Monday, August 30, 2010

Public Speaking Skills Webinar - September 16, 2010

Sign up TODAY for my next
"Virtual Brunch Webinar"

Not everyone wants to be a professional speaker, but everyone can benefit from presenting with more impact.

My rule is "just because someone is smart or has done something cool, it does not mean they belong on the stage!". Too many business professionals "wing it" when they have to give a speech at a meeting, convention, conference or other gathering. This often leaves the audience wishing they could stick needles in their ears, rather than listen to one more minute of the talk.

Everyone can improve their speaking skills by making them a priority. If you see the preparation and practice as a "second tier" priority, then your speaking skills will be "second tier" as well.

Please join me for a webinar that will educate and motivate you to deliver better presentations.

(****Pay once and bring your whole office into a conference room!)

Topic: Creating Better Business Presentations

Date: September 16, 2010

Time: 12 Noon (Central Time

Cost: $16.95

Register TODAY!

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Maximize Your Conference (Part 8 of 10) "Give Feedback To The Organizers"

Maximize Your Conference (Part 8)

"Give Feedback To The Organizers"
by Thom Singer

When you attend a conference you automatically become part of the community. The people who plan these events are not some distant bureaucrats working with a counter agenda, but instead you are all on the same team. It is in their best interest to know how the attendees feel about all aspects of the conference, because they want people to come back the following year. An industry convention cannot survive year over year without attendees returning, thus your opinion about what works and does not work matters to everyone.

Most events have paper and / or online surveys for the whole program and each individual session. Many people do not complete these requests for feedback or they do not fill them out with enough detail to help influence future planning decisions. Feedback from attendees is crucial to scheduling subsequent events, selecting speakers, cultivating topic ideas, and marketing.

More than checking the rating boxes, write a sentence or two that says what you liked or did not like, and give ideas on how to make it better (do not just complain).

Your feedback matters for the keynote speakers and breakout presenters, too. The speaking business is a competitive industry. If someone is really good, your praise of their program could lead them to being brought back for future events. On the flip side, if the speakers are dull or off point, you must let the organizers know so that they will put more effort into speaker selection. Too many people forget that just because someone is smart or has accomplished something cool, it does not mean they belong on the stage. Conference attendees should not be subjected to awful speakers, and the organizers must be educated as to what you liked and did not like in the individual presentations. If you do not share your thoughts, some planners will continue to just "fill the slots" without vetting the experience level of each speaker.

The most effective way to give feedback is to get to know the people in charge of the conference. Filling out the forms is important, but being able to share your observations face-to-face where you have an existing relationship will have more impact.

Getting to know the people in charge is not that difficult if you are paying attention to the correspondence that begins long before the conference. The names and contact information of the organizers is all often all over the marketing materials. Reaching out in advance and letting them know you are looking forward to the event will get you noticed. Your ability to contact them via email or phone before you arrive will depend on the type of event, your personality, and other factors, but knowing who you want to meet before you arrive will make it much easier to find them once you arrive.

Introducing yourself to those in charge of planning is simple. Doing this will put you farther ahead than almost everyone else at the event. Too many people only find the organizers to complain, so if you seek them out wanting to volunteer to help or just say hello, they will remember you.

Thanking those who organize the event is a key way to establish the first steps of creating a relationship. Organizing a large meeting is hard work, and almost always under appreciated by those in attendance. When you recognize how much they did to make the event a success, you will be on their radar...forever (trust me, few people ever thank the organizer). Later when you share feedback, they will pay more attention. If you enjoyed the event and plan to return the following year, make sure that is expressed, as nothing is more important to an event organizer than return attendance.

When giving feedback do not only point out the negative. If all you do is complain, your input will be dismissed and you will become branded as someone who whines too much. Look for the amazing parts of the event and include them along side the areas you believe could be improved. Every event has good and back parts, and you owe it to yourself, and everyone else, to make sure the planners know both!

When you give good feedback, everyone wins!.

Have A Great Day


Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Networking Catalyst". He regularly speaks at industry conventions and trade shows where he inspires the audience (and vendors) to maximize their participation at the event. One of the top reasons people attend business conferences is for the "Networking Opportunities", and yet once there they fail to create connections that will have any meaningful impact on their career. Thom sets the tone for the culture of the conference which becomes the foundation for a more meaningful set of interactions.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Ryan Seacrest of Business Events

A friend noticed that I am scheduled to be the Master of Ceremonies at the 2010 Greater Austin Business Awards on Wednesday and the keynote speaker at the Killeen Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Thursday of the coming week.

