The proper business handshake

[To comment:]

This is Technique No. 108 from Litwin’s The ABCs of Strategic Communication and More ABCs of Strategic Communication (available on with free Priority mail shipping).

There are five basic types of handshakes most of us have experienced
none is correct.
Try this for success:
The protocol for handshaking is simple to learn:Walk up to the person you want to meet. Look into their eyes, smile and extend you hand.Offer a warm, firm, palm-to-palm handshake.

When you proffer your hand to a stranger or a distant acquaintance, simultaneously say, “My name is……( use both first and last names ). This way you eliminate the awkward moment of the forgotten name. The person being greeted is often relieved at being reminded, and will usually respond with their full name, which will in turn relieve you.

Both men and women should rise to shake hands. Rising is a compliment – it shows energy and eagerness to connect.

Initiating a proper handshake will make an incredibly positive impression. You will be perceived as a person who is knowledgeable, possesses excellent social skills and has leadership capabilities.

An excellent handshake shows your charm and self-confidence. It becomes an integral part of your style.

Knuckle Cruncher
This type of person is earnest but nervous. While meaning to convey warmth through a tight grip of your hand, the person only causes you pain. The impression created is definitely that of
a person who lacks sensitivity.

Dead Fish Handshaker
This type of person, who places a limp, lifeless hand in yours, is sending a negative message. While the knuckle cruncher hurts you, at least there is a desire to express a real feeling. You are left
with the impression of this person having a lackluster personality impression of this person having a lackluster personality.

This handshake is overly eager but also insecure. This person doesn’t know when to quit, almost as if stalling because of not knowing what to do next. They keep on vigorously pumping
your hand up and down – and with it your entire arm. You may not feel pain but you certainly feel foolish.

Techniques to Succeed:

  • Sanitary Handshaker

This person will barely put three or four fingers in your hand-and then withdraw them quickly, almost as if afraid of catching a dread disease. They appear timid and sheepish.

Condolence Handshaker
This is the person who comes across as too familiar, clasping your right arm or hand, and perhaps attempting to hug you. This behavior may be appreciated at a funeral, but it comes across as
condescending and inappropriate.

Source: The Canadian Progress Club – Bob Lockhart – National President Elect

[To comment:]

5 Easy Ways To Enhance Communication at Work — Communication Strategies from “Entrepreneur”

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

This week’s blog comes from:

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

Anita Zinsmeister, President —
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey 

By Han-Gwon Lung

Co-founder of Tailored Ink

There’s a fantastic video on YouTube of babies vigorously talking to one another. It’s impossible to watch that video without cracking a smile. They’re trying so hard, but they just can’t quite seem to get their meaning across.

It’s a lot less funny when it’s two grown adults yelling at one another in the office. Or, even worse, a whole team failing to communicate in a healthy way and devolving into “Let’s see who can shout the loudest and interrupt the most often.”

Communication is tough. Ninety-seven percent of of employees and executives agree that a lack of team alignment negatively impacts performance, and 86 percent believe that ineffective communication leads to workplace failures.

Since Tailored Ink is still small, communication hasn’t been too difficult. At a startup, everyone knows everything. But as we scale, keeping in touch with everyone will become harder and harder.

Related: 3 Secrets to Effective Communication During Rapid Business Growth

If you are struggling with team communication, try out these five ways to enhance communication:

1. Get it down in writing.

The first rule of office communication: Don’t expect anyone to remember what you say to them, even if you are the boss.As our personal and work lives become increasingly digital and filled with online distractions, human attention spans have gotten shorter and shorter. At last count, the average adult has an attention span of eight seconds — worse than a goldfish. On top of that, stress negatively impacts our short-term memory.

If you have a particularly old school manager who refuses to write things down and expects you to take dictation, do just that. Write down what they say as soon as they say it so you can hold them accountable for things they didn’t say.

2. Know your personality types.

Another great way to communicate better both in one-on-one interactions as well as team meetings is to know the Myer’s Briggs personality types of each of your coworkers.

