Sunday, December 21, 2014

If This Were Easy...................

"Humans happen to be complex creatures living in a complex world, so why would we expect the answers to any interesting question to be simple?"

David Friedman is a science and business journalist and his remarks were quoted in a book about back issues. (Which I happen to live with on a daily basis, but you didn't come here to read about my troubles and woes.) During my morning walk those words kept coming into my thought process and it dawned on me after a bit, (I am sometimes not the sharpest tool in the shed)that we as coaches and consultants often forget  those words when we deal with our clients. We've turned into the pill pushers of the business world.

Don't believe me?  Analyze your inbox?

Look at every piece of mail that pertains to you as a business owner. Metaphorically speaking, set them up side by side. They all follow the same format or offer the same prescription don't they?  If you follow through and do what they suggest you and your business will be a resounding success.

"Humans happen to be complex creatures living in a complex world, so why would we expect the answers to any interesting question to be simple?"

A boss of mine used to say there are easy ways to separate the contenders from the pretenders. Here are three ways you (and I) should utilize in looking for a  business coach.

They listen, listen, and listen. Then........... they listen some more.
I cant  understand you and your business until I listen to you and your unique situation. No charts and graphs, no deep rooted soul searching, no magic. I sit back and close my eyes and I listen to everything you tell me. I want to be sure I'm the right person for you. I can only do that by listening to you tell me about your situation. It's your DNA

They ask questions. 
If I'm listening to you, really listening to you, then my questions won't sound like they are being read by a telemarketer sitting in a room with 1,000 other telemarketers. The questions I ask you should pertain to YOUR business.

They give advice.
If you were able to figure out where you needed to go, how you needed to get there and what was the quickest way to do so you wouldn't be paying someone like me. You pay me for my experience and my knowledge. Again, there is no magic template. Each situation is different and each situation requires it's own specific action. You will try, you will succeed and at times you will fail.

All of this starts with a conversation. It begs the question "Are we right for each other?"  An email wont accomplish that.

"Humans happen to be complex creatures living in a complex world, so why would we expect the answers to any interesting question to be simple?"

I'd love to listen, so if you think it's time to take the next step give me a shout.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Why Wait?

"Well I guess we should enjoy the next week or so." The first voice said with a hint of resignation. 

"Why is that?" Asked a second voice. 

"The New Years Resolution people will be here soon. This place will be a zoo." Answered the first. 

In the back ground the Greek chorus murmured their ascent.

I was standing in front of my locker getting dressed after my morning workout and those voices migrated over the bank of lockers in front of me.

I can't say I could argue with the guy. I've been part of that gym for five years now and I've felt the same frustrations. Every year around January 1 we sit down at our desks or in front of our computer screens and we promise ourselves that the next year will be different. We begin a new diet, join a gym, buy a pair of good shoes to walk in............. My gym will hold an open house, offer a reduced membership rate and dazzle you with the promise that come spring break you too will fit into your vacation clothing. And every year right around Valentines Day things go back to a normal predictability.

Why do you think that is?

It's not about your moral fiber or character. It has nothing to do with self discipline or will power. You are not a "bad person."

Simply put' you are over whelmed.

Think about it a minute. You and I have lived "one way" for a long, long time and all of a sudden, because of a day marked on a calendar, we begin to deny ourselves and somewhere deep inside our minds and our bodies say something like, "Whooooooooooa wait a minute here."

So, we listen to inspirational music, play inspirational videos and "gut it out," until finally one day our bodies say, "That's it, I'm through with this nonsense." Then the whole downward spiral begins. We look in the mirror and play the blame game.

What if there's another way. I mean, why wait?

That's what I asked myself the day after Thanksgiving when my I had a hard time buttoning my pants. Why wait until the new year?

On top of being really good looking I read minds. I know what you are thinking. "This is the holiday season. Too much temptation, too many parties, to little time."

They still sell bananas, blackberries, pineapples and grapes don't they? (Those are my favorites.)

Okay I'm not going to moralize just make a suggestion or two. Things that are helping me weather the storm and stick to my goal(s).

Start Small
The day after Thanksgiving I set a goal for myself to reach by January 1. It was challenging enough that I'd have to work towards it, but very reachable so while I am required to change my habits, I'm doing so slowly and with purpose.

Start Now
If I make the commitment to start small it's easier to start now. I eased into my goal. My trigger food is french fries. I know if I eliminate them from my diet things go much smoother. That's what I did day one. I could go on, but you get the point. Starting small means I can start now.

