Thursday, December 29, 2011

RIP 2011 (Reflect, Inspect, Project)

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” ~ Peter F. Drucker, American Educator and Writer, b.1909
As we wrap up the wonderfully active and interesting year of 2011, please ensure you are not just passing the days and nights in hopes of a better tomorrow or next year. At the same time, let’s not get caught in the afterglow of what was.

During the last portion of an experience, project, or yes, even a year, it is well-serving to schedule time to do what I call Reflect, Inspect and Project (RIP).

As you work through the RIP process, allow time (and discussion if including others) on the past experience, project or year by sharing 1st REFLECT on what were the highlights, then what were the low-lights, and also, how to avoid the low-lights in the future while creating more highlights. This is where you can have 20/20 hindsight for the past. 2nd, INSPECT where you are right now, and if there is anything left undone or unseen, not communicated, or somehow vague. This is where you really look at the present. 3rd, PROJECT by looking ahead in weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annual time tables. Decide what you want to do, by/with whom, for what reason, and note how you will measure success. This is your look to the future.

As simple as it may seem, by touring the past, present and the future through reflection, inspection and projection, you can often appreciate what you have, finish what you started, and get energized and focused on what is to come.

Thank you for an amazing and enjoyable 2011…here’s to much more in 2012!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Toasting - Part of a Bigger ACT

“The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.” - Walt Whitman
With all the gatherings, and perhaps some eating and drinking going on, toasts are often just a simple “Cheers!”, and while that is okay to hear and say, a toast can still be simple, and yet be part of a bigger ACT!

If you want to feel good about your presentation, allow your guest(s) to know you care, and set the mood for the experience, consider using the following to take ACTion with the toast:

A – Acknowledge the reason you are together
C – Connect the event with other feelings or thoughts (2-4)
T – Talk specifics

An example for a work event is:

Tonight we are here for our holiday party!

This party is to appreciate you, celebrate the year we have had, and look forward to sales and service in the future.

Thank you to each of you for your work, thank you to our customers and clients, and thank you in advance for a great 2012!

Cheers, and enjoy the party!

Something for Hanukkah is:

Today we are together to celebrate Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is about reflecting on what we have, showing appreciation for the abundance that we don’t expect, and about gathering and being together.

So, here is to the delicious meal we are about to enjoy, for the health and well-being we each are experience, and to every one of you who chose to share in this celebration with us!

Cheers, and Happy Hanukkah!

Another example for Christmas is:

Today we are here to celebrate Christmas!

Christmas is a time to think about new beginnings, our perspective, and the way we treat others.

So, here is to a new year nearly upon us and a great one to remember, a belief in ourselves, and to being kind to others throughout the year!

Thank you for joining us, and Merry Christmas!

Similarly, for New Year's, you have:

Tonight is the last night of 2011!

2011 has been a year of more ups than downs, one of much news, and a time we will all remember.

Here’s to all of our fond memories together, to making our news “good news”, and to making more memories with one another.

Cheers to closing out 2011, and to welcoming in 2012!!

Whether you toast with “Cheers”, or you make your toast part of a bigger ACT, here’s to you, and safe, enjoyable celebrations this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Get the SCORE

"The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching." - Aristotle

Often people want us to "check this out" or "take a look at this" because they "thought this might be interesting", and while that may seem thoughtful to them, it becomes a TO-DO for us!

When you have a team sharing things, ask for the SCORE before accepting what they are passing along. The SCORE is:

S - State. State what they are sending, not just "FYI"
C - Cover. Cover 2-4 points about the article, company, opportunity, person, etc. that they deem of interest.
O - Offer. Offer their ideas on the way it works, doesn't work, fits, doesn't fit, potential ways to use or avoid it.
R - Reference. Get them to reference their suggestion of what to do moving forward. What is his/her preferred next step?
E - End. What is the summary statement overall in what they plan to do or want you to do.

Since we teach people how to treat us, the same SCORE tip is true for you when you are sharing with, friends, colleagues or team members, as getting the SCORE up front could mean a win later!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attitude of Appreciation

"I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate."

~ Elbert Hubbard, American editor, publisher and writer, 1856-1915

Many of us use 'thankful' and 'grateful' interchangeably, and they are different by most definitions, and yet similar in some ways. Thankfulness is about a sense or feeling to be pleased or relieved over something that happened. Gratefulness is about showing appreciation for something someone has done for you.

So as not to get caught up in semantics, let's instead approach each day, each person with an attitude of appreciation. Appreciation, after all is the combination of being thankful and expressing gratitude.

After all, our attitude is the only thing we can fully control.

There is an ease to being appreciative when things go the way we want them to go. The real challenge and true opportunity is when we can stretch to be appreciative of what does not go the way we anticipated. Remember to allow the feeling, and express it outwardly in order to engage in the full act of appreciation.

Sound nutty? It is in that filling way nuts can offer flavor and give you some nourishment. The ability to see through a situation and get the learning, is something that nourishes the soul and feeds our growth. Being appreciative in the midst of adversity or disagreement or challenge is being thankful it is not worse, and grateful for what comes out of it for you...regardless of what others attempt to influence or change.

As we finish our leftovers and start on the holiday shopping and sharing, please include appreciation on your daily list of activities!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks!

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire
Thankfulness is something we tend to talk about and celebrate primarily in November in The United States of America. Still, thankfulness and appreciation for an act or abundance need not be reserved for days when turkey is traditionally served.

Regardless of your religion, position in life, or state of mind, often we are with others in groups around events and/or celebrations. When with others during special occasions, holidays, or every day, simply be thankful for them this way:

State his/her name (or’s okay with family/friends...avoid nicknames in business), You make me thankful for you because of your (attribute) and you inspire me to (their inspiration to you). Thank you.

Example I: Danielle, you make me thankful for you because of your creative wit and you inspire me to be playful. Thank you.

Example II (with varied verbiage): Steve, you make me thankful for your generosity and you make me want to be a giving person as well. Thank you.

Example III (letting someone know you acted as a result of them/their inspiration): Carol, you make me thankful for you because you taught me to listen well and because of you, I became a Big Sister. Thank you.

Example IV (a strictly professional affiliation):
John, you make me thankful for your loyalty and because of your referrals, you have been a part of my business/sales growth. Thank you.

Note that the word “I” is not used as the first word (or really much at all). This is to ensure the other person knows it is about him or her and for him or her. Keep you thankful, and that other person in the forefront of the message and thankfulness.

Go ahead, use one or all of these with people for whom you are thankful...on a special day...or any day...and see how it makes a difference for you and the person with whom you shared! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4 E’s to Idea-Sharing

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” ~ Buddha, Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

So often we are in meetings, or sessions where ideas are requested and shared, or not requested, yet still shared. What makes some of them worthy of hearing out, and others fall on deaf ears, so to speak? Often it is in the approach, the amount of time spent, and the ability to stop talking (or inability to stop talking) about an idea that makes one decide whether or not to listen!

Here are the 4 E’s to Idea-Sharing that just may get your voice heard:
E – Explain. Share the concept briefly and seek acknowledgement. Make sure you have people’s attention first, and you can give the details later. Show enthusiasm, control, direction and passion.
E – Elaborate. Once you have people’s interest, then you can go into more details. A wonderful way to elaborate is with a scenario (what if…), a story of how it has worked in the past, or by bulleting or numbering steps that it would take to put the idea in place.
E – Execution. Demonstrate the realm of executing your idea. Include people, time, budgets and more quickly and concisely to give people the sense that this idea can/will become a reality if selected rather than just keeping it a theory.
E – Exit. Allow the idea to be tabled, considered at a later time, or dropped. The worst thing is “selling through the close”, when someone keeps going on and on when an idea has been adopted or quelled and the originator of the idea simply will not let the conversation end. Note the body language, temperature and interest while you are speaking and note when enough is enough.

