Thursday, May 31, 2007

Are there BEST places and BEST people with whom to network?

Where is the BEST place to network? What groups do the BEST people attend?

I hear this a lot. Many people are hunting for an organization where only decision makers, who are ripe for the picking, attend - and happily await with checkbooks in hand. They only want to mingle with the BEST people (with proper job titles) who can lead them on the fast path to success.

I have two concerns with describing networking in the terms of finding the BEST places and the BEST people.

1. Networking is not hunting. The people you meet are not prey that you will devour. They are not Kobe Beef vs mutton. Networking is a state of mind. It is having a life philosophy of enjoying other people and trying to find ways to mutually aid each other along life's journey. Networking is creating "Ripples" (as Steve Harper, author of the great book The Ripple Effect, calls them!!!) that will go beyond yourself and positively effect the world. (Steve's book is one you should read if you are serious about better understanding how relationships will impact your future).

I used to work with a business executive who did not like to attend networking events because he did not feel the people he met were of a "high enough caliber" for him to associate. He viewed everyone by the title on their business card. If you were not a potential client or other VIP, you were nothing to him. He made up degrading nicknames for people he would encounter while networking. He felt he was doing someone a favor by showing up at local business functions, that his appearance somehow made the event better. Yet he was transparent to most of those who he encountered.

You should always try to discover the good parts of every event you attend. There is always something worthwhile in just showing up.

2. Subdividing people in the BEST and WORST is highly judgemental. It is what makes many people hate networking, they feel like it is high school all over again: The same people are always on the homecoming float while the rest of us look on from the stands. That is not networking...that is creating cliques!!!. It happens in the business world everyday, and it can undermine the value of creating powerful networks.

To really succeed at building a network of professional contacts you need to leave your judgemental self (and we all have one!) at the door. You need to welcome everyone to the table. Does that mean that you will like everyone you encounter, or that each person will become a mutually beneficial contact??? NOPE. It just means that you have to put yourself out there and be respectful to everyone.

I have found some of my greatest allies where I did not expect a connection. People whom others might disregard or ignore have shown to be true and loyal friends (in my business and my personal life). I have also been greatly disappointed by people whom I would have initially put into the "BEST" category. More than once I have been let down by someone in my network with whom I had expected a true bond. There are a lot of selfish "takers" who are disquised as "givers", and it is disappointing when you discover the truth...but that is just part of life.

Thus, there is no BEST place to network. You need to devote the time and the energy to put yourself into a variety of situations with an eclectic mix of people. There is no shortcuts or magic pills. Does this take a lot of time? Yep. I never said it was easy.

Also, there are no BEST people. Everyone is unique and you never know when you might encounter that one person who will bring you the next opportunity. Open your heart to everyone, do not pre-judge, and you will find some amazing souls that will impact your life.

Have A Great Day.


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Thank you.

66 Tips For Better Networking- #1

Put Yourself Into The World

Many people dream about having professional contacts that will refer them business and other opportunities. They imagine walking into a local business event or industry conference and having people come up to them and greet them with a welcome smile, handshake and a pat on the back. They long to be the one who is asked to participate on important panel discussions or deliver a keynote talk on their expertise. They hope that they have mind share in the grey matter of people each and every time someone thinks about their product or service.

These people want to have a NETWORK.

Developing a network of professional contacts does not happen by accident, and it cannot happen if you hide in your office.

To begin building a powerful list of connections, you need to put yourself out into the world. You must start attending business events so that you can meet other people. Many call attending these events "networking"....but real networking goes far beyond going to cocktail parties and exchanging business cards. Real networking is in how you follow up with the people you meet and creating true bonds of friendship. Meeting people is just the first step...but a very important first step!

You have to get out of your office and be visible in your business community. Many people do not feel comfortable attending events that are full of strangers. Because of this, they unravel a plethora of excuses as to why they do not attend networking events. The reality is that they are just giving into their own fears and thus limiting their future. Opportunities come from people, and the more people who know you, the better your chances of future successes.

Get past the excuses and just put yourself out into the world. Show up and talk to people. Do not expect to make a "love connection" with everyone you meet, just open yourself up and have discussions. Building relationships takes time and mutual respect. Do not fool yourself into thinking that attending one or two events will magically make you well connected, it wont. But do not let this stop you from meeting people.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why PR Doesn't Work - Apparently 100% The Client's Fault

Super Blogger Guy Kawasaki has a post up on May 24th written by his friend Margie Zable Fisher called "The Top Ten Reasons Why PR Doesn't Work".

We all know that PR is an important, valuable and mysterious tool to the success of any product, service, company, book, movie, politician, etc..... and her article is full of very important points. However, it also hits to the core of my frustration with most public relations professionals:

Anything that does not work is ALWAYS the fault of the client and their lack of commitment or understanding!!!

She is right, clients do not grasp how PR really works or the scope of how long it can take to reach the tangible results that most people desire. However, what you never hear from most PR executives is that their craft is as much art as it is science. This means that even the best in the business cannot guarantee results. It is a crap shoot on many levels...and an expensive crap shoot at that.

I had a PR person ask me for $3000 per month for a year to help promote my books. While I am very interested in working with an experienced public relations person, $36,000 is more than I can invest at this time. Additionally, there is nothing that can predict what kind of results we would have at the end of the program. There is a chance that she could bring results, but there is also a chance that we would come up short.

