Saturday, May 31, 2014

When We Feel Insecure

Everyone feels insecure sometimes.  In these moments of self-doubt we need our friends to be there for support.  A shoulder to lean on, a champion, or a coach at the right time can transform these feelings of angst.

I was recently reminded of how even the most successful in our circle of friends need our support.  Often we assume others have their "act together" and forget that we are all just human being navigating this crazy world.  

Who do you know that may need some encouragement?  

Have A Great Day

Friday, May 30, 2014

Compliments Have Impact (Video Blog Post)

A few kind words to another person can have a huge impact.  You never know when a compliment can impact someone's entire day (or their whole life).

It does not take extra time to praise someone or tell them how you admire something they do well.  I had a conversation with Stephen Lahey of and he was so genuine and wonderfully caring... that it had an impact on my whole attitude for the rest of the afternoon.   .

If you are not familiar with Stephen or his podcast, I highly recommend you listen.  He is a very nice man who has a lot of great ideas from small businesss.  He has interviewed some great guests, and I always learn something from his show.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #107): The CEO Tightrope by Joel Trammell

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Congratulations to Joel Trammell for the upcoming launch of his new book, "The CEO Tightrope: How to Master the Balancing Act of a Successful CEO".  It will be released in September 2014, but I am fortunate to have an advance copy, which I am happily reading.

I have known Joel for a long time.  We are not friends in the way that we go out for beers or coffee (although I would enjoy chatting with him more), but I have always admired how he served as CEO of several successful Austin companies, and was still available and visible to the community.  He is considered one of the most approachable and generous executives in the local tech community.

This book is a good read.  It shows what lays ahead for those who ascend to the top, and he spells out the good and bad that comes with the ultimate responsibility.  

Another reason I think this book is cool is because I am the father of a teenage daughter who has aspirations to become a CEO.  While she is still a high school student, she looks toward a future of running companies.  At her age she does not fully know what that means or the responsibilities involved, but this book is an ideal resource for her to clarify her ambitions.  I hope she will read it this summer (one can't make a teen read a book!!!), as to have access to this first hand advice before she even gets to college could have a lifetime impact.

Thanks to Joel's team for offering me the pre-release copy.  I am excited to have it featured as week #107 of "Cool Things My Friends Do".  It is a great book.  Get yours on Amazon.

Discover more about Joel Trammell on his website: The American CEO.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thursday, May 29, 2014

8 Tips for Solopreneurs

Another video blog post!

Growing a business is hard work.  When you are an entrepreneur who works alone (a Solopreneur), there are countless challenges and balls to keep in the air.  Having worked for myself for five years I am often asked for tips for others who want to explore working solo.

See this video

8 Tips for Solopreneurs

1.  Believe in what you are doing.  Have positive "self talk" about your career efforts.

2.  Think Big / Do Big.

3.  Understand how you have impact on clients.

4.  Take risks.

5.  Read, listen to podcasts, and learn something everyday.

6.  When you see an opportunity, act on it.

7.  Don't hide.  You must always be marketing your business.

8.  Help others get closer to their desired success.  Do not only serve yourself.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

The Handwritten Note - Never a bad idea

A friend sent me a link to an article on The Huffington Post about reasons to send Handwritten Notes.

"7 Reasons to Bring Back Back Thank You Notes" by Brie Dyas did a good job of reminding us all why the handwritten note is special.  I liked the article (afterall, I am the guy who deemed 2014 "The Year of the Handwritten Note").  There were only a few comments on this post (it is hardly controversial), however, what stood out to me were the comments on this post that ridiculed the idea.
Maria Rosa wrote: "This is so 1950's ------NO THANKS."
Mike G wrote: "I say thank you in person - or on the phone - preferably in public or at least usually one other person hears it but that's not required but it spreads good will. I don't need to actually write a note. Personal contact is even better."
I find it interesting that people take the time to argue against sending handwritten notes. To their points, just because we did something in the past does not mean it is wrong now.  And in person verbal appreciation is great, it is not the always seen by the other person as you making a real effort. 

To Maria and Mike I suggest the next time they recieve a note in the mail from a friend who wants to say "Thank You" or another wish for life, that they call the person and tell them to "Go To Hell".  They should ridicule their friend for a note that was dumb and useless.  They can add that they now think less of them as a human because they sent a handwritten note.  Maybe spitting on the floor to add punctuation.  

