Seven Standout Ways To Attract New Clients

Customers are the lifeblood of any company. When you have a steady stream of new customers, you can grow your business and fulfill your company vision. However, many salespeople struggle to attract new clients. They’re often not sure where to start. To discover the best strategies for winning new customers, writer Julie Bawden-Davis explored responses from American Express OPEN Forum members.

Today, we highlight Bawden-Davis’ roundup of the best tips for growing your client base.

1. Identify your ideal client. It’s difficult to secure new clients if you don’t know the type of consumers you seek. OPEN Forum community member Nicole Beckett, president of Premier Content Source, says it’s important to have a crystal-clear picture of who you’re targeting. Know what makes this audience angry, upset or worried, and think of how you can make their lives a little easier.

2. Discover where your customer lives. When you know who you want to target, identify where you can find them, whether that’s online or offline. Then you can create messages designed for your targeted customers and reach them where they hang out.

3. Have a solid understanding of your business. It’s important to know your business inside and out if you want to attract new clients. Bawden-Davis says when you know your product and service backward and forward, that fact shines through. Those who might be interested in your offerings can see your knowledge and expertise and are more likely to seek your assistance.

4. Position yourself as the answer. The first step to gaining loyal customers is to give them a reason to meet you and try your services. Determine their pain points and clearly demonstrate how you can provide a solution.

5. Create messages designed for your target market. When you want to attract new clients, reach out and encourage them to take action, whether that’s opting in to your email list or requesting a free consultation. Look for ways to add value and create compelling messages that entice prospects to want to work with you.

6. Build partnerships. Consider teaming up with other businesses that offer complementary services to yours. This synergy can go a long way at building your client base. It all comes down to relationships. The stronger relationships you build with other business owners and customers, the more likely they are to tell others about you.

7. Follow up. To bring in business, it’s important to always close the loop. Set follow-up tasks and execute your plan. Don’t let leads and great conversations go to waste because you fail to follow up. It doesn’t take much time or effort to check in with your leads, and this simple step can lead to more clients.

Although building a robust client list can seem like a daunting task, use the tips above to succeed at attracting new clients.

Source: Julie Bawden-Davis is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in many publications, such as American Express OPENForum, The LA TimesBetter Homes & GardensFamily Circle and Parade.com.

What To Do When You Make A Mistake

Whether you make a small error or commit a massive blunder, finding out you’re wrong can sometimes feel like a threat to your self-identity. Researchers find that in both our words and deeds, we are constantly expressing how we see ourselves—and how we want others to see us. This is called “identity claiming.” When we’re wrong, we feel the pain of realizing the identity we claimed for ourselves—an expert, the go-to resource—has suffered a blow.

When you make a mistake about something only you know about, you can reconcile it privately. However, when leaders make a mistake after rallying the troops, they’re faced with an “identity granting” problem. You may have seen yourself as knowledgeable, but if those around you no longer view you as intelligent, the identity you chose for yourself hasn’t been affirmed by others.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Deborah Grayson Riegel, principal at The Boda Group, wrote about how to get ahead of the situation when you realize you’ve made a mistake. She says it’s important to talk with those who are impacted by your decision, including your boss, your team, colleagues, direct reports and clients. Each of these conversations should have three parts. Today, we share Riegel’s thoughts on how you should approach these conversations.

Removing word with pencil’s eraser, Erasing mistake

Take responsibility. Never be afraid to say, “I was wrong.” Riegel says avoid making comments such as, “mistakes were made” or “it didn’t turn out the way I had anticipated.” This deflects or minimizes your personal contribution. Instead, it’s better to offer a brief explanation without making excuses. She suggests acknowledging that your error negatively impacted others and be willing to listen without being defensive to others’ recounting of that impact. Never interrupt and be quick to apologize.

Address what you need to do right now. When you make a mistake, don’t ignore it or hope it goes away. It’s crucial to take ownership of the blunder and take action immediately. This remains core to any crisis communication, even if your mistake doesn’t constitute a major crisis. Riegel suggests telling others what you’re doing right now to remedy the mistake and distinguish between the parts that can be fixed and those that can’t. Include what you’re doing to address the substantive impact as well as the relational impact of being wrong. Always remain open to feedback about your next steps and over-communicate your plans.

