Ever been crushed by criticism?

I was once running a public seminar and a small group of attendees approached me about a particularly tricky member of their team. In a nutshell, they wanted my advice on how best to deal with this person.

My first question was ‘Well what have you done so far?’

Their reply staggered me.

‘Well we’ve tried the obvious.’

‘The obvious?’ I enquired.

‘Yeah – we’ve tried humiliation. But that didn’t work.’

Just think for a moment. I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of such an approach?

Giving feedback is a skill, particularly if it needs to be challenging and could be labelled ‘criticism.’

I’ve certainly had my fair share of criticism over the years, and I’ll be honest – it’s never easy to receive.

However, the danger is that when we receive criticism we react in two extremely unhelpful ways.

Either we simply choose to ignore it and dismiss it immediately, or we obsess about it to the point that it can become debilitating.

In my book Self Confidence I offer some advice on some questions to reflect on when you receive criticism. I appreciate a lot depends on the context of how and when the criticism is given, but I hope at least one of the following proves to be of value to you:

  • What were the other person’s motives for giving it?
  • Can I understand their perspective?
  • Which, if any, of the criticism was valid?
  • How defensive was I when receiving the criticism?
  • What can I learn from both the criticism and how I responded to it?
  • Would it be appropriate to thank my critic for their comments?

Giving challenging feedback is never easy. And some people do an appalling job of it.

Likewise, it can be hard to be criticised no matter how well intentioned it may be. But simply dismissing it or obsessing over it can be equally damaging.

Remember, criticism could be one of the greatest gifts you receive. Just make sure you handle it with care.

Until next time.

Paul

The SUMO Guy

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Twelve Nuggets of Wisdom For 2017

If you’re like me you get bombarded with information. But I realise it’s not more information I need – it’s wisdom.

Between Christmas and New Year I took time to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve been learning over the last twelve months. I shared them on social media and had a huge response. I’d now like to share them with you, in the hope that one or two of them will prove helpful in the coming year… and beyond.

 

  1. A sense of entitlement is your enemy. Focus and hard work are your greatest allies.
  2. Some people’s biggest fear is not getting it right. My biggest fear is not having tried.
  3. Rejection, setbacks, and heartaches can hurt us. But don’t allow a temporary bruise to become a permanent scar.
  4. A great question to sometimes ask yourself would be ‘How would the best version of me handle this?’
  5. Some people can be full of crap. But they can also be full of valuable lessons to teach us.
  6. The messenger is important, but it’s the message that really matters.
  7. It’s easy to become blasé about life. To be unimpressed or indifferent because we’ve seen or experienced it so often before. So you have to make gratitude a conscious choice.
  8. Remember, it’s a big world. And it doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes we need to get over ourselves.
  9. Quit getting caught up in the minutiae of life. If you stare at the window you see finger prints and dust. If you look through the window you see the world.
  10. We all wrestle with demons and doubts. So show some compassion to people – starting with yourself.
  11. Some people spend too long staring at screens and not enough time engaging with life.
  12. Showing appreciation matters more than you think.

 

Do you know anyone who would benefit from reading these twelve nuggets? Feel free to forward this email to them.

From myself and the SUMO team I wish you every success for the coming year.

Paul

The SUMO Guy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Please don’t play this game at Christmas

What games do you tend to play at Christmas? If you asked my mum if she fancied playing a board game at Christmas she’d run a mile – which is pretty impressive considering the state of her knees.

I’m up for most games, although I might not always follow the rules. Some people call that cheating. I just think it’s being creative.

But there’s one game I will no longer play.

Past experience has taught me it’s not fun, it leaves me feeling miserable, and I never win.

What’s the game?

The comparison game.

Here’s the deal.

‘When you play the comparison game, you always lose. Instead, focus on being the best version of you that you can be. And sod the rest.’

You see, a phrase I often hear at this time of year is ‘Peace on earth.’ Well I’m not sure how realistic that might be right now, but if you want ‘peace of mind‘ then take time to focus on all the good things going on in your life.

Do what you can to help others.

Quit playing the comparison game.

