Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Internal Meetings Need Better Networking, Too

Many companies do not think about the power of business relationships INSIDE the company.  Yes, we all know that having strong relationships with clients, referral sources, vendors and others in your industry can lead to more business.... but some businesses forget to encourage networking between employees.

Smart companies know that forging deeper bonds between co-workers not only expands productivity, but it also keeps people from seeking other jobs outside their organizations.  Helping people get to know each other is an important step to having a good culture.

I have recently been speaking on the power of business relationships and conducting the "Conference Catalyst" program for internal meetings.  Most of these organizations have seen me speak at large industry events (like Computerworld or other mega conferences), and want the message of the "Choosing People" to be customized for their internal annual team meetings.  I have loved the enthusiasm about cultivating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships and how my presentation excites the attendees.

Organizations that are investing as much in their internal meetings as they do in their users conferences are seeing results.  I recently spoke to the Global IT department of a major technology manufacturer.... and it was clear the the CIO wanted the people on the various teams from around the world make stronger connections.  The whole focus of the meeting was pin-pointed on the participants, and it was clear that the people embraced the message.

Employees in all industries have worked hard the last few years and made sacrifices.  When they feel the company making investments in them, they are very appreciative.

Does your conference have a catalyst?  Does your employee "All-Hands" meeting have a catalyst?

PS- Here is what was sent to me by the tech company where I recently spoke:

"[The conference] was wildly successful beyond any of our expectations. The energy, dialogue and engagement remained very high throughout. And I continued to hear positive things about your contribution. In the closing session, one employee said that he had never seen employees have the kind of conversations they were having this week. Normally on breaks, people talk about work, projects and operations. But employees were asking about kids, asking where people vacation, getting to know each other as people. It was a very moving comment. I had many employees come up to me and say they'd never been to an event like this. Glad we could have you be a part of it."

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Monday, June 27, 2011

100% Of Those Who Give Up During A Job Search Do Not Find Jobs

I have a friend who has been unemployed for over three years.  He is a good man who had a series of events derail his personal and professional life.  After his divorce he remained 100% dedicated to raising his daughter, and he is a great dad.  His ex-wife never skipped the chance to remind him that he was failing in the money department, but he never missed his child support or any time he could spend with his kid.  His daughter will always know how much he lovers her!

To make it work he had to move in with his mother, which is hard for a 40-something man, but relocation for employment was not an option.  He had a small geographic territory where he had to remain to be present for his daughter, and the job market in that area has been very tight for several years.

While it has been hard, he never gave up trying to find ways to land the next opportunity.

Today he starts his new job as Director of Sales for a mid-sized company.

The business is a service company with strong history serving their market.  The average time an employee has been with the company is over nine years.  It is the perfect job for this man, and has room for advancement.

After mailing out thousands of resumes, networking like crazy, working with experts, hundreds of interviews (he was #2 for about a dozen jobs), countless phone calls and emails, and more prayer than you can imagine, ..... he found the job listing on Craig's List.

The lesson for everyone is NEVER GIVE UP.  Those who get burned out and rationalize that there are no jobs will never find the gem.  So much is said about "the best way" to find a job, but he did everything he could, and kept turning over every rock.  For three years he kept looking.

100% of those who give up during a job search do not find jobs.  Even in a bad economy there are jobs, and those who find them are the ones who work hard to uncover the opportunities.  There is no "Job Fairy" who will put an offer letter under your pillow.

Many of the opportunities for which he applied over the years came via networking, some through head-hunters, other from job boards (like Monster and Craig's List), etc....  He tried it all over and over and over.

Was he bummed to find so few job openings? Was he depressed about coming in second for so many opportunities? Was it hard and often embarrassing?  Yes, Yes, Yes.  But he kept trying.

And today he begins a great job.  Congratulations.  I know he reads this blog, and I want him to know I am very happy for him... and very proud of him.  He has always been a good guy and a great friend..... He deserves this chance!  His boss may not know it, but he has the most enthusiastic Director of Sales in the world!!!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don't Let Other People Dictate Your Mood

Jason Alba has a post you should read on The JibberJobber Blog.  It is about not letting other people dictate your moods.  He tells a story about his not saying "Thank You" to a guy who held the door open for him outside a Barnes & Noble.  While an expression of gratitude would have been nice, the volunteer doorman angry and shouted "You Are Welcome, A-HOLE!" and stormed off.

