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March 28, 2024

Why Do We Struggle to Learn?

...and why do we then fall back into old habits?

It is astounding how many people struggle when learning new things, specifically in a training seminar.

They are often in the right mindset when they start to learn something new and are open to it and then suddenly, as if someone has flicked the switch, they turn off and become resistant to what they are learning and yet are not even aware that this has happened.

I have often seen a trainer enthusiastically getting people involved in the training, yet when these people leave, they fall back into their old habits very quickly.

They will often complain that the training was not that good, they couldn’t see the relevance of it and they don’t know how they could adapt it for their own use.

Many of us are sometimes in this frame of mind when it comes to learning new things.

We kid ourselves saying that we are open, but the moment learning something new becomes difficult, we shut down.

I would like to give you some insights into why this happens and some strategies to help to stop this. And if you understand this, it will also provide clues about your belief systems and why you find it difficult to change.

You may have heard of the 4 stages to learning.

The 4 stages of learning provide a framework for understanding how individuals acquire new skills or knowledge:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence. At this stage, individuals lack awareness of their incompetence in a particular skill or area of knowledge. They don't know what they don't know. It's like being oblivious to the existence of a skill or not recognizing its importance.

  2. Conscious Incompetence. In this stage, individuals become aware of their lack of proficiency in a certain skill or area. They recognize that there is something they don't know or can't do, and they may feel a sense of frustration or inadequacy. However, this awareness is essential for progress because it motivates them to seek learning and improvement.

  3. Conscious Competence. As individuals progress, they start to develop competence in the skill or area they are learning. However, their proficiency requires conscious effort, concentration, and practice. They are able to perform the skill, but they need to focus and think about each step or element involved.

  4. Unconscious Competence. At the final stage, individuals have mastered the skill to the point where it becomes almost automatic. They can perform the skill effortlessly and without conscious thought. It's like second nature to them. They have internalized the knowledge or skill, and it has become ingrained in their behavior.


These stages are not necessarily linear, and individuals may move back and forth between them depending on various factors such as the complexity of the skill, the amount of practice, and individual differences in learning styles. Understanding these stages can help learners and educators tailor their approaches to maximize learning effectiveness.

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May 01, 2023

How you can make it difficult for clients to say No to you in a presentation?

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re presenting to a group of people, a board or even to a couple and you’re just not sure if they get it… the value you bring and that your the obvious choice?

-You could be selling a security solution
-You could be selling your services as a agent
-You could be selling that your type of car is better than a competitors

So do you close by asking the next steps or do you take a couple steps back and re-engineer the way you presented logic and emotion and importantly guide the thinking of your clients to say Yes without resistance?

Let’s take a piece of advice from the master or persuasion… Socrates

One of the most important aspects he emphasized was about understanding how you present information to a client that makes it very difficult for them to dispute the information.

To a certain extent if they see the truth and if they were to dispute the truth the only person it would impact on would be them and they would feel silly to say no.

In a nice way you’ve actually put them in the corner without a way out.


Read the following when’s Socrates presented an argument to Xenophon and his wife Aspasia.

“Please tell me, Madame Xenophone, if your neighbor should have finer gold jewelry then you have, would you prefer hers or your own?”
“Heres, ” she replied.

“What if she should have clothing and other feminine accessories that are more expensive than what you have - would you prefer yours or hers?”

Here’s, of course, she responded.

“Well, then, what if she should have a better husband than you have – would you prefer yours or hers?

Her response… stunned silence and blushing!

This is also a classic lesson on the YES Set, done with intelligence.

There are 2 basic processes used by Socrates, induction and deduction reasoning firstly by using examples and then adding 2 general statements in your presentation that the client can’t say no to .

This is where it’s clever you say one last thing which reinforces the first two.

This is something that clever lawyers do very well.
Well a good lawyer always prepares in advance, don’t you think you should do to win more often?

Success in the courtroom, boardroom or even in the lounge room requires thought and strategy.

There’s quite a bit a strategy and planning to create a structure for a presentation that closes successfully so that you use your information in a way that people find it difficult to dispute.
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April 26, 2023

The Role of Beliefs in Everyday Conflicts and Successful Negotiations

Over 2 billion couples argue about one thing over and over again, virtually every day.

"Why don’t you put the toilet seat down after you’ve finished?" says the wife to her husband.

He thinks, "Well, I’ve lifted the seat; what’s the big deal?"
And the argument repeats over and over again.

