Monday, November 29, 2010

Planning Your 2011 - Company Meetings, Facilitated Discussions, and Success In The New Year

Do not take your business into the new year without a plan for success.

In boom times many people ride the wave and make money in spite of themselves. They get big contracts, dream jobs, and enjoy the profits. Many are not sure how they got so lucky, but they do not complain, and try not to let others know they were in the right place at the right time. Many believe their own press, and begin to think they are smarter than the average bear.

Those days are gone for most people. The ongoing economic situation has many entrepreneurs and other people directly effected and continuously worried about the future.

I recommend people and companies devise plans for success in the new year. Do not leave 2011 to chance. Setting goals, identifying action items, accountability, and a feeling of inclusiveness will pay off in the new year.

I consult with small businesses and law firms on creating their action plans via facilitated discussion programs. To create goals in a vacuum, without participation and input from employees, is futile. Get the people around you involved.

Many HR directors and others who plan company meetings express tell me they fear that their staff will stare at their shoes. The reality is always the opposite. People have ideas for how their company can improve, and when they feel that the bosses are interested in their thoughts, and they know they are being heard.... it is hard to stop them from talking about marketing, sales, and other business development inspirations.

If you position your sales, marketing, PR, social media and business development efforts as second tier, you will always have second tier results.

Having ongoing discussions about how everyone in the company is in the business development role will help morph your corporate culture. "It's not my job" can never be acceptable in a growing company.

But a meeting alone will not create results. Talking about the goals, encouraging action, holding everyone accountable, celebrating victories publicly, and making everybody feel involved is paramount to your success. This is an ongoing process.

Now is the time to get started. Do not wait until after January to being your planning process. If you wait, you will find 2011 will slip away.

Have A Great Day.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Getaway - Bandera, Texas "Dude Ranch"

It was August when my wife suggested "Let's do something different for Thanksgiving"

Those six words lead to several discussions about exactly what a "Destination Thanksgiving" might look like. The problem was there limited money to spend on a vacation, thus it had to be something close enough to home to drive, and yet different enough to inspire us to take action.

We decided on two nights at the Twin Elm Guest Ranch in Bandera, Texas (a two hour drive from Austin). This "Dude Ranch" experience, complete with a large group Thanksgiving meal and several horseback trail rides, was appealing to both parents and kids. We told family and friends we would be out-of-town this year, and made our plans for a fun and relaxing western experience.

The ranch is rustic, but not run-down. If you prefer to stay at a "Four Seasons Hotel", I would not recommend this style of vacation. The guest rooms and cabins are older and small... but very clean. The grounds are not manicured like a resort, but instead a real ranch experience. The dirt roads and barns are functional, not designed as landscape. It is a bit more like "roughing it" than we are accustomed... but that was the whole idea!

The food was simple and yet fabulous. Everyone in residence at the ranch ate together in the dining hall upon hearing them ring the bell. Yep, a big triangle that could be heard across the grounds, sounded to bring everyone running; "Come 'n get it!". Everyone talked and shared stories over meals, and it made for a family atmosphere, albeit groups of strangers!

Captain and Miss Victoria, who manage the Twin Elm, give the place the warm feeling that permeates throughout the ranch. They take care of everyone's needs and made sure that all were welcomed.

The kids practiced roping a metal cow, and took over the game room pool table, air hockey and Foosball (although a bit worn, they still worked). We all played cards, read books, and hiked down to the river. The idea was to just have a low-key and relaxed few days without having an agenda or being on the go the whole time.

On Friday night there was a Rodeo on the ranch grounds. This would have been great, but we only lasted about half-way through because it was 34 degrees outside. Burrrrrr. We did see some professional rodeo cowboys get tossed off a few bulls before having to head back inside.

The highlight of the trip for all of us were the trail rides. We had three rides, two on Friday and one on Saturday. The horses were easy going, which was important because the kids had never ridden before, and I am not very experienced on a horse. Each ride was over an hour throughout the beautiful Hill Country trails. My wife, Sara, is an experienced rider and would have preferred the chance to run the horse though the meadow,.... but this was not the type of rides available. My gentle walk on the one eyed horse, "Rooster", was just fine for me!

