Are You Comfortable with Silence?

Have you ever noticed that when you ask a question – and the other person is thinking about what you said – that there is a quiet pause? It is very important to keep your focus, be patient and wait for the answer. Are you comfortable with silence?

Why does Silence feel so awkward?

Whether you are asking a question, giving a speech or having a persuasive conversation, silence should be an ally. The awkwardness we feel is caused by anxiety or insecurity that may be real or imagined. If someone has said something inappropriate, then the awkwardness is real.  Any negative comment will often create an awkward moment (i.e. racial slur, insult, stereotype or gossip). So, avoid negativity and if you don’t have anything good to say, be quiet! 

Should Some Topics Be Avoided?

The old policy of avoiding politics, sex and religion helps prevent awkward silence too. Unless you are around close friends or people that are very interested in particular topics, then you should avoid these subjects. Why? These topics provoke disagreement – that’s why. So, what do you talk about at parties? My father, a UNC Hall of Fame Journalist, is a great conversationalist.  M.S. Van Hecke often says “Try asking  people about their work environment and what they do for a living.” It really works too – I’m constantly amazed at how people open up when it comes to their profession.

Hang On Their Every Word

Ask questions, listen to what they say and laugh at their punch lines! Hang on their every word and ask follow up questions.  Become fascinated with other people and watch how comfortable it is to be silent. This will turn those pauses into a  welcome ally and a chance to have great conversations!

Please Understand Me is The Best Book About Personality

Personality is one dimension of psychology that is both interesting and practical. In the classic book Please Understand Me by Kiersey and Bates, you can learn more about yourself and how to get along with others. One immediate gain you will get is an easy self-test. Once your personality type is identified, you can read about your tendencies and preferences.

Please Understand Me is recommended for Improving family relationships and….

  • For help in getting along better with others
  • For sales and business people who would like to learn how to influence others


The research of Myers and Briggs (which Please Understand Me is based on) popularized the term extrovert and introvert. Most people believe that an Extrovert can be identified as a social person. That is a tendency of an extrovert, but the real way to understand either an Extrovert or an Introvert is to understand how they recharge their internal batteries. “The person who chooses people as a source of energy probably prefers extraversion, while the person who prefers solitude to recover energy tends toward introversion.”[1] A very common misconception is that introverted people do not enjoy people or socializing. In my family, we have two extroverts and two introverts. All members of the family enjoy friends, family and parties. Each member of the family mixes at a party; engagesin conversation and would be described as friendly. The two introverts are drained after hours of interaction and need time alone to get recharged. The two extroverts have 100 % battery power! But extroverts get drained as well by having long periods of solitude, paperwork or individual assignments.

It Takes Time and Patience

By taking time to understand and discuss our differences, you can be more considerate. As an extrovert, my adjustment would be to tame the socializing and leave the party at a decent hour. The very fact that you have taken an effort to learn and adapt to family members is a goodwill gesture. A great application of “Please Understand Me”is taking the Myers-Briggs personality test and comparing types. For instance, my wife and I have opposite characteristics. The section on potential clashes in personality between our two types was both fascinating and eerily accurate.

There are many more benefits to learning more about Personalities…

How We Learn (and Teach!)

Decision Making dynamics

Task vs. Relationship orientation

Relate Better to Your Family and Friends

Displaying the book on the kitchen table normally generates curiosity and spurs conversation. When someone in the family asks ‘what are you reading?’; Just reply “Oh, I’m reading about you!’ (then make eye contact and smile!) You can put the book down and in about 15 minutes, someone is looking at your copy trying to see what you are learning! That is the chance (the opening) to read (out loud) the passages that relate to your family and friends.

Don’t miss this opportunity – it’s why you got the book! Imagine if you could extend that positive energy towards co-workers and customers. So there are several pay-offs for reading “Please Understand Me.” That’s good because while the first third of the book is easy reading, you will have to be motivated and persistent to get through the middle section of type comparisons. I’ve read this book four times and still find nuggets in different sections. But building better relationships is hard work, right? My prediction is that you will get years of enjoyment out of the knowledge and skills gained by reading this fundamentally sound book about personality traits, tendencies and preferences!

Learning to Sell at the Car Wash

In my teenage years,  a buddy and I decided to work at a car wash. Like most teens, we wanted money for cars and dating. New employees start in the vacuum bay cleaning out cars and washing windows. My friend, we will call him Jason,  did an outstanding job of routing nice cars into his bay and selling products like fragrances and carpet shampoos. My friend was learning to sell waxes and services on the front bay. The front bay is where cars approach the car wash and order services. As you could expect, my competitive nature (and jealousy) kicked in.