Why is it that there are no public relations executives who are willing to work on a sliding scale based on the results they actually produce for the client? I would be excited to partner with someone who would get a piece of the action for helping me grow my business, and be rewarded by what they accomplish. The problem with this way of doing business is two fold:

1. It is hard to quantify the exact value of PR to sales. Thus there are many clients who would never fairly compensate the PR person. The PR firm wants to insure that they are paid, thus the system exists where there is no way for the client to be guaranteed any results, yet the PR firm always gets paid. Not a bad deal if you are the PR firm.

2. Many PR campaigns fail to produce meaningful results. I know, they do not tell you this in their brochures, but sometimes competent PR executives invest a lot of time and effort, and nobody in the media cares about your product or service. Bummer, but true. Thus, again, the PR firm wants to be paid for their time, so the system exists where the client pays the bill no matter what. Not a bad deal if you are the PR firm.

I do not want to discredit Ms. Zable Fisher's points, as I agree with them.....but they are only one sided. I know many great PR folks who I wish I could afford to hire, because I know that they would produce stronger media attention than I can in my own bootstrap efforts. But for today, I am a bootstrapper!!! (I welcome any advice on doing my own with your suggestions! Or if you know someone who is just starting out in PR who wants to cut their teeth and grow up together with an aspiring author/speaker...I would welcome having a conversation!!! Fun it be to bootstrap together and see amazing results that are mutually beneficial.)

Have A Great Day.


Note: After writing the above I checked out (A division of Zable Fisher Public Relations). Ms. Zable Fisher has some WONDERFUL advice and resources available on this website and she is clearly an expert in the field. I do not want the above to seem like I am discrediting her, as I am impressed with what I see in her and her company. But I stand by my beliefs that PR is an expensive crap shoot that does not always produce results worthy of the money spent. If successful, it will be worth every penny, and finding the right PR executive is the most important step. Ms. Zable Fisher will help match your company's needs to a qualified firm. I have added her blog to my blogroll, as I see she has wonderful insight to anyone interested in PR.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Marketing Jobs Can Have A Short Life

Fast Company Magazine has an article in the June 2007 edition called "The Most Dangerous Job In Business". Columnist Ellen McGirt weaves a scary story for marketing professionals, as it seems that chief marketing officers in corporations have a frighteningly short life span.

Just a sample of CMO's who recently were let go over the past year include Kerri Martin of Volkswagen of America, John Flemming of WalMart, Michael Linton of Best Buy, Mary Minnick of Coca-Cola and Javier Benito of Starwood Hotels. For the past three years, a survey has shown, that the average tenure for CMO's in the companies with the highest 100 recognizable brands is only 23 months.

The revolving door is concerning. Two years is hardly enough time to get programs rolling. When a new CMO comes in they will most likely abandon the other's programs, thus never allowing companies to ever really see results. If a company is not seeing growth, the marketing team is vulnerable from the get-go.

I see this happen all the time in law firms. In the legal marketing profession the life of a CMO/director of marketing is equally as fragile (even shorter in many instances). In a limited amount of time, one or more noisy partners will start to complain about something....and the whole firm will sour on the marketer, rather than fight with the malcontents in their own partner ranks. Most firms have a difficult time giving a real "seat at the table" to non-lawyers, and this the CMO and others in marketing and business development (aka: anyone without a JD) are rarely seen as having real importance.

Law firms often will only hire someone with specific "legal marketing experience". This leads to the revolving door of a handful of the same people (granted, most of these folks in the "legal marketing pool" are very competent!!) going from firm to firm.

I was recently contacted by a head hunter about relocating to another city to fill a job in a major law firm as the director of marketing and business development. The firms had "gone a different direction" with the previous executive who held the job, but what was most telling was that they had been through three top marketers in five years. Who in their right mind would want to work for this firm who tosses out folks every eighteen months? YIKES. But that is what is happening in firms and companies around the country.

Marketing is becoming more about being able to justify your value as CMO than actually growing the firm's brand. While there are many aspects of successful marketing that you can measure, much of marketing and branding is subjective. If you cannot measure it, then you are vulnerable....and if you spend all your time making sure you have ROI, you will never have successful marketing. Uh oh. Sounds like a vicious cycle.

Which brings us back to networking. If you are a marketing professional you had best have an excellent internal and external network of professional contacts. You will need it for your survival inside the firm/company...and you will need it to land your next job in the next two years!

Have A Great Day.


***Have you taken the NETWORKING QUOTIENT QUIZ??? It only takes a few minutes and will give you an instant score of how you are doing with your networking efforts.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell Is Not A Business Professional, She Is A Diva (There Is A Difference!)

Rosie O'Donnell quit her TV show three weeks before her contract expired in a big hoopla following a fight with her "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. This entire year of Rosie O'Donnell's reign on the morning talk show has certainly boosted the fame of the otherwise obscure program, but it has been a roller coaster ride that should leave ABC and Barbara Walters red with embarrassment. If the entertainment industry was run like a real business, ratings and sponsorships would evaporate.....but Hollywood is not like has its own set of rules.

Rosie has gone from being a very funny stand up comedienne/actress (lets not forget she began her career by winning on Ed McMahon's "Star Search" in the 1980's) to becoming an icon for what happens to celebrities who get too much money and too much fame and start to believe their own opinions as God-like....feeling a need to use their fame as a comic or actor to now shower the "little people" with their enlightened views. OH PLEASE!