For example, I’m an INTJ (“The Architect”). The “I” in “INTJ” stands for “Introversion”, and if I’m to be totally honest, I prefer as few in-person meetings and phone calls as possible. My partner, on the other hand, is the exact opposite and we’ve had to compromise to figure out the right communication balance.

Related: Workers Without Borders: Managing the Remote Revolution

If you’re rolling your eyes right now, or if you believe that personality tests are inaccurate, science disagrees with you. While it is true that our personalities can change slightly through life via learned behaviors, big personality traits like introversion and extroversion are determined at birth, and are based on how you process dopamine.

In other words, don’t try to force someone to communicate the wayyou do. They could literally be hardwired differently.

3. Have an open-door policy.

We’ve all worked at corporations or cubicle farms where managers in corner offices always keep the door closed, and can be visited by appointment only. One of my managers was so ornery during work that she would snap at anyone who distracted her in a shared office space.

Guess what? A closed door is like the Black Death of team communication. Leaders set the tone and culture of their teams, so if a manager is inscrutable and impossible to pin down for a chat, the whole team clams up in turn. No one will have the confidence to speak to anyone, the office will become as quiet as a library, and morale will plummet (along with productivity).

Instead, keep your door open. Just do it. Even though it may lead to a few more distractions, few employees will abuse an open-door policy. And you’ll be amazed at the conversations you never had with people you thought you knew.

4. Do a daily stand-up meeting.

In what feels like another life, I interned at an indie game studio. And what stood out to me the most (aside from the awkward coders and the whimsical break room) was the daily morning scrum.Also called a stand-up meeting in non-tech circles, this type of daily meeting should never go over 10 minutes and is mostly for the sake of managers who will get a quick status update from everyone on their teams. It’s a fantastic way to make sure everyone is on the same page and also a sneaky way of project managing without having to rely on messy schedules and timesheets.

Related: 7 Communication Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Master

Another, less obvious benefit of the stand-up meeting is that it keeps everyone accountable. Instead of forcing someone to follow a static, complex schedule, you give each team member personal responsibility for finishing their work on time.

5. Encourage team members to blog.

Finally, you don’t have to be a content manager or marketer to find value in keeping a lively company blog. When only 28.9 percent of millennials are engaged at work (71 percent are not), being able to contribute on a regular basis to a part of the brand that’s very public, like a blog, is incredibly empowering.

As I mentioned earlier, not everyone’s a talker who can dominate an in-person meeting or conference call. You’d be surprised at what your coworkers will say and contribute when they’re given the freedom to write on company time.

There’s also a lot of great team communication software. I believe in understanding and internalizing the reason for doing something before learning how to do it. That being said, there are a lot of fantastic and affordable team messaging and project management software solutions.

You probably already know about Slack, Trello and Asana — but have you tried Smartsheet, Wunderlist or Zip Schedules? Since most of these apps have free trials (some are even permanently free for small teams), you should try out as many as you can. Find out what works best for you and your team.

And remember the old saying — people quit their bosses, not their jobs. Communication is what ultimately determines whether you retain talent or lose valuable team members to competitors. If that’s not worth investing time and effort into, you’re doing things wrong.

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

Speechwriting — 10 pieces of sage advice for public speaking success

[To comment:]

How to balance enthusiasm and detachment, passion and logic, factuality and eloquence, in your public speaking? One veteran offers some practical wisdom on these delicate subjects.

By Nick Morgan | Posted: September 9, 2016 by Ragan Report

From time to time it’s important to take a step back to put public speaking into perspective. I take it seriously, and I am passionate about it, but it’s important to recognize that public speaking is one human activity out of many.

We don’t burn people at the stake any longer for disagreeing with us, and life is about love and work, as Freud said, so at the very most public speaking should only occupy your thinking 50 percent of the time.

Here are my 10 rules for thinking rationally about public speaking, whether it’s something you dread or love, whether it’s a career or a religion, and whether you ever will try to master the art and science of it—or not.

