Monday, October 31, 2016

20 TED Talks Worth Your Attention

TED Talks Professional SpeakerIf you have limited time and want maximum learning, consider watching TED talks. Listed below are some of the TED talks that really got my attention, some are listed in the top 20 TED talks, and some are not.


Enjoy them all and share them with your teams to help boost their skills and focus on what really matters.

Work Life Balance:

Dan Thurmon



Body Language:

Amy Cuddy


The Power of Introverts

Susan Cain – Quiet TED talk



WARNING this one has a curse word and crude joke in the first 30 seconds of the video so you may not want to watch this one? The rest of it is brilliant!

Andrew Stanton


The Power of Vulnerability



Creativity: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert


Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education

Salman Khan



Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action



Dan Pink – The puzzle of motivation


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

5 Questions With An Inspiring Woman

Inspiring Woman

Tiph is one of my secret weapons and you may have heard me talk about her in one of our keynotes.

She is the epitome of someone who pays attention to what matters. She is my stylist at Nordstrom and I adore her.

The way she looks after me and her book of clients is mind blowing. She has made my life so much easier and so productive. As you all know, Megan Kristel is someone I deeply admire, go to for advice, and she and Tiph are responsible for everything I buy and wear… and also how I feel in my clothes.


Tiph has great tips for anyone wanting to pay more attention to their team, to their clients or the people you share your life with. Enjoy this repost from Megan Kristel’s Well Dressed Life blog posted Oct 25th  2016.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you have heard me talk about Tifphanie Lawson.  I met Tifph almost ten years ago the first time I took a client to Nordstrom for a shopping appointment.  A few hours before the client arrived, I was aimlessly wandering around the floor, worried, overwhelmed and out of my mind with nerves. Suddenly, a bubbly, smiley young woman approached me, and said, “You look like you need some help!” At that moment, relief washed over me, and Tifph became my long time Nordstrom stylist and a good friend.

Tifph provides us access to the private dressing rooms, the ability to pull from any department, so we don’t have to waste time running back and forth and fantastic customer service. She’s down to earth, kind, funny, and always willing to go the extra mile. She’s also a busy working mom of FIVE. That’s FIVE children.

So, I couldn’t think of a better person to feature during Working Mom Week.  Over the years I’ve watched her navigate the crazy life of work and motherhood. Despite everything she’s had thrown at her, she is endlessly positive and inspiring. You’ll see in our conversation below why I am so fond of her, trust her totally with our clients, and leave our appointments happier than I started.
Megan: Through our work with clients, I’ve learned that women have more in common than not. Like no matter how different we are, we can always find a way to bond. In your experience, what have you learned about women when you’re standing in a dressing room with them, often when they are their most vulnerable?

Tifph:  There’s a moment when you can feel an insecurity from almost any client. And it’s familiar because we’ve all felt it. I know I feel it in one way or another, whenever I try on clothes in front of those awful mirrors.  And I acknowledge it. It may not be the dress, but it’s the bumps or the thighs she’s feeling, and I use it as an opportunity to address who we are as women, connect, and lighten the moment up. I’ll share my insecurities, so they know we are in this together. Like when they feel their butt is too big for an item, I turn around and laugh! I have a huge mama butt, but it’s okay, because apparently, my husband likes it, even when I can’t get into my pants!

As a stylist, it’s my job to put you in the pieces that will look best on YOU, and we have to trust one another and be honest and communicative about all of it.

One of the things I admire most about you is that you are ALWAYS positive and present. In the ten years, we have worked together; I don’t remember a single day when I thought you didn’t bring your “A” game. To me, that’s become part of your brand. Even on days when I didn’t have my A-game, you always show up at your best. It seems like you have a unique perspective on life. Would you share that with us?

Awww MEG! Thank you!!! I’ll be honest, I go through things, and emotions, and phone calls from my kids’ school so often, like anyone else. But the truth is, I love my job. I love life. I love being around people who want my expertise, and I love fashion and wardrobing. There’s nothing, not happy about it! I learned who I was a long time ago, and I’m very comfortable in my work and home life. I’m always like “the mama bear.” People rely on me, come to me for advice, and I love being there for them and trusted. I don’t like to let anyone down especially myself. And I always try to focus on the positive, which you can find in anything. Happiness doesn’t have to be anything physical, or phenomenal; it can be the music you listen to on your way to work; the breakfast you took the time to prepare, or the words of inspiration I text my kids every morning when they’re on their way to school. The fact that I have a home, healthy children, and a hard working husband to wake up to, even if I wanted to fuss… means the most. So why not be great to everyone?!