A healthier life style is one of my goals but I have found with the people I work with this process removes a major stumbling block for them/ Take the bay steps and start small, start now and when you reach the first plateau, stop, and take a deep breath and ask yourself:

"What's my next success going to be?" 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What's In Your Profile? More Than You Know.

Back in the old days delving into the back ground of a potential employee, consultant or coach was an arduous process at best. It meant a few hours on the phone or trying to track down mutual acquaintances and even then it was a flip of the coin. You had to rely on hunches and intuition and say a prayer that your "gut" was right.

But thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, who led the way with Facebook,  I know all I need to know about you, your habits and whether I am going to be doing damage control with a client or customer if I hire you or choose to do business with you.

What's maddening is that if I were a gambling person I'd say this is the millionth blog or article written about this issue and I am always surprised when I have to tell someone that their profile picture or some postings on their social media sites aren't really helping them in their career endeavors.

"Yeah well John, my profile is set to private so if you aren't a BFF you cant see what I am doing. "

True, but even private Facebook pages show your profile picture and depending on your settings they may show a bit of your profile page. And if your profile picture is inappropriate or provocative in nature I'm going to advise a client of mine to think twice about hiring you.

Let me give you two examples:

Candidate A is being considered for a position that has access to private and confidential information. She will be working with the organizations executives. Recently she lost a significant amount of weight and began working with a trainer. She was proud of her achievements  and I would have given her a thumbs up for her self discipline and dedication and would have put her in "please consider column" until I saw her profile picture and the comments that went with it. Candidate A was wearing an outfit that  left very little to the imagination. She set that photo as her profile picture.   Some were inappropriate and some were suggestive. To each comment Candidate A replied with either a heart icon, a hug icon or a smiley face. 

Candidate B is Organizational Development Coach and Consultant who is being considered for a six figure contract with a large company. His Facebook page states he is a body builder. It's his hobby and passion and from looking at his pictures you can tell he invests a lot of time in maintaining his physique. His profile picture shows him in a thong striking a pose. I'll leave your imagination to guess some of the comments concerning what he was wearing. His return comments suggested that some of his fans try to satisfy their curiosity

Playful banter between friends? Maybe. But if you remember nothing else remember that very little of your life is private any more. Do a Google search on yourself and if you are active in the G+ community you will find your most recent postings beneath a picture of yourself  in the right hand column.

Whether you are seeking a new job, a promotion or a new client it is and will remain a buyers market for some time to come. Employers and clients can afford to be selective. I know because companies often pay people like me to delve into peoples back grounds before they offer them employment or a contract.

Is it right? I think it's more reactive than anything else. Even if you aren't a football fan you know about the domestic violence issues the NFL has.  Don't give a hoot about the NBA? But you do recall the players who were suspended for bringing fire arms into the locker room a few seasons back. Major league baseball and the whole steroids issue? A celebrity had her smart phone hacked and the whole world saw photo's she said were private and taken for her boy friend.

Employers and potential  clients sit back in their chairs, scratch their chins and think, "Gosh, my business couldn't survive a hit like that. We'd go under."

Twenty yeas ago we used a telescope. Today we use a microscope.

We invest a lot of time talking about funneling traffic to our web sites and converting that traffic into business. At the top of every web page are those social media icons that lead the world to our inner world. They should be representative of who we are and what we think and believe.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no prude nor do I advocate censorship. I'm just practical. If you want to work in a certain area with a certain group of people then you have to adhere to their standards. It's that simple.

I suggest you evaluate your social media sites at least weekly. If you'd like a set of guidelines employers and clients look at drop me an email. Same holds true for employers of clients. If you'd like to know what you need to be looking for, I'll send you the same report.

BTW: Those examples I shared. They are true stories. I rearranged a few details to protect some privacy but the core of those situations is accurate. So is the fact that neither reached their goal of working with the people they'd applied with.

Friday, December 12, 2014

What Comfort Zone?

I am not sure what a comfort zone is, are you?

Mostly I use it as an excuse  to be afraid of doing things that I haven't done before or things, situations and people I cant control.

Thank goodness I'm the only one in the world  that acts like that, hey?

Julia Chapman is a 26 year old aquatics director. She has all sort of hardware after her name but the one that she is most proud of is the title of actress. Julia told me that when she was younger she saw a stage performance of To Kill a Mockingbird and decided that one day she, too,would like to be in a play. It really didn't matter how small or large the part was, she decided that one day she'd just up and do it.

Life has a way of getting itself between us and our dreams.  Julia forgot about her goal until a few months ago.A local theater workshop in the small town she lived in was putting on a play with a Christmas theme and she tried out for it. She thought she'd get one of those bit parts, as an elf or a part in a crowd scene. When the smoke cleared Julia was awarded the lead role. She had never acted in a play before.

