Broaden Opportunities and Achieve Goals

Margaret Maclay discusses how to set and achieve goals by broadening opportunities for success.

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Insure Business Success

Unleash powerful techniques to achieve goals in just four steps

Margaret Maclay discusses four powerful techniques to identify and achieve goals to choose your destiny.

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Maximize Your Capabilities

Thinking that is outside of the box

Margaret Maclay demonstrates how to unleash the power of the mind. Discover your capabilities in one concept.

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Express Gratitude

thankyouHow many times a day do you say “thanks”? Is it a true expression of gratitude or an automatic response? “Thanks” is a good start but expressing gratitude—letting those around you truly understand that you appreciate what they are doing—is a key to effective leadership.

William James said “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” Letting people know you appreciate them shows you care and are giving credit where it’s due. It evokes trust and loyalty, two important factors leading to business success. It also serves as a morale booster and motivator.

Expressing gratitude can be delivered in many ways—a quick email or text, a phone call, a personal note or card, and whenever possible, face-to-face. Whichever you choose, make sure it matches the act of kindness, assistance or work delivered.

Whether it’s big or small, these guidelines will insure your next “thank you” is an effective expression of gratitude:

  1. Keep it simple and sincere. The simple act of being thanked makes one feel more valued.
  2. Look the recipient of your message in the eye when you express gratitude in person and address them by name. If the conversation is by phone or written (text, email, personal note) be sure to mention names as well.
  3. Refer to the specific act of kindness, assistance or work the person or group provided. (Something they refrained from doing may warrant appreciation as well).
  4. Let the individual or team know how their action impacted you personally, professionally or how it impacted your business.
  5. Acknowledge the effort it took (i.e. “Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to . . .” or “I realize you went out of your way to. . . ” or “Thanks for staying late to finish the. . .”).
  6. Timing is everything. Express gratitude at the right time. Sometimes it’s best to express your gratitude on the spot. Other times, a personal note or visit after the fact may be more appropriate.
  7. Smile! Whether face-to-face, over the phone or written, a smile comes through and verifies your expression of gratitude isbusiness_smile genuine.

Start the year off “Communicating for Success.” Make every “thank you” a true expression of gratitude.

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Delegate with Clarity

  • delegatingHow many times have you asked someone to do something and been disappointed with the result?

Do you ever find yourself thinking “it’s easier if I just do it myself?”

The bottom line is you may not be able to DO everything yourself. As leaders, business owners, decision makers and managers, there are a variety of reasons for delegating tasks to “someone else.”  Assuming the “someone else” knows what you want, how and when you want it, can lead to disappointment and frustration.

Delegate with Clarity by following these EIGHT STEPS and save yourself the time, money, disappointment and frustration!

1.        Delegate to the Right Person–be sure the individual has sufficient skills and experience to effectively perform the delegated task. Otherwise, you may be setting them up for failure and yourself for disappointment and frustration.

2.        Clearly Define the Task–explain the task itself, the intended outcome and why it is important. Understanding theimagesCADBRIH8 significance can inspire success. To insure understanding, have the assignment repeated back to you. If the description is not accurate, explain again. Repeat this process as needed.

3.        Set a Deadline–clearly define the completion date. An ambiguous target such as “sometime next week” or “whenever you can get it done” may lead to frustration, lack of a sense of urgency, and the job may never get completed.

4.        Measure Progress–determine how you both will gauge the progress being made. In the case of a very small task, meeting the completion deadline may be sufficient.  However, larger tasks may require more detailed progress planning.

5.       Agree on Resources–agree on what resources will be required and take steps to insure they will be available when needed. Resources could include research materials, logistical support, technology, etc.

6.        Highlight the Consequences–openly discuss the consequences of successful completion as well as not completing the task. Be sure to deliver on the consequences when the task has been completed-or the completion date has passed and it has not been completed.  Keeping your word lays a foundation of trust in future communications.

7.       Put It in Writing–this turns your mutual understanding into a commitment and may uncover misunderstandings.

8.       Monitor Progress–don’t delegate and then forget about it! Stick to the agreed-upon follow-up process.

How you apply these eight steps may vary depending how simple or complex the task.  Delegate with Clarity and enjoy the benefits!

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Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

10_-competition-getty-image All businesses have competition. It may be a business down the street, across town, in another state or even another country. The competition might appear on the internet or in a catalogue. Sometimes the toughest competition is lack of knowledge the business even exists! But NOT all businesses are the same—even if the product or services appear to be the same. Each business provides something unique. The challenge is to know and communicate clearly just what it is that sets your business apart from the competition.

Clarity in these three areas will set your business apart from the competition:

1.      Specialization: You cannot be all things to all customers. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to offer too many products or services to too many types of customers at too many prices in too many ways. What does YOUR business specialize in?

a. Products/services? Both you AND your customers must be clear about your specialization. What products or services do youbehavior provide to your market . . . really well?

b. Serving a specific market or customer? All-State Legal Supply specializes in providing law firms with all the paper products they need to operate efficiently. McDonalds specializes in providing fast food to people who want to eat quickly and conveniently. What customers are you serving?

c. Geographical Area? Your neighborhood, city, state, country or the entire world. In what geographical area do you specialize?


2.      Segmentation: Clearly define and identify the customers who are ideal for what you sell. Who are they, where are they, when and how do they buy, what value do they want from you, and what benefit is most important to them?


standout3.      Differentiation: Often referred to as Competitive Advantage, Area of Excellence, and Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You have one but can you articulate it time and time again? Being able to differentiate your business and communicate it clearly and concisely is perhaps the most important of all.  What is the one thing you do better than anyone else? What do you offer that is truly unique to you and your business?  What really sets you and your business apart?


Once you have clarity in these areas, focus your resources (time, energy, money and team) on those prospective customers who are most likely to buy from you. Let them know what “Differentiates Your Business from the Competition”!

Get a “Differentiating Your Business Checklist” at under LINKS.

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Know Your Audience

How many times have you lost an important negotiation and wondered why?

It could be because you are communicating the same way to everyone. But you could be missing as much as 75% of your opportunities by doing this.

Everyone receives information differently. Everyone receives information differently. Behavior, personality, environment, skills, role, and emotions all affect how people give and receive information. However, it is possible to increase your communication success with the people you are currently missing the mark with by taking into consideration who you are talking to. 

These guidelines will improve your ability to get the message across to anyone by simply observing behavior first. When you observe someone who is:

bald-eagleDecisive, tough, impatient, strong-willed, competitive, demanding, independent, direct, does not listen

DO: give immediate feedback, concentrate on the subject, focus on the results

DON’T: frustrate desire to take action, restrict power, spend time on non- essentials

COMMUNICATION  TIPS: pick up the pace; be direct, brief and to the point; stick to business; use a logical approach; focus on results, not tactics; identify opportunities and challenges; do not touch or get too close; do not be emotional; act quickly; let him/her win

peacock1Sociable, talkative, open, enthusiastic, energetic, persuasive, spontaneous, emotional, talks more than listens

DO: show enthusiasm, smile, chat, focus on the positive, make it fun, let him/her talk

DON’T: discourage enthusiasm, focus on the details, react negatively

COMMUNICATION TIPS: allow time for socializing; have fun; ask for feelings and opinions; create a friendly environment, be friendly and warm; give recognition; talk about people and feelings; use touch (forearm, back)

doveCalm, steady, laid back, careful, patient, amiable, listens carefully, is sincere, modest, indecisive and trustworthy

DO: slow down, take your time, provide assurance and support, give enough time to decide

DON’T: be restless or impatient, press for action, make sudden changes, fail to deliver on promises

COMMUNICATION TIPS: be patient, build trust, draw out opinions, present issues logically, relax and allow time for discussion, show how solutions benefit him/her, define all areas, provide plenty of information, secure commitment step-by-step, involve him/her in the planning

owlPrecise, exact, analytical, logical, systematic, quiet, careful, formal, disciplined, does not express emotions

DO: give details, answer all questions patiently, give time to think and decide

DON’T: keep information to yourself, pressure for decisions, be too chatty

COMMUNICATION TIPS: use data/facts, stay on task, focus on quality, use proven ideas, do not touch, be patient, slow down, avoid personal issues, explain clearly and carefully


Once you identify your audience, apply these simple communication approaches and watch your success begin to soar!

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Listen With Your Eyes

listening20earThe first thing we are taught about effective communication is to listen. “Listen with feeling;” “Hear what is being said.” But what if we could also see what is being said? Centuries of communication research and observation reveal that impactful, influential communication consists of:

7% WORDS       38% TONE of VOICE      


We spend hours planning what to say, painstakingly choosing words to position ourselves and our products, services or ideas in the most effective way. We spend additional hours analyzing the words of others, attempting to determine the “real meaning.” While words and tone of voice are important, these convey less than half the message.

If we listen with our eyes, what might the gestures or body language we observe be saying?

“I’m happy” Real smiles reach the eyes; false smiles reach the lips only.listen_with_your-eyes1

“I’m defensive” Arms crossed, face drawn, body rigid and tight, leaning back.

“I disagree” Set jaw, shaking head from side to side, narrowed eyes.

“I’m losing interest” Broken eye contact, slouching, checking watch, changing posture,     turning away, sighing.

“You are too close”  Body block, physical retreat, swinging or tapping leg, crossing legs away from you, broken eye contact.

“I’m ready to buy”  Bites lip, furrows brow, rubs chin, handles contract, scratches head, taps with pen, half closes eyes.

“I’m excited” Increased blinking, leans forward, sits up straighter, restless in chair.

Here’s an exercise to improve your ability to listen with your eyes effectively: mute the sound while watching TV and see how well you can figure out what’s going on.

practice-300x278Just as important as observing the gestures and body language of others is keeping in mind what yours is communicating about you. Before your next networking event, meeting or sales call, take a few minutes to plan your gestures and body language, too. Here are some DOs and DONTs to remember:

DO—shake hands and match pressure of the other person; sit in a relaxed position, up and back in chair, or stand straight, move around, gesture; have open arms; maintain friendly eye contact, nod head in agreement, frown thoughtfully, pause before answering question or objection; use forearm or back touch with individuals who are obviously friendly and cooperative.

crossed armsDON’T—close your arms in front of you or hide hands in pockets; perch on your chair; jingle coins or doodle, twist ear or stroke chin, tug nose; touch individuals who are obviously direct or analytical; stare at the floor or across the room.

Get the most out of every conversation: Listen with your ears AND your eyes … and communicate with more than your words!

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Effective Business Communication

Back to “Communication” Basics

note in bottle“Communication is Everything!”Lee Iacocca made this statement in his book Iacocca, and many others have made similar claims in an effort to highlight the necessary skills to excel and inspire as a leader. But effective communication is not just for high profile leaders. Effective communication transcends every aspect of our business and personal lives. What you are able to accomplish as a business person, parent, friend, educator, customer, client or supplier is highly dependent on your ability to get the message across. Probably 99% of the problems within organizations are caused by a breakdown or failure in the communication process.

According to research, people believe that those who can text at lightning speed, plow through emails, blog consistently or speak loud, fast and have no problem talking with others on any subject, are effective communicators. In fact, the opposite is often talker Being able to quickly string words together does not mean the message is understood by others.

To effectively get your message across, start with these Three Communication Basics:

Be Clear : Clarity saves time, money and mistakes.  Answer the question that is being asked. Ask for the information you desire. Too often people beat around the bush or go off on a tangent and the real issues are not addressed. Additionally, if you are providing instructions, provide details and expectations. Assuming the recipient knows what you want or how to do it can lead to disappointment on both sides.

Know Your Audience: Perspective is based on an individual and that individual may not look at things the same way you do. communicating for successConsider who you are communicating with. Think about where the other person is coming from. What is his point of view? What are her problems or concerns? What is he trying to accomplish? What is her level of knowledge or information?

Listen: Perhaps the most overstated and under practiced element of all! Listening shows respect and indicates that what the individual has to convey is important. It also allows you to get information. Let people complete a thought before responding. Most of us are already forming a response before we even hear the full thought or read the full message. Key information could be—and is often— missed.

Apply these Communication Basics to your next conversation, email or text and get your message across because “Communication is EVERYTHING!”

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SuccessTodayTV Interviews Margaret Maclay

Getting To Know Margaret Maclay, Certified Business Coach and Behavior Analyst

Want to speak with Margaret and get more details about how you can “Communicate for Success” and take your business to new levels? Call 201-406-1690 or email

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