Monday, November 30, 2015

Pay Attention to Your Community

community influence people You know one of the things that I am truly obsessed about is helping leaders to truly pay attention to what matters. I was fascinated to hear that, based on a recent study from Scratch on the topic of attention, over 30% of people said community shapes the way they think.


I still found it hard to believe but then considered the whole idea of community attention. Who is in your community? What does your community believe and where are they located? Who are you paying attention to and who has permission to influence you?


It’s fascinating to also read that 50% of the people surveyed said they would give up social media for a week so they didn’t miss the finale of their favorite TV show! Sounds crazy, right! Social media, in fact, has become one of our communities. Consider who you are connected with and ask yourself if they add value to your thoughts and your progress. It’s interesting to me with social media how everyone has an opinion and they share that, but what do those in your social community stand for?


To understand who you should pay attention to and how to build on that community, you must recognize who shapes it. To identify your community and those that have influence in your life, ask yourself these three questions:


  • Who do I listen to? Who has permission to speak and has influence in my life, decisions and direction?


  • What does my community stand for? What are their values, their beliefs? Do I want to be associated to what they are known for?


  • Where does my community hangout? Where can I find more people who think, believe and behave accordingly?


You get 1,440 minutes in a day. How and with whom do you invest yours?


When it comes to community attention, think about where you need to spend more attention and maybe where you need to spend less. I know myself. I could certainly spend less time on social media and the online community.


What do you need to do this week to truly accelerate your attention with the community you’re a part of? I challenge you to find one place where you could give more attention and maybe one place you could give less attention.


What are your ideas for truly managing community attention? Share them in the comments below.


Today as a leader, you really do get a choice to be amazing every time you give someone the gift of your undivided attention, where you’re spending your attention, and in what communities are you part of today.

The post Pay Attention to Your Community appeared first on Neen James.

3 Strategies to Pay Attention this Holiday Season

Watch video on YouTube here:

3 Strategies to Pay Attention this Holiday Season

Watch video on YouTube here:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How Thanking Veterans Can Become a Great Tradition – Guest Blog by Mark Scharenbroich

You have seen us promote the brilliant book Nice Bike by Mark Scharenbroich and when I read this blog about thanking veterans, it provided a wonderful example of taking time to give someone the gift of your attention and be thankful. Enjoy this heart warming story of strangers showing their respect and admiration for a veteran. This time of year is a perfect time to regularly start paying attention and thanking people in service for all they do.

Happy Thanksgiving,



One day, I was catching a flight out of the Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, California. As I pulled up to the airport, I noticed a crowd of hundreds of people, news cameras, a fire truck with a huge American flag hanging from the ladder, several law enforcement vehicles, and at least thirty Harley-Davidson motorcycles parked nearby.

Corporal Wesley Barrientos

I walked over to the crowd to see what was going on. It was a homecoming for twenty-three-year-old Army Corporal Wesley Barrientos. Corporal Barrientos was returning home from his third tour in Iraq, this time on two prosthetic legs. He lost both of his legs riding in a Humvee in December 2007 when it was hit by an IED, an improvised explosive device.

Corporal Barrientos’s family had expected to see him get off the plane in a wheelchair since he had been fitted with the prosthetic legs only two weeks prior to his homecoming. But he proudly walked over to hug his family and friends.

As Corporal Barrientos walked through the rows of people welcoming him home and saluting him as he passed, a television crew approached, and the reporter asked him, “How does it feel to have a hero’s welcome home?” The corporal smiled and simply said, “I was just doing my job.”

The local American Legion and VFW members attended in order to offer a salute as he walked by. Cheerleaders and students from his alma mater, Ridgeview High School, turned out to support one of their own. There were also a bunch of Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders, complete with the leather jackets, bandannas, and tattoos, lined up to shout, “Welcome home, Wes!”

I walked over to some of the Harley guys and asked “Do you know this soldier?” “Nope,” was the answer. “We’re not even from Bakersfield.”

They told me that they were there to honor Corporal Barrientos. “I understand the local people, the law enforcement, and the veterans, but why the Harley riders? What’s the connection?” I asked.

“Well, this guy served our country, so the least we can do is ride over and welcome him home. A lot of us served in Vietnam, and we never had a welcome home. So, we do this a lot. I guess it’s kind of a tradition for us to be there for someone else.”

What an example of acknowledging those around you, honoring what’s important, and connecting to build community.

So, to make your ride more meaningful and emotion-filled, invest in traditions. Make a tradition of thanking a veteran whenever you see one.


Mark Scharenbroich is a hybrid speaker. Combine one part business speaker, one part pure entertainer, mix in a cast of characters, add a blend of motivational stories and actionable ideas and you have Mark Scharenbroich.