With five kids, a husband who travels for work and a full roster of clients you know busy. What’s been your biggest challenge when it comes to finding “balance” and what have you done to get around it?

I had to learn the hard way to slow down. Four years ago, I threw my daughter a skating party for her eighth birthday, and 15 minutes into the party, I fell in my skates and broke my ankle in two places. Me, a woman who has not been off her feet for most of her life. I was devastated. I immediately began to worry about all of my upcoming appointments, my paycheck, and how the laundry would get done. I couldn’t even drive.

This happening was a game changer. After a few days straight of crying and being miserable I learned I needed to have surgery and screws put into my ankle forever. At that moment I knew there was nothing I could do to change the situation. So, I decided to see what happened if I accepted it. What would happen if I utilized all the amazing people around me and shared some of my life/load with them… and you know what? It worked out.

My leave was paid, and when you’re not driving 50miles a day, eating lunch out, and buying coffee 2-3x a day, the money was almost the same. My husband learned to do laundry! Can you believe that?! I had him take pictures of the washer and dryer on each setting as I returned home from surgery to make sure it was right. But he did it! My girls learned to get along better, and to help one another like never before. Who wants a hurt, healing, fussy mom? It started a tradition of us gathering together and just talking & eating. That was amazing, not being so uptight, pressed for time, and structured.

When I did return to work, we found out we were pregnant with my 4th and first son, so I cut one day of work from my five day week and left it like that. Now my cooking, laundering husband continues to help out. And when he’s gone, my mom fills in. My girls became little mothers of the home. It’s adorable. My painful, 3-month life lesson was to SLOW DOWN! I am way more productive, thoughtful and involved in the things I do. Everything is just feels more personalized. I won’t overwhelm myself with a crazy schedule or to-do list. Life will get crazy and happen all on its own, so I don’t have to serve myself more than I know I can handle without breaking down or feeling guilty. Those who love you and want you to be there for them, won’t ask you.

To me, you exemplify the gold standard of customer service. I noticed it the very first day we worked together, almost a decade ago! Can you share some of the little things you do/ have done for clients that make the biggest impact, for them and your business?

Customer service is huge in any business, this one especially. Aside from my background in fashion and product knowledge, my customer service skills are why my clients come back to me. Most have been loyal to me for 5-10 years. I make it a point to follow through and follow up. My business is not just about the clothing, but the ability to connect with people and be their liaison for all of their needs and dealings with the company I represent. It never ends after the appointment. You’ll get an email, alterations, invites, pictures of items that make me think about you, and even advice about what to travel with or wear for any special occasions. It’s like we’re dating! There are no one night stands with a great stylist.

My clients take time out of their busy lives to see me, trust me, and listen to me, so the fact that I go the extra mile, tracking packages and alterations, is one of my ways of saying thank you. You’re appreciated. Everyone works hard for their money, and they deserve to be treated as such, especially when you can spend it anywhere. I am about quality service, not quantity and it pays off.

Because I have to end asking something about fashion, what are your top 5 must-have pieces that every woman should have in her closet:

Oh yes, the fun stuff, haha!

Every woman should have a pair of dark skinny jeans. Year round. You can wear them all year with 70% of the tops in your closet. Personally, I love the DL1961 EMMA, mid rise it’s one of the softest premium denim lines on the market.

You should have a black blazer. A cotton knit or merino wool, it should be year round, and ready to complete any outfit for a smart look. I like it especially with jeans, or a fun tweed or print pant. It will give you some edge and make you look well put together. I love the Mural $74 blazer at Nordstrom.

A cross body bag is imperative. Smaller sized for traveling, running errands, or fun nights out. I love mine because I have to run around the store all day, and I can stay connected to the things I need most in a day- my cards, lipstick, cell phone, and hand sanitizer. It never weighs me down; it jazzes up my ensemble. When in doubt, Rebecca Minkoff works with everything.

comfy tunic for your leggings and skinny jeans. It’s a look that is not going away and works in any weather, no matter how you feel, even if you have gained a pound or two.