Nobody would do that after getting a handwritten note (Gosh, I hope nobody would do that!).  The reason they would never do this is because getting a note shows that the person who sent it cares for the recipient more than a text, email or call.  

So while Mike and Maria are not obligated to send notes, why would they argue against them?  

Let's counteract these people who roll their eyes.  Go send a note to someone in your life who matters. The person who helps you in a time of need or that new person you just met at a networking event. Ms Dyas is correct, a handwritten note has many reasons to come back in style.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Video Blog Post - Maximizing Networking at a Conference

A main reason people people attend conferences, trade shows, conventions and other live meetings is for the "networking opportunities", yet once they arrive on site they often fail to make the level of connections they desire.  

In this short Video Blog Post I discusses ways to set yourself up for better networking results by the actions you take before, during and after an event.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

The ABC's of Legal Marketing - W is for Wisdom

The World English Dictionary defines "Wisdom" as:
wisdom (ˈwɪzdəm)
— n
1. the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.
This obviously is key to anyone in the practice of law.  But when it comes to marketing, too many lawyers skip over the necessary study and knowledge of this topic.  Somehow "marketing" has a bad reputation and some hope that just being a "good lawyer" will bring them a lifetime of clients.  But I argue that the wise lawyer understands that being "good" also means managing all the business aspects of their practice.

Every successful businessman has a keen focus on sales and marketing.  Without customers / clients the company will fail.  The same is true for lawyers.  The more you can you learn, experience and understand the strategies and tactics for growing your reputation and brand can be the difference between a mediocre career and one that is amazing.  If nobody knows you exist, they cannot do business with your firm.

This means that you must know and comprehend an understanding of marketing in addition to your experitse in your field of the law.   

If you had a major case or a big deal pending and you were aware you were not up-to-date on the latest statutes in a specific area of the law, what would you do?  You would invest the time to do the research and get up to speed before you moved forward.  You would reach out to peers who had the specific expertise you were lacking and enlist their help.  The same should be true with your marketing plan.  If you do not feel you have all the wisdom you should, then why would you ignore the wholes?

If you have read this far in "The ABC's of Legal Marketing" you are already showing your commitment to gaining knowledge and wisdom.  As we wrap up this series, do not stop here.  Make marketing a priority and you will see the results.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is experienced in legal marketing and business development.  He regularly speaks at law firm retreats inspiring attorneys to embrace their brand and increase their sales.  He also teaches lawyers ways to improve their presentation skills as the firm's secret weapon for business development success.  More information at

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Video Blog Post - Successful Teams

I asked my friend JT Keating why he loves working for start-up companies.  He did not need to think about it... it was the teams.  He said "there is no Heisman Trophy in a start up.. it is the National Championship or nothing".

That inspired today's short video blog post.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

****Thom Singer and Davis / Hill Solutions are an "Authorized Partner" for the new "Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team" program.  This team assessment and facilitated discussion can help companies find their way to more productive teams.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Going to the next level

"If you do not design your own plan in life - chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan.  And guess what they have planned for you?  -- Not much"  - Jim Rohn
Many people want to move their career up to the next level.  I do.

Waiting for someone else to bring me success is not a good plan.  Doing so would mean I may wait forever and miss some of the coolest experiences.  Thus far along my journey I have been fortunate, but it is not because of being passive and hoping for luck to drop from the sky.  But even with the successes I have encountered, there are still milestones ahead to conquer.

The hard part is finding the right people to guide me along the way.  Few we encounter have "the success of others" on their list of goals.  Most people spend no time thinking about you and your goals.  But there are special individuals who will push and pull you to the next level.

When we are alone opportunity can be hard to recognize.   Sometimes we get distracted, other times self-doubt clouds our courage.  This is when people matter.  Support, love, encouragement, advise, and shared knowledge is the currency that has the deepest value to those of us who seek a path upward.

Design your plan, and find the right people to help you stay the course.  Some of the people you think are there to boost you are not really the ones who make the biggest difference.  It is not that they are working against you (although some of those people exist as well), but not everyone has it in their DNA to invest in serving others.  Assembling a Mastermind Group of like-minded "seekers" (who are also "doers") is the best way I have found to navigate this climb.  My group has chops, and each time we meet (live or online) I find my desire to push on my gas-pedal and go faster and further.

