Category Archives: Sharpen Your Business Communication Skills

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Sharpen Your Business Communication Skills

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Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Woman talking by phone

Want Your Business Phone Number to Remain Unlisted?

If you want your business phone number to remain unlisted, get a toll free 800 phone number.

It’s hard running a small business. Even the smallest details, like how to establish your business telephone number, can be a complicated decision.

Woman talking by phone
© Abdone | Dreamstime Stock Photos

For instance, have you ever thought about whether your number should be listed or unlisted?

There may be a few reasons why you’d want your business phone number to stay unlisted.

For one, some businesses only work with an established set of clients. For instance, if you own a small graphics design company that only works with a few large clients, there is little need to list your phone number in a phone book.

Not to mention that when you do, anyone can mine your phone number and call you for various matters that you just don’t want to be bothered with. You might hear from people who waste your time and are not really serious about hiring your business. You could get a random call from someone who is only trying to find out about your business for research and competitive reasons. And you may also just get a slew of sales calls from other businesses who purchase your name from a list and want to sell you something. Who has time for that?

Basically, your business telephone number is up for grabs when you list it in the phonebook through your telephone company.

The best way to keep your business number off the phone book rolls is to get an inexpensive toll free 800 phone number instead. When you sign up for a toll free number the number does not automatically go into the next edition of the yellow pages-it is a fairly private number that you can distribute to your targeted group of customers and business contacts.

Not only is the number kept private, there are also a number of benefits of using a toll free business phone number instead of adding a standard business number from your local telephone company to your line.

For one, you can block unwanted callers. So even if a pesky salesman somehow gets your 800 number and calls, you can set your 800 number to block him. Whenever he calls he’ll hear a busy tone or a message stating that “this number is no longer in service” or similar (even though it is).

You can also manage your callers with a toll free business phone number. Let’s say your service only applies to residents of Ohio. You can make it so that only Ohio callers, in a certain area code or from the entire state, can reach you through your business line.

So if you want your business phone number to remain unlisted and also want to better manage your business calls, get a toll free phone number (800, 888, 877, or 866). They are very inexpensive-only $2 per month for some services-and convenient for medium and small business owners.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Dealing with Indecisive People

Tips for Managing People Who Can’t Make Up Their Minds

Indecisive people are a frustrating part of life. Here are some tips for dealing with an indecisive person and helping them make up their minds already!

We have all had to deal with indecisive and difficult people at some point in our lives. Whether it be the manager who can’t decide on how to format a report, or a wife who can’t make a decision on whether you should go to Olive Garden or The Spaghetti Warehouse, indecisive people are a frustrating part of life. Here are some tips for how to deal with an indecisive person and help them make up their minds already!

Limit Their Options

When dealing with an indecisive person, you simply cannot offer them an unlimited list of options. You have to narrow down and limit their options to two or three choices; no more than four. If you allow them more than four options you will find yourself in for a very long day… maybe even longer.

Take Them to Task

Most of the time, an indecisive person will be the type that doesn’t really want to do anything physically. They just want to talk about things forever. So I find that one way to get indecisive people to make up their minds is to take them to task on their “visions.” Let them know exactly what they will have to do in order for certain choices before them to be carried out. This will also help narrow down the list of options because more than likely, once the indecisive person hears about all the work they will have to do in certain cases, they will be less thrilled about those options.

Clearly Outline the Benefits of Each Option

Sometimes indecisive people have a problem deciding because they are not able to process information well. They sometimes have a hard time deciding what are the pros and cons of a situation. Help them out. Give them specific reasons why each option would be ideal. Just two pros each will do. When you find that they are favoring one or two choices over the others, that’s when you hit them with the biggest “con” or downside of one of those two narrowed down choices. BAM. They will think about it for a few moments, and after a short while will probably choose the opposite option.

Wrap it Up

Now that you have gotten them to commit to one option, you have to wrap things up quickly. Do not allow them extra time to think about the decision they just made. Tell them: “Great, I will get this going.” Reassure them by saying things like “This will be great” or “I’m glad you made this choice,” and then leave the room to get things started.

Be Firm

The most important advice you can get when dealing with an indecisive person is to be firm with them. Don’t waiver like them or play into their dysfunction. They will start to think this is a fun game and you will end up going back and forth forever. So put your foot down, let them know that there is a firm timeline that you have to follow, and stick by your narrowed down options. One sign of weakness, and an indecisive person will have you tied up in knots.

Don’t think you’re alone if you frequently have to deal with indecisive people in your everyday life. They may seem impossible to work with at first, but if you implement these options, remain calm, and use your charm and wit to get things done, you will find success dealing with indecisive people.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Small Business Communication Tip: Use Positive, Affirming Phrasing

One of the most valuable lessons that I learned from being in a sorority in college was to always talk in positives. We were taught creative ways to avoid saying the word “no.”

Years later I learned about NLP (neuro linguistic programming) which also teaches people to speak in the affirmative instead of the negative at all times.

So say a customer or client asks you if you offer a certain service — instead of saying “no we don’t do that” you’d say “we offer an even better option to meet your needs.”

It’s actually kind of fun — it’s like a brain tease to figure out creative ways to avoid saying the word “no” or “not.”

And it’s good for business.

Customers Don’t Like Being Told “No”
The psychology of this is that people are more open and receptive to your messages when you speak to them using affirmative language. People don’t really like being told “no.” Do you?

Customers also respond better when a business offers them alternative solutions instead of just saying “no.” They feel respected as if you are trying to work with them.

When you use negative language with your colleagues and employees, you may find that you have trouble getting what you do want from them. For instance, telling someone “don’t be late” puts “lateness” instead of “being on time” in their mind, and they unconsciously do things that still make them show up late.

