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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

9 Communication Habits That All Successful Leaders Have


At the heart of successful leadership and great business is great communication.

The way you communicate as a leader is important. The right tone, the right voice, the right body language--these elements are as important as the words you say, sometimes more.
Having a leader who understands the principles of great communication can make the difference between a collaborative team and one that goes in circles.
If we can get our communication right, we can build strong teams, be persuasive with clients and generally accelerate our business.
Here are some principles to remember.

1. Customize your communication.

Consistency is important, but that doesn't mean you should speak the same way to everyone. Customize your messages in light of what you know about the listener. Some people like details, some like the big picture, and some people want to hear only about the bottom line. Pay attention to their cues and tailor your communication accordingly.

2. Actively listen.

Good listening is among the most important, and overlooked, principles of great communication. Don't zone out when someone else is speaking, and make sure that your own body language indicates your interest. Maintain eye contact and respond with small gestures that show you are listening and receiving the message. If you have any doubts about what you're hearing, try paraphrasing or repeating back what you have heard.

3. Let others finish.

If you're anxiously waiting for an opening so you can jump and speak, you are not really listening. Train yourself not to think about interrupting other speakers but instead to make sure they have had their say before you begin speaking.

4. Ask simple questions.

You learn the most when you keep your questions simple and open-ended. Why, what, when, where, and how are still the gold standard. If you ask the right questions you will always find the right answers.

5. Be polite.

Don't check your phone or look at your watch when someone else is speaking. Give the respect of your undivided attention.  

6. Use the power of "I" statements.

Communication becomes more productive when you avoid stating your thoughts as facts. For example, instead of saying, "This project is a failure," you might say, "I am very concerned about the sustainability of this project." Try to avoid "you" statements ("You haven't done anything") that set up a cycle of judgment and defensiveness. Instead, say, "I can see there's still a lot to be done."  

7. Pay attention to what your body's saying.

Some researchers find that body language makes up more than half of what you're communicating. Is your posture open and confident, or closed off?

8. Watch your tone.

Make sure your tone matches what you're saying if you want your message to be clear.

9. Avoid sarcasm.

It has a high failure rate--and even when it works, it mostly serves to build walls and destroy strong connections.
There are few things you can do that will benefit your leadership and organization more than working to improve your communication skills.
Make sure you and those on your team communicate clearly and with purpose, and your odds of success grow astronomically.

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