Share what you will do differently next time. It’s tough being wrong and you don’t want to make the same mistake again. Riegel says that being wrong without self-reflection is irresponsible, even if you rarely take to reflect on yourself and how you can change and grow. She encourages you to take some time contemplating your contribution to the situation and how others contributed as well. Then tell those who were impacted by your mistake what you learned about yourself in the process and what you plan to do differently in the future. You should also commit to asking others for frequent feedback to ensure you stay on the path of the commitments you made.

Mistakes at work happen. By responding appropriately, you can learn from the situation and prevent it from happening again.

Source: Deborah Grayson Riegel is a principal at The Boda Group, a leadership and team development firm. She also teaches management communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Five Ways To Generate Sales With Email Signatures

Take a look at your email. What does your signature include? Is it simply your name and contact information? If so, you’re missing an opportunity to boost sales and increase conversions. Most companies don’t optimize their email signatures, which allow them to get in front of prospects in a non-intrusive way. HubSpot research shows that nearly all (86 percent) of professionals prefer to communicate via email for business purposes. Forward-thinking sales leaders don’t want to let that white space at the bottom of the email go unused. They see it as an opportunity to turn an individual business email into a marketing and lead generation machine.

Bobby Narang, co-founder and VP of sales for Opensense, says that making small changes to your email signature can dramatically improve your conversion rate. Today, we share Narang’s five practical ways salespeople can use their signature to generate new sales.

1. Pair your work calendar and email signature. If responsiveness is one of the most important characteristics of a good salesperson, why not make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you? Whether that’s sharing your best contact information when on the road, your travel schedule or office hours, or an automated way to schedule a meeting, pairing your email signature with your work calendar makes it easy for prospects to reach you with questions and concerns.

2. Promote online and live events. Narang says that email signatures are a perfect place to promote online and live events. It’s easy to include links to registration, discounted tickets or other appealing graphics to spark interest. Just be sure to keep the information current and remove past events.

3. Educate and inform. Before they ever speak to a sales rep, most prospects already know which direction they want to go. This makes a solid sales strategy even more important. You can use your email signature to educate a prospect on your market or pain points and why your company can help. You can do this via links to webinars, videos, ebooks and whitepapers. Use accurate and personalized language, which can significantly impact conversions and help you capture valuable customer data for future marketing campaigns.

4. Let your customers do the talking. Use your email signature to link to a customer case study or testimonial. This is a great way to build credibility with potential customers. Consider including a powerful review quote or show an overall rating based on reviews. Or, you could simply link to your reviews.

5. Share company updates. If you want to share industry news or make an interesting company announcement, include it in your email signature. If you have new arrivals, you can include a link to the landing page showcasing those products.

If your email signature isn’t doing much to promote your brand, communicate your value and bring in new business, it doesn’t take much to make a change. Your email signature can be an untapped resource. Follow the tips above to maximize the power of your email signature.

Source: Bobby Narang serves as co-founder and VP of sales for Opensense, a leading enterprise email signature marketing and management platform. Narang has a passion for evangelizing cutting-edge technology solutions that disrupt the old way of

Why You Need To Be A Needs-Based Salesperson

When you work in sales, it’s never enough to simply know the features and benefits of what you’re selling. You can be ready to address any questions your prospect might have and you might have a polished pitch ready to go, but to achieve the most success, you must be able to identify the needs of each potential customer.

According to Kevin Gardner, a business consultant for InnovateBTS, a needs-based salesperson is the gateway between brands and consumers. He says it’s critical to understand how sales are changing from both a professional and consumer’s standpoint. Here, we share Gardner’s three tips for becoming a needs-based salesperson.

1. Know that it’s okay to go off-script. Gardner says that one of the reasons salespeople are so valuable is that they can provide a personalized touch to the marketing process. While it’s good to have a general pitch in mind when presenting a product, a needs-based approach to marketing encourages you to go off-script. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that encourage thoughtful responses from your clients instead of questions that allow them to respond with a simple yes or no. By asking the right questions, you open the door to a conversation, which creates a connection and leads to a greater chance of conversion. Show your own interest in the client’s needs and demonstrate how your product can offer a solution.

