Monday, 21 December 2009

The 4 most useless words in networking

Having just returned from an event where I was the speaker I wanted to share why these networking events seldom leave me with a warm and fuzzy glow toward my fellow man. Being the speaker was not the problem, it was the attitude of one or two individuals attending. I’m currently writing the next book from the Romancing the Customer business guides so this was a splendid opportunity to test some of the material (all about communication).

Joining me at the start of the event was a networking virgin – a young, ambitious and really interesting solicitor called Lucy. As she was unsullied by the ravages of networking past I decided to share some of the material I was developing in order that she might avoid uttering the 4 most useless words in networking ‘what do you do?’

All went beautifully until we met the network dinosaur who was so rude it was breathtaking. He destroyed his opportunity to connect and discover how interesting someone is simply by looking at her name badge, recognising the law firm and dismissing her with a ‘oh right, you’re a solicitor’.

I remain convinced this was not his intention; it was simply due to a thoughtless word and a mindless gesture. Yet he did so much damage to his brand integrity that I doubt either Lucy or I will ever be referring or recommending him or his services any time soon.

I do hope this experience doesn’t put Lucy off. If nothing else, she at least discovered some useful alternatives to what do you do, and I trust embraced some rather smart ways of responding to the faceless herd who decide this is the best way to connect and create potent brand experiences.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

the power of a good word

The following is an extract from the second in the Romancing the Customer series of business guides, Espresso Yourself - The Taste of your Brand just to whet your appetite ......

The Power of a good written word

Here is a humorous, and some consider extreme example of the power of words. I believe it is a sure fire way to illustrate the power of copy and how potent it can be. I have taken my inspiration from the lonely hearts ads found in the dailies (I was looking as part of my research OK). These are unedited, real examples for those cynics who think I made it up …….

  • Go getter seeks romance – attractive, blonde, wants romantic, caring partner. No baggage
  • Indian M, chubby, shaved head, very hairy, likes pubs & eating out
  • Cuddly single Mum seeks M who likes children & nights in

These are not many words and yet already we’ve formed a picture of this person (contact details available upon request). It is no different with the copy or language we use in our brochures, our websites, our voicemail, and our direct contact with customers.

What does yours really say about you? How predictable are you being? How focused on you and not them is it? How much of it is meaningless puff? How safe is your approach? How alluring and persuasive is it? Are you trying to say too much?

Pick a message and then stand proud and tall (you can impress them later by unfurling your other amazing talents when appropriate)

If your personality, or that of your business, is different from the competition because you have a good sense of humour, you’re enthusiastic, slightly eccentric, deeply knowledgeable, highly experienced, friendly, approachable….. whatever it is then let this come through in the copy or the language you use. And don’t tell me, show me.

Telling me how good you are rarely means anything. Use your copy to create a mental picture of what I’m likely to get. (which of course is naturally consistent with the service I receive). Ease of understanding, a great experience and clear messages affect our mood and decision process – especially when it comes to parting with cash. Irrespective of the product or service being written about.

Just take a little time to think about what it is you do and how you could communicate this in a refreshing, professional, cliché free style. Make sure it is focused on their needs, wants, desires rather than your agenda.

If you have enjoyed this extract then visit to pre-order your copy.

Seducing the Senses

FTSE 100 retailers have finally woken up to the fact that they must stimulate all 5 senses to capture consumers attention and loyalty - read on to discover our top tips for creating a memorable and sensory business - and reap the rewards!

Creating much needed differential is critical to remain relevant in the mind of your customer. Discover ways of doing this without spending a fortune and eliminate the curse of those peskie copycats

A luxury spa recently decided they were falling into the BTN category (better than nothing) with their brochure and subsequently started to look & sound just the same as other spas. We worked together to create compelling copy that was reflective of their brand personality, but more importantly, communicated details which were relevant to their clients - how will they feel, why this treatment, who is it perfect for - rather than the usual focus on gobbledy gook & expressions we have no idea ......who are generally focused on the company not the consumer!

