Is Technology Killing Communication?

Recent research indicates that some of the main issues in sales and communications right now have emerged because people believe you can replace face-to-face (and voice-to-voice) communications with text, e-mail and social networking. These ways of interacting electronically obviously offer huge benefits and are no doubt part of the future, but they lack a personal element that offers a distinctive edge. For example, organizations that respond to Internet leads with a phone call have ten times the closing ratio of those who respond by e-mail (even when the leads come from people under 30 years of age). So if you are wondering why your sales are down and notice that your office is spooky quiet, now you have your answer. Technology is killing your communication!

Also, companies that have regular face-to-face meetings (like technology giants Google and Oracle, for example) are typically more successful than companies that choose to communicate through technology. Something we hear all the time in every industry is “We need to get everybody on the same page.” You’ll have more success doing that if you rely less on composing tweets or e-mails and pressing “Send.” That’s because only 2 percent of the population can write as well as they speak. So if you can’t follow this article so far, it’s not my brain that has the problem; it’s my writing style. Actually, I intentionally write on a seventh-grade level so I can be clear… and also because I lack the skill to write at an eighth-grade level. That’s also probably the reason why my book is selling well.

But let’s not peg all technological media advances as impersonal or ineffective or without the power to influence. Videoconferencing has huge benefits in terms of saving time and travel costs, and it’s crucial for meetings with faraway clients. Be clear, though, that if you were in the room with your audience, you would have much more influence and would take business away from the company that didn’t bother to show up. Think about it: If you texted (is that a word?) somebody 10 times and someone else had a five-minute conversation with that person, who do you think has more influence? Here’s a hint. It’s not you!

Although I have done presentations through videoconferencing, as a professional guest speaker I always have a live audience at the event and then shoot the video out to other locations. The live audience gives the remote attendees the feeling that they are actually present, and it allows me to feel like I’m not some guy alone in a room talking to a flat-screen monitor. My point is that throughout history we have always believed that we could replace human contact with technology. In the 1920s, we thought the telephone would stop people from ever meeting in person and the fax machine would mean that engineers and architects might never leave their offices. (That’s right – the fax machine was invented in 1918!) In the 19th century, we thought the telegraph would replace the mail. Can you believe that we still send paper stuffed in better paper around the world, to be delivered by people wearing shorts and safari helmets?

Technology seems to have limits when it comes to people getting personal. It seems that humans always keep hoping we can find a way to avoid each other and still communicate. The truth is that with all the technology humans have developed to keep us apart, we still just can’t get enough of each other!


Negotiating Change

Healthy and Unhealthy Fears – An Action Plan

To change from a victim into a volunteer we have to develop and implement an action plan that clearly educates people about the value of our product or service. One way we can do this is by becoming aware of our fears.

There are two kinds of fear healthy and unhealthy.

Some examples of healthy negotiating fears are:

  • “Am I adequately prepared for my meeting?”
  • “Do I know the right questions?”
  • “Do I know how to clearly explain the value of my product or service?”
  • “Is everyone on my team on the same page?”

Some examples of unhealthy negotiating fears are:

  • “Will looming changes in the market affect my ability to sell?”
  • “Are my negotiating skills hampered the way things have always been done around here?”

Fears that motivate us to prepare for success are good.

Fears that prevent us from coming up with creative solutions, and keep us in victim-hood have to go.

Realizing that we have no control over market changes or our clients’ reaction to it will automatically reduce our fear. To reduce it further we must enter our negotiations with a well-developed value proposition that both educates our clients as to the true value of our product or service and at the same time it relaxes us because we know we are prepared.

Top Tips From Our Research on Top Producers


Top Tips From Our Research on Top Producers

What the most successful people do differently


Dealing with ego driven buyers

Ask them to list possible solutions to the problems they are having and then see what you can agree on. The key is to get them talking about their problem. Remember, what comes out of their mouth means more to them, than what comes out of your mouth. It’s almost impossible to listen yourself out of a sale.


