Mastering the Elevator Pitch

Mastering your elevator pitch is both an art and a science. It’s not a task you should take lightly, as your elevator pitch could make or break your career. Your elevator pitch is often your first impression to potential business partners, investors, clients, employers and all other professionals.

 

From time-tested guidelines to recent trends, here are the best practices for mastering your elevator pitch.

 

Timing Is Everything

Busy professionals can’t waste a minute of their precious time. We’ve all been told that an elevator pitch shouldn’t exceed 30-seconds, but is someone really going to intently listen for that long? Recent research suggests that an adult’s attention span averages only 8 seconds. Instead of trying to cram your entire resume into the shrinking amount of time someone will listen to you, shift your focus to what really matters. You want them to know what you do, what you need, and who you are.

 

Know Your Audience

Your elevator pitch is quite literally all about you, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tailored to your audience. Tell them what they should know in a way that will hold their attention. You want to leave the best, most memorable impression in the short amount of time you have. If the person you’re speaking to genuinely cares about what you’re saying, that’s immeasurably better than them just passively listening. They’re also more likely to remember you.

 

Showcase Your Expertise

The more trustworthy you prove yourself to be, the more likely someone will buy into what you’re pitching – even if what you’re pitching is yourself or your company. However, rattling off a list of accomplishments sounds boastful, so you should construct a 1-2 sentence story that demonstrates your expertise. It could be how you’re solving a large problem or why you’re uniquely qualified to do so.

 

Be Confident

Even if you are not actually confident, you need to act confident. If you’re anxious, that will come off in your pitch. As cliche as it sounds, you should practice your elevator pitch in front of a mirror or trusted friends. The only way to tell how others might perceive you in conversation is to see for yourself. In addition, repeatedly practicing your elevator pitch will make you more comfortable when delivering it to a real person.  

 

Although a lot is riding on the perfect elevator pitch, remember to take a deep breath and relax before starting the conversation. You’re probably more knowledgeable about your subject matter than the person you’re speaking to. If you’re lucky, you might get some follow-up questions from whomever you’re pitching to, and being prepared for those questions is just as important as the elevator pitch itself.

Networking Tips Everyone Needs in Business

Graham Zahoruiko Business Networking Tips

If you ask the average person on the street, networking is a daunting term. They associate it with intimidation and often manipulation. A common view of networking isn’t a positive one– but networking is one of the most beneficial aspects of business. Here are ways to take your networking game to the next level for you and your business.

Get Ahead

Go into any networking scenario with an attitude of giving before your receive, and you will find it to be incredibly valuable. First, you are establishing your brand in the marketplace as someone who care. Additionally you are demonstrating your value in your ability to provide innovative solutions. Generally in the world of business, before someone else is willing to give you something they want to know what benefits you bring to the table. This perspective is just being one step ahead of the game.

Listen First

Instead of throwing your elevator pitch at everyone you shake hands with, wait to talk until the other person has expressed who they are as well as their values. If you become known as a great listener, everyone will love being in your presence. You’ll also give yourself the opportunity to pinpoint what potential can come from this connection.

Be an Attracting Force

If you are trying too hard to meet people and connect with them, it will show. Instead, imagine your ideal self image and how you can position yourself as an attracting force– show them you have something they didn’t know they needed until you came along. Try to fulfill this image every time you are in networking contexts. The results may surprise you. You might just find that more and more people are approaching you, instead of the other way around. The difference is that you are radiating a qualities they can benefit from.

Confidence Without

When networking, you are naturally drawn towards people who carry themselves in a more professional manner. Those mannerisms include confidence. Professionals that show they are confident in themselves as well as their abilities are more approachable and attractive to other networkers.

Although there are no perfect measures to proper networking, by following these simple tactics and principles you will find that you are meeting and greeting new people in the business world around you in a more efficient way.