Our top 5 tips for seducing the senses include –

1 Become obsessive about understanding 'why you?' .....this gives you confidence which is irresistible and massively attractive

2 Develop a hyper critical eye about the visual aspects of your business - you may assume no-one notices the smallest detail - this is dangerous thinking. They do, they will, and you won't like what this communicates about your professional competency

3 Avoid visual pollution - too many messages means I see you as a jack of all trades or I'm simply too confused to 'hear' what you're saying to me. It's like a visual mumble. Pick one message and change it regularly. On your business cards pick what you're amazing at and headline with this .....unfurl your other talents when the time is right.

4 Change your voicemail - if it does nothing to communicate to me what you do (not what you are) and is predictable then you will soon fade into boring and forgettable. Script this and focus on what do you do for your caller

5 Give tips and insider know how - give your 'stuff' away - it does so much to demonstrate your knowledge and is far more effective than telling me how much you know.

More information can be found in the Romancing the Customer series of business books

The devils in the detail


The devils in the detail

How many times have you seen a great presenter and wished you could create the same impact?

If you currently believe being an effective presenter is a skill some are born with, and unfortunately you weren't one of them, then you're about to be pleasantly surprised!

There are some fundamental principles to creating powerful presentations. These are simple to understand and even simpler to adopt. If you long for that elusive presenter confidence and are filled with desire to win more business then this is the workshop for you.

top 5 tips to get you started -

· Be sure about what you're there for - understanding the purpose of why you? and why now? will make certain your presentation inspires, informs, influences and impresses

· Show passion! Heartfelt enthusiasm connects more powerfully than any other single thing. Yes, have great content - just communicate it with passion

· Practice - as the great Peter Drucker said "Spontaneity is an infinite number of rehearsed possibilities" - talk it out loud as many times as possible

· Know how long you've got and then keep the content relevant - identify the must say, should say and could say. Great presentations are like diamonds - the more you cut it, the more it sparkles

· Use stories to illustrate - you know the maxim 'stories sell, facts tell' - well, it's true. Use your own stories to give you confidence and provide that relaxed authority which means you create a powerful impact – every time!

Holistic Therapists who disappoint their clients

How effectively do you use your therapy ‘room’?

How much does it cost you to provide your services to clients? Irrespective of whether you work from home, hire a room, see clients in your own salon or supply a mobile service you will have a degree of fixed costs that have to be met.

Countless therapists and practitioners fully embrace the idea of our profession being a holistic one. One where clients come to receive great care and advice. Seldom few however, have embraced the notion that their clients are also the source of their income. An unsavoury thought for many – but let’s return to those fixed costs.

How many times have you discovered a perfect ‘little place’ that you come to rely on, only then to experience the disappointment when they’ve ‘closed for business’ Failing to safeguard your future as a brilliant therapist means you will at some point be forced to stop providing the services your clients have come to depend on you for because the money in is insufficient to meet your fixed costs.

One of the easiest ways to reconcile this is to hold in mind that the advice you offer is with their interests in mind. More often than not a client doesn’t ask for advice simply because they genuinely don’t know what their options and choices are. This is your responsibility. Failure to provide confident advice about treatment plans, homecare products and additional services which would provide the solution they have been looking for is far more damaging to our profession than being unable to sustain a business they come to rely on.

If the fear of ‘how to’ is stopping you from making your business balance then get yourself a copy of Holistic Skincare and discover wonderfully natural ways to start a conversation about homecare and treatment plans with your clients. There are ideas to inspire you in the Romancing the Customer™ chapter, information on advice to offer about stress, nutrition, exercise and tons more great stuff to give you confidence to shine as an amazing therapist.

This is a limited offer and will expire at the end of September - so please act quickly and visit the website to discover more and place your order.


Purchase Online:

7 habits of highly fearful speakers

7 Habits of Highly Fearful Speakers

Fearful speakers can be found in many different places – from the business club circuit through to client presentations and anything in-between ……consider also your websites, brochures and face-to-face encounters as these also constitute times when you’re required to ‘speak’ to your audience.