This guy let Jason impact his mood in a negative manner.  And then Jason let this guy ruin his day.

How often are we thrown off course by someone else.  We cannot choose how others will behave, but we can choose our reaction.  Holding a door is polite, but you cannot expect others to reward you for doing it.  And spiraling into anger will just mean you will be angry often.

It is like when I drive in Texas and let a car merge in heavy traffic... you usually get the polite "hand wave".  Try that in New York or California, and you will not get any acknowledgement.  This does not mean I wont let the car into my lane.  I do it because it is polite.  (Actually in California and New York you might get a "hand wave".... but it is usually just one finger!).

I have a friend who is a huge college football fan and he loves his Texas A&M Aggies.  Years ago if the team lost (and they lost a lot!) it could put him in a horrible mood that would last for days.  I once saw him through a full drink on the floor of his living room when the team had a game losing fumble.  But nowadays he enjoys watching his Aggies without getting emotionally distraught.  I asked him about the change and he said that one day he realized it was silly to let a bunch of twenty-year-olds impact his entire state of mind because of a ballgame.

He made a conscious choice on how he would react to the actions of others. Win or lose he is not a wreck because of college football.

We all should remember this in our day to day lives.  Things happen, but our reaction is our own choice.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Social Media Frauds Don't Get How It Works

I got the following email from a person named Erin:
"I’m a frequent reader of your blog and wanted to let you know that I just posted an article on my site that I thought you might find interesting, “NAME OF POST WITHHELD” (I withheld the post name to NOT promote her post). If you think your readers might like it, too, would you consider sharing or mentioning it on your blog? I’d appreciate it if you have time to check it out".

In the end, I could not share it, as it was an article that had bad advice, and was solely written (in my opinion) to be controversial to drive traffic to a site that was mostly a sales / spam site.  I was lulled in by the "I am a frequent reader of your blog" statement, but in the end I felt that was not sincere.

I do not believe this person ever read my blog.  I think I was found through a topic Google search by someone looking to drive traffic to their site.  Every word in her post was against what I teach.  She either did not know what I stand for, or she was baiting me to help get links to a blog that looked suspicious.  I almost took the bait, and wrote a whole post here on "The Some Assembly Required Blog" going through each point... but in the end it just made me sad to realize that it was a set up.

Too often spammers pop in and leave comment that say things like "Great blog post.  I read it all the time. You are a good writer.  Here is a link to my post on getting forty advanced degrees from Nigerian Bank College" (you get the idea, just totally unrelated crap).  I delete those types of comments, and wonder if these tactics really work for people.

Frauds undermine the power of social media and the communities that grow up around blogs and other online tools.  Trying to pretend they are a regular reader for their own gain makes them nothing more than "icky fakers", and phony always hurts the greater good no matter what the setting.

It has to be real.  If Erin had left comments on my blog for the last year, and had a personally branded blog, not a spammy looking site that is unrelated to the topics written about, I might have had a different feeling.  If she had regularly promoted my blog, or referred me to speak at her company's annual meeting, I would gladly helped send traffic to her site.  I would had known she was real.  My take is that this was an attempt to beat the system.  Social Media frauds do not get how it works.  You have to be real. 

In the end I make lots of mistakes, but I am always Thom Singer.  Not perfect. Just Thom.  But when I tell someone I read their blog, I really read it.  When I ask them for their comments to promote a post, I am willing to do the same thing for them.  Frauds do not understand how social media works, and they never will.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conference Value Is Often In The Intangible

I attend a lot of business events.  To date in 2011 I have delivered 36 presentations as a keynote speaker, master of ceremonies, "The Conference Catalyst", sales trainer, or facilitator.  In addition, I regularly attend other seminars, trade shows, conventions, and networking functions.  Over the past twenty years I have easily been present at over 1000 corporate gatherings. Thus I have become a seasoned observer of the meetings business.

A Convention Industry Council study says that the economic significance of meetings on the U.S. Economy directly supports 1.7 million jobs, a $106 billion contribution to GDP, $263 billion in spending, $60 billion in labor revenue, $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Meetings matter to the whole economy, but also to individual companies and other organizations.