Improving performance

Help your employees identify and maximize their strengths first, then discover how those strengths can improve their weaknesses. People are motivated when their talent is acknowledged and are much more likely to identify and put their best effort into improving their weaknesses.


If an employee builds great relationships with co-workers but has problems with basic skills, guide them towards finding a co-worker who is willing to help them improve their skills.

The best way to help an employee to improve is first to identify and praise them for their strengths, giving them the confidence and motivation to work on improving those difficult areas.

If you just focus on weaknesses your people will always feel weak

Customer Service

Top complaint from call in customers

Make sure that callers don’t have to repeat themselves. Someone who has explained a problem three times to three different people hangs up angry, whether or not the problem is solved. Most studies done in the last two years show that people want to deal with one person. Customer service systems that focus on providing that are always rated the highest.


Public presentation skills: PowerPoint Problems

The simple key to the effectiveness of a PowerPoint presentation is to make sure that you say exactly what is on the screen. If you read your prepared notes and say something different from what the audience is viewing, learning does not take place. It is important that you say it exactly as it is written. We recommend you decide how you are going to say something and then create the slide to match your speaking style. This can prevent the syndrome known as Death by PowerPoint.

Visual design

Web sites and brochures have a tendency to look busy in order to show they mean business. The problem is that clarity is lost. People may think it’s cool, but they don’t really know what you’re talking about. They won’t call you and say, “hey I don’t get it” they will just do business with someone who is clear!

Talent First, Success Next

We know that it is sometimes the process itself that prevents learning and innovation.

The key is finding you’re the path of least resistance. In our study of the most effective sales managers and sales staff, we found that the best way for someone to do something is by doing it their best way. Defining specific outcomes and helping you to approach them “talent first” is the way you will develop your own style and function at your maximum capacity. You can’t teach excellence; you can only provide the insight by which a person can find his or her own excellence. Choice is the fuel for learning. Developing a system and judging success by how well someone follows that system requires a perfect process that everyone can master.The reality is that the most successful people achieve their success either by not following the system or by being unaware of its existence.

The reason that Professor Langley’s plane did not fly may have a lot to do with the fact that he studied a German aviator (for lack of a better term) from the 1890’s who never got off the ground. The Wright brothers, on the other hand, did not have this knowledge so they were forced to innovate based on their strengths. Building highly stable light hollow metal tubing from their bicycle manufacturing experience and studying things that did fly, like birds provided the insight for success.

Knowledge is not power and processes are not the key to success. Real solutions are much simpler. They are based on doing very little of what you do badly and a lot of what you do well. It’s a lot easier to implement what you are already good at doing.

The End of the Information Age

Are we at the end of the information age? My cell phone came with a novel sized instruction book that gives me so much detail on setting up my voice mail that after reading it for 2 hours, I’ve lost the will to live. How much do I really need to know? Have you ever watched a documentary about chicken processing? Did it help you enjoy your lunch? Have you ever read the back of a pack of hotdogs? Some of that stuff sounds flammable. Have you ever read the back of a can of Spam? There are some things in life we may be better off not knowing. When they give you 40 fabrics to help you make a decision on a couch does it really help sell you the coach?

We all have things we need to learn but in the last few years I have learned so much that sometimes it prevents me from being effective. My new car tells me exactly how many miles I can go on a tank and will give me satellite instructions on how to get there. As a result I tend to drive around on empty without needing to know where I am. I want to make it clear that I believe that without proper information it’s difficult to be effective. I am after all in the information business. However, options should be optional. I don’t need 8 way’s to access my Email and I don’t need 80 Emails a day. I actually had someone send me an Email on how to be concise that was 7 pages long. I rented a car last week that had about six buttons on the remote and one of them actually said panic. No kidding! Dodge vehicles actually have a panic button. At what point did we decide that to panic was a solution to a car problem?