The post How Thanking Veterans Can Become a Great Tradition – Guest Blog by Mark Scharenbroich appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to build a strong personal brand that gets attention

Neen wins Presidents Award from NSA 2011

What a treat to get the NSA Presidents Award… a crystal shoe – how perfect!

Love the opening line in Sally Hogshead book Fascinate (a great read) ‘growing up in my family, earning attention wasn’t a recreational pursuit, it was survival’. She goes on to say fascination is a force of force of attraction. We are fascinated with people who are fascinating. You might enjoy this blog and video we did a while back, click here.

Some of the most significant and ah-mazing leaders you know are fascinating and they have built strong personal brands.

If you have ever interviewed for a new job, applied for a job promotion, started your own company, presented at a conference on a panel or served in your local community … you know the importance of a personal brand.

Your brand is what people say about you. Making your brand fascinating might require you read Sally’s book and also consider these strategies below:

Be aware – start with a brand audit. Simply ask five people you trust what three words they would use to describe you. That’s a great indication of how you are perceived. Start to monitor the articles people share with you through email and social media. There was an article published to state that if you drank champagne each week you could boost memory and prevent dementia… 15 people sent it to me (that makes me giggle as I am known for my love of champagne it’s my drink).

Be clear – know what you stand for, what is important to you and create your own brand guidelines. This includes; colors you choose, types of clients you serve, clothing you wear, people you surround yourself with and online platforms you participate in.

Be Selective – be very clear about the posts you create (my policy is only positive), the people you retweet and feature (our policy is only those with strong ethics I admire) and people you surround yourself with (I choose those who inspire and motivate me to do more and be more). This applies to people you are photographed, published and and presenting with.

Be Consistent – create your own style guidelines for your brand. We only use a special paper stock called shine for our thank you notes, letterhead and business cards. I have a deliberate consistent look and feel for my work outfits that is very different to my play outfits. Your clothing (and in my case, my shoe collection) is part of your personal brand.

Be Generous – constantly be promoting others you support, with messages you agree with and brands aligned with yours e.g. I share posts by Mark Sanborn, Megan Kristel, Connie Podesta, Mark Scharenbroich – I believe in their messages. At every speaking engagement, I provide the meeting planner two names of possible speakers they can hire for their event next year. It promotes the best speakers I know and makes their job easier. You become known as a resource.

Be Socialsocial media is a part of your personal brand. Share generously of other’s brilliance, be consistent in your messages and choose the platforms and groups that best serve your brand. Be responsive to conversations and ensure messages are a reflection of your personality.

Today as a leader in your industry, could you spend a few minutes paying attention to your personal brand? Invest 15 minutes:

  1. Do a brand audit.
  2. Create brand guidelines.
  3. Create an action plan for actions outside your desired brand.

To build a fascinating brand you need to be aware, clear, consistent and selective, what can you do to build your personal brand today?


The post How to build a strong personal brand that gets attention appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pay Attention: Community Attention

According to Scratch Attention survey of Millenials ‘30% of people said their community shapes the way they think. Who influences how you think?


As leaders if we want to have more impact we need to pay attention to what matters.


In that same survey 50% of people said they’d give up a week of social media NOT to miss the finale of their favorite tv show! Incredible.


Social media has become a community attention strategy.


Here are strategies to manage community attention. 

community attention

Who is in your community? Determine who you do you pay attention to and then deleate thoses that don’t add value to you and your life. Yep that means unfriending someone or unfollowing.

The post Pay Attention: Community Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, November 16, 2015

3 Ways to Give Attention, Appreciation & Affection

Watch video on YouTube here:

3 Ways to Give Attention, Appreciation & Affection

Watch video on YouTube here:

Be Attentive: Nice Bike, by Mark Scharenbroich, Book Review

Watch video on YouTube here:

Be Attentive: Nice Bike, by Mark Scharenbroich, Book Review

Watch video on YouTube here:

3 Strategies for Leaders: Accelerate Attention, Appreciation and Affection

leaders pay attentionLeaders profit by paying attention.

Paying attention increases productivity, profitability and accountability.


If you want to strengthen your relationships at work and home with your team, your clients and your family these will be helpful to you:


Attention – when you pay attention to people around you people feel seen and heard. That’s what we all want. A simple strategy is using people’s names in conversations. Dale Carnegie wrote a great book called How to Win Friends and Influence People. In the book he says ‘a person’s name is the sweetest sound’. Use team members names in meetings, on teleconferences, in emails and when you meet someone in service ask them their name and use it during your time together. So many ways to make others feel valued.


Appreciation – show someone you saw their contribution with a handwritten note, a complimentary email or a shout out during a team meeting. The simple art of thanking someone for a contribution is an important leadership skill. It also translates in our lives at home, thank your family for helping with the dishes, putting out the trash and not bringing their cell phones to the meal table. Call up a client and thank them for their business, send a holiday note thanking someone for their role in the project. So many ways to show others they are valued.


