In any business, interaction with customers and clients is critical. Though I do my best, I find that a lot of the interactions I both on this blog and on social media is one-sided. Unlike my live events where the audience plays a huge role in the direction a keynote or a training will take, there’s not a ton of feedback on this side. That’s why it was so encouraging to get an email taking me to task.  This is an actual email I received last week. In full disclosure, I asked her permission before using it here. 

Where’s The Communication?

Randy, It’s been a while since I attended your Presenting With Power workshop, but I loved it! Public speaking has always been something that I struggle with, and your process took out a lot of stress and simplified it for me. That’s why I signed up for your newsletter. I wanted more tips like the ones I got in your class. That’s not what you’ve been sending me though.  First, your newsletters aren’t coming frequently enough. OK, but then you’re sending too much motivation mumbo jumbo and not enough information. As you said in the class, feedback is a gift so I’m hoping you will take mine. Send me more of what I can use to solve my communication problems.  I don’t think anyone wants to get an email calling their posts “mumbo jumbo” but I get the point. There is a lot of truth in what she sent me. I do post a lot about mindset and what some might call motivation. The point, that to me that gets missed, however, is that the two, mindset and communication, are interrelated. Being a great communicator takes confidence. It takes courage, compassion, and commitment. I write about it because that’s the message that I believe needs to be hammered home. 

But She’s Right

That’s not to say that the person who sent me this email doesn’t have a point. She absolutely does. There are people who read my blog who have enough confidence. They’ve mastered their mindset and they come back here looking for communication advice, not motivation. For them, I need to do a better job of striking a balance. That’s why I’m going to rethink my Tuesday videos. From now on, instead of using Tuesday’s video to drive home Monday’s blog post, I’m going to focus it on solid tips that anyone can use to be a better communicator. 

Here’s Where I Need Help

In order to make sure I’m hitting relevant topics and delivering what people are looking for, I’m going to ask for your help. If there’s something that you would like to see me cover or a problem that you’re having, would please send me an email or engage online? Let me know where I should focus my Tuesday’s Tips and I promise that I will focus on answering you.  In any business, interaction with customers and clients is critical. Feedback is a gift and going forward, I’m going to deliver on it.  ]]>

Stupid Simple

On Monday I posted about the Ten Daily Disciplines of Highly Successful People. While I enjoyed writing it, I’ve gotten some pushback about one of the disciplines I listed. I love to give and take and back and forth debate so here is my counter argument to the complaint I received over Discipline Number Six Tend To Your Brand.

The complaint issued is:

It sounds great to build a personal brand but who has the time to use social media with every other demand that our careers and families place on us? After all, Facebook is one of the biggest time wasters of the work day!

This is a valid argument and one that I, myself held for a long time. That was because I hadn’t yet learned the three tricks that make building a personal brand stupid simple.

Trick One: Use Online Tools

It’s widely agreed that in order to stand out on twitter you must tweet at least five times a day. In order for a business-related Facebook page to be effective, you need to post three times a day and for LinkedIn to be effective, you need at least one post per day. This is a lot and it can feel overwhelming. The good news is that there are three really helpful online tools that make this stupid simple.

The first one is Buffer. This web-based app allows you to save articles and blog posts that you read and find helpful and then post them for you throughout the day. I use this religiously because it saves a lot of time. As I’m reading trade journals and blog posts, if I want to share it, I just throw it into Buffer and it will post it for me at a later date. You can set the network and the frequency. It’s incredibly helpful.

The second one is Hootsuite. Similar to Buffer, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts into the future. It also allows you to post to multiple networks at once. Want to tweet a picture and post it to Facebook? Use Hootsuite and save a step. It’s really simple and really helpful.

The last is Flipboard. Need good articles to post? Flipboard has you covered. Enter the subjects that interest you and it will scour the web and put them all in one convenient place. Having a ton of content in one place will make it easy to not only expand your knowledge but share it as well making you look like an expert in your field.

