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1. Be Present & Stay Focused. Stop thinking about what you are going to say next and focus on what the speaker is telling you. Be curious and ask follow up questions to learn more about what they are telling you.
2. Pause Before You Respond. Take 2 full breaths before responding. It will ensure the speaker is finished and give them space to share more. It will also help you control the amount of talking you are doing.
3. Refocus If Your Mind Wanders. If you start thinking about your next meeting, travel plans, or what you have planned for the evening, bring yourself back to the moment.
4. Summarize & Bottom Line The Key Points. Play back to the speaker the key items you are hearing to ensure you are capturing the essence of what is being relayed to you. Make sure to take notes of these key items so you can revisit them as needed later in the meeting.
5. Focus On Listening & Understanding Versus Judging & Opinion. It is natural to want to share your 2 cents right away, or to be making judgments in your mind about what you are hearing. However, that is not focused listening. Stop yourself from doing this by placing your attention on learning, listening, and understanding. Ask open ended questions that begin with “What” to stay focused on listening and understanding.
6. Use Your Intuition. Whether you are on the phone or in person, you should be listening not only with your ears, but with your intuition as well. Notice the speaker’s breathing, tone, pace, and energy. There is a lot of information to be gathered and the more you pay attention to your intuition, the more effective your listening will be.
7. Never Talk Over Anyone. If the speaker is talking, simply wait your turn. Do not try to interject, and if you do, catch yourself, and say, “Sorry, please carry on…”
Why is good photography expensive?
If you’ve ever worked with a good photographer, then you’ve learned that good photography is expensive.
Why is it?
Because good photography is not easy.
The photographer might make it look so. They might not seem stressed or even like they are having fun, but don’t confuse expertise with ease. They are not the same thing.
And the truth is, bad photography is more expensive than good photography.
Bad photography wastes time, money and memories. Whether you’re getting pictures of your baby or your wedding, imagine the cost of trying to do that again if you don’t like the photos. You might be able to have another perfectly peaceful moment with your baby but no one in the history of mankind has spent money redoing their wedding because their photography was lame.
Good stuff is expensive.
It should be.
If you don’t believe me, go take your own photos first.
“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.” – Bruce Lee
- Cut Back Your Hours. Schedule how long you will work each day and in a given week. You will be forced to get things done faster and will notice an increase in sales productivity. To help ensure you leave at 5:00 pm, if that is your cut off time, is to make sure you have commitments after 5:00 pm. Have a recurring event to be working out at 5:30 pm each day with your workout partner, or to be home for dinner by a certain time, whatever it is, stick with it.
- Work From A Virtual Office. The key here is to set rigid boundaries and to minimize distractions while working at home. You will save on commute time and save your company money, however, you will actually be tempted to work even more hours being at home, so you must stick with #1 above or this will not work.
- Schedule Times To Check Your Emails & Voicemails. This will help you to increase your sales productivity because you will have less distractions and be able to focus more. Remember, you don’t have to be available every minute and second of the day…In fact, that just will slow you down.
- Laser Focus. If you truly are committed to working less, then get more efficient at getting things done. This means you must shut off all distractions and focus on one thing at a time before you start the next task.
- Set Time Blocks. Ever notice how tasks tend to fill up the time that you make available for them to be completed? Knowing this, limit the amount of time you have to complete sales tasks and you will get them done faster.
- Accomplish The Big Tasks. The most critical sales tasks are the ones that give you the biggest return. Focus your time, energy, and effort on sales activities that will help you attain your goals.
- Delegate As Much As Possible. Get as many tasks off of your desk as possible so you can focus on the ones that really count. You probably have more resources than you even know are available to you at your organization and you must leverage these to be a #1 sales performer.
- Reduce Unnecessary Meetings. This is an especially important tip for sales managers. Go through your calender and find any recurring meetings that are not as productive as when they were first initiated. Consider removing them, or cutting the time for the meeting in half.
- Shut Off Your Internet. Spend less time being distracted and surfing the web. There is always something new to read, a new email or a social media profile at your finger tips waiting to take you off track. One of the best things you can do when you are working on your biggest tasks is to disconnect from the internet or turn off your computer.
- Find A New Sales Gig. Does your current sales position not give you the flexibility to implement these tips to shorten your week? Then, it might be time to consider exploring what else is out there. If you have sales skills with a proven track record of success, there are many great opportunities for you.
Decide to shorten your hours now and make a commitment to yourself. This can be one of the best things you will ever do.
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
- Shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast.
- Set your work hours. If you don’t set hours, you will risk sacrificing the balance between work and life.
- Create a room that is dedicated for work only. It is essential you separate your work from your home life so that when you enter your home office, you know what you are there to do, work. It will help you change your mindset from, “I’m working at home” to “I’m at work.”
Tell your friends and family exactly what the room is for, and that even though you are in the house/apartment/condo, you are at work when in that office.
- Close your office door. This will help remind you, and anyone else who may be at your home, that you are at work.
- Clear your desk. Only keep what you need on your desk. The less distractions, the better.
- Disconnect. Turn off your phones, IM, and email alerts when you need to focus on a task. This will not always apply, but try it out for certain tasks and see how it works for you.
- Don’t quit. If you are having a rough day, it will be tempting to go find something else to do. Train yourself to work anyway.
- Take breaks. Block out 15 minutes multiple times per day for a break… go for a walk/run, or meditate. Your focus and productivity will increase.
- Drink water and eat multiple times per day. Your brain is made up of about 85% water and you need water to stay alert, focused, and productive. To keep your energy levels and productivity at the highest levels, eat 5-7 smaller meals per day instead of 3 large meals. Plan ahead to make this happen. Also, be sure to eat some protein with each meal.
- Give thanks! Be grateful you are able to work from home and don’t have a commute everyday. Use that gratitude to help drive you to work harder and stay on task!