  1. A presentation is a brief phenomenon. It’s measured in minutes, and the trend is to shorter and shorter speeches. Unlike chess games that can go on for days, or agriculture, measured in seasons, speeches are planned and timed to the minute. Many implications follow from this observation; here are three: (1) You should always give a few minutes back to the audience; in other words, end early, not late. (2) If your speech goes badly, and inevitably some will, realize that you will live through it. (3) Seconds are important to this art form too. Good public speaking is about timing. Use your seconds wisely. Don’t just fill them up with words. Use pauses, gestures, and silence as well.
  2. Your most important job as a speaker is to find your voice. Clients ask me if their messages are new enough. But there’s very little that’s truly new in the advice we humans give to one another. Aristotle figured out most things a couple thousand years ago. Rather than obsess about novelty, realize that what is new is your voice. If you draw on your own experience, insight, and stories, your message will be a new version of what may be an old truth, but no one will be able to say it just the way you can. Human voices, when achieved, are unique. That’s your real job-find your unique voice. Don’t quote someone. Say it the way only you can.

[FREE DOWNLOAD: How to turn your executive into a brilliant speaker.]

  1. Slow down and pare down.The mistake most rookie speakers make is to try to tell their audiences too much, to cram everything in, to tell them everything the speaker knows. I’ve learned as a coach that different clients need different messages. Brilliant advice to one person falls on deaf ears for someone else. They’re at different places, or differing levels of skill, or have different issues. One size doesn’t fit all, and that goes for the presentations and their audiences too. Rather than dump what you know on everyone, spend time figuring out what to leave out, what you’re going to not say, and how you’ll use silence to best effect.
  2. You’ll learn more from audiences that don’t love you than audiences that do. Early on, most speakers just want to be loved. They want an endless, ongoing standing ovation from their audiences from the very start. And so presenters placate their audiences, tell them what they think the audience wants to hear, and avoid challenging audiences to think hard. The result is an endless stream of mediocre presentations. Only when you get the courage to make your audience hate you will you find out what you really need to say to them.
  3. You can’t give speeches in your head. Speakers run through speeches in their head and believe that this is rehearsal. It’s not. Use your body to give a speech, and to rehearse one, because we embody our emotions first to find out what they are. In your head, you can say it quickly, smoothly—and blandly. In your body, you find the clumsy moments and the issues with connections from one part to another. Never rely entirely on the mental. Public speaking is performance art.
  4. Let it go.A speech is the product of the speaker, the message, and the audience. When it’s done, it’s gone. Let it go. Don’t let the accumulating weight of all your successes and failures define you. If you do, you’ll stop being capable of being truly present and creating performance art. You’ll just start phoning it in. Never, ever phone it in. You, your message, and your audience deserve better.
  5. Not all audiences should hear you.I can always tell rookie authors because when I ask them “who’s your audience?” they say, as if it were obvious, “Well, everyone!” Those are writers who haven’t thought clearly about what they are writing about and who should read it. Not every audience will respond to your message. It’s everyone’s job—you, the meeting planner, the speakers bureau, the organizers, whoever’s involved—to get this right beforehand. It’s always obvious after the fact.
  6. Take care of yourself, but not too carefully.Some clients, when successful, become divas. It’s hilarious to watch, and I love it because it’s a sign of success. You get the only-brown-M&Ms-in-the-bowl phenomenon. It happens. But you’ll have more fun if you remember that you are just another glorious human being, with all the rights and limitations pertaining thereunto. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  7. You are not your speech.Never confuse yourself with your message. You are more (and sometimes less) than your message. The message can change. The speech should change. Speeches are not sculptured objects; they are monuments to a moment in time. You should never give the same speech for more than a few years running. Knowledge changes, audiences change, you should too.
  8. In fact, you should never give the same speech twice. Speeches need to be tailored to each audience. The main points may be similar, or even the same, but you always need to customize your presentation to a particular audience because if you don’t it means you’re not thinking about that audience as much as you need to.

Public speaking is important, even life-changing and world-changing, but that doesn’t mean we have to take it with desperate seriousness. All human endeavor is ultimately temporary, and we are but dust in the wind. So enjoy yourself, make it as perfect as you can, and trust to luck. Good hunting!

A version of this article first appeared on Public Words.