Oh, and a  lightweight leather jacket. It’s how you celebrate fall! It’s the most versatile piece you’ll wear with anything, anywhere. Pick your price point, from a $98 faux leather, up to $398 lambskin, either gives the same chic, updated, hip vibe!

Tifphanie Lawson is a personal stylist for Nordstrom in the King of Prussia Mall.  To set up an appointment with her directly, send her an email at 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

20 Strategies to Create Attentive Relationships

attentive relationshipsDo you want more fabulous, effective and attentive relationships with clients, friends,  your partner and your community?

Here are 20 strategies to implement. Choose two and execute them today!

  1. Turn off the TV and give someone your undivided attention.
  2. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while and surprise them.
  3. Leverage Hootsuite to share shout outs on social media.
  4. Post a message on a friend’s wall FaceBook (find an old high school friend while you are there).
  5. Write a testimonial for someone on LinkedIn to praise someone you enjoy working with.
  6. Purchase note cards and randomly send a thank you note.
  7. Celebrate other’s success by leaving a voicemail and posting on their Facebook wall.
  8. Plan a vacation (or even a long weekend) with someone you love.
  9. Post photos to share great memories on Instagram.
  10. Make calls (hands free of course) while driving.
  11. Carry stamped stationery with you so you can write a quick note.
  12. Strengthen listening skills by ‘listening with your eyes’ (that’s what my special friend Donovan tells me)
  13. Leverage time zones if you have international friends and set up video dates.
  14. Use Skype or Zoom so you can see people you care about (and people don’t multi-task while you can see them)
  15. Set up phone dates with people you care about and clients you haven’t seen for a while.
  16. Book virtual lunches – I do these with my friend Scott Ginsberg and love it!
  17. Eliminate distractions from conversations – remove any distractions i.e. cell, tv, videos and focus on one person.
  18. Host an annual event i.e. we have an annual Australia Day party in our home in January and it is so much fun!
  19. Create weekly check in calls with people you care about.
  20. Collect business cards when you enjoy connecting with someone and follow up and stay in touch.


Bonus:  Have a face to face, real, eye to eye, belly button to belly button conversation.

People want to be seen and they want to be heard. Are you seeing people? Do they feel heard by you? These simple ideas will help you feel more connected and pay attention to what matters today.

What are your favorite ways to connect and improve relationships? Share your ideas with us here.



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Monday, October 17, 2016

Leading Companies Thriving in Open Plan Environments

Open Office Plan EnironmentSome of my favorite clients operate productively in open plan environments. When they were making the adjustments I was able to share strategies so they can Fold Time™, achieve twice as much in half the time.


Open plan spaces can a big adjustment for team members who may struggle if they have always worked in an office.

Offices used to symbolize status – now everyone is considered equal in an open environment workspace design.


Companies leading the open workspace movement include Viacom, Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft, eBay and Google.

Check out ideas on three strategies to be more productive in an open plan here.


If you aren’t sure if Open Plan is for you – check out the pros and cons in this article:


Facebook has embraced open plan and created ‘frictionless working’


SUCCESS Partners the magazine SUCCESS and its parent company SUCCESS Partners Sources have created this environment with a clear understanding of people’s workstyle:


Cisco Systems calls them connected workplaces and believe it maximizes flexibility, choice and collaboration. :


CBRE and Microsoft share the positives and negatives of this unique set up and also outlines how some offices are allocating space specifically for millennials:


Google has made it work using a variety of workspaces to encourage creativity and collaboration and also allow people to focus:


eBay has focused on design to increase productivity and combined that with a mobility program to allow people to work remotely:


Need more ideas on how to be more productive in an open plan – check out these ideas.

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Pay ATTENTION to Your Words – They Can Change Your World

Words have power text on school boardThe words we choose to speak – either to the world or to ourselves have the absolute power create impact, connections, positive or negative change and action.  When we lose FOCUS and our attention gets drawn away from what we know will move us in the direction we want to go – our words or language often follows suit. To help you stay the course, let’s create a productive language palette.

Just as an artist uses a paint palette to choose from a spectrum of colors, the words we choose become our medium to create color, texture, and depth in our communication with the people around us.  Those words can be help or hinder. Move us forward or hold us back. To keep you “in the light” – let’s look at ways a productive language palette can improve your world.