He was thinking of attending both events (as his sales territory covers both Central Texas communities), and called me to laugh that he might get tired of seeing me on the stage two nights in a row. He jokingly called me "The Ryan Seacrest of Business Events" (referring to how Mr. Seacrest hosts both American Idol and E! News... as well as showing up on a variety of other media platforms).

I laughed while I pondered if that was a compliment or not. I will go with "YES"..., it was a compliment!

I am very fortunate to work as a professional speaker, trainer, and Master of Ceremonies at many types of business events. I have been doing this for several years, and take the business of speaking very seriously.

Meeting planners know that selecting the right speaker is key to the success of every event, and the experience of each person in the audience hangs in the balance. I am always aware that my presentation at a conference (or other gathering) will set the tone for the whole event.

These two above mentioned Chamber of Commerce dinners will be my 46th and 47th presentations of 2010. I have had the honor of speaking to groups on college campuses, non-profit associations, major conventions, law firms, real estate organizations, women's groups, Chambers of Commerce, and Fortune 500 companies.

I enjoy speaking and I will take the growth oriented business professionals, progressive law firms (banks and accounting firms, too) and the entrepreneurs who are changing the future of the world over the Hollywood actors and pop-stars any day of the week!!! Sure, ol' Ryan Seacrest gets paid a lot more money than I do,.... but I am taller than he is!!!

Have A Great Day.


Friday, August 27, 2010

2010 Greater Austin Business Awards - September 1st

On September 1st I will be the Master of Ceremonies for the 10th Annual Greater Austin Business Awards (Hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce). This is the fifth year in a row that I have the honor of being the MC for his major event in the local business community.

The theme this year is "The Magic of Business - The Thrill of Success". Without spoiling the surprise.... let me just tell you the whole event will be magical!!!

The annual dinner brings together over 1000 business and community leaders from the Austin area. Many local companies are nominated, profiled and receive recognition. It is also one of the best networking opportunities of the year!

You can still buy tickets. Feel free to come and heckle the MC (okay, not really!).

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

All Companies Are Tech

My wife's 70 year old aunt, who is a Catholic Nun and lives in Rome, visited us last week. After getting settled in the guest room the first thing she asked was if we had high-speed wireless. She pulled out her laptop and logged into the server of her religious order in Italy. From our kitchen table she was able to work remotely.

I had the pleasure to be the keynote speaker at a conference for 400 people in the IT Department of a Fortune 500 Company this week. This was not a "tech" company (think food service), but it was amazing to see their dedication to technology and innovation. They are deeply committed to finding ways to make the customer experience better and more efficient. Additionally, the organization has harnessed technology to improve the human interactions of their employees and boost their corporate culture. They accomplish this by developing proprietary technology tools and honoring the power of their electronic world.

I am just old enough to remember the days before technology was pervasive. I recall manual cash registers in some stores when I was a kid (Think of the sound "Cha-Ching"). My first memories of television is 5 stations on a black and white set with "rabbit ears". I lived in the times when mobile phones required the company of a briefcase. And yes, I typed on an Apple LISA and a Commodore 64 (we did not own a computer, but some of my friends with progressive parents had these early models).

I point this out because I believe people around the world are taking technology for granted. The tools we use today have only been around in many ways for about 15-20 years. A lot has changed in that short amount of time. What seemed so magical two decades ago is common place today. The Science fiction of the 1970s and 1980s is standard issue in 2010.

Living in Austin, Texas I have seen a lot of changes in the "tech industry". Now I think we are all in the "tech" business... no matter what we do for a living. All companies are "tech" and that is a good thing.

I see this in my own world as a speaker, author and publisher. New Year Publishing recently launched a new division, NYP Digital Media. The purpose of this group is to help authors (NYP published, self-published, and otherwise) to migrate their products to the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Android, Blackberry, audio CD's,video products, iTunes Store, iBookstore, Nook, and beyond. Writing a book is no longer just about the book, it is about the technology of digital publishing and print!

Take a few minutes to look at all the ways technology impacts your life. If you are even reading this blog post you are right in the middle of it, and I bet you take it for granted, too!

