Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Take Action To Change Your Life

Last week I received a call from Scott, a childhood friend with whom I had not talked with in over 25 years. He sought me out because he has a desire for a career as professional speaker, but was unsure how to begin.

We had a great chat. For over an hour he answered questions and shared with me his life's journey, which is honestly inspirational. His personal history is a powerful story that will lend itself to motivate others. He has already been speaking to youth groups, churches and school,s but knows his message could have a strong impact on corporate audiences. His interest in this career path was genuine, and I gave him some advice on what steps to take (this is not a career that you can jump into quickly). I was happy to share and excited by his enthusiasm.

Six days later I sent him a follow up email asking "What steps have you taken since our conversation that would lead you closer to this dream?" The question is something a mentor of mine did years ago when I had been seeking similar advice. His point was that many people look for advice, but few take fast action (thankfully I had taken the actions he suggested!). If you really are serious you will do something.

I get a lot of calls from people who want to write a book, be a speaker, or make other career changes. Most have not taken any action in the week (or a month) after our discussion. They usually say they have "been thinking" or "gathering more information". Not this time. Scott's response was fast, to the point, and honestly amazing.

Here is what he said:

"I just got back from a local NSA (National Speakers Association) meeting. It was really good. I am going to print up some cards saying "Scott (insert last name), Professional Speaker" and write out my speech that I have been giving an see how I can get a powerful business message out of it. Thanks for the follow up. Are you going to the NSA convention in Orlando next month?"

Wow. After one phone call he hung up and took the actions necessary to move his life in a new direction immediately. He had obviously thought about this before our call, but once he received tangible advice, he took action.

If you want something, you have to take the action. Writers write and speakers speak. They do not think about it. A career change into a new industry requires information and participation. I recently heard Steven Tomlinson (Professor, Playwright, Pastor, Economist, and all around brilliant person) give the advice that "if you want to change careers you should seek out and make friends with people in your field of interest". I agree. Scott's attending a local NSA meeting does not make him a professional speaker, but it does expose him to more people in his city who are committed to this career. And it is proof that he is taking action to change his life.

My prediction is that Scott will be earning a fantastic living as a professional speaker faster than most who succeed in the business. I look forward to sharing the stage with him soon at a major corporate convention (and eventually adding him to the NYP Speaker's team!).

Have A Great Day!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is Social Media Really Social?

"Social Media" is becoming more like "Broadcast Media" as the amount of noise grows beyond the level that anyone person can follow, comprehend, or digest. People are becoming passive, sitting on their butts watching social media the way they watch television. The "online celebrities" are getting much of the attention, and the dialogue is slowly vanishing in many of the most popular online communities.

Originally there was an excitement of discovery in social media. People looked for the brilliance in others who were just like them, not the famous elites. Then we anointed social media royalty and forgot all about the revolution. These days it seems people are working hard to shut people out of their field of online vision. Where I used to feel community, I now cannot find the love.

"Social" means two way... give and take. To keep social media unique and powerful we all have to stay involved in the discussion. Leave comments on the blogs you read and advance the conversation. ReTweet what other people say that you find interesting on Twitter. Use the "like" buttons on Facebook to show people you are really hearing their words. Talk about the things people are saying and doing and promote the best of the best on YouTube and beyond. Use your online voice (via blogging, Facebook, Twitter, ezines, YouTube videos, online reviews, status updates, etc...) to promote the fascinating things that you see other people doing...., not just as a brochure for your own products and services.

Take ownership of social media and bring back the social.

If we are all buried in a noise filled coffin , then social media will die the death of a million nothings. Who will care about social media if it becomes anti-social?

What do you think?

Have A Great Day.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pint Sized Motivational Speaker on "The ABC's of Networking"

My kids were goofing around with the camera and made a promotional video for my book "The ABC's of Networking". This was just a family project, but turned out too funny not to share.

PS - It was their idea to make this video. They had made another video a while back spoofing me as a professional speaker, and so this began as good-spirited jab at my video blogs. Turns out they are fabulous at promoting books and editing videos!

Have A Great Day.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Burn Your Bridges By Having To Be The Smartest Person In The Room

When seeking answers to help you navigate the path toward success, sometimes a double dose of humility goes a long way.

Very often inexperienced entrepreneurs long for the advice, guidance and direction from successful business professionals, but fail to receive the boost they desire. We live in a relationship economy, and for the ecosystem to work, there must be give and take. Too often those who seek to take, forget they also must give in return. Their focus on what they desire clouds their judgment. Sometimes their gift is no more than allowing the more seasoned executive to share. They must be conscious of how the relationship is established or they could end up with nothing.