Companies that attend, host and sponsor meetings for the purpose of driving more revenue.  The recession and attention to short term bottom line has caused many companies to become very focused on where they are investing their money and meetings have been under the microscope.  2008, 2009, and 2010 saw declines in many meetings and a larger push to webinars and other technologies.  

However, 2011 is showing a re-birth of business conferences and other live meetings.  This does not mean the online options are going away, as it has become clear to the experts that this is not an "either / or" game.  There is room in the real world for both live and online events to thrive and grow.

While online social media and other digital tools we use to communicate are cool (and very effective for certain situations) they cannot replace the power of on-sight, face-to-face meetings.  Humans are experiential beings, and sharing these high impact conferences with other people are what make them powerful.  While you cannot measure the goodwill and the meaningful connections that occur, they are part of the real value that come from attending a conference.

I encourage companies to create plans for how to maximize a conference, and ways to track their ROI. Knowing the index of money directly invested to new sales is important, it is short sighted to ignore the "intangible".  I recently shared a taxi from the airport to a resort hotel in Bermuda.  The couple in the cab were not attending the meeting where I was speaking, but they both had experience in the meetings industry.  I have since been in touch with them, and there may be opportunities to speak for their companies in the future.  While meeting people in a taxi was never part of my plan, it may have future benefit to my business.  Had I been Skyped into to meeting to make my presentation I would never have had this (or several other) serendipitous encounter. 

You cannot plan on all the information you will learn or the people whom you will meet.  This can drive a CFO crazy, as they want to know up front the quotient for meeting participation.  But to skip attending because of the lack of a matrix to the intangible will leave your company behind the competition.  All success in life involves some risk.  When it comes to meetings, conferences, seminars, conventions, and trade shows.. I say take the leap!

The value is often in the little things that come up by surprise.  While this can be difficult measure, being educated to look for the opportunities is part of the training that all companies should provide to their outward facing employees.  If you know what to look for, you will know how to report the intangible value once it is realized.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.

Video Interview of Thom Singer by Diane Mulligan of Mulligan Speakers International

I was recently interviewed by Diane Mulligan, president of Mulligan Speakers International for an edition of "MSI Showcase".  We talked about "Cooperative Significance",  the meetings business, the impact of a speaker, "The Conference Catalyst" and giving back.

(If you cannot view the above video, here is the link:

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How To Refer Thom Singer

My friend Patti DeNucci recently put together a wonderful document for her clients and friends that showed them how to introduce her and her company to prospective clients. She credits the idea to Rick D'Amie of Moxie Marketing, and I wanted to make sure to share that attribution, as the concept is important.

This is genius.  We all struggle with the reality that those in our lives who could help connect us to new business opportunities often never send the desired referrals.  It is not that they do not want to spark our success, but rather that they do not know how to describe us to others. People make quick assumptions about who we are based on what they think we do for a living, and that lack of understanding often keeps them from taking action.

Social friends overlook the services we offer professionally because we have never told them what we do in our day jobs.  They see us as friends, not for what we do in business.

But even those we know in the business world miss the mark.  Last week I had a business associate, whom I know well and who I am connected with through social media,  ask me how things were going at vcfo? I was laid off from that job in April 2009, and for the past 27 months I have been working for myself. He had not realized that change had occurred, and for some reason had thought I was a partial owner in my former employer's business (I was not).  I have seen him ten times in the past two years, and he did not know what I do for a living.  He had me in a box that was connected to my former career.

We all need to make the effort to inform others on how to connect us to those who can use our services.  If we make it easy, they are more likely to follow through. I am convinced that most people want to help us succeed.  However, people are busy, get focused on their own projects, and many simply do not have "Follow Through DNA".  Thus if we can clearly explain to them what we do, and for whom we provided products and services, they just might take action.

How To Refer Thom Singer

Professional speakers (who are not celebrities) and corporate trainers find most of their business through referrals. No experienced meeting planner or business manager would take out a phone book or search blindly online to find someone to address their audience. A speaker sets the tone for the whole event, and therefore it is important that they are connected through someone who has seen the speaker present and / or is confident in their abilities.

If you want to assist me in making the type of connections that can lead to new business, you only need to look for companies and other organizations that host multi-day meetings.  This can be internal meetings, or client focused gatherings, where there will be an educational and motivational component to the event.

