By now, if you are a regular reader of this blog on selling and influencing tips you will have worked out that each day I aim to tackle a different theme related to sales, presentation skills and influencing and that I revisit each theme every week with a new post.

I feel strongly that it is vital that, as well as looking at particular skills and behaviours, I address the subject of what is going on inside our heads and how that helps or hinders our own ability to use these skills.

I’d like to start in this article by jumping straight in to one of the major themes in this area , namely that of beliefs. Our beliefs drive our behaviours and are therefore a crucial element in improving our influencing skills. Whilst some of our beliefs are empowering, others may be severely limiting and could do with a spring clean!

When I raise the topic of beliefs in my sales and presentation skills seminars, I sometimes see some participants go pale. Some people equate beliefs with faith or religion and initially get hung up at the thought of the possibility of changing their beliefs. But when then think about it, they quickly realise that we can, and do, change our beliefs regularly as we develop. We do this most easily when we are young but as we get older, we get set in our ways and belief change seems a much bigger deal even though it need not be so. The key to freeing up our ability to continue to grow and develop is to remember that a belief is just a thought that we have ceased to question.

By now I hope you are at least open to accepting that attitudinal change is not only possible but also desirable when aimed at limiting beliefs that hold is back. Beliefs such as “I’m no good at selling” or “I’ve never been any good at public speaking” or “I’m not good enough to be really successful” can severely limit our ability to express our true potential.

Next week I’m going to share with some some proven belief change processes but before we do that, I need you to have done some homework. You see the key to successful change in the areas of selling, presenting or influencing is first to become aware of those things that we believe which are holding us back. Often we are unaware of them consciously but we give them away in our off the cuff remarks. Saying “I’ve got a terrible memory” means that you have a belief that your memory is bad. “I’m a terrible presenter” means I believe I can’t present well. “I’m not tough enough to be successful in sales” means that you believe that nobody can be successful in sales unless they are tough.

Now thankfully I’ve been training presenters and salespeople long enough to know that none of these beliefs is actually true, but if you think they are then that’s all that matters. However by now I’m sure that you would like to change so step 1 is to take time to jot down as many of the limiting beliefs you have about yourself as possible. Keep a log of them over the next week and we’ll start to look at ways of defusing them next week.

In the meantime, if you really can’t wait here’s step 2. Remember what I said earlier about a belief just being a thought that you have ceased to question, and ask yourself the following questions of each of the limiting beliefs you have uncovered.

  1. Who’s belief is this really?
  2. How do I know that this belief is really true?
  3. What objective evidence do I really have to support the validity of this belief?
  4. What counter examples can I find that challenge the validity of this belief?

Have fun exploring and look out for next week’s post for the next steps.

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