Thursday, March 30, 2017

Get Attention by Becoming a Professional Training Genie

GenieCast Professional TrainingOkay, so not literally a Genie in a bottle. A professional training Geniecast using genius instead.

Does anyone remember that show ‘I dream of Jeannie” – loved that show and one year I went to a fancy dress party dressed like her.

With teams spread around the world and leaders wishing they could constantly be developing their people with professional training, I was delighted when I heard about GenieCast.

Geniecast is transforming the way the world connects people, ideas, and inspiration.

It’s an online marketplace for expert speakers and thought leaders. They connects the intelligence and guidance of experienced business professionals with people and organizations searching for solutions.

They use a cool two-way live video broadcasts, speakers (affectionately named “Genies”) share their knowledge with executives, managers, or new employees in order to improve processes, develop new business strategies, increase productivity or complete professional training.

GenieCast Professional TrainingTo make sure every one of these is a success, a professional Production team is readily on hand during each Cast, guaranteeing quality and interactivity. With a wide range of content available, Geniecast is the one-stop shop for any type of corporate or professional training.

I have had the pleasure of doing several of these with organizations including EO and others and it was a blast!

If you are looking for a great way to provide development to your team and leverage technology, check out GenieCast… I can’t quite fit in a bottle, but I can grant some wishes!

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Saying No Is Saying Yes to Success –

saying noBusier doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to your career.

Saying no is scary.Saying yes is even scarier when we realize what it does to our time, our sanity and our ability to pay attention to what matters most.

I love this quote by Warren Buffet: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

Let that sink in. It’s important. It’s also really, really hard for many meeting professionals.

I get it. You want to be helpful. You want to be a team player. You want to get accolades for being a “yes” person. You like staying crazy busy. The flip side to that coin is that, when you say yes to everything, you may not leave room for opportunities that come up, and your time management strategy flies out the window.

To be on top of your game, you need to keep your sights on high-priority activities that take you closer to your goals each day. You need to keep a careful eye on your bandwidth at any given time on any given day. Neither is possible if you’re always taking on whatever comes your way. Saying No allows us to keep our focus front and center on the priorities that matter most.

Here are a few ways saying “no” can lead to a bigger success “yes”:

  • It eliminates distractions and keeps the focus on your goals.
  • It allows you to use your time and talent resources more effectively.
  • It puts you on a path to be a more focused leader.
  • It narrows your choices so you can keep your focus crystal clear.
  • It preserve your physical and mental energy.
  • It allows you to fail faster (and yes, that’s a good thing).
  • It allows you to fail smarter. (You have to love a great learning curve!)
  • It makes you more honest. (How many times did you really want to say “no”?)

Saying no when people ask you to help them with projects or attend an event doesn’t make you rude, or a bad friend, or a bad team member. It keeps you on track. I often say that you don’t have time to do everything; you only have time to do what matters.

“But Neen!” you cry, “It’s so hard to say no.” Here’s any easy way to turn down something that’s not going to move you toward your goals. Say, “Thank you for your kind invitation; however, I am unable to join you.” That’s it. Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t throw excuses or fibs at it. Just say, kindly and politely, “No thank you.”

In his book, Anything You Want, Derek Sivers writes, “When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say, ‘Hell yeah!’” I love that, and you should too. Why? Because everyone’s life deserves a whole lot more “Hell yeah” moments.

Say no to the things that don’t take you closer to your goals, get you excited, make you want to jump out of bed, or move you forward. That way there is room to say yes to all the things that do. I’d love to hear your thoughts—share them with us below!


This article was originally published on the fabulous site of – the go-to resource for meeting planners and event specialists. Check out the original post and let them know your thoughts and ideas for how you can learn to say ‘NO’ to distractions and say ‘YES’ to what matters most!

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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Link Between Structure and Success: Powering Up Your Productivity to Pay Attention

pay attention productivity systemsMeetings. Events. Deadlines. Customers. How’s a person to get it all done – AND still have room in the calendar for all the “good stuff” like family, friends and personal time?  Impossible?  Not at all.  The trick is a little structure, a little strategy and a system that works specifically for YOU. No two business and no two people are alike, so defining the structure that allows YOU to work at your highest potential without the fear of burnout is vital.


