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5 Tips from Getting the Most from LinkedIn by Dr. Misner

I had the honor of meeting Dr. Misner a couple of years ago at a BNI Convention in St. Louis, MO.  Only minutes from going on stage  that day, I learned firsthand that Dr. Misner is the real deal.  Dr. Misner not only took the time to shake my hand and look me in the eye, 5 or 6 elevator speeches rolled off his tongue for use in my SendOutCards.com/loryfabian business as well. How awesome is that?

 Dr. Misner is called the “father of modern networking” by CNN.  He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization and a New York Times bestselling author.

Just as E.F. Hutton use to be the voice of the financial world, Dr. Misner is the voice of the networking world today. The article below was written back in 2011.  Dr. Misner’s tips were true in 2011 and still hold true today.

What I’ve learned from years of using this social media platform.

 If you had any lingering thoughts that social media was just a “fad,” you may want to let those go, particularly in light of LinkedIn’s recent IPO — with a valuation of $4.3 billion. (2011)

I’ve been following the development of online business networking for several years, particularly the inception of sites like Ecademy.com, Ryze.com, and of course LinkedIn. While there are many competitors to LinkedIn, for now it has risen to the top of sites devoted primarily to business networking.

I use a variety of social networks to interact with colleagues, associates, and friends, but LinkedIn has some features that set it apart from the rest. In fact, many BNI members have used it to stay in touch with each other. As a person in the “500+ connections” category, I use LinkedIn as a way to disseminate the many articles I write every month, as well as to promote books and publications. Here’s how I use it and what I recommend to others.

1. Connecting with More People

I’ve spoken to countless entrepreneurs who have doubled or tripled their business because of the relationships they are able to make on LinkedIn. With the ability to view detailed profiles, become connected to people via a shared acquaintance, and post updates about one’s business or career for these connections to share, a huge number of the barriers to connecting with people in different geographic locations simply don’t exist to members of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is also a well-known resource for both job seekers and recruiters. The site lets businesses pay to post jobs and sells enhanced profile and services to jobseekers. Successful recruiters rely heavily on networking and LinkedIn to find candidates for open positions.

2. Participating in Groups

LinkedIn Groups is a wonderful way to meet others who share an affinity, whether an industry, cause, or an employer, and to have an online arena for exchange. Being a member of a group removes the barrier that LinkedIn ordinarily imposes that you must personally know someone to send a message or invite him or her to connect.

LinkedIn Groups is most valuable when used effectively to build influential connections. Participating in a group — by asking questions, suggesting topics, answering questions, or recommending another member’s answers — is a way to build a more personal connection. For example, I mentor a large number of BNI members, entrepreneurs who want to better their business writing skills, meeting with them on a regular basis via telebridge. These “mentees” have also formed a group on LinkedIn, where they can share writing opportunities, and receive reviews of their work.

Participating in groups can take as much or as little time as you choose. For maximum impact, choose group discussions that are highly popular, judged from the number of responses.

3. Capitalizing on Search Engine Optimization

LinkedIn profiles show up very high on search engine results. The more links you add to your profile, the higher one’s ranking may be in search engine results. LinkedIn allows you to incorporate two very important links to a profile: web sites and a blog. Adding these to your profile not only builds your profile’s link count, but also lets you promote your site(s). I use this feature to highlight my own web site, BusinessNetworking.com.

4. Tying in a Twitter Connection

LinkedIn dovetails with Twitter. Indeed you can adeptly integrate Twitter with several social networks using Twitter’s application programming interfaces: I cross-promote content I have written across my various social networking accounts. Every article I write can be seamlessly shared via my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn status postings.

Tying your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile (achieved by clicking a box), allows you to promote your Twitter profile easily through LinkedIn.

5. Building and Enhancing Credibility

LinkedIn may well become the first place everyone will look to determine the business profile of an individual. LinkedIn allows a professional to showcase a collection of printed works or publications, recommendations from other LinkedIn users, company affiliations, and work history. When I want to know more about someone I’ve just met, I can learn quite a bit of information about them by reading their LinkedIn profile. I can see where they’ve worked, or what they’ve done in the business world, and I can see what others think of them by reading recommendations that others have written about them.

