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Last month while conversing with a Toastmaster I inquired about a fellow Toastmaster.  I was told he had lost his job.  In another meeting I was told that another fellow toastmaster had migrated to Canada considering his kids had moved out for higher education.   This got me thinking, how well do I know my fellow Toastmasters, how well do I know them beyond the precincts of Toastmasters meetings?

Toastmasters is a community of members working towards excelling in life.  Which other fraternity has such a powerful minded community of people?  I could think of no other.  And then I was promptly reminded of Sales phrases Upsell; Cross Sell; Low hanging fruits and so on.   

Low hanging Fruits: Coming from a Sales background I realized that I was connecting with fellow Toastmasters at TM level only i.e. what role they were playing and their Toastmasters journey, nothing beyond that.   This networking road map was obvious and did not require extra effort.  Rather I was plucking LOW HANGING FRUITS.   I was not UP SELLING, I was not connecting at a professional level.  I was not Cross selling, I was connecting at a social level.

When I sat down to introspect; we have over 100+ clubs in UAE and considering a membership status of around  20 members per club, the total membership should around 2000 members.  People pay premium to attend networking events simply to exchange business cards; whereas at TM  club meetings we have an opportunity to connect at a much deeper level.

My message is that networking is a powerful tool, provided we network beyond TM activities.  Because networking is not only shaking hands, exchanging cards or chit chat.  Networking is finding gold while helping other people succeed.  So why pluck the low hanging fruits? Why don’t we CROSS SELL i.e network at a professional level.  Why not UPSELL i.e. what stops us networking at the Social level.

The next time you participate in a club meet, arrive 30 minutes early and

  • CROSS SELL ie. Network at a professional level.  Connect with 5 TM’s at a professional level.  Find out what do they do professionally, how did they got into their profession, what skills are required to be in their job and finally how you can help them grow.
  • UPSLL i.e Network at a social level.  Agree to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and nurture this relationship into a familyet together.  Ask how you can be of help to his family.

Maturing from LOW HANGING FRUITS to CROSS SELL and UPSELL is 360* networking.  And remember, UAE has around 2000 Toastmasters whereas globally there are 292,000 members in more than 14,350 clubs spread in 122 countries.  POWER; Use it or lose it.

 

 Think-BoxIn sales we are taught to UP-SELL – If our prospect purchases a Tablet Pcs; sell him 3 years premium support along.  CROSS-SELL – If your prospect buys Tablet Pcs; sell him a printer or a Camera along. 

The fundamental is “don’t limit yourself to the low hanging fruits.”  But cross sell and upsell to increase your share of customer wallet.  And I would like to apply this principle to Toastmasters platform as well. 

Toastmaster’s platform is a  BOX.  In TOASTMASTERS BOX members come together to invest positive energy to help and be helped in enhancing their communication and leadership skills.    But the buck should never stop here and we should invest that energy to Cross Sell.  What if we create two more boxes? 

  • FIRST BOX or PROFESSIONAL BOX: We step out of the Toastmasters box and invest in helping fellow members progress in THREE professional arenas   such as
    • FEEDBACK: Sharing our FEEDBACK on their professional status (This could be in the similar format of LinkedIn wherein we send feedback request to our connections)
    • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:  Recommendations on what professional course will help them to turbo charge the career.  It could be onsite MBA, an online marketing course or mentoring/coaching.
    • ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES:  Sharing economic opportunities and this could be new jobs in his domain; new companies coming up or new industry trends.
  • Let’s create SECOND BOX or FAMILY BOX: Wherein structured  discussion could happen in two areas
    • INVESTMENT: Right and viable investment in property; equity or others. 
    • FAMILY: Kids education or Health related benefits to avail and recommendations.  Or Tips & recommendations on Leisure or vacation. 

Good luck and begin Investing out of the box.

In the last 30 days I came across two club officers who resigned from their club, because they perceive being criticized and receiving critical evaluation.   The case came to my attention because they were the club officer.  Now imagine how many members quit the club and no one even notices ?   Imagine how many guests swear never to join toastmasters after attending a single club meeting ?   And for one reason, they perceive they have been critically evaluated or not appreciated and recognized for their work.    This reflects how important is the art of constructive criticism?   And how much people value appreciation, recognition and applause?    And your best coach in this field is “How to win Friends and influence People” a book published in 1937 by Dale Carnegie and I am sharing his 1 through 6 tips to win friends

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to peoples mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.   Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”

So next time you plan to give your feedback, pause and think 1 through 6.


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