Have you ever been in one of those situations where something totally unexpected occurs and everyone stands around a bit stunned and not quite sure what to say but they know they have to say something? So they say things like "Oh, congrats to you." or "Wow I bet you're surprised." Stuff like that. Everyone walks away going "Oh wow, I didn't see that one coming, did you?" 

Julia told me her biggest challenge wasn't learning her lines or how to block on stage. It was sitting in the theater studying her lines and having people sitting directly in front of her question whether she was capable of handling the role. Saying things like she was "In over her head."

I asked her if her confidence was shaken when she heard those things  and she told me she was bit anxious, she had over 200 lines to speak, but, no, it was something she'd always wanted and God dumped it square in her lap so it was up to her what she'd do with it.

God dumps a lot of things in my lap and I nod my head and smile and make all sorts of excuses like comfort zone issues, self assurance and the like. I thank him and tell him I'm grateful and then I make sure the boundaries of my comfort zones are still well defined and I go back to my life, all the while wishing things would be different.

Success isn't defined by what we know. Success is defined by looking at what we don't know, getting so scared we often pee our pants and doing it anyways.

Just ask Julia Chapman

Monday, December 8, 2014


No, I'm not talking about changing the way you think and live. Or maybe I am.

How much time do you invest in marketing, virtual or otherwise that doesn't turn into money in the bank? Oh, I know the mantra's.

"It's takes 6 months to a year of mining your social media initiative before you are going to see any real payback."

Says who?

I never studied business. I did study psychology as it relates to people and their behavior. There is a term called mental scotoma. Without getting all Dr. Phil on you it means you develop a belief or behavior that becomes a blind spot and you exclude any other belief or meaning.

Okay, that confused even me.

When my kids were growing up they'd run into the kitchen proclaiming "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!"

"Says who?"The answer?  "Everyone." 

Sooooooooooooooooo, the sky must be falling.

Why are you an entrepreneur? There are as many reasons as there are stars in the sky.

Is one of those reasons to make money and show a profit?

That's conversion. It's converting all your hard work and effort into dollars and cents. Depending on your business there are many ways to accomplish that. Which one is the best for you? I don't believe there is a cookie cutter approach.

The personal part of you business, the passion and motivation that put you into this crazy world we live in? That's where your process becomes unique.If that process is not converting into sales  there are three possible reasons

  1. There is no market for your business. 
  2. You are in the wrong market with your product or service (You are selling freezers to people who live in the arctic circle.) 
  3. The people you are paying to help you aren't doing their job. 

Sorry to be so blunt but  think about it. How much money do you fritter away on the "latest and greatest" program, process, webinar or book without showing any real return? I count myself among the guilty here. I have a whole folder on my hard drive ready to burst because it's full of those magic white papers and I even have written a few myself.

Why do I do it? For the same reason my kids believed the sky was falling: "Everyone said so."

The next time you get ready to max out a credit card on a program guaranteed to bring you success ask the person making their pitch to give you a rough idea of how long it might be before you see some real conversion from using their process. If you get one of those, "Well that's up to you, John." answers, you might want to utter a TYVM and put your credit card back in your wallet. If there is no potential for conversion into earnings why make the investment?

"Okay wise guy. How do I know?"

Excellent question. I can only speak for myself and my coaching and consulting business.

When I'm working with a potential client I make a 90 minute investment with them free of charge. I have some standard questionnaire I ask each one. That takes about 30 minutes. The last half hour we chat about life and beliefs and all that cool stuff like why they are doing what they are doing. It gives me an opportunity to discover if I am the person to help their business grow, prosper and show a profit. (There's that conversion thing again.)I set up a 30 minute appointment for a week down the road also free of charge.I put together a package of where I see myself helping them succeed and what it will cost.

What if it's not a match?

If after 60 minutes one of us feels pursuing a relationship is not in the cards, then I virtually shake hands and be on my merry way. Just like you, it's all about conversion for me too.Above and beyond any other indicator, conversion should be the deciding factor in each investment, real or emotional that we make.

I'd like to offer you the same opportunity. If you Click Here you'll have the opportunity to spend 60 uninterrupted minutes with me to talk about you and your business. It's my way of saying Thank You

As an added bonus. The first 10 registrants will receive a free copy of my new book One Brick at a Time, to be published in March of 2015


Monday, November 24, 2014

Selecting the Right Business Coach

I suppose somewhere, someone has created an interactive matrix to increase the probability of choosing the right business coach for you to work with. It goes without saying that we are not cheap and you should weigh all of your options before you make an investment  but I'm not sure you can make that decision intellectually.

