Friday, August 22, 2008

Remember -- Your Brand is Viral, Too!

We all know about YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

But, have you heard about Twitter? Buzzle? Blogger? Plaxo? Ecademy? Spoke? Naymz?

There’s no question that online marketing and blog web sites have exploded in recent years – a new one seems to pop into the picture every month.

More and more professionals – myself included – are taking advantage of these free sites, and creating profiles. After all, viral marketing is yet another way to get your message out there to the masses, and expanding your “brand.”

Don’t forget, however, that even online branding efforts must have a consistent message and “feel.” Whatever you do in the real world via traditional marketing materials like letterhead, business cards and your web site, must “jive” with your profiles and images on these new social networking sites, too.

Carry over any tag lines you use to viral marketing – and use the same or similar pictures, too. Sure, it’s OK to also create a more edgy look and content for your profile and diary on Twitter. After all, you don’t want to appear staid online -- the audience you will reach there is anything but.

By all means, have fun when expanding your online presence. But, just remember …. Don’t say or post anything there that you wouldn’t want your top client, prospect, or future employer, to see and read.

It’s OK to have an opinion about the latest social or political event, but ask yourself whether it’s wise to post it where millions could see it and possibly misperceive your intent.

Even e-mails between colleagues have been misinterpreted – it’s hard to truly understand one’s intent in the written vs. spoken word. Just imagine what your blog entry may be saying about you.

Your brief moment of perceived levity or sarcasm could end up costing you, big time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't Participate! (Guest Blogger Jeff Blackman, CSP, CPAE)

This week, I’m featuring a guest blog from my fellow National Speakers Association colleague Jeff Blackman, CSP, CPAE.

“A fascinating e-mail arrived on my desktop: 'Jeff, recently heard you speak. Loved it! Really valuable. However, I'm still struggling with something you said. You urged us, when asked by others, “How’s the soft economy affecting you?” to say, “I’m choosing not to participate!” How do I do that?'

Wow! Great question! So here's a rant ...

My choice 'not to participate' isn't an expression of a cavalier attitude, it's really a mindset of fiscal necessity. It would be far too easy for me to grumble or mutter:

'The economy stinks!'
'Nobody wants to do anything!'
'Nuthin' is left in clients' or prospects' budgets.'

Not only would the preceding be mindless mutterings of discontent, they'd be false! We're having a great year. Helping lots of folks achieve remarkable results. Yet I know, my success starts with me.

My belief system. My choices. My behaviors.

So for you, it's pretty simple ...

*To make more, you need to do more.
*Therefore, start doing things differently!
*To do more, you need to think more.
*Therefore, start thinking differently!

The responsibility for your success, starts with you!

No matter what the 'state' of the economy, there will always be predictors of doom and gloom. The naysayers. The critics. The question is, 'Do you choose to listen to them?'

It’s too easy to blame your 'plight' on others. Claim the economy is lousy. Or, accuse your company of giving you worthless leads.

Realize, today, right now...

* LOTS OF ... customers are making buying decisions and receiving significant value and results.

* LOTS OF ... deals are being done.

* LOTS OF ... money is being made.

Choose to participate in THAT triumphant trifecta!

* Eliminate your moans and groans.
* Eradicate your complaints and whimpers.
* Remove your bellyaches and gripes.

Heck. Just Stop Whining! Start Selling!

Just ask yourself the question:

What one thing, could you do once a day ... or one more time a day, that would have a significant impact on your life or business?

Then, just do it!

Your results will inform the world."

Jeff Blackman is a speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a "business-growth specialist." Contact Jeff at: 847.998.0688 or And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff's FREE e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff's books include Stop Whining! Start Selling!, (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the bestselling Peak Your Profits.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meet & Greet Others With Poise & Purpose

Earlier this year, I blogged about various strategies for networking success. But what about the art of introductions?

As I’m back from attending a National Speakers Association conference, this topic is fresh on my radar, as I met many colleagues who I haven’t seen in awhile – and whose names didn’t jump to mind -- and dozens of new people, too.

Sure, life would be much easier if everyone walked around with name badges all the time – eliminating the need to be introduced. But, that sure isn’t going to happen!

So, professionals need to master the fine art of introducing themselves and others. There are certain protocols to follow when making introductions in a business or work-related setting.

How to Introduce Others

When you’re standing with other people and are not introduced, how do you feel? Probably awkward. Some professionals who are in this situation don’t feel confident or assertive enough to introduce themselves to people they haven’t met.

Here’s where you can demonstrate your professional polish and make others feel comfortable. The proper introduction involves three steps. You always start and end by mentioning the person you want to honor.

•First mention the name of the person of greatest authority or importance. Gender or age is not the deciding factor. When a client is involved, he or she should be mentioned first.