Since most professionals do not stay in the same job for a lifetime anymore, their LinkedIn profile can continue to capture their work history narrative.

LinkedIn also allows for profiles of companies and brands, which can be cross-connected with the profiles of the “humans” associated with those organizations – including executive management, the founders, and the employees.

These days, a professional’s worth is frequently judged by the quality of his or her network. So LinkedIn is particularly vital for today’s entrepreneur, demonstrating knowledge, expertise, experience, social capital, and the breadth of one’s network.

 

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Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep By Mike Maddock

MOST OF US KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO READ, LISTEN AND ASSOCIATE. AFTER READING MIKE MADDOCK’S ARTICLE ON FORBES.COM EARLIER THIS WEEK, I RESOLVE TO FOLLOW MIKE’S SUGGESTIONS IN 2014.  IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO FOCUS ON MIKE’S TOP FAVORITE RESOLUTIONS THAN TAKING TIME TO CREATE MY OWN LIST. AGREE?

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS.   YOU CAN BE THE JUDGE on HOW EFFECTIVE THEY ARE.

LORY

Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep

Well, it’s that time again—time to start rolling out the New Year’s resolutions. Some of us will vow to eat less, exercise more, live in the moment, be more grateful. You may even decide to bury the hatchet with the family member who makes you so crazy.

But what about your New Year’s business resolutions?

This time of year is a great time to start making—and keeping—business resolutions, too. But sadly, like our personal goals, we often make them (year after year) with sincere intent only to see them quickly fall by the wayside, as we revert to (bad) habits that we have vowed to break.

But what about the most successful people and their resolutions?

Have you noticed how the most accomplished people just seem to identify important things and consistently get them done? Study successful people long enough and you start to pick up on the resolutions they seem to consistently make.

Here are Mike’s top favorites:

#1 – Spend more time on the not-to-do list.

Strategy is the art of sacrifice. That’s why you may consider creating a larger clearing for what really matters by first identifying, and then avoiding, what matters the least. Your time is a treasure to be invested. Creating a list of things that you are not going to do, allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most.

#2 – Essential first, email second.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many of us, it is looking at email. We wake up with a renewed mind and spirit, ready to take on the world, and then we immediately allow ourselves to be distracted by an insignificant email. Instead, wake up, take on the most important task of the day, and then (and only then) hit the email.

#3-  Resolve to think about “Who” instead of “What.”

Do you work for a “What” business or for a “Who” business? Successful companies run the risk of focusing too much on their current products and distributors thus—the “What”—losing sight of the constant and dramatically changing needs of their customer base.

(The “Who.”) Insurance, pharmacy, health care, higher education often listen too much to their agents, doctors and professors. The real innovation starts with the end consumer.

#4 Resolve to find your purpose.

As my friend Simon Sinek will tell you: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Starting a career, a company or any kind of journey that is based firmly on your purpose is foundational to success and happiness. If you don’t know your company’s purpose or even your own, finding one is the worthiest of resolutions.

#5 – Resolve to support a cause.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of the rare people who know how to start things. Fortunately, there are people like you who have already started causes that make the world better—they feed the hungry; they save the rain forest; they fight cancer; they do good things. There is virtually a cause for everyone, and contributing will make your year happier. Promise.

#6 – Resolve to invent more choices.

Here’s a secret that happy people know that I learned from my friend Dr. Dan Baker: You can’t feel grateful and fearful at the same time. And one certain way to become afraid is to feel trapped by any situation. The remedy is choice. The more choices you feel you have, the less trapped—and happier—you will feel. So this year, resolve to do a bit of brainstorming every time you feel unhappy.

#7 – Resolve to find a Yin for your Yang.

Walt Disney had Roy Disney, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Orville Wright had Wilbur Wright. Wherever there is great innovation, there is a Dreamer and an Operator; an Idea Monkey and a (Ring) leader. First, determine where your passions lie, then go find an equally passionate partner, then go change the world.

#8 – Resolve to get outside your jar.