 

 

#MADvent

Every day from the 1st of December until Christmas Day we’ll be giving away some SUMO goodies. There’s still time to nominate someone – just email Kevin.Daniels@theSUMOguy.com with a couple of sentences about somebody who makes a difference to you, whether that’s in your personal or professional life (or both). Our winners so far have included teachers, football coaches, partners, and a couple who set up a Donkey sanctuary – and they all have a parcel of SUMO prizes winging their it’s way to them. The reasons for nominating can be anything, from doing something amazing for charity to simply being there with a cuppa at the right time.

madvent

Keep your nominations coming in to Kevin.Daniels@theSUMOguy.com. Good luck!

 

Wishing you well at this special time of year – and here’s to making a difference in 2017.

Paul

The SUMO Guy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Is it time to get a grip?

Ever watched a formula one motor race? I’m not a fan particularly, but I once heard that, after the start, the most stressful part of the race for a driver is…

…the pit stop.

Why?

Because they’re not in control. They’re relying on others.

You know at times life can seem like one giant pit stop. We’re not in control, and we’re having to rely on others.

The only problem is the people we’re relying on aren’t necessarily as skilled and well trained as a formula one pit stop team.

Politicians are trying to navigate through some of the most uncertain and complex times in modern history. And the so-called experts are in danger of growing fat based on all the humble pie they’ve been eating recently.

In times like this it’s understandable that people can feel disorientated and anxious about the future.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

There is hope.

But how much hope is dependent on where you choose to focus.

You see, we’re not always in the pit stop are we? We’re in the race. And there are two crucial things we do have a large degree of control over.

Our thoughts and our actions.

Now more than ever it’s essential we develop what I call ‘Fruity Thinking’ (check out my 7 questions to do this by clicking here). It’s time to start seeking some solutions and look for new ways to meet the challenges we face.

And be encouraged. History actually shows that as a species, despite our flaws and failings, we’re pretty good at doing that.

You might not agree with what’s happening politically around the world. But our future isn’t solely based on decisions politicians make. We’ve got our own part to play. If we choose to.

Perhaps in the words of an old Chinese proverb, we should do more of the following:

‘Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle.’

So get your hands back on the steering wheel of your life and take back some control.

Until next month.

Paul

The SUMO Guy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The wait is finally over. My new book is here.

I’m excited to announce that to celebrate the launch of my brand new book How to Speak so People Really Listen I’m giving away some exclusive content, plus the chance to win some great prizes.

If you buy the book from Amazon between today, November the 7th, and midnight on November the 9th, I’ll send you a bunch of exclusive articles, plus you’ll be entered into our draw to win one of the following prizes:

  • A free place on my Presentation Masterclass (worth £356)
  • Free membership to fellow trainer and bestselling author Andy Bounds’ video club, giving you access to 143 exclusive training videos to help you sell more (worth £408)
  • One of five sets of all my bestselling Capstone books (worth £78)
  • One of five sets of author Andy Bounds’ books (worth £33)
  • One set of networking specialist Andy Lopata’s books (worth £30)

Just by purchasing the book I will send you the following three exclusive articles I’ve written to help you raise your game as a communicator:

  • Without doubt the most powerful way to get your audience to remember your message
  • Are you guilty of any of these Seven Speaking Sins?
  • Stop showing slides that suck… the life out of your audience

Plus a bonus article:

  • 7 Great Ways to Beat Your Presentation Nerves

 

All you have to do is:

Buy the book on Amazon between Nov 7th and Nov 9th. (Click here for the Amazon link)

Send proof of purchase (your Amazon receipt) to Kevin.Daniels@theSUMOguy.com.

And that’s it.

Amazon will send you the book, and we’ll send you the articles and enter you into the draw.

This offer is open to anyone, so feel free to forward this email to people you think would be interested.

So to purchase the book click here – and in doing so you’ll discover the following 13 things:

  1. The big lesson Steve Jobs learnt when an advertising exec threw something at him… and how it will help how you communicate.
  2. Seven ways to manage your nerves (surprisingly, you don’t want to eliminate them).
  3. Why our obsession with body language is totally wrong, and what to focus on instead.
  4. Why you must think about a beachball before you next speak. Believe me, it’s essential.
  5. A question your audience is always thinking, and how to ensure you provide the answer.
  6. The most common mistake experienced presenters make that nervous ones never do.
  7. Why so many presentations cure insomnia, and how to make sure you’re serving an extra strong double espresso instead.
  8. The number one thing most presenters forget to bring when they’re speaking to others.
  9. Discover the most underprepared part of your presentation, and how to avoid making the same mistake.
  10. What women’s magazines and TV soap operas have to teach us about audience engagement.
  11. What I learnt from a guy with one of the most powerful memories on the planet, and how it can transform your communication.
  12. Discover Tony Blair’s biggest fear when Prime Minister, and how you can tackle the same issue with confidence.
  13. Why you don’t have to be funny to use humour in your presentation, and three easy ways to do it.