Trick Two: Use Found Time

How many times do you arrive at appointment five minutes early and spend that time doing anything other than being productive? This to me is found time. It’s time that I didn’t plan to use but suddenly have. It’s times like these, or when I’m waiting for the many, many trains that pass through town, that I can utilize a tool like Flipboard and read an article or two that’s helpful and then put it into Buffer to go out at a later time. Or I might use my found time to write my own Facebook post or tweet that I can send, but I have to make the most of my found minutes. If I schedule Buffer to tweet three times a day, that means I only have to find two times in a day to tweet my own content and everyone has time for that.

Trick Three: Use Google Calendars Goals Feature

I have written my love letter to Google Calendar before. I absolutely love it and consider it the most important tool I use in a day, but recently it got a lot better and it’s helped  make building my brand stupid simple.

The goals feature in Google Calendar allows you to pick any activity that you hope to accomplish in a day like reading, working out or managing your brand, pick a frequency through the week and preferred time, morning or afternoon, and it will calculate the best time based upon your other commitments. It’s the ideal trick for someone that claims to not have time to do anything because if your calendar is complete, it will find the best time to accomplish virtually anything.

I believe that these three tricks make managing my brand stupid simple but I still have to make the effort to make all ten of my daily disciplines habits that I keep. If you have any social media tricks, I’ve love to read about them in the comments section.

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I have outlined before my belief that everyone should be writing and putting out content, but I always get pushback that consists of either 1. I don’t have time or 2. I don’t have anything to say.

When I encountered this discussion with a client last week, I realized that I hadn’t shared  the number one key for blog content. Here it is: Write It.

The number one key for blog content is to be consistent with writing content. When people tell me that they don’t have time, I ask what they’ve written. Most of the time, they haven’t, they just use their reason. When they tell me that they have nothing to say, I ask them, what they’ve written and they tell me again that they haven’t. My point is that they don’t know if we have the time or if they have some thing to say because they never try, to begin with.

Being consistent is simple but it isn’t easy. Here are five things I do that keep me consistently writing.

Block The Time

When I wrote about winning the morning, I wrote about the importance of blocking time because what gets scheduled gets done. Block yourself 30 minutes every day to write something. Some times it will be good, a few times it will be great and some times it will be worthless, but do it every day and it gets easier.

Minimize Distraction

20160817_153023-1I write just about every post from this position with this laptop. I have the wifi turned off, I face a wall and I stand up. I do these things because it keeps me focused on the task at hand and allows me to make the most the time I block out.

Keep a List

Google Keep is the best application you aren’t using and this is why a lot of people have nothing to say. Every time an idea hits me, I record it in Keep. If it’s good, I play with it, if it’s bad, I dump it, but I always record it and give it time to live before letting it die from neglect.

Rethink Your Reading List

It is my firm belief that if you have nothing to say its because you aren’t consistently feeding your mind by reading. Start with books, but also checkout the website and mobile application Bloglovin.com with will help find for you all of the blogs available on any given subject. I’m not advocating  plagiarism, but when we feed our minds, ideas grow.

Expect It of Yourself

Every personal development guru talks about raising our personal standards.  For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what that meant. That was until I started simply expecting more from myself. I do not expect myself to write War and Peace four times a week, but I do expect that I will put my best 500 words together about a topic that I’m passionate about. It happens because I expect it from myself.

I have written before that there are fewer ways for someone to establish themselves as an expert than by posting a blog. I still believe this. Too many people will read this and think that it isn’t for them, but I know that if their fingers could hit the keys with more consistency, they’d amaze themselves with their progress.

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Are you on video?

It seems that between Facebook, youtube, snapchat and every other social media platform going right now, videos are the hottest way of promoting yourself online. Fewer people are taking the time to do what you are doing now, and reading blogs and more are watching the videos posted on their newsfeeds and youtube.

If you’re not on video, you’re missing a real marketing opportunity, but only if you do it right. If you’re interested in doing it right, here are my five must follow tips that have previously only been available to my coaching clients.

