Monday, April 25, 2016

Pay Attention: Steal the Show Book Review

Steal the Show Book Review Thumbnail

If you haven’t ever read any of the books published by Michael Port do yourself a favor, buy them, underline them, share them and re-read them.


When he released Steal the Show I couldn’t want to absorb his brilliance. This book has a cool subtitle: How to guarantee a standing ovation for all the performance in your life.


His latest book is filled with practical advice for anyone who speaks, is regularly asked to present, does client pitches or even if you are being asked to give the best man speech at a wedding!


Read it and share it with your team. If you enjoy podcasts you will also enjoy his podcast by the same name – click here. Watch this video if you want to learn more about how Michael break down the genius tips to help you conquer any room.


Check out Michael Port, you will be so glad you did!


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Book Review Steal the Show - by Michael Port

Watch video on YouTube here:

Book Review Steal the Show - by Michael Port

Watch video on YouTube here:

5 Ways to Pay Attention and Focus on the Needs of Your Audience at Events

Speakers Serve AudienceMeeting planners will tell you there are some speakers they love working with … probably because they become partners at making the event a huge success by paying attention, first to the needs of the audience.


The partnership between speakers and meeting planners is vital for an exceptional audience experience and this goes beyond the speaker just showing up and being great on stage. Paying attention to details from the initial call through each planning call will pay big dividends in the meeting success.


Great speakers pay attention to details about the audience and their needs to tailor their presentation to serve the audience and be memorable, repeatable and re-bookable. Meeting planners pay attention to the overall goals of the meeting audience and they’re able to communicate these important details to all who need them.


Here are 5 ways to pay closer attention in the work you do so the audience has the best experience:


  1. Speakers don’t be divas – many years ago I witnessed a speaker demand the meeting planner run to the pharmacy to get medication for a sore throat – wow! Speakers need to be self-sufficient and pay attention to the items they need for a successful event: carry first-aid supplies, all adaptors/dongles, anything required for a unique diet, and a microphone if they have specific needs.


  1. Specify meeting logistics early – speakers need to be sensitive to meeting planner’s workload, shipping, logistics and their computer setup. Meeting planners can provide specific dates for delivery of books, handouts, slides and any other requirements to make it a valuable experience for attendees. Pay attention, mark dates calendars and deliver on-time, every time.


  1. Avoid last minute room set changes – some room sets up create valuable and interactive learning experiences for the audience. If you want your audience to focus and pay attention and the speaker requires a specific set up, include it in all preconference calls and contracts and meeting planners need to explain if this isn’t possible due to budget or other speaker setups. Get everything in writing.


  1. Participate actively in sound check and be on time – this is a vital part of every event. Be patient, arrive on time and check slides, remote, microphones and confirm staging arrangement. When sound and lighting aren’t great it distracts your audience, create a pleasant experience for participants.


  1. Don’t forget good manners – it’s astounding people forget basic good manners: ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ go along way when everyone is overwhelmed and the show is about to start. . Actively use people’s names, look people in the eye and send thank you notes to show appreciation for all the hard work. One of my early speaking mentors told me ‘make friends before you make requests’ – this is good advice for all of us involved in meetings.


If your event doesn’t go as planned, your speaker doesn’t arrive, the slides don’t work, and the room isn’t how you want, the audience are noisy …  stay calm, be professional and remember the show always goes on. There are things that a speaker and a meeting planner see that the audience is not aware of, they don’t know what you were planning or had previously organized. Create the best experience for your audience every time by paying attention to the little (and big) details.


A speaker’s job is to stand in service of their audience and a meeting planners is to create a memorable experience for everyone involved – it’s a fantastic partnership that requires we all focus our attention on the best results for everyone.


What would you add to this list? As an audience member, what do you want?

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Monday, April 18, 2016

5 Ways to Create Advocates

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5 Ways to Create Advocates

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Book Review Shift Your Brilliance

Watch video on YouTube here:

Book Review Shift Your Brilliance

Watch video on YouTube here:

5 Ways to Create Advocates

Create Advocates Network Professionals

Who are your advocates?


Advocates could be people inside your organization, or outside your business that advocate for you. These people who can recommend you to others in their network, share resources, products and services with others. Advocates are vital to anyone in corporate or entrepreneurial business.


If you want to create and build relationships with advocates you need systemized thoughtfulness. Yep that’s right a system to keep a track of connecting with them.


You might be saying ‘Neen I am too busy!’ I know, everyone is busy. I call this making time in time. Make time to use those small pockets of time to connect with people and let them know you are thinking of them i.e. while you are waiting for a meeting to start text a client to thank them for their business, when you are in your hotel room send an article to someone you found interesting. Make the most of each moment.


I do this with people inside my industry and outside my practice that might be looking for speakers for their annual leadership events and association conferences. If I am not a fit, I can recommend another fabulous speakers for them.


