Your new financial year tips – and it is ‘Christmas in July’ Down Under!


Photo via Visualhunt

With the new Australian Financial Year arriving here are some diverse suggestions to keep you steaming ahead – and try something different over the coming months.

Top 5 hotties

Sit down and write the names of your 5 top prospects for the next 12 months – the ones that will give the biggest boost to your bottom line. Now, take each one separately and develop a completely personalised action plan. For example, who do you know who can help, what can you do to get their attention, can you give them something that adds value or support the same event/charity/sports team?

Put Santa to work again

In Australia and New Zealand, ‘Christmas in July’ is a great excuse to say thank you to your new and renewing customers – and your people too – it will strengthen those vital relationships.

Try some new tech

The pace of change never slows. Doing the same as you’ve always done won’t keep you moving forward. Give some new (or just new to you) tech a try. Maybe it’s Skype meetings with your clients before sending that annual invoice or adding Live Chat to your website. The insurance industry can now benefit from online risk profiling platform . Yes, I have to admit a vested interest but the added value it brings to a client/insurer/broker relationship could be worth thousands to you. The trick is not to try too many new things. Pick one and make it work.

Up the social responsibility ante

Everyone is much more in tune with social responsibility. Most of you will be doing something to help the local community and I suggest using the next financial year as a time to up the ante. Why? Involving your team will increase their sense of pride in working for you and help attract new talent. It can also benefit the business through strong ties with a client or networking with a new pool of prospects – in fact the best communities to help are those that your business and customers care about, not just one local to the office. And finally, it’s simply a great thing to do.

Compliance is great

No, really! Especially in the insurance industry, compliance is often seen as a necessary evil. In actual fact, if you use it in a positive way, a strong compliance and good business practice base will help your business thrive and increase trust levels. I’m lucky enough to have got to know and www.compliance-master.comwho are great partners to help you.

And a final note

If you haven’t yet seen ABC’s new series War on Waste then watch it. It’s eye opening and will make you think about how and why we have become such a wasteful society As a plug for my local Toy Library they are a great way to reduce the number of toys going into landfill every year –

#Adele vs Magic Going Horribly Wrong – a presenter’s digest


Recently, I’ve seen two contrasting shows that reinforced some key things about giving presentations and can be the difference between having 75,000 on their feet and being carted off with your tail between your legs.

Firstly, I found myself watching a TV show on Magic Going Horribly Wrong and then followed up by seeing Adele live in concert in Melbourne. Very much chalk and cheese but both provide great learnings from a presentation skills perspective.

The good stuff

“Hello, it’s me” – Start strong. Adele opened with one of her most popular songs, “Hello” to turn an expectant crowd into a mass of people eager for more. You need to capture your audience from the start. No matter how good your material that comes later, if you’ve lost the audience with a wishy washy opening they’ll be checking their phones for the rest of the session.

Tell stories – yes, this a common one and it is so valuable. Adele told a series of very genuine stores between songs. This took her approval ratings for the show from 100% to 250%. Just singing, or telling people the important stuff you need to, does not a killer presentation make. Adele used a lot of comedy in her stories too. If you can, this works, but be wary of material that isn’t actually funny.

Less is more – Her set was simplicity itself. Starting with striking images of her closed eyelids, the majority of the show used very limited graphics, no fancy lighting and hardly any other people up on stage with her. Adele played to her strengths and let her stunning voice be the star of the show. Sure, if you are Pink and can pull off flying round a stadium, knock yourself out, but otherwise stick to showcasing what you are great at and what people are there to see.

The not so good stuff

The TV show told stories of magicians who had tried various stunts that didn’t quite work out as planned.

Practice first – So, if you have to free yourself from chains before the slack is taken up by a speeding race car in front of thousands DON’T choose that as the first time to do it blindfolded – the ambulance might not be enough to save you. Make sure you’ve have practiced your presentation, know your material and your venue set up.

Script your finale (and an escape route) – if being chained and dropped into a lake wasn’t dumb enough, try doing it in Iceland where you have to cut a hole through 1m thick ice first. Only luck, and an air pocket under the ice, saved this escapologist from death. If only he’d ensured his finale was foolproof and maybe had some kind of cone in the water so he’d float up to the hole not miss it. Make sure you have a strong finale prepared and it’s easy to execute, even if something throws you off track.

Just don’t do it – I’m a big fan of using props and other devices to help make points in presentations. But you need to know your limits, if you try something too complex, especially in an untested venue it’s a recipe for disaster. A British escapologist decided it was a great idea to be buried alive 10ft down with earth piled on top of him. Safe to say, if your first reaction to the digger dropping soil on you is ‘Wow, I didn’t expect it to be that heavy” it might not be the best idea! At its most basic, if you get really stage fright then scripting all, or part of, your presentation is so much better for the audience than incoherent babbling.

If you want to watch the TV show it’s quite addictive – will the man really slam his hand on a knife, surely the digger should stop burying a man after he has been underground for 5 minutes and if your mate teaches you how to get out of chains inside a locked container full of water, is it really sensible to try!

You can watch it here –

Personally, the TV show was like watching ‘car crash tv’ and as for Adele, it was simply a joy to watch a superstar at work. The fabulous #Melbourne evening and great venue was an added bonus.

Now, is your next presentation going to bring you Hometown Glory or is the Skyfall-ing in on you?

I’d love to hear how it goes and if you need help, call me – unless you are an escapologist in which case an ambulance might be more appropriate!

Insight Business Lifestyle Magazine


Find out how to improve your golf, stay healthy, make a killer smoothie and achieve your goals in 2017. Take ten minutes today to read a whole bunch of tips, advice and ideas for a Fresh Start.  Insight Business Lifestyle Magazine Issue 8 here

#Roger v #Rafa what did we learn from the most anticipated tennis match in years?