When they get their audience with the person of achievement, some spend too much time trying to prove how smart they are and kill their potential for a mentor, adviser, board member, investor, or a transfer of knowledge.

We all have egos and long for the respect of those we admire, but when exposed to greatness it is best not to try to demand the position of an instant peer. You earn respect, you do not demand respect from those at the top. To be a true leader, you must recognize the situation and acknowledge that sometimes it is best to follow others.

I have found that those who are the most successful (financially, emotionally and spiritually) no longer have anything to prove, and thus are beyond the need to be the smartest person in the room. They either know they are the brilliant one... or they know they are not (to be successful is not bound to being the smartest)... and their own victories speak for themselves. However, they expect those who seek their assistance to understand the realities of the situation, and to act accordingly.

I have struggled with this, and so have many others. Opportunities are lost when we must be right. It happens in business, politics, religion, and relationships, (anywhere human beings interact) that deals die before they are ever born.

Most successful people like to give a hand up to others who are making the effort to better themselves. They take pride in being a catalyst that launches others to the top. But they will not help others who lead with pride and ego. They have no reason to want to support a know-it-all.

When you get the chance to intact with the person who has achieved the success you desire, ask questions, listen, and learn. Help build the bridge of a relationship that can bring you both to a mutually beneficial exchange. If you disagree, resist the urge to "school" them on your point of view. While you might be right, you also might be missing some key pieces of information that will alienate them from serving as your guide. The best leaders seek to see the situation from other points of view.

Killing the golden goose hurts both you and the goose. You lose your easy gold, and they miss out on the joy of providing you with the riches they possess.

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Do Not Pre-Judge Others

People are often too quick to judge others. They categorize them based on superficial traits and then file them away on a shelf.

But sometimes when we make snap decisions we miss out on building connections with the people who could become the most powerful long-term mutually beneficial relationships.

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pain In The Neck

Has anyone ever called you a "pain in the neck"?

If so, this is not a compliment. I know, as earlier today I developed a pain in my neck..... and it ruined my whole day.

It came on just before I was to lead a business development training seminar for a group of partners in a law firm. I took some Motrin and jumped into my presentation.

My neck and shoulder were hurting, but the show must go on. After the seminar I went home and took more of the pain reliever.

The afternoon was ruined. I tried to get some work done, but the pain was just strong enough to scrape away my ability to concentrate.

It made me realize the expression "Pain In The Neck" is a serious accusation. When you have such a pain, it rots away all your normal defenses and leaves you powerless. Think Kryptonite to Superman.

If you are being a pain in the neck to someone in your world... for goodness sake, STOP IT! I would not wish such a thing (literally or figuratively) on anyone.

Have A Great Day.



Consistency must be consistent.

I know, that sounds redundant. However, think about how many times you have heard the advice to be consistent in your business and personal life, and then how often do you encounter people who do not behave in this manner?

Walk the talk of your personal brand. This can be hard, because life is full of competing responsibilities and it is easy for decisions to become scattered based on the situation. Plus, we all tend to see the world through the lens of our own priorities.

Having a clear set of goals and knowledge of your personal brand makes it easier to tackle the tough decisions that pop up along the way. When you make a mistake, recognize it (do not rationalize it away), and own your faults. Apologize if necessary (publicly). Then try harder next time.

Consistency is not easy, but it beats being a fraud.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Who Is In Your Community?

I just got off the phone with NYP Speakers community. Since New Year Publishing launched NYP Speakers earlier this year, we have hosted a monthly conference call with the authors and speakers who are part of our group. The idea of the call is that the business of writing and speaking professionally can be a lonely way to earn a living, and having a group of friends to share "best practices" and inspiring success stories makes everyone better.

The calls are short (less than an hour), but often powerful in the ideas discussed. While I lead the call, I still learn something new about promoting books, social media, list building, digital media, newsletter tips, the speaking business, etc....

The idea of community is important. I wrote earlier this week about the power of belonging to your industry trade associations and actively participating. Being connected to others who are working in the same trenches as you is a bonus that pays off in countless ways. I find that knowing others in your line of work makes the path to success more visible.