 

Remember, the offer is valid only until midnight on the 9th of November.

Hope you find the book to be of great value.

Paul

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

When you speak do people really listen?

During the 2004 Democratic convention the keynote speaker was the state senator from Illinois. USA Today described him as ‘a little-known African-American.’

That one speech changed not just his future, but the future of the American people.

His name?

Barack Obama.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Now your own ambitions may be slightly different from Obama’s, but there could be countless reasons why you want to raise your game as a communicator. My latest book, How to Speak so People Really Listen, is about to be released, and in it you’ll discover these 13 things:

  1. The big lesson Steve Jobs learnt when an advertising exec threw something at him… and how it will help how you communicate.
  2. Seven ways to manage your nerves (surprisingly, you don’t want to eliminate them).
  3. Why our obsession with body language is totally wrong, and what to focus on instead.
  4. Why you must think about a beachball before you next speak. Believe me, it’s essential.
  5. A question your audience is always thinking, and how to ensure you provide the answer.
  6. The most common mistake experienced presenters make that nervous ones never do.
  7. Why so many presentations cure insomnia, and how to make sure you’re serving an extra strong double espresso instead.
  8. The number one thing most presenters forget to bring when they’re speaking to others.
  9. Discover the most underprepared part of your presentation, and how to avoid making the same mistake.
  10. What women’s magazines and TV soap operas have to teach us about audience engagement.
  11. What I learnt from a guy with one of the most powerful memories on the planet, and how it can transform your communication.
  12. Discover Tony Blair’s biggest fear when Prime Minister, and how you can tackle the same issue with confidence.
  13. Why you don’t have to be funny to use humour in your presentation, and three easy ways to do it.

 

However, I don’t want you to buy your copy just yet.

You see, my publisher has arranged a special promotion whereby anyone purchasing the book via Amazon between the 7th and 9th of November will be eligible to win a variety of prizes, as well as receiving some additional exclusive articles written by me.

So check your inbox this coming Monday for more details. But if you seriously can’t wait until then, I really hope you find the book to be of great value.

Until Monday…

Paul

The SUMO Guy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Does what I say offend you?

So a guy comes up to me after one of my events recently and says “I find the phrase ‘SUMO – Shut Up, Move On’ offensive. Well I did before hearing you speak. But I get it now.”

It got me thinking – how may other people feel the same way? I appreciate a lot has to do with context, and perhaps even the tone in which the phrase is said. And if you’ve heard me speak you’ll realise it’s not just a catchphrase. It’s a philosophy. But the reality is, I’m aware some people have continued to be offended by the phrase, or slightly confused by how the SUMO approach will help them in life.

So here’s what I’ve done. Firstly, I’m sticking with the brand. And many of you will know that SUMO can also stand for Stop. Understand. Move On.

But I’ve also given my website a complete overhaul.

By clicking here I hope what I and my team offer will be really clear. And I’ve set out in as straightforward a way as possible what the SUMO approach is and how it can be of benefit to you in both your personal and professional lives, particularly if you’ve been going through a lot of change.

So check it out and let me know if I’ve succeeded. The website address is www.theSUMOguy.com.

 

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for news of my final public Presentation Masterclass of 2016, details of which I’ll be announcing shortly.

Hope SUMO continues to Make A Difference.

Paul

The SUMO Guy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A crucial formula in challenging times

The foundation to my SUMO principles is a very simple formula. E + R = O. Simply put, it’s the Event plus my Response that influences the Outcome.

It’s an important formula to remember. Here’s why.

Those of us in the UK have experienced a major political event recently.

But the outcome to that event is not inevitable.

It’s dependent on how we respond both individually and collectively.

Some people rejoice.

Others need some Hippo Time – a period of wallowing.

Some are quick to sign up others to join them in the great BSE game – ‘Blame Someone Else.’

Whatever our opinion of what happened, there does come a time when we need to ask ourselves how we’ll respond.

