How To Give a Compliment

Have you ever received a hollow compliment from someone? “You are doing a great job” – “Keep up the great work” While they mean well with those words, the truth is the compliment doesn’t do much for you and it doesn’t engender much respect or connection to them. As leaders, we are told to praise our people. As parents, we want to raise with praise. But I fear that all too often what we do is give hollow, meaningless compliments and no one is that much better for them. Not the giver nor the receiver. As a family, we started doing something a couple of years ago that has helped me learn to give genuine compliments. Every night before we go to bed, we say a family prayer. We rotate whose turn it is to say the prayer going in order of age. I go first, then my wife Sarah,
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Everybody Likes Gifts

Everybody likes gifts. They may say they don’t but they do. What’s not to like? The surprise. The fact that someone thought of you. Gifts are great. But can we give better gifts? A few weeks ago we had some friends join us for a little getaway at out cabin. We had brought a new set of dishes with us to replace the ones there and while we were unloading, we dropped two mugs and they shattered.  Definitely not a big deal.  We cleaned up and moved on.  During their stay, we casually mentioned that we wanted to plant some wild flowers in a field below the cabin. We had a wonderful weekend. We later received a thank you gift from them, two mugs, exactly replacing the ones that had broken and wildflower seeds! Their simple and thoughtful gift made my wife and I feel so grateful and important and definitely made us
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5 Powerfully Simple Presentation Tips

I get asked for presentation advice all the time, so here are five tips that will help make your presentations more engaging & effective.   Get Rid of Pleasantries – There is no need to talk about the weather, how grateful you are to be there, to apologize, or reintroduce yourself. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention so start with a question or jump into your content. Make it Conversational – Act like you are speaking to one person. Make it conversational. Ask questions. If it is a small group you might create dialogue, with a large audience ask questions and give a pause for people to think about the question. Keep them engaged in the conversation. Tell Stories – People love stories. Stories inspire, stories motivate—stories evoke emotion in people that causes them to respond, to take action, to adopt your ideas, and buy your
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Why Leaders Fail

Last week I hosted an event with Dr. Clinton Longnecker where we discussed leadership with a group of 50 leaders from various companies in Salt Lake City, UT. One of the fascinating discussions stemmed from the question, Why Do Leaders Fail? There are probably a myriad of answers as to why leaders fail, but I want to boil it down to three “ins” that need to be out. 1. Incongruency 2. Incompetency 3. Inconsistency 1. Incongruency – when leaders are not congruent they erode their influence and create distrust. We see this when a leader’s action are contrary to their words. When the expectations or standards don’t apply to themselves, or when they don’t live the values they profess. To avoid failure in this area, leaders need to practice what they preach and set an example that people can follow. 2. Incompetency – when leaders haven’t developed the requisite knowledge
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Don’t Make Others Feel Small

I was once having a conversation with my assistant about another person. She paused for a moment and said, “Can I be honest?” I said, “Of course.” en she said, “Every time I interact with him, I feel like he has somewhere more important to be. He makes me feel like I don’t matter, like he is having the conversation because he has to and not because he wants to and he is ready to move on as quickly as possible.” Have you ever felt that from someone else? I’m sure we all have at one time or another. But the more pertinent question is, have you ever done that to someone else? My friend Kevin Hall wrote a great book called Aspire. In the book he dissects the meaning of words and in the first chapter he introduces an Indian word – Genshai. Genshai means that you never treat
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Six Ways To Make People Like You

  When it comes to books about networking, building relationships and working with people, the undisputed classic is “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Dale Carnegie wrote the book in 1936 and it has been read by millions of people since. One of the great realizations in the book is that although some people are more extroverted or affable, working with people is a learned skill that anyone can master. In the second section of the book, Carnegie offers what he calls “Six Ways To Make People Like You.” These are simple suggestions that can make a huge difference in the way you work with people.   #1 – Be Genuinely Interested In Other People. Studies show that the most frequently said word is “I.” People love to talk about themselves, their lives, their hobbies, their families, their passions, etc. When you interact with people, ask questions and allow
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Communication Is a Balancing Act

Ivanhoe is a novel set in twelfth century England written by Sir Walter Scott in 1820. Characters include King Richard, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck. It highlights the conflict between the Saxons and the Normans as well as the Christians and the Jews in that time period. Ivanhoe is a Saxon knight returning from the crusades. He wins the championship of a jousting tournament sponsored by Prince John but is injured badly. The beautiful daughter of Isaac the Jew named Rebecca nurses him to health.   Rebecca is wooed by many knights templar but refuses them all. She is arrested by the Templers for witchcraft and is sentenced to be burned by fire. As she defends herself, she is described as resolute but not defiant. I love that line: resolute but not defiant. I think communication is a balance, and just like Rebecca, we must find that balance. It’s being confident
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Leaders Learn Your Language

Last week I was on a call with an executive preparing for a speech I will be giving his company next month. As is custom, I asked him if there was any terminology or vernacular that I should be aware of that was specific to his company or industry. He was blown away! He was shocked and surprised that I would take the time to learn his language. You see, each industry has it’s own set of vernacular. In direct sales it’s knowing if they call their people distributors or associates. In credit unions, it’s knowing they call their people members, not customers. With different organizations they use different terms like managers, team members, supervisors, etc. Every company has their own language. For me, speaking to people from the stage, using their language makes what I’m saying more relatable and more easily understood. As a leader, learning to speak the
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Develop Outward Thinking

The most effective formula for exerting real, positive and lasting influence on others is to consistently think of others first. Gordon B. Hinckley, a personal hero of mine, once said, “The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is to help someone even more tired.” He recalled a time early in his life when he was far from home on an assignment, feeling forlorn, abandoned and discouraged, and he received a simple piece of unexpected advice that transformed his life: “I wrote a letter home to my good father and said that I felt I was wasting my time and his money. My father was a wise and inspired man. He wrote a very short letter to me, which said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.” Placing
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Go Deeper, Get Personal

A while back I went to a networking event for lunch. There were about eighty people there and we were assigned to tables with eight at each table. Throughout lunch, the conversation was good, but it was somewhat awkward and very superficial. Everyone wore a nametag with their name and the name of their company, so the typical question was directed at the name of the company on the nametag. “Tell me about XYZ company?” or “What do you do at XYZ?” Then the event director introduced an activity. We went around the table and each of us had two minutes to answer a personal question and then two minutes to talk about what we do professionally. The personal question was either “What is a mistake you have made in the past?” or “What has been a memorable sporting event for you?” I don’t think it mattered what the personal
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