Money, power and fame have the ability to give some people an un-natural level of self grandiose importance (this happens in the business world as well!!!). Regardless of your political and social beliefs, (this is not about Rosie's status as a left-wing spokesperson) I do not thing that anyone should to look at pampered Hollywood stars as the experts on any topic beyond the entertainment industry....and yet, in America....that is exactly what happens. Our society makes to the likes of Rosie O'Donnell, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, etc... important. The reality is that when celebrities get to this level, they are confusing their market (are they an entertainer or a political pundit?). In business if you confuse the marketplace, often the business fails. Not true in Tinseltown, you can be whatever you want to be in Fantasyland.

The problem is that if Rosie, and others like her, acted with grace and class they could not keep their famous stature at the top. There is always someone right behind them grabbing for the headlines and spotlights. In business there is also competition, but you keep your customers by being amazing at what you do...not by being pompous and spewing your words upon the masses. But we need to remember that the actions of many of these folks is just marketing for their careers. Rosie will find another show, and get paid a lot of money to say more outrageous stuff.

Being a diva is all about product placement for Ms. O'Donnell. She is her own product, and our lust to watch celebrity brings her millions of dollars. But in the corporate world, such negative crazy antics will backfire on a company. Being over the top might get an early bounce, but people vote with their dollars in business, and to succeed you need to have a quality product or service that brings actual value. Companies cannot succeed by hoping people will tune in to see them behave like a train wreck.

As a business professional, you would be fired, or asked to leave, if you behaved like Rosie O'Donnell. And it looks like that is what happened to her as well. Hmmmm, go figure.

Have A Great Day.


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Friday, May 25, 2007

Not Everyone Will Like You, It's Okay!

While sharing some positive thoughts about a person to a small group of people, I had someone pull me aside and say; "Just so you know, he does not say such kind things about you!".

I was a little shocked that a person would tell me "hey, this person you think is a friend, is not so much". I think the informer was shocked when I replied "that's okay, not everyone has to like me". It is true...not everyone we meet will like us, and that is not a problem.

I got the sense that she was trying to stir up trouble. I can think of no other reason she would tell me such a thing. She and I had never met before, so it was not as if she is an friend who was watching my back, and I was not claiming the other person as my best friend (I know him well, but not that well). I was just making a complimentary comment when his name was brought up in conversation.

If you are actively involved in business, you will encounter many people. Everyone has their own agenda and personal history. Many people are fast to judge others. Far too many like to gossip or try to belittle the success of people around them. That is just life. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make every person you meet search for ways to find mutually beneficial connections....but it just doesn't work that way. People are human, and that leads to lots of less than ideal situations and interactions.

I still say nice things about the guy who disses me. I am not going to change my ways to mirror his negativity. I try to do the right thing by others everyday. Sometimes I come up short (way short! Perfection is just not me). Yet I get out of bed and try again tomorrow. I can't worry about someone who does not like how I go about my business, as long as I am working hard and ethically.

How about you? Have you ever encountered a situation like this? Did it eat you up inside? I used to get upset when I was not liked. Now I know it is just part of life. I suggest you do two things:

1. Take a good look at your relationship with the other person. Could there be a misunderstanding or have you taken actions that negatively impacted this person? If yes, then be proactive and try to make the situation right. Meeting with them and apologizing can have a strong impact on the future.

2. If you honestly did nothing wrong, then just realize that the other party has issues that you cannot change. Now forget about it. Only speak well of them, or say nothing at all. Do not find yourself bad-mouthing someone will tell them (like the random lady who decided to tell me!) and you will end up looking worse.

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thank Co-Workers For Their Contribuition

I received an email from Carl, a small business owner, who is a subscriber to this blog. He wanted my thoughts on how he could say thank you to an employee who had recommended a vendor to his company. The employee's friend owns an advertising/PR agency, and Carl hired that firm to oversee a re-branding campaign for his company. Carl was thrilled with the results, and wanted to honor the employee who had made the recommendation....but did not want to "over-do" or "under-do" the gesture.

This made me laugh, so often people will over-think how to say "Thank You". They spend so much time milling it over in their mind that they never do anything.

I replied to Carl's email and told him to stop thinking too much about how to show gratitude to his employee and just do it. I did not know his budget or company I made a few suggestions, but did encourage him to recognize the person in a public setting. Having the praise be delivered in front of peers might out weight the actual trinket or token of appreciation.

My favorite suggestion was that Carl and his wife take the employee and her husband out to a nice dinner as a way of showing honoring the introduction. The reason is that this type of "thank you" is out of the ordinary, unique, and it will help him build a greater bond with the employee.

I had a similar experience about five years ago. I had gone "beyond the call of duty" to help with a situation at the law firm where I was marketing and business development manager. The managing partner and his wife invited my wife and I to join them for a nice dinner at a top tier steakhouse. It was a great way to say "thanks", and strengthened my relationship with this partner. I have never forgotten that evening, or that attorney for his graciousness. While I no longer work for him, I will forever hold him in high esteem.

However you say thank you, just do it. Employees and co-workers often contribute to our success. Too often their extraordinary efforts are just seen as them doing their job. Do not ignore it when someone goes the extra mile. Find a special way to say "thank you", and you will get more from that person in the future!!!

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blind Ambition Is For The Birds

Two small birds decided to begin building a nest inside the vent over the cook-top from my kitchen. (Why the builder of the house did not have this vent previously bird proofed is beyond me, but that is another story).

