Am I A Good Listener?

Steven Ash, “The Career Doctor” developed this listening test. It is a great way to see where you rate as a listener. Good luck! Give yourself 4 points if the answer to the following questions is Always; three points for Usually; two points for Rarely; and one point for Never.   __ Do I allow the speaker to finish without interrupting? __ Do I listen “between the lines”; that is for the subtext? __ When writing a message, do I listen for and set down the key facts and phrases? __ Do I repeat what the person just said to clarify the meaning? __ Do I avoid getting hostile and/or agitated when I disagree with the speaker? __ Do I tune out distractions when listening? __Do I make an effort to seem interested in what the other person is saying?   Scoring 26 or higher – You are an excellent
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The Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

  On the slopes of Long’s Peak in Colorado lay the ruins of a gigantic tree. Naturalists tell us that it stood for some 400 years. It was a seedling when Columbus landed at San Salvador, and half grown when the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth. During the course of its long life, it was struck by lightning 14 times and the innumerable avalanches and storms of four centuries thundered past it. It survived them all. In the end, however, an army of beetles attacked the tree and leveled it to the ground. The insects ate their way throughout the bark and gradually destroyed the inner strength of the tree by their tiny, but incessant attacks. A forest giant which age had not withered, nor lightning blasted, nor storms subdued, fell at last before beetles so small that a man could crush them between his forefinger and his thumb. Just as
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How Do I Add Value?

As a leader, your job is to add value. Your team, your people, your customers, your investors, your friends and your family. Your job is to add value. Here are three questions that will help you do just that.   Question 1: Is what I am creating/contributing distinct?   Is your contribution different in a significant way? Is it adding value in a way that no one else has done? Does it stand out? Does it look and feel esthetically unique? Is it something that will impress people because it is coming from an angle that others haven’t thought of?   It’s not crazy or out there, but it is distinct and stands out.   Question 2: Is this my most excellent contribution?   Did you just throw it together or did you do a good job? Did you put in the time to prepare and give it your best
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Are You Known For Customer Service?

My favorite fast food restaurant is Chick-fil-a.  I love it!  I love the chicken, but it’s the service that always leaves me impressed. According to QSR Magazine’s annual drive-thru report, Chick-fil-a is statistically the most polite restaurant chain out there.  According to the report, Chick-fil-A employees said “thank you” in 95.2% of all drive-thru encounters and it really pays off.  In 2015, the chain generated more revenue per restaurant than any other chain in the US.  It’s these small pleasantries that really set Chick-fil-a apart in the industry and drives higher sales.  The company invests more in its employees and they definitely see the benefit on the bottom line.   Investing more time and effort into customer service will always pay off.  It certainly keeps me, and thousands of other Chick-fil-a customers, coming back for more.  I’ve never left Chick-fil-a without feeling like a valued customer who received superior service and that goes a long way.  
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The Lost Art of Handwritten Notes

A few weeks ago I was boarding a Delta flight from San Antonio, Texas to Salt Lake City, UT. I am a loyal Delta flyer and am often upgraded to first class as I was on this flight. When I got to my seat I found a handwritten note on my seat with two chocolates. It read: Mr. Bennett, Thank you for your continued business and loyalty as a Diamond Medallion with us! We truly appreciate you here in SAT!! Each of the first class seats had a handwritten note and some chocolate. The guy next to me was amazed at the fact that they were personalized (his talked about how he has flown over 2 million miles with Delta). It reminded me of the power of a handwritten note. It stands out. It is meaningful. It shows that you took time. That you really care. As technology makes communication
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Research Pays Off

A few weeks ago I was speaking in Omaha, Nebraska for Centris Federal Credit Union. When I got to my hotel room there was a gift basket waiting for me from the team at Centris. It was a very nice gesture but the reason I am writing about it was because they took an extra step that most people don’t take. They had done their research and the gift basket was full of things that I personally like. (Personal note: Dr. Pepper and Licorice are the keys to my heart) I was reminded of how much a little research pays off. Before you meet with a potential client, team member or partner – take a few minutes to research what they like, dislike, etc… It will give you insights into that person, allow you to personalize your approach and customize the conversation. I recently had a meeting with a potential
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One of The Biggest Keys to Influence & Charisma

  We all know someone who is charismatic. They have a charm that can inspire devotion in others. My question is: What creates that type of Charisma? What produces that type of presence? One of the biggest keys to influence and charisma is being genuinely happy for other people’s success. When someone achieves something great – do you feel threatened by their success or do you celebrate it? One of the surest signs of someone being comfortable in their own skin is how they see others and how they can separate others experiences and achievements from their own. Too many people subscribe to the idea that tearing others down actually builds you up and it’s just not true. It makes you look weak and insecure because that is where it is actually coming from. People who are secure with who they are genuinely happy for others, they celebrate their success
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Kindness Is A Better Game Plan

I could write this from a human decency standpoint and help you to see that we should be kinder to each other and extol the virtues of living this way but I also know that the people who need to read this are thinking what’s in it for me. So let me tell you why kindness is a strategy that will make you more influential. In other words – it’s a better game plan. Last week I got stuck in the middle of the chaos of Delta’s worldwide computer system going down. I was flying through Atlanta on my way to Boston. We landed at 7:30 and because of the system failure we couldn’t pull into the gate. We sat on the tarmac until 10:30 pm, there were hundreds of planes that were in our same boat so once they got the system back online it took quite a while
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If You Want To Communicate With Influence – Then Use This Phrase

When you’re the leader, the one in charge, it’s far more natural – and far easier – to lecture and command than to discuss and invite. Leaders can create caste systems within their organizations simply by language choices. When they refer to “we” as the leadership team and “you” as the employees, they create a separation in the team. If we want our people to feel like they are in a partnership with us, that we are in it together, that we are locking arms with them to accomplish the overall goal of organizational success, then we need to communicate in a way that creates partnership. The ultimate partner phrase is: “If I, will you …” Examples: “If I set aside time to help fine tune your board presentations, will you have it prepared by Friday to review?” “If I let you choose your people, will you head up the project?” “If
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The Power of a Name

There’s a new dry cleaner in my neighborhood. I went there a couple of times and then I’ve been out of town for the past month or so and I just went for the third time and as I walked in the guy working said “Ty Bennett, right?” And it surprised me.  I told him I was impressed with his ability to remember names.  He played off the complement, but was very interactive and personable during my visit. It reminded me how powerful a name was and where I learned that lesson. A few years ago I had a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I flew in late and got to the hotel.  I asked if the restaurant at the hotel was open and they said that it wasn’t. They said that there was a Panera Bread down the street that I could walk to that would still be open. So
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