We also drove to Medina, Texas to the Apple Store. Not the "Apple Store" that you city folk are thinking about (no iPads to be found). This bakery and restaurant sold all things Apple (think the fruit). I am adding this to this post because we had the best apple strudel ever. We bought one on Friday and shared it in the car. We drove back the next day (30 minutes round trip) to get four more.... because it was way too good. If you visit the Twin Elm, you must add this drive to eat some apple pie or strudel to your trip!

Getting out of your routine is great. In this case it was for Thanksgiving... but anytime you shake things up and try new stuff it can bring big benefits. Our family had a wonderful shared experience, the kids are now big fans of horseback riding, and we found a new and affordable place for a long weekend.

I recommend a "Destination Thanksgiving" for anyone (to a Dude Ranch or other place out of the norm). No cooking the meal, prepping the house for guests, or clean up!!! Yes, you miss the fun of a large family gathering.... but some of those at the Twin Elm brought their whole extended clan for the weekend. Maybe next year we will convince everyone to come with us!

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How To Make Money From Speaking (#Austin) - December 3rd

3 Spaces Still Available

If you have ever wanted to learn to utilize professional speaking to promote your business and / or to make money from your presentations.... this half-day seminar is an ideal way to gain valuable information about how to make money from speaking.

For over 15 years I have observed and studied the business of speaking. Too often people view the "celebrities" who are speakers and assume this is the whole industry. But it goes much deeper, and there are several paths to being a professional speaker.

This seminar will be both fun and informative.

Cost $595 --- BUT mention this blog post and your fee to attend will be $350.

The class size is limited to 10 people to ensure each individuals unique business needs are addressed.

To sign up, contact me at (512) 970-0398 or thom (at)

Have A Great Day


How To Give Like A Billionaire (Anyone Can Be A Philanthropist!)

The December 2010 issue of Money Magazine has a great article by Dan Kadlec about philanthropy. "How To Give Like A Billionaire" chronicles the things that Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and other uber-rich do when they support worthy causes. Recently Buffett famously urged his peers to give away half their wealth, and while the average person cannot part with half, there are lots of things we can do to have a greater impact in our charitable efforts.

Several years ago I approached a famous local philanthropist at a networking event and asked how I could help with a local cause, of which he was spear-heading the fund-raising efforts. He asked me if I could write a check for $10,000 (or more). When I replied "No", he turned his attention to others in the cluster of people, as if I had just evaporated into thin air. No "big check" meant I was invisible to this man and his cronies.

This exchange hurt my feelings and put a sour taste in my mouth about philanthropy for several years.

Three years ago I gave it another try. When I became a professional speaker and started earning extra money from my presentations, training workshops, and EmCee-ing events, my wife and I decided that we wanted to connect our successes to a worthy cause. We approached the Dell Children's Medical Foundation (the new Dell Children's Hospital was just opening its doors in Central Texas). We selected this charity because our youngest daughter, Kate, had been born with a medical condition that required major surgery when she was an baby. We had to look out of the area for the best level of doctors and facilities, because Austin did not have a "state-of-the -art" children's hospital at that time. With this new medical center, other families who faced similar issues in the future would not need to travel to find the best care.

The staff of the Foundation were wonderful, and helped us set up the "Kate Singer Endowment for Cranio-Facial Research". We pledged 5% of the money I earn through speaking fees to this cause, and by making small donations consistently over three years the money has added up. This year we met our first giving milestone, and have directed our giving to a similar endowment at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego (where Kate received her treatment 8 years ago). When we reach an equal amount in donations we will split our efforts to 2.5% to each hospital into the future.

Had we given small amounts to many random charities (who call on the phone at dinnertime) we could never see the impact that our donations can have in the long run. By selecting one or two causes and being dedicated to the giving plan, you can better understand how your dollars add up over time.

The Money article sights several things that regular folks can do to borrow a few pages from the playbook for the super rich, and do more for favorite causes without giving away a fortune:

*Write bigger checks to fewer charities

*Plan out your giving for the year and take the time to research charities

*Give away highly appreciated assets

*Round up your like-minded friends and pool your charitable resources (we do a fundraiser on this blog every February to raise money and awareness for Dell Children's Medical Center).

