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CMI Blog

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Posts by Stacey Hanke

4 Keys to Make Habits Stick by Stacey Hanke

By Stacey Hanke | May 16, 2022 | Comments Off

 

Repetition creates automation. Getting better at anything requires deliberate practice.

Think about the hours one might spend at basketball practice, shooting hoops and mastering drills. These skills eventually become automatic. The same is true for you! We all want to be influential, but few deliberately practice communication skills until they stick.

When we practice, actions become habit and the brain no longer needs to get involved. The body can automatically complete an action while allowing your brain to focus on the strategic aspects of a conversation – not the delivery. Deliberate practice requires feedback for development to improve.

Think back to when you learned how to drive. Your parents taught you when to change gears, brake or accelerate – all while following the rules of the road. It was challenging and frustrating. Just when you got the hang of one thing, it was time to learn something new. Eventually, your practice paid off. Now, you just get in your car and drive.

Being an influential communicator doesn’t just happen. It requires deliberate practice coupled with ongoing feedback from someone you trust.

Four steps to grow your influence and have others act on what you have to say.

1. Break it Down

We’ve heard the saying “quality over quantity.” The same holds true for improving your influence skills. Start first by recording yourself in an upcoming interaction – whether it’s in-person or virtual. Immediately review the playback. Write down everything you see that needs improvement. Then, break it down into manageable pieces. Focus on one habit at a time. Repeated deliberate practice executed in short bursts at regular intervals is better than working on something all day. Practicing in short durations will reinforce your subconscious, creating permanent long-term habits.

2. Put in the Work

Learning something new requires repeated exposure. Studies show that some habits can be solidified with 7 hours’ worth of practice, while others can take up to 7,000. I promise you will see substantial changes in your daily interactions if you’re willing to put in the concentrated effort for each interaction. Set aside five minutes each morning and write down the skills you’re willing to commit to throughout the day. Carry it around with you as a reminder to remain focused in each conversation. You’ll be surprised how quickly your habits begin to change.

3. Get Clear

Goals partnered with practice become a powerful motivator, creating the momentum needed for ongoing improvement. It’s easier to stay motivated when we see ourselves getting better. We get comfortable being uncomfortable because we know change lies ahead. Get clear on what specifically you want to accomplish in the next 30 days. Focusing on 30 days at a time will create instant changes to your influence skills.

4. Seek Immediate Feedback

Practice makes permanent, so what you practice matters. Seeking immediate feedback is crucial to reinforcing what you’re doing and why. Don’t settle for “you did great.” Instead, ask for specific feedback on exactly what worked and what still needs work. Specific feedback helps you create a plan to immediately focus on skills in need of improvement. If you want to grow your influence, start by determining which communication skills need improvement.

Make the commitment today to take to your communication skills from good to influential. It’s worth the work!

Contact us about booking Stacey for your next event!

 

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Think Before You Act by Stacey Hanke

By Stacey Hanke | Apr 11, 2022 | Comments Off

 

Thinking before you act reminds you to remain calm, even in challenging situations.

We have heard the old saying “think before you speak;” but have you ever heard “think before you act?”

Our actions are always under surveillance. Someone is always watching what we do.

What message do your actions convey?

Is your behavior consistent Monday to Monday, or do people wonder which version of you they’ll get when they interact with you?

Influence isn’t one-dimensional. It’s sights, sounds and how we make others feel. You’re always under surveillance. Everything you do and say either enhances or jeopardize your influence.

It’s easy when stakes are high to try and ‘turn on’ our A-game, but then we tend to get lazy in casual conversations.

This inconsistency leaves others wondering… who we really are. It damages our reputation, credibility and our ability to influence others to willingly act on what we have to say.

The idea of turning on your personality in one place versus another is exhausting. It’s a charade no one can keep up with. You must be believable.

What if you had that high stakes presentation and you nailed it.

Everything you practiced was performed perfectly. But then, after the presentation, you ran into a co-worker in the hallway, and you resorted to your old habits.

Which person – do you think your co-worker is going to believe?
There are three reasons leaders must demonstrate consistency in all they do.

1. Practice what you preach.

Hypocritical actions are reputation killers yet fail to practice what they preach.

It’s the executive who says employee contributions matter but then fails to get to know their staff.

It’s the manager that demands everyone put away their phones before a staff meeting yet are seen distracted on their own device.

Accountability matters. You must act in the same way you expect others to. Trust is not built from a “do as I say, not as I do” approach.

