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How To Get Your Message Across Using Effective Stories

How do we ensure our communication is understood? How do we get communication to be relevant, interesting, and exciting to the other participant?

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How do we ensure our communication is understood? How do we get communication to be relevant, interesting, and exciting to the other participant?

In communication we understand that there are two key elements – one is the information you want to impart, and the second is the method that you choose to use.

The main methods are verbal, written, and nonverbal, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

By far the fastest and easiest is verbal communication, and this is an area where we make the most mistakes, the most misinterpretations, and the most miscommunications. If you think back to the successful communications that you remember in your conscious mind, many of them will have a common element, that is, they are a story.

From the time we tell stories to our young children at night before they go to bed, listen to their stories from the playground, listen to their stories from the college grounds, and listen to stories from our family members, team members, customers and clients, we realise that the most powerful communication is a story.

As human beings involved in business, we love stories. We love stories of success, we love stories of disasters, we love stories of interesting problems being overcome.

As a good communicator, the power to create a story makes the communication of the information much more powerful and much more interesting.

A good story has three main components – a beginning, a middle and an end.

In the beginning of the story you need to set the scene, describe the problems, describe the people involved, describe the situation, and perhaps even add a time element.

In the middle, you should build on the information. Tell the story of how the people overcame the problem, or investigated the problem and the solutions that they looked at, or how the client worked through the problems with your sales rep, or the steps that were taken to evaluate and analyse the situation. Include people’s thoughts, their fears, and what they wanted to change and what they didn’t want to change, and then start drawing towards a conclusion of the story.

The end needs to have a successful conclusion to overcoming the problem, preferably with your product, service, or people being the hero. Follow the logical set of steps that has developed through the use of a formula or through the weaving of the story so that the rational next step to take is clear. Include a summary of actions to take to follow up, and perhaps even a moral to the story or a key point, or personal activity that people can engage in.

Towards the end you may allow time for questions. Always give an advance warning before you start your ending summary of action, by telling the audience that there will be an opportunity for questions when you complete your summary of action.

You can improve the art of your story in the way in which you use tone of voice, loudness of voice, perhaps even add some sounds within the voice so that the mind picture that is created in the theatre that is your mind, becomes more vivid.

Your body language gestures, such as moving the arms, waving the hands and nodding the head all add to the effectiveness of the picture that will be created from the verbal presentation.

Because people are interested in people, and people do business with people, the good communicator uses stories that involve people to best effect. These become highly interesting, they become stimulating, and best of all they get listened to.

Well told stories like “The Trojan Horse” have managed to survive for over 3,500 years since emerging as a Greek legend. How long will your communication of the information last in your environment?

While the best stories are certainly verbal, because of the theatre of the mind activity, of course you can create a story in writing, and by emails, using exactly the same approach.

Your story becomes a scene in which the listerner/reader can place themselves as a participant, and judge for themselves how interesting the presentation was by the value of the story.

Think of the other uses for stories. Telling a story to implement a change in procedure is more likely to have the procedure adopted, than issuing a set of new rules.

Management reporting in a story style is much more interesting to listen to, and the figures come alive when you are told a story about the success of the combined team’s effort.

Personal stories that come from the heart are always going to be remembered better than stories that are copied from somebody else.

The length of time it takes to tell a story should never be a judgement on the story. Human beings have attention time spans that run in 20 minute time cycles, so a story that is anywhere from several minutes to 20 minutes will be remembered with ease.

If you have more than one story, then it becomes a speech.

The speech in itself, as a structure, is just a collection of stories, so if you want to create a speech just add up your stories.

Even negative impact seems to have much less fear attached to it if the changes demanded are put into a story.

Good stories then become great communication tools.

So go on now, review your stories!

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New Zealand

Trump’s Triumph Crashes Immigration Website

Canada and maybe New Zealand will be the top beneficiaries of exiting Americans unhappy with Trump’s triumph victory in the US Election. Canada’s immigration website crashed once news spread that Trump’s victory was likely and Reuters reported New Zealand’s website also had a spike in interest from visitors looking for information on residency visas.

Canada and maybe New Zealand will be the top beneficiaries of exiting Americans unhappy with Trump’s triumph victory in the US Election.  Canada’s immigration website crashed once news spread that Trump’s victory was likely and Reuters reported New Zealand’s website also had a spike in interest from visitors looking for information on residency visas.

We published an article less than a week ago on How to move to New Zealand & get a job in 31 easy steps. This is an extract from a book written by an American woman who sailed to New Zealand with her husband and two daughters in 2012.   Sara and her family have now settled into the kiwi lifestyle and Sara’s tips on how to move to and get a job in New Zealand is timely.  The Brexit vote and now Trump’s triumph has many residents of the UK and America seeing their future somewhere else.

Canada has been quick to embrace the interest in their country saying:

“In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens.”
@Canada

The list of celebrities whom have said they will leave America is if Trump becomes President includes the likes of Barbara Streisand, Cher, Miley Cyrus, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Stewart and on Twitter

Locally, NZHerald reports many Hollywood celebrities are commenting on twitter and Instagram saying they will leave America.

“I’m freaking out too but, together, we are gonna be OK, we got each other, animals, don’t lose your s***. Worst case, let’s all move to New Zealand,” wrote Kesha alongside a selfie on Instagram, before editing her post.

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New Zealand

How to Move to New Zealand & Get a Job in 31 Easy Steps [Book Extract]

If you plan to work in New Zealand, the time to start looking into getting a job is long before you arrive. While you may not begin your official job search until you are in the country, there are a number of things you can do to kick-start the process.

New Zealand work visa

If you plan to work in New Zealand, the time to start looking into getting a job is long before you arrive. While you may not begin your official job search until you are in the country, there are a number of things you can do to kick-start the process.

We were still in Tonga, aboard our sailboat, and not planning to arrive in New Zealand for another three months, when my husband, Michael, polished up his curriculum vitae (CV) and sent it along to friends in Auckland. They forwarded it to their information and communications technology (ICT) contacts and to recruiters with whom they’d worked. A number of the recipients responded immediately, asking Michael to get in touch again when he landed in country. Although it felt like he was jumping the gun at the time, the tactic appears to have worked. Within a week of arriving at the Bay of Islands, Michael had a job interview scheduled in Auckland and a job offer in hand a few weeks later.

Getting a job in New Zealand is a lot like anywhere else. It’s all about who you know. I’d say it’s even more so in New Zealand as there is only a degree or two of separation between people due to the small population. This is a tight-knit country. So if you do know someone down here, it may pay to leverage that contact.

On the other hand, it’s certainly not required to know anyone. Michael landed his current ICT gig by applying for positions advertised on seek.co.nz, the most thorough job listing website in New Zealand and Australia. This is the best place to start researching the jobs that are available and where they’re located. (See Step 11 for choosing which part of the country to live in.) Many New Zealand companies advertise open positions on LinkedIn.com.

My other favourite job listing sites are:

  • Trade Me (all types): trademe.co.nz
  • New Kiwis (all types of skilled work): newkiwis.co.nz
  • Kiwi Health Jobs: kiwihealthjobs.com
  • NZ Education Gazette (teaching positions): edgazette.govt.nz>

For an extensive list of job websites, browse careers.govt.nz/job-hunting/job-vacancy-and-recruitment-websites. Check out the rest of careers.govt.nz too. It’s chock-o-block full of job hunting, training, and general career advice for New Zealanders.

Finally, have a look at the government’s Skill Shortage Lists (skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz). On these, you’ll find occupations that New Zealand needs more people to fill, either temporarily or long-term. If your occupation (or one of them) is on one of the skill shortage lists, your work or residence visa application is much more likely to get approved, and more quickly.

This leads to one of the most common questions people ask me: Do I need to be in New Zealand to get a job? The answer is…it depends. If your occupation is on the skill shortage lists, you are much more likely to be successful in applying and interviewing from out of country. But even if your occupation is not in demand, and you find a job that’s a perfect fit for you, apply.

According to one hiring manager I spoke to, they often interview applicants who are outside New Zealand. He says: “It’s difficult to find people already here that have the ICT skills we’re looking for. After we offer the person the position, they start the work visa application process. When their visa is approved, they move down and start working.”

For some positions, such as seasonal or temporary work, you are likely to have a better chance at scoring a job if you interview face-to-face. As I wrote earlier, Michael began seriously applying for work after arriving in New Zealand, but having a good idea of what’s available with a CV ready to go was key in making this process as short as possible.

This post is an excerpt from How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps by Sara Dawn Johnson.

Sara Dawn Johnson, along with her husband and two daughters, moved to New Zealand in 2012 by sailing their home, a 38-foot sailboat called Wondertime, across the Pacific Ocean. Sara is also the co-author of Voyaging With Kids: A guide to family life afloat.

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New Zealand

Is Your Website Your Best Salesperson?

Businesses who fail to look after their website and online presence do so at their own peril. There are many real life examples of businesses large and small losing market share and in some cases going out of business altogether due to their poor online presence.

Their competitors however probably engage a professional SEO company and as a result they’re reaping the rewards with more customer leads and revenue.

Businesses who fail to look after their website and online presence do so at their own peril.  There are many real life examples of businesses large and small losing market share and in some cases going out of business altogether due to their poor online presence.  Their competitors however probably engage a professional SEO company and as a result they’re reaping the rewards with more customer leads and revenue.

Google doesn’t care if your business earns millions or even billions in revenue.  Google only rewards websites that are well designed.  A mobile friendly website is not a luxury like many out of touch businesses believe, it is a fundamental requirement.

Start up businesses with well designed websites can get a jump on established firms and grab market share.  They appear to be overnight successes while steadfast market leaders can appear to go out of business just as fast.  We don’t have to look to far either to find lots of examples all around us especially in the retail sector.

Summarily if your website design is not mobile friendly it’s not going to be found by prospective customers who use Google for their research.  When your business fails to show up in the search results consumers set their sights elsewhere.  Consumers now almost rely exclusively on online research.

MYOB released a report a couple of years go stating 86% of New Zealanders were using the Internet every day and 80% of us are searching online before buying a product or service.  New Zealand is one of the most Internet savvy countries globally with four out of five homes connected to it therefore your website really should be your best salesperson!


This blog article was written for BusinessBlogs by Mobilize Mail.

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Management

How You Can Get The Best From Your Team Meetings

The benefit of regular (preferably weekly) team meetings should NEVER be overlooked. From a results-driven point of view through to team morale and a common purpose, these meetings can be pure gold for your business. Some businesses we come across don’t have regular meetings with their team. It’s just not something they’ve thought of, or perhaps they’ve considered their business is too small.

meeting

The benefit of regular (preferably weekly) team meetings should NEVER be overlooked. From a results-driven point of view through to team morale and a common purpose, these meetings can be pure gold for your business.

Some businesses we come across don’t have regular meetings with their team. It’s just not something they’ve thought of, or perhaps they’ve considered their business is too small. In my book – two counts as a team. So unless you’re really a solo flier – team meetings are relevant for you too! They provide a valuable forum for you and your team to update, communicate, handle any issues, and set the scene for success and achievement in the business for the week to come.

Getting your team together at the same time each week might seem impossible at first – but once the habit’s set you’ll find yourself and your team beginning to look forward to the meeting. It doesn’t need to be a long meeting – anything from 30 minutes to one hour max.

It helps to time your weekly meetings to occur just before a deadline (eg. lunchtime, 1 hour before closing, … or 1 hour before starting!) This will reduce the chances of running overtime.

Once your meetings are scheduled, our 7 point checklist will ensure you and your team get the most out of each and every meeting:

7 point checklist for weekly team meetings

1. Have an agenda
If you’re going to make this meeting productive and effective, have an agenda and stick to it. (Make sure you’re aware ahead of time of anything and everything that needs to be covered).

