In his latest Smart Connection video, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, discusses building breakthrough business relationships.

If you have to work with people in any capacity — whether you actually like people or not — you are in the relationship business first. Takash highlights three key components for building breakthrough business relationships.

1.  Attitude and passion

2.  Engaging

3.  Recognition

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Published in Chicago
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 20:54

How to accept constructive feedback

Last month, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, discussed the importance of feedback and offered four tips to giving good, constructive feedback.

In his latest Smart Connection video, "How to accept constructive feedback," Takash tackles the other side of the coin. Most of us haven’t been taught the guidelines for feedback and even if we have, emotion and ego can still be an impediment to growth.

So, when people provide you feedback, here are Takash's suggestions:

1. Try not to take it personally

2. Thank people for the feedback

3. Clarify what you don’t understand

4. Provide your perspective on what you’re heard

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Published in Chicago
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 13:24

Four tips for giving feedback

In every organization, the most important people should be the employees. But, what's the most common thing missing from most employer/employee relationships? Feedback.

According to Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, most people don't get or give enough feedback. In his latest Smart Connection video, "Four tips for giving feedback," Takash demonstrates four tips to giving good, constructive feedback:

1. Frame it

2. Share it

3. Back it

4. Then listen

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Published in Chicago

Want to motivate employees? Improve your communication skills? Express your thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely?

Then you need better presentation skills. Luckily, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, is here to help. In his latest Smart Connection video, "Four Musts When Giving a Speech or Presentation," Takash highlights the four keys to any good speech:

1. Keep perspective

2. Structure, not script

3. Nonverbal approachability

4. Create interaction

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Published in Chicago
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 12:42

Listen Up

Do you care what your customers think? Do you actively seek out their opinions on the product or service you provide? If you answered no to either or both of these questions, you’re running a big risk. In the era of real-time mass communication, companies should never pass up an opportunity for customer interaction. As author David Meerman Scott reminds readers in his book “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” the moment to capitalize on engaging one’s customer arrives and disappears in an instant.

In this interview with Smart Business, Scott discusses the best ways to answer one’s critics, the impact of a viral video and the advantages of connecting with your customers in real time.

You kick off the book with the ‘United Breaks Guitars’ story. Tell us why this is the ultimate cautionary tale for businesses.

What happened is Dave Carroll, who is a singer/songwriter for a band called Sons of Maxwell, was traveling from his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to a gig in Nebraska, and he had to change planes in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. He was traveling on United Airlines and they broke his guitar. He spent a full year trying to get compensation, [but] United refused. Since he’s a singer/songwriter, he told them, ‘I’m going to write three songs and post them on YouTube,’ which he did.

One of the songs has more than 10 million views to date on YouTube, and in just the first week, it generated 2 million views. Now the whole world is talking about and watching this video about how United Airlines breaks guitars. When something like this happens, your organization needs to respond. You need to be a part of what’s going on. You need to act like a human and not like a corporate drone.

Can you offer any advice for businesses that find themselves getting swept away in a wave of online criticism? Should they use the same Web methods to answer their critics?

I’m glad you used that word ‘criticism’ because I think the person who is worthy of a response is a thoughtful critic. In this case, Dave Carroll was a thoughtful critic. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to respond to every single thing that happens on the Web. There are cases, and in some industries there could be frequent cases, where people are just trying to be bullies. They’re trying to beat you up for the sake of trying to beat you up. In that case, that behavior does not necessarily deserve a response. But let’s assume it’s a thoughtful critic; you should be responding in the same media.

The ‘United Breaks Guitars’ story was a YouTube video. If I were United Airlines, what I would have done is post a YouTube video in response. What I would have done is have the chief baggage handler from United Airlines in Chicago where the incident occurred talk about what it’s like to process hundreds of thousands of bags every day. He wouldn’t even have to mention ‘United Breaks Guitars.’ Everyone would make that connection, and then all of a sudden, [United] is humanizing their organization. They’re seen as an organization who is paying attention and who cares.

Some companies believe real-time interaction with customers exposes a company to unnecessary risk. How can individuals in a traditional organization prove that it’s safe to connect with one’s customers?

I actually did a little research to find out the percentage of companies that do engage in real time. I measured the Fortune 100 and it turns out that 28 percent of the Fortune 100 are engaging in the ways that we just talked about and the ways that are in the book. Those 28 companies stock prices were up 3 percent during the period that I measured. The companies that did not engage had stock prices that went down 2 percent. So that 5 percent swing is the ROI of doing this kind of engagement.

Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers and Create Products That Grow Your Business Now

>> By David Meerman Scott

>> Wiley, 244 pages, $24.95

About the book: “Real-Time Marketing & PR” puts to pasture traditional marketing plans that were worked out months in advance. In the era of instant communication, your customers can make an interaction with your company, and whether it’s good or bad, it can go viral in a matter of moments. This book helps companies leave behind old marketing and public relations models and seize the sudden opportunities that define this era of business.

The author: David Meerman Scott is the author of the best-seller “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” and “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.” He served as marketing director for Knight-Ridder in Asia. He is a popular blogger and speaker, focusing on how businesses implement new strategies to reach buyers.

Why you should read it: Scott makes one of the most valid arguments to date for the positive business impact of engaging one’s customers in real time. As he points out, organizations are letting incredible opportunities pass them by for reasons that are not entirely justified. A good experience should be promoted and a bad experience should be addressed. The longer a company waits to do either, the more it decreases the benefits. Scott’s examples highlight a variety of ways in which companies have successfully implemented real-time strategies.