Does that make sense?

I was prepared to write a three bullet point manifesto that the blogging god's tell me is necessary for creating a superior following to my blog - The sort of "get in and get out, tease them a bit, make them want you"  Sigh, you get my point right?

I'm revising my web site and as I do I am trying to find the strategic spot to place the endorsements and testimonials I've received. A kind of "I love me page." We all have them. It dawned on me that my success as business coach boils down to this equation:

"Where are they a year from now?Are they still in business?"

If I do my job as a hybrid coach/mentor/guide, a year from now you will not only be surviving but be on the precipice of thriving, and I might add, thriving for many years to come! If you want to know a business' coaches value look at the sustainability of their clients. 

Yes, I know it's not entirely in my hands. There are a lot of factors involved which is why YOU need to make sure the person you choose has your best interest in mind.

Manner and method aren't as critical as a detailed "Where are they now?" That's the true indicator of a successful and valuable coach.

I could sit here all day and tell you about Catherine in D.C., Angie in Chicago, Dave & Jeff in Elk Grove Village, Tom in Indiana and Carl in West Virginia, but wouldn't be better if you were to pick up the phone and say:

"Hey I'm considering using this Jurkiewicz guy as a business coach. Can you tell me how he helped your business?"

Anything that helps make your decision easier is a good thing in my book. 

Dang, this is the shortest blog I've written in some time. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Run the Race You Trained to Run"

This blog was inspired by a discussion I had  with a friend. My next blog WILL deal with why working with a small business coach is vital to your survival and success. 

Do you know the reason they put blinders on race horses? It's so they don't become distracted by the performance of  other horses on the track. They can only see the finish line and run towards it.

Yes, I know, we're not animals but the process bears some examination.

When you are at the gym do you ever find yourself looking at someone  who seems to breeze effortlessly through their workout while you are wondering which part of your body may break away and fall off next? A few years ago when I was preparing to run in my first 5K I worked with a personal trainer for a few weeks  to prepare myself. Doing this at age 57, for the first time, required some guidance.

The day before the race we sat and talked. Jen looked across the table at me and said.

"Run the race you trained to run."

It's tough some days, not to compare ourselves, isn't it? We live in a culture that encourages us to behave like we are in a pack or herd so it's quite natural to look around us and notice a difference.

Maybe its not a 5K. Maybe, as entrepreneurs and small business owners we get so overwhelmed by everything, everybody tells us we are supposed to be doing that we forget to do the things that matter and we lose sight of the race we are supposed to be running. We forget why we wanted to do all the things we wanted to do, to begin with and get lost in trying to make sure we sit at the cool kids lunch table.

That Saturday in September, it was difficult to keep my focus. There were close to 1000 people in that race and the adrenalin was flying all over the place.

"Run the race you trained to run."

The last half mile of the race was up a steep and winding hill. No less than 5 times, I decided I was going to pull over to the side and walk. But I didn't. I toughed it out and weaved my way towards the finish line. I finished in a blazing 37 minutes and a few odd seconds. 

The person who finished in first place ran the race in slightly over 16 minutes.

My goal was to finish run the whole race and be standing at the end of it. I reached my goal. It wasn't pretty or inspiring, but I reached my goal. When a horse wears blinders during a race it only sees the finish line - Its goal. It doesn't know or even care if it won the race or not. It is only focused on its progress towards its goal.

That applies to our business's too. The internet has produced a dearth of experts who all know exactly what you and I are "supposed" to do in order to be successful in today's marketplace. There is always the temptation to do everything everybody else is doing.

"Run the race you trained to run."

Doing the same thing every day, over and over, without seeing much progress requires faith and patience in yourself and a reminder of your business goals .Not comparing ourselves is a difficult assignment but a necessary one.

"Run the race you trained to run."

A shout out to my friend and colleague Carrie Roldan who just released her first book Run Yourself Happy.  Check it out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apples & Oranges & Entrepeneurs

I wish I had met me 15 years ago.

I had spent the last 25 years in the traditional workforce, starting as a front line supervisor and finishing as a human resource executive. I decided to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur and start my own consulting business.  All the important variables were in place - my business plan, financing, space to work in, etc.What was missing was a  strategy to successfully convert from being an apple into being an orange.