Learning to Sell From Others

learning to sell

Excerpt from Target 10 to Win! ISBN 978-0-578-08283-7

After his promotion, this ambitious person was smart enough to copy the senior sales people. Learning to sell meant…

Making eye contact with car owners and smiling

Expecting objections like, “I wax it myself”

Answering Concerns

Asking For The Order

One day, I decided that I wanted to learn to sell. I heard Jason ask questions like….

Do you travel?

Do you wax in the crevices to prevent rust?

The questions were quick and accomplished while the order was being taken.  Two qualities that my friend exhibited was his enthusiasm and energy. He was also very focused, determined and persuasive.

Since there were no openings at this location – I jumped to a competing car wash. Quickly working my way into sales, my percentage of waxes to cars led the company at 33% for 30 weeks in a row! This set a company record and put me in line for a promotion. While it was hard work, the truth is that I emulated a natural salesperson to improve and get results.

If you would like to learn more about selling, visit}

P.S, This experience lead me to Western Carolina University – the only college in NC to offer sales programs as part of it’s business school.


Book Review of EntreLeadership By Dave Ramsey

It would be tempting to view EntreLeadership as Financial Peace for business and management. But the views, wisdom and advice are much broader and can be applied in many roles. Yes, Dave gets into taxes, budgeting and how to “act your wage.” He also shares insights on handling people, growth and leadership.

Goals Convert Vision Into Energy

One of the quotes that I put up on my wall is “Goals convert vision into energy.” This is a reminder to keep dreaming but back that up with written goals and to do lists. It is the follow through that helps manifest our dreams into reality. It is the daily grind of small, necessary tasks that often sink the visionary. Reaching small, affordable goals ultimately leads to outcomes. Dave points out that not all ventures make it and not to quit your day job until your ‘dream job’ starts generating significant income.

Does Your Group Have Enemies?

One of my favorites parts of the book are “The Five enemies of Unity.” Dave Ramsey identifies negativity as an enemy. For example he states “keep gossip out of your organization.” He wants his team to have a shared purpose and to work as a team in a positive environment. There are common sense tactics that are based on proven principles like communication and recognition.

Do You Micromanage?

EntreLeadership will be a reference after being read, digested and applied. A Manager I know was recently accused of being a micromanager. I read this Manager the section where Dave points out “you are right to micromanage until they don’t drop the ball.” Dave identifies competency and trust as the keys to delegating. My rating on this book is 5 stars. Dave Ramsey inspires with practical steps to help you in business and life.

For more information, visit


Are you rushing the Conversation?

A rushed conversation can result in disaster. We have all run out of patience, dealing with family, friends  and co-workers. We know the phrase I lost my patience” all too well. It normally means we lost our temper. At the very least, we may get irritated emotionally manifesting as outward hostility. What happens if the people around you get tired of being treated that way? 

What Happens Without Patience?

The consequences can be  conflict, hostility and hurt feelings. Problems get worse, families break up and people lose jobs. One symptom of impatience is speeding, or rushing, a conversation. Are you rushing the conversation?

Why Do People Rush Conversations?

As people become busier, they want the message quickly. It is natural for a task-oriented personality to want other people to get to the point. But be aware that relationship-oriented people may interpret these signals as a lack of patience. What signals, you ask? Frowning, tapping a pencil, continuing to work on a project without making eye contact…those ‘body language’ types of signals usually coveys to other  people feel you are rushing the conversation.  It is very difficult to build rapport when you are rushing the conversation!

If You Ask, Give Time for the Answer!

If you ask a question, give the person enough time to answer the question. This sounds easy, but if the answer is long or complicated, it can be extremely difficult to wait until the very end. It may be necessary to paraphrase: to repeat to seek clarification. Or put a finger over your lips and press hard. It’s a physical  reminder not to speak. Rushing a conversation is really just a sign of impatience. It can have minor or major consequences and if not worth the risk. If you are task oriented, be aware of the feelings of others.

Visit to learn more about listening.

Building Rapport

The Art of the Q Book CoverWhen you initiate a conversation, be sure to make eye contact and smile. The goal is to connect and to establish a common bond so that you can communicate effectively. A proven way to build rapport is to simply thank people for their time. Use this with very busy decision makers when you need to get to the point right away.

Questions for Great Openings

If a meeting or an appointment has been set, then you know there is a need or want that requires satisfaction. When buyers call and ask you to come to their home or office, they have a reason. Then, when you start the meeting, that reason should be your first discussion point. The following Case study is an excerpt from The Art of the Q:

Case Study: Home Improvement

“Thank you for meeting with me today. On the phone last week, you said you had some concerns about your kitchen and bathrooms. According to a recent report, kitchen and bathroom improvements are the top two ways to increase the value of your home. I’d like to ask you some questions about your home improvement goals.”