You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar. The sad irony of being an expert is that it keeps you from seeing possibility. After all, you know what works, what doesn’t, what you can afford, what’s been tried in the past. Instead of relying only on your expertise, learn how to find other experts solving similar challenges to the ones you are facing. Go ask them what you may be missing.

#9 –Resolve to be the creator.

What is the outcome you want? What stands in your way? How do you overcome these obstacles? These three simple questions will keep you from being victimized by any situation. Creators change the world. Victims just bitch about stuff.

#10 – Plan vacations. (now)

You have probably heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you are not paying attention.” Unfortunately for many of us, we let this become true. Do yourself a favor and plan your vacations for the next year today. I promise you that the days around your vacation will fill in nicely. I also promise you that you’ll have something to look forward to and the life that happens during your vacations will be precious.

Hugs and Peace out to  Mike Maddock

Learn more about Mike @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemaddock/

The Power of Gratitude in Business by Tricia Molloy

Before I wrote my book in 2006 and starting my Working with Wisdom speaking, training and mentoring business, I was a marketing professional. In fact, my public relations firm, Molloy Communications, turns 25 this year.

Although I don’t do much marketing these days, one service I continue to offer is writing testimonial quotes. Many professionals have found that you can wait a long time for even the most delighted clients to send their testimonial quotes. And, when they do, they are often generic or not focused on your key messages. That’s why I chose to facilitate the process by interviewing my clients’ clients and writing the testimonials for everyone’s approval. I’ve written more than 500 over the years.

The reason I’m so passionate about testimonials goes beyond its power as a third-party endorsement. It’s about the power of gratitude. When I interview my clients’ clients and help them articulate their appreciation, the process produces multiple outcomes. Their client is reminded of the good work that was done on their behalf, which prompts them to do more business and refer others. My client gets to read that what they’ve done really matters and can share that testimonial with the support staff that often doesn’t get any client feedback. Then, these testimonials are featured on my clients’ websites and are also added to their LinkedIn profiles—a much better alternative to the one-click LinkedIn endorsement that lacks any thought or credibility.

Compelling client testimonials are like word-of-mouth advertising on steroids. Whether you’re an attorney, management consultant, marketing professional, speaker or business vendor, you can benefit from client testimonials. If you would like my help, find out more at http://www.testimonialwritingservice.com.

If you’re a good writer and would like to do it yourself, here are some best practices I’ve learned along the way.

1. Before You Begin: To increase the effectiveness of your collection of testimonials as a marketing and sales tool, pinpoint three key messages–such as the high level of client service you provide—and make sure each testimonial touches on at least one of those messages.

2. During the Interview:  Ask open-ended questions, like: “What was your problem and how much was it costing you?” “What results came from my help?” “Is there one instance, as we were working together, that most impressed you?” “How would you describe my personality and working style?” “How do I compare with others in my field?” “What else would you say to someone who was considering my services and/or products?”

3. When Crafting the Quote:  Use action verbs and descriptive, emotional words. Vary short and longer sentences, and limit the quote to no more than five sentences. Maintain the tone of each client so it doesn’t sound the same.

4. Once the Quotes are Approved:  Add the quotes to your website, emails and proposals. Request that your clients post their quote to your LinkedIn profile since you can’t do it for them.  And, of course, thank them for their testimonials!

I hope this helps you harness the power of gratitude in your business. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

A Shout Out, Hugs and Peace to Tricia Molloy, a woman who GETS IT and Is Sharing IT. May her sharing return tenfold.

http://www.triciamolloy.com/2013/02/the-power-of-gratitude-in-business-how-to-write-compelling-client-testimonials-for-your-website-and-linkedin-recommendations/

Ways to Show Your Grateful by Lory Fabian

 “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”  Henry David Thoreau

I am continually amazed how many people neglect, forget or never even think to say one of the first manners most of us were taught before kindergarten. Using those two simple words, ‘Thank You!’

I’ve experienced over and over again, the more you thank someone, the more that person feels appreciated. Coincidence or not, a smile and a thank you builds momentum because of the Law of Reciprocity.  How do you show your friends, family and customers how grateful you are for them?  Just as small steps can lead to big accomplishments, a simple thank you can have a huge impact on your life, and the life of that person.