1. Have Something To Say

This is always the first step to being a good public speaker, and don’t kid yourself, speaking on camera is the same as speaking to a crowd of hundreds. If you are going to take someone’s time, give them value for it. Have something insightful to offer.

2. Be Brief

Video only works if people watch it and no one is going to watch something longer than two minutes. In fact, you’re much better off to be closer to one minute. This makes me think really hard about how I’m going to present my idea because I want to offer value, but do it while being mindful of my time limits.

3. Tell A Story

It doesn’t matter if we’re speaking for an hour or a minute, the story is the part that people grab a hold of. When we have something to say, it’s by wrapping it in a story that makes it digestible to the listener.

4. Write A Script…Then Throw It Away

I always coach my clients to write speeches word for word. Writing forces clarity and it gives us an ability to count words and gauge time. I also coach my clients to NEVER deliver a speech read or memorized word for word. Speaking on video, this concept is just as important. Script yourself. Write your pitch as word perfect as you are able, then, throw it away and tell your story.

5. Start Now

It’s tempting to wait until you have the best lighting, the most expensive camera or a videographer to make you look your best, but don’t wait. We have the technology in our smartphones to record high-quality video. Use it, and get started.

One of my favorite follows on social media is Connor Neil and he has a speech philosophy so simple it’s brilliant: have something to say, say it well and say it with passion. If you keep in mind to start now, script your words, tell a story, and be brief you will say it well, having something to say, and saying it with passion is up to you.

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yada-yada-1430679_1920“I just don’t know why people won’t listen to me.”

These were the words of an extremely bright young woman sitting across from me in a coffee shop.

I sipped my rocket fuel and let her talk some more.

“I could save them a lot of money. This new product we just rolled out is phenomenal, but as soon as I get in the door, it’s like they shut down.”

Continuing to listen to her story, I mentioned that people do business with people the like and trust, but before the words were out of my mouth she cut me off with a curt, “I KNOW”

Instantly, I knew what her problem was. She used the two words guaranteed to kill a conversation. If she was using it with me, a guy she was paying, she was using it with others too and that was her problem.

When we use the words I know, we’re devaluing the contribution of the person we’re speaking with and everyone wants to feel like they’re contributing. The words I know, are a subtle way of saying, I’m every bit as smart as you are, why are you telling me this. It’s a mark of insecurity.

I wasn’t wrong when I told Alex that people do business with people they like and trust, her problem though is that no one likes a know it all.

It reminded me of a great story that I’d read recently about a young lady that had dinner with both William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli when both were vying to be Prime Minister.Both were considered to be charming dinner companions and skilled conversationalists.

After her dinner, a friend asked her whom was more charming and her response was telling:

After dining with Mr. Gladstone, I got the feeling that he was the cleverest person in the empire. After Dining with Mr. Disraeli, I had the feeling that I was.

Using the words I know might make you seem like the cleverest person in the world, but it’s making your conversation partner feel as though they are that will earn you their attention, their admiration, and their business.

My client had been mistaken. All the while she thought her prospects wanted to know that she was smart but in reality, they wanted confirmation that they were. She wasn’t giving it to them, and they weren’t listening long enough to know that she was.

I’ve found that letting people give their opinions complimenting them on their insight is always a better tact. When I met with Alex the next time, she told me she felt that simply replacing the words I know with that’s interesting was leading to more connection and deeper conversations and she was amazed at the number of prospects that were now listening to her ideas.

Are you being haunted by the two words that will kill a conversation? If so, consider replacing I know with that’s interesting and see tell me if your results aren’t similar.

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dictionary-1149723_1920This week’s theme of being awesome really comes down to controlling the aspects of our life that we have control over. We can control our emotions and be happy. We can control how we manage our energy and we can control what we focus on.

Last week, my friend Beth and I were driving back from a Toastmasters meeting in Columbus. We’d been there for most of the evening as we headed west for our trip back to home, she pointed out a beautiful sunset. It was truly beautiful, but I’m sorry to admit that if she hadn’t pointed it out, I wouldn’t have noticed.