  • “What are you hoping to accomplish?”
  • “Are there budget parameters or is the sky the limit?”
    • (Laugh)


This example illustrates how to:

1) Build rapport

2) Remind the buyer of key motivators (i.e increase the value of your home)

3) Ask open-ended questions to get the conversation started.

Yes, the best sales people use humor and it usually (but not always) helps to loosen folks up. Each business professional has to make up his or her mind on humor depending on the industry and your clientele. Either way, you get the point and now have ideas that you can apply in your own sales efforts. In summary, thanking people for their time shows respect. Asking a couple of open ended questions builds rapport and gets a conversation started. Be sure to listen with concentration because you may uncover key buying motives that will help you understand the needs and wants of your buyers. For more information, go to The Art of the Q.

Sales Challenge # 1: Time Management

Time is Money

Time is Money

Selling is a race against the clock. It’s our job to bring the revenue in and hit our time specific targets. The challenge becomes the limited time in each day. Every month we have deadlines, and sales targets. You can reduce stress and increase your income if you will give me one complete* hour a day!

Whether you are a salesperson, business owner, sales manager or job seeker – action is required to produce a positive outcome. This requires goal setting, and the defining of expectations. Start every month with new objectives. One goal could be “I want to meet with two decision makers a week” By doing this, you have decided to save time by meeting with qualified buyers!

  • Creating achievable expectations helps you reach goals one at a time
  • This gives an individual a sense of accomplishment while taking steps towards success
  • It is this incremental improvement over time that will create greatness.
    • Your commitment is just one hour a day
  • It involves a blend of high payoff activities that will increase your income!


*Target10toWin! is a weekly program that takes only one hour a day. A collection of success habits has been organized to overcome time constraints with easy to execute activities. A weekly personal marketing campaign communicates persuasive messages to buyers. This starts a success cycle creating more meetings with decision makers.


Making A Difference

Good Works

Some altruistic people want to end Alzheimer’s. Their association recruits teams and individuals for an annual walk event. Sponsors contribute to support the event, which raises awareness of the disease and money for research. I found out about the cause at the grocery store. A volunteer was handing out flyers. This person was using her Saturday to help get more people involved.

My question was simple:

“Why do you do this?”

She explained that twenty years ago, cancer research was funded this way. Now, the same strategies are being used to fight Alzheimer’s. Her tone of voice was urgent; the way she described the need for research was passionate. It was also persuasive. One intrinsically motivated volunteer, making a difference!

Why is feeling down referred to as The Blues?

Ever felt a little blue? We hear the phrase often enough like “she’s got the blues.” It means someone is a little melancholy or sad. It is also a style of music. In my opinion, the greatest blues musician of all time is B.B. King! My favorite song that B.B. King song is…

“The Thrill is gone baby , it’s gone away from me

Although, I’ll still live on but so lonely I’ll be…” {1}

Singing helps beat the blues. If you get down, try listening to a little B.B. King. I was a little blue one day so I grabbed my video camera and found a local musician called JAHI singing “The Thrill is Gone” . Yes, I had my video camera so  Checkout JAHI on You Tube!


The Role of Outlook and Concentration in Goal Attainment



Experts believe there is a definite, and dynamic, link among attitude, motivation, and goal setting. Terry Orlick, a leader in sports psychology, puts it this way: “Long term goals may include becoming more positive with your overall attitude, less stressed or more consistent with your best focus.” [1] Dr. Orlick starts with general objectives that include having a relaxed, optimistic approach to accomplishment. Subjective goals are hard to measure versus objective goals that are more concrete.

Our internal reframe question for this is:

How can I improve my outlook and concentration?

Dr. Orlick goes on to say that “to get to where you want to go, set specific, relevant daily goals and then focus fully on pursuing them, one step at a time.” [2] The achiever has broad goals supported by specific daily follow-ups. Small goals can be reached faster – providing confidence and momentum. The effort we put forth in accomplishing the small tasks reflects the inner drive, or motive towards the objective. Your personal motivation may be an extrinsic reward or an intrinsic deep down sense of satisfaction.

Try to stretch the time where you can focus and concentrate. Games like cards and chess can give you a break from computers and reduce the frenzy in your life. Put away the social media and the texting for a little while each day. Spend some quiet time thinking, feeling and dreaming. It will help you get ahead in life! Set your sites on positive and relaxed and then set daily goals. Take these ‘to do’s’ one at a time and you will succeed! CVH

[1] In Persuit of Excellence. Terry Orlick. Human Kenetics. 2008 p 165

[2] [2] In Persuit of Excellence. Terry Orlick. Human Kenetics. 2008 p 165