Here’s Why Employee Morale Matters More Than You Think

Employee morale is not just a passing trend or something that you should pay mere lip service towards. While there might be a distinction between work and home for you and your employees, employees need to feel cared for and supported in their position at your company. Low employee morale means that your workplace can feel hostile in many regards. The guide below will walk you through reasons why employee morale matters more than you think.

 

Health

People are focused on staying healthy in many ways, from what they eat to what they touch, the workplace is a major part of that daily routine. Work-related stress (as well as other factors) can trigger depression, anxiety, and much more. No workplace should push employees to the brink– making them feel worried and unwell. No company should ever expect a good output from an employee who is working under tremendous pressure. Improving employee morale can reduce work-related stress factors and increase the overall health of employees.

 

Productivity

Having people work more doesn’t mean that they’re going to be more productive. It might seem like they get more done, but in reality, the quality is inferior. Demanding employees to meet intense quotas means they’re going to be harried and unlikely to adhere to quality. Productivity should be championed in a proper manner. Employers should take pride in employees for not how fast they work but rather, how well they work.

 

Feeling Welcomed

The workplace needs to be distinct from other aspects of an employee’s life. There are things that shouldn’t be discussed at work, such as off-color and divisive topics. However, employees should feel comfortable in their work environment. In highest priority, proper treatment and respect of people in the workplace is a great way to improve morale. Managers should take the time to learn about their employees and invest in understanding them as individuals. Even if it’s just a casual acquaintanceship, a manager can forge a decent bond with employees and make them feel like they are known and cared about.

 

Retention

If employees aren’t satisfied in a workplace, they’re going to leave. While it may not be instantaneous, their dissatisfaction can easily be spotted. High turnover is a huge indicator of low morale. It’s crucial to promote employee morale in order to keep a business thriving. This isn’t just for the benefit of a company; it’s also for the benefit of the people.

The Hidden Aspects of Burnout

Graham Zahoruiko Burnout Blog

 

Many people who enter the business world are hard driving go-getters. They want to succeed, and are willing to push themselves in order to gain this success. In the business world, this type of attitude is generally applauded. After all, who wouldn’t want to go into business with someone who is hardworking and proven their business hustle?

 

As with all efforts, however, there is a price to pay. Even if someone enjoys their work, constant work and stress definitely has consequences. The tricky part about these consequences, however, is that many times they are cumulative. In other words, it takes a while for their true effects to be seen, and their source may not even be obvious because they’ve slowly increased over time. What is the actual source, however? The answer: burnout.

 

So what is burnout, exactly? In her article in Psychology Today, Paula Davis-Laack defines burnout as being out of sync with one or more aspects of your life chronically. Many times in business, this means that your work is taking over your entire life, and other aspects of who you are could be threatened and neglected. The article cites research that showed how work over-load was one of the common ways that people reach burnout, among other reasons.

 

In many ways, what relates the different paths to burnout is similar: chronic stress. Stress can come from a variety of sources, be it relationships, careers or negative encounters with people. With the level on connectedness that technology offers today, many people are simply overwhelmed by thousands of small stresses that occur over the course of a day. When days add up into weeks, and then months, the level of stress can build to a burnout. Burnout can have negative impacts on relationships and motivation due to its affect on your body and mind.

 

Because of how long burnout takes to develop, it can remain hidden for quite a while. Soon enough, however, the negative consequences of constant stress on your health and state of mind, as well as relationships, will start to show. At that point, its best to take a pause, relax and evaluate your life. Do you really need to be working 75 hour weeks? Are there toxic relationships you need to cut out or drastically modify? These types of questions can help recenter you on what is important and what is not.

Entrepreneur Tips to Make Your Holidays Stress-Free

Graham Zahoruiko Entrepreneurs Tips for Holidays

It’s that time of year where stores are blasting Christmas music over their sound system, decorations of reds, greens, and golds are everywhere you look from streetlights to the exterior of homes in your neighborhood. Along with the holiday festivities comes the fun of food, family, and gatherings. While the holidays truly are a happy time of year, many tend to overlook the stress that builds up throughout this season.

