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What’s O.C.G. and Why Do I Need It?

25 Sep

As a successful small business, you want to ensure that your people represent your corporate values and vision in every sales call, every presentation and every interaction they have with your customers.   On the front lines, day in and day out, they are the face your business.  But, how can you develop your people without hiring a large staff? We’ve got the answer and we think you’re going to love it.  We call it “O.C.G.” (On-Call, On-Going) and it’s an innovative new way to think about training.

A recent study published in the NY Times showed that employees who viewed themselves as “successful” were unlikely to seek out advice from a superior even if they believed they would benefit from some help. This resistance stems from fear of being seen as less capable by employers. This trend, of course, is troubling to small business leaders like you.   If your top employees are afraid to ask for your advice when issues arise, what are the messages they then share in the field?

Here’s where we come in. Fuller Communications is proud to introduce an innovative way that small businesses can arm their employees with the tools and customized advice they require…each and every day. We call it “O.C.G” which stands for “On-Call, On-Going”. Much more than a one or two-day training session, O.C.G. offers an ongoing relationship between your employees and our executive trainers.

How does it work?  With Fuller Communications’ O.C.G. program under contract, your team knows that top trainers are just a phone call away. A prospect requires a presentation on a quick deadline but the boss is out of the office? No problem. Any employee you’ve designated for our service can contact us for customized assistance at any time. No questions asked. Employees need not worry that a superior might think less of them for asking for help. Employers can rest easy knowing that their top presenters are delivering the proper messages in the proper fashion…any day and any time.

Sound interesting? We’d love to discuss how we might partner with you.  Simply call or email us anytime.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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A Note From Edward Fuller, Founder of Fuller Communications

13 Jun

An article in USA today this week, and specifically a quote from Michael Dell, got me thinking about the work we do on behalf of our customers and the value of our “solutions oriented” approach.  I wanted to share some of these thoughts with you.

“PEOPLE DON’T WANT PRODUCTS, THEY WANT SOLUTIONS.”

— Michael Dell, USA Today, June 11, 2014

Universally, people seek to surround themselves with equally knowledgeable, insightful people. They look for and respect those who recognize the unique personality style of others and those with whom they can exchange comfortable dialogue.

They seek those who can ask pointed questions, offer thoughtful responses and articulate an understanding of issues, problems or communication gaps as they arise.

This is how successful relationships (be they personal or professional) are built.  This is how trust is established.

As Andrew Carnegie said “A problem understood is a problem half solved.” Without meaningful and thoughtful exchanges of ideas, no problem can be properly solved. To simply identify a problem, does not solve a problem. To simply possess the best product, does not mean you are utilizing it in the best way possible.

At Fuller Communications, we not only help to identify a problem, we then teach you how to solve it in a customized way that fits your team.  We offer not only the best possible product in our personalized training sessions, but the best possible solutions in our tailored communication strategies and individualized follow-up.

We think Michael Dell would approve.   Contact us anytime to help with your business solutions.

Eight Surefire Ways To Ruin a Meeting or Presentation

25 Mar

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1. Show up late and look really stressed out.   Mess up your papers, tussle your hair, dart your eyes around a little.  This will let your audience know right up front that this is just not going to go well and that you’re likely wasting their time.   Nothing says “ruined presentation” like one that just wasted everyone’s time.

2. Dress like you just crawled out from under a rock.  Spill a little coffee on your tie, wrinkle up those dress shirts.  This drives home the message that you don’t really care very much about what they think of you, anyway.

3. Dive right into your presentation.  Don’t even acknowledge your audience and, by all means, do NOT address them as individuals.  Addressing them in any way beforehand will only make them more comfortable and may even make them (gasp!) like you a little.  No, no.  Jump right in.  An angry, uncomfortable audience is a great way to ruin a presentation.

4. Only use bullet slides.  Pack those slides with so much bulleted content that it would take a microscope to read and a genius to decipher meaning.   This way, your audience is sure to be confused.  With any luck, they’ll also miss out on key pieces of information.  Bingo.

5.  Look all around the room but never directly at your audience.  Alternatively, if that doesn’t work for you, you could try looking rapidly at everyone, never settling your eyes on any one individual.  These methods of eye movement let your audience know you really don’t care how they feel about you or your presentation.