Who Are My Ideal Clients?

I speak at large industry conventions, association meetings, customer / users conferences, and internal meetings for companies of all sizes. While my topics are well received by all industries, I have a specialty for the "left-brained professionals: - lawyers, accountants, bankers, real estate, technology, finance, IT, etc....  

My experience working for large and small companies and law firms has allowed me to create a variety of business development, sales and marketing presentations that inspire people to take action to integrate their visibility as individuals and as a company. 

How To Introduce Me To Prospective Clients

Nobody wants to be told whom to hire to speak at their event. Many people already have ideas about what will make the "right" type of presentation, and therefore just saying you know a speaker or trainer may not resonate.

I set the tone when I speak to an audience and transform the energy which impacts the attendee participation. This goes beyond "networking" and creates an atmosphere where people take real actions to interact with each other.  When they have better conversations and really connect, they have more positive feelings about the whole event.

Too often people will say I speak on "networking".  While this is an important part to corporate success, the word has too many misconceptions, and allows people to assume they know what they might hear from me.  The reality is that my talks are described by those who see them as something more unique and meaningful.

Suggesting that someone add me to their "short list" of potential speakers, and encouraging them to have a conversation to learn more about my "Conference Catalyst Program" (or other presentations) is the ideal way to facilitate an introduction.  An email introduction where I am cc'd is sometimes the best way to help start a discussion.

My Client Discovery Process

I have delivered over 300 formal business presentations in my career and am an avid student of the meetings industry. While I am not the right match for every event, my commitment to the business of professional speaking and my experience is an added benefit for many of my clients.  Since I have witnessed and participated in many programs, I am an excellent sounding board for those who want to find new ways to create a unique experience.

My involvement with an event is usually more than just "speak and leave" (I find too many speakers run to the airport immediately after their talk), but instead I am engaged with the client and their audience before, during, and after the event.  

Discovering how to work with new clients is often an ongoing process, and I try to keep those who refer me to opportunities aware of the progress.  I know that people only refer those whom they trust will make them look good, and thus I never forget who sent me to a specific opportunity.

What Clients and Audience Members Are Saying About Thom Singer

"We hired Thom Singer to serve as the "Conference Catalyst" for our annual user conference. His program added a whole new element to the conference, igniting a sense of urgency in the attendees to meet each other, and resulting in a better experience for everyone. I highly recommend Thom if you are looking to create a memorable event."

Bertrand Hazard
Vice President of Marketing
Troux Technologies, Inc

"I have never been to a technology conference that included someone specifically focused on the inter-personal aspects of a conference, and it really did make a difference in the whole tone of the event! I walked away with many more good contacts than I ever have at similar events. After the conference, I spoke to the event organizer about how much I enjoyed your presentation and the overall difference you made to the whole atmosphere… She wholeheartedly agreed!"

Bryce Austin
Vice President and Division CIO
(Major Financial Institution)

So how can I refer you?  Have you told me?  I am all ears!!!

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Father's Day.

My dad is a great father, role model, and person.  I know I am fortunate to have him.  He is 96 years old, and still going strong (well, strong for 96).

I had the chance to visit with him last month (see above photo), and will see again in a couple of weeks.  The advantage to my travel schedule is that I get to speak on the West Coast often, and I can usually swing an extra day to spend some time with him.  Each visit is precious.

I just hope I am half as good of a dad to my kids!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Was Your Intention To Be Awful As The Keynote Speaker?

Not everyone is expected to be a captivating and inspiring speaker when they take the stage at a business conference.  There are many reasons that people are selected to address an audience, and presentation skills are often assumed to be sufficient if a person is accomplished in some other area of expertise.

Too often when seeking ideas for keynotes and breakout sessions all the attention is put on content.  Industry experts and mavericks are desired, as they seem so compelling in advance.  Most can hold their own and deliver the information to the crowd in an acceptable manner (some are even GREAT), but too many are just awful and clearly have not prepared beyond having their marketing department create a PowerPoint deck.

I have seen a trend where speakers begin by telling the audience how much they lack in the area of presentation skills.  They set the bar low hoping that they will be forgiven for sucking the energy out of the room.  While content is clearly very important, those who are sitting in the chairs expect a level of competency in delivery, too.  After a talk people will defend a bad speaker who had good content, but should they have to do this?

I contend that it is not too much to ask that business speakers have content and speaking skills.  Attendees invest a lot of time and money to be present at conferences and they deserve more than a canned pitch from some executive who does not even want to be on the stage in the first place.

My mantra is "Just because someone is smart or has done something cool, it does NOT mean they belong on the stage".  Speakers should be vetted before being asked to present.

It is not hard for an executive to improve their speaking skills.  I am not suggesting that everyone needs to perform like a professionals speaker, but when you are committed to giving your best to an audience you are willing to commit to the necessary preparation.

Nothing beats experience in developing your public speaking.  But if you think "winging it" is an acceptable plan, you will never give your best to those listening.  I find that every speech I give requires a minimum of four to five hours of preparation (even it I have delivered the same talk at an earlier conference).  Longer for new presentations.  If you are not planning to invest that much time, then do not accept the speaking opportunity in the first place.

Nobody plans to be awful as the keynote speaker, but many end up in that place.  This can be avoided if you are serious about putting the audience in a place of honor.  Remember that your talk is not about you, but about those watching you.

Those who have to speak to promote their businesses should make it a priority to become good at presenting.  There is nothing stopping you from making your delivery as good as your content.  When you have both you have impact.

(***Often when I talk about in importance of speaking skills people push back and boast that "public speaking skills without content is also awful".  Well of course.  I am not suggesting that you just deliver mindless drivel.  But it is called "giving a speech", therefore you must remember that it is a gift to those listening.  To not care about how you present, when everyone can improve, is selfish.  All speakers should strive to be "motivational speakers", as if you do not plan to touch your audience at a deep level, why ever take the stage?).

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thom Singer is the author of "The ABC's of Speaking", available at

Similar in design to his highly sucessful "The ABC's of Networking" now in its third printing, "The ABC's of Speaking" will help anyone achieve superior results when speaking in front of groups between 2 and 1,000 attendees.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Would You Trade Me?

I was a teenager when my mother fought cancer.  As she lay dying I was understandably upset.  She squeezed my hand and pulled me close.  She whispered in my ear. "Would you trade me?".  I did not understand the question, so she asked, "Would you trade me for a mother who would live longer?".

WHAT?  Oh God....NO!  

I became more emotional.  She smiled at me and added, "If you would not trade me, then you have to learn to deal with this, and find strength in the experience.  I want you focus on the best parts of our life, and not this one part".

She did not want to die.  She fought the disease for three years.  But in the end, she worked hard to find the words to teach me an important lesson.  I have thought about this many times over the past 27 years.

No matter what you are facing, ask yourself "Why am I here".  When you know your purpose it helps you get through the hard times.  I know now, as a parent, that her purpose was clear in that conversation.

If you cannot change a bad situation, do not let it define you.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dear Boss - I Wasted The Company's Money At The Trade Show

It is common for companies to sponsor trade shows and other business conferences.  As a vendor they usually receive several full-access registrations for the event, a booth in the trade show, attendee lists, and other VIP perks. There is a big investment in more than just the sponsorship, as the dollars spent add up fast when you consider the booth design, collateral materials, travel and lodging for employees, client entertainment, shipping of supplies, and the man hours for having a team on-site for several days.

Being a vendor at these industry shows is a great way to extend the corporate image, discover trends, get face-time with clients and prospects, gain competitive intelligence, and uncover new leads.  But the reality is many companies are wasting their time and money.

When the event is over it is common for sponsors to complain to the organizers about not getting enough value from their sponsorship investment.  The finger pointing continues when they get back to the office and they are asked for a report on the success of the participation.  Their complaints are always the same: Booth location was substandard, traffic in the trade show was low, the crowd was not decision makers, too many competitors were also vendors, and attendees were not interested in talking to sales people.