For business owners, entrepreneurs, and even employees, work during the end of the year can cause anxiety, sleepless nights, and rising tension along with pressure. Don’t let the stress of the holiday season keep you from ending the year on a great note. This guide below will provide you with a grounded approach to handling the holidays in a stress-free manner.

 

Take a Break

During the end of the year, businesses have high pressure and a demanding time frame of deadlines. It’s not unusual to see people over-extending themselves during each workday. While getting in as much work as you can may seem necessary, you could be hindering your own productivity. To avoid burnout, make sure you give yourself a break.

Your brain and body will ease from stress if you take a break even just for a few moments. Rather than working endless, non-stop hours until the project is done, give yourself a 5-minute break when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Taking frequent breaks is the key to productivity because it gives your mind a moment to refresh.

In addition to frequent breaks during your work day taking a moment to breath, use your PTO days if you have them. Not every company allows PTO to roll over to the following year, and you definitely shouldn’t let those days go to waste.

 

Keep Personal Life and Work Separate

You can easily become distracted during the work day when your personal life interferes. To avoid losing focus during your workweek, keep your personal life at home. Forget about the holiday parties you are invited to while working on a project. You can make time to schedule your personal parties and festivities after your work day. This may seem hard to do but here are a few solutions:

  • Don’t connect your personal calendar to your work calendar
  • Keep your personal phone off of your desk
  • Take a personal day if you need time to focus on life outside of work

While you gear up towards holiday festivities, don’t let the weight of stress drag you down. Be aware of your time, your effort, and your priorities and you will surely see that weight lifted for an enjoyable end of the year.

Maintaining Morale: A Great Reason To Change The Office Culture Around The Holidays

Graham Zahoruiko Office Culture

 

It’s that time of year where office happy hours and parties begin to take place as employers and employees gear up for the holidays. Rather than complain about the time and effort parties take, think about it from a new perspective. Office culture changes throughout the holidays and if office parties are done right, they can be a huge boost to employee morale.

 

Company Culture

A lot of companies like to talk about how they are different than other competitive businesses in their industry. One of their biggest bragging points often showcases their office culture and employee morale. If that is true, then they should have no problem incorporating a positive office culture for their employees– especially during the holidays. A holiday party is a great time to give everyone a taste of what makes their job great!

According to zip recruiter, holiday work parties are a great time to bring people together because it provides employees a time to take a break from their work and get to know their co-workers in a out-of-work-mode perspective. When employees have the opportunity to mingle in a more relaxed atmosphere, it can build their co-worker relationships and create stronger team bonding.

 

Meeting Others Who They Don’t Often Talk With

Holiday parties are a great time for people to speak with others who they do not necessarily come in contact with on a regular basis. The different departments within the company can all come together to celebrate the holidays with food, drinks, and non-work related conversations. After all of the hard work and time employees put into their jobs all year long, the holidays at the end of the year are the perfect time to take a break and celebrate.

 

A Chance To NOT Talk About Work

One of the best things about a holiday work party is that work is not the topic up for discussion. This brings fresh conversations allowing employees to get to know a different side to their co-workers. Employees shouldn’t spend this time worrying about their work. A break from work helps employees come back from burning out in their job. It’s great to see all of the different units of a company come together and just enjoy their time over food, drinks, and laughter.

5 Leadership Quotes Everyone Needs to Read

Graham Zahoruiko Leadership Quotes

Quotes are an always trending topic. People go to quotes for inspiration, to lighten the mood, and even to prove a point. 2017 is a new age with easy access to a digital world where hundred years worth of quotes are waiting at your fingertips. Here’s a list of various quotes that everyone can use in their lives, and what you should get out of them.

 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams

The 6th president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, brought this famous quote that shapes the way we view leadership. This shifting perspective opens our eyes to see that anyone of any kind of inspiration is considered a leader. When you are the reason someone else does an action of good, you are connected to that action in a form of leadership.