My wife heard the commotion of the nest construction in the wall, which lead me to Home Depot to buy some mesh to close their off their entry. I removed all the twigs, stems, twine and other nesting materials (there were no eggs yet, so if you are one of those who value nature over humans, do not jump on me!) and sealed the opening.

Or so I thought.

These crafty little birds were industrious, and were able to pry the mesh away and regain entry to the vent.

I admire the birds for having that much ambition, but they did not know what they were up against. Again I removed all their nesting materials and did a much better job of blocking them from building their home in my cook-top vent. No matter how focused they are, I am not going to let them into that vent to raise their family.

This got me thinking about life. Sometime I pick the wrong things to focus on and no matter how much I try, I will not achieve the desired result. Someone or something is there to deflect my success. I can get sidetracked on the detractors and lose sight of my actual goals, and the reasons I am chasing them in the first place.

How about you? Have you ever gone after something, and gotten side-tracked in the details, only to discover you were off track? These are the times when we need to reassess our goals and aspirations and make sure that we are clear on our personal motivation. The birds eventually moved on to build their nest somewhere else. This time I wish them all the luck in the world, but if they had blind ambition to only go after my vent, they would have lost.

The real goal of these birds was to build a nest....not to build one at Thom Singer's house. It is that clarity of the real goal that allowed them to move on to a new location and lay those eggs.

Have A Great Day.


**** The ABC's of Networking is now available at

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

10 Ways To Network For The Budget Minded Person

Brian Tannenbaum at the Miami Business Network Blog has been posting some really great stuff lately on the subject of networking.

Today he offers us "The 10 Most Creative Ways To Network - For Cheap People". While I don't think anyone wants to be labeled as "cheap"....we all know the need to watch how much money we spend. Go over and take a read of his stuff.

Have A Great Day.


Jason Dorsey - A Class Act!

Over the past two years of writing this blog, promoting my books, and speaking to companies, law firms and organizations around the country I have had the opportunity to meet some outstanding people. It is a true blessing to have been in contact with exciting and enthusiastic individuals from many walks of life. Through these encounters I have learned more about the business world, human nature, life and my own soul.

This week I had the honor of spending an hour with a successful author and professional speaker who lives here in Austin, Texas. Jason Dorsey has written four best-selling books and has spoken to large audiences around the world. He has met presidents, business executives, celebrities, university presidents and hundreds of thousands of young adults. All that and he is still under thirty years old!

We met for coffee and talked about the book and speaking businesses. Jason was very gracious with his time and shared his thoughts and advice freely. As I have said many times, people who are truly successful professionally, spiritually and emotionally are always willing to lend a hand to others who are reaching for success.

How about you? Do you open up your calendar to help others who are looking to learn more about your line of work? If the answer is "no"...why not?

Jason has been growing his successful business for over ten years. He is quoted in the current issue of Forbes Magazine that hits the shelves this week, talking about "Generation Y in the workplace". He is an expert in all things related to youth in both the academic and workplace environments.

I stopped at BookPeople after our meeting and purchased his newest book, "My Reality Check Bounced", and I look forward to reading it this week. Although the book is for people who are "twenty-something" (I am over 40), it still seems like a relevant book for anyone looking for more out of life.

This guy is a class act.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

23 Reasons People Avoid Networking

Many people work very hard to justify their avoidance of networking. They spend all the time in the world trying to convince themselves that they do not need to develop a network of professional contacts that can and will refer business. They throw out ridiculous reasons as to why they do not have the time to dedicate to attending business events and then follow up with those they meet.

These people are like my ten year old daughter. I asked her to clean her bedroom, a job that should have taken ten minutes. Instead she complained and made up reasons to avoid getting to work for twenty minutes. The task took over a half hour because of all the excuses and whining. Once she got focused the results came fast.

The same is true in building your reputation in the business community. Below is a partial list of excuses I have heard from professional men and women over the years who were trying to avoid going to a business event or other networking function. As you read this list, ask yourself if these sound like rational and educated adults, or a ten year old girl who does not want to clean her room:

"Networking is a waste of time"

"Nobody you meet networking ever refers business"

"My industry is
different, that is not how I get clients"

"I am too busy"

"I hate networking"

"I am not comfortable in a large crowd"

"There are too many pushy sales people at networking events"

"I am too senior of an executive to network"

"I am too junior of an executive to network"

"I am only judged on my billable hours, not on my networking efforts"

"I have to get home to see my kids"

"You don't understand my situation"

"I am not good in a social situation"

"My wife/husband wont let me stay out after work"

"Networking is only for when you need new business"

"Cold calling is more effective"

"Clients will find me if I just work hard"

"Is my competition going to be there? If not I don't need to go"

"Is my
competition going to be there" If yes, I don't like to go to the same events they are at"

"I have had a busy week"

"I need to catch up on paper work"

"Other people in my office don't have to go to these networking events"

"Why is it always me who has to represent the firm?"

So do any of these excuses sound familiar? Do you recognize yourself making some of these excuses? All of the above are B.S. Make networking a priority and stop wasting time. Take action. Building a strong referral network will lead you to more opportunities and more success.
Have A Great Day.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

5 Star Review

I know that many readers of my blog have read my books.