I ‘m afraid in our quest for information that we may have forgotten that knowledge is rarely power. Implementation is power. It is action that creates opportunity. Most answers are simple and the questions that bring out those answers are straightforward. Have you ever noticed that people try to make their simple problems and solutions complicated? There is a reason for that, it either makes them worth more money or it allows them to escape the horrible task of actually doing something. If the answer is simple you are instantly accountable. I think it has become natural for us to develop multiple complex processes that protect us from people who want to hold us accountable.

Have you noticed that the latest software is a little slower and more problematic than the old version? The solution is to buy a faster computer so the new software will work as well as the old software. Is this a technological advancement? I don’t think so; I think it’s the same as the telecom companies that sell your name and number to telemarketing firms and then sell you the anti-telemarketing telephone system.

When we reach the most effective solution it may be complex in it’s parts but the idea and concept seemed to ring true in our mind and hearts. We can talk all we want to about how much more knowledge we have than our competitors, but it’s how well we communicate what little we do know that will ultimately make us great. Innovation is most often fueled by a clear view. The Wright brothers were able to fly because they didn’t know they couldn’t, not because they had the most data. Professor Langley’s Flying machine with a grant from the Smithsonian had a lot of previous aviation experience put into it. Unfortunately, that information literally just didn’t fly. Do we have more to learn? You bet! Knowledge is the first step towards effectiveness. Although some day’s I think I could be more effective by learning less! Well, I guess that’s enough for an article about too much information. After I check my 35 voice mails and 80 emails, I’m taking action.

Getting Great Results: Turning Talent Into Performance


Getting Great Results: Turning Talent Into Performance

The definition of leadership

Someone following someone because he wants to, not because he has to.

Do you want to be right or effective?

Have you ever been so right that no one would talk to you? If you criticize others’ ideas, they will almost never use yours, no matter how good they are.

Effective leaders drop their judgments

Everybody knows something you don’t. “I disagree, but I am willing to listen.” Thinking you know everything is proof that you don’t.

Listening skills

You motivate people by listening to them; compassion and attention create dedication. When people feel heard and not judged, they will do more than just the minimum.

Managing difficult personality styles

A high percentage of employees with difficult behavior may be getting unintentional negative consequences for doing a good job. Don’t reward an effective employee with someone else’s work.

What great managers know

People don’t change that much. Look for the value they have now. Don’t manage for the miracle; just because you found one diamond in the rough does not mean you are a magic manager. Some people just suck!

Hiring for talent

Look for the naturally recurring patterns that are needed to do the job. Some people are very articulate and experienced and yet have no ability. If they ask you to further explain the question you just asked them in an interview, tell them it’s their interpretation that’s important. You will now find out who they really are.

You turn talent into performance by aligning goals with talents.



Top Leadership Keynote  – Getting Great Results: Turning Talent Into Performance


Motivation for the Severely Unmotivated

Motivation for the Severely Unmotivated

Everybody is motivated to do something. Some people are motivated to just lie on the couch and eat ice cream.

Let’s face it: We have all heard that if we just try hard enough, we can do anything. The problem is we don’t all have the willingness to put forth the extra effort. In fact, we seem to have a consistent unwillingness to be willing — and it takes a high level of motivation to achieve that lack of drive!

Wynn Solutions’ interviews with top performers indicate a natural sense of urgency to take action and do the next right thing. These top performers extemporaneously move forward and complete the tasks that will lead them to success. “So how does that work?” you might wonder. “Why is this person sitting next to me so driven to succeed when I feel like I need a nap after breakfast? (Heck, I get winded sleeping!)”

When I speak at conventions, I talk about how our belief systems create our experience. If we hold a belief strongly, we go through life looking for reasons that prove it’s true. So if we believe that our supervisors do not have our best interests at heart, then we perceive it in everything they do. We confirm our favorite negative prophecy at every turn. On the other hand, if we believe good things are likely to come our way, we tend to spin mediocre events into “the beginning of something great” and end up investing the effort to make it a reality.

Having said all that, is it possible that we have willingness that is blocked
by a belief?

It’s kind of like wanting to eat a salad so you can avoid having to wear prescription pants, but believing that one double-bacon cheeseburger (with extra bacon) will be OK just this once.