I shared with a friend by email that I am rarely wary about competitors, as every deal I do as a keynote speaker (Emcee, facilitator, discussion leader, Conference Networking Catalyst, breakout speaker, etc... ) involves competition. I win some, I lose some.... but most meeting planners and other potential clients talk with more than one professional speaker before making a hiring decision (this is true for most vendor selections - regardless of industry). Never twice have I competed with the same person for a speaking gig. The country (world) is too big and there are too many conventions, meetings and seminars in need of professional speakers. Thus I have found I get more from sharing business practices with other speakers than I would if I saw them as the competition.

I spend a lot of time consulting with clients about the power of a community. Belonging to (and participating in) organizations in your industry and local geographic area is key. While it is easy to get busy and rationalize a million reasons not to participate, most people seem to desire to be more connected. Being part of a community is a basic human ritual that has existed as long as we have walked the earth. Do not avoid the pull of belonging. Find a community.

If you cannot find the right community, create one!

Who is your community? You should have social communities, business communities, spiritual communities, family communities, neighborhood communities, special interest communities (hobbies), etc....

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Conference Networking Catalyst Program - (A Meeting Planners Favorite!)

The people who attend your conventions are hungry to make connections, but the networking that is being served to them is stale. While one of the main reasons people attend conferences is for the "networking opportunities", we all know most folks stink at this when they are actually at the event. The "Networking Conference Catalyst" program is the ideal way to energize those in attendance at your conference to make real and meaningful contacts that will lead to future opportunities.

Have A Great Day.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Club No One Wanted To Join - Madoff Victims In Their Own Words

Yesterday I met Mary Thomajan, one of the 29 authors who share their stories in the newly released book "The Club Nobody Wanted To Join - Madoff Victims In Their Own Words". She is a delightful woman who lost everything because of the scams of Bernie Madoff, and she still has a positive message for the world.

Mary Thomajan was looking forward to retirement in Santa Fe, focusing on funding The Center for Community and Courageous Change. She lost everything. But she learned that "none of the stuff was me-not my money, nor my home, nor my clothes, my jaguar, my sassy red hair, my identity." The truth she came to recognize is that "we don't own anything...We are just tenants here, little columns of energy." But she has learned from a wise teacher in India who answered the question: “What does a man have when he has lost everything?” The answer was “Freedom.

I have not yet read the book, but my copy is on order from Amazon. We have all heard the stories of Madoff's victims, but it is not everyday you sit at a dinner with a dozen people who share their stories..... and have one as powerful as this! In keeping with my efforts to read the books of the interesting people I meet, I just had to buy this book. You should too.

Have A Great Day.


Austin Speaker's Network Hosted Nationally Renound Presenter Sam Horn

(Thom Singer and Sam Horn)

The Austin Speakers Network welcomed Intrigue Expert Sam Horn to Austin for two seminars on creativity, inspiration, and making your message "POP!".

The meeting was the first major "Special Event" hosted by the ASN, which was founded earlier this year. ASN holds monthly lunch meetings for professional speakers on the first Wednesday of each month, but this whole day special event was open to the entire Austin business community. The nearly sold out function was well received by all in attendance. Special KUDOS to Sara Canaday (ASN's Chief Catalyst) and the rest of the board for a job well done!

(In Photo: Austin Speakers Network Board- Marny Lifshen, Sam Horn, Sara Canaday, Thom Singer, Anne Tiedt, Jim Bagnola, Sylvia Stern and Patti DeNucci)

I believe in attending meetings and seminars in your career area of specialty. No matter what you do for a living you can and should consistently expand your knowledge and skills, and a great way to do that is to participate in your trade organizations. Interacting with the people at all skill levels in your profession will bring you a variety of perspectives and expose you to those who can bring your interesting opportunities.

Joining groups and having your name on a roster is not the same as showing up at local meetings and attending the national conferences. To get real benefit from belonging you must be actively involved and serve the community.

Some executives question why anyone would be active in the local or national chapters of their industry associations. I hear "why would you want to spend your time with other (insert job title), they do not hire me?".... or "I do not gain anything from attending those meetings" (you wont if you are not looking for things to gain!)... or "that group is all amateurs, I am so beyond them". These responses are usually B.S. and often just excuses for a battery of other petty reasons for not participating. My favorite excuse is "the real professionals are not involved in these groups". I disagree, the selfish ones are not, but most successful "givers" have attachment to their industry associations (sometimes you see people who have moved on from active service, but most top players served their time in their industry organizations and continue to give moral support to the group).

You get back more than what you give, and being involved with your peers and serving the greater good has huge benefits that are hard to quantify in the short run.

