Renee Walkup
edited by Soutenus

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Best Business Teachers in the World

Are they available for private mentoring? 
Are they expensive? 
Where are they located?

I recently learned something so very powerful that it made me stop in my tracks, tilt my head and then roll up my sleeves and dig in with a completely re-accessed plan of action.

I learned about a group of the very BEST business teachers in the world. The importance of learning from this group cannot be understated. If you do NOT take advantage of these teachers it will be at a great cost to your business!

1) They ARE available for private mentoring.
2) They are NOT expensive. In fact, they charge nothing!
3) They are conveniently located and accessible by phone, online or in person.

The very best business teachers in the world are . . . . . . . your customers.
That's right, stop for a moment and really think about it. When that light bulb goes off you may have to sit down.  It is THAT obvious when you think about it and THAT overlooked by 80% of all business owners,
Learn your business from your customers. Understand their minds, their hearts, and their lives. Do what you do to make their lives easier.  When a problem comes up view it as an opportunity in working clothes.*1  Communicate with them. And always "leave them a place to stand and stand tall beside them." *2

And remember, everyone is your customer if you are in a business that truly helps people.
Ahhhh, but that is a post for another day!

*1  LIA October issue
*2  Liz Strauss

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's for Lunch?

YES, YES, YES lunch is a HUGE topic for Work at Home Moms (WAHM) and homeschooling families for the simple fact we eat just about all of our meals at our homes for a good portion of the year. These idea are also helpful for all families for the weekends, stay-cations and the summer months when kids are home. Remember, the menu is just not about ideas, but about planning. It's really about both.
Lunch monotony drove us to expand our menu!  Here are some ideas:
  • Freeze lunch portions of dinner. It is great to have a  hearty, home cooked meal.
  • Buy fresh tamales and freeze them (you can safely do so for up to 90 days!)
  • Canned croissant rolls are a big hit in our house. You can roll just about anything in a croissant! Lay them flat and join several together to make a bigger portion. Some ideas include ~~> Generic Stromboli with spaghetti gravy, cheese, fresh spinach, pepperoni, sausage and/or ham.  ~~> Turkey and cheese.  ~~> Scrambled eggs and bacon.  ~~> Pappas con huevo.  Serve with raw carrots with ranch dip.
  • ANYTHING we can roll in a tortilla is fair game.Tortillas with pepperoni or turkey pepperoni,  black olives and tomato sauce is very good. I love peanut butter in a rolled cool tortilla!
  • I buy the baked tostado shells and top it with cooked ground beef or cooked chicken and black beans. Top it with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, picante sauce and avocado slices.. Warm the shells in the oven while the meat and beans warm.
  • Baked potatoes are easy and you can top them with so many different things: chili, left over chicken or stew, ham, cottage cheese, cheese or bacon.
  • Homemade pot pies are fun because they are delicious made with leftover cooked meats and veggies!  Store bought organic pot pies cost a little more but worth it in a pinch.
  • Ramen noodle soup becomes more like a meal when you add an egg or meat. You can simply boil the ramen soup and while it's boiling, crack eggs into it and stir.  Add any other ingredients in the same manner. There is NO getting away from the ridiculously high sodium content so be sure this is not a weekly choice!
  • Hot sandwiches, quesadillas or good ole stuffed pita bread. Who can resist grilled cheese and tomato soup? We like using Monterrey Jack cheese in our sandwiches. Or, get creative with your grilled cheese!
  • We keep leftover cooked meat in the frig (I always try to make a bit extra) so we can make quick tacos.
  • Chicken or tuna salad is a hit. You can also mix and serve with grapes and can eat with crackers instead of bread. Or, add raw veggies or apples and nuts and eat it like a salad.
  • Egg Salad sandwiches on toast with canned pears are a great combination.  Topping the pears with mixed cream cheese and cherries  is DELICIOUS!
  • Pasta salad is a huge hit, too. It doesn't take long to boil macaroni and add ingredients that your family likes.  Fancier Pasta Salad ideas 
  • Also, click on over to  Bentos Boxes for some more ideas
SOURCE: Tina Robertson
Most of these ideas are Tina's (New Beginnings Homeschool Leader). I simply tweaked to add my 2 cents.

Thanks, Tina!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Goals on Purpose

Have you ever . . . .
set goals . . . .
made a plan to reach those goals
and then somehow found yourself no closer to those goals?  

It is easy to get so engrossed in the plan (and side-tracked) that it can become the be-all-and-end-all, even if it is not leading to the desired goal.

1) Reconnect With Your Goal by Asking WHY
First, re-assess why you’re doing what you do.
What is your biggest, most compelling reason for wanting or needing to reach your goals? 

2) Be Efficient
  • The purpose of the activity is to lead you to your goals.
  • Track your activities.
  • Make use of statistics to help gage your timeline. 
  • Check your progress against the stats and tweak your activities as necessary.
  • Change frequency of activities or goal date as needed.
  • Consider working with a mentor and/or attend training DIRECTLY related to improving your actions.