Could we be working very hard to motivate ourselves into doing something we think can’t be done?

Or at least not done by us? If so, it means we can try with maximum effort and receive minimal results. I think the key to motivating the severely unmotivated is examining what they really believe.

Ask this question of yourself or of your staff: What is it that I believe strongly that may not be true?

Look for the answer to that question and you may find out why the merger is not working, why the sales force cannot hit their targets, and why you keep thinking about a new career.


Listening Like a Leader


Listening Like a Leader

How to develop trust in under 5 minutes

Our studies of the most effective people in corporate America show that the top 1 percent are effective not because they executed best practices well. They did not make the most phone calls or have the best processes. They simply understood the truth about trust:
  • People do business with people they like.
  • They like people they trust.
  • They trust people who have a detectable level of compassion and competence.

Does it take time to build trust? The truth is that you have known people for five years who still don’t trust you, and you’ve known some for five minutes who do. Our research shows that trust is usually created by showing a detectable level of concern. When people truly believe you are concerned for them, they tend to think you possess good judgment. After all, if you care about them, you must know what you are doing.

So what is the fastest and most effective way to show people that you care and you’re competent? Make sure they feel heard, which is more than just listening. I call it listening like a leader.

You are not a leader unless you have followers; a leader without followers is called a failure. Regardless of your skills, if your staff doesn’t feel heard and doesn’t trust you, they will always do the minimum. They will watch the clock and be ready to leave at 4:45 every afternoon. They will do just enough each day to avoid getting fired, and they will hope the idea you came up with without their input fails. That’s right—you can spend your life delegating to people who want your projects to fail. How smart is that?

OK, you have to listen; I am sure you already know that. The issue is, how well do people really listen? Most studies show that 75 percent of the world’s population does not listen well.

Here is an insight that you won’t find in many books, keynote speeches or training programs. As a whole, we don’t listen very well and it’s not our fault! That’s right, I am sure you are used to hearing and reading that all of our communication problems are of our making. However, most experts agree that from birth to 5 years of age, we learn more than we will for the rest of our lives.

Even if you earn 15 doctorate degrees in your lifetime, you still acquired most of your knowledge in early childhood. In those formative years, if a child does not feel heard by the adults in its life, it does not possess good listening skills. The bottom line is that it’s hard to listen when no one ever listened to you.

Listening is not hereditary.
It’s an acquired skill.

Are we going to blame the parents? No! It’s difficult to listen to young children when we are trying to look out for their welfare. When my stepdaughter was five, she asked me if Dracula drives a taxi cab. I said, “Well…, I guess if it’s a night job. Uh, wait a minute! What kind of question is that?”

She also asked me if she could have a tattoo—not a fake, stick-on tattoo from an ice cream parlor vending machine, but a real one. I said, “No because you’re in kindergarten—and I’m taking the TV out of your room just for asking that question.”

People are more likely to follow your example than to follow your advice. We create better listeners by being better listeners.

Unfortunately, we don’t have much evidence of people returning from communication training programs as better listeners. It doesn’t take a lot of research to figure out that poor listeners get very little from seminars on listening.

So we don’t listen and it prevents us from being effective leaders. If we can’t do much to improve our listening skills, we have to focus on what we can do in the condition we are in.

The key, then, is to focus on making sure people feel heard. And the first step requires recognizing and recovering from distractions.

One day, as I listened to an employee talk about his wants and needs, my mind started to wander. There he was, sharing his core issues, and I’m thinking to myself, “Look at the size of this guy’s head!” It was hard to focus. Once I was trying to listen to a prospect on a sales call when I noticed he had red hair, blonde eyebrows, and a black mustache. I remember thinking, “It’s Mr. Potato Face! Something has to be a stick-on; that’s not all him.”

After we recover from our own distractions, we have to deal with the real issues at hand. The first of these issues is what I refer to as “the pitch in your head.” It can be anything from a preconceived idea that a manager has about an employee, to a practiced presentation that you are dying to spew on your unsuspecting sales victims (prospects, I mean).

