The R’s Of Employee Motivation

If you think your employee’s poor performance is costing you profit, instead of overhauling your employee roster, why not try motivating them to become better employees? Smart managers never overlook this fact: loyal, productive employees are one of your biggest assets. From corporate cubicles to the factory floor, the collective skills and efforts of people keep your operation going.

You can easily set the right tone in the workplace by learning to respond to a basic need we all share… which is to be respected and valued.

What you need?
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Everyone wants to be treated with respect.

As a manager, your words, body language, even your facial expressions make a huge difference in how employees perceive your opinion of them. For instance, extending common courtesies such as “Good morning” or a nod as you pass others in the hallway says to them that they are not invisible to you.

Other demonstrations of respect could include asking employees for suggestions to improve operations and/or management. It’s another way of saying, “I respect and value your opinions.”

And never forget, meeting in private, with an employee who may have missed the mark says, “I respect you enough not to embarrass you in front of your co-workers…”


Two powerful words are important in employee motivation… “Great Job!”

By recognizing the work of others, you motivate them to keep working. You’ll find that regularly giving verbal or written praise for a job well done goes a long way in making employees feel appreciated. If workers feel that they play an important part in the company by the work they provide, they are much more likely to seek ways to improve their performance.


While cash incentives are a sure way to put a smile on an employee’s face, there are other creative ways to motivate employees through “thoughtful” gestures.

For individual rewards, how about gift certificates for DVD rentals, music CD purchases, theme park tickets or “Dinner for 2″ at a local eatery?

For group or departmental appreciations, consider a “Leave Work 30 Minutes Early Next Friday” reward. Or once-a-month, spring for dessert treats in honor of those celebrating birthdays in that calendar month. You are limited only by your imagination and budget.

Placing respect, recognition and reward at the heart of your employee motivation efforts will serve to boost morale, increase productivity and positively affect the company’s bottom-line. A WIN-WIN-WIN situation for all.

(These are not original thoughts, I’ve seen this piece attributed to various writers.)

How to Write a Eulogy

I attended a funeral some time ago for a woman who had lived a good, long life. There were two eulogies given, one by a long-time friend and the other from a family member. It was interesting to hear the similar themes that came out as they spoke of someone who had played an important part in their lives.

I’ve only ever given one eulogy. Deaths of family and friends have been few and far between. If called upon to give a eulogy, here is a simple template I would use.

  • Introduce yourself and your connection to the deceased. “For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Ian and Mavis was my aunt.”
  • Briefly summarize the life of the deceased:
    • When they were born
    • Where they were born
    • Growing up
    • Marriage, family, etc
  • Briefly summarize the accomplishments of the deceased:
    • Education
    • Skills
    • Career
    • Hobbies
  • Share happy memories. Mix in tasteful humorous memories, but be careful. Only talk about the good times if the final years have been sad. For example, cite a characteristic expression or an activity that everyone will recognize.
  • Talk about something(s) you learned from this person:
    • Their motivation or passion
    • How they changed someone’s life
  • Tell why you’ll always remember the person.
  • End with a final goodbye.

Keep it flowing. A eulogy should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should have one theme. It shouldn’t jump around from topic to topic, but rather stay tightly focused. In other words, while the occasion is sad, a eulogy is still a speech. Treat it like one.

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Enhance Your Langauge Skills for Successful Public Speaking

Words on a Wall

Another essential skill for successful speakers is using the correct form of the language. Being limited to English, I can’t say what equivalent errors might exist in other languages. However, nothing can destroy your credibility as a speaker than the misuse of the language. Toastmasters International highlights the importance of correct language by appointing a Grammarian to listen to everyone’s word usage and report on language used during the course of a meeting.

Rather than try and provide detailed information for all types of language land mines, here are links to resources, which can help you improved your language skills:

  • Improve your diction. How you pronounce words will affect the way an audience perceives your credibility as a speaker. Here is a list of the 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English.
  • Improve your grammar. Many people feel grammar is a secondary issue of little importance. The rise of text messaging has destroyed written grammar and syntax. Grammar is important for conveying information in a way that can be understood and not misunderstood. The Online English Grammar gives you access to English language learning and resource services.
  • Improve your usage. There are many words in the English language that are so much alike speakers often mistake one for another. Perhaps the most exhaustive resource on usage is Paul Brians’ site, Common Errors in English.
  • Avoid technical language. Unless of course, you’re speaking to a technical audience. Just because you understand the jargon and terms you’re using, doesn’t mean your audience will. Adjust your speech appropriately.
  • Words to look out for:
    • Fad words – bottom line, time frame, viable…
    • Extra words – naturally, actually, frankly, so to speak…
    • Slang – fresh, dis, Fo’ shizzle, Homey… hip hop examples, but they exist in all social groups.
    • Words ending in wise – healthwise, moneywise, timewise…
    • Degrading words – slang terms for different nationalities.
    • Profanity

Say just what you want to say in words that everyone will understand the same way. Murphy’s Law of Communication, “If people can misunderstand you, they will misunderstand you.”

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7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking

It takes a lot of preparation to craft the kind of speech or presentation that is going to grab your listener’s attention. Once the speech is crafted, you need to spend a lot of time practising, so as to make sure you keep their attention.

Listeners don’t give their attention lightly and it doesn’t take much for it to wander. Here are seven bad speaking habits that will guarantee your listeners will be focusing on other things, instead of what you’re presenting.