Knowing that some of these beliefs come from our past and have daily influence over our thoughts, emotions, and actions is crucial for the intelligent negotiator to know.

Have you ever been in a presentation where you think and feel you’re nailing it, getting confirmations along the way that you’re going to close the deal?

And just when you ask for the next step, the client says with hesitation, "Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you."

You're thinking, "What?" It makes perfect sense for the client to go ahead, but they don’t.

You have failed to understand the underlying beliefs affecting the client's decision.

Simply put, despite evidence, people will cling to an old belief.

Two things you can do:

1. Understand their beliefs.
2. Create an effective strategy to change those beliefs and include their existing beliefs in your presentation.

As a result, the client frequently believes that the decision to proceed was their own...

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April 25, 2023

Knowing your numbers gives you insights into your behaviours

Knowing your numbers gives you insights into your behaviours...namely what you believe you can achieve?

Have you ever been second-guessing yourself?
The problem is when you do this your thinking emotionally and making wrong decisions as the only way to do this accurately is to know your numbers.

In a recent training session at Porsche, I ran the team through a session on the Psychology of Personal Performance and Goal Attainment
How many times have you tried to set your goals only to lose motivation and feel like you can never achieve what you think you can?

What’s the difference between one person who never ever seems to give up and makes progress towards their goals and the other person who lacks even the drive to think about their goals let alone take action?

The first step is to sit down and go through all the aspects of your life and begin to understand the process of thinking about your goals.
NOTE: I said thinking which is the first step.
The second step -think about your sales numbers.

We’ve all heard that numbers provide you with an idea of what your call-to-meet and deal-closing ratios are. Knowing these are crucial to monitor your progress towards eventually achieving your goal.

What most salespeople don’t think about is that numbers also provide insights into your thinking and behaviours and importantly your motivation.

When you think about your behaviours you’ll see that they are a series of actions that lead to a result. Importantly they also provide an insight into the attitude you had when taking action.
Think about those thoughts and see what action you took.
Were your intentions moving you towards your goals or moving away?
If you look deeply at your numbers from a rational point of view you’ll realize that it’s a series of small actions.
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April 14, 2023

Why creating the right frame in a presentation controls how the information is perceived by your audience?

Have you ever been in a situation where you're presenting to 4-7 people in a competitive bid against your main rival?

You might be presenting your security software solution and why it’s better than your rivals.

You might be a salesperson who sells houses and you're competing against another agent to get the listing

In presenting…how you say something, what you say, your word choice also determines your status and how your message is perceived by your audience. Credibility and character are perceived by your audience.

Here’s a simple example. Say there’s data in an article informing everyone that your software is better because it’s been tested by hackers to be the category leader and the article appears in the local newspaper.

Now imagine the same article appearing in The Financial Review or Wall Street Journal.

How do you perceive the information now?
How is the presenter perceived?
Different I bet

This observation was made by Erving Goffman, a sociologist who described this form of interpretation as “Framing”.

Notice how your eyes and senses are directed by the picture of the mountain by the frame, not the whole picture, yet I haven’t said anything.

This is one of the reasons of knowing how to present information in a way that adds to your credibility but also to your status in the room is so important. The most important thing is how you direct the thoughts and emotions of your audience to what you want them to think about

Your skills in presenting to either close a deal or sell an idea will define your success in sales and in life

When you do this well, your closing ratios go through the roof, you get less pushback on price, and what happens is you direct the client's attention on what you want them to think when you do this well

You get called in by clients because your reputation precedes you.

This is a deliberate process of understanding that presenting is both science and art.

Verbal competence is a superpower. Competence is an influence.
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April 13, 2023

What are the 3 key essential elements in a presentation that influences people’s minds?

How much data should you use, should you get everyone emotional?

Aristotle the Greek philosopher provided us with a structure of these 3 essential areas and they are:

1.Ethos
2.Pathos
3.Logos

The ability to use these as guides depends on how well you understand the use of the right words at the right time in the right sequence. That knowledge is what the best word smiths use and it's based on rhetoric.
So often salespeople have great solutions to offer clients, they know their products so well and yet they struggle to sell their idea, especially to multiple decision-makers.

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April 12, 2023

What can a builders leveler ruler teach us about delivering winning presentations?

Have you prepared a presentation and wondered if you have the right amount of facts vs stories?