Why it’s different: Scott doesn’t spend much time on the various methods of communication. Instead, he dives directly into situations and case studies. Readers will also appreciate the fact that he uses himself as an example of someone who lost an opportunity for failing to follow his own strategy.

Can’t miss: “Too Big to Succeed?” In this chapter, Scott gives a vote of confidence to small companies who wonder if their size limits their ability to compete in real time. He details a study that he conducted with the Fortune 100. Scott contacted each business in an attempt to see how it engaged its customers in real time. The results are shocking, particularly when readers discover how the proactive companies performed on Wall Street in the aftermath of Scott’s study.

To share or not to share: This book should be given to anyone in an executive’s marketing department. It should then be shared with readers in various executive positions throughout the company. As Scott points out, everyone has a role to play in engaging customers in real time.

Soundview Executive Book Summaries:

Concentrated Knowledge Corp. now offers a new, online executive education tool: CKC’s Executive Edge. This monthly skill-building resource features insights from top business books, notable authors and world-leading business executives. For a closer look and to sign up, visit Summary.com/xe.

Published in Atlanta

Craig Mundie sees science fiction becoming reality all the time. The holodeck, for example – that futuristic simulation room on Star Trek – isn’t so futuristic anymore for the chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft Corp.

“It isn’t that many years away where you’re going to find it quite natural to interact at a distance,” says Mundie, who spoke at the Cleveland Clinic Ideas for Tomorrow series on Jan. 5. “In fact, one of the things that I think you’ll see quite soon is the ability for people to, at least in small groups, go and have meetings together where none of them are actually physically in the same room but their ability to look at each other and talk and communicate is as if you were in the same place.”

Mundie presented Microsoft’s new innovations and shared how innovative technologies will change the game when it comes to long-distance interaction.

“Today we talk about collaboration as you make a phone call and talk; you can have a video conference,” he says. “But increasingly, we think this interaction at a distance is going to be really important. I generally tend to use the term tele-presence as a way to think about what it’s going to be like. … There was the telephone, which collapsed distance for people, but only with the spoken word. Then there was television, which allowed us to do that with images. And I think the next thing that we’re going to see is tele-presence, where more and more we’ll be able to interact with people in a very lifelike and realistic way that aren’t there.”

[VIDEO: See Mundie talk about tele-presence as the next step in interaction.]

Your kids are already using tele-presence – gaming systems like Xbox use avatars to represent players and help them communicate with opponents who aren’t sitting next to them on the couch. Mundie said those will become more realistic.

“The idea that you can have some very lifelike representation that you’re essentially projecting yourself through is not really science fiction,” he says.

Why is this important? Mundie closed his presentation with a video demonstration of a system Microsoft is currently developing based on these technologies. They created a “triage nurse” out of a computer kiosk with the knowledge and question-asking capacity to prioritize patients and make recommendations.

[See Cleveland Clinic’s video of Mundie presenting the triage nurse.]

“This is where I think all of these technologies have the promise to come together and be an amplification factor for the skilled, highly-trained people, whether they’re teachers or doctors, to be able to scale up our capabilities in a more cost-effective way on a planet that’s going to continue to see an increase of population,” Mundie says.

Or there’s the example from the University of Washington BioRobotics Lab, where researchers took an Xbox Kinect sensor into a new environment. In Mundie’s video, a man uses a force feedback system – similar to the joystick in a flying simulation – to “feel” objects in another room, perhaps a precursor for how surgeons will maintain tactile capacity during robotic surgeries.

[See Cleveland Clinic’s video of Mundie sharing the BioRobotics experiment.]

“Many of these things are very important in terms of moving people to comfort in dealing with computers or dealing with people interacting [across] distance,” he says. “Many people today get great value and utility out of computers, but they historically require a lot of training and acclimation to really get a lot of value out of it. As we move to these advanced graphical interfaces and direct manipulation interfaces where you can do things with your fingers or add voice commands, then the ease can get a lot better. The things that have frustrated people in using computers are going to be overcome by making them behave more like we do.”

In other words, why mess with tiny keyboards when your cell phone responds to voice commands? With new direct manipulation interfaces like voice and touch, we’re at a transition point with computers. Until now, they’ve primarily been tools. With those capabilities as good as they need to be, developers are turning to the next phase.

“The key to this is essentially to make it work less at your command and more on your behalf,” Mundie says. “More and more, we’re trying to get these computer systems to anticipate the type of things that you would want to do. In essence, it’s like having a great assistant. They know when you ask them something that they take all of the history and what your preferences are and they factor that into what they do for you.”

[VIDEO: See Mundie talk about the transition of technology from a tool to an assistant.]

Depending how many accounts, profiles and updates you have online, your computer might know you much more intimately than your real assistant. Mundie and his team are trying to use that to your advantage.

For example, they wanted Bing to do more work to satisfy your search, reducing your job to “one input, one click.” Now, when Mundie types in Denver, Bing thinks ahead to why he might be searching for that, and spits back real-time flight prices – kind of like an assistant would.

“We are at a point where computers are going to be more like us,” Mundie says. “From that, we can open up a completely new realm of what the computer can do for us and with us.”

How to reach: Microsoft Corp., http://www.microsoft.com/ or @Microsoft

Published in Akron/Canton