Looking at the changes over the last couple of decades I am excited to see what the next 20 years has in store (I am sure many more things that require a monthly service fee.... grrrrrrr).

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Facebook Fan Page

Are you a Facebook user? If yes, please "Like" my Fan Page.

I share information about my books, speaking events, and other related materials that do not always make the blog!

CLICK HERE or search "Thom Singer - Professional Speaker and Author" on Facebook.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Maximize Your Conference (Part 7 of 10) - "Use Social Media"

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Networking Catalyst". He regularly speaks at industry conventions and trade shows where he inspires the audience (and vendors) to maximize their participation at the event. One of the top reasons people attend business conferences is for the "Networking Opportunities", and yet once there they fail to create connections that will have any meaningful impact on their career. Thom sets the tone for the culture of the conference which becomes the foundation for a more meaningful set of interactions.

Maximize Your Conference (Part 7)

"Use Social Media"
by Thom Singer

Some conferences lend themselves to the use of any variety of social media tools more than others. This will depend on the industry, the organization hosting the event, the type of attendees, the person in charge (and their understanding and adoption of social media), the venue, and many other random factors. However, in today's social media crazy world even the most low tech industry is populated with high tech people who have adopted social media into their lives.

If you want to maximize your effectiveness via social media you must make an effort well in advance of the conference to get the most out of the process.

Discover in advance what tools the event organizers are using to promote the conference. Do they have a Facebook page? A Twitter account? Are they blogging? YouTube channel? etc.... Become familiar up front with where the other attendees are finding information on the event and join the communities, follow the organizers, and participate in any relevant discussions.

If you are a Twitter user, find out if there a pre-determined #hashtag for the event? If so, know it and use it. If not, talk to the organizer about selecting one. Be careful not to create your own #hashtag without knowing if there is an official one, as you can split the community if too many are created.

If you are not a Twitter user and the event will be heavily using the micro-blogging site, you may want to consider joining. You do not want to show up at the conference and find you are one of the few missing out on important information because you are stubbornly not on Twitter. Creating an account while at a conference to "catch up" with the rest of the group is both confusing and time consuming. I have seen people do this "at conference adoption" and it is both a waste of time, and sours them on the Twitter experience.

Participating in pre-conference discussions on the various social media sites is a great way to make connections with others who will be at the event. However, you want to make sure that the things you are saying are useful to the audience, not a commercial for your own products or services, and not over done. First impressions matter and are difficult to overcome. If you come on too strong in social media before the event you will have a negative "brand" once you arrive.

Once at the conference the same rules apply. Participate in discussions and "Re-Tweet" people who say useful and interesting comments. You will meet many people in person who will comment on having seen you online.

After the event, continue to promote the positive aspects of the conference on social media. Just because the program has ended does not mean that industry members (both those who attended and those who did not) will stop monitoring the social media chatter about the event. Some make decisions about attending a conference the following year immediately at the conclusion, while others will search all year long for information about the next years' event.

The internet has allowed conferences to have year round life. Make sure that you are aware of any ongoing conversations that exist amongst the community of conference participants. Your commitment to remaining active in the discussion can help you build your reputation and will thus bring you a higher ROI from your conference participation.

Have A Great Day.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Networking Doesn't Work

Jason Alba has a provocative blog title called "Networking Doesn't Work (Part II)" on his JibberJobber Blog. It is a follow up from a post of the same title from two years ago. This time he is posting a new comment from the old post were a reader whined that "Networking" is the most overused word in the last two years.

People often run around screaming "I Hate Networking" (even those who speak on the topic create presentations built on the "schtick" that networking is evil. I watched one woman drum up the passion in an audience by making them chant "I don't network, I connect").

Oh poppycock! (There you go....., to the person who said I could not properly use that word in a blog post!). When you understand what it means to network you cannot "hate" it or claim it does not work.

Here is my response on Jason's blog... I think it sums up my feelings on the topic:


You knew I would “bite” and leave a comment.

People mistakenly think that “networking” is a magic bullet. They will go to a few events, complain about the job market, and then proclaim “networking does not work!”. These people are right… Networking does not work if you do not WORK. In the middle of the word “networking” you will find the word “WORK”. If you thought it was quick and easy then someone lead you down the wrong path!