Each day I have to work at growing my business.  Some days I get frustrated by lack of progress or even a slide backwards.  Yet I work no matter what happens.  As I try to learn and expand my abilities, new teachers appear.  The right people are out there, and they are part of my plan.

Confidence is what keeps me going most days, and even when I am unsure, I still do the work and hunt for those who want long-term and mutually-beneficial connections.  It is an adventure.  Join me.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #106) - You Night New Orleans and Lisa Angelos McKenzie

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Sometimes I find friends get profiled several times in this "Cool Things My Friends Do" series.  The lesson is that those who do something amazing are often the same people who make a habit of stretching their talents.

Lisa Angelos McKenzie is always up to something interesting.  She is a mom, an entrepreneur, a traveler, community leader, and a friend to many.  (I wrote about her fashion company on this blog here and here).  She touches the lives of people and brings a spark of fun to every activity.  I have known Lisa since college.  We literally met on the freeway (long story, and we only will tell you the details over beers).

Lisa's company, Ooh La Bra, is currently involved producing a charity event for breast cancer survivors in New Orleans, LA.  I love the story of what they are doing and wanted to share it (as you many not know, we lost both my mother and mother-in-law to breast cancer... so I support this cause!!!).

In a nutshell they are partnering with a local cancer center who refers breast cancer patients who have either gone through treatment or are presently in treatment. The hospital uses the event as "empowerment" therapy for these ladies who can take their focus off the negative part of having cancer, and repositioning their thinking to the victory so that they can start living their lives with a healthy and empowered mindset as they prepare to get up on that stage in front of their family and friends. 

The ladies go through 8 weeks of professional runway, pose and print training. They begin with shoulders hunched over, very insecure about what cancer has done to them emotionally and physically, and then they slowly a butterfly who has learned to spread its wings again and they rock the runway like professionals. 

Twenty-four salons and twenty-four boutiques participate in styling the twenty-four models, uniting a community for the bigger cause which is to showcase the victory over cancer. These women are not just models on a stage, but "role models" for the community. 

Check out the website ... There are two videos you should watch. The home page shows the event, and the "About Us" page shows a really cool intimate video of the survivors telling how the event changed their lives. 

It's a two-fold event -- 1) Guests pay to attend a dinner, cocktail and runway show and enjoy the event and 2) Sponsors donate and help raise money for the local cancer center.  

If you have friends in New Orleans I encourage you to share this information.  If Lisa is involved I can promise the event will be incredible.

They are looking to take this event to other cities.  If you are so moved by the power of this event, reach out to Lisa.... as she would love to help you make this a reality in your community.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In Real Life - Choose Real Life (Don't Check Texts)

When standing with people we should choose the real life conversation.  When in a face-to-face meeting do not be looking at your phone.

Watch my video blog below

or at

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Product Briefing - Austin, TX

June 9, 2014 from 3:00 - 5:00 PM in Austin, TX.
You’re invited to learn how The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, a new assessment-driven learning experience, will help you build truly cohesive teams in your organization.
Davis / Hill Solutions (my training and development organization) is exited to be an "Authorized Partner" for this new and exciting team learning program.  
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ is the result of the partnership between Wiley Workplace Learning Solutions and best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. Together they have created a team development program with a simple goal—to help team members understand, embrace, and put into practice The Five Behaviors
If you are interested in attending this event, please contact me at 512-970-0398 or thom (at)  
Have A Great Day
thom singer

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5 Tips To Making Friends As We Get Older

Is it more difficult to make new friends as we get older?

In our school days we are consistently surrounded by people our own age and exposed to others who signed up for activities for similar special interests (sports, drama, dance, etc...).  As we get older we become much more set in our ways and the things we do to fill our time.  Add to that the responsibilities of a job and family and there is not much time to spend with those who are not already part of our inner circle.

While I meet many people, there seems to be less time in this busy world to share experiences with others and cultivate friendships.  This is especially true with new acquaintances.  The idea of investing time with others is difficult as it means making choices not to do other things that may seem more pressing.  Without spending time together, however, it is hard to get from the superficial to a real friendship.  When we share experiences we build bonds.