This is true of my association with ASN and NSA. I have not only had the opportunity to meet some amazing speakers, but my involvement has made me a better speaker, marketer, businessman, and student of life. I am inspired to do more and honored to be part of a group of people who care about more than just their own success. This group takes pride in the success of all the members!

Sam Horn's presentation was not just for professional speakers. Her lessons about messaging crossed industry lines, as every profession is riddled with high levels of noise, and everyone is looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. In some ways the guests from outside the speaking industry were the ones most touched by the message.

I purchased Sam's newest book: "POP! Stand Out In Any Crowd" because she was great and I wanted to hear more of her advice, and also because I have a strong belief that the biggest complement you can give an author is to read their book. I will start reading it as soon as I post this blog.

If you live in Austin and missed this event, keep your eyes open for future ASN luncheons, as guests are welcome. The next lunch meeting is August 3, 2010 and will feature Barbara Miller of Barbara Miller Communications.

The Austin Speakers Network is working to form the Austin Chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA), and has received positive support from the community of professional speakers who live in the Austin area. I can only imagine the future of successful luncheons and special events that are coming in the future!

Have A Great Day.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Demand Better Meetings

I wrote on Monday about running better meetings. I got some interesting responses from readers and other friends (including my business partner who wondered if we follow my own rules for meetings when we discuss issues! We do -- for the most part!). The most interesting comment came in an email from a friend who added; "If you attend meetings you need to demand that the person running the meeting does not waste your time". Hmmmm, good point!

If you attend regular meetings for work or volunteer activities you have the right to expect a productive use of your time. Many people hate meetings because they are a big time suck, but these meeting participants never do anything to change the death spiral of useless and ineffective meetings.

If a meeting sucks the major responsibility rests with the leader. However, if the people who are in the attendance do not demand better function, then they deserve the crappy meetings where they are held prisoner.

If you are part of a group that has weak meetings you can step up and make them better. Talk to the leaders and ask them how you can be the solution. Too many people are passive about sitting in bad meetings and then complaining about them later. Do not be that person who gossips and undermines the leader for their horrible meetings. Take action to help make meetings better.

1. Lead by example. Show up early and be prepared to participate. Do not read online articles or communicate by email on your laptop or smart phone during meetings. And never roll your eyes with your closest friends (you think others do not see that? Come on!). Always work to promote the common good of the group and advance discussion.

2. Ask for a defined meeting purpose and agenda. Talk with the leader and let them know that you want to help make better use of his or her time in the regular gatherings. Let them know that you are willing to take on the project of the agenda if they do not have time. Let them know that the meetings are not well received in their current format (they may not know!).

3. Hold others accountable to topics and time frames. If you have people in the meeting who go off on tangents or talk too long, talk with them in private about how you need their help and leadership skills to improve the meetings. Do not attack them for their being verbose, but instead appeal to their need to be heard, but channeling them into a champion of efficient meetings.

4. If none of the above works, do not quit looking for ideas that can change the meeting culture. I promise that your meetings can be better. I have seen many companies and volunteer groups improve meetings.... but it takes effort and the right determination. Maybe you need to become the boss or run for president of the organization. Remember, when you become the leader, make sure you are not the cause of more crap meetings in the future!

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hey Baby-Boomers, Are You Out of Touch About Social Media?

I find it interesting when I speak to many professionals that are still hoping that social media is a fad. I know it sounds silly, but there are people who keep saying "I don't get it" or "that is just for the younger generations". NOT.

Do not sit on the side lines and wait for social media to go away. It is here to stay.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Creating A Connected Culture On Your Volunteer Board

I have served on several non-profit boards, including taking on the role of president on a few occasions. Being on a volunteer board is a great way to give back to your community or industry, and will always expose finding ways to learn and grow while impacting others. It is also a fast way to expand your network and establish your position as a leader. However, it can also be riddled with headaches.

Serving on a board can bring with it the difficulties of having to interact with other people and getting caught up in the politics that often seem to occur when passionate people get together to implement change.

Everyone joins a board with good intentions, but when a meeting runs long and you are sitting across the table from someone with an opposing plan for the future direction of the organization, it is easy to forget the positive reasons for which you both signed up. Tempers can flare, and that can create conflict.

It is always better for the whole when board members can spend time together outside of meetings. Getting to know each other on a deeper level is key to the culture of the board. It is human nature to prejudge others, so when you only see the rest of your board at an occasional formal meeting, you will never understand what is in the soul of those with whom you serve.