*Work giving into your estate planning

*Open a donor-advised fund to spread your giving over time

*Give time to your favorite cause.

I hope that people will not feel that giving is reserved for the rich, and that negative experiences like I had with that wealthy "philanthropist" will not sour them on the idea of making a difference. Additionally I want charities to look beyond the "elephant hunting" tactics of seeking only rich donors. Seeking to make connections with average people who will consistently give, and then cherishing their contributions as much as they do the "big checks", can have an even greater effect on an organization than simply getting money.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Kick-Off Meetings for Companies, #Law Firms, and Other Organizations

Is your company, law firm, professional services group, or non-profit board planning a 2011 kick off meeting? You should. Having a plan, goals, shared objectives, motivation, and inspiration help you navigate the collective path toward success. Leaving it all to chance is a big risk.

For over two years organizations have cut back on their internal meetings. In an effort to save money during the recession they decided to forgo their training, education and team-building efforts.

The result? For some, their people feel abandoned and disconnected.

I have a customizable workshop that will get your team fired up for 2011, get everyone on the same page when it comes to business development, marketing, networking, social media and corporate visibility in your community.

For more information on hiring me to lead this workshop / facilitated discussion for your company or other organization, contact me at thom (at) or (512) 970-0398

Have A Great Day


Gifting eBooks on Kindle - It's Easy!!!

Did you know that you can give an eBook on Kindle as a gift? You can do it now!

It used to be you had to give an Amazon Gift Card to your Kindle touting friends. But now gift a specific eBook to anyone with an eMail address.

Also, you do not have to actually have a Kindle to enjoy reading eBooks from Amazon. They have a free eReader software for Mac, PC, iPhone and almost any device you can image.

So, you can start right now by sending one of my books to a friend this holiday season!

Some Assembly Required: How to Make Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships

Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women

Some Assembly Required :A Networking Guide for Real Estate

Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates

The ABC's of Networking

The ABC's of Speaking

Batteries Not Included: 66 Tips to Energize Your Career

Networking Unplugged

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Communicate The Solutions You Provide

We live in trying times. People feel pressure. Everyone has seen the effects of the economic downturn over the past two years, and few are left feeling secure. Many worry about job security and the sustainability of their businesses. This pressure makes many become self focused. They cannot see what others do, want, need, or desire.... and it can be troublesome to recognize the value that other bring to the table. Thus they wear blinders and miss (or misinterpret) the solutions you may be providing.

When it is known you provide solutions, you are always in demand. Your products and services need not be complex, they just need to help other people easily solve problems. But if they do not know what you do, you are screwed.

If people do not see you as fixing the issue at hand then nothing you can do for them matters. It is easy for decision makers to pass over your offering when they do not understand. How you communicate your value is just as important as the value you provide.

This is equally true for vendors and employees:

One company I know laid off several of their best employees (for the long run) to solve short term needs. Those who would have provided ongoing success were let go because of what were the owners immediate problems. The boss did not realize the dysfunctional employees he kept would be the core of tomorrow's short end of the stick.

A mutual understanding of the situation at hand would have lead to different decisions by the employees in their actions, and of the boss in his downsizing decisions. Years later he confided that he made a mistake in his choice of whom to continue to employ. By that time the damage was done. He had to retool his whole company strategy. The employees whom had been laid off had gone onto new jobs and did not want to return. I hope they learned to better communicate their value to their future employers.

Entrepreneurs often have a lot of passion for the businesses they build, but that passion can often cloud how they inform prospects about their products and services. Too often prospective clients will pre-judge a solution and categorize it with other offerings they have seen. When your product is uniquely qualified to help a customer, you must find a way to ensure they understand the offering.

All businesses struggle with being viewed as a commodity. No true entrepreneur thinks his company is just run-of-the-mill, and the same as the competitor.... but many fail to help their potential customers see the differences. If you are just on of many.... you will not win the long-term business.

Communication is more important today than ever before. Everyone is bombarded with information, and they are listening less. Just tweeting something (literally and figuratively) does not mean you communicated the information.

Focus your message on the solutions you provide and over communicate. Never assume that someone understands or even heard you. Craft and re-craft your message to impact your audience in a variety of ways, and then ask them questions to determine how they perceived what you are trying to imply.

Finally, never stop. You cannot just look at communicating your solutions as a "campaign". Those days are gone. Constant messaging is key (without being obnoxious... yes, it is a fine line!). Out of sight is out of mind.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Ate Rudolph - Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

Yes, it is true -- I ate a Reindeer Hot Dog..... AND I LIKED IT!!

I enjoy eating at food carts, food trucks, food trailers, etc.... I am amazed at how good the food can be at many of these roadside portable restaurants. This trend is big in Austin (hot dogs, Thai food, cupcakes, ice cream, crepes, donuts, etc... can all be found in trailers around town), but other cities are now coming on board with these unique eatery's. Dining at these establishments keeps with my rule of only eating at local food places when I am in a strange city.

I had some extra time following a keynote speech I gave in Loveland, Colorado. I headed to downtown Denver and the 16th Street Mall, which is one of my favorite areas in any city I visit regularly. On one main corner there was a large crowd gathered around a shinny silver hot dog cart. My investigation showed it was guided tour of Denver Food Carts. About a dozen people were being taken around by a perky tour guide to sample the best of the sidewalk cuisine in Denver. (Great idea, by the way... does anyone do this type of tour in Austin?)

I moved on, but later got hungry and returned to Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs. Behind the cart stood Jim himself. A 50-something gentleman who had been slinging hot dogs on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe for over five years. His little food cart has been selected by people's choice in the "Best of Denver" surveys every year.... and the #1 restaurant for Denver on YELP is none other than Biker Jim's!!! (I too will leave a review on YELP).

His menu is not the standard issue hot dog. I could not resist trying the Alaskan Reindeer Dog (tis the season!). My apologies to Rudolph, but DANG.... this was good. So good that I had to immediately get back in line and try the Elk Jalapeno Hot Dog... which was equally amazing (although two was a lot of food, and more than I needed for my mid-afternoon snack).

I spent about 30 minutes with Jim, watching him finish up his day, selling the last few dogs. He also gave some of the remaining food to a couple of homeless kids who live on the streets on and around the 16th Street Mall. He had a great rapport with these guys, and you could tell he really cared about them.... and they equally cared about Jim.

He is in the process of opening an actual restaurant (a big step after five years on the corner), and then with proof of concept Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs could got national. I see a combination of brick and mortar AND street carts. The hard part for Jim will be replicating his magnetic personality. There is something about this guy that makes you instantly like him. I always appreciate the efforts of entrepreneurs, no matter what their business of choice. Be it software or hot dogs, you still need that entrepreneurial spirit to find success. Jim's got it.

I am very glad I ventured into Denver on this trip to Colorado.... and even happier that I experienced these hot dogs. If you are going to be in Denver... do not miss this one!

Have A Great Day


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Post "Me Generation" Economy

Get ready for a big gulp of gratitude!

The hot topic for 2011 is "Gratitude" (AKA: Showing Appreciation, Saying Thank You, etc...).

Two best selling authors are releasing new books on this topic early next year (Tim Sander's "Today We Are Rich", and Gary Vaynerchuk's "The Thank You Economy"), and countless articles on the subject are already appearing in magazines, newspapers and across the Blogosphere. Keynote speakers at conventions and company meetings across industry lines are delivering the message - "Say Thank You!"

Look around, you will see this too. It is the new "Buzz Word".

And this is a good thing!!!!

The concept of expressing appreciation is hardly new. Most people had a parent or grandparent who tried to instill the importance of sending that handwritten thank you note following receipt of a gift. One person recently told me of his aunt who would not send birthday presents the following year unless a thank you note had been received from the previous birthday (and she gave cash as gifts!). It is standard etiquette. Emily Post style.

But we lost our way from doing the simple things that really do matter. The "Me Generation" ran rough-shot over those things that took effort and produced no instant gratification. (Why send a note? You already got the gift!).

For all the boom-boom times and fun, the "Me Generation" (and all that went with those heady times) had some flaws. Today there is clearly a shift in our society to move "Back to Basics", and one of those basics is gratitude.

I have been writing and speaking about this topic for over five years. My first book (and all my books since) and early speeches included lessons of the power of sending hand written notes, and finding amazing and memorable ways to say "Thank You" to those who helped you succeed (beyond a text that reads "thx dude" as one person sent me recently!).

If you want people to send you opportunities then you must let them know you appreciate their efforts. Too many people get busy and forget this step. Those who send referrals are quick to send the next one to someone else if you fail acknowledge them. The well goes dry if you do not show gratitude.

As we move into this "Post Me Generation Economy" there will be many things that will surprise us as revolutionary ideas (that are really old-time common sense). The focus on gratitude is just one topic. We already see the younger generations looking for ways to simplify their lives and placing priorities on community, charity, environment and other non-self-centered causes.

What else is key to "Getting Back To Basics"????

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Great Reset - Richard Florida's Presentation in Austin

Leadership Austin and Capital One Bank brought Richard Florida to Austin for an engaging presentation at the LBJ School of Public Affairs on November 12th.

About 500 people attended the talk (leaving about 300 empty seats... which was a real waste, since this was a great event) where Florida shared his theories about the current recession and where we, as a society, go from here.

We are living in turbulent, trying and disruptive times, but we cannot fully realize or grasp the economic shift that is taking place because we are living through it. Florida pointed out that major changes in American life have happened before. While much attention in the press is given to the Great Depression, there was a more substantial long depression and cultural shift that took place in the late 1800s. We went from an agricultural society into the industrial revolution, and with that came massive change. Again, we are about to face a shift, what Florida calls a "Reset"..... and how we respond will be more important than ever.

Florida's first book, "The Rise of the Creative Class" chronicles the new leaders of our age which include those who work in science, engineering, education, computer programming, research, arts, design, media, healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education. They make up 30% of the U.S. workforce, but are fairing much better in the recession, with only 5% unemployment compared to over 10% in other occupations.

Florida believes that everyone is creative, and that creativity is the core unit of our humanity. All industry should embrace the concept of the creative class. The gap between the haves and have-nots is getting bigger, and people see the successes in some sectors and they want what the "creative class" has achieved.

Some claim that those who make up the "creative economy" are elitist, but he disagrees. Florida does, however, challenges those in these expanding creative professions to stop saying others "don't get it", or pointing fingers.... and start leading. To successfully navigate the huge change that is coming, we need leaders!

"Place" is the cornerstone to much of Florida's theories. He believes that certain cities and regions will do better than others because they will adjust to the new norms rather than clinging to the ways of the past. Austin is one of those cities that is flourishing (compared to other places) because of the city's high levels of technology, talent and tolerance. As a region, the four major Texas cites can work together to prosper in the coming reset. The key to economic development is no longer just attracting large employers, but instead it is about "place-making". Cities and regions need to position themselves as attractive places for people to live and work, or they will go to other desirable places.

Americans navigated other tough times, and we were more prosperous following the 1800s and the 1930s. We moved from the farms to the cities. Then we moved from the cities to the suburbs. How we lived our lives morphed and eventually became common. We are due for similar changes again, and we have to be willing to go with the flow or be left behind. There will be people who will prosper in these tough times and new industries and institutions will be formed, while old ones will die off (this happened in the late 1800s and again in the 1930s).

Are you ready for the Great Reset? I suggest reading his new book "The Great Reset"

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

P.S. - Richard Florida is a great public speaker. I study those who present to audiences of all sizes, and many, ..... especially academics (Florida is a Ph.D), have great ideas and concepts, but lack the ability to communicate. My theory is that just because someone is smart or has done something great - it does NOT mean they belong on a stage. They must have speaking skills or they should stay home and write white papers. Richard Florida has both... wicked smart, and a first class speaker.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eye Roller / Pre-Judger

Are you an "Eye Roller / Pre-Judger"?

You know the type of person I am talking about: as soon as they hear about someone, something, some place, etc.... they roll their eyes and have an instant opinion. They have no first hand experience, but they are instant to proclaim it as "lame".

We all do this to some degree, but many do it to obscene levels. Having this trait in over-drive limits opportunities.

I see this sometimes when I speak at large conferences. People hear the keynote speaker will be talking about "The Power of Business Relationships and Networking", and they assume they know exactly what they will be getting from the presentation.

How do I know they roll their eyes and pre-judge me before they hear the talk? Because they come up to me after the speech and tell me this. A woman last month and said "Wow. That was a great presentation. When I saw the schedule I thought this talk about networking would just be 'fluffy', but you surprised me. I am glad I came because I almost skipped this keynote to go catch up on emails".

That sounds like a weird compliment, but I hear it often.... and I understand what she is saying; "I am an eye roller / pre-judger and I had my own false opinion of you and your speech long before I arrived".

It is not just speech titles and keynote speakers that get the eye rolls. It happens everywhere to everyone. I told a friend that McDonald's new smoothies are really good. Her eyes almost disappeared in her head. But a month later she called to tell me I was right, as she tried one and found it tasty and healthy. She admitted that she prejudged McDonald's without investigation. Now she drinks them often.

People, movies, restaurants, vacation destinations, companies, books, stores, activities, bands, bars, cars, etc..... Everything gets pre-judged based on people's own perceptions without the need for facts!

Granted, we cannot try everything, but the smartest and most successful people I know are always seeking out new experiences... not shutting them off instantly.

When we pre-judge we limit our opportunities. We miss out on cool things, places and people who could have a positive impact on our life.

I ask audiences if they know people are quick to "eye roll and pre-judge", .... and everyone seems to know these people. They always have negative opinions of that person in their universe who does this, and then I challenge them to look at themselves. Many admit they are guilty too.

I catch myself ... and when I do, I try to get past it. And it never fails, the thing I thought would be "lame" turns out to be fun, educational, or otherwise amazing.

How about you?

Have A Great Day


Friday, November 12, 2010

Six Networking No-No's

The below article originally appeared on the MSNBC website on November 8, 2010, and then appeared on dozens of other media sites and blogs. It is written by Eve Tahmincioglu, and I am quoted.

I hate to bug you, but.... Six networking no-no's
by Eve Tahmincioglu

One piece of job-hunting advice you’ll hear over and over again is that you have to network to land a gig. Unfortunately, networking isn’t easy for everyone and doing it badly can cause more harm than good.

So what is networking exactly?

“The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business,” according to Merriam-Webster.

The key part of the definition is the word “exchange.” Too often people think networking means you just harass people until they give you a job or help you make a connection. But browbeating your LinkedIn connections into getting you a job, for example, won’t get you much job-hunting honey.

“Do not monopolize the conversation [by talking] about your career needs,” stressed Thom Singer, author of “The ABC’s of Networking.”

Instead, find out what your contact needs, Singer added.

“You might know the person who can help them solve their biggest challenge, but if you are not asking questions, and listening to their answers, you will not even know you can help.”

Networking is all about helping each other.

For those networking novices out there who need a bit of help, here are six networking no-nos from hiring managers, human resource pros and people who are often hit up by networkers:

1. Don’t be an amateur
Networking is a bit more laid back than an actual job interview, but that doesn’t mean you should leave professionalism at the door.

“One of my job-networking pet peeves is the style of communication that people use when networking to get a job,” said Kurt Ronn, president and founder of national recruitment firm HRworks.

Good grammar and spelling should not go out the window. Texting in incomplete, hard-to-figure-out sentences, poor punctuation, and random capitalization, he said, “is too personal” and “should be left to social networking and texting friends. Networking for a career needs to stay in the realm of corporate communication.”

2. The fake informational interview
An informational interview is one of the greatest networking tools. It helps open doors and also helps you figure out if a job, a company or an industry is right for you.

The key to such an interview is to make it seem like you’re not looking for a particular job, but you’re just doing some exploratory research and want to sit down with a hiring manager or a contact to find out what a person in a particular position does.

People sometimes want to pull a fast one, though, and that’s a big no-no, said Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and director of professional opportunities at DePauw University.

“In good times this is a benign game. In times like this it is an annoying and sometimes sad conversation,” he said.