By following the 4 E’s to idea-sharing, it does not mean each idea will be implemented, rather it shows effective communication, a professional approach, and respect for the time of the listeners…and likely that means more of your ideas will get heard rather than seem like fleeting ideas for others when you get to your next meeting or brain-storming session!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Power of a BYE List

Our thoughts create our reality - where we put our focus is where we tend to go."

- Peter McWilliams, writer and self-publisher of best-selling self-help books (1949-2000)

The invitations are aleady coming. Turkeys are being bought. Families are preparing for "that" uncle or "that" aunt who does "such-and-such" each year during the holidays. Wow, the holidays are nearly here!

Before you get too caught up in the idea of stuffing and shopping, please consider creating a BYE list. This BYE list will include all you want to do

If you make a list of events, people, experiences, and travels, you can decide what is realistic for the amount of time you have before you are ringing in 2012. For the BYE list, start and finish it within 48 hours, and ask anyone with whom you spend a lot of time (spouse, family, friend) to do the same. After you complete it, prioritize those items on the list, and meet with anyone else you asked to make the BYE list. In doing this, you will learn about you, learn about the other person/people, and you can decide what you will do together and what you will do alone or with other people. From there, get out your calendars (phones/iPads), and make the commitment to what you want to do so that you are not standing somewhere on New Year's Eve wishing "if I only had", and excusing it with "but the holidays were so busy".

Go enjoy the things on your list, and make the most of the next 50+ days before 2011 has gone BYE!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LESS Stuff Means So Much MORE!

“Life is a grindstone, and whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on the stuff he's made of." - Josh Billings, 19th century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (21 April 1818 – 14 October 1885)
More often than not, the old adage of "less is more" rings true. When there is a drive for the opposite (that is the "more is more" mindset), remember that in those instances, "more" is likely just "stuff"...and who really needs more "stuff"? While the holidays season is upon us (and it has been for weeks in the stores, hasn’t it?), this is the perfect time for de-cluttering, and assessing whether or not you really want more “stuff” this year. By going through your office, closets, garage and more, you are likely going to be far more organized than you have been in the past at this upcoming seemingly sure segment of more-things-less-time! An added benefit to your knowing what you have is that it will also reveal what you want for your home life or business in order to be most prepared, effective and efficient as you round out the year. Perhaps the biggest benefit will go to others in that you can donate now (not December 31st) for/to people who can utilize it during the upcoming winter months (and even give you a deduction for your taxes and an increase in your connection to the community). So, go ahead, get rid of the “stuff” that is cluttering your space, and make room for what you want…organization and giving!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pace Yourself

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Henry David Thoreau, American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher, 1817-1862

At some point we were just dependent on others for where we went…our direction, our speed, and even our destination.

Then, we started to crawl. At that point, we were applauded, cooed, and even photographed making a new way for ourselves. We crawled to and fro, and while we had a little bit more control of our pace, and a little over our direction, really, others were still determining our destination.

We started walking, and watch out, the pace quickened…and so did the desire for others to set our pace…walk faster, slow down, get up, sit down…they were all commands that were heard frequently. More applause, and more expectations from others...still, the photos and pride kept coming!

From there, we learned to run…almost as quickly as we walked, we attempted to dash about, and often it was true that the faster our pace, the harder the fall. Still, we kept running, for the times we did not fall, we reached that destination faster…and we started really having input on our destination (mostly because we could “get away” from people with our agility and size!). At that point, either the photos were blurry, or our advancements were less impressive to others, so the pace was not rivaled by photos.

So I ask you now: Who is controlling your direction, your speed, and even your destination? Are you setting your pace for you that is realistic and attainable…challenging while not insurmountable?

Whether you are crawling or walking, running or even sprinting in your life, your business, and/or with your family, I am not suggesting your "should" be at a particular pace, rather, please consider your pace for you, your business and/or your family. Is the pace at which you are moving allowing for both enjoyment and progression? If so, sounds like you are setting a sound “you-pace”, and if you are not balancing the fun and the forwarding, set a different pace. Either add something/someone, or remove something/someone from your “to do list”, and let your pace work for you instead of against you. Allow yourself to be dependent and driven your-way for where you are going, your direction, your speed and ultimately, your destination!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Similar Does Not Mean “The Same"

“I'd never just want to do what everybody else did. I'd be contributing to the sameness of everything.”
- Don Van Vliet (Artist and Musician, b. 1941)

When we are leading in our families, our businesses or teams, we seek to find likeness, and often rely on our past experience to guide us into the future.

Our past must be our guide in most cases, as it is our experience. And, after all, our experiences couple with our values to create our beliefs. Our beliefs are what guide us to our thoughts, words, and ultimately, our actions.

Remember, though, in this attempt to quickly process, and even group people and ideas together, that similar thoughts and actions are not the same thoughts and actions. It is useful to compare and contrast for familiarity and reference sake, and yet it is irresponsible and even dangerous to presume sameness. In thinking “I know exactly…” or “I have seen this before” quickly and often, we may miss out on the nuances of the differences…that which may make one very unique when allowed to be unique.

When you seek similar success or to avoid similar obstacles, keep the similar at the forefront, and resist lumping things into the sameness of speed and familiarity. Having the perspective of how we process and group things will remind you that leading is sometimes about the sorting and recognizing what is not alike as much as it is about being able to identify what is!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Enemy of TLC...

“Competition is easier to accept if you realize it is not an act of oppression or abrasion - I've worked with my best friends in direct competition.” - Diane Sawyer quotes (American news anchor, Reporter and Journalist, b.1945)

While all champions have rivals, and most successful companies and people have competitors, those types of opposites or contrary positions can be invigorating and drive the results...for both sides!

The same is not true for being opposed to TLC. Since we have embraced TLC as Talent, Leadership and Commitment, those three contributors often have opposition, too...only that opposition is the enemy...not something that drives and inspires, rather something that works to deplete or delete the opposite.
The enemy of talent is dishonesty, the enemy of leadership is pessimism, and the enemy of commitment is apathy. Stick with your Talent, Leadership and is the combination to win over dishonesty, pessimism and apathy every time.

Ensure you are staying true to your talents, and your quest for talent, to your leadership and your development of other leaders, and your commitment and the commitment of those with whom you surround yourself.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TLC for You and Me

“When you don't know that you don't know, it's a lot different than when you do know that you don't know.”

- Bill Parcells, ESPN Analyst, Former NFL Coach (b.1942)

Football season is back! It is an exciting time of year for sports fans, as hockey, baseball and football are all available for our viewing pleasure! Bill Parcells is quoted this month because his Sunday pre-game commentary reminded me of what I call TLC for You and Me. It was as though he’d heard me speak or gotten inside my brain. I don’t know, and since I don’t know where it came from, per his quotation, it is a lot different than if I did know that!! So, regardless of what the reason, thanks, Mr. Parcells for reminding me of a worthwhile tip to share this month!

TLC is often thought of as Tender Loving Care, and I appreciate that. For me, TLC is about personal and professional success, and it stands for:


Whether it is your family, a sports team, or your work team or business, to be confident in what you know, and get to where you are driving forward to learn what you don’t know as you strive to succeed, you must have the right people handling the things that suit their skills and interests (Talent), the direction and passion to go out and make changes where needed and keep things the same where they are working well (Leadership), and all be working toward the same goal for the same reasons with a common brand and definition of a "win" (Commitment).