If you have enjoyed either Some Assembly Required or The ABC's of Networking, I would invite you to write a 5 Star review on

Thank you for your support.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Austin Tech Happy Hour Has Successful Launch

Thursday night was the first Austin Tech Happy Hour. 100 people showed up to catch the buzz of the technology entrepreneurial spirit, which is alive and well in the Texas capital city.

While memories of the old days of the High Tech Happy Hours swirled around, the Austin Tech Happy Hour was not at all about yesterday, but very much in the here and now. An excitement was in the air, and optimistic talk about the future of the tech industry was abundant. The attendees were employed and enthusiastic. It was a good time had by all.

Mark your calendar for the next Austin Tech Happy Hour on June 28th.

Sign up to be on the email list for future announcements at
Have A Great Day.

Friday Parade - The Bionic Woman

Those of us old enough to remember Steve Austin and Jamie Sommers as the super-heros of 1970's television should be excited to know that NBC has announced the return of The Bionic Woman to the fall line up.

Move over Lindsey Wagner, as newcomer Michelle Ryan will be talking on the role as the technology enhanced do-gooder. While Ms Wagner was attractive, she was not nearly as sexy as Wonder Woman's Linda Carter. Ms. Ryan looks like she will be spicing up the role! I feel very old, however, as the actress was born the same year I graduated high school.

I am not too proud to admit that I was a fan of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. Although I always was skeptical of the what would the ods be that if you had only one man on the planet (Col. Austin) with bionics (who was almost killed in a test plane crash), rebuilt by the government with mechanical legs, one arm and an eye....that his fiance would later have a skydiving accident and also be maimed to the point of requiring the same parts (albeit and ear, not an eye). That is just statistically one unlucky couple.

Nobody in their forties can forget the immortal words of Oscar Goldman; "Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster!!!" (I admit I forget the opening lines of the Bionic Woman, but it was similar). They could run, jump, lift cars. It was all very cool. Now after too many seasons it got weird when they ended up with a bionic dog, but all shows must run their course. The two shows often overlapped, having many stars and story lines that appeared in both shows. It was "cross over episodic television" at its best! I worry about the success of the Bionic Woman without The Six Million Dollar Man. They were really a duo.

Finally, I am curious as to how inflation has impacted bionics over thirty years. The cost to rebuild Austin and Sommers was $6 million. In today's economy that is not nearly as much as it was in the late 1970s. Hmmmm, she had better be a badass crime fighter at what those legs will cost the US taxpayer!

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Do Not Stall, Make The Call

Take action quickly when it comes to a new client opportunity. He who hesitates is lost.

Last week I visited six car dealers in search of a new vehicle. I was not sure what I was shopping for, but I knew I was in the market for a new car or truck. I spoke with sales professionals at each dealership. I was clear that I was not in a rush to buy, but that I would know the right deal when I saw it. I encouraged them to sell me a new car.

Only two people chose to call me back within a few days of my visits. One of them did have a great car at a great price, and I acted, much quicker than I had expected...and purchased a new Mazda Tribute.

Steve Borke at Mazda South (in Austin, Texas) was a great sales professional. He was not pushy, but made me feel like my business was a priority to him and his dealership. He took the time to understand what was important to me, and worked to make the deal happen. Only one other dealership even attempted to show me a car.

This week, after my purchase was complete, I did hear back from two to other sales professionals. Two others still have not contacted me again in ten days since I walked their showrooms.

When you have a prospect, you need to be active with them, or the deal could go to your competition. I know, as this has happened to me in my sales career. I did not want to be too aggressive, so I waited for the customer. In the meantime, they were closing the deal with someone else. OUCH.

Take a moment right now and look at your pipeline... now call your prospect to keep yourself in the game.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kings, Pawns and Knights

Hugh MacLeod at The Gaping Void Blog has this new cartoon up today (If you do not know Hugh, he is a blogger and cartoonist. He has some great stuff that will make you smile and think at the same time).

At first when I saw it I laughed, then I cried (cuz it is too real...none of us wants to be a pawn).

In reading the comments section one of his readers shared "But at the end of the game they all go in the same box". Hmmmm, that might make some feel better....but then I realized the king is still king and the pawn is still a pawn...even when in the box.

When faced with never being the king, many will justify that they are not really pawns, but rather Knights (I always liked the horse shaped chess ones best!). The image of being a knight is a romantic and adventurous notion. Knights make things happen.

If you can be a Knight, then you have what it takes to be a King, you just need to create your own kingdom. It is for this that many toil away day after day, striving to create our own empires. Yet it is easy to get caught in the trap of just working hard. Like the pawn in the cartoon, many of us will mistakenly labor at the wrong task for a lifetime, missing the chance to fulfill our true desires.

Have A Great Day.


*****Have you read The ABC's of Networking (New Year Publishing, 2007)??? Available now in stock at There had been an issue because Amazon had run out of books and many of the blog readers were complaining that the book was not available for a few weeks....but alas, the are now order today! Heck, buy two and give one to a friend!!! Thanks.

Handwritten Notes

When is the last time you sent a handwritten not to someone you met at a business function as a follow up? Not an email, but a real letter (US postage went up to 41 cents today, FYI)

I know, you think about doing it,....but do you ever actually do that kind of thing?

If no, then you should. NOW.

If yes, congratulations, you are ahead of your competition.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Life Can Be A Hole-In-One!

Howard Tanner is a 90-year-old golfer in South Florida who has been playing his favorite sport for 78 years. This week he hit a hole in one!!