Networking is “The creation of long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships between two or more people where all involved prosper more because of the relationships than they would without the relationships”.

Lets look at that definition:

Creation (ummmm, that means you have to make it. Relationships and useful business connections do not happen by accident or happen just because you showed up at a happy hour)

Long-Term (ummm, that means you cannot expect results fast. Treat others as expendable for years… then call them when you get laid off…. you get a big NOTHIN’ from them. This is your fault, not theirs. Building a long-term relationship takes time to establish and cultivate. Sorry.. No short-cuts).

Mutually-beneficial (ummm, that means you cannot look at the other person as a genie in a bottle who will grant your every wish. You must bring something to the table. This “something” need not be big or equal to what they bring you… but it must exist. Takers get NOTHIN’ from networking!)

Two or more (ummmm, that means you cannot do it from your computer in your pajamas. I know, I know, social media changed the world. Bullshit. The ways we communicate have changed, how we are wired as human beings in our souls has not changed. A connection on LinkedIn without a meaningful relationship will bring you NOTHIN’)

All involved prosper more (ummmmm…..Your goal must be to see the other person prosper.. not just seeing yourself prosper. Yes, I know, you need a job. But if you only care about networking when you need something you will get NOTHIN’. See “mutually-beneficial").

More because of the relationships than without the relationships (ummmm… All opportunities come from people. A doorknob is a useful tool to get you into a room, but it will not bring you an opportunity. Put your attention on cultivation of connections with human beings and you will find yourself on top of a mountain screaming “NETWORKING DOES WORK!")

Have A Great Day.


Meeting Planners International (MPI) Monthly Meeting

I am honored to be the speaker at the monthly dinner for MPI (Texas Hill Country Chapter) on September 14, 2010 at Barton Creek Resort and Spa.

I am excited to present to this group. Working in the meeting and convention business is a lot of fun for me, and I enjoy all aspects of this important industry. Also, my wife was a convention services manager, sales manager and individual travel manager with Hyatt Hotels for ten years and a member of MPI, having earned her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation.

I am customizing the presentation for this group and hope to entertain, inspire and educate the audience. Along the way we will have some laughs!

If you live in Central Texas and work in and around the Meetings Business.... I hope you will come to the event!


Have A Great Day


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Praising Others Makes You Stand Out

Chris Brogan wrote on his blog about his friend Suzanne Vara. He dedicated a whole post to praising what a great person she it to hang around. I am sure Chris knows a lot of people, but the reason he gave her such a public pat on the back is because she's a person who talks positively about other people.

Seems funny that such a widely read blogger as Chris Brogan would dedicate a whole post highlighting a person who "has so many good things to share about others". But in our society this is more the exception than the rule.

Who do you know in your life who talks others up instead of talking people down? Do you praise them? I think you should. Write about them on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Or send them a private note telling them you admire how they find the best in others.

I left the following comment on Chris's blog post:

While I do not know Suzanne, she sounds amazing in heart and soul.

I do find it sad in our society that we must call out those people who "talk about others ceaselessly in the best sense....... It’s refreshing to hear someone have so many good things to share about others." I wish all people just did this naturally.

I once heard a psychologist (can't recall who) say "the formula for a happy marriage was five positive comments toward your spouse for every one negative comment". This goes beyond marriage, and effects all relationships. People who say negative stuff in business relationships sometimes balance their words with one positive... but negative comments sting more than good things please.... so that "always going positive thing" makes one stand out as spectacular (like your friend Suzanne Vara).

If people read this far in the comments I hope they will accept the challenge to mirror her and talk people up all the time. They will stand out from the crowd and warrant this type of tribute someday!

I find it interesting that those who are always critical of others are the same ones who question why certain individuals are successful. I wonder if you can trace the "praise others quotient" directly to success levels? I bet you can!

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Maximize Your Conference (Part 6 of 10) "Do Not Hang Out With Your Co-Workers"

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Networking Catalyst". He regularly speaks at industry conventions and trade shows where he inspires the audience (and vendors) to maximize their participation at the event. One of the top reasons people attend business conferences is for the "Networking Opportunities", and yet once there they fail to create connections that will have any meaningful impact on their career. Thom sets the tone for the culture of the conference which becomes the foundation for a more meaningful set of interactions.