2. Focus on education instead of information. Customers can get a basic rundown of a product’s core features anywhere. Don’t just give a generic spiel as this won’t win over a client. Instead, Gardner recommends taking a needs-based approach, which focuses on a client’s individual likes, dislikes and specific challenges. This helps them take a new perspective of their issue through the lens of your product. Remember not to simply talk about what your business can do for a customer – show them why it matters.

3. Embrace digital media. Don’t show up to a meeting with only business cards and printed handouts. Instead, aim to present facts and figures authentically to potential clients. If you can combine your brand’s social media and digital assets in your presentation, you can demonstrate a sense of brand awareness and continuity that shows your clients you have something valuable to offer. The goal is to leave a lasting impression in the customer’s mind and encourage them to explore further.

By tapping into your customer’s needs, you can become an invaluable asset to your team and organization. Although it may appear difficult to compete with customers who want to buy online, when it comes to closing a deal, statistics prove otherwise. An app or website only lists the facts, while a salesperson can adjust his or her approach for each individual client. People want to work with other people, especially when they are making a large purchase. Consider the points above to ensure you’re a needs-based salesperson for your clients.

Source: Kevin Gardner works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers.

How To Run A Candidate Vetting Process

Hiring the right people for your team can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Glassdoor estimates that the average American company spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee and that the process often takes more than 50 days to complete. Managers face the additional complexity of trying to determine which candidates are most qualified tosucceed in the open role. Developing a fair, inclusive and efficient recruitment strategy is a must for any business seeking new talent.

HubSpot writer Caroline Forsey says an effective vetting process should contain a few critical elements. We explore the key components of the vetting process in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Write an accurate job description. It’s worth taking the time to create an accurate and compelling job description. When you do, you’re laying the groundwork for you and the candidate to ensure a mutually beneficial fit from the start. Try to focus on the attributes you desire. If you’re hiring a new sales rep, for example, you might list “customer-focus mentality” as a top priority. Forsey says it’s also important that your job description appeals to a diverse audience. Diverse teams tend to perform better and come up with more creative ideas.

Use software to review applications. In a vetting process, you can filter out candidates who don’t have the skills to succeed in the role. It’s important to vet an applicant’s resume, cover letter and other materials submitted in the application process. Forsey recommends checking out a blind search system in which resumes are scanned by software, ensuring that resumes are automatically sorted by skill.

Set up a video interview before a phone call. Video interviews that prompt candidates with questions and record their responses is another great step to include in your candidate vetting process. In high-volume roles, watching video responses is an effective way for hiring mangers to determine if they’d like to proceed with a candidate. By using video interviews, you can limit the amount of time you spend on phone calls trying to find the right person.

Use other assessment tools to evaluate. Before you bring someone on board full-time, you want to ensure he or she will succeed in the role. One way to do this is by offering initial assessments. For customer-facing positions, offer role plays. If you’re hiring someone for your marketing team, consider having candidates develop a pitch. An initial assessment allows you to see if the candidate has the skills you’re looking for.

Stick to a process. From background checks to assessment tools, it’s important to remain consistent in every step of the vetting process. Use the same background check or pre-screening techniques on every candidate and be sure not to require any additional information that doesn’t apply to the job. Forsey notes that a vetting process is only effective if it’s consistent and replicable. By establishing a process and sticking with it, you can effectively review candidates and determine which ones are best qualified to advance to next steps.

If you have an open spot on your team, use the tactics above to help determine a mutual fit for your team and candidates.

Source: Caroline Forsey is a staff writer for HubSpot’s marketing blog and has been voted one of Express Writer’s and Buzzsumo’s “Top 100 Content Marketers of 2018.”

What Meditation Can Teach You About Sales

Those who take a few minutes for mindful meditation each day experience many benefits, from greater self-awareness to better emotional health. For salespeople, meditating can lead to improved listening skills, better mental resilience, slower reactions for improved critical thinking, and reduced stress, which leads to better overall health and more time for selling.

If you don’t regularly meditate or you’ve never tried sitting in silence for a short time, it’s worth checking out. You don’t even need to carve out a big chunk of time—just a few minutes will do the trick. Alex Kremer, a speaker and account executive who has worked at Microsoft and Docusign, recently meditated for 365 days in a row and discovered three big takeaways from this daily practice. Here, we explore Kremer’s findings and how meditation can help you achieve more success in sales.