As you move forward finishing out the 3rd quarter, take a look at your roster, see who is playing on your team, is the TLC apparent? Do you have the Talent, the Leadership, and the Commitment to get to your goals and make it a winning season for your household, your league, your group or your business? Tweaking the TLC, and letting everyone know all three areas, Talent, Leadership and Commitment combine to be the base that will determine your results, will surely assist you in knowing you are the champions you can be!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Emotions at Work...

“All learning has an emotional base.”
- Plato, Ancient Greek Philosopher He was the world's most influential philosopher. 428 BC-348 BC

Emotions at Work…

Would you agree that often Emotions + Office/Work = Awkward, Uncomfortable, Unpredictable Situations?

When people are express emotions, they are often deemed “emotional”. Is that fair? Is that true? When we are passionate, would we like to be labeled emotional? Likely not.

So, when are emotions appropriate at work or in the office? Or, are they? I say they are appropriate when directed at the common goal of the company or cause, when they are inspirational and inclusive rather than threatening and excluding. Think of emotion as drive, and emotional actions as something different.

In other words, harness your emotions to create a direction and a will to get something accomplished. Spend time, share ideas, get into the nitty gritty from the emotions that compel you. Please do not rant, expect others to agree, and not support something if it is not exactly what you want. The former actions are those of a leader, and someone who is mature, and the latter portrayal highlights immaturity and lack of leadership.

If you, or someone on your team has been considered emotional, please take a moment to reflect on how to re-engineer the emotional perception into the emotional command of the leadership that can result from a passionate person, and see how Emotions + Office/Work = Learning & Success!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Listen More Slowly...

“To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well." - John Marshall

Do you ever feel like listening is a pain, time-consuming, or just something you are “not good at”? If so, you are likely driven, high-energy, and possibly slightly (I am being kind) impatient. That’s okay, it got you where you are today. If you want to connect further, learn more, and even offer value in how you converse from the listening side, please consider these tips for what I call “listening more slowly” to others:

-Take notes
-Consider the topic and not the person
-Imagine you have to “buzz in” before responding, so that you make a physical motion before opening your mouth
-Ask what or how questions for clarification (watch your tone) before offering your view
-Agree with a person and disagree with an idea (no attacking someone…especially by name)
-Share what you perceive the person is stating and ask if you are on-track prior to sharing an opinion
-Let someone know you would like time to process it (if you have nothing kind to say or you want other information)
-Remember, you are listening to learn, not just listening to respond

By even focusing on listening in a positive way (not saying “I’m just not a good listener”) , your efforts will pay off in improvement. Then, if you incorporate one or all of the tips/tools above, you just might hear something you really like!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Say It...Even When It's Uncomfortable

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."

~ G.B. Stern, British Novelist, (1890–1973)

Have you ever wished you had the right words, timing and impact? While it would be wonderful to think each of us knows exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to say it, that simply is not true.
When it comes to compliments and recognition, unstated appreciation does not do anyone much good.
If you are not sure how to say something, consider:
- Leading with the person's name
- Saying something like "Even if this is a bit awkward..." or "While I wish I had exactly the right words...", or "Even though this may seem like it's coming from left field..."
- Sharing the compliment or recognition briefly without a comparison to anyone else or how someone did it in the past
- Moving on quickly by no longer talking about it

How many times have you seen, heard or experienced something done well, and you simply are not sure how to address it, so you don't address it at all? Let that be a thing of the past, and know it is okay to be unsure, and even better to be someone who shares positive happenings with others!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Environment You Create

“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” - W. Clement Stone, American best-selling Author and Founder of Combined Insurance Co (now a part of Aon Corp.), 1902-2002)

As a leader, you set the tone...or you allow the tone to be set. For your business, and therefore, your results, that is the environment in which you work. The same is true in life for the environment in which you live.

The way to ensure you are enhancing your work and life with your environment is to do an enviro-check for you, meaning what works for you and what does not, including:
• The surroundings
• The color(s)
• The sounds
• The space
• The culture/attitudes
• The people

While the first four may seem easier to change than the last two, all are important. Where you are, what envelops you as far as color and space, the "feel", and the people all summarize to create either a healthy or non-healthy environment for you.

If you do an enviro-check and all is well, good for you! If you do the check, and it's not so great, then make the subtle or grand changes to ensure your environment is leading you to the approach, the actions, and the results you want (and deserve!)!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Leadership CAP (Not GAP)

“The purely agitational attitude is not good enough for a detailed consideration of a subject.”

- Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian Prime Minister


When caps are not on marker, the marker dries out. Without a cap on one’s head in cold weather, the heat escapes. If there is no cap on spending, budgets cannot be met. Similarly, without the Leadership CAP, things get overlooked.

The leadership CAP is a little different, though. Instead of stopping things or shielding things, the leadership CAP allows for growth, and reveals things by having:

Appreciation, and

for the person/people with whom you are interacting and/or the situation with which you are involved.

Keeping consideration for those involved and the instances, the appreciation for what has been done (or what you expect to be done), and the perspective on what is realistic, you will remain the leader you (and even more so, others) want you to be, and not the micro-manager some become when they are un-CAPped!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reviewing Resumes: Yours & Theirs!

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?” - Benjamin Franklin, American Statesman, Scientist, Philosopher, Printer, Writer and Inventor. (1706-1790)
Resumes are the predominant American way of stating/sharing work experience as well as someone's potential based on roles held coupled with accomplishments.

In order to ensure you are represented well, and positioned for a speaking engagement or a new opportunity (if you are looking or others are looking at you), consider updating your resume quarterly with quantifiable results. Even if you love where you are, it is a great tool for bringing up talking points during informal reviews or when you are seeking a promotion.

Likewise, as a leader, you either hired or inherited people who were hired at your company/firm. So, dig those resumes out from HR and take a look at each of your team members’ resume once a quarter as well. Every person has talents that are not being utilized, and experiences that may assist with things other than their primary role. Use the resume as a tool for bringing up talking points during informal reviews or when you are interested in learning what goals your staff member has.

Since most everyone has a resume, let’s get them updated, or at least dusted off, to ensure we are not hiding the many talents each of us has!

Friday, July 29, 2011

10 Ways to Compel through Connection!

"There are no traffic jams along the extra mile." - Roger Staubauch

Businessman & Heisman Trophy Winner (born February 5, 1942)

While there is much talk about how to serve clients, below is a top 10 list of ways to truly make a connection. This approach means not just customer service, it means client care. This means not just reacting to a situation, it means responding to the person in the situation. Often we think we want to tell people about something, but that is just chatter, and then we make the attempt to sell them on an idea, but that has a lot to do with convincing and persuasion, and if we reach a level where someone is compelled to work with us and/or partner with us as a client or customer, then we have built a relationship through true rapport!

10. Wow them with your words, and make them ambassadors through your actions. Say what you mean and do what you say you will do. Offer incentives and ask for referrals. Welcome people back instead of asking where have YOU been? No need to discount you or your product, instead, show appreciation with special offers/opportunities.

9. Think and say "Yes, and", and demonstrate an "Absolutely I can" attitude. Start positive and stay positive. Focus on what is RIGHT versus what is WRONG. Be humble in your errors and show moxie in your solutioning. Have fun in what you are doing.

8. Plant the SEED (Strive to Exceed Expectations Denoted) for Success. You have to know what is expected to meet/exceed the expectation. Be humane...not just human.

7. Know your "difference", live your truth and be memorable. Remember the win is not just in getting a customer, it is also about keeping customers. Each client's perception of you and/or your company will determine how well you do this and that perception will depend on how compelling you are to them. Make things a memorable experience. The connection of knowing someone's name and smiling sincerely are great for a start. Leave people with something they either cannot get elsewhere or cannot get in a way you deliver it. Know your 2-4 areas of expertise and stick with them. Otherwise, say "no thank you", and connect, connect, connect as the referral source.

6. Get and Give Feedback. Take notes, use names, and really listen. Listen to understand instead of just to react. If you are a challenged listener, notes will slow your pace. Agree with a person and disagree with an idea (not the other way around). When you survey your clients, and I encourage surveying, share the results quickly and without defense. Own the results and state the actions you'll take...and then do just that!! Address the issue at hand, and then dig into the root cause.

5. Adopt a no-corner-cutting mentality/approach. If you already have one, let everyone know! Our society is about "gimme more"...and what else can I get. Be the one with the integrity to walk away.

4. Give back...for the right reasons. Checks are nice, actions make a difference, and advocacy allows for learning. People like to do business with people who are more than business. Earn their respect and then share about charities/groups for the reason of advocacy and learning, and not just to get recognized or to be a top fund-raiser. Strive for fun-raising instead...and your give backs will get even more!

3. Appropriately Promise and Appropriately Deliver (Instead of Under Promise and Over Deliver or Sandbagging). Be a business of both empowerment and accountability. Offer options...only 2-3 and only those with which you are okay.

2. Strive for inclusivity instead of exclusivity. There is a difference in when people are part of something versus people attempting to "get in" where there is a level of discomfort. Make people feel welcomed and a part of your success.

1. Know that the quality of customer service cannot exceed the quality of the people who provide it. Your team, even if you are a team of 1, will treat others how they are treated. Start with a positive view of you...that view carries far! There is a connection with how we feel about ourselves and how we care for others. Invest in you/your team a set % of earnings, and only let that grow as your success grows!

Pick and choose what works for you in your situation. How can you enhance your customer and client relationships through care and connection? After all, aren't we all about compelling customers and clients to drive Client Satisfaction and Build Lasting Rapport?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Charity for Giving...and Getting!

“Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous.” - Thomas Browne, Sr.
It’s almost as though the idea of giving back is supposed to be unique and almost auspicious, and yet there are so many simple, yet thoughtful and thorough ways to invest in your community, and really, in the long run, invest in you…from a heart and soul perspective.

By giving back, I don’t mean writing a check (which is terrific, too, so I am not negating the impact, just focusing elsewhere on this blog entry!).

Not sure where/how to give? If you haven’t lately, consider:
• Taking inventory of the things for which you are grateful.
• Recording all the people’s names who positively influenced you and how
• Noting all things you are good at doing.

From those three lists, you will have a clear picture of what means the most to you, how you got there, and an action/sharing you can contribute. Perhaps you are grateful for being healthy, your grandfather was a painter who encouraged you with words and insights, and you are good with a roller…that is a super combination for “Paint Your Heart Out” or another painting style charity. The same would be true for you if you have a love of music, you had a music teacher who inspired you and you are very effective with children…perhaps you volunteer for a church or after-school program about music education.

Whatever your triad of lists reveals, take action on it…and watch the difference you make in your community, with those you impact, and even in yourself. After all, there’s an old adage that reminds us that charity begins at home…let your home base be charitable in a way that works for many!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time Working FOR You!

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” - Douglas Adams, British comic Writer, 1952-2001

As many of you have heard me say, and it is still true today “there is no such thing as a time lottery”. In other words, nobody experiences the stroke of midnight to find 26 hours in front of him or her for the “next day” while others only get 22…it only feels/seems that way at times (full pun intended!)!

So often the focus is organization, time tracking and even time blocking in your tips, this tip is about remembering to make time work FOR you by not allowing time to recharge to get away from you or become an illusion as mentioned in the above quotation. How can you do that? Below are some items to consider:

-Schedule a “fun lunch” once every month…it is not about work, rather catching up or trying a new restaurant.
-Step away from your office or computer/desk for 10-15 minutes at least twice a day (not just for a meeting).
-Take a different route to/from work one day each week or month to experience (and even appreciate) what you get to see each day.
-Make a meeting request with your workout partner or trainer for 2-5 times a week, and respect it like a meeting (I bet you don’t blow off meetings).
-Take a lunch break…to eat, to meditate, to take a nap, to do a crossword, play a game on your smartphone, etc.

In all these cases, it is about intentionally respecting you and your time, allowing things to be experience, rather than just happen, and be fully engaged. Do whatever it is that allows you to recharge and appreciate/notice the time you are taking and how you are making your 24 hours work FOR you rather than against you or on you each day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekly/Monthly Scorecard

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” - Confucius

So often we think we know what is expected of us, and we believe we have communicated what we expect of others in our office, business, company or firm, and yet, I often hear of and experience miscommunication that leads to frustration and even lost accounts/opportunities. That plays to the timeless adage "inspect what you expect"!

In order to avoid not "being on the same page", please consider a weekly or monthly scorecard for you and for your team members. Like in school when we used to get grades fairly frequently (whether we liked those marks or not!), the scorecard has the following on it:

+The result area
+The goal
+The attainment for the time period
+Plan for improvement/recognition area

By utilizing a clear, quick approach to deliverables, it is far less likely that miscommunication and/or disappointment with performance will take place, and far more likely that the appreciation for the effort will!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom Return On Investment

“Freedom lies in being bold."
-Robert Frost, America Poet (1874 - 1963)

On this, our Independence Day weekend, remember the freedoms most of us want in life, and therefore in our workplace, are those that come from leadership and allow for leadership, those that rise from sincerity, and therefore encourage sincerity, and those that stem from a common goal of growth, learning and success so that each individual, and therefore, the company, can grow, learn and succeed.

These all cost so little financially, and yet offer so much Return On Investment (ROI) in the way long-term investment in yourself and others...

Remember to be bold and afford, encourage and appreciate all the freedoms you have and you embody this holiday, and throughout the year!

Make it a safe, happy and healthy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

ABCs of Welcoming

"You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler." - Denis Waitley, American Speaker and Author of Self-help Books. b.1933

Whether it is en route to a gathering or locating a new client, I am typically faced with a location that is either welcoming or not-so-welcoming, and it made me think about the similarities in the places that felt "right", and those that seemed oh-so-wrong...

When you are welcoming people to your home or your business, there are many things to consider including the invitation/meeting request, the directions/familiarity and the time of day/night.

While there may seem like a lot of things either overwhelm or distract you from that welcome, here are the ABCs of making someone feel included and welcomed at your home or your business location (and for some of you, that is one-in-the-same):

A - Approachability. Is your house or building free from debris? Can people see and get to your home or office? Is there a rickety gate or a friendly guard as their first impression? What would you think and feel if you approached your location as someone who had never been there? This A can also be thought of as "Accessibility".

B - Beauty. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder...but a lot of people agree on ugly!!! Is there some color or greenery around your place? Is there a brightness and a flow to it? Are there coordinated colors and signage? What is your beauty, or lack of it "saying" to those who approach it? This B can be remembered as your "Brand", too. What is the brand you are conveying? And, is that the brand you want to convey?

C - Cleanliness. Hopefully nobody is bringing their white gloves to do the cleanliness test at your home or office, and yet a at a quick glance, ask yourself: do things appear tidy and clean? Are there dirty or wrinkled papers or displays that are not so hidden from view? Do people get the sense of sight, smell and touch that they can feel good about being in your space? This C can also remind you of the visitor's "Comfort". How comfortable might a stranger, new friend, client or prospect be in your home or office?