Those of us who began our careers in the  traditional workplace are "apples." Apples work in a structured  environment. When I was an apple the expectation was that I'd be busy all of the time. It didn't matter if what I did added value to my companies bottom line. My employer was paying me for 8 hours of activity and  I'd better make good use of my time. My value was determined by activity and not necessarily results. Twice  monthly my paycheck arrived on my desk.

This lack of value addition is what motivated me to start my own consulting business. The two most important things I did as an HR executive was to determine the date, time and place of the Christmas Party and Company picnic and who got the preferred parking spot as employee of the month. The lawyers handled the labor issues, accounting handled benefits and payroll and my department was supposed keep tabs on attendance and morale.

When I started my own consulting business I became an "orange."  The only way I  get paid is when I produce revenue. My whole frame of reference changed.What I found out about myself was that I'd taken the behaviors and strategies that had made me a successful apple,and simply laid them, like a template, over my new orange environment. That works if your intent is to create a fruit salad. It's not the best strategy if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.   I often felt  defeated, frustrated and embarrassed. When I was an apple I was a respected executive and leader. I knew all the rules Now, it was like trying to catch greased lightening. I'll spare you the gory details but, one day the light went on, and I asked  myself

"John, are you spending your time on the right stuff?"

So, as the saying goes I worked smarter not harder. The investment of time went to those things that mattered to advance my place in the market. Some days that was 15 hours and some days it was 5. I had to shed the employee mind set. I didn't work for my clients I worked with them. But here's a story of one of my clients:

I recently began working with a client who started their own social media consulting business after spending their entire career in the traditional workforce. Our first few sessions were a bit frantic and disjointed. She had embraced her orangeness but still fell back on her apple tendencies. She looked at what was going on in the marketplace and decided that in order to feed the lingering apple desires she had to embrace everything that came down the pike whether it was pertinent to the business or not.  That way she would stay busy and get a sort of back handed affirmation in the process.

The measuring stick was activity not results. Once she began working through some of these issues and started to focus on the activities that were productive and entrepreneurial she began to see where she could add value. The time  devoted to developing  business was the time that created value. He boat wasn't sinking it just had a few leaks and didn't require an overhaul, just a few adjustments in  perception about her role in this new endeavor. She didn't need all the bells and whistles shed been lead to believe were necessary to be a successful entrepreneur, just the ones that would further her cause.

That's why I wished I'd met me 15 years ago. I would have saved me a lot of false starts and stops.

Make the investment to work with someone who can help guide you through the maze.

My next blog will talk about how to find the right person to help you on your journey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anybody Heard From ROI?

I was driving down the road yesterday and it dawned on me that I haven't  heard from  ROI in a long time.

Please forgive me. It just dawned on me that many of you haven't been introduced. ROI is acronym for "Return On Investment." It used to be that ROI was the first thing you talked about when you got ready to spend money in you business.

The landscape changed and ROI seemed to drop down the priority list for many small business owners. Social media marketing, mass email marketing, SEO optimization, hiring a coach or consultant - All come with a price tag. If we are going to do business in today's marketplace those things are not luxuries, they're necessities. We, "gotta have em'"

So here's my question.

When do I begin to see a return on my investment or more aptly put When I do all the things you tell me to do, when does it start to pay off for me as a small business owner? 

Oh yeah, THAT.

Let's throw in a disclaimer. You business success is entirely dependent on the decisions you make or don't make over the life of your business. All the wisdom and guidance in the world wont benefit you if you don't create a solid foundation for success.

I know business owners who go from consultant to consultant and coach to coach looking for someone who will tell them what they want to hear. They hop on the Trend Train and cant understand why people aren't beating a path to their door. It's because they don't ask the right questions to the folks who want to make them rich and famous.

I cut my business teeth working for a Fortune 5 company. The reason they were so successful is that each request for expenditure was met with these questions:

  • How long before we recoup our investment? 
  • How does this make us better, stronger, improve our position in the marketplace?
  • Will it increase our competitive edge? 
  • If it's new and innovative what are its risks? 

There is always the temptation to grab the bright and shiny object before us because all the cool kids are doing so.

Is it a fit for your business?

Is it going to propel you forward or is it going to hold you back?

Just because "everyone is doing it,"...........

This company I worked with was famous for being second or third in innovation but first in ROI and successful marketing. They did it by watching other companies in their market experiment. They took good notes and when they rolled out their version of the product or service the competition was left in the dust. They did it bigger, better and were more profitable because they knew where to invest and where not to invest. It's why they are a Fortune 5

Okay, reality check time.

You and I are not Fortune 5's. We're small businesses who cant afford to absorb the miscues. The decisions we make on our investments may mean the difference between the life and death of our companies.