Lesson No. 1: Let the pressure be heard. With quotas and deadlines looming, Kremer admits that the pressure salespeople sometimes feel can be crushing. Rather than trying to tamp down that tension, Kremer learned to accept it. He found that when he turned toward the tension, he could see the gift in it. It’s healthier for salespeople to acknowledge job stress than keep pushing it down and grinding it out.

Lesson No. 2: Acknowledge without judgment. Many of us are guilty of overthinking and wondering how we ended up at a certain conclusion. Through meditation, Kremer learned to become aware of the overthinking and decided to simply listen to his mind and body. By being more mindful, Kremer says he has become more empathetic with prospects during conversations. He can more easily pick up on tensions and nuances. Noticing these things without judging takes practice, but in the long run, Kremer says it allows for stronger relationships to form.

Lesson No. 3: Stop the burnout before it happens. When you work in sales, the calls, e-mails, negotiations and meetings seem to stack up without an end in sight. While you might be used to powering through, Kremer suggests a different approach: take a step back. When you feel your stress mounting and you feel you are approaching your breaking point, pause for a moment. Take a few deep breaths. Center yourself. Level your nerves before getting back to work.

What started as a year-long practice for Kremer has become a lifelong journey. He recommends starting at five minutes of meditation every day and seeing where that takes you. A variety of apps offer guided meditation, or you can simply quiet your mind, breathe in for four seconds and exhale for five seconds. If a guided or structured meditation isn’t right for you, Kremer recommends simply sitting quietly for two minutes with no book, television, laptop or people to interrupt this dedicated time.

Whether you start your day with a morning meditation, squeeze in some quiet time on your lunch break or fit in some mindfulness before bed, meditation can do wonders for your stress levels and productivity in the workplace.

Source: Alex Kremer is a speaker and an account executive who has experience working at Microsoft and Docusign.

Nine Bad Sales Habits To Break

Highly successful salespeople have developed some stellar habits. They didn’t become one of their organization’s top reps by good luck. They have honed their craft and become the best at what they do. On the flip side, many sales reps struggle to develop winning habits. Or, maybe they remain stuck in old practices that no longer generate sales. Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you connect with prospective customers the right way and provide real value in order to close the most deals. It pays to take a step back and reflect on sales habits that might be harming your success.

Marketing and social media professional James Meincke has identified nine bad sales habits that hinder a salesperson’s ability to close deals.

1. Trying to sell to everyone. Don’t make as many calls as possible and hope that you land a few clients. That’s not effective. Meincke asserts that it’s much better to target your sales pitches to companies that are a good fit for what you’re selling.

2. Sending generic e-mails. Considering that most people receive close to 100 business-related e-mails each day, it’s no secret that e-mail overload is a staggering problem. When you send a sales e-mail that is clearly from a template, you make it all too easy for the recipient to click “delete.” Instead, aim to personalize your e-mails to increase your chances of getting a response.

3. Calling without conducting any research first. Don’t waste your prospect’s time by asking questions that can easily be researched. Before you dial their number, research the company and contact person. Use this information to inform your approach. By asking customized questions, you position yourself as a consultative partner.

4. Still using BANT. For nearly six decades, BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Time) has been used as a tool to qualify prospects. However, the problem remains that this technique focuses on the seller’s needs. When using BANT, sales reps are essentially asking questions to determine if the prospect is worth their time. Don’t continue using this old-school approach. Meincke says the sales process-including qualification—should always be customer-focused. Make sure you put the customer’s needs before your own.

5. Overly stating someone’s name. You may think it’s a good thing to keep saying a prospect’s name to prove you actually know the person. However, it ends up coming off as cheesy and could potentially cost you the sale.

6. Pretending you know everything. Prospects know when you’re making up an answer. It’s best to admit when you don’t know the answer to a question and commit to getting back to the prospect as soon as possible.

7. Sending a follow-up e-mail simply to ask for a status update. Nobody likes getting those “just checking in” e-mails. Every time you reach out to your clients and prospects, you should be adding value. Give them a link to a great article or provide an interesting piece of research. Never just “check in.”

