Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mini Gift Guide For The Tech Traveller Business Person In Your Life

tech travellerNormally, I shy away from gift guides. This year is different.

I consider myself a tech traveller. I travel about 150,000 miles per year (for some that’s insane, for other that’s called “February”). With that, I am always super specific about the gear that I travel with. Because I never check bags, everything must be super lightweight, ultra durable, multi-purpose and truly functional for heavy usage. Over the years, I’ve often had the question: “Where did you get that?,” while sitting in airports, hotel lobby’s or just over lunch with a friend. I quickly realized that I, in fact, am a huge nerd and love scouting out the latest and greatest in tech and travel gadgets that can make your business trip that much more pleasant.

Let’s level set first.

Before rattling off some of the best gadgets for the tech traveller in your life, it’s important to note that I travel with a MacBook Pro (the new one that is USB C only) and the iPhone X. I travel, mostly, domestically in North America and I have a physical aversion to checking any luggage. So, I pack light and wear similar clothes (black only!).

With that, here’s my mini gift guide for the tech traveller your life…

  • Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 2-in-1 Portable Charger and Wall Charger. A killer little travel device that enables me to leave all of the Apple charger bricks at home for the smartphones and tablets and — at the same time — this also double as a portable charger for your smartphone. I can’t thank Scott Stratten enough for introducing me to this device. I also love how it plugs directly into the wall and recharges the battery, while being able to handle two USB devices. Simply brilliant. This literally took me from four separate charging devices/portable batteries down to just one.
  • Poweradd 2-Outlet Mini Travel Surge Protector. This is another “must have” device. I picked up a portable and mini travel size power bar at a trade show booth for free. I loved it. It eventually died, and I replaced it with this one… and I am glad that I did. This has room for a few devices to plug in, plus two USB ports. If you have ever been to a hotel, airport lounge or airport lobby, you know how scare, hard to find and tight the spaces are to actually plug anything in. This one is so well designed, that it even plugs perfectly into that pesky little outlet that are in the base of hotel room lamps on the night table. Frequent flyers also know how tough it can be to get those Apple chargers into in the in-seat plugs (if you’re lucky enough to have one). This cures all. I love the way the chord wraps and hides itself, and I’m a huge fan of the little green power light as well. You have no idea how often I plug something into a random wall on the road, and I don’t know if the socket is dead, if it’s the charger, etc… This lets you know when it’s actually getting power. This gets you from one plug to two plus two USB ports.
  • Anble 4-in-1 USB Type C to HDMI, DVI and VGA Converter. If you have to give a business presentation, you need to have one of these. While my primary dongles to attach my laptop to projectors are the official ones from Apple, I always want to have a back up (especially because these new MacBook’s are using USB C, and very few AV teams carry this new format/dongle). With that, I always want a backup. This is it. It’s an all-in-one, so I would not trust it as the only solution, but it’s great for a backup. The bonus of this one is that it also has DVI. DVI is a format I don’t see often (and Apple doesn’t even have a USB C to DVI dongle), but just in case I always keep this one handy. So, you can connect to VGA, HDMI and DVI all from this one dongle.
  • 2 in 1 Lightning iPhone 7 Adapter for iPhone. If you use headphones, one of the biggest adjustments that must be made as you transition over to the newer iPhones, is the lack of a headphone jack. I’ll recommend some great Bluetooth headsets for being on-the-go next, but it’s a shame to waste the headphones that you already have. This would be a solution. The ability to plug into a corded headphone while also being able to charge your device at the same time (a must for being on the go with these battery draining smartphones). Candidly, I’m not sold on these adapters, but they are essential. The challenge (as I have discovered) is that while these do the trick of allowing you to listen to audio while charging your device at the same time (something, the official Apple adapter does not allow), it does render the buttons on your headphones useless. So, if you want to jump tracks, raise/lower the volume or even use the microphone on your headset for a call, these adapters don’t always allow for that functionality. Buyer beware. I’m hopeful that Apple creates an official version of this, at some point soon.
  • Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones. These are my wireless/bluetooth headphones of choice for travel. Bose is a brand that many know and love. I’ve gone through the lot of their headphones (and other brands as well). There is no doubt that the sound quality and true noise cancelling is much better on the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, but I am a stickler on a few points that the 30 delivers on over the 35. First, if you ever have to sleep on a plane, I find it much more comfortable to have the in-ear option. The over-the-ears don’t allow you to move your head around as much, and if you’re lucky enough to get a lie-flat seat on an overseas flight, you can forget about sleeping on your side with the 35. I also much prefer the slim form factor of the 30 over the 35. The 35 has a much bulkier packaging, which makes it harder to slip into your briefcase. These are both expensive headphones. Both work great. I choose the 30 over the 35.
  • eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack. This is my backpack/briefcase. I could not be happier with it, and I have bought — literally — hundreds of briefcases and backpacks over the years. I’m always looking for something light, durable, black, professional and with enough pockets and areas that I can zip through security and customs without having to fumble around too much. The good people at eBags really have something with this bag. I can’t think of one thing that I would want to add/remove. This one is so smart — from the front pocket for emptying your pockets at security to the base at the bottom of the bag that will hold all external chargers, to the smaller top compartment especially built for your tablet (or Kindle or whatever) and the separate area for your laptop. If you’re looking for a professional bag that does it all… you can’t go wrong with this one.
  • Briggs & Riley Baseline Rolling Cabin Bag. Another area where I have spent way too much time, money and effort on is the ideal carry-on. This is the one. By far. Many airlines are now forcing gate check for carry-on bags that are too big. I went in the opposite direction, and I will never turn back. I often find myself on smaller planes, where all bags must be gate checked. This has stressed me out for connections and created delays. This is the best solution. It’s small enough that it can fit in many of the smaller aircrafts overhead bins. And, if it doesn’t, I slip my eBags briefcase (above) in the overhead bin, and this bad boy can go under any seat. I can’t express how much love I have for never ever having to gate check a bag. The trick with this bag, is that you have to pack light. I recommend rolling (tight) all of your clothing and coupling this with Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Specter Garment Folder Small (make sure you get the small version or it will not fit in this bag) for articles that you do not want to wrinkle (dress shirts, sport coats, dresses, etc…) — see below for that product. I’ve been able to use this cabin bag for two nights and three days on the road, though it is more ideal for a quick overnight trip.
  • Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Specter Garment Folder Small. I do not know how I ever lived without this product. Remember, if you are going to go with the Briggs & Riley Cabin Bag above, make sure you get the “small” version of this magic little packing solution. This garment folder claims to be able to hold up seven items (according to their website), but from my experience, it really hold two dress shirts and one sport coat tightly. Still, it compresses the clothes and keeps them wrinkle free — and it works like a charm. If you travel, you must try these out. They’re the best at space saving for packing.
  • RuMe Bags Baggie All Zippered Organizer. Last (but not least) is this little charmer. Cables, dongles, headphones, adapters, presentation remotes, etc… can quickly turn the inside of your bag into something that resembles a pit of tangled snakes. For years, this bag has been my go-to organizer. I put my two remote presenters in the front pocket with my USB stick of backup files. The middle section gets all of the dongles that I need to connect to random projectors and AV set-ups, and the main compartment gets everything else. These bags are simply awesome and will keep every small-ish piece of tech and accessory organized and never to be lost again. For those who live in Canada, Dollorama has a similar bag in their stores, that I think are actually better (thicker material and slightly bigger) for under $4, so go and hunt it out in the office/school supply section.

Those are my top tech traveller’s business person gifts… what are yours?

note: all of the links above are affiliate links on Amazon. My intent is to donate whatever money is generated by the links to a local woman’s shelter. Hoping that you’re cool with that? And, yes, I really do use each and every one of these gadgets almost every day. If it’s in this list, it’s because I love it and use it.