2. Think before you act.

How many times have you overreacted in a moment of frustration?

Maybe you’re frustrated with the poor service at a local coffee shop and decided to speak up in a way that doesn’t reflect patience or respect.

Have you ever stopped to consider who is watching your reaction

Maybe it’s the prospect you’re meeting with next week, or the investor researching your firm. Perhaps it’s the employee you’re trying to recruit or the executive you want to partner with.

You’re always under surveillance. Someone is always watching.

Thinking before you act reminds you to remain calm, even in challenging situations.

Next time you feel frustrated, save yourself the embarrassing foot-in-mouth moment by thinking before you act.

3. Seek honesty.

Even the very best require continual coaching to get better. Every successful athlete seeks the honest feedback of a coach to improve.

Unfortunately, the higher up the corporate ladder most leaders climb, the less likely they are to receive honest feedback.

Eventually, everyone glosses over the hard truth needed to really improve. No matter how impressive your title is, you need coaching to improve.

Get yourself a professional coach or mentor. They will help you really understand how others perceive you.

Coaching is necessary to become consistent. It helps you fine tune every aspect of your communication skills so you can treat every conversation like a high stakes interaction.

Think before you act to remain consistent in everything you do.

When you communicate with consistency Monday to Monday, you’ll enhance the way you do business, build stronger relationships, and move your listeners to act.

Contact us about booking Stacey for your next event!

 

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3 Ways To Consistently Earn Influence by Stacey Hanke

By Stacey Hanke | Feb 02, 2022 | Comments Off

 

"Many leaders think delivering a perfect presentation in a high-stakes scenario is enough to earn influence, but it’s not."

“People don’t believe what you say, they believe what you show them.”

I gave this advice to Tracey, a frustrated client whose team only half-heartedly listened when she spoke. She couldn’t figure out why she lacked the influence to keep their attention during meetings and conversations.

I asked her to confess whether she was ever distracted when they spoke.

The answer wasn’t surprising.

Tracey confessed to being frequently distracted by text messages, emails during meetings. She realized her team exhibited the same behavior she showed them.

Like Tracey, we want influence, but rarely do we demonstrate the consistent actions to earn it.

Influential professionals ensure their message and delivery are consistent Monday to Monday. They know they must show up the same way every day and in every interaction. Here are three ways to grow your influence by doing the same:

1. Identify Inconsistencies

This week, ask someone you trust to honestly share the inconsistent behaviors you demonstrate in and out of the office. Then, write it down.

Maybe devices distract you, or you are sometimes late to meetings. Maybe, you are slow to respond to emails or inconsistent when you do.

Become aware of inconsistent tendencies to identify your inconsistencies.

2. Avoid the Perfection Trap

Many leaders think delivering a perfect presentation in a high-stakes scenario is enough to earn influence, but it’s not. Consistent behaviors in day-to-day conversations matter most.

Set aside 30 minutes before your day begins to prepare for your daily meetings, even those not high stakes. Write down discussion points and the actions you want others to take.

Spending time preparing for meetings will ensure consistent delivery, no matter the stakes.

3. Prioritize Actions, Not Words.

We all know someone who commits to a deadline and rarely follows through. Trust is earned by consistent follow through.

Beginning tomorrow, for every commitment you make, follow up with an email reiterating your promise.

If you promise to deliver a project by a specific date, do it. If you claim punctuality is important, don’t be late. If you value responsiveness, then respond to emails in a timely fashion. Consistent actions, not words shape the perception others have of you.

Earning influence requires consistency in every situation, with every person, Monday to Monday. If you lack the influence you need, follow these three simple tips to become consistent today.

Contact us about booking Stacey for your next event!

 

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Influence & Communications Expert Stacey Hanke joins cmi Family

By Stacey Hanke | Dec 16, 2021 | Comments Off

 

We are excited to announce Stacey Hanke, a best selling author and CEO of her own successful consulting company, as our newest member of the cmi family!

In today's demanding business environment, it is imperative for leaders and sales people to communicate at the highest levels through all mediums. Stacey teaches attendees how to:

  • Identify communication miscues
  • Create standout messaging 
  • Move people to action 

Her best-selling book Influence Redefined, and her Communication Quick Start™ process are resources that help leaders get to the point, communicate with confidence, build trust and deliver messages that drive action, creating lasting results.

Stacey is an engaging and high-content keynote speaker, a consultant for Fortune 500 companies and a mentor to C-suite executives all over the world. 

Contact us about booking Stacey for your next event!

 

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