Maximize Your Conference (Part 6)

"Do Not Hang Out With Your Co-Workers"
by Thom Singer

People want to make connections when they attend an industry conference. They secretly hope to make meet one or more people who will lead them to future opportunities. Yet, once they arrive at the convention they spend too much time glued to their co-workers and other old friends.

They sit with the same people at every breakout session. They eat with old friends at meal-time. They hang with their boss at happy hour.
This can sabotage the success of attending the conference, as when you are attached at the hip to another person (or persons) you may not seem approachable.

Later when people review the benefits of the meeting and their return on investment for being there they come up short on the realization of the "networking opportunities" they desired.

Excuses can be made for why someone can be at an industry event filled with the top people in their business, and yet they made no connections that lead to future opportunities. But the reality is often that people retreated to the comfort zone of the people they already knew and failed to speak with those who could become clients, vendors, partners, referral sources, advisers, advocates, friends, etc... If you want to make new contacts you must take the necessary actions.

If you are attending a conference with a group of people with whom you have a strong association you need to set the ground rules in advance. Make sure that everyone is clear on the purpose of going to the meeting. You can hang out with your co-workers at the office and save your company thousands of dollars. But if the business is investing in your registration and travel to an event, take advantage of the plethora of new people with whom you might be able to establish relationships. Make meeting others the priority over hanging with co-workers and other friends.

Several years ago my co-author for "Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women" (Marny Lifshen) and I attended a conference for writers and speakers. We both teach the importance of networking, and share a similar philosophy on the power of making connections at industry events. But even with our shared perspective, we still held a pre-meeting to discuss a plan for how to maximize the conference. We agreed not to sit together at during the sessions and meals, but set times to re-group throughout the conference to share notes, ideas and make useful introductions to other people whom we met separately.

The advantage to splitting up from co-workers is that you will cover more ground. You can attend different breakout sessions and gain twice as much information for your company than if you were all in the same presentations. Plus when you sitting alone you are more likely to talk to the people around you before the sessions begin. This way will individually meet twice as many people. When one person meets a key industry contact they can then make the introductions to others co-workers.

A savvy manager will never allow his employees to attend a conference without a pre-event strategy meeting. If your company is not regularly doing this, suggest the idea. Your supervisor will be thrilled that you are looking for ways to maximize the ROI for the investment in the conference.

I am not suggesting that you ignore or snub your co-workers and other friends. There will be lots of time at the multi-day conference for you to interact and have fun together. But if you are not conscious of how much time you spending with those you already know, you will inadvertently spend all your time in their company. Having a plan to find the right mix is paramount to successful networking opportunities at a conference.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Hierarchy of People

In school we learned about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation":

Maslow is regularly cited in business, government and sociological studies and his theory simplifies what is important to people. Before you can go to higher levels, you must satisfy the lower needs.

During the recent years of recession and economic uncertainty many people are living on the second level ("safety / security"). They have seen jobs become unstable or evaporate, and they are worried about the future. When living at this level we are very self-focused.

While humans always strive for the top of any pyramid, and certainly desire "self-actualization", too many are congregating at the bottom levels without a plan to go higher.

Interesting to me is how many people try to skip the middle. In good times and bad there are large numbers that are stuck in "safety needs" who could be raising themselves up. They are not moving toward "self-actualization" because they fail to see the importance of other people. They attempt to jump for the top layers and never create a stable foundation.

Years ago when I began writing and speaking on the topic of "The Power of Business Relationship and Networking" I was told the subject was fluffy. Today smart companies are demanding the skills of building meaningful connections be part of the training provided to their employees. After years of recession business leaders are realizing that much of their success has come through their networks. Thus they are questioning why they (and their employees) do not have more long-term and established relationships.

I am getting inquires to speak from companies, law firms, and associations of all sizes who are struggling to get their team up the pyramid. They think the "social" step should be easy, but are constantly discovering their people are not embracing the importance of business relationships in a way that allows the company to win more business. All opportunities come from people, and to sustain success you need to focus on cultivating your network!

If you want to reach the top you cannot skip the "social" level in the middle.

People matter. While it seems intangible, (and hard to manage, count, and reward) it is the only path to achieving real success.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Technology Changes, But People Remain The Same

My dad was born in 1914. This fall he will turn 96-years-old.

So much has happened in the world in only one lifetime. For most of us, we see the world from our own current situation. We respond to what we witness and create judgments. Humans like to put things into buckets and safely store them away. We often ignore the power of change that is constant.

