Simple Soft Skills Steps To Success

By Mark Jeffries
Author, What's Up With Your Handshake?

Hello “Big Idea” Viewers!


I hope business is treating you well.

I was very excited to be able to offer ideas and tips on the show (even though I speak in an odd accent!!), but, just in case you missed any or wanted some bonus ones – Here are my top five tips for when you get that golden opportunity to pitch a new idea. Whether it’s a pay raise, a contract, some funding or a new job you’re after – follow these rules and meet with even more success!

Eye contact for all

As tempted as you are to direct all your energy to the lead client member, don’t ignore all the ‘hangers-on’ also sitting around that board table. Leave people out of what you are saying and they will be voting ‘No’ to using you, your product and your company. Include everyone in your discussion and they will all feel equally drawn in by your message.

Let them go first

Always release people first by monitoring their reactions and body language. Staying so long that the client has to take a big breath and say “anyway, we better get on, thanks for coming in…” you lose points. Once you see that the client has had enough and needs to move on, you should volunteer to leave “Well, we’ve taken up lots of your time, thank you for seeing us…..” The fact that you recognized your client’s needs, before they articulated them, will win you many points.

Choose your seat

If you have control over where the client sits in a boardroom setup, try to sit them facing you with their backs to the windows. Many boardrooms have wonderful city views. Resist the urge to show off that view throughout the meeting. If the client is facing the view, they will be distracted and you will be backlit. Instead, with the client facing away from the window, there is no distraction and…as a bonus, you are beautifully lit!

Sit up!

Whether they want to or not, people will often display their own perceived superiority in the way that they choose to sit down. Those people who slouch and recline, sometimes even placing their hands behind their heads, see themselves as top dog, unassailable and leader of the pack. The client, however, wants to see someone who is keen, enthusiastic and interested. Sitting back from the meeting table displays none of those things. Instead Sit up, sit forward - physically demonstrating real interest and as a result become a clear and memorable part of that meeting.

Create anchor points

In the dating world there is the lame yet often successful move of “leaving your phone/umbrella/dog behind at someone’s apartment, so that you can innocently return and end up “getting somewhere”. In business you should also leave ideas, suggestions and promises behind so that you too can stage a ‘business return’. By laying the foundations for the next call or e-mail, you wedge the door open with your new potential clients. Offer to send them additional information (that you need to research) soon – you’ve just delivered an anchor point!

If you would like to learn more – check out my book “What’s up with your handshake” which is available on Amazon.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at

See you soon and keep building your network!

- Mark J