Take me, for example.  As an attention expert and keynote speaker, I spend a LOT of time on airplanes, walking convention floors; meeting clients, coaching, creating, sharing ideas and strategies with the people in my mentoring program—and of course, running a business and all that entails. For our team?  The easiest way to accelerate productivity is to systemize the week. Now like all good systems, we don’t get it right every time and it doesn’t work every time however it is a great guideline for us.


We don’t work as many weekends with clients as some of you might. We want to protect weekends as recovery time whenever possible; we know this isn’t practical for some of you reading this blog. So this is how we like to structure our week:


  • Monday – meeting with mentors in the mentoring, networking, client appointments, writing, strategy and often this is a travel day to speak at an event.
  • Tuesday to Thursday – speaking and media interviews and travelling.
  • Friday – more speaking, meeting with mentors (mostly in the morning) writing, setting up the next week and catching up.


It’s simple (it’s idealistic… but hey, it’s good to have a wishful week right?).  This allows us maximize time balancing what we do with how we do it. Could you think about balancing your day if your week is a harder place to start?


Ready to get down to structuring your OWN success plan to take you into the new year?  Here are a few things to consider:


  1. First things first: You: “But Neen, there’s no time.” The truth is that if you’re not healthy, happy and looking after yourself, you’ll never be your best for your company, your clients, your family or anyone else. That whole, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” thing? Is an eye opener, or at least it should be. So step one in making a better, more productive year ahead is to schedule YOURSELF first.  Book an appointment every day that is focused on you. This might include exercise, mediation, quiet time, reading, self development – or all of the above!


  1. Get crystal-clear: It’s hard to hit a moving target. When you’re unsure of your plan, your goals, your vision for the most important things you’re eager to achieve, it’s fairly hard to knock it out of the park.  The good news is the reverse is true. When you’re exceptionally clear on what you want, where you’re headed, what the highest vision is that you have for your future and those things that so powerfully important to you that you’ll jump out of bed each day with a passion to make them happen – you can’t lose. For me, I love to speak on productivity, helping people make room in their lives and days to PAY ATTENTION to those things that really matter.  That’s my focus. My very simple WHY.  The simplicity allows me to determine where I want to spend my time which becomes a filtering system for time choices.


  1. Block time for business. Admin work.  Seriously not my favorite thing. Not most people’s favorite thing. But all organizations require administration, attention to details and dare I say it… paperwork. I’m grateful to have a wonderful virtual business manager Maria Novey, who does much of the heavy lifting for me, but some of it still needs my undivided attention. So, I block time for that. (Monday’s if possible. Which makes me laugh sometimes.  It reminds me of the story where you’re given a list of tasks that you HAVE to accomplish by the end of the day, one of which is eating a frog. Yuck! But as Mark Twain once shared, “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long.” Your “frog”? The biggest thing on your plate. The most daunting. Or boring. Or scary. The thing you’d LEAST like to do.   Knock it out of the way first though (like on a Monday) and the rest of the day, or week, is your oyster.


  1. Block your projects: Ours is a busy world, with a lot of demands. There are always a list of projects that require our attention, but closing those circles can be intimidating from a time-constraint perspective. Let me share an example of how my team managed this, and see if it works for you as well.  Like many of you I serve on some boards, including the National Speakers Association board.  When I was co-chairing an event for my professional organization. This was a super time-intensive commitment, and had the capacity to be a full-time job, although not one that would increase my revenue directly, so managing the time in was a priority. We decided, as a team, to restrict the allotted time for the project to Monday afternoons and Friday mornings. This one simple time-blocking step ensured if we needed to speak with someone, speak with my co-chair or reach out to participants – we do it in one of these time blocks. Time blocking is a beautiful thing. It provides clarity. Structure. Takes away stress.  Just like when your work space is orderly – a place for everything and everything in it’s place. When there’s a time for everything and everything is in it’s time – you breathe a little easier. Have time for the good stuff.  Ask yourself, “What projects are you working on that you could time block this week?” (Then DO it!)


