16 May 2013

‘Eye of the Tiger’ and other ways to manage your state for high impact


Matt Church is one of Australia's leading public speakers as well as a mentor to many Thought Leaders in Australia.

I re-read a recent blog of Matt’s that was all about how he manages his preparation for speaking so that he is in the maximum, positive state of mind when he steps onto the stage to deliver his keynote.

As I read his newsletter, I thought about the parallels for recruiters. Every time we are on the phone to a customer, interviewing a candidate or meeting with a client, we are also ‘on stage' and the effectiveness of our interaction at that time (whether it be for 45 seconds or 45 minutes), depends significantly on how effectively we have managed our state in a positive way.

The faster we need to create a positive impact (marketing calls being an obvious example for most recruiters) the more important the effective management of our state.

Here are the various ways I, and others I have observed, have maximised our respective states to be ‘up' when the telephone is answered, we walk into a client's reception or we greet a candidate.

1. Stand up
Whether you are waiting in reception for a client, making marketing calls or negotiating with a candidate over the telephone, standing up gives you a greater sense of power and control as well as making it easier for your voice to come out more strongly.

2. Listen to music
Survivor's Eye of the Tiger (theme from Rocky III) has been used for the past 30 years as a song to pump participants up in a sporting context. Why? Because it works! What song takes you from ‘clock watcher' to ‘lean mean fighting machine' in under 4 minutes?

3. Move to another desk
As a recruiter I found getting into a marketing ‘state' was much easier if I was making calls from a desk other than my own (preferably in another room where I could not be distracted).

4. Use a physical prop
One of the recruiters I used to work with would stick a flag on the top of her computer whenever she wanted to signal to herself (and to others around her) that she was now in outbound calling mode. Another recruiter used to put on his ‘lucky marketing cap'. Whatever spurs you on and works for you, I say.

5. Freshen up
One of Matt Church's regular state management techniques is to brush his teeth just before he is about to give a keynote presentation. Variations of this for a recruiter could include; doing your makeup, fixing your hair, retying your shoelaces or putting on your jacket.

6. Set short-term goals
In a ‘jobs short' environment such as now, the setting of small goals is an important part of keeping you ‘up'. When I was last working in this sort of market, I would reward myself during a marketing morning with a coffee after I had three quality conversations and arranged one visit.

7. Reframe your activity 1 (visualise what success means)
One of my previous team members used to stick up a picture of her dream house when she started her BD calls. This ensured her frame of reference went from ‘another session of calling' to 'another opportunity to bring ownership of my dream house closer'. This was hugely successful in creating a positive state for her calls.

8. Reframe your activity 2 (what am I really doing now?)
When I was a temp recruiter in Sydney, late last century, one of my biggest accounts was Ansett Air Freight. That account started with a reference check call from me to the GM of Finance. That call lead to a visit. That visit lead to 2 jobs. Those 2 jobs lead to more jobs and ultimately an account generating around $150k per annum in net margin. After that experience, my frame of reference for prospecting changed from ‘oh no, more calls' to ‘I am about to go hunting for my next $100k plus per annum key client - the next call could be it'. Talk about change my state!

9. Buddy up
The whole personal training industry has thrived on this concept. Almost everyone knows what they need to do to lose weight and gain fitness (ie do 30 minutes of exercise per day, eat more fruit and vegetables and consume less processed foods and alcohol) yet people pay others for the privilege of telling them what to do and rousing on them when they don't do it. Working with a buddy when you go on visits or make marketing calls can build a positive state faster and keep it going longer.

State management is a very personal thing - what may work for some may not work for others. The most important thing is to find what works for you and ensure that you use that technique all the time.

If you are leading others, then it is critical that you share with them what works for you, find out what works for them and then have them formulate, trial and implement a strategy for positive state management.

As a recruiter I encourage you to think like a performer who is about to go on stage. The more positively you manage your state, the more likely you are to deliver powerfully whenever you are on that stage. If you do this consistently then the larger your audience will grow.


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