1. Power Point presentation is an on-screen prompt - this is the biggest clue to a fearful speaker …….especially when they read from the screen. A cardinal sin which is highly offensive to the audience. Keep your style conversational and edit your power point to a handful of amazing slides

2. Lecture Style - content rules with this speaker! They labour under the mistaken belief that what they say is the most important thing. It's not! Sure, content is important, but how you make people feel will have a far greater resonance. People often forget your words but they’ll always remember how you made them feel

3. We-ing over the audience - play a game of buzz word bingo - watch out for we, I, our …..nothing is worse than listening to someone drone on about themselves for an hour, especially when you’re presenting to a potential client. If your presentation contains anything relating to ‘we are based, we were founded, we employ, we pride ourselves on being professional/reliable/trustworthy’ then delete it – now! The first encounter should be like a first date – if all you ever talk about is you then you’re unlikely to get a second date!

4. "Can hardly wait for it to be over" - this thinking oozes from every pore - it's agony to listen to this type of presenter. Rarely confined to speaking in public – there are countless boardrooms and sales teams around the country enduring this type of presenter. It suggests you’re presentation is ill-prepared so you’re dreading the moment. Guess what? your audience dread it too

5. A script? Never leave home without it! - reading from a script fools no-one - it just adds to the pressure you put yourself under. Perfection isn’t connection and you’re aim must surely be to connect with the people you’re talking to? Prepare and be sure of the points you want to make. What MUST you say? What SHOULD you say? (if you have time) and what COULD you say? (if there’s still time)

6. One size fits all - giving the same presentation suggests you don't care and lulls you to believe you're doing OK. If you haven’t bothered to take the time to adapt what you’re going to talk about to fit the needs of the audience why on earth should they bother to listen to you? Understand who you’re audience is, what are their dreams, hopes, desires? What do they want you to solve for them? How can you do this better than anyone else? Why are you the answer to their dreams? Dare to be different – show off and flirt a little – it makes all the difference

7. Podium Power - you're just willing yourself to venture out from behind the podium but how on earth do you get back? When you move do it with purpose. Never rock back & forwards, jangle things in your pocket, or worse still, put your hands in your pocket, wander about aimlessly or anything else that is massively distracting for the ‘listener’. Standing still can add to your presence – providing you stand still with a purpose.

How many more agonised moments will we spend as highly fearful speakers? How much more business could you win by presenting more confidently? If you have adopted any of these habits then visit to discover more about our workshops and discover easy ways to break them. If you see a highly fearful speaker at a conference and would like to help them overcome their fears please feel free to give them our details

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Remain true. Remain authentic

I was listening to a client this morning describe how concerned they were with a new directive from the company's HQ. As a franchisee it appears they have little choice but to tow-the-line or "experience a hatchet job on their stores"......all appears rather sinister, yet not as sinister as the new directive.

Typical of the epidemic of short-term thinking cursing most UK businesses they have been asked to erm, how best to describe without compromising the libel laws …..exaggerate some of the benefits attached to their products. All in the name of securing a higher spend by the customer. This from a brand which is allegedly proud to be positioned as a 'better value, transparent pricing, impartial advice' to the consumer.

Their short-term thinking stems from their desperation to make more money during these difficult times…..and screw the consequences of customers who eventually realise they’ve been had over and encouraged to buy products they didn’t necessarily need.

This approach will not only do permanent and far-reaching damage to their brand it will see them struggling to retain market share once the recession is over. The old maxim comes to mind ‘It takes a lifetime to build trust and an instant to lose it’.

Brands need to remain true to their values, true to what we have come to expect of them, otherwise they will go the way of many high street casualties who in their desperation to make a fast buck become ‘me too’ …..imitations are rarely attractive or sexy – they are at best boring, at worst, positively dodgy!!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

using the senses is essential

Just read an excellent article by Neil Gillis CEO of Blacks Leisure in the current copy of Retail Week - he talks about new ways of touching the customer by engaging the senses. Hoorah!
Someone else in retail who understands the power of the senses to create emotions - essential when we're appealing to customers and demonstrating why we're 'the one'.