Mitch Joel is President of Mirum — a global digital marketing agency operating in close to 20 countries. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his successful blog and podcast is a business and marketing bestseller. His second book, CTRL ALT Delete, was named one of the best business books of 2013 by Amazon. Learn more at: www.mitchjoel.com.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Make Time to Pay Attention to What Matters Most During the Holidays

how to pay attention during the holidays

Holidays have you feeling stressed for time and attention? Do you feel pushed, pulled and pressured to participate in every request for your time?

I know. It may be the most magical time of year for some but for many in today’s 24/7 world there’s a whole lot of stress served up along with those holiday trimmings.

The holidays can be a challenge as you attempt to balance obligations, family, friends and experiences all while trying to pay attention to what matters most. Here are 10 ways you can prioritize your efforts, simplify your life and make the most of these holidays.

  1. 15 Minute Mental List Release: Give your memory a break during the hustle and bustle. Take 15 minutes each morning to just do download your “mental list” of everything on your work/home to-do list and create a plan. Take tip from sales training pro and author Brian Tracy who shared, “It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) in wasted time and diffused effort through the day.” We could all use time savings like that!
  2. One stop shopping: No time for mall madness or dashing through the snow?  Let your fingers do the walking.  Shopping online is perfect for knocking out your gift list on a deadline, having everything delivered timely, and many stores offer gift wrapping options. You can even “gift” Amazon Prime memberships now – how about that?
  3. Give experiences. Instead of a candle, wine or standard gift – you may consider giving an “experience” instead.  “The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative,” says Cindy Chan, an expert on consumer relationships. Have fun with it. Gift cards are also now available in wide varieties. One fun idea for couples or families are gift cards for the movies. It’s a luxury for a lot of people now and they’ll think of you fondly when they get to go on date night or have a night out for fun with the kids! Put a bag of popcorn in a padded envelope with the movie gift cards and you’ve got an awesome gift. Restaurants, spas, or gift certificates to an interactive experience like the Escape Rooms or Rock Climbing places that are cropping up everywhere are terrific ideas as well.
  4. Help with the clean sweep: Book a cleaning service to do some of your heavy lifting this season. Think of it as a gift you give yourself, your business, and your family. According to Meagan Francis, author of thehappiesthome.com, hiring someone to clean your home, especially during stressful times, is a smart management decision – it allows you to focus on bottom line production. It’s also good for the health of your family (be gone dust mites), and wonderful for your mental well-being.
  5. Put your VIPs on the top of your list: While you’re filling your calendar, be sure that high achieving team members are made to feel special with some one-on-one time and reward high performers with an early afternoon.  Time off is a hot commodity this time of year!
  6. Ring-a-ling: Be sure you are setting aside a solid 15 minutes every day to call clients with warm holiday wishes.  I love the advice Fordyce Letter of Recruiting Straight Talk shares, “For certain clients and prospects, a quick telephone call to wish them a happy holiday goes a long way to separating yourself from the competition. If you get their voicemail simply offer your best wishes and let them know you will follow-up in the New Year. Too many rule out the telephone at this time of year when it should be your first choice.”
  7. Gifting inspired action: Want a great gift idea? Think powerful productivity, communication or success books for your team that will fire them up for the new year. I recommend Folding Time  (of course because this is my book!), Steal the Show (Michael Port’s great book makes a great gift for anyone in your life), and Fascinate (Sally Hogshead is a great speaker and friend and this book is awesome) … if you need more recommendations check out our blog.
  8. Delegate: More than almost any other time, delegate all the little things you can so you can stay focused on achieving your highest priority items. From family members to assistants, to virtual assistants to the neighbor’s college kid that is home on break and needs some cash for the holidays.  Take those pesky items on your to do list that you don’t want or need to do and delegate! When it comes to deadlines, many hands make light work.
  9. Exercise: I said it. I know no one wants to think about it when there’s Christmas cookies to nibble and nog to sip.  Without keeping our health and body on the list, we won’t have the energy we need to be our most productive selves.  Might it require a little earlier rise in the morning or a shift in schedule? Probably. But you’ll feel better and you can try that slice of pie guilt-free!
  10. Make family and friends a priority: If you’re like most top producers, the holidays are times of year your family thinks you might be in stealth mode. Be sure this isn’t that time.  Schedule in fun. Decorating. Laughing. Holiday movie watching. Down time.  All work and no play never made anyone happier.  Find the balance. Calm the chaos, stop and enjoy being in the present with everyone you meet today. And give generously of your time, smiles, hugs and encouragement.