 

“Don’t find a fault, find a remedy” – Henry Ford

Leaders should be the last person to point fingers. Rather than wasting time trying to find out who to blame or the reasons things went wrong, leaders innovate to make things go right. Then they move on.

 

“A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.” – Mark Yarnell

Sometimes leaders have to get out of their comfort zones. Leadership is something that pushes people to do better and be better than they thought possible. Leaders are the people who take that first step off of the ledge and learn to fly.

 

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

One of the world’s most favorited influences, Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. said this quote to showcase just how leaders aren’t a solo concept. To be a great leader, you need a team. Without any followers, you wouldn’t be a leader. Leadership requires more than just one person. If you’re a good leader, you’re leading an entire team.

 

“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander” – Aristotle

One of the most important things to remember in any leadership position is that you were once a follower. If you’re a leader, remember that you were once in the same position as all of your followers. You can relate to their position and experiences. You can’t become a leader without being a follower first.

Entrepreneurship and Your Brand

Graham Zahoruiko Entrepreneurship and Your Brand

 

For any entrepreneurs working on getting their company, product, or service off the ground and into the household vocabulary of average working people, branding must be an indispensable part of your game plan, or else you’re doomed to disappear into obscurity.

When entrepreneurs, marketers, and media agents talk about branding, they’re not necessarily just talking about the name, although the name does play an important role. Consider what pops into your head when you hear the phrase, “Burt’s Bees.” One of the most popular cosmetics and toiletries brands in the US, Burt’s Bees boasts a strong brand that includes more than just its unique name. The immediate connotation of the name “Burt’s Bees” elicits the story of its founder, a beekeeper from Connecticut, it’s distinctive yellow packaging, its use of organic and natural ingredients, and its efficacy at reducing dry skin and lips.

By contrast, consider what pops into your head when you hear the name of a celebrity or public figure, say, Oprah. Again, while she has products, her brand includes more than just her physical appearance. Oprah’s brand includes the way she makes people feel, her positive attitude, her financial prowess, and her social activism. All these aspects that come to mind differentiate Oprah from other wealthy Black talk show hosts in your mind — and it’s those elements of a brand that Entrepreneurs need to harness to ensure success for years to come.

For a company to establish a strong brand, it needs to meet two main criteria. First, it must make it clear what and who it is: What are you selling? To whom are you selling it? How will your life be better after buying the good or service your company is selling? Often, this is accomplished with excellent messaging, clear and concise advertising, and visual cues. Natural foods and cosmetics, for instance, usually call on greens and browns to evoke trees and fields in the buyer’s mind.

In addition to establishing who you are, brands also help to establish who you are not — that is, how are you different and/or better than others in your market or industry? Why should someone choose your product or service over that of your competition? Is your delivery better? Is your quality higher? Are your practices more ethical? Your branding needs to make it clear to your buyers that you offer something different enough that they should forgo their usual habits and pivot towards yours instead.

In today’s hyper-connected world, relevance and engagement are your friends. Many brands have harnessed the power of social media to bring internet trends into brick space and turn likes into sales. Others have turned to internal policies like fair trade suppliers and equitable benefits for employees of all genders and made their HR practices an integral part of their public brand. Still more base their brand on their intimate knowledge of the market and use their position as a thought leader to draw in buyers.

As you delve deeper and deeper into your business plan, always be conscious of your brand, from your LinkedIn header to the copy on your website.

5 Barriers to Breach: Don’t be a Good Leader, Be a Great Leader

Graham Zahoruiko Barriers to Break

There are key factors that distinguish a good leader from being a great leader. Leaders are everywhere you look. Your boss, your friend, your CEO, and even your dog could be a leader of any environment. Great leaders successfully manage their day to day tasks, engage with their followers, and embody a high level of credibility among those who know and follow them. Why wouldn’t you follow a credible leader?