Too many businesses pay scant attention to their visual message let alone using any of the other four senses to seduce, engage or charm customers. This is their downfall. Business must start to exploit all of our senses or risk becoming irrelevant in the mind of the customer. If you're failing to embrace the innovation of emerging trends you can be sure your competitors will, and they will reap the rewards.

The global trends for 2010, predicted at this years Retail Conference, suggest that money now has short-term relevance in the race to retain customers - we must provide meaning and relevance through making sure customers leave smarter than when they arrived at our door. This means understanding our products and services and communicating with passion, enthusiasm & confidence how they can serve the customers wants, desires and dreams.

Let me know what your thoughts are about providing a sensory experience in business - what do you do, or are planning to implement, to create that much discussed 'differential'.

Keep shining


Monday, 1 June 2009

Tired of poor speakers?

How many more times will I have to sit listening to speakers who do little other than 'me & we' all over the audience? You know the type - they begin with their life history, how great they are and what big names they work with .... in the belief we're going to be impressed. I can't help thinking "so what?"
Or the totally mind-numbing individual who we-s all over us by telling you we're based in, we were founded,we pride ourselves on great products & service (like they're going to say otherwise!) and we are .....fill in the blanks. Dull in the extreme both of them. 
I don't want to know what they are, I want to know what they do, and more importantly, what they do that works and is relevant to me.
Speaking in public is a huge priviledge so audiences need to hear about how the speakers experience can benefit them, their business and their community. Speaker authority is created more by what they give rather than telling us how brilliant they are.....actions speak louder than words everytime.
Begin a game of buzz word bingo at the next seminar or conference you attend and shout "off" everytime you hear any me-ing, we-ing or irrelevant stories designed to make the speaker look great.
How much more satisfying would it be to listen to someone who can inspire, entertain and leave us feeling richer for the experience. Let's start a game of buzz word and get rid of poor speakers.

Please let me know what you think. What do you think are the cardnial sins of speakers? How can we stamp this curse out? What would you really like when you attend a seminar or conference?

Meanwhile, keep shining 


Friday, 29 May 2009

dictionary for networking speak

Having been to most of the networking clubs from horribly early breakfast meetings through to evening events that make you wish you had stayed in the office, I began to notice there is a kind of cliched speak that deserves a dictionary. This is to assist newbies to networking, and those who have noticed the same thing and fancy adding their own contributions to the dictionary.
In true Angi style let's start with a top 5........

They say It would be great to meet for coffee What this really means I want your expertise but I don't want to pay for it

They say I think we could work together What this really means I'm keen to access your client list for easy ways in

They say Can I have your business card? What this really means I want to build up my database

They say How long have you been a member?What this really means How much business do you get from this?

They say What do you do?What this really means I haven't a clue what to say and I really want to talk about me

This is a lighthearted tease more than a sinister dig so if you decide to join in do please keep your contributions in this style. I have now adopted a policy of keeping my business cards hidden unless I decide they are genuinely someone who I could work with - the alternative is just too dull to contemplate! If you fail to do this prepare to be spammed and sold to for months to come.

keep shining


Thursday, 21 May 2009

stand out in the global car boot environment

Listened with interest to the Radio 4 Woman's Hour programme this morning and was delighted to hear LG Rich and Heather from Wiggly Wig Worm company describing their principles for creating 
on-line success.
They support the central principle of Romancing the Customer and why this creates success and bliss for the communities we serve – connect with people through being authentic and more human, understand the market before you wade in with 'wham, bang, thank you ma’am' selling and finally the dare to be different to get noticed – using the right words, creating great visuals, free from cliche and give people the information they’re looking for. Especially on-line …..the global car boot LG Rich described (see Initial Lust chapter 6 on websites).
It was encouraging to hear other successful business women discussing the need to cut through the corporate thinking and instead focus on the needs of people looking for what you are passionate and knowledgable about. Give inspired expertise and give it willingly, and everyone benefits.And do so with genuine charm and humour - this is far more compelling than boring corporate speak that serves as an ego stroke to anyone but the customer. 

Keep shining!