Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for meetings

trainingreAre you keeping them on the edge of their seats when you
This month, I’m featuring training.
Presentation skills–or the lack of them–makes or breaks any classroom experience.
Go ahead. Admit it. The last real estate presentation you attended had you bored to tears,
not eager, in the first two minutes! And, it got worse from there……..and it really got worse
when the presenter said, “We have a lot of material to cover”–and you wished the presenter
would just end it all by throwing a snuggly blanket over all of you…..

Don’t let that presenter be YOU! Here is most important skill you’ll have to master to be one of those exciting salespeople/presenters, not one of the boring ones:

Do something to get your audience (can be one seller or buyer–that’s an

audience) engaged in the first two minutes of your presentation.

  • Ask a question
  • Get the audience up and moving
  • Do an unexpected warm-up (not that tedious ‘tell us your name….’)
Who needs presentation skills?
You may think that presentation tips are only for those famous keynoters. No….they are for any salesperson
who wants to convert a ‘lead’ to a ‘sale’, any manager who wants to train effectively (and have your agents
eager to attend training, and anyone who needs to persuade someone in 3 minutes–you title and mortgage
reps, for instance).

Want to Grab all those Skills to Keep Their Interest and Assure They Learn?

Join meA�Oct. 5 and 6 in Bellevue, Washington, for my Instructor Development Workshop. You’ll gain the
skills to present with authority and confidence. You’ll learn why most instructors are ineffective–and how you
can stand out from the crowd. You’ll get dozens of methods to teach effectively. You’ll see others actually demonstrating good teaching methods (and you’ll be able to try yours out, too). This course qualifies
instructors to teach clock hour courses in Washington state, and is accredited for 15 continuing education
clock hours in Washington.
IDW_coverClick hereA�for more information.
For you out of Washington state: Why not invite me to teach your association or company leadership the
kind of presentation/facilitation skills that engage and entertain audiences–while they learn.


audience sleepingIs your audience’s mind ‘wandering’? Here are 42 ways to keep their attention.

This month, I’m focusing on training. Why? Because you’re hiring good potential, but you need a plan to develop that potential. And, that development comes through training and coaching.

Trainers: Do they snooze when youa��re in front of them? Do their eyes slowly closea��and then blink open when theya��re startled by something you do in the classroom? Do you feel frustrated when you cana��t keep their attention?

The solution is simple: Gain more teaching skills.

Sounds easy, doesna��t it? But, the most difficult thing for us adults to do is to gain new skills. Instead, we tend to try to purchase competency (invest in software, programs, and a�?thingsa�� that supposedly do the work for us). But, in this case, all the PowerPoints in the world cana��t overcome a boring presenter!

You Can Expand Your Teaching Repertoire

Did you work to put yourself through college? I did. I found out it was much easier to put my talent to work and get paid, than to pick beans! So, when I was nineteen, I got a job playing piano in a bar. (Boy, did I learn about human nature).

When I was tickling the ivories, playing my way through college and graduate school, I noticed that, the more tunesa��and styles–I mastered, (that’s the repertoire), the more tips I made. I could please more of the people more of the time. Ita��s the same way with teaching, or doing keynotes, or presentations, or facilitation. The more skills you hone, the easier it is to be effective in front of people.

Most Presenters Know Just One Tune and Style

Most of us who present start by getting in front of people, and naturally doing some things right. We get acceptance. We get acclaim. We find wea��re good talkers in front of people. In fact, most people think that refining presentation skills are merely a function of

talking better.

So, we try to talk better. But, then, we hit our a�?ceiling of achievementa��. We cana��t seem to get any better. Then, we get frustrated. We try harder. That doesna��t help. Sometimes we look for someone who can help us a�?talk bettera��. We take a class thinking that someone will make us titillating on the stage. The interesting thing is thata��ita��s not the answer for most of us.

Gaining Other Presentation Skills

Sure, there are a myriad of presentation skills that help us in front of audiences. We can speak slower, speak more clearly, pause more effectively, use our bodies more effectively.A� But, in addition, there are teaching methods that increase the effectiveness of our presentations. These include

Crafting of the presentation

Audience participation

Use of visuals and props

How good are you at these teaching methods? Do you tend to rely on the good old stand-by, lecture? A�If so, youa��re boring your audiences to death!