Hillster blog

Keep your eye on the ball Photo credit: richardkhor via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

I was one of the millions of people glued to the Australian Open tennis and I was pleased to see the Men’s Final live up to all the hype – the Women’s was great too. The first thing that struck me was how cool it is that Roger, Rafa, Serena and Venus were all so excited to be in the final, with Roger and Serena positively ecstatic about winning.

Few people I know are that passionate about their jobs after 20+ years, achieving everything and earning tens of millions in the process – it is refreshing to see.

Here’s 3 other things that I learnt from the game:

1. Play to your strengths – Roger and Rafa are both masters at setting up the rally so they have the opportunity to play their most devastating shots. In business, do we know what our best shots are, let alone how to set up client engagements to be able to play them effectively? Side note – this video of how Agassi used being able to read Becker’s serve is fascinating.

2. You need a team – even in an individual sport. The best players have the best teams around them to help make sure that when they step on the court they perform at their best. How many sales interactions (in person or electronic) can we honestly say are backed up by the best material, training and preparation?

3. Reboot – it is not just computers that respond well to the odd reboot. Both Roger and Rafa had extensive lay-offs from the sport over the past year and have come back re-energised. On a micro level, Roger taking an injury break before the last set in both his semi and the final helped him get back on track. We all need a reboot too – whether it is simply a day off, a new project or something more substantive like a change of role. Find the type of reboot that’s going to help you come back better than ever.

Right, having watched Roger’s awesome display, I’m off to spend more time on my single handed topspin backhand!

5 tips to kick start your Marketing in 2017

Kick start Marketing

Before you dive headlong into another year, take some time out to refresh your marketing plans. Here’s my 5 tips to help you on your journey.

1.     What worked last year? – do more it. Do you know how you won your last 5/10/50 clients or increased income from current clients? It should not take you long to work it out, and once you have, use that as the basis for this year’s marketing effort.

2.     Mobilisation – many of us don’t look at their websites as often as we should, let alone show them some care and attention. Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. Studies also show 48 percent of millennials view video solely on their mobile device . So, make sure your site and emails look great on your phone and tablet. Google will like you better too!

3.     Embrace something new – Are you bewildered by all the new apps and tech tools around? I don’t advocate spending all your time on them, but some are well worth a try e.g. hootsuite , canva, video content not just text, an automated email series e.g.

4.     And repeat – how many times have you seen a monthly company newsletter produced 4 times a year or that weekly blog turn into a six monthly update? Too many businesses I speak to plan to communicate with clients and prospects on a regular basis but don’t keep it up. If you can’t devote the time or resources then find another way – or outsource it to someone who will.

5.     Don’t forget your clients – marketing and sales is not all about new business. Most businesses can achieve substantial growth just by paying more attention to their current clients and what you can do to help them. Not only will this turn into more profit, but likely lead to some great referrals too. Try upping the ante on client feedback and account planning – read more

And finally, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Be realistic about what you can achieve and then you are more likely actually do it!

Here’s to you making 2017 a success.

Reinvention – Is the Insurance Industry Really Changing with the Times?


This week, I went to the Australian National Insurance Brokers Conference (NIBA) for the first time in a few years. It was great to be reminded how many people I know in the industry – although it is a bit scary how long I have known some of them for!

Events and conferences aren’t what they used to be, maybe I’m just getting old, but the biggest value is still the opportunity to connect with a large number of like-minded people all in one physical space.

One thing that struck me was that this conference, just like every insurance conference over the past few years, is talking about reinvention, digital disruption and new technology.

It is true, there are some cool and useful tools out there for brokers/underwriters. CGU’s virtual reality room designed to help people understand the hazards around them is brilliant – if you have not experienced any kind of virtual reality set up I whole heartedly recommended check-out Other tools like RiskAdvisor’s online Risk Profiling and benchmarking system are designed to help brokers and insurers discuss risks with clients and improve relevance and reputations in the industry.

The biggest challenges to this new world that I see are two-fold. One, where new technology is being developed by an individual insurer, by its very nature it means it is not common across the industry and requires brokers to use multiple systems. Secondly, and most importantly, are brokers in particular actually prepared to invest time, effort and some money in adopting these new tools – or is it mainly lip service.

I fear it is mainly lip service for the vast majority of brokers – but I’d love to hear from people in the industry who can prove me wrong!

New Insight Business Lifestyle with some great international content and a face lift!

Insight Business Lifestyle

Insight Business Lifestyle magazine has had a face lift and the latest issue has a strong international flavour to it.

Our latest issue and new look INSiGHT Business lifestyle magazine comes with an international flavour free from any Brexit or Trump commentary! We meet Miss Tourism Australia, find out what it is like setting up a charity or business overseas, what you need to know about the wonders of travelling in Africa and setting up a travelling kitchen for kids + lots more

Check it out at

You can also follow our social pages for frequent updates, news and interesting tid-bits:



Instagram @insightbusinesslifestyle

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Michelle Payne’s Melbourne Cup win reminds us we still have too few women leaders

Michelle Payne

Michelle Payne’s win in the Melbourne Cup horse race reminds us that there are still many ‘firsts’ left for women to achieve in traditionally male dominated worlds – and even those that aren’t.

This thought provoking TED talk from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, provides some interesting perspectives on why we still have too few women leaders.

While much of it is down to us males, there are also some points women should take note of too. So think twice before calling a young girl bossy for speaking her mind or thinking that just because you are pregnant you can’t go for that next step in your career.