If you find little ways and big ways to weave gratitude in your life, you life will be forever changed.  I wonder why so many people resist trying such a simple task. Most of us are in search of finding ways to be happier … and never realize or believe that Happiness is a Choice.

Need proof? Take the SendOutCards.com/loryfabian 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. SendOutCards.com is changing millions of lives. It is truly a phenomenon!  2 million cards of gratitude were sent in 90 days last summer.  Over and over again, we hear most about bad news.  Why does the main stream media neglect sharing the breaking news of people spreading love, hope and gratitude at a faster speed than ever before in history?

People around the world are becoming happier & making the people around them much happier as well. Sending and sharing appreciation and gratitude has a ripple effect that will make the world a better place. (Remember the story about the Boss who rips his Manager who then yells and shouts at his employee?  (Where the term, Stuff Rolls Down Hill comes from.)

When the employee gets home, he kicks his dog and does who knows what to his wife?  If the Boss would thank his hard-working & dedicated Manager, the Manager would then take his employee to lunch and praise him.  When the employee feels recognized and appreciated, he or she gives 110% more to the company, production goes up. The employee takes his wife home flowers and gives his dog a bone. The wife is happy, the children are happy and even the dog is happy!

Sound silly??  Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen if you try showing gratitude to your family and employees? Get rid of your old-school thinking that just because you pay your employees, you don’t have to thank them.  News Flash! Employees & Customers are people too!

Saying thank you isn’t really that hard!! Do you agree that it is so much easier than having to say “I’m Sorry?” Cardinal Rule: It is important that your sentiments are genuine and sincere or they may cause more harm than good.

John Lennon was on the right track when he wrote the song, Imagine, over 20 years ago. Spreading love and peace through cards and words is a great place to start. Agree?

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man (and women)

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

For those who need help coming up with a few ideas on how to show their gratitude, listed below are a few ideas that work for me:

1. Create a Gratitude Journal. John Tesh reported last week that people who keep a Food Journal lost over 50% more weight than those who didn’t.  Oprah keeps a gratitude journal. I believe many of her blessings came from her gratitude and acts of giving.

2. Send a thank-you note. Go to www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian and sign up for the 30 day Gratitude Challenge. Guaranteed to be a life changer!

3. Give a free hug. Donna Naumann, Nurse Practitioner, at Cave Springs Toastmasters recommends giving 9 hugs a day to see and feel immediate results.

4. Give thanks for today! – Thank God that you woke up this morning. Be thankful you are alive.  Today is a gift, be sure to live in the present. Be purposeful on your gratitude…and you will begin to recognize more and more blessings that you have.

5. Random Act of Kindness – A simple gesture of opening a door, paying for the meal or coffee of the person behind you in a drive-through, allow someone in front of you in line at the bank or grocery store in front of you.  Stop, smile & take a few minutes to visit with a senior citizen or veteran.  Most of us will be a senior citizen some day.  Some of us, sooner than later. Be sure to treat them how you wanted to be treated when you reach those golden years. What a great opportunity to show your children how they should treat you! LOL

6. Give a little gift. – Gifts are my love language.  The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. If you know someone whose love language is a Gift, write a surprise love note, deliver a single fresh flower, or share a box of chocolates or wine. Trader Joe has an awesome Hungarian Merlot Wine under $10. Most people’s favorite gift is the gift of Your Time.

7. Send a SOC Card that lists all of the wonderful and favorite things you like about that person. – I promise this card will be a forever card.  (Kids need to hear the good things they do and what you love about them, especially teenagers who tend to be criticized more frequently for what they are doing wrong and not being recognized for what they are doing right.) With SendOutCards.com/loryfabian you can personalize each card for each loved one and include a quote or Bible verse.

8. Acknowledge publicly. – Social Media is a free and powerful tool to give praise and gratitude.  It can be amplified by other friends and make a person glow inside all day or all month.

9. Surprise them with kindness. – Do you really need help with this one?  Probably not.

Ponder this!  We judge ourselves by our intentions, and we judge others by our actions. Why not surprise yourself & take action some today?