A Great ‘How to Teach’ Course Will Help You

I teach Instructor Development Workshop in the state of Washington. This fulfills a requirement for instructors to teach clock-hour approved courses in the state. So many times, people come into the class wanting me to a�?fix thema�� so they will be fascinating in front of people. What I have to do is to teach them all those other methods to teach effectivelya��skills they can learn and master. Ita��s interesting to watch their paradigms switch from a�?make me another Johnny Carson or Don Ricklesa�? to a�?Ia��m grasping great teaching methods that work for me.a�?

To see my upcoming courses, click here.

Those 42 Teaching Methods

One of the things I do in Instructor Development is to demonstrate to students many teaching methods. Then, we a�?take it aparta�� and talk about how they would apply these methods to their own situations. Ia��ve developed a list of 42 Teaching Methods to summarize the course. Click here to get it.

Bring Skills to Your Company or Association

Want me to come toA� your company or association and teach these methods? Ia��ll customize the subject matter to match what you need. I believe training is major answer to our industrya��s offering value for services, and I can help you create great trainers and effective training. Click here to contact me, and wea��ll talk about your needs.

bus-plan-6Checklist: Keys to being a great business planning coach.

This month, I’m focusing on business planning. I want every professional to have a great plan for next year. Look for checklists, processes, and systems, too, ready to use.

You’ve decided to coach your agents in creating great business plans. but, if you’ve never coached an agent in business planning, it can be quite daunting.A� So, what do you look for? In this blog, I’ll show you how to use their statistic

listings taken to listings sold in normal market time.

to coach them to a better year next year. You would think agents know this statistic, but very few do. Ita��s so important, because it

  1. Determines whether the agent makes enough money per listing or not
  2. Determines whether the agent builds a positive reputation or a poor one
  3. Reflects the agenta��s value-proposition strategy
  4. Reflects on the officea��s productivity and profitability

Your success rate with listings sold is, in my opinion, the one most important reflection of agent value propositions out there.

For example: A�George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy. A�Georgea��s a�?success ratioa�� is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about Georgea��s values proposition strategy? How is George a�?usinga�� his listings? Is that the culture you want perpetuated in your office?

Sally Overton has a different value proposition strategy. She has a 90% success ratio in listings taken to listings sold in normal market time. Obviously, she is building her referral systema��her raving fans. She is making herself more money in less time. She is drastically reducing the number of complaints (and attacks on her self-esteem, too). She is a role model for best practices in her real estate office. Is that practice more in line with your culture?

Your opportunity: As Georgea��s business planning consultant, youa��ll be a�?testinga�� George to see if he wants to change his strategy (some agents love being a�?bait and switchersa�� too much to change). Youa��ll have the opportunity to help Sally leverage her awesome conversion rates to obtain even more raving fans. (Nothing succeeds like success).

Do you know your ‘conversion numbers’ in listings taken to listings sold for your company? When you make your own plan, be sure to do a thorough review, and find this number. A high number means you’ll be able to recruit better, get better retention, have better team spirit, and your agents can build on that reputation. A low number means you have a lot to work on!

Click here for a list of common agent business planning mistakes to help you as you coach agents through the planning process.

Excerpted from my agent business planning system,A�Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

During this fast-paced webinar youa��ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didna��t work for youa��and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone elsea��s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!


Comprehensive OnlineA�Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

penguins focused on goalsHow can you put some pizzazz in your career nights? Are they dazzling, informative, and truthful? Or, do you just plow through the material and hope, at the end, you’ve ‘covered the material’? Career Nights are one of the 11 methods of finding recruits. Why not optimize your chances of finding more winners?

Here are three ways to assure your Career Nights involve, provoke, and capture the attention and imagination of your audience.

1. Help them discover their own business attributes

Are you using some analytical tools that help the attendees discover if they would be a ‘fit’ for real estate sales? In my new eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I provide some analytical questionnaires for would-be agents so they can discovered whether they would love real estate sales.

Point: It’s much more interesting talking about yourself than hearing others talk!

2. Provide them a solid job description

But, don’t just hand it out. Instead, work with them in listing business-producing or business supporting activities. Help them prioritize the activities that make them money–and cost them time. What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School has a job description for a successful real estate agent.

Point: Most agents never get a job description, and end up doing many things that don’t make a difference in their careers.

3. Help them discover their ideal job

In the pre-license book, I have them answer a questionnaire that helps them discover their ideal job. The truth is that some people will love selling real estate, and many won’t. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved to figure that out prior to making the decision to go sell real estate?