Here are 5 ways to create advocates using systemized thoughtfulness:


  1. Create a system – I confess, I don’t like spreadsheets, some people find them useful. It is the most, old fashioned and easy way to track connections. If you have a relationship management system use that, but keep it simple. You don’t need anything fancy.
  2. Share resources monthly – spend a few minutes each month sharing an article you have read, a book you have just finished or send something to remind them you were thinking of them. Update your spreadsheet and voila – you now have a system. Easy peasy.
  3. Keep top of mind – schedule a recurring appointment in your calendar to reach out monthly, carry your advocate list with you in your phone and if you see something while traveling or shopping, pick it up and send it along.
  4. Remember their holidays – if you have diverse team members, leaders or clients make a note of special holidays they celebrate and reach out to them at that time i.e. Greek Independence Day, Chinese New Year or Rosh Hashana.
  5. Review list annually – at the end of the year determine who you need to add or who you have strengthened relationships with that you don’t need to continue to connect with month.


Show someone they are important to you, give them the gift of your attention by regularly connecting to be a resource for them, promote others and also strengthen relationships. Who are your three advocates, reach out to them this week.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Do You Have Grace Under Pressure?

Grace Under pressure theo and scottWhat would you do if you had organized a big industry event and the headline speaker didn’t show up?


Or maybe you have a high profile project and the deliverables are going to be way behind deadline?


I witnessed the best example of grace under pressure recently at an industry event. It’s amazing what examples we have all around us when we pay attention.


The lights came up, he slowly walked on stage and immediately we knew something very sad had happened. The speaker’s disappointment was obvious in his body language and facial expressions.


Sitting in the audience of an industry conference, I was in awe watching the speaker who was scheduled to interview a living legend; announce the special guest was ill and unable to attend.


We were disappointed. Not only for what we would have learned listening to his distinguished career and advice, but for the interviewer, who had obviously invested significant hours to prepare for this event.


The speaker quickly turned disappointment into delight.


We observed how he authentically shared his personal disappointment and then turned an unfortunate situation into significant moment for everyone by choosing to interview another high profile person, legendary Scott Halford, with such fun and flair – the whole session was saved.  The interviewer is a brilliant example of someone who pays attention to his guest; asking questions and listening intently for the response, adding information to expand examples and answers, repeating phrases and words used to show he was truly listening with intention.


The interviewer had a contingency plan. He showed the most remarkable tribute video to the speaker who was ill and he received a standing ovation (maybe the first standing ovation he’d ever received without being present).


This brilliant interviewer liaised with the conference chair, meeting planner, CEO and many others on the team, to create a moment that was talked about for weeks to follow and heavily discussed on social media.


Social media sites used words to describe the interviewer like ‘class act’, ‘role model’, and ‘epitome of class’, and ‘true professional’ to describe the handling of this, I’d add the word ‘exceptional.’ It’s always fascinating to me what people pay attention to on social media. This was an example of how to give great attention to a well deserved situation.


Every attendee in that ballroom witnessed how to elegantly handle a tough situation with grace, compassion, and eloquence.


As busy leaders working with your team, do you have contingency plans when your talent doesn’t arrive or the project is running late or a team member is ill, and do you do it with such grace under pressure?

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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Becoming the Professional Butterfly – Guest Blog by Nido Qubein

Nido Qubein High Point University Butterfly ProfessionalReinventing ourselves as leaders is critical to our continued success. It challenges us to focus on our weaknesses and areas of opportunity.

By doing fine tuning our skills, we can pay attention to those around us more and provide them the support and growth development they need to be their best.

I knew this blog post, Becoming the Professional Butterfly (see below) by the brilliant Nido Qubein would encourage you to push beyond your current self and develop into what you have the ability of becoming.




When corporate leaders decide to re-engineer the corporation, they don’t just set out to improve the present system. They set out to create an entirely new system.

When you set out to re-engineer your life, you’re not just improving your present circumstances. You’re creating a whole new set of circumstances, in keeping with your vision of what life should be.

Harvard Business Review compares it with the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

“A butterfly is not more caterpillar or a better or improved caterpillar; a butterfly is a different creature,” noted authors Tracy Goss, Richard Pascale, and Anthony Athos.

Becoming the butterfly you want to be means putting the old circumstances in the past, and concentrating all your resources on creating the new ones.

This can be risky and scary. You’re leaving the comfort and security of the old cocoon and accepting the challenges and uncertainties of a free environment. It’s natural to want to leave the path open for a return to the old ways if the new ways don’t work out.

But if you leave the path open, you’re quite likely to retrace it. At the first sign of adversity, you’ll give up the adventure and return to your cocoon — the life you were trying to put behind.