6.  Wander around a lot.  Maybe walk back and forth aimlessly a little or wander around in circles.  Turn your back on the audience for long stretches of time.  Just be sure to never stand still because if you aren’t moving it might mean that you are paying attention.  Or, worse, that you are focused.  Acting focused is a terrible way to ruin a presentation.

7.  Ignore a slide now and then.  Heck, they can SEE it, right?  Let them figure it out.

8. Do you know a lot of fancy words that no one really understands?  Use ’em.  A lot.  This is sure to set you apart as unapproachable, arrogant and unlike anyone in the room.   No one likes an arrogant presenter, right?  Right.  Presentation ruined.  You’re welcome.

Now, call us if you’re ready to do it right.

Make A Difference. We Can Help.

29 Oct

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Imagine your company’s best sales executive has been working hard to secure a new account for your company.   Strong training and development of this executive has led to a remarkable portfolio of closed deals and it’s clear another big client is just days from signing the dotted line.   However, when the potential client calls with a simple contract question, the polished sales executive is out of the office.  Still, the client needs an answer immediately.  The receptionist panics, placing the call on hold for an excessive amount of time before finally sending it on to someone unable to answer the question properly.   The client hangs up frustrated and dissatisfied.   The deal could be lost.  Just like that.

 At Fuller Communications, our goal has long been to make a difference for our clients.  Our full-circle approach to training has provided many businesses the opportunity to improve and build upon communication skills in order to move the needle on employee retention, client satisfaction and, ultimately, the company’s bottom line. 

However, much of the time, our training team comes to a boardroom table that’s made up primarily of upper level executives, sales staff or customer service agents.  And, while we’ve met great success with each of these audiences, it’s become clear to us that more can, and should, be done to achieve the greatest possible results for each and every business we touch.  

It is with this idea in mind that we developed Make a Difference™, a new program designed around your company’s mission and business plan.  Make a Difference consists of new skill sets and tools with which we teach your employees how to build relationships, gain trust and add value.  Equally important, Make a Difference is designed to be part of the company as whole. 

In fact, management plays a critical role at that start of our program, relaying to employees that the training to follow is aligned with the company’s mission, values and goals.  They acknowledge that the program is not a one-day, one-week or even a one-year lesson but instead an ongoing corporate initiative designed to teach individuals how to Make a Difference.  

We believe that responsible, results-driven training is more than executive training. 

A successful company is one in which each and every employee is trained, satisfied and invested in their day-to-day role. 

With that in mind, we teach the fundamentals required for successful personal communications in all business functions including learning styles, analyzing audiences and organizing presentations, delivering the message with conviction, running meetings and creating a dialogue. 

We believe we are unique in our abilities to provide a well-rounded, comprehensive program that will make a difference.

We are Fuller Communications.  Let us Make a Difference for your team.

RFPs? Don’t Be Afraid to “Just Say No.”

30 Sep

Here’s some advice you likely won’t hear very often.  But, we’re not afraid to say it.  You ready?  Here it is.

Don’t respond to RFPs.

What? 

We mean it.  Ignore them.  Let them go.  They’re often a waste of your valuable time and money.  Here’s why…

Most RFPs are little more than a gauge that companies use to determine if they’re getting the best bang for the buck from their current provider.   Or, along the same line, some RFPs may represent a simple warning to current providers that they better not take the business for granted.   Without a dramatic difference in costs, an irreparably damaged relationship or some other unlikelihood, change from one vendor to another is highly unlikely.

It’s unlikely because the incumbent has a significant advantage over the competition from square one.   Assuming they’re doing their job, the incumbent has an established relationship with their client. They are a known quantity, a familiar face.  They are the path of least resistance, a simple choice against even the most qualified RFP responder.

So, what should you do when you receive that RFP on a piece of business you’ve been eyeing hungrily?  We suggest you politely decline to enter the bidding process unless you are given an opportunity to meet with top management “face to face”.

Here is how the conversation might go.

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“I regret to inform you that we will not be responding to your RFP.”

“What?  Why not?”

“Because, we don’t know you well enough.”

