Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Success’

Why Soft Skills Are Not Soft

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I must be honest, I hate the expression “soft skills”. I know that it’s used to differentiate from hard skills, such as the 20130628-1652591technical ability to do a particular job.

So what exactly are soft skills?

Do they include the skill to answer the phone in a warm and friendly manner?

Or perhaps deal with a difficult customer, empathise, and help them to get what they want.

Maybe even sell the customer a product or service.

Perhaps for managers, they include the ability to listen to their employees, and to empathise with their situation.

And to give feedback that reinforces good behaviour, or changes not so good behaviour

Don’t be a softy

Well, in my book, there is nothing soft about these skills.

These are the skills that will decide if a customer buys from you, or one of your competitors.

These are the skills that will ensure the customer comes back to your business, and perhaps recommends your product or service to other people.

These are the skills that may ensure your customer pays your higher price, and pays you on time.

Hard skills can get the job done. Soft skills make the difference between a job that gets done, and a job that gets done exceedingly well.

So-called soft skills are all about motivated and engaged employees, more customers, more sales, and more profits.

Soft skills get the sales and make the profits.

Maybe not so soft – eh!

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2 Tips to be Lean and Mean in 2016

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Let me tell you a quick story. When I left school and started looking for a job as an apprentice engineer. I was repeatedly told, ‘It’s a bad time to find a job.’

3d white human running alone in white background

It was, and it took time and effort.

When I decided to leave engineering and find a job in sales; I was repeatedly told, ‘It’s a bad time to find a job in sales.’

It was, and it took time and effort.

When I decided to give up my job and start my own business in 1993; I was told by lots of well-meaning people, ‘It’s a bad time to start a new business.’

It was, and it took lots of time and effort.

I don’t know about your job or your business, but when has it ever been a good time to find a job, or get promoted, or start a business, or find new customers, or sell more of your product or service?

If you want to look back, this time, next year on a successful 2016, then you need to be lean and mean

  1. Lean and Mean with your brain

Imagine that in 2016 you are rejected for a bank loan, or you’re turned down for promotion. Perhaps a potential customer rejects a proposal you’ve been working on.

Maybe a publishing company rejects the book that you’ve slaved over for the past couple of years.

If you react with:

  • ‘Oh no, not again!’
  • ‘I’m really fed up with this.’
  • ‘These people are a real pain.’
  • ‘They’re making a big mistake.’
  • ‘What am I going to do now?’

This sort of reaction drains your brain of energy; it adds to your stress levels and destroys your self-motivation.

You need to get lean and mean with your brain.

Engage the thinking part of your brain, not the reacting part.

Tell yourself:

  • ‘I’ll make an appointment today with a better bank!’
  • ‘I’ll show my employer how good I really am or I’ll find a new job!’
  • ‘I’ll phone the next potential customer on my list right now!’
  • ‘The next publishing company will see how good my book really is!’

Pay the fine

There are also many minor situations that happen every day that’ll drain the energy from your brain.

Let’s say you receive a parking ticket. Pay the fine right away; get rid of it, forget it and move on.

Moaning and complaining about it drains your brain and the fine still has to be paid.

Do not, and I repeat, do not say – ‘Oh no, what am I going to do now!?’

Every time you say, ‘Oh no’ your brain has a huge drain of energy.

Talk to yourself

Build up your brain energy by using lots positive self-talk.

Listen to the self-talk that goes on in your head and ask yourself:

‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, on top and going for it?’

If so – great!

‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’

If this is the case – stop it, change the program!

Think about the things you say to yourself and make every statement in the present tense.

Don’t say:

  • ‘I’m going to make a success of this business’
  • ‘I’m going to get organised,’
  • ‘I’m going to lose weight and get fitter’
  • ‘I’m going to be much more confident.’


  • ‘I am totally in control of my life.’
  • ‘I am totally confident and positive.’
  • ‘I’m achieving my goals.’
  • ‘I have determination and drive.’

What you’re actually doing here is re-programming your subconscious.

If you talk to yourself in a positive way, that’s what your subconscious will focus on and you’ll be lean and mean.