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’ William Ward

 

 

How to Grow a Smart SMB Team by Lisa Barone

Small business owners have a lot on their plates – it’s become cliché because it’s true! Between marketing, running, and growing their business, there are always more tasks than hours in the day. However, among the most important and difficult of tasks is trying to build your team. It can be hard to find people who you can trust to come in and help you get the job done. It’s even harder to find people who share your values and your commitment to your customers. But it’s doable. More than that, if you want to grow a successful business, it’s a must. You can’t work in and on your business at the same time.

Whether you’re in the process right now of trying to build your team or you simply aspire to one day being bigger than yourself, below are some tips to help you grow a smarter SMB team.

1. Assess Your Skills

Knowing the skills you’ll need to hire for means first understanding the skills that you (and possibly your existing team) already bring to the table. For example, maybe you’re great at customer service but you’re terrible at marketing. Or maybe you’re awesome at using social media tools to connect with people, but you can’t keep your books straight for the life of your business. Start creating lists of skills – skills you have, skills you can acquire, and skills you’d need to hire for. Once you know what skill sets you’re looking for, prioritize them to help you identify what is most important to your business.

2. Seek Out Referrals

Once you know what roles you’re looking to hire for, put it out to the universe. Talk to the people in your community and your local network about the types of people you’re looking for. Post the required skills on LinkedIn or Twitter and see if anyone in your network can help. Talk about in the online groups that you’re part of. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect person as soon as you let people know you’re looking for them. The world is smaller than you think.

3. Go Online Talent Shopping

If your local referrer network wasn’t able to come up with a match, it’s time to go online talent shopping yourself. One of my favorite tools for this is LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.

With LinkedIn’s Advanced Search you can hunt for potential employees by experience, industry, salary, job title, current company, previous company, etc. Better yet, you can then narrow it down to employees living within 50 miles of your storefront, helping you focus on the people who could actually come and work for you. Once you have a list of people you’d like to get an introduction to, see who in your network is already connected to these people or what groups/ associations they’re a part of. This is a really great way to get your foot in the door with an applicant who could bring a lot of value to your business.

4. Find Shared Values

But finding a great new team member for your SMB isn’t just about the skills they may have on paper. It’s about finding someone who thinks like you do and who values the same things that you’re trying to instill in your business. Getting that “culture fit” right is invaluable in helping to avoid potential pitfalls later on. If a person doesn’t match what the rest of the company believes, then they’re not a good fit for your business. No matter how impressive their resume may be. Use your gut and look for people who show a history of action, being a team player, and who appears receptive to challenges.

5. Trust them

Once you find that person who compliments your team’s skill set, get out of their way and trust them. Sure, put procedures and policies in place to help make them accountable, but avoid your instinct to hover over them to make sure they’re doing things “your way”. Delegating does not mean hiring Mini-Yous. It means creating a more diverse team. Get comfortable with that.

Even the most-skilled CEOs will eventually need to invest in growing his or her team. You can’t do everything. By carefully and deliberately putting together a team of complimentary skill sets, you help set yourself (and your business) up for success.

Hugs and Peace to Lisa Barone @ Smallbiztrends.com

Learning to (almost) Like Criticism by Fellow Toastmaster, Brian Toma

Practically everybody will admit to being interested in improving themselves or their business or personal relationships. There are even some, like Toastmasters members, who have actually taken steps to do so. But unfortunately, many people miss out on valuable opportunities for improvement and growth because of their inability to take advice and criticism from others. Do you make use of suggestions offered by your peers? Do you seek out the advice and feedback of others to your advantage? It makes sense, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I am the owner of a small business. Several years ago the managers of my company met to formally establish non-financial, people-oriented goals. Examples of those goals included providing a safe work environment, offering adequate training and improving teamwork between departments. We then sent a description of the goals and a survey to all employees so they could rate our level of achievement of those goals. Employees could respond anonymously. This was to be done annually.

I almost didn’t make it past the first survey. Most employees responded, but not in that supportive, kind Toastmasters way. They just told me exactly how they felt by using the survey rating system and adding their own comments. Although I got what I asked for, I must admit I was very upset because the ratings were, in some cases, insultingly low and several comments were nasty, blaming me directly for certain problems.