No, this isn't the fun stuff. It's just the necessary stuff.  Establishing an understanding of the return on your investments will help you whittle down the options you and your business have with your investments.

Now you know ROI

Next week I'm going to make the case for working with a coach and mentor as you navigate through your business journey and how to choose the one that's right for you.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

HOA's .......... And Then There is Content

Can we go old school for just a minute? 

Remember when the only training available was either live or on videotape?  Do you remember how you evaluated those events? 

Yes, you in the back waving your hand and doing an imitation of Arnold Horshack. 

That is correct. You decided the value of the event based on the content in the presentation. The people who succeeded were the people who got the most mileage out of their resources, held your attention,and made sure you walked away with something you could use  immediately. They followed up with you personally to make sure what you learned was working well for you.

Pretty soon the webinar crowd picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. Go To Meeting, Zoom, Cisco and Meeting Burner touted the value of doing the same thing folks like myself were doing live for a fraction of the cost and to a much broader audience.  The problem was and still is, they are a bit pricey. The coach, consultant or entrepreneur working in their basement or living room found themselves unable to compete. 

We besieged the gates of heaven. Our prayers were answered in the form of Google+. Now everyone, including grandma, grandpa and cousin Junior could be a video rock star, and it didn't cost a single, solitary dime. It is a creature called Hangout on Air or "HOA's." 

The smart and savvy entrepreneurs see it as a way to do business. If you have ever hosted a live event you know they can be expensive, time consuming and will flat out wear you out before they even begin. The Google+ option gives you the opportunity to reach an infinite audience.

There are many knowledgeable people and Google+ communities who can teach you the mechanics of creating and hosting a HOA. I know, they taught me!  (See User2User and Ground Zero To Hangout Hero Communities.) Lisa Engles is hosting a 4 part series that will teach you how to create and manage your HOA. 

And then there is content. 

For what it's worth I am going to share some training and development wisdom that will make you the rock star you have always dreamed of being.  

Have an agenda. 
The folks who've invite me to participate in their hangouts email me an agenda and some initial questions or discussion topics a day or so prior to the event. There is nothing worse than having a guest gets that deer in the head light look and hemming and hawing. The agenda keeps you on target as it relates to your time frame. Review the agenda in the green room prior to your hangout and make sure you and your guests are on the same page. Three of the very best at this are James Fierce, Meilani McDonald and Jessica Dewell. Check them out! 

Start and end on time. 
There is nothing more frustrating to a viewer than waiting 5 or 10 minutes for a hang out to begin. Get in the green room early,  get set up and be ready to go at the scheduled time. 

Each Google+ account should come with a am email that says "Don't try this at home." Before you host your first hangout get some help from the people or communities I detailed above. How do I know this? My fist few hangouts were disasters because I plunged into the deep and dark waters of hangouts without any guidance. I mean how hard can this be, right? (Very hard if you dont know what you're doing.)

Having guests? Make sure they know when to be there and make contact 1 hour prior to launch to make sure they know what's what!!! Get their phone number and  if they appear to be MIA give them a shout. Life has a way of getting in the way of things. People get stuck in traffic etc, etc. 

Keep your personal introduction less than a minute. 
I know, you are proud of yourself and your work and you want to share it with the entire universe and yes, I know, it's all about creating relationships but ask yourself a question
"Why is my audience here? Are they here to learn something or are they here to know more about me?"

Recently I attended a hangout where the host spent 18 minutes of their scheduled hour talking about themselves and then apologized at the end of the hangout for not covering all of the content they'd promised to cover. 

If you want to give personal information about yourself add  it in the Details section of the event page or provide a bio link for your viewers. You can create a trailer video your viewers can watch ahead of time if they are interested in learning more about you. 

Don't read whats on the screen if you're sharing a presentation. 
Ellen Finklestein is recognized as an authority on Power Point presentations. I'd like to share a few things she taught me about using Power Point or any slide presentation. 

  1. People can't read and listen at the same time. 
  2. Words aren't as profound as pictures. Most people learn visually. 
  3. Short term memory is limited.  Share a single thought on a slide. 
Your presentation should contain a maximum of 10 slides. If you have many more you should consider doing a Part Two. 