Taking a short leap of faith in presuming you want to be welcoming (and I hope you do!), then stick with the ABCs, and even make a trip to your home or office with/through the eyes of a new-comer, and see what you can do to up your welcome and increase your ABC impact on welcoming!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Name that Name - Introducing Yourself

“Do you suppose I could buy back my introduction to you?”

- Groucho Marx, American Comedian, Actor and Singer, 1890-1977

While many of us meet a lot of people, and have been schooled on the ways to remember names, such as repeating the name three times, asking about the origin of the name, picturing people who have similar names, and/or associating the name with actions/events to connect, I have recently realized many people are not aware of the best way to introduce themselves.

To introduce yourself, first remember the other person’s favorite topic is him or herself, and therefore, s/he is thinking about him/herself and not you. That may seem harsh, and yet it is true.

Since the receiver of your name and handshake is not focused on you, if you focus on that person, you’ll be on “the same page”, so to speak! The best way to introduce is to:

Make eye contact
Smile, or minimally change your expression
Extend your right hand to shake hands
Listen for the other person’s name first
Share your name clearly, slowly and fairly loudly

Then yes, repeat their name, associate, chat and move on. What I am finding does not happen a lot includes: the eye contact, the extension of the hand, the waiting for the other person’s name, and the person sharing his/her name. Wait, that’s everything!!! Primarily people (almost hard to believe) do not state their name – yikes – no name, and yet that is how you will identify the person! If someone does not share his or her name, rather just a(n insincere) “nice to meet you”. Remember, it is not only professional, it is most appropriate to say “And your name is?” with a smile and kindness in your voice, or a pleasant “please forgive me, I missed your name.”

Remember, even if someone else introduces you, please repeat your first name minimally to the recipient of the introduction. After all, you want to be memorable by your name, and not as the person who did not share his/her name!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Demonstrating Character Vs. "Being a Character"

“Character is power; it makes friends, draws patronage and support and opens the way to wealth, honor and happiness.” - John Howe

If you want to demonstrate leadership with character, before you leave your office and/or your business each night, consider offering/asking these three things to each person with whom you work:

-Do you have the support you want?
-Is there anything I can do to assist you?
-I’m heading out…anything else before I leave?

These added inquiries may create more conversations and even take a bit more time than you anticipated, and yet you will show your character…instead of being the character who ducks out while others are working!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

5 Web-Catchy Ways

“Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else.”

- Ivern Ball, Dadaist Poet

With so many people (students, your team, your clients, your competitors, your customers, your prospects, and your partners) getting information from websites, blogs and other on-line resources, ensure you are writing for web-catchiness by following the three ways to "catch" a reader on the web:

1. Hook Them
Give the "surfer" a reason to become a "reader". Use titles that grab their attention with less than 6 words in the title. Make them catchy (full pun intended here!).

2. Keep Them
Write tight, keep things brief, informative, bulleted and applicable. Cover the topic, reinforce, show application, and be done. Take out words. Use a photo or quotation to drive home a point. Make people want to finish what your "hook" started!

3. Direct Them
You have them there, and they are reading, so ensure you have hyperlinks, an underlined or highlighted word, phrase or web address, so the reader can quickly get more by clicking on the link to your website, another article, etc. Otherwise, if someone doesn't want more, they can skip that link, and it does not seem like so much verbiage to skim.

4. Love Them
Make the time and share the opportunity to recognize students, your team, your clients, your customers, your prospects, and your partners and any other things that are important to your readers. People love to be appreciated, read about themselves and/or things that are important to them.

5. Leave Them
Be done and leave them wanting more! Give a closing comment, challenge, or preview of what is next. Leave them satisfied with what you shared, and interested enough to come back!

Your challenge is to implement this or share it with someone else who manages your web presence and verbiage, and track the results. Be bold, and be available...after all these 5 Web-Catchy Ways may change how someone views you and/or your company, and make these efforts worth the catch!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

3 Motivators to Consider

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” - Mark Twain, American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910

In the realm of people seeking employment, businesses wanting more clients and customers, it is important to think about and process/respond to each individual's motivation for what they are doing (or not doing).

Be careful...we tend to think people are motivated similarly to how we are and feel we can "speak their language" as a result...and that is just not always the case, sometimes, it's not even often the case!

People are typically motivated by:

Money (Financial)
Recognition/Advancement (Position)
Time (Freedom)

Consider what drives you, and then incorporate learning, and really caring, about what drives those around you, and those you want on your team as a player or a client/customer. Once you know that, you can assist each person in achieving each of his/her accomplishments by partnering with him/her to get to their financial, position, or freedom goals. Plus, while you are chatting about motivation/drive, a whole lot of other topics might just get covered as well!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memories Worth Recalling

“Our memories are the only paradise from which we can never be expelled.” - Jean Paul Richter, German Novelist and humorist, 1763-1825

With Memorial Day approaching, it is timely to speak of respect, service, sacrifice and memories. I respect and appreciate the effort and the sacrifice those who have gone before us to allow us to live in the freedom we have, and that is worth writing and sharing every chance we get with our national anthem and pledge of allegiance. Keeping those people, and that idea of appreciating what we have in mind, please do look back fondly and with gratitude, AND, additionally, remember to be intentional about creating memories now that will be worthwhile later.

It’s not often we hear of regrets of what was done, rather we hear much about the regrets of what was not done. Go out in your life, your world, with your family, friends, and/or team, and keep in mind that each day, you are making memories for tomorrow, and ask yourself “Is this something worthy of a fond memory?” Not everything or every act is magical or sacrificial, and yet the overall impact of an encounter, project or activity can be.

So on the eve of this year’s Memorial Day, I honor and thank those we are not here so that we can be. And, I wish you intentional and enjoyable memories that you can relive in your hearts and minds often!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raise the BAR!

"Interview, Don't clamor for an interview. Instead search for the INNER VIEW. ”
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian Spiritual leader, b.1926

Whether you are searching for candidates to add to your team, or you are someone looking to make a move in advancing your career, make sure you are raising the BAR on your approach by including the following in your efforts:

Know your core competencies (employers – what you are seeking, potential employee – what you bring to the table), and be able to explain, see and demonstrate them each.

Watch the “likeability” factor. You cannot rely too heavily on it as an interviewee, and you can get burned by falling for it too quickly as the interviewer.

Make all of your assessment quantifiable, meaning employers look for the following in the resume and interview, and potential employees, provide in your interview and your resume the following:

Background – What the situation was; time and place as well as the expectations.
Action – What was done specifically by the individual; nobody is a “we”, and you cannot hire a “we”, it must be “I”, and it must be relatable and repeatable.
Results – The outcome of the actions in quantifiable language (percentages, numbers, hours – think people, time, money, quality) so that there is an assessing of effort and talent.

After all, if you don’t raise the BAR, who will? You are your product, you want the best for your company/business, so keep the BAR high, and measure only to it and above it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

NOW Show You are Really Listening!

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.”
- Doug Larson, Cartoonist and Columnist

Ever get distracted in conversations? Even good ones? Yikes, right? Then you start wondering if the other person noticed, and oops, now what was s/he saying?!?!?

The way to get engaged and stay engaged is to do it right NOW:
N – Note strong points on a sheet of paper or through notes on your smart phone or computer. Taking notes engages the sense of touch, and reinforces the sense of sound (hearing) with seeing the words on paper (sight).

O – Offer feedback verbally and non-verbally. Nodding and tilting your head, and allowing facial expressions and other cues to be a part of the conversation will engage your body with your mind. The other person or people in the conversation are “looking” for that acceptance and feedback subconsciously anyway, so it benefits you both.