How cool is that? Most golfers will never achieve this amazing feat, and yet they still love the sport and play a round at every chance. Tanner said; "If you play that long, you figure something is going to go right!"

True in golf, and in life!

A round of golf involves eighteen holes, each one different from the next. Keep plugging along and doing what you love. Continue to try and victory could be around the next corner. Never get complacent or bored with your dreams, goals and aspirations. When you reach the end, it is not will come back again the next time! That is the path to greatness.

Have A Great Day.


*****Have your read my new book, The ABC's of Networking? I would appreciate your feedback. Send me an email and let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blogger Gets Free Pants

A while back I got contacted to review the new Nautica N-Series Straight Leg Jeans. Now this blog and it's author are miles away from being expertly knowledgeable about fashion, however.... I do wear jeans. But what is fashion? It is just what you like to wear. It is personal. Sure, it can be trendy, but it is also individual.

On a whim, I agreed to a free pair of jeans and blogging about these dungarees. Hey, I like free stuff as much as the next guy, and I needed a new pair of blue jeans. It was a perfect match.

The press release that came with the pants states that Nautica has "created a versatile new jean for the 20-something male". Hmmmmm, I will be 41 in a few weeks. Uh-oh. Will these pants fit my middle-age body? I am almost old enough to be the father to their entire target market. This is evident by the series of videos on their website that are edgy and funny, but certainly not a bunch of married suburban dads on their way to see Disney Princesses on Ice (oh yes guys.... You may be young, hip, fit and cool today, but in 20 years you will be living a very different life!!!)

All that being said, these are great jeans. I wear them all the time. They are a little big on me (I did not get to try them on, they just came in the mail) but they are the most comfortable pair of pants in my wardrobe. The ironic thing is that since they arrived I have had two people tell me "those are very nice jeans". They are cool with a t-shirt, or more dressed up.

Thanks to Nautica Jeans Co. and their PR firm for the my jeans. I am not sure why they picked me to be one of the bloggers who got to review the jeans, but I love my free pants. I am going to send the contact from the PR firm a free copy of my new book, and I hope he will like the book as much as I like the jeans!

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Location, Location, Location

In the retail business they say it is all Location, Location, Location. The same is true when you are trying to build a network of professionals contacts that can and will refer you business.

McDonald's and Starbuck's spend millions of dollars researching the best locations to open their stores. They are so good at selecting excellent locations, that other retailers often just select store fronts that are next door. They know that their dedication to high traffic areas will translate to more business for everyone in the shopping center.

People often wonder how to get started networking. It is all about location. In this case it is not about a physical location, but rather, discovering where the people you want to meet are going to be...and then putting yourself at the same events.

If you want to get to know people in a specific industry, you need to discover what events, conferences, conventions and seminars they attend. Then sign up and be there.

You cannot build a network without investing the time to be around other people.

Additionally, if you know some people who are very well connected in your business community, find out what organizations they belong to...and join those groups. If the top networkers are participating, you can be sure that the events are worth your time.

Survey the location of those you want to know and make sure you commit yourself to being there.

Have A Great Day.


*****The location of my new book, The ABC's of Networking, is at

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Go Ahead, Make My Day

People like it when you complement their business. We spend so much time doing our jobs, that a little "hey, good job" goes a long way to make someone feel better about themselves.

I try to tell people when they do something that is impressive. A waitress who gives exceptional service gets a big tip, but one should also pull her (or better yet, her and her boss) aside and point out how her efforts made your restaurant experience phenomenal.

In our culture people are quick to criticize (either publicly or privately. And don't get me started about the anonymous world on-line where folks are down right nasty). Yet nobody feels the need to praise others.

Yesterday I got a phone call from a friend of mine. He had given my books to some co-workers, and one of them had come back and shared their appreciation for reading them, and how they were motivated by the words. My friend called me at home last night to share the comments, which were detailed as to what inspired the reader. It made my day. It erased other parts of my afternoon that had not been pleasant.

He did not have take the time to call me and share this information, but he did it anyway. His small investment in time had a big impact.

When I worked inside a major law firms (in marekting and business development), I was asked what was the biggest "difference" I found being in a firm vs. a corporate environment. My answer was that in a company there tended to be more praise when you had an accomplishment. There were more "att-a-boys". One of the attorneys told me just to pat myself on the back every time I used the parking card and the gate went up..."Attaboy!". It was a funny answer, but somehow too close to the truth.

Take the time to tell people when they are doing something right. Do not assume that they already know how you feel, or that doing a good job is just expected.

Here is your challenge. Before today is over, find someone to praise. Do it in person. Make a call. If the day is almost over, send them an email or a text message. But tell them why they are good at their job. You will be will make their day.

Have A Great Day.


*****Purchase Some Assembly Required and The ABC's of Networking at

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Some Law Firms Understand The Importance of Marketing, Sales, PR, and Customer Service.

Yesterday I had a delightful conversation with a woman who was the Attorney Development Director for a 100 lawyer New York firm. Also on the call was the firm's Managing Partner, Marketing Director and Recruiting Manager.

Holy Cow, Batman!!!!!....sometimes law firms do get it right when it comes to understanding the importance of marketing, business development, PR, customer service and sales (yes, they used the "S" word!!!).

While not a large firm, they have a big firm attitude. They realize that in the business world the companies they represent invest a lot of time, money, focus and energy into these important disciplines. They make sure that every partner, associate, paralegal, assistant and mail room clerk knows that clients (past, current and future) are what pays the bills. They have a culture that insists that everyone be focused on growing the firm, or they are asked to leave.