But when we do that, we miss out on the power of perspective. The situations are constantly changing, and therefore we are about to experience new new things.

The future is coming. Embrace what we have not yet known, and do not forget that the products, services and events around us today will seem different when we look back through 90-year-old (plus) eyes.

The year Dad was born:

The first scheduled airline flight was flown (I wonder if it was late and they lost the luggage?)

Henry Ford introduces assembly line, for T-Fords

Stock brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch was founded

World War I began when Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

The largest one-day percentage drop in the history of Dow Jones Industrial Average, down 24.39%.

Looking back nearly 100 years is interesting... but my dad was my age (44) in 1958. That year:

Sputnik 1 reenters atmosphere & burns up

The Lego company patented their design of Lego bricks, still compatible with bricks produced today. (see, not everything changes!)

1st US satellite (Explorer I) launched

Ted Williams is fined $250 for spitting at Boston fans again (Sounds minor compared to the antics of today's professional athletes)

Inauguration of NASA

PanAm flies 1st transatlantic jet trip-NY to Paris

It is interesting to look at the events the year my dad was born, and the year he turned 44.... but it is important to look at the power of innovation that took place over his lifetime. He has seen amazing things. At the mid-point of his life he must have thought they had gone as far as they could go with technology.

If you think that you are seeing amazing things in 2010... I would like to remind you that "you ain't seen nothing yet!".

But is the world different?

My dad pointed out that while technology changes, people are always the same inside. He has read The Bible (several times), and he points out that the stories of human conflict between nations and individuals translate to modern times. The impulses, feelings, greed, compassion, mis-communications, lust (for sex and power), scandals, and all the other lessons that populate the good book are present in the stories that fill today's media.

My father said that "we have not changed the heart of Man just because the tools we use daily have changed".

This brings us to the importance of people. We are in awe of the technology and innovation, but the real killer app is YOU.

Have A Great Day.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Smarter Than Everyone Else?

We all think we are right. Both sides in an argument are sure they are correct and the other person is wrong. Those with outspoken political view points are solid about their being more enlightened than those who oppose their opinions. Intuition is powerful and most trust their gut feelings and dismiss others. Many are those who seem to think they are smarter than everyone else.

It gets compounded when people surround themselves with others who are like-minded and spend hours confirming each other in their right-ness.

Unique are the ones who can step outside of self for a moment.

I am not saying by this post that I above this issue with rightness. Oh no. I am totally right and you are wrong (topic TBD). :-)

Have A Great Day.


Try It, You Might LIke It!

Scott Ginsberg (The Nametag Guy) has a new post on being "prolific" on his Hello My Name Is Blog blog. The title is "How To Be More Prolific Than Van Gogh on Viagra" (Imagine the amount of Google Traffic he gets from people searching "viagra"!) and it does a great job of encouraging people to take action. It is a long piece, but you will be a better person if you read this post and digest the words.

(Granted, thousands of people will read the first sentence above....., but most will not click through to see what Scott wrote - I suggest you do, as it is an article that can be a "brain hammer").

The part that stood out to me was when he said:

"You don’t have to like something to learn from it"

That is so true. He was talking about "extending literary latitude" and how he reads five books a week. Feeding your brain with information will make expand how you see the world, and give you perspective. He admits he does not like every book he opens, but others "rock his face off" (in a good way!). The reality that he will not "like" all the books, it does NOT stop him from reading.

But prejudging books, conferences, movies, restaurants, networking groups, companies, vacation spots, people, etc... hinders millions of people from having important experiences.

My youngest daughter tries sample of a new flavor every time she enters an ice cream shop. She never prejudges what a flavor will taste like until she tries it. Sometimes she enjoys the new taste and orders a cone. Other times she does not and goes with an old favorite (Cookies and Cream). But she never prejudges.....WOW, how great to live a life that way.

Are you sitting on your butt not doing something because you may not like it? Get over yourself and go do something.

Have A Great Day.


Friday, August 13, 2010

To Be Relevant,.... You Must Be Consistent

There is so much information being thrown at people that you cannot expect even your devoted customers to notice what you say or do. We all hope people are watching what we write on the internet, but most of it is just noise to the reader.

Don't even get me started about Twitter.

