Motivation for a Moment… Skills for a Lifetime header image

Motivation for a Moment… Skills for a Lifetime

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Author: Jim Endicott, Founder of Distinction


It was the opening 5-minutes of my third keynote…

and I felt it was important to create a “moment”. Not because I understood the mechanics of doing that but because in a recent survey of their sales counterparts, there was a gaping hole between the stakes associated with some very specific skills (personal communication) and the feedback they felt they were receiving.  Here’s what I shared with the 450 sales professionals …

88.8% of those in their company who had responded indicated…

“Communicating with a solid level of clarity and confidence directly impact my career and income.”

60.1% (of the same respondents) indicated that the presentation

skills feedback they were receiving was…

“Infrequent and not very helpful” or “No real feedback at all”


As some background, this $1.8B division of a Fortune 500 company had done well through the challenging recession years.  But like many companies today, no one was doing cart wheels in the parking lot about expectations of break-away growth in 2012.  It would continue to be a slug-fest as competition was also retooling to take market share and partners would continue to try to figure out how to grow their businesses any way they could.

But according to the survey we were currently conducting with sales teams inside their company, there was another issue in play that also impacted their sales process… the problem of communicating impact and value to extremely preoccupied customers, partners and peers.


In the first keynote…

we had talked about getting through to busy & distracted people and across the sea of faces I could see heads nodding in agreement.  They no longer had 30-40 minutes to make their case – they had just a few to communicate a compelling message of why a particular product was going to help meet the needs of their customers.  They all knew, do-overs because of a bad day were never possible.

In the second keynote…

we explored the critical need of being able to substantiate our impact through the vehicle of telling a succinct and validation-rich product impact story.  (Not the 6-8 minute rambling variety, but a crisp 2-minute one.) Bottom line, facts are only one aspect of making our case.  “Fleshing” out how those products and services are addressing real needs for their customers will always be a critical part of what moves and motivates human beings to take action.

And in my last keynote…

this session would follow-up on the survey statistics presented above and involved me taking the entire group though a personal coaching session using a few audience volunteers.  This session always carries some risk in front of large groups (like presenters freezing up), but the outcome is always surprisingly the same… they discover that 4 simple skills can dramatically impact an audience’s perceptions of us.  And they got to see the difference validated in a before/after video at the end of the session.

This large organization did a courageous thing this year…

When they could have gone with a high-profile NBA coach or someone who cut off their arm on a mountainside to provide momentary inspiration – they chose not to. And when so many company events are often geared around bestselling authors and the book of the month… they opted for the higher ground.

“This year we want to do spring training… prepare you for the season ahead.”

Based on some kind input during the event, many told me they were motivated in a very different way. Motivated to get out of some old communication ruts. Motivated to use some simple tools to help meet their sales goals. And motivated to stretch themselves in some personal areas.  But woven into the motivational messages were some things that were infinity more practical for the world they lived in…

Being able to shape a more persuasive presentation using a simple
7-step model to get through to their distracted partners & customers.

They learned and practiced a simple way of telling more
relevant product/customer impact stories.

They discovered 4 basic delivery skills that were reinforced
in their breakout sessions to help them stand out from the crowd.

And finally, they learned one simple best practice concept for
simplifying the visuals that so often impaired their flow of good ideas. One.


I understand the reality of their lives…

these people will go back home to larger sales quotas.  It will be even more difficult to get on people’s calendars.  And travel and account planning will dominate even more of their time.  But one thing is for certain… what they got last week will serve them well for a life time.

And gratifying comments like “I can even do that” validated that it’s not complicated things that change people’s lives.  It’s not complex theories about human interaction. It’s not even the need for more motivation… they either create that for themselves or they don’t – they’re professionals.

It always comes down to some foundational skills and tools – executed better and better… year after year.