  1. Manage interruptions: Stuff happens. Wherever you work, interruptions are inevitable. For some, that one little blip in the time-table of their day throws off their groove for a week! Instead? Take a pro-active approach to how you handle interruptions.  Try wearing headphones while you get tasks completed, stand up when someone comes in your office to help accelerate the conversation or create a do-not-disturb sign (that the whole team understands) while you are chin-deep in a deadline, doing prospecting or an intense project.


  1. Try systems on for size: Change is AH-MAZING, but it can also be a temporary detour while you’re getting used to a new system, strategy, or structure.  Not everything will work and that’s all right.  Be willing to give them a try. Select a week, advise your team of the goal you are wanting to accomplish, block the time for training and implementation then review at the end of the week to see if it’s a keeper of an idea, if it needs tweaking, or if it’s a dud for you and yours.  Keep trying new things, and you’ll find that your results will expand proportionately!


I’m wishing you EVERY success in your daily productivity.  Systems that work for you. Tools that make sense. Structure that helps eliminate stress. And TIME to PAY ATTENTION to the things that matter most in your life.  I’m here to help!

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Set Yourself Apart as a Successful Speaker: Speaker Lab Podcast with Grant Baldwin



On today’s edition of The Speaker Lab, I’ve got a guest who has used her unique voice and stature to create a thriving speaking career. Neen James stands a petite 4’10 (and 1/2!) and hails from Australia. With her tiny height and self-professed Disney princess voice she was told by many no one was going to book her or take her seriously as speaker.


But with her undeniable sass, drive and determination she has proven them wrong! Listen to this episode to hear how she accidentally became a professional speaker, how she pivoted from productivity to her current topic today, and how she built her reputation in the corporate business world. You’ll hear that and more on episode 124 of The Speaker Lab.



  • What’s the trick to having a successful speaker career?
  • What are “telecoffees” and how did she build her business with them?
  • Why you should audit the things you are good at.
  • What are the things that make us “memorable”?
  • Why speakers have to establish credibility and do it quickly.
  • How she pivoted from productivity to attention.
  • Can you be a jack of all trades and be a successful speaker?
  • How can you become a great resource and trusted advisor to your clients?
  • And so much more!


Become a successful speaker by checking out more of Grant Baldwin’s Speaker Lab Podcasts by visiting The Speaker Lab.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

ATTENTION to Rules, Regulations and Bureaucracy: When is it Time to Change?

BureaucracyAs a keynote speaker and executive mentor, I am frequently asked for ways to deal with rules and bureaucracy in the workplace. Especially when dealing with some large corporations with employee manuals the size of War and Peace.  Rules, regulations and bureaucracy are part of corporate culture, but, done right, they don’t have to adversely affect your morale and productivity.


Let me share five strategies for paying ATTENTION to what matters in a corporate environment rich with rules.  They are:


#1. Communicate the UNWRITTEN rules. While I’m certain all the big rules and expectations are spelled out in an employee policy manual, there are ALWAYS unwritten rules that can often trip people up. New team members and people who transfer between departments can be especially susceptible to this. From break-room etiquette to social interaction to managing the personality differences that keep everyone working well together – define what those underlying expectations are so that everyone is on a level playing field.

#2. Share Common Goals. One great way to clear some of the bureaucracy is to help every team member understand what their part in the goal is.  Make sure that whatever goal you commit to as a team is clear, communicated well and often, and visual. Put the goals where everyone can see them. They then become a filtering system to avoid unnecessary missteps.

#3. Empower decision-making. Here’s the thing – if team members must run to leadership for every single decision, productivity suffers and so does morale.  The flip side of that coin is you empower your employees to make decisions on their own, you give them the freedom to grow as leaders. That fuels innovation. Creativity. The sharing of ideas. Of course, there will be things that must be approved by leadership, so be crystal clear about those expectations. For the rest? Empower your team to be decisive. Offer new solutions and step up to leadership roles of their own. When they do you elevate your entire organization.

#4. Encourage collaboration. There’s nothing quite like a team that works well together is there?  You can help encourage that kind of collaboration by having an “open door” policy where people can come in and get clarification or share ideas.  Allocating time during meetings to brainstorm specific challenges or growth strategies is another great way.  Perhaps you can look at your organization as a whole and see if there are ways to break down some of the silos that get created between departments and divisions so that talent and innovative ideas can flow freely throughout the entire team.  That way everyone has a stronger opportunity to learn and the feeling of true teamwork is elevated.

#5. Decrease meetings and eliminate outdated or unnecessary rules. Don’t get me wrong – meetings done RIGHT can be amazing, collaborative and constructive. Too many times however they are meetings for meetings sake and can run counter to what you want to accomplish.  When it looks like your meetings have become time stealers and demotivators, then it’s time to revisit why and when you are having them. Can you change it up? Schedule less? Create shorter meetings for quick discussion opportunities and then break? Can you meet via online or conference platforms that don’t require everyone to physically be in the room?  One of my favorite books on this topic is Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. If you haven’t read it, pick it up. It’s a keeper!


Rules are important to keep a smooth operation running certainly.  Just be careful your team isn’t so bogged down in the do’s and don’ts that they lose the ability or the desire to jump in and utilize their full potential. Empowering people to really be part of the process and developing that culture where they aren’t afraid to express their thoughts and share their ideas can be AH-MAZINGLY powerful for the growth of your company.


Looking for more ways to focus on reducing and simplifying rules, regulations and bureaucracy in your organization? Watch this video, full of ideas to help answer:
– How to reduce regulation headaches
– How to help others navigate rules to be more productive
– How to focus on what matters most


I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to share them with me here or on social media. I’d also love to help your leadership team cut through some of the red tape that may be holding your company back. Call me today to explore your options!




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How to Pay Attention to Reducing Rules and Bureaucracy

Watch video on YouTube here:

How to Pay Attention to Reducing Rules and Bureaucracy

Watch video on YouTube here:

Monday, March 13, 2017

How to Pay Attention and Create Employee Loyalty

Watch video on YouTube here:

Attention to Employee Loyalty: The Inside Scoop on Creating and Keeping a Thriving Team


Employee LoyaltyHow do you create employee loyalty strategies that get your team to rise to the top and stay there both as individuals and as a whole?  How do you keep them from being recruited away, or experiencing burnout?


Start by paying ATTENTION to those key factors that drive THEIR attention to the employee loyalty outcome you want to create.


Let’s take a look at three powerful strategies for creating comprehensive employee loyalty:


  1. Map it Out. Create a roadmap that allows each member of your team to see the big picture goals you are striving for as an organization and the roles they play in it. Share with them how their “piece of the puzzle” fits into the success of the company and their success as well. Then hold them accountable for staying the course.
  2. Coach Them. What I mean by this is really being present with your employees to assess their strengths and areas of enhancement and invest in the training and development that will help them soar. That might mean brainstorming solutions. Scheduling one-on-ones with them. Disconnecting from devices and distractions when you are meeting with them so you get the scope of what they need to be their most successful. When your team members know that you are engaged in helping them thrive, their loyalty, job satisfaction and willingness to jump all soar.
  3. Motivate Them. They key to motivating anyone is the find out what motivates THEM as individuals. Surprisingly enough, money is NOT always the biggest factor in motivation. For some it may be giving them a stronger leadership role. For others, it might be shifting their work hours so they have more family time. For someone else it might be including them on specific teams, or sending them to a conference or training that will advance their knowledge and ability to hit goals. Spend some real time one on one with your employees and find out what sparks them to jump out of bed and hit the ground running every day. Once you know that, you can help guide and motivate them to discover their own greatness.


Being a leader who can bring people together, develop creative solutions, and knows each team member well enough to know what drives them and what will make them pull together will inspire loyalty and help your business thrive.  I hope you’ll take these strategies and put your own spin on them to make it an ah-mazing year for you and your organization.


Want more ideas and tips to create strong employee loyalty and drive motivated success throughout your team? Take a moment and watch this video.