8. Giving up on a deal too soon. Sales, especially large ones, take time. Expect to talk to multiple people and complete many processes before closing a deal. Remain persistent and the work you invest will eventually pay off.

9. Asking prospects to print and sign a PDF. Don’t expect customers to shoulder all the work of printing, signing and scanning the documents you need. Invest in a tool that allows contracts to be signed digitally.
Are you guilty of one (or a few) of these bad sales habits? If so, commit to building better sales habits one at a time.

Source: James Meincke is senior marketing manager at CloserIQ and a freelance social media strategist.

How To Conquer Your Nerves Before A Big Presentation

Making a presentation can be nerve-wracking. Whether you’re pitching a potential client or giving a speech at a local event, getting up in front of others for public speaking can get your adrenaline pumping and induce feelings of anxiousness. You might worry that you’ll mess up and everyone will see. While this sweaty-palmed, heart-racing nervousness isn’t the most comfortable feeling, it helps to know that it is an ingrained reaction. Increased adrenaline helped our ancestors flee or fight in dangerous situations. It also helps to know that you can overcome presentation anxiety.

Nancy Duarte, a communication expert featured in FortuneForbesFast Company and many other publications, discusses some ways to conquer presentation anxiety.

Take time to properly prepare. To ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible on presentation day, your first step is to prepare. Rehearse what you’re going to say. Envision the audience. Anticipate tough questions. Pretend you’re standing on stage or at the front of the room and invest some time practicing your material. Nerves are often triggered by surprise, and you’ll benefit by making your talk a more predictable event.

Visualize a great presentation. The brain can’t always distinguish between real experiences and imaged ones, so take advantage of that fact. Picture every minute of the presentation in great detail. Imagine when the meeting is turned over to you and you step up to introduce yourself. How will you feel? What will you say to greet your audience? What will the audience look like? If you thought you were well prepared, this technique will make you feel ultra-prepared. After you give your imagined presentation, you will feel like you have done it before and the real deal will be an encore.

Embrace uncertainty. Some things are just beyond your control. You might trip going up on stage. The microphone might not work. Your PowerPoint might not load. Rather than pretend you have total control over a situation, trust that you have done all you can to prepare and leave it at that. The chances of your worst fears coming true are slim. If you happen to goof up during your presentation, roll with it. You can’t control how the audience reacts, but you can steer them in the right direction by remaining cool and calm.

Learn to be okay with blank faces. Your audience won’t always nod their heads or chuckle at your jokes. Oftentimes, they’ll just sit there. Accept that groups of people, no matter the size, don’t always make sounds of agreement such as “uh-huh.” They’re not judging your presentation but likely trying to be polite and listen to what you have to say. Or, they might be in a world of their own. Don’t let anyone’s body language or blank face faze you. Just focus on what you rehearsed and keep going.

Whether you’re stepping into the boardroom or stepping up to the podium, use the tips above to overcome nervous feelings before your next big presentation.

Source: Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, LA Times and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture.

Watch For These Marketing Trends In 2019

To maximize your marketing in the year ahead, it’s important to know how to connect with your audience in the ever-evolving marketing landscape. With new technologies and new behaviors impacting the effectiveness of your marketing, it pays to consider the past year’s patterns and note emerging trends.
Here, author Deep Patel shares some of the biggest marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2019.

A shifting marketing funnel. Instead of creating a marketing funnel that accepts anyone, move toward niche audiences. Contacting people and businesses who are interested in your products and services saves you money and time.

Content rises in importance. People crave phenomenal content. In the year ahead, think about how you can create articles or videos that inspire your audience, provoke their thoughts, appeal to their emotions, or excite them. Don’t just write a post to write it; craft a piece with a goal of getting readers to share and engage with it. When you do, you open the door for two-way communication, which ultimately helps you build trust.

AI’s growth continues. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help you target potential leads faster and can perform all kinds of tasks such as monitoring consumers’ online patterns. No matter how you choose to take advantage of AI in the year ahead, it’s smart to pay attention to how your audience reacts to it and whether your competitors use it.