The flight attendant who freaked out this week on the Jet Blue flight got our attention, but nobody is really impressed with the outburst. Additionally, he will be forgotten next week. Standing out for a moment is not what you want for your company. Being a jerk is not sustainable.

To be relevant you must be consistent while cutting through the B.S.

Have A Great Day

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Customized Business Development Training Workshops by Webinar

Organizations with less than twenty-five employees regularly skip high quality training programs for their team of professionals due to the expense associated with educational events.

I regularly receive phone calls from small law firms, banks, accounting firms, real estate companies, and other service providers that want to have me speak to their professionals.... However they often cannot justify the cost of travel across country to their city for a small group presentation.

Over the past several months I have been conducting a Beta Test on delivering my training program via webinar. While I believe that a "live" presentation is the best way to inspire people, the feedback I have gotten on the webinars has been overwhelmingly positive.

I am now ready to announce that my educational, motivational, and inspirational presentation "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow, and Keep Your Business Relationships" is available for groups of ten to twenty-five as a webinar (complete with the accompanying workbook). I will work with your team to get them engaged in the business community, establish and grow visibility, and help create a path to more business.

Doing nothing means everything remains the same. If your organization is not happy with the current state of your growth efforts, the first step is a conversation.

Please contact me directly for pricing options.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, August 09, 2010

Maximize Your Conference (Part 5 of 10) "Visit The Trade Show and Meet The Vendors"

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Networking Catalyst". He regularly speaks at industry conventions and trade shows where he inspires the audience (and vendors) to maximize their participation at the event. One of the top reasons people attend business conferences is for the "Networking Opportunities", and yet once there they fail to create connections that will have any meaningful impact on their career. Thom sets the tone for the culture of the conference which becomes the foundation for a more meaningful set of interactions.

Maximize Your Conference (Part 5)

Visit The Trade Show and Meet The Vendors

by Thom Singer

Many convention attendees mistakenly think the trade show floor is hell and the vendors are the devil in disguise. They actively avoid walking around the booths, and if they do enter the area where the vendors display their wares, they never make eye contact with anyone. They mistakenly think the sponsoring companies are the enemy.

Other conference participants fall into a different camp. They visit the trade show, but do so with the intention of filling up a bag with as many toys, notepads, pens and other logoed items with no interest in actually having a conversation with the people in the booths. Additionally they want to enter every drawing for a free iPad, but treat the vendors like second class citizens in the hierarchy of the convention culture. These "takers" run the gauntlet of the trade show with the sole purpose of winning the "free stuff" game.

In both cases people are missing powerful opportunities to maximize their conference experience. Below are five reasons why embracing the trade show and honoring the people who are working in the booths will make the conference better for everyone, now and in the future:

1. The best conventions rely heavily on the trade show vendors to meet the necessary financial successful and keep the registration costs reasonable. If there were no trade show booths, there would be no convention (or it would be a lot less spectacular!). The vendors participate to support the industry, but also to make connections with potential clients, referral sources and other industry VIPs (these are similar to the reasons you attended).

Sure, their goals are to discover new leads. Sales makes the business world run. Your company needs more prospective customers, too.... thus do not look down on other companies for the same thing.

If the vendors are ignored or treated poorly by participants they will not return the following year. Many great conferences have shrunk or died-off because the sponsors / vendors did not find the value in being involved. If enjoy participating in your industry conferences, make it a point to thank the sponsors for their role in making it a success (if they email you later to discover if you are interested in their product do not freak out. Emails from potential vendors are not as bad as people pretend. Simply say "no thanks" and unsubscribe).

2. The vendors often host great networking events. Smart vendors go far beyond just having a booth. Many will organize hospitality suites, off-site parties, golf outings, additional educational events, and other gatherings that bring together key people at the conference. While most of their party guests are invited in advance, the best vendors are always adding people to their VIP lists. When you run away from the chance to meet sponsors and vendors, you can also be missing the chance to meet the industry leaders who will be at their private events.

3. Prejudging a whole class of people as less important to meet at the convention is very short sighted. Great vendors and their top sales professionals are always well known and respected by key people throughout your industry. Establishing strong friendships with vendors is paramount to orchestrating introductions to anyone you might want to meet. People are always happy to help those they already know, like and trust. Take advantage of being at the conference to establish or strengthen your relationships with vendors.

