“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” George Bernard Shaw
“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
Everyone makes mistakes. We are human, after all. No matter how much experience we have or how good our intentions are, it is a normal part of life, both at work and at home to make blunders every once and a while. As owners, managers, or bosses there are two major categories into which our mistakes may fall. Some mistakes are one-time events, such as hiring the cleaning service that did a mediocre job. You recognized it and took quick action learning to never hire them again. The other category of mistakes are chronic mistakes that have become a part of your personal management style. These types of mistakes may be causing difficulty for your employees, your customers and ultimately your company. What are common mistakes made by bosses and how can you successful adjust your management style to avoid them in the future?
- Communication Mistakes – Information is power. If your employees don’t understand the goal of a project and what your expectations are, they may muddle through without getting clear feedback until they are too far along in the project. Clearly communicate your goals. Do it multiple times. For example, follow up personal conversations about projects with something in writing so that the staff member can review your assignment. The more accurate and complete the communication is between employer and employee, the better the performance and product will be.
- Balancing being a Laissez-Faire Manager and a Micro Manager – Some leaders want to avoid being seen as a micro manager so much that they become too hands-off. By not being involved at all, a finished product may not be done to your satisfaction and contain errors. Conversely, being too involved may ultimately annoy your employees, slowing productivity and bringing down morale. The key is to find the right balance between being too involved and not involved enough. Take your cues from employees. Encourage them to ask questions. Be the kind of boss that doesn’t mind re-clarifying an assignment or goal. Check in on projects at certain stages to make sure progress in on the right track.
- Not Delegating – No boss can do it all. Instead of trying to be super-boss, recognize the talent that is right in front of you. Find out what your employees excel at and put them in charge of certain tasks. This frees your time up from tasks that bottleneck your leadership time and shows that you see the potential in an employee.
- Failing to Recognize Successes – Businesses get busy, very busy sometimes. Failing to recognize a staff member’s success either by a quick shout out in a staff meeting or a hand written note is a huge mistake. A quick note or pat on the back can make someone’s day and motivate them to continue working hard.
- Distancing Yourself – While being best buds with co-workers may not work for your management style, it doesn’t mean you can not be friendly and make personal connections with the people with whom you work. Don’t be too busy to get to know your employees and what is going on in their lives.
- Being Resistant to Change – With the ever-changing technology today, it is not advisable to avoid change. Instead try to keep up with the changes by reading trade journals and attending workshops that will keep you up-to-date about innovations coming down the pike. Instead of resisting change try to anticipate it and embrace what it may do for your business.
A great business presentation can inspire, inform and call a group to action. Unfortunately, a poorly planned and executed presentation can bore and annoy an audience to the point of harming your brand image or possibly tarnishing your good reputation. What are the most common pitfalls during a presentation and how can you avoid them? Let’s look at the most common mistakes presenters can make.
Lack of Preparation – The single biggest mistake in giving a presentation is lack of practice. The adage practice makes perfect stands true here. Practice with colleagues who can give you honest feedback. Practice in front of a mirror to gauge your facial expressions and body language. And finally, practice in anticipation of audience questions. Make sure you know your topic well enough to go off script and answer detailed questions about your content. During practice sessions be sure to make eye contact, speak clearly and have the ability to give the presentation without the use of your slides to guide you.
Not knowing the audience – Whether your audience is an intimate group of 20 or a large corporate group of 200, know the audience. Do some research on your audience. Why are they here? How much do they already know about your topic, and what do they most want to learn from you? Talking far above or far below their comprehension level can create confusion or boredom.
Content Mistakes – There are several content mistakes that you will want to avoid. Data or content overload is fairly common with speakers that are passionate about their topic. Use visuals and anecdotal stories to help get information across instead of overloading the audience with data and bullets on your slides. In addition, know your content well enough that you do not read directly from the slides. Many speakers who do this leave the audience wondering why they just didn’t print off the slides and skip the presentation altogether. Finally do not overload your audience with “takeaways.” Studies show that audiences lose focus after three points.
Technology Mistakes – Most technology problems occur because of a lack of planning. Check and recheck with your venue about equipment and technology set up. Familiarize yourself with the room, technology and equipment far in advance if at all possible. Spend a little extra money and have many different connectors at your disposal “just in case.” Check lighting, sound and layout of the room prior to your presentation.
Slides and Media Mistakes – Choose your slides and visual content carefully. If it doesn’t enhance what you are saying then remove the slide. Too many flashy visuals or pictures can detract from your overall message. Choose a pleasing color palette and whenever possible choose custom pictures instead of stock photography. Make it unique and show off your company’s personality in your visuals.
New! 2015 Finalists Announced!!
Congratulations to the following companies for making it to the Finals!
- Bonaloop is a Beverly company connecting residents with local students to complete odd jobs using web and app technology.
- Far From The Tree produces hard (alcoholic) cider in Salem, MA, using natural, locally sourced ingredients and traditional cider making methods.
- InsomniSolv, Inc. is based in Beverly and is developing a proprietary wearable medical device that helps people sleep without taking drugs.
You’re invited! The Business Plan Competition Finale is a great way to get involved, get inspired, or to observe this year’s finalists pitch their plans to a group of seasoned judges.
Which company will win $10,000? Find out on April 16, from 3:00-6:00 pm at the Salem State University Recital Hall.