They see marketing, training, recruiting and client relations as all equally important parts of their firm (equal to those who are JD's, too!). They have hired an impressive group of professionals to lead their way into the next decade.

The reason for the call is that every August they have a firm retreat, where I may be one of their featured speakers (either at a break out session for lawyers or at the Friday dinner for the whole firm). This two-day event takes place over a Friday and Saturday and all firm employees are required to attend (yes, secretaries and file clerks, too!). It was clear that this was no vacation. No golf or spouse events ("unless they choose to stay over Saturday night and play on Sunday on their own nickle").

The purpose is insure that everyone is involved in the planning, strategy and execution of the firm's five-year plan. They have team building, strategic planning, technical training, and "cross-selling-brain-storming" sessions.

I was impressed with their views on how important business relationships are to their success. They know that opportunities exist in the business community, but that there are many choices for legal services. The only way they can compete is to be uniquely focused in their efforts to occupy the mental real estate of clients. Out of sight is out of mind. This firm understands that it takes work ("Some Assembly Required") to create an image that stands out from the crowd.

I predict continued success for these attorneys. I look forward to getting to know them better, as I think their way is the future.

Have A Great Day


Make Networking Happen

Hugh McLeod at The Gaping Void Blog was in New York yesterday on a stop-over on a trip from Seattle back to his home in London. He had no plans, so while sitting in a Starbucks at Lexington and 44th (I was in that same Starbuck's last year) he posted on his highly read blog asking if anyone in the area was free for lunch.

WAMMO, within minutes his cell phone rang and he had lunch plans. He had lunch with two folks, one of whom he had met before. That is cool. 20 years ago if a famous artist/writer was waiting for a plane, he ate lunch solo. Today the world is a wired place where you can organize a get together with interesting people with just a few keystrokes and a cell phone.

I admire Hugh, as when he travels he is always open to meeting new people in the places he visits. He makes networking events happen. I look forward to his next visit to Austin, as I plan to buy his lunch.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Austin Business Bloggers Dinner - TONIGHT

May the next Austin Business Bloggers Dinner at Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress at 5:30 PM.

This is an informal gathering of folks who write, or want to write, business oriented blogs. Be on time, as we gather in the bar area at 5:30. Around 5:45 we move to a table and the casual conversation, advice, best-practice sharing and blogosphere knowledge is shared freely.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Little Networking Gestures

I recently made an introduction of two people whom have a mutually beneficial connection. One of the women was apparently shocked that I would do such a thing to help her with no apparent benefit for myself (the connection was non-business related, but could be very helpful to a cause she supports). She was grateful, but it was obvious in her "thank you" and some comments to a mutual friend that she was dumbfounded by my gesture of goodwill.

Why was she surprised that someone she does not know well would go out of their way to do a favor?

I think it is because too few people do the little things to help others. Sure, people will help you if a hurricane blows your house over (humans are very compassionate in a disaster), but many cannot be bothered to take a moment to send an email making an introduction where others will prosper. I am fairly sure the surprised woman does not go out of her way to help others in small ways (I know she is very charitable in the big picture ways).

Making introductions is a great way to impact someones life. Often you will never even know about how these "little networking gestures" will come to fruition. Sometimes nothing will materialize from such introductions, other times it will forever impact lives. It is through people that opportunities arise. How wonderful to be the genesis of opportunity.

When I look at the most phenomenal parts of my life, they are all directly related to other people who have impacted my life. If I had never met the right people, I would have missed the chance to soar.

How well do you know the people in your Rolodex? Would you recognize a connection that could impact their life? If you look for small ways to help others, and you just might have a MEGA effect on their future.

Have A Great Day.


Putting Others First

Friday I met a guy named Chris. He is thirty-five years old and was passing through Austin on his way from Arizona to North Carolina. He is moving home to care for his ill mother who is battling cancer. He packed up all his possessions and was leaving his life behind to help his mother through this fight.... during what sounded like the end of her journey. He is an only child and his mother is a widow.

He was a nice guy. We talked for about an hour, and I was impressed with his outlook on the world. He is single, and thus had the ability to drop everything and take on this task, but even without a wife and kids, I cannot imagine this was an easy decision. I know first hand that caring for an ailing parent is a horrible experience.

I do not know much about my new friend other than his first name, but I admire him for his commitment to do the right thing for his mom. I know in the end he will have no regrets. When you put the needs of others before your own, there are always unimaginable positives that come back to you.

Godspeed, Chris. May the rest of your cross-country drive be a good experience. I wish you and your mother many blessings in the next few months or years.

Have A Great Day.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Austin Tech Happy Hour

There was a time in Austin, Texas when The High Tech Happy Hour monthly events rocked the town. Hundreds of people turned out for the fun of networking with others who worked in and around the booming tech industry. Executives, engineers, programmers, office staff, venture capitalists, service providers and others came together and celebrated the times.

Those times died with bust of high tech.

But now there is again a buzz in the air in Austin. The city is today hustling with innovation. You can't keep the entrepreneurial spirit at bay, and people are again having fun in the technology industry.

Alas, the birth of a new happy hour:

Austin Tech Happy Hour
Molotov Lounge
May 17th from 6-8pm

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fun happy hour for young professionals in technology. Here’s your chance to come out and enjoy networking on the rooftop of Austin’s leading happy hour spot. About once a month sponsors will support a happy hour where people can relax and mingle with other professionals from the technology industry in Austin. Come and add new contacts to your network, discuss current technology innovations, and perhaps even find a candidate to add to your team.