In order for a board to work well together there must be a combination of good leadership and a culture of connectedness. While having a diverse board with differing points of view is a good thing, it can also bring with it arguments and sideline the progress. While there is always room for disagreement, there is never room for power-plays and disrespect. Having groups that knows and cares for each other will help prevent much of the petty clashing of the titans that often happens.

Respect is key, but each person must also remember that they must understand and respect the other people too. One person cannot demand all the respect in the room, or the whole relationship economy of the board will crumble.

I was once in an organization that was caught up in a tsunami of change. The changes were inevitable and for the betterment of the organization, but the senior board members and the newer board members forgot to respect the point of view of the other side. They did not have any type of personal relationship, and both distrusted the motivations of the other side. This brought with it all the dysfunction imaginable.

A new board member was running for a leadership position and began to demand his "due" respect from the rest of the organization. Suddenly a wise member who had not chosen sides reminded the whole group that one cannot demand respect, one must earn it. These sage words ended the debate and the new maverick board member was not elected this time around. He instead worked hard to support the whole team and later earned the right to lead the organization.

I have never forgotten the importance of those words about earning respect. I work to remind those who serve in any volunteer capacity to work to earn the respect of the others on their committee or board before seeking the opportunity to lead. When people work to cultivate relationships with others they are creating the foundations for long term success (for themselves and the organization as a whole).

Members need to be reminded of why they are all serving. Nobody would admit they joined a board for the power and prestige (although for some that might be a reason!), thus the mission and goals of the group must be publicly stated often. Out of sight is out of mind. Beginning a meeting with a reminder of the greater good will help all participants check their egos and personal agendas at the door.

If you are part of a volunteer board, make sure that the members have time to socialize and establish real connections. Communicate the purpose of the board and the organization regularly to not let it be forgotten. Encourage respectful discussion, even when there is disagreement. If the culture is one of understanding and respect your whole organization will succeed.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Three Steps to Running Better Meetings

There are good meetings, bad meetings, and meetings where those in attendance would rather jump from the windows than sit through one more wasted minute.

If you work for a company larger than one person, serve on a volunteer committee / board, or belong to any type of organization then you will eventually have to sit through a meeting. There is a lot written about the effectiveness and necessity of meetings, but there is no reason why meetings should not be more productive. No meeting should be a waste of time for anyone in attendance.

I cannot estimate the number of meetings I have attended. The common denominator of a good meeting rests in the hands of the person in charge. Clear communication of goals, respect for all in the room (or on the phone line), and holding to a time limit can all be a reality. If the meeting sucks, you can be sure that the leader is not really in charge.

Here are my three suggestions to running better meetings:

1. Be sure the meetings is necessary, and how often a group should meet. Meeting for the sake of meeting is dumb. But not all meetings are a waste of time, but some of them are just held out of routine or a feeling that a group "should meet". There are reasons why groups need to gather to discuss important issues, but every organization must be careful not to overburden members with meetings.

A law firm of 25 lawyers had a consultant recommend they create 17 different management committees within the firm. The idea was each committee could meet monthly to discuss individual issues pertaining to the organization's future success. WHAT? So much for servicing clients. The lawyers would have spent much of their time planning for meetings, attending meetings, re-capping meetings or figuring out how they could avoid meetings.

2. Have a written agenda with time frames. You should never plan a meeting that does not have a pre-determined agenda that is distributed to all attendees in advance (a minimum of three hours in advance all should be emailed the agenda). Make sure that those who will be attending know the deadline to submit items for discussion in advance. Be clear that there may not be time for items not pre-approved for the agenda. You must allow for really important issues to be added while simultaneously avoiding rambling about unplanned topics that are not pertinent.

Have a start time and finish time for the meeting along with approximate time for each topic spelled out on the agenda. If the time for discussion needs to go longer for any one item, make sure the group agrees to extend the discussion. If the topic can be tabled until the next meeting, do it. When agreement is reached to extend discussion, and all are aware that this will make the whole meeting run longer, people will not gripe about the length of the meeting. Do not cut items lower on the agenda to make up for time.

3. Have time set aside to discuss underlying issues that might effect the group. Let members know if they have any issues with any items or individuals that they are required to bring them up at this point in the meeting. No organization can prosper if there is gossip, back biting, or secret "bitch sessions". Establish a culture where it is safe for people to share their views, while those on the other side are not instantly offended by what is said. If the group all understands the common goal, and egos can be left in check, then discussing problems does not have to be a negative or hurtful experience.