W – Weigh the options through consideration and questions before simply answering or reacting to the other person. Give the ideas a chance to settle in…even if that means a few seconds of silence. Let the conversation weigh over you so that you are grounded and interacting…and therefore, not distracted.

Getting your NOW mindset for each individual conversation or meeting is a key to communication and leadership success, so go ahead, start really listening…right NOW!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fear=Results Through Nerves, Energy and Action!

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”
- Aristotle (Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Physician, 384 BC-322 BC)

While fear may seem paralyzing at times, remember, fear can be addressed for what it really is…a lack of knowledge, understanding and/or comfort, and eventually facing those obstacles will manifest that paralyzed feeling into the movement that matters most!

When you gather information, comprehension and a level of acceptance of discomfort, you can harness the fear and directed it into (or down to) nerves.

Nerves and nervousness are a form of energy, and energy will power and drive what happens next. If you embrace the nerves, you get to direct the way your nerves flow. From those nerves, you can generate real energy.

Directed energy can become the catalyst for action when you stay the course. Staying the course requires step-by-step movement, or action.
It is action in life that gets results. Repeat the actions you want rewarded, and watch the results follow.

It is from moving from fear through nerves, onto energy, and specifically action, that we get to results, and after all, isn’t that what we want in life…a result of a feeling, a position, money, role, placement, acceptance, or to be able to give more?

Allow your fear to be only what it is allowed to be…and watch what happens, as that fear within will soon become the results you may not have been sure how to achieve!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not "Why?", Rather "What?" & "How?"

“There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.” ~ Charles P. Steinmetz

Many questions are asked each week, each day, and even each hour. We ask them of ourselves, our family members, our colleagues and our clients/customers. Questions are “good”, right?

Some questions yield good results…if by that you agree that good results are those that lead to conversation, relationships and results.

What makes a question more effective than another? Sure, your body language and tone have to demonstrate interest and openness, and making the presumption you are already there with a willingness and inquiring mind, what’s next?
The way we start a question is a big part of how the reply will result. “Why?” questions evoke defense, and “What?” and “How” questions invite conversation.

How so? When we were a toddler, we started asking “Why?” a lot, and at first, it was inquisitive and entertaining to others, and soon thereafter, our parents started thinking and even saying “because” with a quick quip, a sigh, or even impatience. It’s practically ingrained in us to react to a “Why?”, and yet we typically respond more thoughtfully to the “What?” and “How?” inquiries.

By replacing questions like “Why did you think that proposal was going to win?” with “How did you arrive at the price?” and/or “What indicated the positioning was aligned with theirs?”, you will progress and learn rather than hear excuses or raised voices (and blood pressure!).

Your challenge: for one week, resist asking “Why?” and replace the questioning with “What?” and/or “How?”. If you start with a “Why?”, simply rephrase. Watch, feel and even track the different interactions, and see if “Why oh why?” isn’t worth striking from your written and verbal communication…

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Birdies, Less Bogies…How to Keep Your Life On Par

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” ~ Arnold Palmer

On the heels of enthralling close to the 75th Masters, and with summer drawing near, a golf reference seems timely this week. After all, it’s often been said that life mirrors golf and golf is a reflection of life, so with that in mind, here are 10 ways to shoot for more birdies, less bogies…how to keep your life on par:

10. Consider the full course; the entire hole and not just the shot in front of you. Ensure you are planning and not just playing. Life is about the strategy, the execution, the enjoyment and the results. Life and golf give us obstacles…it is how we avoid or address them that matters in our score and our confidence.
9. Golf is both a physical and mental game; it is not a game of strength, but more of balance, focus and precision. Make time to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. When you are not at the top of your game, you mishit, misjudge, and often miss out! You must give your life, your family, your colleagues the best of you from the perspective of “you cannot give what you do not have”.
8. Plan to go for challenging shots after you have watched and learned. Have "moxumility"™. Have the moxie to go for an uphill, over the water and trap tee-shot for a chance at a birdie…as long as you have surveyed the course, assessed your swing and game accurately, and have the humility to know it is risky…yet so rewarding when done well! Like in life, with golf, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.
7. Enjoy every course, every stroke, every hole, every round. Give fully to the game, and let that experience alone be enough for you right then. Leave everything else behind and be in the game for the game…for you and your full experience. Similar to your daily living, each one is new, fresh, and all yours…what clubs or words will you choose today?
6. Don’t come up short on your putts and know it’s okay to want the hole-in-one. You have to “go for it”, and if you do not dream big, how do you know where your boundaries are and how to push past them? The expression “never up, never in” comes to mind…and that is not just for putting…you are up for opportunities, promotions, engagements only when you go for them!
5. Take a day off if you are really struggling or your swing just feels “off”. Step back, step away, assess (don’t obsess) and let something else be the focus. You can/will come back rejuvenated and re-focused. Sometimes that is true with something that seems daunting or off for you outside the course. Is there a break, can you step away…if you don’t you risk injury or burnout, so give yourself a chance to “get it back”!
4. Play with people you like, admire, trust and respect. Play against your game, and not against them. Get their input, ask them to back off. You can do either with those people. Be the same insider for them. When you cannot select with whom you play, default to #3, as rarely have I met a person who said “I am so glad I was paired with that guy/girl who criticized my swing the whole round”. When you look at your circle of friends are they those who want you to do well, or those who are critical…I’d seek out the former over the latter.
3. Remember, golf is a game of etiquette and courtesy. “Please” and “thank you”, honors and respect are not dead on the course, and they need not be foreign in everyday life either. If someone says good shot, say thank you. Be happy for their “hole out” on the 8th hole for eagle…that could be you, and likely will be more quickly if you are kind over letting it get you. Stay out of lines, repair your divots, and leave the course a wee bit better for your having played it. It’s like on the road when you use your blinkers, give the courtesy wave, or at a building hold the door. Let the etiquette and courtesy extend beyond the links.
2. Dress for being on the course. Know and own your style. Golf is a game of color and prints, shoes and hats. It is on a golf course where you can blend in or stand out. Like in life, it is a choice how you present yourself to the world. Like your style, your life, your outcomes. Know that not everyone will agree or appreciate you and that is okay.
1. Embrace the idea that sometimes it’s best to let others “play through”. Let things go, be grateful and give back. So many people may never experience a life of golf, but you can be a part of giving them a chance to experience appreciation and a charitable heart. When people act like that two-some skipping holes and riding you closely- it’s okay not to teach them a lesson, rather let them play their game, play through, and you go on with the game you came to play!

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.” ~ Nancy Lopez

With that, I wish you all of the top 10, more birdies, less bogies, and when you see forever, you see your life is exactly on par!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Rid of Your STUFF!!