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another Book Review - ABC's of Networking

Jason Alba at The JibberJobber Blog reviewed The ABC's of Networking.

I appreciate Jason's kind words and positive reaction to the book. Jason is an expert on career management, and he is correct, that everything fits together in successfully building all parts of your life.

If you are not familiar with Jibber should check it out. One never knows when life will change and a job hunt will be around the corner. Being prepared is important!


Smile At People. Talk To People

I love people. I enjoy talking with folks from any background (as long as they are respectful and have an open mind). Different political views, religious beliefs, various ethnic origins and a schmorgesborg of interests are what make the world so fascinating. Your spirit comes alive when you meet another human being with whom you can have a captivating discussion.

Yet so many walk through life in a protective shell. People try to insulate themselves from others. No eye contact. No smile. No hint of joy in their soul. YUCK.

This morning in Starbucks I sat reading a book. From time to time I would watch the urban professionals roll through to get their daily caffeine fix. I am a regular in the coffee shop, thus I often would see a friendly face and get a familiar smile. Many who know me will exchange a few words. Beyond that, few of the patrons make any effort to notice those around them.

"Tall decaf, room for cream". "Grande extra shot non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte". "Venti zebra mocha with extra whip cream". The Starbuck's has it's own language which all the citizens speak fluently. But they only speak with the bartistas. Few will acknowledge that others are in the store. They fall into line and try to be invisibly lost in their own world.

The younger folks have iPods blaring in their ears, just to be sure that they do not have to interact with any other people.

I believe the world was different 100 years ago. My fantasy is that people talked to each other in the coffeehouses of yesterday. They did not live their lives behind invisible fences of the mind, but instead ran free with each other in stimulating conversation. Maybe I am wrong. Perhaps it was always like it is today.

If you ever see me sitting at the Starbucks at 5th and Lamar in Austin, feel free to smile and say hello. I am easy to recognize, as I am the person who is smiling at you.

Have A Great Day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Do Business Books Work?

Any reader of this blog knows I am a big believer that business professionals should read regularly. Business books, blogs, newspapers, magazines, white papers, etc.... If you are not learning you are getting stale.

Super-blogger Seth Godin has a new post called "Do Business Books Work?"

Think about his point:

"If you went to a doctor who told you that she hadn't read a scholarly article or taken any training since med school, would you stick around? What about a lawyer who doesn't read law journals or a dentist who never bothered to read up on the newest case studies?"

Business professionals should be reading more books!

If you are currently reading this, you are ahead of the game. If you are reading my new book, The ABC's of Networking, I admire you (not just for reading MY book, but because you are reading books! Yet, THANK YOU for selecting mine!!!).

If you were asked "What book are you currently reading", would you have an answer?

Encourage your kids to read when they are young. When I was a kid I hated to read, but my dad lead by example (is there any other way to really lead?). He read the paper everyday. Always had a book on the coffee table, and often read the bible for fun. I was 25 years old before I embraced reading, but if not for Dad's example, I may have never taken up books. If I had not read a lot, I would not have written.....and thus my life would be different (for the worse).

People claim they do not have time to read. Bull. (I would have used a stronger word than bull that was followed by a poop related slang, but a reader recently chastised me for swaring on my blog). You have the time to do any activity that you see as a priority.

Have A Great Day.


Friendship Is A Precious Gift

On page 100 of Harry Beckwith's new book, You, Inc., is a gripping quote about how we measure friendships:

"We measure our importance to them in time. Acquaintances give us moments, friends give us hours, good friends give us days."

Think about how true this is in your life. I know many people who spare me only moments. Some of them I would happily give days, but they can only share a morsel.

Good friends are a treasure. Cherish them and give them the time they deserve.

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

All Boards Networking Event

Here is a great idea started by the Austin Chapter of The Entrepreneur's Organization. About a year ago they started co-hosting a local networking event for the board members of many of the area's top business groups. The purpose being to allow those individuals who are actively serving on committees of these phenomenal organizations to get to know each other better, and thus help each other in countless ways.

As you know if you serve on the board of any organization, it is a lot of work. Not everyone will volunteer their time to help execute all the tasks necessary to make a business non-profit group thrive. By introducing the folks from these organizations to each other is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved.

They hold this event twice a year, and last night was an amazing success. Over 100 people showed up. Many folks already knew each other well, others found it to be an outstanding opportunity to expand their business networks. Everyone was interested in the mission and memberships of the various groups that exist in the Austin Business Community. Hosted by EO and TEXCHANGE (and sponsored by the Winstead law firm), over twenty business organizations were represented.

I write about this because most of the readers of this blog are from outside of the Austin area. This is an excellent idea for you to replicate in your community. You may want to start with your local Entrepreneur's Organization (they have chapters in most major cities!), and get them involved. Then reach out to the local business groups that exist in your town. You will need a sponsor and a location, but those should be easy because of the high level of local executives who populate the boards in your business community. Business groups are not in competition with each other, but instead they all can thrive together.

Have A Great Day


Book Review - The ABC's of Networking

Silvia L. Coulter from CoulterCranston wrote a very nice review of my new book on The Law Marketing Portal. Click here to read the review.

The book is available at

Have A Great Day.