An uptick in chatbots. In 2019, these AI helpers aren’t going anywhere. Grand View Research reports that the worldwide chatbot market will reach $1.25 billion by 2025, growing 24.3 percent annually. Plus, your customers likely want to use chatbots instead of calling someone or sending an e-mail. Nearly half (45 percent) of end users prefer using chatbots for customer service.

Consumers pay more attention to security. People want to know how businesses handle their information, so ensure that your company’s security is thorough. In an era of hacks, leaks and theft, make sure to discuss your security with customers. What are you doing to ensure the safest business experience?

Voice search gets louder. If you haven’t yet explored voice search, make 2019 the year to get ahead of the game by making sure you’re optimized for voice searches. Search Engine Land predicts voice-based commerce sales will soar to $40 billion by 2022.

Visual searches take off. Voice searches will be huge this year and so will visual searches thanks to new camera technology that allows people to find information about something simply by snapping a photo. To take advantage of visual searches, make sure you include Pinterest in your marketing efforts and optimize your website for SEO.

A greater focus on Gen Z. Members of the second-youngest generation crave authenticity and prefer socially responsible businesses. As they get older, their buying power increases. Make sure your marketing reflects what matters to this group to best connect with them in 2019.

Influencers become more personal. While celebrities used to dominate influencer marketing, consumers now lean toward their peers to decide what to buy. Instead of celebrity marketing, many brands are turning to real people (micro-influencers) because people trust individuals like them.

To win at marketing in the year ahead, don’t keep doing what you have always done. Keep an eye on emerging technologies, methods and patterns to maximize your marketing efforts.

Source: Deep Patel is the author of A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success. The book was dubbed the No. 1 best business book in 2016 by Success Magazineand named the best book for entrepreneurs in 2016 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

What Leaders Should Know About the Rumor Mill

My company recently announced an organizational change. An entire department that used to report to one senior leader was told it would now report to a different senior leader. The funny thing is that when the change was announced, the reaction among employees was, “So what?”

The reason for the apathetic attitude? This rumor had already been circulating around the company for months, so by the time the actual move took place, people no longer had a reaction to it.

In her recent Forbes article, Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman, an expert body language coach, stated that 70 percent of communication that takes place within an organization comes through the grapevine, yet many senior leaders are unaware that it exists or how it operates. In this case, the “grapevine” is the informal and unsanctioned communication network found in every organization.

Goman interviewed more than 1,100 employees in a wide variety of companies and industries regarding the power of the grapevine.

1. Rumor trumps the actual source. Goman’s interviews revealed that if there were conflicting messages—one delivered during a speech from the company leader and another spread through the grapevine—more people (47 percent) would believe the grapevine, and only 42 percent would believe senior leadership. (The remaining 11 percent were undecided.)

2. Put it in writing. Goman found that putting something in writing tends to give the content more validity. When she asked if people were more likely to believe an official newsletter (online or print) versus the rumor mill, most respondents (51 percent) favored the newsletter, with only 40 percent placing more faith in the grapevine.

3. Direct supervisors were the most trusted sources of information. Due to the more personal relationship that exists between employee and supervisor, it wasn’t surprising that 74 percent said they would believe their boss. Still, many stipulated that it would depend on the quality of that relationship.

4. Certain situations escalate the rumor mill. In her interviews, Goman discovered there were some conditions when you should expect the rumor mill to kick into high gear: These conditions include:

  • When formal communication is lacking
  • When the situation is ambiguous or uncertain (as in times of major change)
  • When there is no sanctioned channel for venting
  • When there is a culture of silos and internal competition
  • When the communicator’s body language (gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice) contradicts his/her verbal message
  • When there is a heavy-handed attempt by management to kill the grapevine

5. Multiple sources of truth. In Goman’s study, 57 percent believed the rumor mill was accurate, but what tends to happen most often in the workplace is that people believe a “blend” of what they hear, rather than making a clear choice between more formal communication and the grapevine.

Companies are a combination of formal hierarchy and informal networks, but most communication strategies consider only the formal organization. While we will always need authentic speeches from senior leaders, for example, it’s just as important to understand the power and influence from the complex web of social interactions and informal networks within our organizations. Identify the most influential people who operate within it and listen to the information being communicated by them.

Source: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an international speaker and a body language coach who helps politicians, business executives and sales teams align their verbal and nonverbal messages for greater impact and professional success.