Displaying All Posts by James Hayton

The Art of Persuasion: How to Hone Your Influencing Skills

The art of persuasion, of influencing the people around you, is a vital skill in the workplace. Without it, you’ll simply be ineffective. Sure, you can bend people to your iron will, or get people to do what you want with compulsion, manipulation or coercion, but at the cost of trust and long-term cooperation with colleagues or customers.

Persuasion is a different beast; subtle, but far more powerful in the long-term. So, how can you can you hone your influencing skills, to benefit yourself and those around you? Well, there’s a certain amount of groundwork you need to lay first.

Whether it’s a telephone pitch to a potential client or influencing colleagues at work, the same principles apply even if the timescales differ

It’s not (just) about the benefits.

We all know there are things we should be doing for our own benefit, but never quite get round to. The forces that motivate us aren’t quite as simple as personal gain or loss, punishment or reward.

You can have an incredible pitch on paper, but people will respond to you, or rather how they perceive you, as much as what you have to say.

Emotion screws with the wiring when we make decisions. Of course you need the numbers, but it’s never enough just to make them understand your case. They have to be eager to do business with you.
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Forget PowerPoint! How to Deliver Awesome Presentations

There’s nothing worse than falling asleep during a presentation…

This time, I’m going to stay awake. So far, so good… I’m following what he’s saying… But I wonder why the text on the screen looks really black, when the area around the slide looks kind of grey? It’s just the colour of the screen so it should look the same. I mean you can’t project more black. Must be a contrast thing. Aren’t brains weird? Wait a minute, what was he saying? Now my eyelids are getting heavy…

If you’ve ever had that feeling of jerking awake as your head falls off your shoulders, you’ll know there’s nothing much worse than trying to stay awake during a dull presentation. Everyone behind you has noticed your head making small circles and slow-bouncing nods — but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t stay awake. You’re a bear hit with a tranquilizer dart — you can fight it, but after a few wobbly steps you’re going down. You just have to hope you don’t start drooling or let out any inadvertent snorts as you wake up.

Come to think of it, there is one thing that’s worse. It’s far worse to be the one delivering a bad presentation.

A half-hour talk given to an audience of 20 uses up 10 hours of other people’s time. There’s no reason in the world not to make it awesome. Here’s how you can stop draining people with your presentations and start delivering awesome ones.
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The On/Off Principle

If you’re the kind of person who thinks outside the box when it comes to work (as most WorkAwesome readers are), then you probably know all sorts of tricks and techniques for getting the most out of the working day. Whatever your “top tips” for time management are, there’s one element which underpins them all; one fundamental ingredient which determines whether you stick to a program of time management or slip back into chaos or procrastination.

Working State

If you’ve ever read a list of tips or even a detailed manifesto like David Allen’s GTD system, you were probably sold on the principles instantly. You’d spent a couple of afternoons being productive, but then promptly fell off the wagon and straight under the crushing wheels of habitual routine.

What matters most isn’t so much your system, but rather your state of mind. You might have had days when work just happened effortlessly — like an athlete in the zone — when everything just seemed to come together. Unfortunately, if left to chance, this doesn’t happen so often.

The key to any program of self-management, self- motivation, self-improvement — call it what you will — is to take responsibility for your own brain first.
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on and off