Many of the employers Langerud works with are open to informational interviews and they are open to job interviews.

“Just be honest. The bait and switch game is just annoying,” he explained.

3. The two-timer
Networking is about making a connection with one person at a time, not 100 people.

How do you expect to nurture a relationship with someone and get her to help you if she thinks you see her as just one person on a long list of contacts?

“I don’t like getting what looks like a personal message that turns out to be (one sent) to the universe,” said Steven J. Elliott, tax director for Schwartz & Company in Bellmore, N.Y.

And not every person out there is a potential networking source, even though social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter make us think so.

“LinkedIn and other social media tools are not like a phone book,” said author Singer. “You would not take all the phone books from Los Angeles Country and tell people you have 10 million people in your network ‘hey, you have their phone numbers, you could call any of them.’ Thus linking to strangers makes your social media not better than a phone book.”

4. Ingrates don’t rate
There’s nothing worse than taking your connections for granted.

The one thing Mary Ann Gontin, managing partner for talent management firm OI Partners in Danbury, Conn., hates is “people who don’t say thank you. I give of my time, knowledge, information, contacts, etc., and there are people who don’t call or write to say thank you.”

She also doesn’t like it when she offers help and never hears from the person, that is until they need help, again.

“Everyone can afford to make a call or send a note or e-mail to say thank you,” she said. “If possible, people should offer to buy you lunch or find some way to show appreciation. Most of us in this field are more than willing to help so many people, but we would like our time and talent to be recognized and appreciated.”

5. No sob stories
Many of us are desperate to find work in this economy, so it’s totally understandable if your personal and financial lives are in turmoil.

That said, don’t dump this on your networking contacts, and don’t tweet or Facebook that stuff either.

It’s not that people won’t be understanding or sympathetic, but human nature makes us gravitate to people who seem to have things together and don't seem hopeless.

“It is never okay to beg for a job,” said Joe Kran, a managing partner with OI Partners in Parsippany, N.J.

And he doesn’t want to hear about how bad your situation is, whether it’s your marriage, your finances or your former employer.

That doesn’t mean you should keep the conversation formal, especially if a friend or connection asks you about how you’re doing, experts advised, because that builds a good relationship. Just don’t go overboard and keep complaints to a minimum.

6. Beware stalking
There’s this feeling out there that you should do just about anything to get your foot in the door, but that doesn’t mean you should ambush people in public, at their office, or on the Web.

“Do not approach me at lunch,” said Matt Murray, founder of, a job site for young professionals. “No one likes to interview with spaghetti hanging out of their mouth.”

Same goes for cyberspace.

I see lots of people on Twitter publicly asking other tweeters if they can send them a resume, or asking them to connect them to someone they know.

That’s why Murray said he hides his connections on LinkedIn from public view. He doesn’t want a bunch of people hitting them up for jobs or job leads.

And he doesn’t like it when public messages are sent to him via social media with the actual intent of being seen by one of his friends or contacts that may be able to get them a job.

It’s all about being polite and sincere.

Eve Tahmincioglu writes the weekly "Your Career" column for and chronicles workplace issues in her blog,

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Celebrate Veteran's Day With A Free Book!

Yesterday was Veteran's Day in the United States. I meant to post this yesterday, but the day got away from me. So let's just call it "Veteran's Week" (they deserve more than a day!).

To celebrate the people who are serving our country, or those who have bravely served in the past, my publishing company, New Year Publishing, is offering 25 copies of "Batteries Not Included: 66 Tips To Energize Your Career" to help inspire those who have committed part of their lives to our armed services.

Anyone who sends me an email at thom [at] and requests a copy will have one mailed to them at no cost. The only catch: they must be active duty US Military... or a veteran. Honor system in play here folks, I am not expecting to see ID.

Please include name, what branch of the service in which you serve(d), and a mailing address so that it can be sent to you. The first 25 soldiers to respond by Monday, November 15, 2010 will get the books.

Happy Veteran's Day.

thom singer

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How To Speak For Money Seminar (Austin, TX)


On December 3, 2010 I will be presenting a half day seminar / facilitated discussion on "How To Speak For Money".