  1. Lean and Mean with the body

The body and the brain are linked together so when the brain drains of energy so does the body. However, the body also does a lot of running about, up and down off the seat, and often takes a bit of a beating.

For it to work well, it needs to be in good condition in the first place.

We all know by now that if we eat too much or eat the wrong things, smoke too much or drink too much alcohol, then our body is in danger of breaking down.

Oh no, not exercise! 

If you want to be lean and mean, then you’re going to have to do some exercise. (Do I hear you saying – ‘I need the body energy before I can do the exercise!?’)

You know as well as I, that if you take more exercise, you will have more energy.

Now I know you think you don’t have the time. You may also be the type that doesn’t want to go to the gym and lift heavy things, or leap about in an aerobics class.

However, I am totally convinced that you need to take some exercise that makes you sweat a little.

I’m sorry, but walking the dog or a round of golf doesn’t count, it isn’t the kind of exercise I’m talking about. Golf is great and it’s good for the stress, but it doesn’t make you sweat.

Maybe go for a swim; you’ll get a bit out of breath, and you won’t  sweat.

If you’re going to walk, then walk fast for a distance, enough to push up the heart rate and increase the breathing.

Have fun

Again, get your internal program right and start to think how you can make your exercise enjoyable.

I see some people at the health club making the whole business a real chore. They get on a bike or a rowing machine and try to kill themselves for twenty minutes.

If that’s your thing then fine, but please don’t make it a chore, plug into the sound system and catch up with what’s on TV.

If you’re really not into exercise then please make sure you have other activities outside of your workplace and make them fun. Too many people are going home and slumping in front of the TV – successful people don’t do that.

A laugh and a sweat a day – keeps the stress away!

Make no mistake about it; if you look after the Body and the Brain, you’ll have a lean and mean 2016


7 Things You Need to Know About Intelligence

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Now this post might be old news to you, but I am always intrigued by people who are described as “intelligent”.

When I was a kid, my parents used to talk about my brother as – ‘The brains of the family’.

That’s us in the picture on the Titanic just before it went down.

EPSON scanner image

Okay, so he did better than me at school and went on to college and obtained a degree in mixing cement, or something like that.

Yes, he’s a Quantity Surveyor with a string of letters after his name, he worked hard for it, and I’m not emotionally damaged, I don’t think!

So what’s this about “brains” and intelligence? What does it mean and why is it so valued.

I was really interested in the studies of Howard Gardener, a psychologist at Harvard University. Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences states that – ‘Not only do human beings have many different ways to learn and process information, but that these are independent of each other; leading to multiple intelligences as opposed to a general intelligence among correlated abilities.’ (I copied this bit from Wikipedia; I’m not intelligent enough to write this stuff!)

In 1999 Gardner listed seven intelligences:

Linguistic intelligence. This concerns language and how we use it. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence. (This might just be me, after all I’ve written four books)

Logical-mathematical intelligence. This is associated with calculation and logical reasoning. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. Unit Chefs is an efficient tool used for calculations and most common conversions. (Not me; I haven’t a clue, I need my fingers to count on)

Musical intelligence. To do with musical appreciation as well as performing and composing music. (Does being a Michael Jackson fan count?)

Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence. Associated with physical skills like sport, dancing and other aspects of movement. (Yup; that’s me again. You should see me dancing)

Spatial intelligence. To do with art and design, as well as finding your way around (I’d like to claim a little bit of that)

Interpersonal intelligence. To do with interacting with people socially and sensitively. It’s concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence. (That’s me; loved by millions)

Intrapersonal intelligence. To do with understanding yourself, to appreciate your feelings, fears, motivations and abilities. (I don’t want to go there)

So the next time someone tells you about a so called intelligent person. A sk what they know about design, or the ability to deal with other people, or what musical instrument do they play, or can they fix that scary noise in your car engine?

Always remember that you have qualities and skills that other people do not have and you should be proud of these and believe in yourself.

When you look at this list, you may realise that you are much more intelligent than you think.

And to quote my friend Mr Degas:

There is no such thing as Intelligence; one has intelligence of this or that. One must have intelligence only for what one is doingEdgar Degas

Let me know what you think.

How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team

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Is Your Business We Focused or You Focused?

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What does it say on your website or promotional literature?Fotolia_601680_S

I was looking at some promotional literature and web sites the other day and it was interesting to note the number of times the words – ‘We’ and ‘Our’ was used in this material.

Lots of statements such as:

  • ‘We are a leading supplier of__’
  • ‘Our products do__’
  • ‘We research__’
  • ‘We have 50 years experience__’

Very rarely did I read anything that stated what these businesses did for the customer.

They were all features rich and benefits poor.

It’s not enough to tell the world how clever you are and expect them to work out how they might be able to use your product or service.

You’ve got to tell potential customers how your products or your skills and expertise bring benefits to them. Benefits such as – saving time, saving money, or making their life easier.

There needs to a lot more use of the word ‘you’ or ‘your.’

Use statements such as:

  • ‘You will save x amount of money due to the research we do__’
  • ‘Your business will reduce downtime by y amount due to what we do__’
  • ‘You will feel confident in our service due to our 50 years experience__’

Of course it goes without saying that you need evidence to back up these statements.

Think about yourself as a customer and how impressed you are with statements such as:

  • ‘We provide a quality service’
  • ‘Our company has been in business since 1832’
  • ‘We work closely with our customers’

Have a look at your promotional leaflets or your website and check if the wording is we focussed or you focussed.


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The 5 Factors of Success

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Do you ever wonder why some people are more successful in their life than others?

For years I’ve been fascinated by what makes people successful in their life, whatever it is they do for a living. I’ve read biographies, watched people being interviewed on television, studied newspaper and magazine profiles and spoken to many people who are successful in their fields of activity.

I’ve been going on the premise that if I want to be successful then I need to do what successful people do.

When these people are asked about success they usually define it as something that’s personal to them; a feeling of contentment, achievement or happiness.

However, what I’m interested in is, how do they get to that state? The conclusion I’ve come to is that there are five basic characteristics that successful people have. I like to call them –


1. Mind Control

Successful people have the ability to run their own mind. They don’t let other people or circumstances run it for them. They re-programme their negative conditioning. They raise their level of self-esteem and they develop a positive attitude through continual positive self-talk. They don’t react – they think!

2. Belief

Successful people have a passion for what they believe in. They set goals and achieve them by motivating themselves. They have vision.

3. Energy

They have lots of vroom! They manage stress and they know how to relax.

4. Rapport

They have the ability to communicate and get on with people, and to persuade people to accept their point of view.

5. Courage to act

People who make a success of what they do are willing to try. They’re prepared to make mistakes, to assert themselves and not get too concerned about what others might think.

If you would like to read more, then check out this free Ebook – How to Get More Sales Using the Five Factors of Success.

You can read it online or download it from this link:


And if you would to hear me speak about How to Get More Sales at your next meeting or conference, please email me at


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Motivation Doc in Singapore and Malaysia

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Motivate Your Customers, Motivate Your Staff, Motivate Yourself8646613779_8374bb1291_m1

If you want to find out how to do that, then I’d be pleased to see you at one of my seminars and learning events in:

Singapore and Malaysia September 2013

For details of seminars and workshops, please contact my friends at:

d’Oz International Singapore

Tel: (65) 6391 3733

Contact them now and I’ll look forward to meeting you.

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How YouTube can be a Marketing Tool for Small Business

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If you want more customers and more sales, then you need to get your business on

It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t need expensive equipment. You can make your video using most compact cameras or your phone.

Check out this Guest Blog for more information:

YouTube becomes the go-to source for everything from music to sports highlights to kitten videos, it’s important for small business owners to get their marketing message in visual form. Yet though YouTube’s popularity has exploded, few entrepreneurs are taking full advantage.

Cynthia Nevels, who runs a marketing firm, taught a class at Mountain View College in Dallas on small business marketing, and  knows firsthand how few entrepreneurs are fully utilizing video. “The women in my class were 27 to 60 years old, and 100% of them were business owners. Yet over 50% of them had never visited YouTube for small business purposes.”

Read more at:


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Keep the Team Focussed on Outcomes

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It’s very important to focus on outcomes as far as your team are concerned.  Sometimes the people in your team will beMulti-ethnic business group


only too happy to do other little jobs and tasks that distract them from their outcomes.