I have never heard of any sales and marketing professionals who return to the office and send the following email... but many should:

"Dear Boss; 
I wasted the company's money at the trade show. 
I know that you invested a lot of money in sending me to the event, but I failed to participate in a manner that would ensure ROI.  Instead I (and the rest of our team) sat on my butt, checked email and Facebook every five minutes, complained about the organizers decisions, and skipped out early to have dinner with my college buddy who lives in the city where the event was held.
While the attendees were in the keynote sessions I used that time to go back to my room to sleep off my hangover.  Then when they were walking around the trade show I stayed in the booth behind a table and tried not to make eye contact with anyone.  My strategy to get leads was to let the prospects come find me. 
During the networking breaks and happy hours I hung around with the other vendors.  As you know, nobody at an event really wants to talk to a sponsor, so I did not want to bother them.  There is that invisible wall between vendors and attendees, and I stayed on my side of the barrier. 
I appreciate that the company invested a lot of money in being a sponsor of the event, even though we did not get much value.  I wanted to let you know that I will be as much of a slouch at the next event, too, as sponsoring these things is just a "check the box" activity. 
I did want to thank you as I really needed this break from my wife and kids, as the baby is not sleeping and trade shows are a great escape for me from the routine of my life. 

Nobody in history has ever sent such an email, but that does not mean it is not the reality of how people flush marketing money down the toilet.

Here are the realities of trade show sponsorship:

1.  Your booth location does not matter.  If you are waiting for the prospects to find you, then you are not good at your job.  The best vendors go to the people, and are not overly concerned with the traffic by their booth. If you want to meet the people step out of your booth and instigate conversations.  Do not jump into "sales mode", but instead be in "human mode" and talk to others.

2.  Job titles do not matter.  Success at a trade show rarely means closing business on the spot.  Thus the best of the best are not concerned with the job title of those they meet on-site.  They realize that anyone from a prospective client organization can be the conduit to introductions inside companies.  Cultivating meaningful relationships, and then proper follow up, with a lower-level employee often leads to c-level introductions.

3.  Competitors are just additional people to get to know.  Being concerned that your competitors are present is silly.  Who cares.  If you are better you will win.  But better is not just about product or service, it is also your to tell your story.  Your prospects know about the other providers in your industry, they are not a secret.  Befriend your competition and you will discover competitive information, and also identity the right people to hire the next time you are looking to fill positions.

4.  Vendors are only separate if you make it that way.  You must be present to win.  This means participating in all aspects of the program.  The smartest vendors are sitting in the audience during the keynotes (and sometimes the breakout sessions) so that they know what is being talked about during the breaks.  They stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone else at the conference, not hiding in the trade show area. By being engaged you will position yourself as part of the "mini-society" that is created at an event... not just a vendor.

5.  You are always "on".  While at a trade show you must be constantly focused on the opportunities that exist.  When you sneak off to your room to sleep or catch up on emails you are not going to meet people.  Opportunities come from people, not from a list of emails.  When you skip happy hour, dinner, or time in the hotel bar to go see local friends you are at fault for any lack uncovering leads.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

45 Things I've Learned By 45

(The below post was modified from a post from June 2006 titled "41 Things I Learned by 40")

45 Things I've Learned By 45

June 8th marked my 45th Birthday. Here are 45 pieces of advice that I have learned along the way:

45.  Everyone wants to feel significant, but you can never achieve significance alone in a field.  You need other people.  Help them find significance and they will return the favor.  Don't and you will be alone.

44. Social media is not a fad.  You must have a LinkedIn profile if you are a grown up with a job.  But do not mistake the number of contacts with the number of people how know, like, trust, respect, and understand who you are in your soul.

43.  Read the Wall Street Journal.  The economy (good or bad) does impact your career... no matter your company, industry, job title, etc...  Do not stick your head in the sand.  

42.  Embrace Change.

41. Don't worry too much about what others think about you.

40. Everyone has an ego. Tread lightly as to not bruise them.

39. Nothing produces results as much as taking action.

38. Don't gossip. What you say will always find its way back to the person.

37. People do business with people they know and like.

36. Jealous and petty people are just part of life.

35. Say "please" and "thank you". It will make you stand out from the crowd.

34. When you need help, ask someone.

33. Having written goals is an important step you achieving your dreams.

32. Over using credit cards will stall your financial future.

31. A supportive spouse is worth her weight in gold, and then some.

30. A true friend is excited for you about any event that makes you happy.

29. True friends are rare and should be cherished.

28. No job is secure. Have a "plan B"

27. Always find the best in other people. Do not focus on their flaws.

26. You are not what you drive or what you wear. Do not judge others by their cars, clothes or zip code.

25. You are a "brand". No matter what you do it impacts your reputation.

24. Luck does not happen by accident.

23. Start saving money when you are young. 10% of your income should always go to your 401K.

22. Dedicate time to think about your future. Know what success looks like.

21. You cannot love your kids too much!

20. Treat everyone with respect. You never know when they might circle back into your life.

19. If you are not knowledgeable about wine...Don't fake it.

18. Be-friend your competitors.

17. Regardless of your political beliefs - attend a presidential inauguration once in your lifetime. The whole thing is very cool.