Point: We don’t need more licensees. We need more people who will love selling real estate and be compelled to do it well!

What do you include in your Career Nights that makes it exciting, involving, and truthful? Is it helping you choose winners?

This month, when you order my eBook below, I’ll include the documents from the eBook ready to use in your Career Nights.

Save Time and Make your Interviews Work for You

what-they-dont-3d_coverSee more about that eBook here. There are dozens of ideas you can incorporate into Career Nights, your interviews, and your recruiting packages.



audience sleepingIf you’re presenting in front of 2 or hundreds, you must wonder at times whether your delivery is interesting. Too often, we drone through the subject, stop to tell a joke or two, and just trudge through the trenches of information until the clock tells us to stop!

Are your students nodding off as the day goes on? Do you frantically wonder how to keep their attentiona��all day? The answer is not what you think it is. Recently, I taught my Instructor Development course to real estate professionals and affiliates. Ia��ve taught this course for about fifteen years. Herea��s the biggest misconception students come in with:

If I just learn how to be a more captivating speaker, I can keep the studentsa�� attention for hours on end.

NOT! In todaya��s frantic world, the person in front of everyone cannot hope to hold studentsa�� attention for more than 10 minutes at a time! If you think Ia��m wrong, just count the number of commercials in a TV break. These commercials are down to about 15 seconds apiece. The images go by so fast you can scarcely count them. In fact, wea��ve become a society of easily distracted, multi-tasking, not very focused beings (watch pedestriansa��or driversa��in action with a cell phonea��..).

The Focus Doesna��t Have to Be On You at All Times

So, what are you going to do to a�?holda�� studentsa�� attention? You are going to implement some teaching methods called

alternative delivery methods

Alternative delivery methods: all those methods used to teach that are NOT lecture. Examples: Town hall, task force, case study, role play, action plan.

Don’t know how to use these? Here are two resources

slide one1. My new video series) Check out my complimentary 5-part video series (short videos) on how to use these methods (and how to put together a great workshop). See them all on my UTube channel

Give your Students some Credit

People who lecture their way through a day (or days!) either

Just dona��t have any repertoire of alternative teaching methods


Just dona��t think the students can be involved with theirs and othersa�� learning

How to Teach through Student Involvement–the Second Resource

Instead of talking through each point you have on your PowerPoint slide or in our outline (boy, is that riveting!), use town hall, task force, case study, and role play to teach. If you’re not comfortable switching out of ‘lecture’ style, take an Instructor Development Workshop* or see my resource, The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide to learn those methods, and practice using them in class.

Youa��ll find your students know much more than you think they do about what youa��re teaching. Youa��ll be able to clarify points of concern, use the talents in your class, and actually provide a stimulating, active learning environment. The result: your students will be energized all day (and you will be, too!).

IDW_coverInstructor Development Workshop Coming to Bellevue Oct 23-24, 2014

Get new training techniques, watch Carla in action–and get coaching as you develop your own creative presentation techniques. Only 2 this year in this area, so sign up now and get ready for an entirely different classroom experience! 15 clock hours, and it qualifies you as a clock-hour approved instructor in Washington state.A� Click here for more information.

Can’t make it to the ‘live’ version? Check out Train the Trainer, a completely online course with the same material and clock hours–also qualifies you as a clock-hour approved instructor in Washington state. Learn more here.

presentation powerpointJune is my designated ‘Trainer Appreciation Month’. So, I’m featuring blogs about training to help you sharpen your skills and enjoy the classroom and your sales meetings much more.

Are your sales meetings knocking their socks off–or boring them to tears? You want to keep their interest! Help is here. Organize your presentation with the three steps here, and watch your agent count go way up for your sales meetings and training presentations.

Who Is a Presenter?

Wea��re all presenters: Any time wea��re in front of two or two thousand, our goal is to persuade the audience to our point of view. We’re presenters as agents when we do listing and buyer presentations. We’re presenters when we’re title insurance or mortgage reps, getting in front of people in sales meetings to persuade them to use our services.

Unfortunately, most of the time, we just get in front of people and say whatever we think of first. That lack of attention to presentation organization leads to some big presentation mistakes, and costs us a�?salesa��. Instead of stumbling through a presentation, why not organize it to grab their attention, persuade them to your way of thinking, and motivate them to action?

Grab Their Attention in the Opening

Have you thought about your opening?A� Are you hiding in your office because you dread doing that sales meeting? Are you going to a listing presentation, and have no idea how to proceed? When we havena��t organized our presentation, we come up with some really boring, off-putting openings, like:

I wona��t take much of your time, but

We have a lot to cover today

We wona��t get through the outline

I know you dona��t want to listen, but

Ia��m not really prepared

You just open your presentation book, point to the pretty pages, and say, a�?herea��s a keyboxa�?A� (Ia��m not kidding. Ia��ve seen ita��.)

Great openings, yes? Yet, wea��ve heard them dozens of times. You dona��t have to settle for whatever comes a�?naturallya��. Instead, make your openings





A Middle that Educates your a�?Audiencea�� to your Point of View

In the middle of your presentation, add those stories, statistics, and visuals that support your point of view.A� By the way, as you create that presentation, jot down your point of view.A� What do you want to persuade your agents to do?

Why use Visuals?

There are two reasons to use visuals in your presentation:

We believe what we see

We retain the information much longer

As you organize your presentation, ask yourself:

What are the main, and frequently, unspoken objections my a�?audiencea�� will have? How do I educate them to show them the reasoning behind my point of view?

The Ending: Back to the Beginning

Have you thought about your wrap-up? Or, like many presenters, does your ending sound like this?

Well, thata��s all. What do you think?

Wea��re out of time. Thank you. I hope youa��ll list with me

I dona��t have time to close.

I couldna��t get to much of the material, but you can read it

In fact, even the most professional presenters frequently have trouble with their endings. One of the main reasons is that they run out of time. Another is that they havena��t thought the ending through.

How to Do a Stunning Ending

Crafting an effecting ending is the second most important part of your presentation. (The first is the opening). To craft a great ending,

Go back to your beginning opening theme

Summarize the benefits of going ahead with you/take action

Motivate your a�?audiencea�� to take action

A Great Presentation is Crafted like a Pop Song

As a musician, I know that all pop tunes are constructed with this format:


This is known in the music business as the ABA format. Think of your favorite pop tune: Hum the beginning. Think of the end. Theya��re alike, right? Ita��s the middlea��known as the a�?bridgea��a��that is the humdinger. It wanders all around. Your persuasive presentation should be crafted like that pop tune:

AA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A compelling start (think Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, etc.)

BA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� An interesting, developed middle, with stories, statistics

AA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� Back to that theme, with a motivating ending

Now, youa��re all set to craft a great listing or buyer presentation, great recruiting meeting or sales meeting, or awesome product/service presentation to any audience.

P. S. Practice!

Knock_Their_Socks_Off_Product_DisplayMany more tips on presentations and presentation skills are in my new resource, Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make your Best Presentation Ever.

And, since this is my Trainer Appreciation Month, I’m offering special pricing on my trainer resources. Check it out!


A Case Study: Training Gone Wrong

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teacher at boardHave you ever seen training go wrong? As I’m teaching Instructor Development Workshop, I include a case study for attendees to work on. This case study is the ‘story’ of a real estate manager who had the best of intentions when she created her training program. However, she made a mess of it because she followed some of the poor role models she’d had as an agent–or from watching other managers.A� Why use a case study? To check the learning of the attendees. Their answers and insights help me see what I did right–and what I need to keep working on with the attendees.

Here’s the case study:

Sally, in charge of training for her real estate office, decided she had to have a full training calendar. Her listing conversion rates in her real estate were very low (less than A? of her listings were selling in normal market time). Her agents had very low numbers of listings per agent and transactions per agent. She had 50 agents in her office, but was not making a profit. So, she asked her agents which classes they wanted. They told her they wanted classes in 1031 exchanges, risk reduction, and commercial real estate (theya��ve always been interested in various topics and love knowledge for its own sake; after all, they said, you never know when youa��ll need to know……….).

Sally wanted to deliver what her agents said they wanted. Because, after all, a person in Sallya��s position wants to keep the agents happy. So, Sally made a training schedule with lots of lecture on various topics that the agents knew little about. Every Friday, she had a guest lecturer come in and talk about these topics. She required no outlines, no credentials, and no teaching outlines, because she thought that if someone recommended the instructor, he/she must know her subject. And, she had to fill that calendar fast!

In addition, Sally did do some a�?traininga�� herself on sales. Once a week, she chose a topic she thought the agents would like. These trainings were targeted at non-or low producers, because Sally thought that if she created a�?traininga�� for them, they would sell more real estate.

Sallya��s procedure was this: She invited everyone to the classes. She used a student outline that she liked from various courses she had attended, and talked through it. (Sally didna��t know how to use alternative delivery methods). She didna��t teach to objectives, because she didna��t know what they were. Her approach was this: She got an outline, made copies of it, and told the agents that, today, they were going to talk about _________. Or, sometimes, she said, a�?We have a lot of material to cover.a�? She was trying to create lots of value by providing lots of information.

She required nothing of the agents to get into the class. She didna��t do a series, because she wanted to a�?cover a lot of materiala��. She did a wide array of topics, because, she figured, a wide array is better.A� Sally didna��t bother to arrange the topics in any logical sequence (such as the decision-making process or the 4 steps of the sales process) because she wanted to cover many different topics. She thought the students would hear something that would help them……She didna��t require the students to do anything with the information after the class, believing that they would hear it and immediately put it to work without practice, coaching, or action plans.

After Sally got really busy, she asked some of her agents to a�?teacha�� certain topics. She gave them the topics and thought they could tell the agents how they did it. Sally didna��t understand the difference between a�?how something does ita�� and how to do it).

After a few months of doing this, Sally didna��t see any results in increased production.

The Exercise

Pick out at least 10 mistakes Sally made in her approach to a�?traininga��, and give recommendations on how Sally needs to proceed to use training to change the production and profit picture in her real estate office.

What did you pick? Have you ever made some of these errors? Unfortunately, most of the time ‘training’ is created by filling out a calendar.

In my next blog, I’ll tackle how to make your training calendar actually work to reach the goals of your office.

What training mistakes do you see?

Note: If you want to dramatically improve your real estate training, see The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide.






















































audience sleepingHave you ever been at a meeting that was absolutely painful to sit through? I just experienced that, and I could hardly wait until it was over. But, with a few guidelines, no meeting need be pain-provoking!

Tip: These guidelines work, too, for any presentation.

Ia��m Only Giving My Reporta��I Dona��t Have to Have any Presentation Skillsa��.

Why should you read this? You arena��t a professional speaker. You dona��t even do presentations. You just give reports. You dona��t need any public speaking skills. Thata��s what you think! A�There are presentation strategies for giving reports, and, when you dona��t know them or use them, the example is a painful experience for the attendees. So, whether youa��re an agent, a manager, an assistant, it doesna��t matter. When you get up in front of peoplea��even for a reporta��you owe it to your audience to be professional.

Why Prepare to Make a Report?

As with many meetings, this painful meeting consisted of reports from 8 different people. Now, I know most people regard giving a report as getting up and reading the 3-10 items on their report. Not! You need to prepare for that meetinga��whether or not you are a professional speaker.

The 3 Deadly Sins in Giving those Reportsa��and the Remedies

1.A�A�A�A�A� 1. A deadly start

In this meeting, two of the 5 reporters started with a�?soa��. In fact, I counted 25 a�?sosa�� in one of the reports! A�One of the reporters kept saying that she was not prepared because she didna��t know she didna��t have another meeting to lead after this one. Who cares?

The remedies:

Start your report without the a�?soa��, the a�?uha��, or any of the filler words. Practice your first few words. Make sure they lay out what youa��re going to report in a concise, friendly manner.

Stop the excuses; the audience doesna��t care! Avoid a�?we got a lot to covera��, a�?I havena��t much timea��, or a�?Ia��m not prepareda��.

2.A�A�A�A� 2.A� Taking too much time

The remedy:

Practice your report and a�?timea�� it. Then, add A? more time. Why? Because you have to get set up and ready, you may have audience questions or interruptions, etc. No one ever shot the speaker for finishing earlya��..

3.A�A�A�A�A� 3. Wandering around in a vast wasteland of information

The remedy:

Write out your major points. There should be no more than 3-5. Practice not wandering off your point. Speak in concise sentences, with commas, not periods! A�

Ask yourself: What do you want the audience to remember? Make these points memorable. Leave out the rest!

If you have more to say and no more time, make a handout with all the information.

Train Everyone to Make Better Reports

If youa��re in management or in charge of any meeting of any time, your attendees will love you a lot more if you coaching your meeting participants in the 3 areas above. Youa��ll get better attendance, a more attentive audience, and will create a much more pleasurable meeting!

What are your pet peeves in meetings?