Affection – I am a hugger. If you have met me, you know that I am affectionate. While you may not be able to hug (or want to hug those you work with) affection can be a kind word or a helpful gesture. Be generous with your praise, affection and kindness each day. This week look for ways to show affection at home and kindness at work.


Leaders profit by paying attention, showing appreciation and extending affection and in a world that sometimes feels crazy, it’s the little things we do that make the biggest impact.

The post 3 Strategies for Leaders: Accelerate Attention, Appreciation and Affection appeared first on Neen James.

Attention Pays: Screen to Screen Selling Book Review

Watch video on YouTube here:

Attention Pays: Screen to Screen Selling Book Review

Watch video on YouTube here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do You Suffer Facebook Fatigue?

I do! I don’t need to feed my crazy by reading other people’s crazy.

Managing Facebook Social Media

We’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wanted to delete my Facebook account.

Not sure if it’s just when I’m overtired, or someone says something that drives me crazy … But there am have been many times – do you ever feel like that?

I won’t delete it … Facebook is the easiest and cheapest way for me to stay in touch with my wonderful Australian family who I miss daily and my awesome friends who are spread across the globe.

Seeing little things that happen in their lives i.e. a new haircut, their kids Halloween costume or an anniversary they are celebrating makes me feel closer and more connected to them despite my choice to live on the other side of the world. It’s easy to see what’s important to people through their posts.

If it wasn’t for Facebook I’d actually have to remember people’s birthdays …does anyone remember those days?

And yet I still find it exhausting.

Here’s how I manage my love/hate relationship with Facebook, manage my own fatigue and hope it’s helpful for you:

Decide – Who do you want to follow? Who do you want to be connected to? Who do you want to fill up your Facebook feed daily? These are important questions because the groups you subscribe to, publications and companies you ‘like’, will influence your time and attention daily. Realizing this when training for a marathon last year, I only had running groups/blogs/magazines and in the feed … time to get additional interests.  When heading out on Harley trips or vacations with my honey I occasionally post (rarely read) because it’s nice to take a break. Protect your time and attention.


Discipline – set yourself limits of how much time you will review, engage and comment. It’s easy to spend hours … how do I know… because I have wasted way too much time online! It’s easy to get involved in a chat or read multiple posts and 20 minutes goes by … and you never get that time back. Reading it with morning coffee or while at the airport or on a plane is easy. Also have discipline and decide you won’t check every time someone tags you or writes on your timeline. We have a rule set up to approve every posts or picture on my timeline, otherwise it’s easy to become cluttered. Most of my friends post cool things. Recently an article was published about the ‘health’ benefits of champagne … we lost count of how many people tagged me (and that made me giggle).

It still takes discipline and I haven’t mastered it yet. Maybe it’s time for another Facebook diet?


Delete – remove yourself from groups that don’t inspire you (or you exhaust you). I have been added to groups over the years that start out great, then at some point become crazy or I become less tolerant (or maybe a combination of both)? I was once involved in a group that became unprofessional and unkind and it was an easy decision to leave (quietly and without telling anyone). Leave groups you don’t like; unfollow people you don’t want to see and unfriend those who aren’t friends… easy peasy! What (or who) do you need to delete in Facebook?


A few examples of Facebook used well include The Well Dressed Life by Megan Kristel, Mark Sanborn and On Air with Ella. Check them out if you aren’t following them.

What do you do to manage your Facebook fatigue? I’d love to hear from you.

The post Do You Suffer Facebook Fatigue? appeared first on Neen James.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Featured Blog: The Five Building Blocks of A Successful Speaking Career

Below is a brilliant featured blog by Public Words that demonstrates the importance of why professional speakers must PAY attention to what matters most. I hope you enjoy this a much as I did. – Neen

This post is the second in an occasional series about professional speaking careers.

I often get asked about how to become a successful (i.e. sustained) professional (i.e., paid) speaker. My response, from many years of working with people to establish, to ramp up, and to sustain professional speaking careers, is that there are five essential building blocks. People try to get by without one of the five, and inevitably suffer as a result. Don’t imagine that you can beat the odds – embrace all five or labor endlessly in obscurity.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1.Your Idea

I occasionally get inquiries from people who are motivated by money, or the desire for fame, or the thrill of speaking in front of an audience. Perhaps they’ve received early success and praise for speaking, and they want more of the same. The adrenaline rush – if you like that sort of thing – you get in front of an audience is similar to the feeling of starting down a double black diamond run with a slope full of untouched powder in front of you. So you might want more of the same.