In discussion with others, there is not agreement on if it is easier to make friends in our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.  Some have agreed with my point of view, others claim it is better now than in their youth.  Maybe it is an introvert / extrovert thing?  

Here are five tips to help you establish new friendships at any age:

Five tips to establishing better relationships as you get older:

1.  Make people a priority.  It is easy to decide that you are too busy or that you have enough friends, but if you make getting to know others important then you will encounter some very interesting people.  

(Side note: We are all busy, and it is too easy to use that as an excuse)

2.  Join a group.  Those who find they continually make friends are often active in causes that get them engaged over the long haul.  Hobbies, sports, volunteer opportunities and faith communities are some of the ways people become better connected within their communities. 

(Side note:  Being part of associations and other communities bring you into contact with incredible people).

3. Don't jump to conclusions.  It is natural to leap to broad generalizations about others based on their looks, job title, or other first impression.  We make decisions that people are not worthy of our time based on a quick overview of what they may bring to us.  The "what's in it for me" attitude can drift into how we judge others, and that can limit our chances to establish exciting long-term friendships. 

(Side note:  This was the most valuable lesson I learned.  People are not their car, clothes, zip code or job title).

4.  Give a second chance.  While sometimes our first impressions are correct, often they are limited.  As long as someone has not done something illegal or immoral it is a good idea to give them more time before you make permanent judgments.   Spend time with people more often and take the additional opportunities to get to know them beyond what is on their business card.  Some people are nervous when they meet new people and are too quiet (or talk too much) as a defense mechanism.  Turns out once you get to know them they are much more interesting than on first impression

(Side note: The more I follow this piece of advice, the more people I discover the amazing soul inside.  Throughout my life I wrote off some very cool people too fast, and that was bad judgement on my part)

5.  Ask questions.  Get people talking about their lives, don't just talk about yours.  The more the other person talks the better you will come to understand their life and what interests they have.  

(Side note:  I struggle with number five.  I am a storyteller by nature, but continuously am learning to listen more attentively.  This is teaching me that others are much more interesting than I am!!!  Plus I learn better ways to be a friends, father, husband and business person from the people I have come to know)

Have A Great Day

thom singer

PS - A meeting organizer asked me (after reading this) if I thought it was easier for younger attendees or older attendees to connect at conferences and other live events???  Hmmmm... that is a good question.. What you you think??

The ABC's of Legal Marketing - V is for Vision

If you do not know where you are going, you will never know if you arrive.  It is too common for those who work in professional services, such as law or accounting, to get caught in the loop of doing the current work, and not thinking about how they want to grow their practice.  

You must have a clear vision of how you want your career to progress if you expect to reach the top of your potential.  Regardless of if you work inside a large multi-national firm, a small boutique or if you hang out your own solo-shingle, having vision of the end goal is paramount to success.

Your vision will not necessarily be where you end up, as life will happen for better or worse along the way, but to have no path for what you are trying to accomplish in the long run usually leads to frustration for the lawyer, his or her staff, family and clients.  It is easier to work long hours, or make the tough decisions, when you know that it is leading you closer to your long-term plan.

The vision you have for your future should be spelled out in your marketing plan.  If you do not have a written plan, then you will most likely never do the work it takes to grow you practice.  The excuse of current work will always be easier than making the choices that will propel your business to the next level.

In order to understand the whole of your vision you must dedicate time to thinking about the future and clarifying what it is you desire to create.   This means setting aside the time to regularly explore the options you have in designing your practice.  Many lawyers do not really believe they are in control of their business development and assume those who achieve great success were lucky or had some special personality traits that allowed them to attract the right clients.  The reality is that you are in charge of your future, but only if you take ownership of the results.

Ask yourself the hard questions about what you want as the legacy of your career.  Do not fall into the trap of thinking too big or too small.  Be honest, and look for examples of other lawyers who are ten or twenty years further along in their careers and reverse engineer the steps they took to achieve their success.  If your vision is unclear, you will never reach the desired destination.

Once you know what you want to create, take only steps that lead you closer to your goals.  Share your ambitions with co-workers, family, friends, clients, etc....  The more people who know the type of practice that you are working towards, the more chances they will bring you new opportunities.  