This is a hard thing to do, as sometimes people are often either too harsh in sharing their critical view points, or too sensitive to what others say. However, when a group can have an respectful airing of issues, then you will be more productive in future. When people harbor resentment and stew about things between meetings, everyone loses. This may require an education process for the whole group and strong moderation by the leader, but if done correctly this step can lead to the creation of a highly productive team.

If you leave the success of meetings to chance then you get whatever result you get. If you pre-plan and take ownership of running a better meeting then all in attendance (including the leader) will benefit from an effective and productive use of their time. You cannot hide from a bad meeting procedures.... and you do not want to encourage people to jump from the windows..

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

College Graduates Still Searching For Jobs

Many colleges and universities have finished for the semester and launched their new grads into the "real world". Alas, far too many college graduates are still searching for jobs, and many are doing this without a clue on the best ways to make connections that can lead them to getting the best start for their career.

I met a recent college graduate in an airport two weeks ago who had been out of school for nearly a month and had no leads on finding a job. She was discouraged, as she has assumed that a degree from a highly respected university would have been the ticket to employment. Her parents were pressuring her to move home, and she was mad at her school (and the whole world) for leaving her stranded with no job and no idea how to really find real work in a timely manner.

She kept complaining about the economy, but when I asked her if any of her five closest friends had scored good entry level jobs, she admitted that all of those in her inner-circle did have work. Some were not in their field of choice, but none were waiting tables or working in retail.

I pointed out that the rough economy was taking its toll, but if her buddies found jobs, then it is not impossible. I asked how her friends had made the connections that lead them to their found employers, and she had no idea. She had never really asked them about if they had interned, had family connections, networked, etc.... It seemed like magic to her these fellow graduates had found a secret map to getting work.

I gave her my card and a copy of my book "Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates" (written with co-author Anne Brown... who also is the author of "Grad to Great"... and encouraged her to look at Anne's website as it is full of useful resources for the recent graduate). I also pointed her to several job search gurus, Including Tim Tyrell-Smith of "Tim's Strategy Blog" and Jason Alba of "" (I wrote their URL's on a piece of paper and asked her to let me know if their advice was helpful to her).

I told her that Anne, Tim and Jason were the best resources to help her get her mind around the job search, and that I would happily introduce her to any one of them if she felt they could be a useful connection.

I never heard from her again. She did not have business cards, so I had no way of reaching out to her to see if she has made any progress in finding a job. I do not know if she read the book, or visited any of the talent-rich websites I encouraged her to visit.

I have been thinking about this soon-to-be young professional and the countless others like her who are looking for jobs after graduating from college. With every week that goes by throughout the summer, I assume they become more discouraged. All that work to earn the degree, and yet they have no prospects for finding a job. I want them all to succeed in finding jobs that inspire them to make amazing contributions to our society.

Here are six suggestions for college grads looking for work:

1. Do not get discouraged. This is not the first time in history that people have graduated into rough job markets. Eventually there will be opportunities in your chosen field, and those who keep the faith will find the chance to launch a wonderful career.

2. Be open to multiple options. Apply for jobs in other related industries and when you find a job work very hard to be the best employee you can. Your reputation is being created every day and people are watching you. If you try hard, and do your best, someone will notice and lead you to other opportunities down the road.

3. Consider relocation. Different cities will provide unique opportunities. If you are looking in one city you are limiting your chances of finding an employer that will provide you with ample chances to learn and grow. Do not be scared of starting over, I moved to Austin (from California) when I was 25 years old, and it was the best thing that ever happened to my life and career.

4. Ask your friends how they found their jobs. Knowing techniques used by others can be a road map to finding work. You should also inquire if there are other openings at their companies. Your friends want to help you, but if you do not ask them for assistance, they may not even know you want the help.

5. Network like your life depends on it... because it does! All opportunities come from people, so you must invest time in growing relationships with those who can connect you with the job you desire. Do not be shy or think that because you are young you have nothing to offer others.

6. Make looking for a job a full time job. Read the Some Assembly Required books, and any articles and blogs you can find on the subject of networking and job search. Talk to people in your industry of choice every day. Attend networking events. From 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM do not participate in too many activities that are not job search related (I am not saying you cannot go to the gym at 10 AM,.... just don't spend your whole day at the mall or movies). You will be working long hours once you find a job, you might as well get used to the routine!

Good luck and hang in there!

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Link Building with Bloggers: What 'Relationship' Actually Means

I was quoted in an article on that was written by Jeremy Bencken about the importance of building relationships online and not just begging strangers for links or to promote your products or services.