“Don’t you want our business?”

“Of course we do.  As you know, we have been calling on you for years.  The problem is that we don’t know you well enough.  We don’t yet know how we can properly add value to your company.  However, if we are able to first meet with you and the people who have suggested you need to make a change, we will be happy to put together our response.”

“The details are all in the RFP.  Why would you need to meet us?”

“Here’s why.  We care very much about developing a personalized and proprietary relationship with our clients in order to assure mutual success.  Our uniqueness lies in our specialized approach and the talent of our people.   We believe that mutual success requires a collaborative effort put forth over time, in a series of face-to-face meetings to discuss philosophy, commonalities, and policy.  With these in place, we establish trust and, ultimately, true partnership.  You won’t get that from an RFP.”

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There you have it.  Don’t waste your valuable time or money responding to an RFP if you don’t already have a strong and trusted relationship with the prospective client.  Sophisticated, long-term transactions must include several options and numerous items to be considered as a team.

There are no simple answers, no simply bids for successful business relationships. Top management must be willing to meet with a potential service provider to determine the potential for partnership.  This requires face-to-face meetings and open discussions in order to establish relationships and build trust.  

Without trust there is no relationship.

Good business decisions cannot be made in a vacuum.  If the playing field is to be level then all parties must be given equal time to understand the scenario, challenges or opportunities.   

Moral of the story:  Don’t get caught up in the RFP rat race.  Sometimes, you need to just say no.

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“Show” Them You Mean Business.

26 Aug
“Don’t just tell your story. Show your story.”  Diagrams (white board, flip chart or scrap paper on the desk used to enhance your presentation) not only help the audience understand your concept but also bring life to your ideas.  When your presentation format calls for a “stand and deliver” style, diagrams give you the opportunity to add a level of excitement to any subject. Studies have shown that even the simplest of illustrations (bulleted points, sketching a process or crafting a chart) will hold your audience’s attention far longer than a presentation without any graphics.   And remember, it’s not about the quality of the artwork.  It’s about helping your audience see and understand the message.
Here are just a few examples of what we feel are effective diagrams.

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At Fuller Communications, we know Diagramming.   Let us talk to you about how you can bring a whole new level of energy to your next presentation.

SPECIAL OFFER:  Send us an example of a presentation diagram that worked for you and be entered to win a free copy of Success Simplified, a true communications bible with a chapter contributed by our own Ted Fuller.  Image

One Size Fits All? Not in Business.

17 Jul

Today, you’re presenting a new idea to your peers.  It’s a game changer that will affect how they go about their day to day selling process.  Tomorrow, you’ll present the same idea to your boss.  She’ll love the extra money it will bring in to her department.  If all goes well, you’ll present it to your customers next week.   Better get to work preparing a top-notch presentation!  Right?   Wrong.   (Well, sort of.)

One idea, yes.   But, three different audiences means three very different presentations.

At Fuller Communications, we’re in the business of helping people know their audience.  Armed with unique and dynamic tools, we work with our clients to teach them how to use their audience’s buzz-words, body language and personalities to form strategic and  customized presentations.  Got a boss that’s always in a hurry?  Talk to her using words like “efficient”, “fast-paced” and “cutting edge”.   Have a customer who requires a little extra hand-holding?  Be sure your presentation includes words like “partnership”, “teamwork” and “collaboration”.

When you consider precisely who your audience is before drafting your presentation, you gain a critical ability to speak their language.   And, when you can speak your clients’ language, you can gain their attention, their trust and, ultimately, their business.

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What’s Your Story?

2 May

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“I loved it.   From the very first page, I just couldn’t walk away.  I related to the characters, empathized with their situation and felt personally connected to their story.  And as it drew to its dramatic conclusion, I was almost disappointed it had to end.   I look forward to the next…

 …presentation?”

It’s true.  Often, a strong presenter must view his or her presentation as an opportunity to tell a story, weaving in many elements of a best-selling author.

Open Big

The curse of a bad book is an inability to grab the reader early.   If it hasn’t grabbed your attention in the first few chapters, chances are good that you’ll put it down and forget about it.   The same goes for presentations.  At the start of a presentation, your listeners are ready to be captivated.  But, with very passing minute, you stand to lose them.  Grab ‘em early and hang tight.