Hippo Time is OK. For a while. But it’s temporary. It’s part of the journey. It’s not meant to be your destination. And as for the playing the BSE game, ultimately no one wins that particular game, no matter how long you play it.

I guess like anything in life a time of reflection is required. But then it’s a question of ‘moving on.’

It’s time not to curse the darkness but to light candles.

And it’s time for some not to gloat over the outcome, but to work hard, and dare I say it humbly, to create and make the most of the opportunity.

I hope that in some small way the SUMO message helps you on the journey.

Carpe Diem.

Paul

The SUMO Guy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What I learnt from my time in prison

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter?

I rarely do.

But I’ll never forget the one I received from a guy serving a long-term prison sentence in Armley jail in Leeds.

He’s an avid reader and wanted to use his time in prison to further his education and develop himself as a person. One of the inmates lent him a copy of my SUMO book.

The guy (let’s call him Tony) devoured it. Apparently he loved it. So he decided to write to me and let me know a little about his life story, how my book had helped him, and his hopes for the future.

I wrote back.

He didn’t expect me to.

I included my ‘7 Questions to help you SUMO’ postcard.

We’ve kept in touch.

He’s now in an open prison in Lancashire. He’s due to be released later this year.

But he had a favour to ask before his release.

Would I come into the prison and speak to some of the other inmates?

So I did.

I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous.

Tony introduced me and explained the impact my book had made, and what it meant to him for me to write back and keep in touch. He referred to me as his mentor.

At the end of my talk I was surrounded by guys wanting to thank me and asking me to sign books.

As for Tony, he’s now allowed out on day release, and is using his time productively.

He’s giving talks to young people about the consequences of crime. He’s also talking to probation officers and helping them understand how to best support prisoners so they’re less likely to re-offend.

As well as this, he’s now writing his own book, and hopes to become a lecturer.

I’m hugely aware that in comparison with many others my support has been minimal.

But I’m also aware of this: sometimes a seemingly small action can still have a significant impact.

It’s easy to quickly write people off. But maybe there are things we can do to help ‘write them back in.’

And it could all start with something simple. A phone call. A text. A short letter. Or a willingness to meet up for coffee.

What do you reckon?

Paul

The SUMO Guy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What can you learn from 25 years?

Twenty five years ago this month I signed off invalidity benefit and started my own business. In my first year of trading I turned over just £2,300. My income was so low that I didn’t pay any tax or national insurance and my accountant dumped me.

It’s fair to say things have improved since then.

Back in 1991 I was still a whole eleven years away from discovering a phrase that became my brand. SUMO. Shut Up, Move On.

In those twenty five years I’ve made countless mistakes, had some success, but above all I’ve learnt loads.

So here are three lessons I’ve learnt on my journey, which I hope prove useful reminders for your journey too.

 

  1. You can’t do it on your own.

Yes people work hard, but ultimately whatever success any of us achieve is not down solely to our own efforts. From family, friends, the SUMO team, my publisher (I love you Capstone!), fellow speakers, clients, and web-designers, the list is unending.

The reality is seeking support is never a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of wisdom. Just make sure you acknowledge those that support you and never be deceived into thinking it’s all down to you. It isn’t.

 

  1. Keep it simple.

In a world of complexity and continual change, make sure your message is clear and simple. As a communicator my goal is not to massage people’s intellectual egos or to impress them with my knowledge. Neither is my goal to dumb things down, but to make the ideas and insights that will help us live better lives.

And here’s something I’ve discovered. Anyone can make things complex. But you’ve got to work really hard to make things simple.

 

  1. Pausing is powerful.

Life does reward intelligent action. But before you ‘Move On’ it’s important to ‘Shut Up’ or ‘Stop and Understand.’ It’s necessary to press pause and reflect not only on what we’re doing but why we’re doing it. And it’s both enlightening and challenging to ask yourself ‘How much do I enjoy what I do?’ and ‘How much difference do I think I’m making?’

Trust me, taking time to pause and reflect is a powerful habit to develop.

 

I could probably write a whole book on all the lessons I’ve learnt along my business journey (now there’s an idea!), and despite some setbacks and the occasional negative press along the way it is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that I celebrate these last 25 years.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support.

Here’s to the next twenty five years.

Paul

The SUMO Guy

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized