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How to…

1. Get a meeting with anyone you ask

Why you need this: You will probably want to pitch a business idea, or get a meeting with someone who inspires you and need some guidance. But how do you get that first meeting? Use this tried and tested email template.

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Dear [first name],

My name is [your name], and I’m a [job title] who works in [your location]. I’m reaching out because [reason why you want to speak with this person]. I’d love to learn more about [two or three things you would like to learn from the person].

I’m sure you’re busy, so even 20 minutes would be appreciated.

Thanks so much,

[Your name]

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Source: themuse.com

2. Criticise an employee and leave them smiling…

Why you need this: You do not want to leave your employees unmotivated every time you have to give negative feedback.

Sandwich criticism with praise. The problem with this approach, though, is that you could end up piling on the praise to the detriment of delivering the criticism - the feedback for improvement could end up lost and the opportunity to improve as well.

One rule to ensure that the praise does not seem fake is to point out one specific thing that you liked, explain why that insight stood out and how it resonated with you.

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Then comes the hard part: Keep in mind the phrase ‘It’s not mean, it’s clear.’

You want to be as clear as possible so that the other person sees exactly what they need to do next time. Give them some tips on how to improve it the next time. Also, ask them if there is a specific area they need help where you can lend an insight in.  

Also, criticise the behaviour, not the person. Always remember to focus on the specific quality you need improved and not the person overall - this is the hallmark of developing a growth mindset with your team. It also takes not being judgmental or mean - something that we all need some practice in.

3. In business and life, tactfully say ‘no’

Why you need this: At some point in your life, you will need to reject something.

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Learn Sara Green’s basic rejection formats. In 2015, Sera Green, who works for a publishing house, wrote an article based on many years of saying ‘no’ to writers who sent their manuscripts to the firm for consideration. Based on hundreds of these rejection letters/emails, she learnt that a ‘no’ only needs four components.

1. Appreciation. First, thank the person for taking the time to share their idea, proposal or whatever it is their request was. 

2. Deliver the news - Say that you will not be taking the opportunity. 

3. Give the main reason for saying ‘no’.

4. Offer hope. This does not mean that you promise to do or consider the request in the future, unless you are very sure of this, rather than that wish them well in the execution of the task. 

SEE ALSO: How to keep your employees motivated

Jocelyn Glei, the author of Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety agrees; “Don’t give the impression that the door is still open if it is not, even if you are only trying to soften the blow.”

4. Project charisma and confidence when speaking to many people

Why you need this: Your ideas may be great, but selling them is what matters

Your body language counts a lot. Smiles, persuasive gesturing and eye contact are the top indicators of confidence. Stiff movements, fidgeting, averted eyes and a monotone are linked with unsuccessful people. Also, internalise your message. Practise what you are presenting until you master it. You don’t have to have a script, just know what you need to say.

Some of the world’s greatest were not always confident either, but they somehow made standing in front of huge crowds look easy. Some of the famous examples include;  

*World renowned preacher Joel Osteen: “When I gave my first sermon in church, I was scared to death. I decided to relabel myself in my own mind, and replaced my fear with encouraging words.” Today, he heads one of the largest protestant churches in USA.

*Mahatma Gandhi: The revered revolutionist and lawyer once suffered panic attacks and in his first case in front of a judge, he panicked and left the courtroom.

*Thomas Jefferson: He only gave two public speeches during his eight years as President.

5. Influence rather than manipulate

Why you need this: By influencing your employees, you get them to care about your business as much as you do.

Both influencers and manipulators understand human nature, behaviour and motivation. However, the major difference is in the intent. Manipulation involves playing devious approaches to take advantage of other people’s fear to one’s own advantage.

Influencing on the other hand considers other people’s needs and desires are considered. Influencing is based on strong rapport, awareness and clear communication. And every successful entrepreneur has mastered the art of influencing his employees.

You can increase your influence by…

1. Being respectable. The best way to earn respect is by treating others — juniors and seniors — with respect.

2. Take steps to develop critical know-how to be recognised as an expert in your industry. Expanding your knowledge takes legwork. Attend conferences, enroll in a specialised programme, become a leader in your professional organisation.

3. Magnifying your potential. Master the art of maneuvering through challenges and turn opportunities into wins. A series of small wins will build your profile and put your name out there. Everybody admires and wants to be associated with the winning team. Empower your colleagues by believing in them too.

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