  1. Rambling – if you don’t know where you’re going, the audience is not going to follow. If you do not have anything to say, sit down! No one has ever complained about a speech that ended early.
  2. Speaking in a monotone – not only are you at risk of losing their attention, you might even put them to sleep. Speaking in a monotonous voice is a real communication killer. When you don’t vary the pitch of your voice, it is difficult for the listener to maintain any interest in what you’re saying.
  3. Appearing to have limited topic knowledge – people come to listen because they expect you know what you’re talking about. You need to know your topic backwards and forwards. Research your topic thoroughly while preparing your speech.
  4. Poor eye contact – lack of eye contact creates a barrier between you and the audience. Make a connection to the listener; they want to know you’re speaking to them.
  5. Pacing, wandering or fidgeting – often a sign of nerves, it can be distracting to the audience. You may not eliminate the nerves, but preparation and practice can reduce the appearance of nerves.
  6. Lack of preparation – if you haven’t made the effort to prepare, why should the audience make the effort to listen?
  7. Poor storytelling skills – nothing communicates concepts better than stories. If you want to hold on to the listener’s attention, learn to tell stories well.

Tips for Communicating with Angry or Violent People

A number of years ago I was involved in the termination of an employee. He was about eight inches taller than me and had 70 or 80 pounds on me. His supervisor delivered the bad news, we reviewed the termination process and documents and then stood to leave.

Suddenly, he was standing toe to toe looking down on me. His fists were clenched at his side as he yelled. I responded as calmly and quietly as a could. This went on for a few minutes, which felt like an eternity. At any moment, I expected one of those fists lashing at my head. Eventually, he turned, left the room and I collapsed into the nearest chair, my nerves shot.

As you can imagine, losing a job provokes a wide range of reactions from people. Some respond with shock and walk away quietly in a daze, others break down in tears and others still get violent and abusive.

I have learned a few lessons about communicating with people who are angry, hostile or violent.

  • Focus your attention on the other person to let them know you are interested in what they have to say.
  • Do not glare or stare, which may be perceived as a challenge.
  • Remain calm and try to calm the other person. Don’t let the other person’s anger become your anger.
  • Remain conscious of how you deliver your words.
  • Speak slowly, quietly and confidently.
  • Speak simply. Do not rely on official language or complex terminology.
  • Avoid communicating a lot of technical or complicated information when emotions are high.
  • Listen carefully. Do not interrupt or offer unsolicited advice or criticism.
  • Encourage the person to talk. Do not tell the person to relax or calm down.
  • Remain open-minded and objective.
  • Use silence as a calming tool.
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings. Indicate that you can see he or she is upset.

Non-verbal behaviour

  • Keep your body language calm. Have a relaxed posture with unclenched hands and an attentive expression.
  • Position yourself so your exit from the situation is not blocked.
  • Position yourself at a right angle to the other person, not directly in front.
  • Allow adequate personal space —two to four feet.
  • Get on the same physical level as the other person: sit down if they are sitting, rather than standing over them.
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How to Write a Speech to Inform

If you’ve ever told your spouse about your day at work, or explained how to make an omelet, you already have experience giving an informative speech. An informative speech can be used to tell people about something you’re interested in or to explain how to do something. If that sounds easy, it’s because it is. Just choose your topic and make sure you know what you’re talking about.

  1. Choose a topic. You may have been given your subject. Alternatively, you should choose a topic you’re interested in, to give the best coverage of the subject. It may be obvious, but informative speeches inform. Don’t select a topic that requires you to give your opinion: that’s a persuasive speech.
  2. Narrow down your topic. Don’t try and cover every aspect of a subject. Pick a subject niche will allow you to thoroughly cover your topic in the time allotted.
  3. Develop your thesis. For example, “I am going to explain how to take apart a carburetor,” or “In this speech I’ll explain how to claim your pet as a tax deduction” could be good theses.
  4. Research your subject. If there’s one key to writing an informative speech it’s: know your topic. If you’re writing about something you know well you may not need much research. Otherwise, learn as much as possible about your subject. Take notes of crucial information as you go along.
  5. Consider your audience. In general, unless you know otherwise, assume your audience knows little about your topic. You may need to give background information and be careful about what jargon you use to explain your subject. However, if speech on carburetors is given to a group of auto mechanics, you can skip the background information.
  6. Outline your speech. List the information you wish to cover. Arrange it in a logical order. Decide what type of order best suits the subject: step-by-step, chronological, etc.
  7. Write the introduction. Your first words should grab the audience’s attention, with an anecdote or citation relevant to your topic. Then proceed to your thesis statement. If it’s a long or complicated speech, provide your audience with an overview of where you are going..
  8. Expand your outline to create the body of the speech. Include all the key points from your outline.
  9. Write your conclusion. A conclusion should summarize the main points of the speech. Your ending should refer back to the introduction to make the presentation cohesive.

Some guidelines to keep in mind when writing the informative speech:

  • Grab their attention – Give the audience a good reason to listen to you.
  • Make sure the audience understands – This refers back to point five above. Observe the audience as you speak. Do they look like they are following or are their eyes glazed over? It may be useful to insert breaks to ask if there are any questions.
  • Cover the basics – Who, when, what, why, where, how.
  • Emphasize the main ideas – Use basic speech-writing principles and use strong transitions between key points.
  • Repeat the main ideas – People need to hear something three times before they remember. State the main ideas in three different ways.
  • Be passionate about your topic – It’s easier to get people interested and informed by your topic, if you’re excited about what you have to say.

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