I’ve had salespeople say – ‘Oh, I’ll deliver that to the customer, it’s on my way.’


Customer service people will say – ‘I’ll go and talk to distribution or finance department about that.’


You have to keep asking yourself the question: ‘Is what they’re doing helping me to achieve my outcomes?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then don’t let them do it. If the answer is yes, then let them continue.


Make it clear to your team what the outcomes are, but don’t concern yourself too much about how they get there.


Now that doesn’t mean that you encourage a salesman to get a sale at any cost, or a chef to use inferior ingredients. And you obviously don’t want a maintenance engineer cutting corners that could jeopardize safety.


However it does mean using the thinking part of your brain, and listening to your inbuilt programs. Your people may not do a job the way you would do it but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.


I’ve often listened to a salesperson speaking to a customer and found myself thinking – ‘That’s not the way I’d do it.’ The temptation then, is to jump into the conversation or speak to the salesperson afterwards.


However I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut, because many times the salesperson closed the business, the customer was happy and it probably was better than I would do it.


I checked into a hotel recently and as I signed the paperwork the bubbly receptionist complimented me on my cologne. She asked what kind it was so that she might buy some for her boyfriend.


Now I know this hotel chain and this isn’t part of the welcoming speech. I also know that some managers would discourage this level of familiarity between staff and customers.


But I’ll tell you something as a customer – I loved it, she certainly brightened my day! Her response was far better than some of the stuffy robotic greetings you get from most receptionists at the major hotel chains.


This receptionist had made me a happy customer and if I owned this hotel that’s an outcome I would want.


Southwest Airlines has consistently won awards for the fewest complaints, best baggage handling, and best on-time performance. However everything at Southwest is focused on fun.


Obviously safety is important and all employees follow FAA regulations. However the whole purpose of the company is to have fun.


I’ve flown with airlines who continually tell you that their focus is my safety, I don’t really want to know that; I take it as a given.


Stop telling me how safe I am, you’re scaring me – I want fun.


Southwest issue guidelines to flight attendants in their training courses. They hand out joke books and give them ideas and tools for having fun. They then leave it up to the individual flight attendant to create fun for the customer, as they say – ‘They don’t want clones.’


The successful manager defines the outcomes to the team members and then lets each person find their way of getting there. That doesn’t mean you walk away or have no idea what’s going on. You are constantly getting out there with the team, watching and listening and supporting what they’re doing.


There are two characteristics of successful business owners and managers:


  1. They get the job done and
  2. They do it in the easiest and least stressful way.


I’m just reminding you of that because to try and control your team’s activities and get them to do things the way you want them done, is extremely stressful. It can also mean that you de-motivate the team, and then it’ll be much harder to achieve your outcomes.




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Forget About Setting Goals

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Do you have written down goals for your business and personal life?Fotolia_17748497_S1

Many motivational speakers and self-help books will tell you that you must have goals. I’ve even advocated goal setting myself in the past.

You write down your goals and detail them for family life, friends, finances, career, recreation, health, learning, education and your spiritual life.

However, I’ve now come to the conclusion that successful people with strong self-belief don’t do goal setting in this way – why? –

Because their too busy doing what they need to do to get what they want to get.

Successful people don’t spend time writing down what they want out of life they just get on and do it. To be successful at whatever it is we want to do, we need to ask ourselves – what do I really want to achieve? What are my dreams and desires, what do I want to build, to create and what sort of person do I want to be.

You need to clearly identify what it is you want out of life, what do you hunger and thirst for, what do you really want to achieve?

If someone held your head under water you’d quickly realize what you wanted – oxygen! You need to feel like this to be successful. Most of us experience this feeling when we fall in love. We do almost anything to impress and be with the person of our dreams.

This is how people create success, it’s how new countries were discovered, products were invented, Everest was conquered and man walked on the moon.

You may not want to achieve something so dramatic, you may want to have a successful plumbing business, or be an excellent accountant, or even run a marathon.

Whatever it is, once you identify and focus on it you will release the motivation to make it happen.


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