Real Life Examples
Here are a few more examples of ways that you can change your language when communicating with business clients, customers, employees, colleagues and suppliers:

Instead of telling your employees “don’t mess up the reports” you would tell them “please take special care to ensure accurate reports.”

Instead of “no refunds” you might say “we’d be happy to offer an exchange, store credit or upgrade.”

Instead of “there’s nothing more I can do” you might say “I have made every effort to satisfy your request.”

Instead of saying “no we aren’t open on Sundays” you would say “We’re conveniently open from Monday through Saturday, 9am to 7pm.”

Instead of telling a supplier “No, I can’t accept that discount” say “I would like to negotiate a better discount arrangement that is beneficial for both of us. What can we do here?”

You get the idea. Examine your last 10 emails and letters to see how you might be using negative language when communicating with others. In your small business communications, make every effort to modify that language in the future so that it expresses affirmative, positive feedback and viable solutions.

Louise Gaillard is a professional writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Can Listening to Audiobooks Give You a College Level Education?

Did you know that some experts believe that listening to audiobooks in your industry of choice can give you the equivalent of a college education? Zig Ziglar talked about this in one of this famed speeches. In my personal experience, listening to audiobooks every day for a year can give you the same level of training that someone would receive pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Listening to an Audiobook
© Danabeth555 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Think about it — when you go to college you’re basically sitting in a lecture hall (barely) listening to a guy talk for an hour or two. Then you go home and read materials based on the same things your professor was talking about in lecture hall. Besides taking an exam at the end of the semester, how is this that much different from self-educating yourself with audiobooks?

The Message Sinks In…

I’ve been consistently listening to audiobooks for the past year or so. In that time I feel as if I’ve acquired a superior body of knowledge in my field of interest (marketing, writing and communications). Though I was formally educated at an Ivy League college I feel as if the vast majority of the knowledge and training that I use today is due to a) experience and b) listening to books on tape.

The audiobooks that I prefer to listen to are a mix of motivational, scientific, informational and educational works. A few of my favorites include Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People and all of Les Brown’s speeches on personal achievement. I listen to those on repeat.

When it comes right down to it, they all pretty much have the same general themes: making your life better, making more money and getting better at what you do. Something special happens when you listen to this same message over and over again: you start to believe it can happen for you.

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Learn While You Live

When you’re studying a book, you have to set aside a special time to sit down and do so. Maybe, just maybe, you can turn on some music in the background while doing so.

The great thing about audiobooks is that you can accomplish a variety of other tasks while listening to your book. You can drive to work, workout, run around a track, prune your garden, mow your lawn, cook and even write or work while absorbing these books. There’s some kind of “left brain, right brain” activity going on where you can take in the message while doing other things.

Compare the Costs

As more stories hit the news about how kids are graduating with loads of college debt that they’ll never pay off, I think that we’re going to have to evolve as a society to a better way of getting educated for success. According to, the average cost for a college education at a private institution as of 2013-2014 was $30,094 per year. The lowest cost is just under $9,000 for a state college (state resident). So the average student can expect to pay between $36,000 to $120,000 for a 4-year education at a private institution.

The cost of your average audiobook is about $15. Listening to three educational audio books per week for a year will cost about $45 per week or $2,340 for the year. Even if you were to purchase one book a day for a year it would be an investment of $5,475 compared to $30K.

Sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective to find a better solution. Whether you’ve never gone to college or you’ve already gone to college but still feel like you’re not adequately prepared for success, consider investing in an audiobook education for the next year and beyond.

Bookmark this page of for book reviews and more helpful information on self-educating yourself for small business success.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Emotional Intelligence & Your Small Business Communication Strategy

On Emotional Intelligence and How it Relates to Your Small Business Communication Strategy

The widespread belief in popular culture is that human emotions aren’t connected with human intelligence. Many people believe that those who act or speak emotionally business handshakearen’t using their intellect; the idea is that the two are mutually exclusive. But in the age of the Internet, social media and advancements in the study of human psychology, it’s become clear that emotional intelligence (also called EQ) is not an oxymoron. It is just as significant as traditional human intelligence (IQ) that can be measured with tests and other metrics.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?
There are several definitions of emotional intelligence in popular theory, but one of the easiest to grasp is this: it is an understanding of human emotions and how to manage them intelligently. It is an understanding of how emotions have a significant effect on the way people communicate with each other, socialize, learn, resolve conflicts and perform in work settings. It also affects how people manage their own issues with stress and mental health.

Knowledge Transfer Benefits
Emotional intelligence is a conduit for better knowledge transfer. When you can relate to others on an emotional level, it makes them more receptive to receiving new information. As an example, self-help authors and motivational speakers relate to their audiences on a high level when they are in tune with their emotional triggers. Teachers also have a stronger effect on students when they are connected with them on an emotional level — studies from as early as 1994 examined the effect of positive emotions on the learning process for young people.

Emotional Intelligence and Social Media
The growth of social media has created a new platform where psychologists can examine the effects of emotional intelligence on individuals and society as a whole. Business organizations in particular study and implement online communication strategies based on the idea of emotional intelligence when connecting with followers and potential customers. As the saying goes, “people buy on emotion and rationalize them with logic.” Many organizations use emotional intelligence to appeal to followers with advertisements and posts that address the inner feelings and desires of their target audiences first and foremost. This inspires future purchases and brand loyalty.

Think of how you can use this information in your business communications and sales strategies. It pays to care about your customers — their feelings, their motivations, their hopes, dreams and emotional triggers. Don’t treat your customers and clients like numbers on a page — treat them with human compassion when communicating with them for the best results.

It’s clear from recent research that emotional intelligence is a valuable concept to consider – especially when it comes to business communication strategy. It may be key to everything from improving personal human relationships to inspiring customers to buy your products and services.


 * Image credit: © Atee83 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.