A butterfly, of course, cannot return to its cocoon. The moment it makes its way to the outside and flutters its wings, it is committed to a new type of existence. Its life as a butterfly is not just a matter of what it does. It is also a matter of what it is.

You can shut off the path to retreat by transforming yourself into something you never were before.

The process of education can be transforming. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. wrote that when a mind stretches to embrace a new idea, it “never shrinks back to its original dimensions.” There is a qualitative difference between an educated person and an uneducated person, just as there is a qualitative difference between a butterfly and a caterpillar.

The worker mentality sees a job as a necessary evil that has to be endured until quitting time sets you free to pursue your real life. Professionals see their careers as rewarding components of their real lives. They learn to integrate their careers and their personal lives so that one meshes with and supports the other.

Workers wait for someone to tell them what to do and how to do it, and they let others worry about whether the way they’re told to do it is the right way. They may concentrate on performing their assigned tasks well, but won’t worry about what happens outside their own areas.

Professionals take responsibility for their own success and for the success of the organizations to which they belong. They see themselves as partners in prosperity with the organization, and see the organization’s ups and downs as their own. They are constantly looking for things that they personally can do to contribute to organizational success.

Workers accept a ceiling on success in return for a steady income. They are not boat-rockers, but believe in doing things the way they’ve always been done — which they perceive as the safe, cautious way.

Professionals are willing to take intelligent risks, accepting the possibility of failure as a fair price for the opportunity to grow.

Workers concentrate on the means. They do their jobs without worrying about how their jobs contribute to the total picture.

Professionals concentrate on the ends. They see their jobs in terms of how they contribute to the organization’s success.

Professionals are usually perceived as good because they go the extra mile to be good. They keep up with the latest developments in their field, and share their knowledge with others. They communicate confidence, dressing and grooming themselves for success and always conscious of the importance of image.

To achieve this type of professionalism, you must set a high standard for yourself and never allow yourself to fall below that standard.


Nido Qubein High Point UniversityDr. Nido Qubein came to the United States as a teenager with little knowledge of English and only $50 in his pocket. His journey has been an amazing success story. The Biography Channel and CNBC aired his life story titled “A Life of Success and Significance.”

As an educator, he is president of High Point University, an undergraduate and graduate institution with 4,300 students from 40 countries. He has authored two dozen books and audio programs distributed worldwide.

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Monday, April 04, 2016

10 Tips to Create Attentive Meetings

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10 Tips to Create Attentive Meetings

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10 Ways to Create Attentive Meetings

Meeting Productivity agenda scheduleEver sat in a meeting checking your email?

Ever attended a meeting and wondered why you were there?

Ever been frustrated by a badly run meeting at your company?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone!


When did it become OK to be rude in meetings or to be on our devices rather than pay attention? If you want to engage your team members, board members or participants in your next meeting here are ten strategies to help people pay attention and get faster results from your meetings.


  1. Publish the purpose of the meeting – in your meeting invitation explain the purpose in one sentence. Let attendees know what you will do and keep it action-oriented i.e. brainstorm, decide, determine next steps, finalize the project, debrief event. Be specific.
  2. Stop being rude – email is not more important than the meeting. Give participants a reason to pay attention and lead by example.
  3. Shorten meetings – instantly halve your meetings and see what happens. Stop wasting people’s time. If you host 60-minute meetings try 30 minutes, if you host 30 minutes try 15 minutes. People will thank you when you give them time back.
  4. Consider device free meetings – if you are brainstorming new ideas or handing a tough conversation ask people to put away devices to pay attention for short periods of time.
  5. Control side bar conversations, disruptive attendees and tangent conversations with his simple (and assertive) line ‘For the sake of time, let’s move on’ – keep the conversation moving.
  6. Cancel meetings – if you don’t have the decision maker or the information required to make a decision, cancel the meeting. If you don’t need to ask others to invest their minutes with you, give them back. People will appreciate you.
  7. Decline meetings – if you are unsure the purpose of the meeting or how you will add value to the meeting, say No. Yep, that’s right. No is a complete sentence. Decline the meeting. Be brave.
  8. Summarize actions before the meeting end – allocate owners and timeframes to actions and ask people to report back between meetings on progress. A meeting with no agreed outcomes is a waste of time.
  9. Listen with your eyes – show people you are listening to them by being involved in the conversation, asking relevant questions and probing for more answers. Use your body language to actively participate and pay attention.
  10. Read Death by Meeting – this brilliant book is one of the best I have ever read on this topic. It defines four styles of meetings and when to host them. Check it out.


In a time of massive change, technology changing he pace we work and many organizations wanting to get more out of fewer resources, one of the best things you can do is eliminate unnecessary meetings and run more efficient meetings. If someone gives you the gift of their attention in your meeting, honor them and make it worthwhile.


Love to hear your ideas for making your meetings more productive, and what have been your results, share them in the comments below.



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