“Don't just read the easy stuff. You may be entertained by it, but you will never grow from it.” ~ Jim Rohn

If you are noticing a disconnect with people, or simply that you are not as effective of a communicator lately, take a look at your “baggage” (we all have it!), and get rid of your STUFF! STUFF is what keeps us from making a connection, fully engaging, and therefore developing a real rapport. How are you doing with:

S – Saying crutch words (such as “Like”, “You know what I mean”, and “Does that make sense?” are just filler, they focus on you and don’t convey intelligence, communication or leadership)

T – Talking over time or people (rambling and disrespecting people is a surefire way to make it about you and not about them)

U – Un-approachable presence (seeming aloof, looking elsewhere, and using your smart phone or iPad while in their presence makes you not only seem unapproachable, it makes you seem like you want to be doing something else or be with someone else)

F – Fumbling with things (fidgeting or looking disorganized is not only distracting for you, it makes the other person uncomfortable, too)

F – Faking sincerity (a smile and sincerity are your best assets in most cases, but phoniness and false like-ability are not only going to turn others off, those other people will avoid you in the future…and likely suggest others do the same)

If your STUFF getting in the way, then clear out the “baggage”, fully engage, and get back to effective communication, professional behaviors and thriving relationships!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Presentation Mistakes to Avoid

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
~ Albert Einstein
(German-born Theoretical Physicist, 1879 -1955)

Things happen during presentations. Nothing's perfect. By being prepared, you will not avoid oddities and flukes, but you will hopefully avoid the top 10 presentation mistakes that most everyone (admittedly, myself included) has made:

1. Being uncomfortable, not being prepared, or not being well-versed in your topic. You are to be the expert, or at least expert in the portions of the topic you are discussing! You may not know absolutely everything about a general topic, but know the few points you are covering, the angle you are taking, and/or the approach you are pitching.

2. Alienating your audience and/or not reading our audience. This can happen in many ways such as attempting to cover too much information. Pick 2-4 points, messages, highlights to cover, and stick with them consistently. Additionally, watch the attitude, the information, and your role as the presenter. If you come off as though you are "untouchable" or "above" the audience with too many points or a speed and depth that cannot be followed comfortably, you will lose the audience. Another way to lose your audience, and therefore, not recommended, is misreading or not attempting to read your audience. While you are presenting, the presentation (believe it or not) is about the audience, and not about you. Yes, stick with the plan and your preparation, but keep a pulse on the audience. For example, men, typically like statistics and graphs, brief stories and short presentations, where women often enjoy stories and images, few studies, and will give you quite a bit of attention/time. If you have a mixed age and gender, level and education, keep that in mind and use an appropriate mix of approaches to your audience's interests.

3. Complaining or repeatedly apologizing for anything. Apologizing or anything more than once...being late (do not do it!), the room, technology, the food, the service, the handouts, your voice, "not being an expert"...anything is too much! If something is not your forte, then do not present on it before getting where you are the expert in the room. Have you ever been somewhere and heard "Well, I'm no expert", or "These slides are not the best, but..."? Any of those comments discount you, and discount your respect for the audience. If you have something happen that is not as you wanted it, either move on (if the audience doesn't know, there is no need to bring negative attention to it), or apologize once, and only once, and move on!

4. Using technology and/or slides as your presentation instead of presenting with tools and support from technology. You are the presenter, you may use tools to support and enhance your presentation, but the slides or videos, games, etc. are not the presentation. Bury people in the audience in flash and "the latest and greatest", and you will likely bury your message as well.

5. Speaking to the screen, or too low for the audience to hear. Speak to the audience, with eye contact, and not to the screen. Use a tone and volume that is welcoming, commanding and at a level that can be heard in the back of the room.

6. Using tools or handouts that are not the right size or readily available. If you have handouts, then decide if you want to distribute (never "pass out", as it implies you are about to faint!) them before or during the presentation. If you decide to distribute them prior to presenting, keep them in order, and consider having them face down until you want people to read them (human nature is to read ahead, which means the audience is not listening to you or seeing what you are presenting at the time). If you are confident enough to distribute materials during the presentation, have them where you can get to them quickly and get them into the hands of the audience efficiently. Also ensure anything you use as a visual aid is legible and clear to everyone in the audience.

7. Using "verbal crutches" such as "um", "you know", "you know what I mean", "like". It is better to say nothing. A pause can be empowering...let it be. Additionally "does that make sense" implies the listener should be able to follow it, and that the onus is on the listener to figure the sense in it. Instead, asking in a humble tone "Does that follow?", "Was I clear?" or "Did I address that fully?" is kind, professional and effective. Other verbal crutches you may have used in the past are: "and so on", "and so forth", and/or "and such". These are quite similar to using etcetera a lot. They do not add fact, form or any additional leverage/credibility to a statement. If there is more to add, just add it quickly and professionally.

8. Mishandling questions. Tell people how long you have if you are in the formal Q & A portion or your presentation. If you are not there, attempt to answer the question(s) without getting too far off topic. Having a "parking lot" (in concept, or literally on a flip chart that is titled "Parking Lot", or on your iPad or laptop) that you introduce at the beginning of your presentation can keep you from rushing or going too in-depth. Whenever you have an inquiry, repeating a question assists the asker and the other audience members in following the flow. Additionally, while it seems supportive and positive to say "that's a great question", it is neither supportive nor positive. How so? Unless you say every question is "great", then it implies that the others are not so great, and may subtly discourage questions. Just leave out the qualifier, and state something before you answer like "thank you for asking", or that is a question I rarely get".

9. Being uncomfortable with a little bit of silence. A thoughtful hesitation, and letting people think in response to a question you have are both signs of confidence in yourself and appreciation for the audience.

10. Using your time poorly. Presenters starting late, going over on time, rushing the Q & A, and/or ignoring the fact that other presenters are going on after that presentation, are all mistakes that happen far too often. The audience's time is nearly as important as respecting their intelligence, position, and choice to be there.

Surely each of us will have other "opportunities to improve" in addition to these common mistakes to avoid. As mentioned, nothing (and nobody) is perfect. Let's go for what I call progress...not perfection while avoiding these "avoidable mistakes" while presenting powerfully!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keeping Introductions REAL!

“Diligence in employments of less consequence is the most successful introduction to greater enterprises.” ~ Samuel Johnson

While you may not introduce a lot, if you do, it is an important part of the speaker/presenter's message, as a good introduction gets the audience poised for a good talk, and a bad introduction must be overcome by the audience and the speaker. An effective introduction should be REAL, meaning the introducer simply, and only covers the:

Reason for the talk/presentation/training. Welcome people, and let them know what the topic is.

Examples of the importance of the topic. State 2-4 reasons someone will want to listen to the presentation.

Acknowledgement of the speaker’s credentials and name. Share 2-4 relevant facts about the speaker that will enhance the presenter’s credibility and pique the audience’s interest. Clearly and confidently state the name of the speaker/presenter last, with a pause between the last comment and the first name and a quick pause between the presenter’s first and last name.

Leading of the applause.

An example of “keeping it REAL” for an effective introduction is:
Welcome to the Presenting Powerfully workshop (R)! It is important we learn to present confidently and professionally, learn tips and tools for connecting with the audience, and that we get our messages across effectively (E). Our speaker comes to us as a 6-time publishes author, former regional and national leader, and a member of the National Speakers Association. Please welcome your expert on presentation prowess, Debbie Lundberg (A). Applaud immediately (L).

So, if someone is introducing you, ensure it is a REAL introduction or skip it. If you are introducing someone else, keep it REAL, and watch how that introduction is welcomed, admired, and leads to the start of a positive environment and expectation for the speaker and the audience!

Monday, February 28, 2011

St. Valentine's Spirit All Year Long!

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire, French Philosopher and Writer (1694-1778)

Early each February (if not sooner for retail reasons!) Saint Valentine is brought to life in many forms from cards to candy, but what about when images, figures and holiday happenings are not present? Do we stop giving of ourselves to others, and lose a little of that holiday love that is generated so generously around February 14th?

Not necessarily…

Without the cutout hearts, greeting cards and wonderful chocolates to share, we are left with just us, raw and unsure, busy and baffled, appreciative and awkward. It’s okay, though, as many of you have heard me say (or read in my writings) in the past, very few (if any) people we know are overwhelmed, and simply too full of love and appreciation each day.