It didn’t seem like the employees were trying to help me. Indeed it seemed they were trying to hurt me, because that’s how I felt. I experienced the defensive, prideful reaction many people feel when being criticized. Criticism is universally disliked. Franklin P. Jones, an author most known for humorous quotations, wrote “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.” It is just plain hard to take advice or criticism. Even positive, well-worded evaluations give at least a hint that we are inadequate in some way. Most of us know that we have faults or could improve, but we just don’t want to hear about it.

My immediate reaction to the survey results was defensive, but after time and thoughtful consideration I realized that there was a consensus in the results. That is, many employees expressed similar comments and ratings. I began to recognize the value of their perspectives. So, with pain and difficulty, I decided to “own” the problems and the criticisms. I sent a memo to all employees thanking them for their participation, summarizing the survey results and comments (without displaying any of the nasty ones) and showing my recognition that I, as president of the company, was a major part of the problem. Then we took action in response to the feedback and, over time, changes and improvements came about. The surveys continue today after five years and the company has greatly benefited.

“Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others.
But the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.”

I put in place a method for the company by which I could measure certain non-financial goals, identify problems and then make improvements accordingly. I also began to rely on a process for using advice and criticism to my advantage:
“Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others.
But the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.”

Recognize that you can get unique and valuable perspectives from others. Be aware of opportunities to get feedback.

Find people who are capable of providing you with perspectives of interest and value to you.

Request feedback in a way that will increase the chances that your evaluators will be open and honest. This can be a challenge. Most people understand human pride and many will simply be polite without offering any critical feedback. Sometimes anonymity is required. With anonymity, however, some insensitive people may criticize with absolutely no regard for your feelings: Be prepared for that, keeping in mind that some people are not well-trained in the manner of offering advice, but still may have some valuable ideas.

Read or listen to the feedback that is offered.

Experience your feelings. Expect the possibility of defensive reaction. You will know that you are having a prideful reaction if you find yourself judging your critics. It’s human nature. Go with it. But try to maintain control of your outward expressions for the sake of others.

Be gracious, regardless of your feelings. Thank the evaluators for their comments so that they feel welcome to offer you more open and honest feedback in the future.

Let time go by, allowing your negative feelings to diminish.

Honestly evaluate the feedback. This is the most difficult step. Your pride may block your ability to do this effectively, but try hard to find the value in the comments you received. If you just can’t find any value in the comments, then try to evaluate your feelings. If you feel at least a little bothered by the comment, then there is a good chance that your pride is obstructing your ability to make use of some valuable feedback. If you can follow this process by going to the next step instead of reacting with your feelings, then you may be able to benefit from the advice.

Seek consensus. If you identify similar comments from multiple critics then the signal is getting louder and the value of the feedback is increasing. But avoid the mistake of seeking consensus about your feelings, that is, seeking sympathy. You can make yourself feel better by doing that, but you will miss a growth opportunity.

Own it. Acknowledge it. Take responsibility. Take control. If you acknowledge the criticism as useful and valid, but then follow up with excuses and blaming, then you have not taken ownership, responsibility or control. Without ownership you won’t be ready for the next step.

Take action. Make directed improvements in accordance with the feedback that you have received. You may be forced to take small steps at first, but continue with them until they add up to greater advances.

Repeat the process.

I have used this process in an informal way in business . It can be used for continual evaluation, growth and improvement.

Much of a person’s life involves interactions and relationships with other people. Public speaking, for example, involves a relationship between a speaker and an audience.

To evaluate your own performance as part of a relationship, it makes sense to seek out the perspectives of others who are involved in or knowledgeable about the relationship. Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others, but the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.

To take advantage of critical feedback you must work past your discomfort and defensive feelings. Apply the “no pain, no gain” principle, and you’ll soon enjoy all the benefits of an improved life.

Love & Peace to Brian Thoma. Brian is CTM, CL, is president of His Toastmaster’s Voice 6280-38 in Moorestown, New
Jersey, and owner of Thoma, Inc., a company representing manufacturers of laboratory furniture and school casework.