While she was focused on the beauty of the sunset, I was focused on the bugs on my windshield.

Controlling how we focus is a key element to being awesome because our focus will determine our attitude. Her focus on the sunset brought her peace and admiration of nature’s stunning beauty. My focus on the windshield brought me stress and embarrassment.

It’s no secret that positive people focus on what’s right. Negative people focus on what’s wrong. The part that needs to be understood is that we get to choose which part gets our focus.

This is why I like the focusing questions I use when I journal. It brings my attention to the parts of my day that went right and things that I’m grateful for. I spend time thinking about the things that I want to improve but notice the language. I’m not focusing on what went wrong, but what rather, what I can control.

Some helpful ways to refocus yourself as to ask the following questions:

What am I thinking about right now?

Simply bringing attention to what has your attention, is a great way to focus.

What do I have to be grateful for?

It’s nearly impossible to be grateful and fearful at the same time. Focus on gratitude and stress slips away.

What am I looking forward to?

I covered this one, Monday, but it’s a great way to focus on being happy.

How am I making a difference?

Connecting small tasks to a bigger vision will bring focus to what really matter in your life. It will give you more purpose and clarity that will feed your ambition.

How would the person I want to become do this?

This goes back to a blog I wrote a month ago, but by seeing yourself from another angle, you can find the courage to be yourself.

Being awesome is a matter of choice. We can choose to be happy, be high energy and what we focus on. Choose to control the elements that you can control and awesome week can last all year.

What has your focus today?

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light-bulb-1042480_1920Continuing with the theme for this week of being awesome, today’s blog is about your greatest resource: Your Energy.

Every awesome person I know is high energy. Not because they’re wired that way, but because they control their energy and use it to their advantage. Below are my five go-to ways to manage energy to be awesome!

Take Control Of Your Calendar

It is physically, mentally and emotionally draining to bounce from one crisis to the next. If we don’t have a plan for our day, that’s essentially what we’re doing. Take control of your calendar and you have the power to shape events rather than being shaped by them. I use a block schedule. I set all of my meetings the week before and then block my time for the tasks that I need to complete. Being in control gives me a feeling of freedom and keeps my mind fresh.

Get Out Of Your Head

I’ve written over and over again about the power of getting thoughts out of your head. I will continue to do so not because we forget things, but because holding information in our heads burns energy. It causes stress. Keeping good lists of tasks to be completed, of ideas that come to us while driving, and things that need to be discussed with people, frees room for more creativity and burns less of our precious energy.

Take Control of Your Diet

This isn’t weight loss advice. I have a lot of opinions on the subject but I will keep those to myself. Instead, this is a must for anyone that wants more energy throughout the day. If you’re moving from one blood sugar crash to the next, you will never be as awesome as you otherwise would be. To some, the answer to this is to eat every two hours. For others, it’s eating a diet low in sugar, processed carbohydrates and sticking to proteins. The second works for me but it’s crucial that you discover what works you and stick with it.

Drink Plenty of Water

A key part of managing energy is staying hydrated. I keep a 25oz water bottle on my desk and make it my goal to drink 10 a day. To some this might seem excessive, but proper hydration will keep your energy levels consistent. I will not vilify caffeine because it has its place, but water is every bit as energizing as coffee without the ill effects that coffee can bring. If you want to be in control of your energy, drink up!

Plan For Sleep

No one gets enough sleep. The biggest reason is that we can always find one more thing to do. One more episode to watch, one more email to send, one more game to play. Plan to get enough sleep by scheduling the time you will shut it down and then create your own end of day ritual. I find giving myself an hour to journal and read allows me to get the minimal amount of sleep for peak performance. I know I could use more, but at what cost? Plan for your sleep so that you have the energy to win the next day.

We have the power to control our energy. It’s up to us to use it. The five tips I list today are a great start toward being awesome. What would you add?