Have you ever considered the importance of repetition in a presentation...to make a point so everyone remembers it and importantly recognises it as a key component of why they should do the deal with you?
Do you know how to present a word or phrase using keywords that create urgency and drama?

Writing a proposal and then delivering it are two totally different skill sets to master.

In Australia, we have trail lawyers or barristers and we have solicitors who know the technicalities of the law. Barristers are the ones who try and influence the judge to their viewpoint and use all the tools at their disposal to make a point.

They present the facts with energy, style, and flair.

The challenge is salespeople and most business owners never get exposed to the art and science of Presenting a Proposal to close the deal. They know the facts about what they sell and don't realise that not everyone gets excited about the facts.
Imagine you've hired a lawyer who just presents the facts and expects everyone to accept those facts, when the opposing council is the opposite, uses their words with power and energy, and paints a picture of the opposite... who would you believe?

The fact is no matter how good your product or service is, if you can't influence people, you are not going to make the sale, close the deal, or make any margin worthwhile.

There is a distinct set of processes and language that are required to create a presentation that closes the deal.
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April 06, 2023

Why you should pay attention to your feelings?

Have you ever struggled to make a decision in the moment and you're getting uptight not knowing what to do?

What about when you're in a meeting and your clients ask you a difficult or challenging question and you instinctively know what to say but hesitate?
AND then you regret it afterwards, kicking yourself for not saying it.

Pay attention to your feelings. Feelings are signals of what is going on with you and can be used to make an adjustment at the moment. This is what being present is all about.

When you bury or discount your feelings they will come back to remind you and that you have to deal with something. So why not deal with it now?

In fact, it is demonstrating mindfulness. Your feelings allow you to get control over your emotions and actually make wise choices, instead of reactive decisions.

Just a like a tennis player, you have to learn to use this feedback mechanism to your advantage. Make decisions in the now, don't live in the past or dwell in the future. Live and make decisions in the present.

There is so much nonsense out there telling you to ignore your feelings, or f...k your feelings! DON'T!
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April 03, 2023

Why Most Salespeople Aren’t Getting Any Closers?

Why do so many salespeople give away their time, knowledge for free or cut their margin…and not get the sale?

I often get complaints from CEOs, sales directors & sales managers that their salespeople get shopped on price or they provide free advice to the client and the client either implements the solution themselves or finds someone else to do it for them cheaper.

STOP PROVIDING THE SOLUTION UNTIL YOUR CLIENT ADMITS THEY HAVE A NEED.

We’ve all been told that you need to identify the pain in a client in order to motivate them to make a decision.
The first challenge is you need to firstly find out what the pain is and the second step is to actually get the client to admit that they’ve got the pain.

Because if they don’t admit the pain then it’s just hearsay.
Once a person says they have pain, then they start to believe it’s real. Once you have them admit their pain then you can start to talk about your solution, which is one of reasons why a questioning framework to identify the Decision Triggers is important to understand and the timing of the questions is crucial.

Please also note that at no stage have we actually offered a solution to solve the problem.

This is the real key in our sales system.
Until I get the client to admit they have a need I don’t offer any solution.

If you can learn how people make decisions you’ll avoid all these costly mistakes and actually qualify clients better and motivate them to make decisions to go with you.
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March 30, 2023

The Psychology of Goal Setting

Training the team at McConnell Bourn in their first session on the Psychology of Personal Performance, there were a number of aha moments that the team experienced.

One of the insights from the session was that you have choices in life.

One of those choices is how do you develop strong boundaries as a person on what you will accept as challenges to your identity or self worth.

Most people don’t realise that if you don’t have strong boundaries of knowing who you are, you can easily be affected by other people’s opinions of you, good or bad.

Commonly this leads to indecision and the emotional roller coaster people experience on a daily basis.

This affects virtually all the decisions you make in your personal and business life.

Unfortunately many people don’t spend enough time to understand this area of their psychology and don’t spend enough time to develop a strong identity and personal boundaries.

Once you do this, then you’re in a position to take control over your life and handle any changes in the environment without being overwhelmed.

In fact you get a measure of control over your mind and then you have true freedom to express yourself. Say things things you’ve always wanted to say, without reservations.

Imagine having a bullet proof shield around you.

It’s a waste of time to do goal setting until you explore this area of your persona and identity & what you need to do to build a strong boundary.

Is it easy ?
Is it worthwhile?
It depends on what you want and how badly you want it.