Big Idea 2013: Be the Head Marketer of You by Linda Coles

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”   Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Entering 2013 with a tight economy, restructuring, and new ways of doing business, the competition for a position or sale has become intense. Who shines out above everyone else in those situations? Those people who are spending time developing their own personal brand.

We all recognize great brands by their logos such as the Nike flash or the Starbucks face, but how do we recognize you? How do we know that you even exist? And when we do, what are you known for? You need to become the head marketer of You.com, and 2013 is a good time to make a start if you haven’t already.

10 simple ways to work on your own personal brand

Back in 1997, Tom Peters wrote a great piece about working on your own personal brand, which was way before any of the online networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook had even started. Now that we have these tools available, promoting your personal brand has become a whole lot easier.

  1. Have the best-looking LinkedIn profile that you possibly can and use it. People are checking you out online.
  2. If you are happy for others to see into your Facebook life, switch on the subscribe button.
  3. Tweet and re-tweet what’s relevant and interesting, keeping away from gossip.
  4. Apply some etiquette when replying to emails and online posts. Always start with a salutation or greeting and finish with a valediction or sign off.
  5. Look closer to home with your personal presentation such as ensuring your shoes are always shiny. Dress “just a little bit better” than those around you.
  6. Develop your own online soapbox by way of a blog or personal website where you share relevant content, your thoughts, perspective and encourage discussions.
  7. Buy the domain http://www.yourname.com
  8. Use your media contacts to get published in the press and on air.
  9. Write and publish a great book.
  10. Speak at industry events.

Make a start now because it takes focus and time to build a great brand. Seth Godin published a very famous book called “Purple Cow, transform your business by being remarkable”. How about applying some of those principles to the business called you?

Linda Coles is the author of “Learn marketing with social media in 7 days” (Wiley) and is a speaker and trainer on building relationships. She lives in New Zealand on a fig orchard. You can get a free sample of a chapter of her book by registering for her newsletter.

Shout out to and Peace & Love to Linda Coles

5 Reasons To Stop Cold Calling And Start Networking by FixBuildnDrive

Can you imagine what happens to people when you call them cold? Well, no surprise, they stiffen up. They get uncomfortable. And they wish they hadn’t answered the phone. So what options do you have. Uh . . . how about networking?

All across the world right now, people are dialing for dollars. Insurance salesmen, consultants, recruiters, packaging suppliers, SEO providers and hundreds of other types of folks looking for a new client.

Why? Because their boss told them to do it. “100 calls a day, please.” The numbers game.

But cold calls are bad for business. They are a bad use of time and aren’t a smart way to begin a new relationship. Oh, and nobody likes making these calls either.

And for those of you who want to disagree right away (maybe you’ve had some success blowing cold air on people), I don’t care. I’m sure there are exceptions to the “cold calls don’t work” argument I’m making. But I don’t care.

Because the world has changed so much. And the tools to meet people more effectively are plentiful. Here’s are 5 ways to connect with new people without them freezing up right away:

1. Start blogging

While establishing a blog takes significantly longer than making phone calls, it is a superior strategy for introducing you, your company and its products to others. You can learn about mistakes bloggers make and some tips for getting started with blogging. But once you get up and running, a blog makes your website more interesting to Google, more dynamic to get return visitors and (very important) helps you build relevant awareness and subject matter expertise. In other words, people get to know and trust you in advance of your first contact.

2. Use LinkedIn

This one seems awfully simple. You need to meet Mike (purchasing manager at target company x). Bill (your old coworker) used to work with Mike at a prior company. You go on to LinkedIn and learn this news. That the person you need to know already knows someone you know. Now what? Well, you ask Bill to introduce you to Mike. Sounds simple. But so few people do it. So many people are lazy on LinkedIn and don’t personally create and nurture LinkedIn connections. They just collect them like postage stamps. Don’t do that. You are smarter than this.

3. Join groups and attend events

There are industry groups aplenty, local community networking groups, and meetup.com groups all over. So there’s no excuse. You can develop your personal brand right now. In front of real people. They can see that you are a good person, that you are patient and have the needs of others on your mind as well. And if you are smart, you’ll find a group or two and sponsor them. Or get involved in their board. That’s good networking.