[To comment:]

To Revolutionize Your Customer Service, Consult This 6-Step Checklist

[To comment:]

This week’s blog comes from:

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister, President —
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey 


Customer consultant, speaker, author
If you want to transform the customer service at your company, consulting this checklist will get you started.

From time to time, in my work as a customer service consultant, I run into company leaders who wake up on a random weekday morning, suddenly and unstoppably gung ho on improving customer service companywide. This can be in response to an inspiring article about Zappos customer service or the Nordstrom customer service experience, or to slipping NPS scores or a skewering on social media (or possibly-let’s be honest here!-an incomplete skimming of one of my customer service books). That pumped-up leader then goes out that very morning, in fine snake-killing style, determined to raise customer service performance right then and there.

After all, how hard could it be?

The problem with customer service is that it only looks easy, and good intentions are only going to take you so far. You can’t transform your customer experience by just smiling harder, or asking people smile harder for you. It’s going to take more.

Here’s how to start.

1. Ask yourself if you really want to go through with this. Everyone can say they’re in favor of improved customer service-and most everyone does in fact say this. But to transform customer service performance requires a commitment deep enough to sustain the required day in, day out effort.

2. Put into words what your goal is with this effort. I don’t mean something vague and generic like “to be the best” or “to provide white-glove customer service.” Instead, put into words how, as a transformed company, you will now strive to treat every customer in every upcoming encounter. Here again, I want to warn you against relying on a vague clich like “We will exceed their expectations.” (There’s a bit of illogic in this goal anyway, as the exceeded expectations in encounter #1 will be the new expectations to now be exceeded in encounter #2, and so forth. Ultimately, well, I’m sure you see the problem.)

So what does work as a goal here? I would suggest something along the lines of “In every encounter, we strive to create a pleasant, safe, and memorable experience for our customers.” Or consider this poetic example from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company: “to fulfill even the unexpressed needs and wishes” of our customers.

3. Look at how you select the employees who work for you in customer-facing positions. If you’re not hiring them based on customer-friendly criteria, you’re putting yourself at an almost-insurmountable disadvantage. This is a place to consider using a scientifically-based selection methodology, such as can be achieved by collaborating with one of the major vendors who are available to partner with companies in this area. If this is not currently feasible with your budget, you can use one of the available off-the-shelf profiling tools instead.

4. Look at which behaviors and mindsets you’re encouraging and reinforcing.From new-employee onboarding onward, what do you give employees the impression that you value? Many businesses hold meetings to encourage sales, to promote technical skills and mastery of new technology. But only standout businesses devote time and breath to supporting the concepts and the mindset involved in superior customer service. This is a good thing to stress immediately in orientation, and then to follow up with daily ten minute huddles. Or if such a schedule doesn’t work in your organization, at the very minimum, schedule such meetings once a week.

5. Map out customer touchpoints and figure out which ones to overhaul first. Even the best-selected and most-inspired employees can’t stop an organization from delivering crummy service, if clunky or glitchy processes are the order of the day at key moments. The problem with mapping out customer touchpoints (which is an important exercise) is that you will very quickly realize that nearly every touchpoint could benefit from improvement. Prioritization, therefore, is needed to keep you from getting overwhelmed.

How to prioritize? The ranking of customer misery can be learned directly from your customers, if you have time to thoroughly survey them. Or, if you need a shortcut, your frontline staff probably know where the pain points are that need the most immediate attention.

6. Make a plan to sustain your progress. You need to avoid backsliding: to avoid erasing the progress that you’ve made initially, and you need to continue propelling yourself forward: to continue achieving more and more customer service improvement.

What should the plan be to accomplish these two essential elements of progress? I suggest you write (and post) an official framework for how to go about serving customers from here forward, as well as develop a continuous improvement system that all employees not only can but must contribute to. I also encourage that you develop measurements, visible on an organizational dashboard, to make it clear whether you are in fact maintaining the progress that you have made. Finally, you’ll need a focused team tasked with continuing to work on these issues, a team that reports directly to a high-level leader in your organization.

Micah Solomon, recently named the “new guru of customer service excellence” by the Financial Post, is a customer service consultant, customer service thought leader, keynote speaker, customer service trainer, and bestselling author. Click here for two free chapters from Micah’s latest book .