If you think you are unsure of what to say or how to say it, kindly:
~ Start with sincerity and a smile
~ Continue with telling, writing or selecting a card that denotes your feelings
~ Make the message or comment about him or her, and not you
~ Let the person know what you love or appreciate about him/her or his/her efforts
~ Move on so the situation is not odd for that person

An example of this is (see the smile and hear the sincerity, please) “Andy, your approach with the client was nothing less than spot-on. I appreciate the way you get to know each person with whom you interact. Thank you for making a difference for the company in your relationship-building! What else is on your agenda for us to cover?”. This example allows Andy to say his thank you and keep going, or if Andy is really comfortable receiving praise, he can make some other comments as well. Either way, it is a success for Andy.

As for you, you won’t fail or even flail. You’ll likely be a huge hit. You may receive an “oh, you don’t have to say that”, or a “really???”. Let it be. I’d hope for etiquette’s sake you’ll get a “thank you”, but we give sincere recognition comments selflessly in anticipation of nothing in return (the same for gifts). After all, the appreciation and love you share is meant to be expressed and stated… how else will you keep the St. Valentine spirit alive all year long?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Positive Mantra for Positive Results

"Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals."

~ Paul J. Meyer

Whether this is the time of year you have really embraced a resolution and created a habit, or if this is that season of reflection of asking what was it I thought I was going to change for 2011, there are a few quick inner messages you can set, readjust or introduce to make a bit of your own personal mantra for moving forward with confidence, focus and boundaries.

Take a couple of minutes to complete the following statements with positive, realistic, and attainable actions or characteristics:

I WANT (TO) ____________
I WILL ___________
I AM ____________
I AM IN THE PROCESS OF _______________
I DO _____________

For example, mine currently reads:

Yours may be similar or completely different, but if it is about you, for you, and you write it, print/post it, or both, and embrace the comments fully to the point of belief and commitment, they will actually "be" once you believe it, and layer it with your follow-through actions.

Remember, being reflective and forward focused, with a realistic, thriving edge to your vision, will have you engaged in the next habit for all the well-serving reasons...and the results!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Falling In Love with All You Do

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." ~ Albert Schweitzer

Regardless of what you have planned for today, this week, or this month, love is in the air...if you let it be!

Love may not seem like much of a business approach or attribute, but if you love what you do, you are more likely to like (or even love) those around you, like (or even love) your clients, and like (or even love) the moments you spend working (and there are a lot of them) !

If you do not currently love what you do, you have options...find something else - your passion, or rediscover what you fell in like/love with in the company, the industry or the field, or just do nothing. The last option is most popular, but by far, not the most effective.

As many of you have heard me say repeatedly, you are far more than what you do for a living! Still, if you love or find things you love about what you are doing for your work/career/business, you will likely invite other positive, loving energy...both personally and professionally!

With heartfelt appreciation, keep the love alive, and make the most of your Valentine's Day...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Your Idea SPACE Approach

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” ~ Buddha

You live in a world of ideas.

How are you at Sharing, Persuading, Asking, Collaborating and Executing such ideas?

Consider the Idea SPACE approach of:

Share what the issue is or need at hand as well as what a win/success would be.
Persuade others to interest with stories and examples.
Ask if you missed anything to get clarification and on the same page.
Collaborate together on a firm, sound work-able solution.
Execute what was decided with tracking and accountability.

As an Entrepreneur, new leader, or established pro, if you make idea SPACE part of your process, effective communication and action will be part of your lasting impression, sales, recognition and results!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knowing…or “No”ing

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.”
~ David Starr Jordan, American ichthyologist, educator, writer

No self, no want, no plan; no progressive results…

Know self, know want, know plan; know progressive results!

Before we can get to the result, and there always is a result, whether it is intentional or not, we have the option to blindly, or even optimistically stumble with the approach of “no”ing to an end, OR we can make time for knowledge and the application of knowledge in order to mindfully and directly impact the result(s).

Ourselves, and people on our teams, as well as those in our partnerships/alignments, are either 1) those who know, or 2) those who choose not to know. (Knowing is loosely interpreted here as being aware, acknowledging, and accepting.)

So, before you or your team move forward on a project, proposal or plan, please ensure you know yourself; that is the person or people involved, you know your want; that is what your desire looks like, know your plan; or how you will be able to realistically get there, and know your progressive result; that is both the forward motion and tangible outcomes.

Without knowing, we are simply “no”ing. We’re just ill-informed, or worse yet, oblivious, and with knowledge, and the applied efforts that such knowledge brings, we can, and are far more likely to have that success, that win that will feed positively into knowing ourselves even more, growing our wants, sticking to plans and continuing to impact results. The circle of knowing is one of very little “no”!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Know Perspective; Know Ownership; Know Freedom!

"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." ~ Denis Waitley, speaker and author

Success in life and in business is both a "no excuses", and a "no blame" mentality. People who know perspective and know ownership also know the freedom from looking back and the freedom to look forward.

Think back to the last time you made an excuse for something or someone, or blamed another person for a situation you were in. I hope that was long ago, and regardless of when it was, what was the ultimate outcome...what did you did you feel? There are not likely a lot of positive feelings, emotions, thoughts or outcomes that come to mind, are there?

Now, remember a time when you made time for assessing your view and perspective, and/or took ownership of a situation you were in. I hope that was recent, and whenever it was, what was the ultimate outcome...what did you did you feel? There are likely a lot of positive feelings, emotions, thoughts or outcomes that come to mind, aren't there?

You were the same person, with the same experience and opportunity in both of those reflections (for the most part), and yet, what was different? Your choices were different. When you chose to make excuses and blame, you were not able to gain perspective or were a bit "stuck" in the scenario and time passing to put it in the past. Yet, when you chose to not make excuses and not blame, you were able to gain perspective and could move forward, and decide what to learn, when to learn and how to learn...and move onto the future. So, it's up to you, excuses and blame, or perspective and ownership? So for life and business success, let yourself make a choice...choose mindfully, choose consistently, and choose freedom!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Outlook From a Conversational Inquiry

"Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers."
~ Tony Robbins

With the temptation of resolutions or "new starts" to the year still among us, if you want to do something different in one of your first one-on-one meetings with team members or clients, or even your whole team or company, consider asking:

What are you most proud of from last year?
What do you want to retain this year?
What do you want to tweak this year?
What do you want to look back in 2012 and know happened in 2011...what would you like your future perspective to be?

Those few questions will spark directional, intentional conversation, and will give you insight regarding the direction people want to go, and what drives them as well. These are a wonderful way to see if you are "on the same page" or not with partners as well. Heck, your answers might even surprise yourself...

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resist Judgment, Embrace Choices

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung

Have you ever had someone ask “what were you thinking?” or “why are you doing that?”? I believe most of us have, and while it is not enjoyable, it is often part of our experiences as people; as leaders; as targets for some to “attack” in the midst of our driving results.

Those questions/propositions do not usually feel good, or get us to simply and calmly respond, sometimes, instead, we react.

So, when the tables are turned, and you question what people are thinking, doing or promoting, I encourage you to look at what has been done as a choice or series of choices rather than judging the actions or outcomes. It’s not easy, but it is a simple approach…let others make their choices and either reap the rewards or consequences, and you do the same. Let the judgment stay internal until it dissolves, and externally voice something like “I appreciate your choice”, or “While I appreciate the choice, and may have chosen differently for myself, I will respect your decision”. The “you should have” or “how could you?” comments do not promote conversation, rather defense.

Nobody will make the same choices we would for us, and yet for them, they make the choices that they believe will serve them best. Someone else would be a second-rate you, just as you’d be a second-rate him/her. Let the judgment go, and watch how your choices yield respect from others and appreciation and consideration from yourself!