These are a few of the things I share with presenters in a workshop on HOA Content Creation, Management and Presentation. I hope this will be of help to you. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Calling All Coaches

I host a weekly Google Hang Out on Air called The Career Corner. On October 8, 2014 at 10:30 AM I will be exploring coaching as a full time career choice. I would like to have 2 or 3 coaches on the panel to talk about why they made the choice to go into coaching as a career and what they feel makes a good coach. Each coach will have 10 to 12 minutes of airtime to talk about themselves and their coaching specialty. At the end of the broadcast, I’ll give each coach an opportunity to share contact information, etc.  There is no cost or fee required. If you are familiar with Google Hangouts on Air it is a free service. In exchange for your time I’ll post your web page, etc on the event listing. All hangouts are recorded on YouTube and I’ll provide you with a link to use in your personal marketing afterwords. 

All coaches regardless of experience will be welcomed. I'd love to have some new coaches talk about why they choose coaching as a profession/ 

You will need: 

A Google+ account. (They are free.)

Set aside some time in the next few days to chat with me in Google+

A profile picture and biography

 If you are interested please contact me at for more information. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sometimes You Just have to Get Out What's On Your Mind..........Even if it Gets You In Trouble

Joan and I were watching the TV program, Hell's Kitchen the other night. If you are not familiar, Chef Gordon Ramsey picks about 20 chefs, verbally abuses them for 10 weeks or so and then who ever survives, gets to work for him. 

The definition of insanity?

Ramsey throws food, pots, pans and anything he can get his hands on to show his displeasure. A lot of people think this is cute or funny. Some say it is all an act.  Some justify Ramsey's actions and defend him buy saying that he contributes substantially to charities, especially for disabled kids. One behavior should balance the other or something like that. I don't know. 


At one point in the show Ramsey said the following words, or words to the effect "Hey, you!! I'm talking to you. Yes you, you COW." Oh yeah this was directed at a female chef. 

Now some of you may think that's not so bad, or maybe I'm over reacting. Okay, let's do this. Take the word "cow" out of than sentence and replace it with lets say, a racial slur or an ethnic slur. Ball game changes doesn't it? Chef Ramsey wouldn't be around long enough to throw the next batch of under cooked risotto. 

Why, then, is it okay to use derogatory language towards women? On TV and movies we regularly hear the "S" word, the "W" word, the "B" word and the queen mother of them all, the "C" word.  People laugh or excuse the language because of immaturity.  Again, replace any of those words with a racial or ethnic slur and a lot of somebodies are in huge trouble and should be. 

Florida States quarterback Jameis Winston, was suspended for a full game for shouting one of those derogatory remarks concerning women  last week. It went viral, a jillion hits on YouTube. Once again, substitute a racial or ethnic slur and Jameis is history. 

Whats my point? 

We as a society do not afford women the same equal status and recognition that we do other people. We slap peoples wrists when they call them names. So, when men start taking the short leap to physically assaulting a woman, we just sorta shrug our shoulders. 

They deserve it, right? I mean that's what we think. "She needs to keep her mouth shut," and "I'ts between him and her." It's the same justification we used years ago towards racial and ethnic minorities. 

It begins with Gordon Ramsey yelling "cow" and it ends with Ray Rice knocking his wife out in an elevator. 

If you and I REALLY believe in equality, lets start practicing it across the board and towards everyone. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Networking Do's & Don't's Part 2

Years ago I attenuated a national convention that had a star studded cast of main speakers. Three times daily we were exposed to the best and the brightest that the human resource profession had to offer. In between speakers we attended break out sessions. One session caught my eye and I hurried down the hall to get a seat. Surely the room would be packed. The title:

Effective Listening: The Skill We Use the Most and Teach the Least. 

As I burst into the room looking for a seat I discovered there were only four of us attending the presentation. The room next to us was crammed. It's topic was "How to Use You Persuasion Skill's to Get What You Want."

The speaker wasn't surprised or alarmed. He said that his topic was often an after thought at these functions. They called him when they had a session to fill. I did learn two things I'd like to share with you today that I've found have increased my ability to effectively network with other people. 

Listening is the most effective form of communication.
When I listen, sincerely and intently, I am showing you a deep sign of respect, not only for the information you are sharing but for you as a human being. I acknowledge you as being valuable to me. I acknowledge and affirm your worth and value. 

Sincere and effective listening requires practice. Can you tell me what skill doesn't require practice? Most of the time when someone else is speaking we are fashioning our response to what they are saying. 

It is hard for me to listen. I was born with an over active enthusiasm gland. I mean no ill will when I trample all over what you are saying it is just that, well,sometimes I get so excited about agreeing with you or affirming you that I'm like the puppy who hasn't learned to make it to the door quite yet. (No Freudian issues here friends. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.)

I want to honor you and your information so my mechanism to stay on task is to take notes. I don't fill a binder up but I do jot don't words and phrases in bullet points. It keeps me focused. 

