Top Tips for Business Success | Alexandra Watson
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Top Tips for Business Success

Extract of SHINE UK Magazine (Summer 2016 edition) article by Iseult White

We got in touch with our Leadership Expert ISEULT WHITE, asking her for her top tips for success in business. Because our audience is both solopreneurs and women working in the world of corporate business, we asked her to focus on things that she believes important no matter which camp you are in. Here is what she said.

  • Know your Bottom Line
  • Communicate with Clarity
  • Tell the people who will tell the people
  • Ask for help
  • Pay it back

Know your Bottom Line

I am not talking about working your butt with squats and lunges, I am referring to working out the hard figures. How often have you seen a gaggle of women out for dinner all saying they are no good with numbers and professing to be unable to divide the bill. Come on ladies it is not even long division!

Learn how to read budgets, cash flow statements, and revenue projections. Take a course in finance for non- financial managers if you have to. Then know how to analyse the work you do and the contribution you make in monetary terms. Build simple financial models in Excel so you can show how much your work, department, or consulting services contributes to the bottom line, either in terms of cost savings, or contribution to revenue.

Now you are talking a language that is understood globally. And it is this language that gives you a negotiating advantage when you are trying to seal a deal, whether it is an overdue pay rise, a promotion, or a big consulting contract.

Communicate with Clarity

Learn to communicate clearly and precisely. Too often women equivocate and are self-deprecating. Dr Judith Baxter, a lecturer in applied linguistics, who studied the speaking patterns of men and women at meetings in seven major well-known companies called this style “double voice discourse”, adjusting what we want to say based on what we think the other person wants to hear.

Essentially “double voice” uses those traits females are often prized for, empathy and caring, to massage our message, and the ego of the listener. You will recognise what she has identified from the following examples – “I am sorry to cut across you but …” or “I realise I am no expert but …”

The bad news is that double voice frequently backfires. It does not sound authentic and comes across as a little manipulative. Worse still the listener ends up believing that the speaker lacks confidence in her own vision and opinion, and confidence is what everybody is looking for in a leader.

So any time you find yourself about to preface a sentence with “I am sorry”, bite down, step away from the habit of a lifetime, and speak in simple, clear, and short sentences that get your point across.

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