Development Your Story

The most memorable characters in literature are often the ones to whom we can best relate.   When presenting in business, know your audience and adjust your presentation accordingly.   Show them how your presentation relates to them as individuals, not just as a group.  If your listeners are personally invested in your story, they’re far more likely to listen.

Don’t Ramble

A writer’s best friends are his eraser and his Editor.   When you’ve finished building your presentation, go back and look at it again.  And again.   Chances are good that there’s room for reduction.

Finish Strong

You know that feeling you get when you finish a really great book?  Give that feeling to your listeners.   Leave them feeling inspired, motivated and grateful for the time they’ve invested in you.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss.

12 Mar

We came across what we thought was a terrific graphic on LinkedIn recently and decided to share it with our Twitter and Facebook followers.  It got a lot of attention.   People started “liking” and “sharing” and “sharing” some more and before we knew it, thousands of eyes had viewed the graph.  It was clear that the subject matter struck a chord.

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Aside from being well organized the graphic is simple, straightforward and easy to understand.   It speaks to the masses while still speaking to the individual.   These are all qualities we look for in any good presentation.  Organized, simple, easy to understand, personalized.

We’ve all been there.  We’ve had our share of bosses.  You know, the one who commands a room with fear, threats, demands and general impatience?  The one you couldn’t wait to leave at the end of the workday?  The one you worked “for” not the one you worked “with”?    We’re willing to bet that many of the people who “shared” the graphic did so with that boss in mind.

We’re hopeful, though, that others “shared” it, with leaders in mind.  They read those words and thought about how lucky they were to have landed a job they love.  They thought about how they felt appreciated, motivated and respected by their leader.    They looked forward to making a difference in their company.  They felt part of a team led by someone worth following.

For many people in a position of organizational power, leadership doesn’t just come naturally.   Leadership usually isn’t easy.  It takes work and development of a variety of skills, personal and professional.   At Fuller Communications, we specialize in helping build these skills.

A simple promotion can make you a boss.  Fuller Communications can help make you a leader.

“How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?”

16 Jan

ImageYou’ve heard the old joke.  A tourist walks up to a man in Times Square and asks “Excuse me, but how do you get to Carnegie Hall?”  The man replies, “It’s simple.  Practice, practice, practice.”

This may not have been the answer the lost traveler sought but that doesn’t make it untrue.  In fact, practice (particularly as it applies to business presentations) is the single best thing you can do to ensure your message comes across accurately.   Practice has proven to reduce one’s own anxiety, enhance confidence and produce a superior product for your audience.

Don’t have time to practice?  Hogwash.   Any presentation worth giving is a presentation worth practicing.    Clearly, an unrehearsed, stumbling, bumbling, stuttering presentation can be damaging to your message and your credibility.  If you didn’t take the time to rehearse and perfect your message, how whole-heartedly could you possibly stand behind it?

Consider the following tactics to help better prepare for your next presentation.

1)   “Your Mirror is Your Friend.”   We know.  It can be painful.  But watching one’s self in the mirror for the duration of a practice presentation can teach you a lot about your physical presence.

2)   “Do I Really Sound Like That?”   Yup.  That Mickey Mouse voice on the audio recording is yours.  Ignore the tone and focus on the words.  Are you speaking too quickly?  How many “umm”s or “ahhh”s do you count?

3)   “You May Be Wondering Why I Gathered You All Here…”  Use your home audience.  Your spouse, your parents, even your kids can be a valuable practice resource.  Simply having others’ eyes on you while you speak helps you better prepare for the real thing.

Just a few simple steps can mean the difference between a successful presentation and a disastrous one.   So, give your audience credit.  If you walk in unrehearsed, they’ll know it.   It’s hard to focus on your words (no matter how brilliant) when they’re accompanied by a nervous twitch, a lopsided tie or a flurry of disorganized papers.  Conversely, if you walk in confident, self-assured and well prepared, they’ll listen.  They’ll see that you stand behind your message and cared enough to deliver it properly.

“If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win.”

Andre Agassi, 8-time Grand Slam-Winning Tennis Champion

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