#44 Pimp Your Pitch – 10 Words to Turn Bo-ring into Cha-ching with Sam Horn- Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

DO PEOPLE DROOL WHEN YOU TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS? (But, not in a good way. More like a catatonic way.)


Have you ever told someone about your business, and they give you the “doe in headlights” look?


They may even look at you like you’re saying this:


Solutions Start NOW

In this post, you will learn along with HotMommasProject.org as we undergo messaging bootcamp.  Gone will be the days of the unsavory reactions above!

Enter, Sam Horn

Below, legendary “Intrigue Expert” Sam Horn uses the Hot Mommas Project as a guinea pig and provides six tips that all of us can use to revise a pitch.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

#32b How to Not Look Like a Tool in Business Communications Part Deux

Business communications are not really taught anymore. Were they ever? With social media and an air of informality, things are on the slide. Thus, the below are points I drive home to my business students each semester at the George Washington University. See the first post on this topic.

Lesson #4. Don’t default to, “Can we have a meeting/call?”

In my Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class, mentors are assigned to students. These are busy, busy, busy women. So, I tell the students, “You want to meet with someone, get to know them. DON’T be lazy and default to the email where you say, ‘Can we have a meeting?’ This is a credibility sinker.” Why, they ask?  “Because it makes you look junior varsity,” I tell them. “You have just let them know that you either a) Have no idea what it is to be maniacally busy or b) Don’t care.”

Lesson #5.  Assume your audience has the attention span of a gnat

With complicated communications, I get creative. I will start my emails with “In this email” and bullets of what is below. I will even, by each bullet, say what is an “FYI” versus a “requires action.” Of course of course of course you MUST use the subject line of an email very strategically. I will often say their name, action required, and the topic in the subject. There CAN BE NO AMOUNT of communication spoonfeeding that is too much.

Lesson #6.  Don’t be a user

What can YOU do for the person of which you’re asking something. I like to end meetings with, “How can I support you and your major initiatives? ”  As you move up the chain and seek counsel of higher-ups, the assumption is THEY will be helping YOU. How refreshing to turn the tables and ask how you can help them? Whether it’s keeping an eye out for an intern or giving a mini Twitter lesson, you’re never to young to offer help.

Lesson #7. Honor the middleman/middlewoman

Did someone “broker” the deal and get you in touch? Well follow up with them. I tend to keep an email folder called “introductions” so I can circle back with these connectors (who make the world go round, by the way) and tell them what happened as a result of their generous effort.

Lesson #8. Start with the formal

I fly in between academic and business communities.  When I worked in the aging area, there were a lot of doctors. You need to know the rules of the industry and – within that – the preference of the person with whom you’re communicating.

You never want to be this person:

When what you need to be is this person:

How, and an example: If it’s a formal industry, or you’re not sure, just ask. Say, “How do you prefer to be addressed?” I ask this all the time of deans and  doctors. I got yelled at (via email) by a researcher in the aging area for not addressing her with “Dr.” I had been introduced to her by a fellow  member on the Alzheimer’s Association board on which I served, and defaulted to the informal (her first name). Well, this was COMPLETELY unacceptable and she let me know it. So, I always default to the formal until you know you can be informal.

Example 2: English is a dominant business language. Yet, anyone who speaks a foreign romance language knows there is a formal tense and, you always start with that. The person then tells you it’s okay to use the familiar (2nd person). We don’t have this in the U.S. Without going for the full-on Emily Post, I suggest we take some notes from more established cultures before we go too far in to the land of “c u ltr” and “ROTFL.”

PARTING THOUGHT: Is it “rude” or “getting things done”?

We capitalists love storming the castle and shaking things up.  So, before I seem too prissy with my communication advice, I should say: Don’t be so constrained by rules that you don’t get anything done. What you’re trying to do is BUILD a RELATIONSHIP.  Remember, it’s about the OTHER person and their preferences in building the RELATIONSHIP versus the arbitrary enforcing of rules.

Related Links

Your Image is You – Project a Professional Image in Writing

Back to basics? Here is a great grammar bootcamp (as you can see from the title, I believe infinitives can be split)

Find me on Twitter www.Twitter.com/ChiefHotMomma

Find me on Facebook www.Facebook.com/KathyKormanFrey

See the blog for my class at GW www.WomensLeadershipClass.wordpress.com and my upcoming private workshop for cultural exchange students www.WBL2010.wordpress.com

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What is the Hot Mommas Project?

The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business.  We make women’s stories teachable using our “case wizard” at www.HotMommasProject.org . The Hot Mommas Project library is the first of its kind, providing scalable, global access to role models and virtual mentors that can be used by educators, trainers, and parents. We’ve been featured in Prentice Hall textbooks, the Washington Post Magazine, NPR and are the winner of a national Coleman Foundation case award.

How you can get involved: Write your story, or nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older.

Our call for 2011 nominations has begun. While the contest runs through January 31, 2011 – Start now! There will be prizes this spring and fall for early bird publishers.

How it works: Nominated women come online, write their story using our “case wizard,” and click “publish” to be permanently archived in our case library.  Winners will be published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook in addition to other honors and prizes. To participate, nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older (yourself included) here or find us on Twitter. No, you do not need to be a mom.


#32a How to Not Look Like a Tool in Your Business Communications

On Brazen Careerist the other day, Ed Barrientos introduced a topic about verbal pet peeves. You know…words, etc. that drive you nuts. As a hater of the word “moist” I jumped right on this. This post takes communication preferences one step further.