4. Use Twitter or Create a Facebook Page

Not everyone is comfortable on social media. And if you need help, ask me. Or hook up with a smart social media agency to help you establish a strategy and keep up a great, engaging relationship with new fans and followers. If you want to do it on your own, make sure to have a Facebook content calendar and learn the golden rules for new Twitter users. Oh, and if you are wondering whether it’s weird that sales people use Twitter, you’re wrong. Use these tools to create, establish and maintain a friendly and helpful relationship with current and potential customers.

5. Offer to speak or lead workshops

When you stand up in front of a group of people you get instant credibility. Until you screw up. But you probably won’t. Especially if you model your style after people like Thom Singer. He’s someone who can teach you how to speak with a purpose. You can learn how to engage an audience as a speaker. While its not a bed of roses (audience can be cold too), it is a great way to also build social credibility (credibility that lets people feel more comfortable with you). And the business will come in so much more quickly.

So try these ideas instead of cold calling.

Unlike a slow moving glacier, these “warming up” techniques will thaw the corporate ice cubes and create a fast moving stream of business to you and your company.

Shout out to Tim Tyrell-Smith

How to Grow A Smart SMB Team by Lisa Barone

Small business owners have a lot on their plates – it’s become cliché because it’s true! Between marketing, running, and growing their business, there are always more tasks than hours in the day. However, among the most important and difficult of tasks is trying to build your team. It can be hard to find people who you can trust to come in and help you get the job done. It’s even harder to find people who share your values and your commitment to your customers. But it’s doable. More than that, if you want to grow a successful business, it’s a must. You can’t work in and on your business at the same time.
Whether you’re in the process right now of trying to build your team or you simply aspire to one day being bigger than yourself, below are some tips to help you grow a smarter SMB team.

1. Assess Your Skills
Knowing the skills you’ll need to hire for means first understanding the skills that you (and possibly your existing team) already bring to the table. For example, maybe you’re great at customer service but you’re terrible at marketing. Or maybe you’re awesome at using social media tools to connect with people, but you can’t keep your books straight for the life of your business. Start creating lists of skills – skills you have, skills you can acquire, and skills you’d need to hire for. Once you know what skillsets you’re looking for, prioritize them to help you identify what is most important to your business.
2. Seek Out Referrals
Once you know what roles you’re looking to hire for, put it out to the universe. Talk to the people in your community and your local network about the types of people you’re looking for. Post the required skills on LinkedIn or Twitter and see if anyone in your network can help. Talk about in in the online groups that you’re part of. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect person as soon as you let people know you’re looking for them. The world is smaller than you think.
3. Go Online Talent Shopping
If your local referrer network wasn’t able to come up with a match, it’s time to go online talent shopping yourself. One of my favorite tools for this is LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.

With LinkedIn’s Advanced Search you can hunt for potential employees by experience, industry, salary, job title, current company, previous company, etc. Better yet, you can then narrow it down to employees living within 50 miles of your storefront, helping you focus on the people who could actually come and work for you. Once you have a list of people you’d like to get an introduction to, see who in your network is already connected to these people or what groups/ associations they’re a part of. This is a really great way to get your foot in the door with an applicant who could bring a lot of value to your business.
4. Find Shared Values
But finding a great new team member for your SMB isn’t just about the skills they may have on paper. It’s about finding someone who thinks like you do and who values the same things that you’re trying to instill in your business. Getting that “culture fit” right is invaluable in helping to avoid potential pitfalls later on. If a person doesn’t match what the rest of the company believes, then they’re not a good fit for your business. No matter how impressive their resume may be. Use your gut and look for people who show a history of action, being a team player, and who appears receptive to challenges.
5. Trust them
Once you find that person who compliments your team’s skillset, get out of their way and trust them. Sure, put procedures and policies in place to help make them accountable, but avoid your instinct to hover over them to make sure they’re doing things “your way”. Delegating does not mean hiring Mini-Yous. It means creating a more diverse team. Get comfortable with that.
Even the most-skilled CEOs will eventually need to invest in growing his or her team. You can’t do everything. By carefully and deliberately putting together a team of complimentary skillsets, you help set yourself (and your business) up for success.
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