I often remind people that you would not show up at the door of a stranger and hand them 1000 fliers promoting your business and ask them to pass them out to their neighborhood. However in the online world people do the equivalent all the time.

Read Jeremy's article HERE.

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

2010 Central Texas ACG Growth Awards

The Central Texas Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) hosted its annual Awards Luncheon today at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas. Nearly 200 business professionals filled the ballroom to celebrate the successful results of local companies.

While there has been much in the news the last two years about the dismal state of the economy, the ACG in Central Texas had more nominations in 2010 over past years for the annual awards that honor "Growth". The Austin area continues to show why it is topping all the lists of the best places to be in business from small, medium and large corporations.

I was the emcee for the event, and Thomas B Pickens, III, (CEO of Astrotech) was the keynote speaker. This event continues to get better each year, and ACG has solidified its position as one of the areas most important networking / educational professional organizations.

The Finalists and Winners are listed below by category:

Emerging Companies (Revenues up to $25 million)

CLEAResult (Winner)
Horizon Bank

Outstanding Corporate Growth (Revenues between $25 - $100 million)

All Web Leads
LDR (Winner)

Outstanding Corporate Growth (Revenues greater than $100 million)

American Campus Communities
EZCorp (Winner)

Congratulations to all the nominees, finalists and winners. These companies are the foundation of the success that Austin is experiencing today, and they will continue to lead our region into the future.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Social Media for Small Business Seminar (Austin, Texas)

On June 22nd I will be presenting "Social Media for Small Business" with Chris Carter (marketing director of Bicycle Sports Shop). This seminar is part of the Austin Business Journal's "Smart Series".

Social Media is not a fad, but many small businesses and individuals are still on the sidelines not knowing how to harness the power of these tools. Join the Austin Business Journal for an informative and interactive discussion about how your company can get the most from social media.

At this seminar we will discuss the best practices of harnessing the internet to raise your visibility and extend your brand.

Topics Covered:
- Defining your Objectives
- Performing a Situational Analysis
- Determining your Target Audience
- Choosing your Communication Vehicles
- Designing your Tactical Calendar
- Metrics for success


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

111 Congress Ave, 8th floor (parking is available in the Austin Convention Center Parking Garage located across from One Congress Plaza for $7)

7:30 - 8:00 am Breakfast & Networking
8:00 - 9:00 am Presentation
Cost is $25

*Deadline to register is Friday, June 18, 2010

Have A Great Day


Monday, June 07, 2010

Social Media Linking Policy for LinkedIn and Facebook

Should you link to everyone on social media sites. Is a link to a stranger any better than having a phone book? Is a foundation of a relationship even necessary to call someone a "friend" on the internet?

Having a linking policy for LinkedIn and Facebook is a good idea.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

How To Be A Good Friend

A month ago I was called upon to facilitate a firm-wide lawyer retreat focused on business development for a great law firm in the Southwest. I have worked with this client before, and I am very impressed with the efforts of this group of attorneys to raise their image and brand in their community. They already have a wonderful reputation, but are also aware that "Law" is a business. They are working to ensure they make their business development, marketing, networking, branding, advertising, PR, sales, and social media a priority. I wanted to work more with this client!

The problem was the date of their meeting was over a four day trip that my wife was taking with my oldest daughter. This left me needing to find someone to take care of my 8-year-old. We do not have grandparents nearby, and there was no easy option that was comfortable for everyone involved (including me).

I asked a life-long friend from Los Angeles, Tim Homan, if he would consider flying to Tucson to spend two days with us. He could take Kate to the movies and swimming pool during my Friday and Saturday meetings at the law firm. He did not even hesitate. He has a flexible work schedule, and immediately agreed to step into help me. My need was to make sure that I would not be distracted by anything (or worried about Kate), as it takes a lot of effort and energy to prepare and facilitate a successful workshop.

I had not seen Tim in over two years, so it was also a chance for us to catch up. I purchased a airline ticket for him and we all arrived at in Tucson at the same time. We ate lunch and then I spent a few hours with my client. While I was with the lawyers, he took Kate to a movie. Later that night we all went to dinner (Mi Nindito is one of the best Mexican Restaurants in the country!! It was worth the hour and ten minute wait!). After Kate went to sleep we talked for several hours. The next day I facilitated the workshop while they went swimming. Finally we all had lunch and then drove back to the airport. Tim was home in L.A. by dinnertime on Saturday. Kate an I were home in Austin by 9 PM.