People of the world:  There are many atrocious behaviors going on out there.

Lesson #1: You look like a tool if you are not thoughtful

I have foregone my office at the George Washington University School of Business and am here in my pink fuzzy slippers, listening to Metallica, tallying the winners of the 2010 Hot Mommas Project Case Study Competition.  What a sight. Here is the communications metaphor: Don’t let a casual appearance, feeling, or vibe inappropriately impact your communications or…as the title states…you will look like a tool.  (Note, this is not to be confused with the BAND “Tool” which my three year-old daughter calls “Toodle.”) This point will be made over and over again over during these posts. The social media and work-at-home revolution has created a Darwinian dividing line. My hypothesis:  Individuals who have ALWAYS had a good understanding of people EXCEL in these ambiguous or contradictory social/business communication situations. They can handle it, because they get people. This is something you can practice and grow into, but – you have to want to.

Lesson #2: Students – you can get away with murder. Normal people – not so much.

Here is an actual email I sent to a student yesterday after he – shall we say – threw me under the bus with a contact I gave him.  The rules were “introduce yourself and say you’re a fan.”  Instead, he sent my contact a “can we talk and can you look at my resume and here is the attachment” email. Aaack! This kind of stuff makes me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, this kid is great. He owned up right away and I bear no ill will. But, here is what I told him:

Email (names are disguised, of course)

From: “Student name”
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 5:38 PM
To: Kathy Korman Frey
Subject: Re: FW: Kathy Korman Frey Follow-up / “Famous Person” Book Title

Student Name.

When we originally spoke, hitting “Famous Person” up for internship ideas or a call was not part of it. It was about making contact and letting her know the impact of her book. Hitting someone up for advice, looking at your resume, etc – in my world view – are things that come later, once an acknowledgement of your email is established. Also, assuming someone of her stature will look at an attachment and set up a call with you makes you look naïve. (I am saying this in a nice “I-want-you-to-come-off-looking-sophisticated” way vs a super critical way).

[….Other stuff, other stuff, other stuff…..]

Prof Frey

Lesson #3. EARN your way into a relationship.

There is no finger-snapping, just-add-water relationship building. Even getting to know folks via Twitter or Facebook is a process and investment. Later in my email, I told the student,

“Don’t be the naïve undergrad who fails to recognize how RIDICULOUSLY busy a person  like ‘Famous Person’ is. You need to EARN your way into relationships.”

These are my rules of thumb for communicating with busy / famous people:

  • 30 seconds – First, you earn 30 seconds – MAYBE – via a glance at an email (less if it’s a Tweet).
  • Follow up – You earn NO additional time if they don’t respond to you. Instead, you earn an additional follow-up via phone (novel concept) where you leave a message saying you sent an email, and the bottom line of that email. And/ or, you forward the email and say in a non passive-aggressive way a la “I just wanted to be sure this came through. You made a big impact on me.”
  • Off the grid – The BEST next thing you can do is try to attend something they are attending and meet them face to face. If that is not possible, approach them on Twitter or Facebook or Linked in and remind them of who you are (that person who knows such and such who emailed you). If there is some advice you want, mention that, and how quick it will be.
  • Five to fifteen – When you approach for the advice, plan on getting from the person a five  minute email – minimum – up to  a 15 minute phone call – max.
  • Bonus Round – Anything else is a miracle and you should be thanking your lucky stars.

Wrap up: Treat a busy person’s time as they do (VALUABLE)

You’ll be an immediate stand-out in their minds versus the scads of other folks constantly asking them for things.

PARTING THOUGHTS: Has basic communication gone by the wayside? Perhaps I am old-fashioned in my advice.  However, I strongly suspect that being courteous and thoughtful will never be out of style.

Stay tuned for my next post including advice like, “Don’t be a user” and other strong opinions on communication.

Related Links

Your Image is You – Project a Professional Image in Writing

Back to basics? Here is a great grammar bootcamp (as you can see from the title, I believe infinitives can be split)

Find me on Twitter www.Twitter.com/ChiefHotMomma

Find me on Facebook www.Facebook.com/KathyKormanFrey

See the blog for my class at GW www.WomensLeadershipClass.wordpress.com

###

What is the Hot Mommas Project?

The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business.  We make women’s stories teachable using our “case wizard” at www.HotMommasProject.org . The Hot Mommas Project library is the first of its kind, providing scalable, global access to role models and virtual mentors that can be used by educators, trainers, and parents. We’ve been featured in Prentice Hall textbooks, the Washington Post Magazine, NPR and are the winner of a national Coleman Foundation case award.

How you can get involved: Write your story, or nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older.

Our call for 2011 nominations has begun. While the contest runs through January 31, 2011 – Start now! There will be prizes this spring and fall for early bird publishers.

How it works: Nominated women come online, write their story using our “case wizard,” and click “publish” to be permanently archived in our case library.  Winners will be published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook in addition to other honors and prizes. To participate, nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older (yourself included) here or find us on Twitter. No, you do not need to be a mom.

#25b – Pat Lencioni Trust and Conflict Exercises for Teams, Women in Business

Pat LencioniPat Lencioni started his talk with a story about parenting and how it relates to the management of teams. He echoed a key theme mentioned by previous speakers Bill George and Bill Conaty: TRUST. Trust in business? Huh? Trust the evil empire? But, Pat focused on PEOPLE in companies. He discussed five areas of improvement to build teams. But here, I want to focus on Trust and Conflict: Two issues I see surface repeatedly with women finding their way in both career and life. Continue reading