Create impact: In the famous speech Acres of Diamonds, delivered over 5,000 times by Russell Herman Conwell, a tremendous orator and the founder and president of Temple University in Philadelphia, shares that the resources to achieve all things are all around us.  One of my favorite lines from the speech is ‘greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but really consists in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all, one must be great here, now. If you wish to be great at all, you must begin where you are, now.’  He compels you with his words to begin your greatness right here, and right now – and an incredible place to start is with your words.


Choose positive language – words that lift, empower, ignite passion, present purpose and lighten the way for those around you.  Look people in the eye when you speak to them and listen to their responses. Put your phone down and be fully present in those moments and watch how much more productive and compelling they can be.  Please pay attention and be selective in your own internal dialogues as well.  Too many times people who share extraordinarily kind words with others are their own worst critic. They lift others but not themselves.  Let your positivity extend to your own self-talk as well.  It’s a difference maker, I promise you.


Create connections: Words cost us nothing and mean everything.  Before you speak, think about the words and impact they will make on the people you are with. I love the Rumi quote that shares, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:

At the first gate, ask yourself, Is it true?  At the second gate ask, Is it necessary? At the third gate ask, Is it kind?”  It’s not always easy to slow our pace of speaking and listening down enough to pay attention to those all too important gates, but life, career, and relationships most certainly shift when we do. Take the opportunity to slow down, connect and show care and compassion instead of trying to quickly share your response, or be so caught up in your next sentence you’ve missed what was being said. Fully listen, connect and engage – and your relationships will expand and flourish because of that.


Create action: Choose action-orie

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Monday, October 10, 2016

10 Tips to Handling Difficult Customers

What YOU Could Be Paying ATTENTION To Starting Now

difficult customers yelling

It’s often a chaotic world we live in – attention spans are low and expectations are high. That makes for a perfect storm for difficult customers. The good news is that there are ways to keep your cool, turn customer experiences around, and even come out looking like a hero.  Let’s take a look at eight of those ways!



1. Don’t take it personally. Most of the time when a customer complains it’s because they are unhappy with the product, or company – not you as an individual. It could be NOTHING at all to even do with the experience. Maybe they stubbed their toe? Spilled their coffee?  Woke up late.  Stop before REACTING to another person’s emotions and think – is it me? If not, let that emotion GO.


2. Give yourself credit.  Remember all those mad skills you possess? The kind way you handle customer requests? The serious mojo you have when it comes to hitting your goals? Keep all of those things in mind when someone turns surly and never let anyone else make you feel less than you are.


3. Write it down. Want to make an impression? Write down the complaint. That shows the customer that you are listening and genuinely interested in resolving their issue.  If you’re on the phone, let them know that you are writing things down in detail.  People want to be heard and documenting a problem is a good way to illustrate your listening skills.


4. Get a supervisor in on the action. Got a REALLY tough customer on your hands and things feel like they are escalating?  Invite a supervisor to join you and the customer will notice you are treating them as important by seeking additional help.


5. Debrief with a trusted person when you’re done. When the customer leaves, it may be a good time to talk over the encounter with someone you trust in order to release the frustration, let go of any negativity and learn what can be done in the future should it happen again.


6. Master stress management.  There are so many amazing techniques you can learn to manage stress and stay the voice of reason regardless of raised voices or irrational customer behavior.  By learning to breath deeply, focus on the positives and also ensure your body doesn’t carry stress, you will be able to handle whatever (or whoever) the world sends your way.


7. Chalk it up. Here’s the thing: working with the public? There are going to be THOSE moments or sometimes even days where someone is gunning for you just because they can. Chalk it up to human nature, let it roll right off you and move on.


8. Look for the lesson.  Sometimes there’s a reason for the temperment, right? Maybe a system or process is off. A complaint can be a queue to take a look at what may need to be changed. Analyze the situation and see what can be done differently in the future for a better response.


9. Don’t lash out.  It’s easy in the heat of the moment to lash out to anyone who will listen if you’ve been mistreated by a customer (or anyone for that matter). Use caution. Breathe. Think before you speak to others so that you’re not taking your bad experience and transferring it to everyone in your wake.


10. Remember the big picture. Truth is, without customers, a company goes out of business.  Even when they are less than fun to work with – they feed the revenue stream that keeps the doors open and the checks signed. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they don’t MEAN to be challenging, and treat them with respect and understanding like the mature and successful professional that you know yourself to be.