It was a short business trip, and a good time for everyone involved. Kate thought he was the most fun "Manny" (male nanny) in the whole world. Also, Kate and I had an adventure traveling together and ate dinner at TGI Fridays in the Dallas Airport, .... where I even let her have a hot fudge sundae (cuz I am a push over when that kid gives me that "cow eyes" look!).

This whole experience got me thinking a lot about "friendship". I have known Tim since 7th grade and we attended the same college. I cannot remember a time when we were not friends. We have always helped each other out in the "rough times" and have been present for the "good times". Whenever I have needed someone's help and he has never hesitated.

I took this experience to have a long talk with my daughter about the whole idea of "friendship". We talked "How To Be A Good Friend", and although she is only eight, she was very interested in the idea of having friendships that last over 30 years. I never know if any of my impromptu life lessons sink in with my kids, but this one seemed to make an impression. I pointed out that Tim has his own daughter, and I was sure he would have rather been in Southern California than in a movie theater with Kate in Arizona.... but that real friends are there to help each other.

The woman sitting next to Kate and I on the flight home heard our conversation and added "WOW, it is not every 43 year old guy that would give up his Friday and Saturday, and hop a plane, to baby-sit some kid for a couple of hours and then fly home! - That is the definition of a friend!". She is right.

I am fortunate, as I have several friends in my life who naturally step up help each other. I hope I am one of friends to them in return. I think I am, but I am motivated to work even harder in this area. It just takes noticing what others really need and then finding ways to be the catalyst that helps them succeed.

How about you? Are you the type of friend who comes through in those weird and rare occasions when they really just need someone... even if it is an inconvenience?

Have A Great Day.


Press Release - Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates

New Year Publishing Releases Networking Book for New Graduates Danville, CA

New Year Publishing has announced the release of its most recent book from its business division, Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates. This informative introduction to networking was co-authored by marketing, sales and networking experts Anne Brown and Thom Singer.

Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates is a practical guide packed with useful tips, creative techniques and real-world stories that are relevant for people just starting out in the job market today. There are many misperceptions about the value of networking among college graduates. They range from “networking is a waste of time” to “networking is only for people in sales” to “no one is interested in hearing what I have to say at networking events so why bother”? Though it’s no mystery why graduates are feeling discouraged these days, networking can help them land their first job faster than by using traditional, old-school job search methods.

"Our goal is to encourage new grads who are not active networkers to make it a part of their lives, and to help those who do network become even more effective," says Brown. “The book is both a tutorial and resource, so that readers not only learn how to network, but where to start."

Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates provides insight on The Hidden Job Market, how to work a room so it doesn’t feel like work, goal setting, dressing for success, the difference between visibility and credibility, and personal branding. The book includes an entire chapter of real-life networking foibles, which will make the reader laugh until they cry.

Brown felt that that a networking book specifically focused on new graduates was needed. "The economy is making the job search hard for everyone and those without much solid work experience find it the hardest of all," explains Brown. "There are many places new grads can go for support and for networking, places that just haven’t occurred to them; this book makes the search for them that much easier."

"It’s been a long time since I graduated from college," Singer says. "Anne knows exactly how job search techniques have changed, and this book has fresh ideas for even the class valedictorian."

Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates is the eighth book from award-winning speaker Thom Singer, and the fourth book in his Some Assembly Required series. Anne Brown is the founder of the popular web site for college graduates making the transition from college to career. Anne received her BA from Michigan State University and her MBA from Loyola University in Chicago. She holds the designation of Executive Scholar from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Like Singer’s other books, this book is based on the premise that people prefer to hire and do business with those they know, like and trust.

For additional information please visit, and

Have A Great Day


Friday, June 04, 2010

Second Tier Efforts Bring Second Tier Results

There is no magic that will bring you marketing and business development success.

While consulting with professionals I ask them; "If you had a magic wand, and money was not an issue, what would you do to improve your business development, markteting, branding, PR, social media, visibility and sales?"

The answer always comes down to the same thing.... in one way or another they wish they could just get someone else to do it all for them. They want it to be great, but they do not want to think about it.

Professional services firms (and others) throw lots of money at consultants and outsourcing options, only to find that these efforts come up short.

Why? Because nobody can do these things for you. You have to own the tasks to build a long-lasting and recognizable brand. No magic... just consistent hard work.

Treating business development and marketing as a second tier priority will always give you second tier marketing and business development. Pony up and take the actions needed to win.... or stop wishing.

Have a great day