But thought leadership – which is what we’re talking about – begins with a thought, an idea, a passionate desire to change the world in some way. That passion is important because it will sustain you through the hard work and slow times that everyone works through before you get to the fun part – the speaking invites, the fan emails, the accolades from around the world. No one escapes paying their dues in one way or another. It’s just that if you really care about the idea, you’ll enjoy paying those dues rather than resenting the cost.

2.Your Speech

Why give a speech? Because the in-person, move-the-audience-to-action speech is still the most powerful way to get people actually, really doing something different. It’s not the most efficient; a viral video reaches many more people faster. But most of us watch that video and then forget it. We rarely change our lives because of something like that. A speech, on the other hand, can lead to action and life-changing consequences. So speeches have a kind of power that the written word alone – or even the filmed word – doesn’t have. It’s why we still go to musical performances even though it’s arguably much easier to download the music and listen to it on earbuds.

But you need to think of that speech not as your information but rather as a solution for a problem the audience has. It’s the audience that will own (your) speech ultimately, and that shift in thinking begins the serious creation of a powerful keynote speech that moves (individual) mountains.

3.Your Presence

Once you’ve written a powerful speech, you need to learn how to deliver it powerfully. A great message alone is not enough to make a great communicator. Non-verbal communication is just as important — particularly when you’re delivering a speech. When you get up on that stage, you’re competing for every audience member’s attention with the person sitting next to them, the breakfast buffet down the hall, and worst of all, the smart phone in their pocket.

Welcome to a lifetime of work on personal stagecraft, presence, and authenticity.

4.Your Book

A well-written book published by a traditional publishing house is still the required entrance ticket to the professional public speaking business, and the publishing process is mysterious and tricky to navigate. You’re in for a one- to two-year journey at the least. Writing a book is a lot of work; selling a book is even harder. For that, see building block number five.

5.Your Community

Just because you’ve got a good idea, a book as proof that you’re serious, a well-written speech, and the charisma to deliver your speech well, doesn’t mean the world will necessarily pay attention. In order to build a sustainable business as a speaker, you need an active community of fans and fellow enthusiasts. Nowadays, the good news is that you get to use social media to start building that community. That’s also the bad news, because that work never ends. But making a name for yourself this way will create ongoing, organic demand for you as a speaker.

Those are the five building blocks of a successful public speaking career. You need them all; skipping any single one will leave you in the cold, nose against the windowpane, envying the successful speakers, wondering what’s wrong. So get started on your journey, knowing all the stops you’re going to need to make along the way.

And good luck!

The post Featured Blog: The Five Building Blocks of A Successful Speaking Career appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, November 02, 2015

3 Strategies to Pay Attention to Our Existing Clients

Your existing clients chose you.

Delight Your ClientsThank Them – people want to be seen and heard. Make sure they know you appreciate them.

Surprise Them – send them notes, give them phone calls, send them emails, send them little gifts. Make them advocates.

Delight Them – suggest a new service, let them know in advance if your price will change.


Legendary Customer Service expert and speaker, Shep Hyken said recently ‘customers love to be contacted by the senior leader or executive level’ – it got me thinking. Our customers like attention … especially from those in seniority. When is the last time you gave them your attention?

Here are 8 strategies for managing attention:

Good attention

Be proactive – spend time proactively thanking your clients for doing business with you and your team for their constant performance. People want to be seen and they want to be heard – recognize someone today.


Have integrity – do what you say you will do. Be a person of your word. People notice when you do what you promise.


Deliver constantly – always be researching ways to provide exceptional customer service to your external and internal clients.


Share good news – provide testimonials from clients to the team and remind them of the great work they do, share team member achievements at meetings to inspire success. Always look for opportunities to shine attention on positive results.


Stay congruent with your brand – your personal brand as a leader and the brand of your company are reliant on staying consistently congruent with your values and beliefs – stay on point.


Bad attention

Think before you post – if you don’t want your grandma to see it or you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times … don’t post it! I’m astounded at the crazy comments people post – don’t be that person!


Think before you press send – don’t fill in the TO field on email until you are 100% sure it is right, not emotional and can’t be misunderstood. Never send an email in anger, frustration or confusion – it doesn’t make you look like a strong leader and attracts bad attention.


Apply the bottom drawer technique – one of my bosses Barb, used to say ‘let’s apply the bottom drawer technique’ meaning put it in the bottom drawer of a desk, sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning. In today’s world of constant connectedness it’s easy to make rash decisions or respond inappropriately – don’t do it – it’s not good for your reputation.


Today focus on strategies to get GREAT attention and avoid activities that lead to BAD attention – when you do this you will be even more ah-mazing and be a leader with much stronger impact and influence.


The post 3 Strategies to Pay Attention to Our Existing Clients appeared first on Neen James.