Now, go out there and love every minute of the this sensational season.  Breathe deep. Smile big. Get the most out of each day paying attention to what, and who, matters most!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Get Others to Pay Attention to Your Thought Leadership

Have you ever heard the term ‘Thought Leadership’ and wondered what it was and who gets to call themselves a ‘Thought Leader?’ True thought leaderships shapes and shifts ideas, perspectives and focus in others.


Thought leaders don’t just know something, they are known for something. People often consider themselves Thought Leaders and yet are actually just thought repeaters. If you really want to stand out as a unique leader who drives passion and focus in others, you must know with conviction, or be willing to develop the skills that meet the following Thought Leadership criteria:


  • Within your business or corporation, you are the go-to resource that best represents your brand, idea and thoughts.
  • You can quickly strategize using thought leadership as a marketing strategy to operationalize your unique ideas.
  • Create ideas and information your business and department can capitalize on by sharing it with the world in a way that is unique and one-of-a-kind.


Utilizing your unique talent and ideas in Thought Leadership can help you inspire and develop top talent within your company. It can also help you attract and retain a larger client base with great connection, engagement and partnership with your brand.

Question is, once you’ve identified your inner thought leader, how can you share your insightfulness to those around you?

  1. Capture what you know: You must take the ideas from your head and create ways to communicate them to the marketplace. Thought Leaderscan be found in any existing field of work imaginable; however, having a thorough knowledge and unique insights into a topic is only the beginning. Document what you know, your intellectual property. Become a subject-matter expert with unique insights and perspectives to share in your area of expertise. Communicate them in a way that demonstrates value, with language that is uniquely yours.
  2. Make your ideas known by others: Of equal importance is the Thought Leader’s ability to educate others on their ideas. It is critical to to share ideas in such a way that you inspire others to want to pass the information along to those in their inner circle. So, package your ideas in an accessible and attractive format to distribute to a market hungry for insights and solutions to problems, and those hearing your message will be eager to distribute it accordingly.
  3. Communicate with other Thought Leaders: Communicate with other industry thought leaders, those that are shaking up the way their industry operates. Those with unique insights and ideas often value like-mindedness. They will embrace your approach and engage others willing to listen and learn.
  4. Concentrate your messages to the markets that will value your expertise: Your ideas offered must be powerful enough to shift, or contribute to the future direction of an industry, community or even a whole way of thinking. If your thought leadership ideas focus on customer engagement, focus on developing relationships and creating connections with those whose interests concur. If technological ideas are what you’re known for, engage with other like-minded industry thinkers that will see the value in your message and understand the long-term impact your ideas will have.

Thought leadership is a unique skillset and way of packaging solutions to problems others may not consider. Once you’ve identified this talent within yourself, or developed the skills to be known for what you know, move forward with the communication strategy presented so you can spread your knowledge and ideas successfully.

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Sunday, November 05, 2017

PROJECTIFY Your Life – Pay Attention to Project Management Principles

“The project is 10 months behind, you need to deliver it in two months and raise $10 million dollars. Can you do it?” That’s the questions my boss Phil asked me. This was totally outside the scope of my existing role in the oil industry, but I had developed a reputation as someone who could get things done. Oscillating between excitement and terror that I’d been selected for the challenge, of course I said, ‘YES!”