If this idea of looking forward make you nervous, find a coach or consultant who can and will challenge you to look at your past, present and future.  Trying to do this alone can be a daunting task, which is why many attorneys allow their career to just exist without a vision.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is experienced in legal marketing and business development.  He regularly speaks at law firm retreats inspiring attorneys to embrace their brand and increase their sales.  He also teaches lawyers ways to improve their presentation skills as the firm's secret weapon for business development success.  More information at

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week # 105) - Headshot Makeover Secrets by Jerry Hughes

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

In our digital world the first impression you make could be your headshot on your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other online community.  Too many people throw up any picture without any regard for how that photo portrays them to the world.

My friend, photographer Jerry Hughes, has a great book (available on called Headshot Makeover Secrets.  The cool part is there are two editions, one for men and one for women.  He has just "re-released" them with a new cover, new content and his website has been refreshed, too.

Jerry says: "BAD Photos Hurt, GOOD Photos Help.  Peoples first impression of you on the internet is your photograph. A picture is worth a thousand words and your photo says more about you than anything else".  He is a photographer who cares a lot about capturing the real person.

If you get this book you will learn how to take a good photo (not only as a photographer, but also as the subject.  Most people don't know how to look good in a photograph. They freeze up in front of the camera with an awkward pose and a fake cheesy smile. HEADSHOT MAKEOVER SECRETS helps you learn how to look your best in a photograph to get a great headshot and make a great first impression.

Congrats to Jerry on this book.  I read it before he took my most recent headshot and it made the whole experience of having my photo taken a more interactive experience.  Plus... He got a great pic.

No matter who will take your next picture... you should read this book!

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, May 05, 2014

Why Networking Does Not Work

Many people think networking is great. They love the idea of building long-term and mutually beneficial relationships, and expect to see themselves and the people in their circle discover unparalleled future success.

The problem is that some people are givers, and others are way too self-focused to ever help you win.  Both types of people show up at networking events and have interesting conversations.  They are nearly impossible to tell apart, and over time many believe that they have build mutually beneficial connections with people who want to see them succeed.  When they have a need they are thrilled for your help, and you are excited to help.  In these moments networking seems powerful.

That is until you seek their assistance.  When you finally make the "ask" of others, this is where the wheels can come off the bus.  Too many that you believed were in your corner will ignore your call or make excuses of being "too busy".  It is interesting how long time "friends" disappear when you could use a hand up.

This causes frustration, and many people come to believe that networking does not work.

But it does work.  You just have to set your expectations about the people you meet in a realistic manner.  While you cannot always distinguish the ones who will move mountains for you from those who do not care, you should not punish those who are good networking partners because of those that are not.  

When you reach out for assistance be honest that the other person may not be committed to the "mutual" part of networking.  While they love that you are thinking of ways to help them, they see their own goals as the only ones that matter.  "Busy" is a badge of honor to those with a one-sided view of networking, and you cannot change them.  Move on.

However, when you do see those who agree to help, cherish them.  Honor them.  Let them know they are in the 1% of people who make a difference.  

It is not that networking does not work, it is that all people are not really givers.  When you find a giver, tell them you recognize they are special.  And then BE THERE FOR THEM, too. And if you cannot find a way to serve them... be sure to pay-it-forward!

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #104) - Mike Dilbeck and "The Revolution for Courageous Leadership"

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Mike Dilbeck has just launched "RESPONSE ABILITY: The Revolution for Courageous Leadership".  This is an opportunity for people to learn how to be empowered to make the differences they want to make - especially for others in moments of need. 

The mission is for all of us to "stand up, step in, and speak out for what's right."

He is doing this because he believes that people really do care, that they really do have a commitment to take care of each other, yet we don't always take the actions in life that match this commitment. We don't always intervene in problem situations. We don't always show courageous leadership.

This all matters because there are way too many abusive, unhealthy and inappropriate behaviors in the world today and many of them have witnesses, observers, and-- bystanders. There are moments that people have an opportunity to prevent, or at least diminish, a problem situation...but often do nothing. We have an opportunity to create a whole new world where people are standing up, stepping in, and speaking out for what's right -- and that WILL be a different world than we have now. A world where more people can feel safe, protected, and honored for who we are. 

I have known Mike for several years.  He is a speaker and advocate who really desires to see the world be a better place.

Congratulations to Mike on his revolution.  I am proud to have him as part of my "Cool Things My Friends Do" series (week #104).

You can learn more at

Have A Great Day.

thom singer