Vendors are often the best connectors. They know the value in making introductions to those in the industry who can do big deals together, as being a connector keeps them relevant beyond just selling their product or service.

4. Walking the trade show floor allows you to network with other conference attendees. When you are roaming up and down the rows of booths you will inevitably run into your peers - both those you already know, and those you have not yet met. The casual pace of walking the trade show allows for impromptu conversations.

Additionally, when you commit to touring the booths with another person, you get to spend time together. We are experiential beings, and sharing time with another person brings you closer together and solidifies the relationship. Ask someone to join you when you wander amongst the booths and you may make a friend at the same time.

5. Visiting the trade show could expose you to new ideas, directly and indirectly. When you walk around an industry show seeking inspiration you will often leave with new information, ideas, and other tools that will help you succeed in the future. Sometimes you will find a product or service that you should purchase immediately. Other times you will see a competitor doing something you had never considered in the past. Or maybe you will observe something unrelated to your company that will spark an idea that can be manipulated to transform the way you do business.

If nothing else, pay attention to how people set up their booths, what logoed giveaways they use, and the techniques they implement to garner attention from the attendees, as your own company can most likely do a better job when you exhibit.

Those who discredit the trade show portion of a conference or simply avoid the booths and vendors are missing out on a powerful part maximizing their conference attendance.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

I Participated In ProductCamp Austin Summer 2010

I spent the day yesterday at ProductCamp. While this was the fifth ProductCamp in Austin, it was the first one I had ever attended. I am careful not to commit my Saturdays away from home, as I travel during the week in my career as a professional speaker, but many friends encouraged me to participate.

This is an "Un-Conference" in that the speakers are not pre-determined. Over 50 people submitted proposals to speak, but there is no "speaker selection committee". Instead, the attendees show up and vote in the morning for the speakers and topics they want to hear. About 30 were chosen and a schedule was created. Once in a session, people vote with their feet, if they do not like the speaker, they walk out to go to a different room.

I was honored to be selected to present "Your Personal Brand Is Tied To Your Company". The participants in my session and I had a fun, informative and interactive discussion.

The flow of the presentation took its own direction as people asked a lot of questions and shared their thoughts. There was some division in opinions over the good and bad of being too transparent on social media, but I was impressed with the high level of respect that those with differing opinions showed to each other. There were lots of laughs.

While encouraging participants to look closely at the nuggets of information they got from all the speakers they saw at ProductCamp Austin I blurted out "Go home and look at your nuts" (yes, I meant "notes", but sometimes in a high energy presentation the wrong words gets out of a speakers mouth). It was funny, and the participants and I had continued chuckles with that line over and over and over.

One ongoing conversation in the hallway and on Twitter after the presentation was about generational differences in how much they share online. Some people thought I was too "old school" in my views, but I think we agreed more than we disagreed on the topic. The examples used were too superficial, but my point was that while making mistakes is part of life, sharing EVERY mishap could hurt your reputation. I did not mean never share anything, but why give people reasons NOT to hire you in the future.

Example above --- I am cool sharing things like the mistake of saying "nuts" instead of "notes". It was as mistake, but it did not hurt my personal or professional brand (did it?)... and it was really funny to everyone in the room! In fact, some could argue it makes one more human and approachable when you share harmless faux pas.

But there are other things people share on the internet (sex, drugs, politics, crime, dis-respect, hate-speech, etc....) that are hurting their chances at employment, client engagements, and other relationships. Plus if your employees are doing these things it can harm you company's brand. One participant shared that HR Departments conduct searches looking for reasons to eliminate people from contention for jobs over things online that could later embarrass the company.

My message was to think things through. I don't buy into the argument from younger professionals who say "it does not matter" to their generation, as in 20 years these types of things will make no difference to anyone. While society always gets more accepting over time, some things could come back to haunt you later in your career.... thus one should be cautious and careful.

When I was in college 25 years ago there were not cameras and video cameras on every cell phone (here is a shocker... nobody had cell phones!). Thus we were not recording each and every thing we did (THANK GOD). The times are different and the tools we use to communicate are different, but that does not mean people should not think about this topic of personal brand and the long term ramifications!

I think the organizers of Product Camp Austin did a great job. I will certainly attend again. The next ProductCamp in Austin will be January 15, 2011. If you live in Texas, save the date!

Have A Great Day.