In every area of life, there are aspects that hinder people from living up to their full potential. Whether you consider yourself to be a good leader or not, take a look at what could be your barriers to going from good to great.

 

5. Failure

Failure poses as a big red stop sign whenever anyone reaches a certain point in their mistakes. It can be hard, extremely difficult even, to face up to failures and mistakes made in a leadership role. Without acknowledging failure, leaders could potentially set themselves back or worse, damage their reputation. Great leaders accept and embrace failure. When something goes wrong, it teaches leaders how to make things go right.

 

4. Delegation

Do you have a tight grip on control? Let go. Good leaders appoint responsibilities. Great leaders delegate tasks. Perhaps you need to come to the realization that one person can’t possible take on every role on a team. You must have team players. Whenever tasks and responsibilities arise, ensure there’s even delegation. Not only is this importance for the leader themselves, but it can give a sense of importance to the team or members of the office as well.

 

3. Communication

Time in the spotlight for leaders is completely unavoidable. Leaders have a presence to fulfil to others. Communication is a key part of standing in front of a company, a team, or even followers. When it comes to communicating with your audience, there is more to it than just speaking. To be a great leader with good communication, you have to take time to not only speak, but also to listen.

Communication should be clear and specific. You can get personal with your audience, hear what they have to say, and then take into account the communication between both yourself and other parties involved. Have an open mind when communicating and you’ll notice improved leadership skills in yourself.

 

2. Motivation

Lack of motivation can ruin a team. It’s easy for leaders and team members to burnout and even shut down from stress or having too much on their plate. As a great leader, you must serve as a motivator. Give reason for people to follow you, but also give reason for people to take action. Your behaviors should inspire motivation among your audience.

 

1. Confidence

Confidence is key. The number one thing that makes a leader go from being just good to great is believing not only in themselves, but also in what they do. True leadership does not exist without confidence. In the same way, a leader can have too much confidence and portray an arrogant attitude. This also hinders leaders from becoming great. While it’s vital that you believe in yourself, believing in your followers should also be in equal priority.

Allow this to serve as the foundation to your leadership. Self confidence is more than a skill one can attain. It’s an asset to reaching your full potential.

 

 

An Era of Empowered Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

Graham Zahoruiko Era of Freelance

On the other hand, entrepreneurs are also thriving in a desirable career. Entrepreneurs collect investors and other money in order to make and maintain a business. Entrepreneurs do more than just running a business. They know how to leverage finances, implement strategic business plans and specialize in leadership and management skills.

With the digital world becoming widely more accessible and easily used, freelancers and entrepreneurs have an advantage. In the 21rst Century, we have an era of empowered freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Utilizing Social Media

Freelancers are all about social media, as most of their job revolves around it. Popular freelance jobs can be done remotely on a laptop virtually anywhere with an internet connection. Without social media, some freelancers wouldn’t have a job. Social media management, graphic design, digital web managers are just a few of the many freelance jobs that can utilize social media. Hiring jobs along those lines are booming lately as people recognize the importance of their online presence.

Businesses can utilize social media. Social media allows any business to grow their audience globally through various profiles. Not only can their grow their audience, but the can gain larger customer support and even increase their revenue through social media. With links to their websites and products, any consumer can find a business through social media and shop. 

The Economy

Entrepreneurs have a mutual goal of making a profit. They organize an idea, launch a startup or manage a business all to reach the goal of increasing revenue and earning a profit. Reaching out to investors is a large portion of what entrepreneurs do. Entrepreneurs are driving the economy and fueling its growth. As their business grows, so does the opportunity for jobs, including the hiring of freelancers. In today’s society, entrepreneurship nurtures the environment to drive business to success.

Today’s economy offers an empowerment to both entrepreneurs and freelancers. Working remotely, starting your own business and partnering with investors is easier now than it ever has been. If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, you’re in a great position in the world today.