16. Find a mentor.

15. Be a mentor.

14. Staying physically fit gets harder as you get older. But do it anyway.

13. You do not have to be smart to be successful. Tenacity trumps intelligence.

12. Having a strong network of professional contacts is the best career safety net.

11. Read a lot of books, magazines, websites, blogs and newspapers. Knowledge is power.

10. Writing a book is hard work. Promoting a book is harder work.

9. Develop your public speaking skills. Join a Toastmasters group and participate actively for two years.

8. There is no substitute for integrity.

7. Have friends who challenge you to be a better person.

6. If you know someone who wrote a book, read it. The biggest compliment you can give an author is to read what they wrote.

5. Helping others always comes back to benefit you.

4. Find a good lawyer, accountant and banker before you need them.

3. Learn to cook.

2. Opportunities exist. You just have to look for them.


#1 - Those who have achieved REAL success in life (financially, emotionally and spiritually) will never criticize your dreams and aspirations. Instead they will look for ways to share their own experiences to help lift you up to higher levels. Successful people are rarely jealous and welcome the achievements of others.

Bonus #46 - Always deliver a little more than is expected from you!!!  

Have A Great Day

Oh, and #19 is still my favorite!


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

21 Days, 10 Presentations, 7 Cities

Today is my birthday and I started the day by flying home from Boston.  Happily I made it in time to spend the afternoon with my wife and kids.  We will celebrate by going to "Blues on the Green", a summer concert series that happens every other week in the warm months on the grass of Zilker Park in Austin.  Tonight we will get to hear Bob Schneider perform.
The last three weeks have been amazing and crazy-busy.  I have had the pleasure to speak to over 2000 people around the United States (and beyond).  It was an eclectic group of professionals from a variety of backgrounds.  The best part is that I met a ton of new people and had some great experiences.  Additionally while traveling I was able to see some old friends, business associates and my dad (he is nearly 97 years old!).
The audiences included:
  • Leadership Austin Closing Retreat (Austin)
  • A group of top performing real estate professionals (San Antonio)
  • Annual users conference for a California software company (San Diego)
  • DemandCon 2011 (San Francisco)
  • Business Executives of South Texas (Pleasanton, TX)
  • The team of a mid-size accounting firm (Austin)
  • The IT "Leadership Team" of a global manufacturer (Via the internet to 7 countries)
  • A partner retreat and firm meeting for a law firm (Bermuda)
  • IMA 92nd Annual Conference (Orlando)
  • A regional IT Conference (Boston)
If your company or professional organization is planning a meeting or conference for the summer or fall I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about my keynote presentations, training programs, executive coaching, facilitations, or "The Conference Catalyst" program.
Have a great day!
thom singer

Monday, June 06, 2011

Refuel And Focus On What Is Going Right!

Speaking at more than 50 meetings, trade shows, conference and conventions each year allows me the interesting opportunity to see hundreds of other speakers.  I love when I get the chance to watch others (professional speakers, or industry experts) deliver their presentations.  I have spent years studying "the industry of speaking", and find it fascinating to witness how people craft their words when they take the stage.

Each time I see anyone present I call it "Speaker University".  This is my own personal course of study in which I have been enrolled for over 15 years.  No matter who is speaking - a speaker, politician, clergy, professor, teacher, etc... - I watch and learn.  Everyday is a new class and it helps me continuously improve myself.

While speaking at a large conference of accounting professionals I got to see industry veteran Carol Grace Anderson wake up the audience at a morning breakfast keynote.  She had them on their feet, and also has a nice voice, so she sang in addition to speaking.  You don't want me to do that... I am a singer in last name only!!!