Admittedly, I didn’t sleep for two months but I did deliver the project, on time, and within the budget with 100% compliance from the stakeholders.  It was one of my career highlights and it reminded me project management principles could be applied to every aspect of your life.


Project management has been around for thousands of years. I’m picturing some fabulous Egyptian leaders standing around debating the process for delivering stone blocks for the pyramids. Can’t you just see that?


Let’s take a look at nine project management principles that will help you in business, and in life.


  1. Have a project management mindset. Start with that 30,000-foot view. Evaluate what you need by way of budget, time, milestones and deliverables for every project.
  2. Be budget smart. How much time and money does your project require?
  3. Timing is everything. Put a timeline in place from start to finish.
  4. Put it in writing. Outline your milestones and mission plans and write them down.
  5. Organize and order. Create the checklist and timeline for the progression of tasks.
  6. List the stakeholders. This helps keep you focused and on task.
  7. Appoint a project sponsor. This might be your mentor, your boss, or colleague.

This person will assist you progress the project, help handle any challenges you might face, and help you be accountable for deliverables

  1. Create a folder for every project with the following structure:
    1. Project chassis (overview)
    2. Budget
    3. Communications
    4. Meeting Notes
    5. Miscellaneous
  2. Focus on the outcome. Keeping your eye on the prize helps drive personal energy. Especially when you are in the thick of things, tired, and need to be inspired!


Putting project management principles in place is a great way to ensure that there is attention to all those little details that can slip through the cracks without them. If you’d like to learn more about helping your team sharpen these skills, give me a call. I’d love to share the ways I can help.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ignore the Trolls – Pay Attention to Whose Opinion Matters Most


Trolling.  A fishing term for trailing bait and hoping for a bite. In today’s world? The idea of trolls frequently conjures up ugly and distasteful online comments, often left by anonymous sources. These sources are looking for a bite as well, and an opportunity to engage.



When I think of the word troll? I think of the big ugly monster covered in warts and grumpy that sits under the bridge.  Or in modern society – a mean bully behind a computer screen, eager to inflame, incite, and get under someone’s skin. So, what can you do about the modern-day troll? I’ve got six strategies to share:


  1. Don’t feed them. This is my favorite way to handle their nonsense. Don’t give them the attention they crave. Trolling is really only sport for people when they get the bite they are looking for. Without it? The troll becomes bored and goes away.
  2. Set policy and safeguards. If you have an organization that has an online presence and an opportunity for trolls to stumble across your “bridge” and bait your team, set a standard policy in place for how to handle it and let every team member understand that policy. Your blog and online forums can also be locked so that comments need approval before going “live”. Or shut down commentary altogether on your site. A Psychology Today article on the topic shared, “Reuters, Popular Science, ESPN, Huffington Post, The Week, USA Today, The Chicago Sun-Times, and National Public Radio have eliminated reader commentary in the past few years, in favor of moving commentaries to platforms like Facebook and Twitter where users are less anonymous and more accountable for their words.
  3. Use your principles as a guide. A self-proclaimed “former troll”, Paul Jun, shared this in an enlightened post, “The reason why abiding to principles is so helpful is because they tell us how to act. ‘Do this, not this.’ It focuses on the long-term outcome, whereas acting on our impulses creates many possible—and unfavorable—results. If there is one thing I learned both in psychology and philosophy, it’s this: No one can hurt you. It is what we tell ourselves about the specific event or person that creates the feeling. In the words of Marcus Aurelius, ‘It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise trolls cannot harm you — inside or out.’
  4. Create a community. When you’ve got a great name and reputation going for yourself and your business, and you’ve got the support of the community members around you – they’ll help take care of the problem. It’s wonderful to see those stories that come out where communities rise up in defense of someone who has taken an online hit.
  5. Laugh. Consider the source and keep your sense of humor. The bottom line is that bullies are often attention seekers who have too much time on their hands and too much ill will in their lives. As long as you have systems in place to protect your reputation and shut down unprovoked and unkind commentary and you know that your integrity and character are above reproach? Just laugh it off and walk away. Take the high road and leave them to their low one.
  6. Make corrections. Sometimes, commentary is based in a legitimate complaint or issue. If that’s the case, take the advice of renowned author, speaker and TV personality Jeffrey Hayzlett, who said in an interview for Forbes, “Let the person who wrote the complaint know you have corrected an error and explain what you did. Most times you’ll never hear from the person again, but I can guarantee the individual will appreciate that he heard directly from a company representative and didn’t have to navigate an endless phone tree.” Everyone makes mistakes. Every company can find areas of improvement. If someone points something out, and it’s a concern – fix it, and move on.