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At the end of 2014, I somehow stumbled upon a video of a Jim Rohn lecture centered around the importance of keeping a journal. He made a very logical case and I decided to start.

Since that day, I have since faithfully used a journal every day since to capture thoughts, events, and ideas. I made it a habit and I have done it every day, but somehow, I knew I wasn’t getting the full value of it.

That’s when I started looking for a better format. I found this post from Michael Hyatt, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t really work. For one, I always journal at night and his template is more geared toward the morning. However, I was inspired by it enough to create my own template and after using it for a few months, I have to admit I have found both convenience and value.

Like Mr. Hyatt, I center my template around seven basic questions. These questions force to me rethink my day, find the high points and things I’d like to rework and the things I’ve learned. The following is what I have been using as a template:

What Did I Enjoy?

What Would I Improve?

What Did I Accomplish?

What am I Grateful For?

What Did I Learn?

What Did I Read?

What Do I Want From Tomorrow?

Using these questions, I get my day out of my head. I bring focus to what went right, what could have gone better, what I actually accomplished and what I’m grateful for. Noting what I learned and what I read reinforces the ideas that I pick up and by getting what I want to do the next day out of my head, I can sleep without having it nag me.

When I first started my journey into journaling, I used Evernote. I attempted Google Keep and even a pen and paper but I have found that the application Diario to be the best one for me, It syncs to dropbox and is available across multiple devices.

Technology has made writing and keeping a journal much easier. A great app that I love is called Coach.me and it’s a simple goal tracking app that counts the days that you do something, I find competing against myself to build a longer streak to be the single biggest driver of keeping me writing,

Using a template, a good journal app and an app that inspires me to continue has allowed me to find even more value to Jim Rohn’s advice to keep a journal. It’s worked for me and I would encourage you to find a system that works for you.

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On Monday I shared a post about how my coffee guy, Mikie, has built a profitable to successful company by creating what I call Mikie Moments.

At this time, you might be thinking, how hard can that be, coffee is cool, it’s available and it’s addictive, how hard can that be?

First, I’d give you a fist bump if you realized that I just quoted Thank You For Smoking, but secondly, being successful in any business is difficult today. Standing out and getting noticed isn’t easy. That’s why it’s imperative to follow these five steps to creating Mike Moments.

1. Be Original.

If I wanted Starbucks, there’s one down the street. If I wanted McDonalds, I could find it anywhere, but Mikie has me talking about him because he’s different and he owns it. I’m not the only person telling my friends that they have to drink his coffee. People are drawn to his authenticity

2. Be An Expert.

I had no idea what kind of coffee I wanted, but Mikie was an expert and was able to match what I drank before with what he offers. There are so few experts anymore, but the fact that he was able to lead me, established that I would trust him in the future. His knowledge led to confidence both in him and his product.

3. Set a Positive Expectation.

“This is just a taste, because it will blow your mind.” Yes, I thought he was talking about drugs, but he set the expectation that I would enjoy what he was selling. It was subtle, but it’s much easier to agree than disagree. Setting the positive expectation kept me coming back for round two.

4. Brand Yourself.

Mikie doesn’t just sell coffee, he sells the world in every cup. His great product and his great service are his reputation. People talk about how great are. When people are talking about you, what are they saying? If you take the time to brand yourself, personally, the words of your clients and customers will keep you fed.

5. Go The Extra Mile

By delivering my coffee to my office, it seems like a nice little offer that keeps someone who is busy from having to make one stop, but in reality, when Mikie is delivering my coffee, he’s selling everyone in my building. Do you have any idea how good it smells when he drops it off? And he brings it to me? He now not only has me talking about him, but everyone I work with too. Going the extra mile isn’t just about service, it’s about building his brand which makes him successful.

Mikie has used his passion for great coffee and connecting with people to build a profitable business with next to no advertising. The clues that he’s left are worth following.

Has anyone ever created a Mikie Moment for you? Leave in the comments, I’d love to read about it.

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