2. Set the meeting up
These meetings are often about addressing challenges, what new stuff has to be done next week and what wasn’t done in the last week. This can sometimes feel like hard work. So set the meeting up by starting “upbeat”. Have everyone share one specific good thing that happened during the week (personal or business). As well as offsetting any negativity, it’ll help to get to know eachother and give everyone a pat on the back. At first this can feel a bit uncomfortable, but stick with it and make sure everyone takes part.

3. Reporting the Results
Go over the results for the week. Make sure your statistical reports are standardised. Graphs are a great way to do this. Your team will be able to see the trend in the numbers and whether or not they are hitting targets.

Beware of targets that haven’t been met as this can cause a reaction within your team (not to mention you!). It’s a good idea to acknowledge the breakdown and it’s a great time to look at what can be done to remedy it – opportunities to build on it … what’s going to make the difference in the next week. But remember – this is not the place for “beating up” a team member that is repeatedly under-performing!

A note on reporting the results: Create some milestones along the way – don’t just wait until the end of the project for you and your team to celebrate!

4. Customers and Team
Review whether there are any recurring problems that your team or customers are dealing with. These can either be handled on the spot (if it’s an easy fix) or you’ll need to investigate it later (but not too much later) …. and make sure you let everyone know the outcome.

5. Brain storm
If there’s a problem or something your business is grappling with – use the combined brainpower of your team. You’ll be amazed how many new ideas you’ll end up with … and your team will feel pretty good about contributing in this way.

6. Keep a record
Don’t forget keep a record of who said they were going to do what and by when.

7. Finish on time
At the end of the meeting let everyone say a brief word or two that represents how they feel about the meeting. This gives everyone an opportunity to “complete” the meeting and move on.

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New Zealand

How To Secure Your Home Wifi & Systems

Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce with Mobilize Mail Limited are hosting a one hour non techie presentation in May 2015 on how to keep your home wifi and systems secure. Most of us believe we have someone in the household savvy enough to secure our home IT systems. However it’s probably not so – when we use Wifi the unthinkable can happen, i.e. your password can end up with someone else.

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Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce with Mobilize Mail Limited are hosting a one hour non techie presentation in May 2015 on how to keep your home wifi and systems secure.

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 9.30am – 10.30am
Place: Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, IT Engine Training, Level 3, 15 Daly Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington.

Most of us believe we have someone in the household savvy enough to secure our home IT systems. However it’s probably not so – when we use Wifi the unthinkable can happen, i.e. your password can end up with someone else. During this presentation there will be a live demo on how easy it is to have your home wifi password stolen and what you can do immediately to prevent it from happening to you.

Unfortunately it isn’t any safer using free wifi hotspots – they too can be fraught with security issues. This presentation will show you how to use free wifi and what to avoid doing whilst you’re online.

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 9.30am – 10.30am
Place: Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, IT Engine Training, Level 3, 15 Daly Street, Lower Hutt
Presenter: Mobilize Mail Ltd – HVCC Silver Sponsor
Fee: Members – $45 + GST     Non-Members – $75 + GST

More info: click here for more information
RSVP: click here to register online

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Marketing

Less is More in Email Marketing

Expensive data plans and image loading time are two reasons to carefully consider your use of images in email marketing.

The use of mobiles to view emails has increased however the data plans are not dropped in cost so images in emails can be blocked from downloading. Therefore avoid using just one image as the entire marketing message.

email prospecting

Expensive data plans and image loading time are two reasons to carefully consider your use of images in email marketing.

The use of mobiles to view emails has increased however the data plans are not dropping in cost in some countries where the volume is low, so images in emails can be permanently blocked from downloading. Therefore avoid using just one image as the entire marketing message. While this may save you time and investment it’s not a good look when the email message area is empty before images are downloaded.

Use a good mix of colour (created in HTML), text including Alt-txt (words that show in the image box before images are downloaded and also add a relevant image or two. Remember a picture speaks a 1000 words and conversion is higher when images are present. We recommend linking all images, and titles to the relevant click-through pages as well as the usual ‘click here to read more’ text links.

Click here to read more …..

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