In a world that sometimes hosts trolls and bullies of both the cyber variety and in real life (that’s IRL in troll-speak), it’s good to pay attention to what matters. Your word. Your reality. Your integrity. Your character. What someone says to bait a person for bullying purposes is almost always not based in reality. Protect your reputation – but let those words roll off. In the end, they are not worth your valuable ATTENTION.


I’d love to hear your thoughts! Find me on Facebook and share your experience with managing trolls. If you’d like to learn more about paying attention to what really DOES matter and how that can dramatically increase your bottom line, contact me today to see how I can help your organization.


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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Accomplish Tasks and Avoid Distractions with Focused Strategies

accomplish tasksOne of the biggest challenges for today’s business leaders is staying focused and productive. Distractions such as social media and email can prevent us from accomplishing our most important goals. This is one reason I was thrilled when Julie Ann Sullivan, host of the podcast Mere Mortals Unite, invited me to speak to her leadership audience on how they can focus their attention to accomplish tasks and goals in a world full of distractions. I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I did. Thanks for tuning in! Neen

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Neen James. She’s a smart and sassy business leader who has the vitality of the Energizer Bunny. Neen reveals lots of practical productivity strategies you can put into practice today. Her advice applies to everyone who wants to be more successful and accomplish tasks, from the stay-at-home parent to the CEO. No matter your business, you’ll benefit from Neen’s wisdom and insight on productivity.

Neen’s bio: Neen James is a leadership and attention expert focused on productivity and obsessed with helping leaders get more done so they can create more significant moments in life. She is the kind of speaker who engages, educates and entertains. Neen delivers the real-world solutions and results that apply in your organization, your home and your community. Neen also provides one-on-one consulting on a variety of leadership topics.

You’ll discover:

  • Why Neen describes herself as an “energizer bunny.”
  • The benefits of bringing more energy and paying attention to what matters.
  • How Neen stays accountable in her life and business.
  • They keys to developing a successful accountability relationship.folding time
  • Why publicly declaring your goals will help you accomplish them.
  • Several ways Neen stays focused and avoids distraction.
  • The benefits of working in 15-minute blocks of time.
  • Neen’s morning and evening routines that help her stay focused and productive.
  • The time boundaries she has in place, and how she gets so much done.
  • Why you should look for opportunities to honor people and their time.

Interview Links & Other Resources

Neen’s blog
Folding Time by Neen James
Follow Neen on Twitter
Connect with Neen on LinkedIn
Connect with Neen on Facebook
Mere Mortals Unite on C-Suite Radio
iTunes – Subscribe, Rate and Review


On this episode, @NeenJames reveals how to increase your energy, focus and #productivity.…CLICK TO TWEET

If you want to accelerate your #accountability, declare publicly what you want to do. @NeenJames…CLICK TO TWEET

How do you make a great impact on the world? Be a person of #integrity. @NeenJames…CLICK TO TWEET

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