Her message is about reach, risk and refueling.... and her tips to take the time to re-charge your batteries resonated with the audience (and with me!).

Her closing advice was to "focus on what is going right".  I wanted to share this in today's blog post because I think we can all easily fall into the trap of seeing the negative.  It is easy to notice the hotel desk clerk who is rude and miss the reality that you are staying at a great resort.  Placing our attention in the traffic on the drive to work instead of realizing we have a great job.  Complaining about the flight delay rather than celebrating the safe landing.  It is a choice.

Life is all about choices, and I suggest you choose to find the good in any situation.  There is always something there!

Thanks for your presentation, Carol, you were the "professor" at "Speaker University" even if you did not know it.  I got an "A" in your class, by the way!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Saturday, June 04, 2011

How To Become An Expert In Your Job

Jason Alba wrote a good article about "How To Become An Expert In Your Job" on his JibberJobber Blog.

He uses me as an example, and my Conference Catalyst program.  I am humbled by his positive comments and observations.

I share this because he makes good points (even if you take the focus on me out of the equation).  Success in any area does not happen by accident or luck.  You have to be intentional in your actions.

Check it out here:

Have A Great Day


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The ABC's of Trade Shows and Conferences - Z is The End

All good things must come to an end.

However, when you attend a trade show, conference, convention, seminar or other event the "mini-society" that is created amongst the attendees does not have to evaporate with the closing keynote presentation.

After the Master of Ceremonies delivers the gratitude to the event organizers and sponsors everyone rushes to their cars or to catch airplanes.  Good-byes are said, hugs are given, business cards are exchanged, and the people go their separate ways.  This mass exodus is not necessarily the the finale if you are focused on building upon the learning and cultivating the relationships.

To maximize your investment in attending the conference you have to take ownership of the necessary post-event actions.  Do not simply place the learning materials on a shelf, file your notes away, and forgo following up with the people you met.  Instead you should follow this five step plan:

1.  Review the learning materials.  Handouts, binders, slide decks and other physical or digital materials are useful only if you take the time to review them.  You will only retain a small amount of the information your learned if you never take the time to browse over the data.  Schedule time within ten days of returning to the office to refresh your memory on key points you learned.  To take it one step further, set up a time to talk by phone with another attendee and discuss the best things you both learned at the conference.

2.  Transcribe your notes.  Regardless of if you took notes on a pad of paper or in your laptop, they are rough.  Invest the time to re-write the information you took down.  A good way to ensure you get the most from your notes is to write them to be shared with others who were not at the conference.  I have a group of peers with whom we share notes from conferences the others did not attend.  This allows those who missed the event to get nuggets of information, and forces the person who was there to clarify the ideas in an understandable manner.

3.  Prioritize business cards.  You will not have a "love connections" with everyone you meet.  Too often people are overwhelmed with the stack of business cards they bring home from a conference, and thus they do nothing to follow up.  Create three piles based on your level of desire to keep in touch.  The first pile is those you know you need to follow up with quickly because there was a clear reason why you should re-connect.  The second pile is those you might want to reach out to at some point.  The last pile is those you see no reason to speak with again.  Make the first pile a priority and follow up within one week.  Get to the second group if you can.  Do not worry about the last pile.  Also, do not forget to send notes or emails to the event host, organizers, and sponsors telling them why you enjoyed the conference.

4.  Decide if you will return to the conference the next year.  Some events are "industry happenings" that you know you want to participate in every year.  If your experience merits going back, get the information in your calendar immediately so you can reserve the dates.  Also, schedule reminders to register and book travel so that you can get the best deals when the time comes.

5.  Tell others about the event.  When you attend a great event, do not keep it a secret.  Reach out to others in your industry and let them know what made the show spectacular.  If you write a blog or are active in social media sites be sure to give the kudos about the event.  Event organizers and others in your business community will recognize and appreciate your helping spread the word.  When you tell nobody about a successful conference you are being selfish, as people are always trying to evaluate where to invest their time and money.  Share the good news.  (If the event is awful you have a harder time, as you do not want a reputation of being a complainer.  Maybe best just to be quiet unless asked).

Do not let the event end.  Work forge ongoing relationships and put the information you learned into practice. You have the power to make the conferences you attend spring eternal.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.