The nice thing to keep in mind if you’re in the people business (and most of us are) – is that whatever the grievance, pressure, irritation, aggravation – any of it might be? It will done and gone before you know it. A blip on the screen. Handle it in the moment then move on to the next.  Who knows? The next one on the phone or in front of you might be the coolest customer ever!


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Monday, October 03, 2016

How to Achieve Your Goals and Finish Strong

Watch video on YouTube here:

How to Achieve Your Goals and Finish Strong

Watch video on YouTube here:

Finish Strong! The IMPORTANCE of Paying Attention to Yourself!

finish strong year goalsDid you blink?  If you’re like most of us, it may feel that way.  How it got to be the fourth quarter with the bulk of the year behind us already (again) is mind boggling – right?  And your planning for next year’s events is in full swing! Remember all those promises and resolutions made WAY back in the beginning of the year?  Yeah. About those.  It’s time to check in. Where are you?  On track? Off track? Trying to find your running shoes?  I get you.


Finishing STRONG is a passion of mine. It’s my personal mantra. It’s even the name of one of my Pinterest boards! (Go figure!) It’s about digging in and making the most of every minute now isn’t it?  Not boo-hoo-ing over what’s NOT done or NOT in your control but celebrating where you are and what you can seriously get done with the time left in the year when you’re FOCUSED on what’s in front of you.


There it is.  As a leadership expert and keynote speaker, this is the time of year when corporate event clients are asking me to include some real-world, really actionable ways to help their team members to FINISH STRONG. Sure, they usually mean to help folks re-focus on financial targets and activities that will help people achieve their goals, which is great, and I certainly do.  But for today’s exercise? Let’s do this. Let’s talk about FINISHING STRONG personally as well.  What does THAT look like to you?


To me? That’s celebrating physical and mental strength. The kind that excites you to hop out of bed every morning and stay at it. (Even when holiday party invites are flooding in or you’re questioning the decision to try the egg nog.)


If you are like me and want to absolutely grab the most from this quarter then tap into these three power strategies to help you feel ah-mazing and focus your attention on what really matters to you:


Invest 15 minutes:  I know; I ALWAYS say that.  Why?  Because it WORKS. Each day, invest 15 minutes in YOURSELF.  What that looks like is up to you. Meditation for mental strength. Or a walk after dinner with a loved one for a great exercise/connection combo. 10-minute quick calls with a mentor or team member with a 5 minute “download” to stay close to the goals.  The practice is personal to you, just make sure you are putting YOU on the to-do list every day for 15 minutes. It’s a smart investment for a healthier, happier, more successful you, I promise.


Love the way you MOVE:  Exercise.  Ugh-right? I admit, it used to be at the BOTTOM of my list too (and I know some of you out there are thinking – hey – SWEATER weather!) Here’s the trick though: find something you LOVE. Don’t roll your eyes. There is always SOMETHING. For me? I discovered running a few years ago and I’m HOOKED. Then? I caught wind of Barre3 and became addicted. I don’t mind insanely early morning classes or long weekend runs because it’s something I love to do. Find what you love to do that will get your body moving.


Make it happen.  Right there. In the calendar. You know the one, with the doctor’s appointments and client meetings and super-important can’t miss stuff?  Put your time down as a solid must-do because the truth is? If you don’t make an appointment with yourself, you are likely to cancel. Need accountability? Hire a coach. I have a running coach and I meet him twice a week. It gets me out of bed in the dark and when I completed in my workout I have no regrets. Look at it this way… YOU are the only YOU that you’ve got. That your family has. Your partner has. Your business has.  Want to lead a long, full, happy and successful life? Don’t neglect the one person you’re going to spend every moment with:  YOU. Prioritize yourself.


That’s it. Three little things.  They might not seem so little initially. They might feel a little out of your comfort level. And honestly? They might feel a little selfish. Let’s clear that up. Self-care? Self-focus?  Self-prioritizing?  Is smart business. It’s the key to being a better parent, planner, partner and person.  When we take care of ourselves we’re better equipped to take care of the rest of our worlds. So what do you say? Ready to FINISH STRONG?


Want more ideas on how to finish the last quarter strong, you might like this video and blog:

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