I am regularly asked how people can incorporate public speaking into a way to promote their business, or how they can pursue a career in the industry of speaking.

Please join me from 8:30 AM - Noon (in South Austin) for an opportunity to uncover your path to speaking to promote your business and / or speaking for paid fees.

Having spent over a decade observing, learning, watching, interviewing, and planning my career (and nearly two years full-time as a professional speaker), I have a unique perspective to share of what it takes to "be a speaker" as opposed to someone who is "just on the stage".

The cost to attend the seminar is $595, but mention this blog and your investment is only $350. Get paid one time and you will more than earn back that amount. Plus, you will gain valuable information and meet other professionals interested in the speaking business.

This workshop will be limited to ten participants, so there will be lots of time to discuss your unique situation. Everyone I talk with has different reasons they want to speak, their own experiences, and individual goals for their career. This will not be a "one-size-fits-all" seminar!

To reserve your spot please contact me directly at (512) 970-0398 or thom [at]

Have A Great Day.


Steve Harper's 8 Minute Ripple Event on November 17th (Austin, TX)

Steve Harper, author of "The Ripple Effect" is hosting another "8 Minute Ripple" event on November 17th in Austin, Texas.

Where: Soma Vida
1210 Rosewood Ave.
Austin, Texas 78702

Important Thinks To Know:

The Rules!

1. Come prepared to NOT talk about what you do for a living. Don't worry you'll get your chance but not until you've Rippled.

2. Keep your professional name tags, official looking badge and your business cards in your pocket. Sure you can bring them and use them but again not until after you've Rippled.

3. Come with an open mind and be ready to have some fun!!! People who refuse to have fun will be escorted from the building. Only kidding…well sort of.

Payment Options:

Early Bird Registration until November 15th - $ 25.00
Registration after November 15th & Walk-up - $ 35.00

Light dessert, beer & wine will be served.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Protecting Your Time / Protecting Your Goals Workshops in Austin, Texas (SOS Leadership)

This is the time of year when people begin to think of changes they want to make for next year. Maybe this year has not been good, so you think a change in year is all you need. The reality is that you need more than a new year; you need a new you!

Paul J. Meyer said, “If you are not making the progress you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.” Most problems that we have are because of goals, either lack of goals or lack of achievement of them. Perhaps you don’t have any goals. Or maybe you have not written them down.

If you do not have written goals, then you do not have goals. Writing crystallizes thought, which motivates action. Action is usually important when trying to achieve a goal. If you are struggling with your goals or just need some direction, SOS Leadership’s Protecting Goals showcase might be just what you need. This five-week course teaches you the fundamentals of goal achievement in easy-to-understand, bite-sized segments that will help you figure out where you want to go and how you will get there. Along the way, you will learn how to:

- Develop an Achievement Perspective
- Create a Top Ten List
- Assess the cost of your goals
- Create an Achievement Plan

The next Protecting Goals showcase begins November 16th (7:30AM-9AM). The cost of the showcase is $995. Mention this blog and pay only $595! Register by calling 512-992-2985 or email

Determining what your goals are and developing a plan for achieving them is vital for your success. Maybe you understand goal setting, but just cannot seem to find the time to accomplish your goals. Time is one of the main obstacles to most people’s goals.

Many people believe they are poor managers of their time, but in fact they are unable to manage themselves. They lack the focus needed to accomplish their goals in the time they have. The key word there is focus. If you struggle with finding the time to accomplish your goals or you lack focus, SOS Leadership’s Protecting Time program will be able to help. Time management is a myth. This five-week program focuses on how to manage yourself, not time! With this program, you will learn how to:

- Understand the value of your time
- Work smarter and more efficiently
- Avoid time-wasters
- Protect your energy

The next Protecting Time showcase begins November 17th (11AM-12:30PM). The cost of the showcase is $995. Mention this blog and pay only $595! Register by calling 512-992-2985 or email

Have A Great Day

thom singer

*** I have been working with the SOS Leadership team, but I am not involved with, nor do do not profit from, this workshop. I just think they do good stuff and I wanted to share it with the readers of my blog.