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What's Your Close?

I heard a great story from my pastor a few weeks back when he was first starting to preach. There was an older man who attended the church and had a ton of experience in sales, marketing, finance, real estate…you name it. Most importantly, he was a great communicator. My pastor pulled him aside after one of his sermons and asked the older man to let him know honestly if he hits his close or not with future sermons.

True to his word, after every Sunday sermon, the man would walk past, shake my pastor’s hand and say ‘You hit it great today’ or ‘Missed it by 5 minutes’ or ‘Undersold it’. He gave great feedback that helped my pastor become a better speaker.

What was it that George Costanza said on Seinfeld? “Showmanship….always go out on a high note.” Comedians do this better than anyone because they know if they have the audience rolling in laughter, they will feel good and remember that feeling and hopefully who the comedian is. Speakers need to have that same attitude when it comes to a presentation. Never underestimate the value of the close. Too often in my public speaking classes, students give a brilliant speech and then realize they only have 10 seconds to wrap it up. They rush their ending and it downgrades the entire speech. It’s like the rug gets ripped out from where we are standing.

When practicing and planning for a presentation, leave plenty of time for the close. This is your opportunity to connect one last time with the audience. Give them an emotional tone they will never forget, involve the crowd in an activity, have them verbally respond, stand, or deliver your lines with gusto and energy that will pierce them. If you hit it right, you’ll know it…the audience will know it…and your message will have legs well past that moment.

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Creating a Culture of Learning

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Creating a Culture of Learning

You walk into Keystone Elementary in Ohio and you would think you are actually on the real Energy Bus if there was such a thing. Energy Bus posters hung everywhere, yellow school busses on the walls, positive fueling stations in various corners, and positive notes and quotes everywhere you look. The teachers and staff speak the Energy Bus language to their students and parents as well as each other which results in a palpable energy to the school. 
 
Keystone’s goal for using the Energy Bus for Schools training program is to sustain their already positive culture. A huge misconception exists that when training is used by a company or school, it is for punitive reasons. The fact is that much of the training we do is for schools and companies who, from a culture & morale standpoint, are doing well. These clients aim to create a culture of learning inside their walls.
 
Research suggests that a positive culture has leaders and employees who foster caring and respectful behaviors and help others to manage social relationships that are ongoing and long-term. Training can focus on a number of these issues especially creating ongoing and sustainable behaviors. The key is to go beyond the training. Our trainers have a desire to facilitate positive ideas that can help schools and companies continue to grow. Much of the work is completed after our trainers have left as it is up to the managers and employees to take the principles, learn to embrace them and then implement and infuse them in their culture. 
 
Look no further than the managers and leaders of Aramark at Clemson University. They just completed a full-day training on The Positive Leader & The Positive Communicator. By the end of the day, each could recall a number of strategies and ideas they want to specifically bring to their employees. Through active conversation & engaging activities, they moved through the material with willing hearts & minds eager to create a culture of learning across all their employees.
 
Training is for all types of companies and schools. Even when things seem like they are going well, that might be the best time to invest in training. This is an opportunity to show employees the value of creating a positive & sustainable culture for years to come.

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