This video will teach you:
– How to discover what motivates your employees
– How to reward and recognize hard work
– How to create programs that focus on employee culture


Want to learn what it takes to get team members to pay ATTENTION to the strategies that create unstoppable success? Call me today and receive my white paper filled with Tips to Help Leaders Pay More ATTENTION to Their Teams. 


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How to Pay Attention and Create Employee Loyalty

Watch video on YouTube here:

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Transform Your Meetings with 10 Productivity Hacks: Guest Blog on MeetingsNet


I’m obsessed with attention and teaching others to utilize their focus to create more significant, productive moments in life. When I came across this article and infographic on about using productivity hacks to maximize the output of meetings, I just knew I had to share. Hope you enjoy as much as I do!



We all go to meetings—a lot of meetings. But even meeting planning meetings can be less productive than everyone would like. Here are 10 ways to fix that, from our friends at

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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Protected: Pay Attention: Productivity Strategies for Speakers

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Monday, March 06, 2017

How to Pay Attention to and Improve Your Company Culture

Watch video on YouTube here:

How to Pay Attention to and Improve Your Company Culture

Watch video on YouTube here:

ATTENTION to Company Culture: Cultivating Success Throughout Your Organization

company cultureNot long ago, I had the opportunity to work with a large media organization who wanted to shift their company culture in ways that would drive bottom line results, but also produce an environment where employees and team members WANTED to come to work each day and give it their all.  Why? When organizations FOCUS on creating a better company culture where they pay ATTENTION to what really matters, productivity, profitability and accountability go through the roof!


To help illustrate the strategies I wanted to help them implement I asked them to visualize their action plan as a triangle.  Here’s what I shared:


Layer One:  A foundation of FOCUS. As the bottom layer, this is an important step to getting everything else right. It’s all about determining the focus, or top priorities for your organization. Is it productivity? Profitability? Service? Once you have a handle on this, you can start to build the culture you want to create.


Layer Two:  A core of creativity.  When you nurture an environment where team members feel they can be seen and heard, share ideas, innovate – everyone benefits.


Layer Three:  Make the decision.  This is where everyone decides on the goal – and goes all in to make it happen.  Everyone takes ownership of their part in the process and are held responsible and accountable for delivering results.


Layer Four:  Reward people for their commitment. Keep your momentum building by keeping team members engaged in the process. Rewarding them is a great way to do that, and we’re not talking financial rewards in most cases.  It can be simple things like a hand written thank you note on their desk. Recognizing someone with a shout out in a meeting. A plaque on the wall. A leader-board with results. A Friday night cookout for the staff to say thanks to everyone for jumping in.  Have fun with it – and continue to have fun with it.  Your team will too.


Layer Five:  Develop partnerships.  Partnerships help continuously share different perspectives which leads to creatively finding solutions. Can you partner with other organizations? Other departments?  Or partner team members together so they can learn from each other and act as accountability partners.


As leaders, it’s our job to help our teams grow, learn, and pay ATTENTION to those things that will drive them closer to realizing their goals and potential, and raising the company standards.  Often, that means we must lead by example and model a company culture of ownership as well as the behavior and action steps that we most want to see.


As leaders, it’s also vital to be crystal clear in communicating what you want your team to focus on. Break down the goals and objectives in such a way that everyone completely understands and is on the same page as you move forward.  This isn’t a one-and-done process. Stay forward and focused on those goals by consistent, clear communication as you go. Through email, meetings, video, goal charts – the works.  As people adapt to the shifts and get excited about realizing their goals for both reward and personal pride, you’ll see your organization grow in ways you never thought possible. It all just starts with paying ATTENTION to these valuable layers of culture and leadership.


Looking for more ways to improve your focus on improving company culture?

This video contains ideas to help answer:
– How to create ownership among employees
– Ideas to recognize employees and reward their efforts
– How to foster an environment of thinking and collaboration


I’d love to hear from you on the subject! I’d also like to help you create this kind of creative culture shift in your organization so that you too can see stronger bottom line results in profitability, productivity and accountability.  Call me today to learn how we can make that happen!


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