Sure, you ask a question just as you were taught to do in your sales or management training program—you know, a question like “Based on what criteria are your decisions made?” As they talk and you diligently pretend to listen, the pitch in your head starts to play; and when the prospect says something that strikes a chord in you, triggering how much you know, your pitch finds the pause it was looking for and off you go.

“I know exactly what you are talking about because I have had many people just like you with this exact same situation. As a matter of fact, it was this time last year and they even looked a lot like you.”

You then project your opinion, experience or spiel onto the person as a solution to his or her problem.

Instead of feeling heard, the person feels quickly judged, and communication does not take place. It was dead before the spew was finished.

The problem with this scenario is that you rob people of their uniqueness. When you tell them you know exactly what the problem is, they tend to want to show you how unique they are. You actually create your own resistance and prevent your skills and even your empathy from making their mark.

When people are talking, you are thinking about you or about what you can do to help them help you. It’s a natural thing for us to do, and it forces us to pitch hard and focus on convincing rather than on gaining agreement.

So what do the most effective people do differently?

They make sure the people they are dealing with feel heard and can retain their uniqueness. If you make people feel important, you will be important to them!

But an even bigger realization comes from all of this.

When you focus on how people feel about what they are saying, you increase the level of true concern you have for others. You actually start to become the person you thought you were pretending to be: A true leader!

Top Leadership Keynote: Getting Great Results: Turning Talent Into Performance


Garrison Wynn Quote


Being the Best vs. Being Consistently Chosen


Do you have the best service, product, or skills in your area, yet for some reason you still are not getting the results you know you deserve? Hey! I thought if you were the best, you were supposed to eventually win. Let’s address the reality of why your products, services, or leadership styles–or those of your competitors–are selected.

Think of the top-selling hamburgers in the world. Are they the best hamburgers? No! So why are they chosen? Because there is more to success than being the best! Is that special sauce really special? No! It’s actually pretty gross! I’m not trying to criticize the fast food industry; it has combined two of the most desired things on the planet: Fast and Food.

The point is, success is more than being really good at what you do, it’s about being consistently chosen to do it. We like fast food because it meets a specific need. Some people under certain circumstances will trade quality for speed and if you can put a little special sauce on it even better.

Here’s an idea I’d like you to consider: There is no such thing as The Best! If the world agreed on what’s best, everybody would choose the best and nothing else would even be considered. Decision-making doesn’t work that way! People don’t necessarily choose what’s best… they choose what they are the most comfortable with whether it’s the best or not.

People will choose what they feel is the best. That’s right, I used the F word: Feel! People will buy into anything that they feel will serve them best. In business, that means people. People don’t buy or rent from companies or hire and promote a discrete skill set. People buy or rent from people and they hire and promote people. So what is it that everybody really wants?

Interviews off the record with top performing, business owners, managers, and sales people show something very different from just best practices.

Best practices tend to focus on the method, the tactics, and the knowledge. I want to make it very clear that we should be as good as we possibly can at what we do and get all the skills training we can get our hands on. It’s just that skill and knowledge are not enough in today’s world. Being sharp and good at what you do is just the price of admission. If someone is going to rent a chocolate fountain and a cement mixer (hopefully not for the same event) they expect you to be knowledgeable and the equipment to work.

The consistently chosen focus on the mindset, the approach, and the agenda we all have in common. Everybody wants the same three things: Love, Money, and Prestige. They want to be cared about, have some security and get credit for their efforts. So you have to ask yourself three questions:

  1. Love
    How detectable is my care and concern in a business transaction?
  2. Money/value
    Do I have multiple solutions for a single problem?
  3. Prestige
    Will they look good to others by doing business with me?

I wish I could tell you that our research of thousands of top performers showed that the most skilled and knowledgeable were consistently the most successful. It did not indicate that at all.

The research showed that people make choices based on what they feel is best for them. It may not be the lowest price, the latest model, or the ideal career; but for some reason, they are sticking with it no matter what!