•The second step includes saying something about the person you’re introducing to the key person and his or her full name.

•To complete the introduction, go back to the person of highest rank (customer, etc.) , state his or her full name, and say something about him or her.

This is an example of a proper business introduction – combined with all three elements: “Bill Smith, I want you to meet Pam Holland, who is our Chief Operating Officer. Pam, Bill is the Training Director at ABC Corporation, our valued client”

Here are two other pointers to remember when making an introduction or being introduced:

•It is appropriate to stand whenever possible, regardless of gender, if you are seated, before making an introduction or when you are being introduced.

•If no one is available to introduce you -- or when the person you are with forgets to do so, it is always good manners to introduce yourself.

Always have self-introduction ready to use. This should be brief, informative and memorable -- a bit like a 10-second commercial. For example: "Hello, I'm Marjorie Brody. I work with people to improve their professional impact.” This type of introduction will almost always encourage the other person to ask something like, “How do you do that?” promoting further dialogue.

In a small group setting, what should you do if you forget the name of someone you need to introduce to another person? The clever way would be to introduce the person you already know. Say, “I don’t believe you’ve met Marjorie Brody, have you?” This will almost always result in the third person saying, “No. We’ve never met. My name is Frank Black” – or words to that effect. Or, at the very least, say something like, “My name is Marjorie Brody. I don’t believe we’ve met.”

If the person doesn’t offer his or her name, you can say, “And your name is …?” or “And you are … ?”

If, however, there is no other person, and it’s just a one-on-one encounter, just say your name. Don’t assume everyone remembers you – most likely, the other person will then give his or her name, too. If not, then use some humor or admit your lack of memory by saying something like, “I’m having a senior moment. You are….?” Or, “I have totally blanked on your name – please help me!”

Oops! Now What?

What are some mistakes to avoid when making introductions or being introduced?

•Mispronouncing someone’s name

•Getting person’s title or company name wrong

•Speaking so fast that no one understands you or hears the information you’re saying

•Forgetting to shake hands or having a weak handshake

•Not making effective eye contact

•Only talking about yourself and your achievements

I once witnessed the following exchange: A manager introduced one of his employees to a client with whom he was meeting. The employee’s name was unusual. After introducing the employee with the unusual name, the manager said, “Can you believe that any mother would name a child that?” It’s important to remember that what is an unusual name for you may be perfectly normal elsewhere – and it’s poor etiquette to mention any observed differences anyway.

Meeting and greeting doesn’t have to be something you dread. If you prepare yourself and remember the advice here you’ll be a confident networking pro!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Quit, But Forgot to Tell You (Guest Blogger Terri Kabachnick)

This week, while I’m away on a business trip, I thought I’d have my mastermind group colleague Terri Kabachnick of The Kabachnick Group,, share some of her wisdom regarding how to keep a company’s most important asset at hand and productive – the people – and focusing on the importance of job satisfaction vs. retention.


As customers, we have been 'served' by people who quit but never left. As employees, we have been managed by bosses who quit but managed to stay. As managers, we have managed people who physically attend but mentally pretend.

Far too many companies suffer from the tremendous cost of employee turnover and what they must do to retain valuable workers. Retention remains a critical challenge for all businesses, but it’s time to redefine the term. We must examine the reasons for retention, as well as its benefits and costs, and realize that the virus of disengagement is spreading throughout the workplace – usually faster than turnover.


Retention is not a cure for turnover. Retaining a disengaged employee is far worse than letting him go – regardless of how valuable he once was. Far too much time and money is wasted on training workshops and seminars teaching disengaged workers how to 'talk the talk,' when in the end, they won’t 'walk the walk.' Instead, we must learn to recognize disengaged workers before we waste more time and money in futile attempts to change them.


1. Take the temperature of your organization often. Use unbiased tools and assessments to unearth the truth.

2. Continually coach employees to improve job performance.

3. Alert employees when they’re about to make a mistake.

4. Teach employees new ideas and concepts so they can increase their value.

5. Be brave enough to communicate in clear, direct language.

6. Focus on the individual’s assets.

7. Be honest in understanding your own strengths and limitations as
a leader.

8. Pay attention to your 'quiet talent,' recognizing their consistency and dedication; reward them in quiet ways.

9. Invite top performers to meetings they would not normally attend.

It is critical that managers know their employees’ job satisfaction status. If disengagement has set in, a thorough assessment must be completed before any solutions are prescribed.

Managers need to uncover the roots of disengagement and define the focus of improvement. Trying to determine reasons for disengagement by simply asking the employee is like trying to diagnose a heart condition by merely listening to the heart."

And, the employee must agree that your assessments and analyses are correct. Opinions play no role in diagnosing disengagement.