"Okay John, but what if I am at a live networking event with a beverage in one hand and a snack in the other hand? How do I take notes?"

Excellent question. (You are such an amazing audience!)

One of my mentor's/heroes Ms. Stella Orange taught me how to write copy for web pages, newsletters, etc. Her method speaks towards writing headlines, things that will grab your audiences attention. I use that skill  as a listening tool when jotting notes isn't an option. I listen for themes or headlines - Verbal bullet points, if  you will. When the person is done speaking I'l l say something like. "If I understood what you were saying......"

BTW: Here is Stella's Web Site if you want to look at her stuff:

Listen With Your Eyes
What your eyes see often has more impact on you than what your ears might hear, especially if the the two don't match.  I've learned a lot about people by listening with my eyes. I've watched their gestures, their facial expressions and their body language. There is a whole field of study NLP, neuro-linguistic programming, that identifies how we process and relate to each other and how we learn.If I pay close enough attention and observe I can communicate with you effectively in a manner that is conducive to YOU.

Isn't that the point of networking, regardless of the medium - To take the Law of Attraction and put it to use? 

My purpose, goal, call it what you will is To Help Good People Become Better" I can't do that until I make contact with those good, great people and listen actively and attentively to their needs. When I do listen, I honor them and what they stand for. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Networking Do's and Don'ts ---- Social and Otherwise

Don't you just hate them? You know, those people that show up at your networking events and suggest  that  their mission in life is to "help you." The next thing you know they are rolling out their cart full of products or services and suggest you and they can be even better friends once you make a purchase. They are human vacuum cleaners. They troll around the edges of a conversation and jump smack dab in the middle pushing everyone else aside and suck up the person talking.

"Me,me, me!" they'll shout. Loud, obnoxious and rude, they monopolize the conversation with what they believe is best for you. Never mind that you never told them what you need. They always know better.

"Let me tell ya what I'm gonna do..........." Sigh.

I attended a Google Business Hangout this morning hosted by James Fierce. The topic was how to network effectively, whether you are doing so live and in person or online. It's called a Team Talk I'd like to share and expand the points James made. They are worth sharing and repeating.

It's not about you!
Remember when you were a kid and someone, usually a parent suggested that you "Speak when you were spoken to?" If you want to impress people at a networking event dont talk about yourself until you are asked to do so. Don't hand out advice or offer to fix the issue at hand. Practice the skill we use most but are taught least.......... effective listening.

Ask a lot of questions. Everyone's favorite topic is themselves, their passions and their business. The easiest way to get to know me is to ask me about what I do. I'll be glad to tell you and when I'm done if you have any advice, any contacts I might make or directions I might travel........... well I'll become your very best friend.

I made a new contact this morning during the Business Hangout. The person had worked in the radio industry and I typed a question in the chat box asking what they did there? I asked what their new business was going to be.  Things took off from there. They are new to Google+ so after the Hangout concluded I gave them a few Google+ Communities they might check out and the names of some people who'd helped me out along the way. Later they sent me a link to their blog which was insightful and well written and believe it or not, I learned a few things. (I know hard to believe.)

Word of Mouth Marketing, The Shocking Truth and What to Do About It.

When you get an opportunity give it a read and give the author some feedback.

We concluded our conversation with them writing to me and saying: "And if there is anything I can do to help you, let me know."

It wasn't about me.

Don't Sell, Show & Tell
People love stories, especially stories that make a point. The late Zig Ziglar rode his story telling ability to success and fame by talking about the life and times of "Old Zig." When people ask you what you do paint a verbal picture for them. Tell them a story about your business and some of the people who benefited from your product or service. Practice the story. Make sure it lasts no longer than one minute and that when you are through talking your listener says "Tell me more."

Don't "lunge." Someone called me a few weeks back inquiring about using me as a life coach for a family member. As we talked they told me about the other businesses they owned and I immediately launched into my spiel on what great services I could provide them on top of my life coaching services. As soon as I finished I realized i'd made a huge mistake. I could tell they were turned off. Don't' Sell, Show & Tell.

Have Fun.
You are standing around, sipping a beverage, munching a taquito when all of a sudden Donnie or his sister Debbie Downer put in an appearance. They are passionate, intense and you begin to wonder if they've ever cracked a smile or let out with a huge belly laugh in their life.

I love what I do and I love what I do because what I do is fun, not only for me but for my clients.

There is a basic requirement for enjoying yourself, you need to be comfortable in your own skin. When we're confident in ourselves and what we have to offer people want to be with us because we're fun.

Thanks James Fierce for the food for thought. It is greatly appreciated.