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of
 [To comment:]

Start. Run. Grow.

[To comment:]

 Rhonda Abrams does it again with her new book — The leading publisher of books and tools for entrepreneurs.
Start. Run. Grow.
Innovation and creativity. Planning and execution. Risks and rewards. That’s entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship: A Real-World Approach provides you with everything you need to know about starting and running a business—NOW.
Do you want to grow your small business? (What small business owner doesn’t?!) I’ve got three great ideas you can start working on TODAY.
1) Grow with partners
Want to grow your small business or entrepreneurial startup without spending a pile of money expanding to new locations, manufacturing new products, or hiring a slew of new salespeople? Then it’s time you look around and find a strategic partner. READ MORE…
2) Go small to go big
I have a terrible time buying toothpaste. You’ve probably had a similar experience: I stand in the toothpaste aisle at a place like Target — and yes, there’s a whole aisle just for toothpaste — and I’m overwhelmed. Surprisingly, giving customers too many choices is likely to lead to fewer sales. READ MORE…
3) Instagram for small business success
The key to social media success? Finding the one or two outlets that reach and engage your target market. If you’re in a very visual industry – food, fashion, travel, sports – you’ll want to consider Instagram. READ MORE…
 To help you launch, Rhonda isgiving you a whopping 40% off the regular price of this bestseller. List price: $49.95. Your price: just $29.97. Enter coupon code era40deal at checkout. Coupon expires August 21. Limit 2 per customer. Look inside!
Rhonda Abrams, CEO PlanningShop

[To comment:]

10 Tips for new professionals

[To comment:]

From PRSA’s May 2016 issue of Tactics. Credit Sara Cullin, APR — a writer, editor and social media manager in Cincinatti. Follow her @ saracullin on Twitter.

Says Sara Cullin: “Have a plan or road map for accomplishing your goals. Here are 10 ways you can embrace the challenges and opportunities your’re bound to encounter on your career path.”

  1. Be a sponge.
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  3. Keep track of your accomplishments.
  4. Don’t wait for an evaluation to ask how you are doing.
  5. Don’t let your boss define you.
  6. Get a mentor.
  7. Find things that make you happy outside of work.
  8. Don’t be judgmental.
  9. Mind your manners.
  10. Keep learning.

To read the entire article, it’s Tactics — May 2016 from the Public Relations Society of America.

[To comment:]

Getting Ahead

[To comment:]

Just could not pass this up. I have to share it with you. This ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016 (yes, that’s tomorrow). It specifically deals with fashion design, but I find it applicable to strategic communication, public relations and marketing.

The source: Ann Burton, Wolfgang Harbor, in partnership with LGM Consulting, West Hartford, Conn., offers these tips on how to build a career in:

  • Education: Seek degrees in design, merchandising business, marketing, fashion design.
  • Internships: Look for positions that transition into strong executive training programs, offered by companies such as Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
  • Executive training programs: Tend to teach solid financial practices, management tools, and brand-appropriate taste and merchandising skills.
  • Start-ups: Experience in small or midsize start-ups allows early breadth of responsibilities and signals ambition, passion, teamwork.

This holds, too from Ann Burton – describing merchandise planners, who are among those in demand:

“They are the historians of the company. They know what sold last year, what color, what time, did it rain on the day we ran the promotion.”

For the full story, see The Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016 – Page C1.

[To comment:]

Tips for developing your personal brand

[To comment:]

CareerBuilder’s Matt Tarpey offers these tips:

  1. Identify your passion
  2. Prepare an elevator speech (See Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook and The ABCs of Strategic Communication when you are ready to craft YOUR elevator speech. Books available via
  3. Network, network, network
  4. Get your name out there

More advice on personal branding is available in both of Litwin’s books. If purchased from, shipping is free.

[To comment:]

Intern to employee

[To comment:]

According to Accenture Strategy — a survey of 1,001 college graduates from 2013-2014 — 47 percent say their internship led to a job. That number is trending up — especially for communication majors.

[To comment:]