Archive for 'meeting'

Name tags

from Seth Godin’s Blog:


I love name tags.

I think doing name tags properly transforms a meeting. Here’s why:
a. people don’t really know everyone, even if they think they do.
b. if you don’t know someone’s name, you are hesitant to talk to them.
c. if you don’t talk to them, you never get to know them and you both lose.
d. if you are wearing a name tag, it’s an invitation to start a conversation.

One summer, I led 90 people, some strangers to each other, through a three-day training. Every single person had to wear a hat with his or her name on it until every person in the group knew every other person’s name and could prove it. It took two days. Worth it.

Doing a name tag right isn’t easy. Here are my rules:
a. BIG first name
b. positioned in a place where you can see it
c. ideally two-sided, on a short lanyard (why on earth would you make a one-sided lanyard tag?)
d. a piece of information that is an ice breaker. Here’s my latest example. Every single sticker had a different picture. No real logic behind it. But what if there was? What if attendees picked their favorite movie star, metaphor, state capital, political gaffe, Saturday Night Live skit… anything worth talking about?

Grand_brut Mormon evangelists all wear name tags. Great idea. Doctors used to. Too bad they don’t. Now it’s almost like a Prisoner thing, where the only purpose of the tag is to enable you to tattle on someone who doesn’t give you good service.

10 Reasons Proposals Fail

From The Instigator Blog:


Your business is great. You’ve invented something better than sliced bread. You offer such an amazing service at such a great price that people should be knocking your door down.

And they might be. But they’re all asking for a proposal.

Proposals are a fact of life. We all do them, and we’re all trying to blow our prospects away.

But most proposals are bad. Here are 10 reasons why proposals fail:

  1. They’re too long. Proposals aren’t meant for “shock and awe” – don’t try and overwhelm the prospect into submission. Edit and cut. Cut and edit. There’s no perfect length for a proposal, but how many of your prospects really read the whole thing? They scan and skim till they get to the price and timeline. Keep it short.
  2. They don’t reference the prospect’s pain. Why did the prospect ask you for a proposal? You better have a crystal clear answer to that question. Too many proposals don’t reiterate the pain properly. Skipping that makes the prospect feel like you don’t get it.
  3. They’re too technical. I know you’re the expert in your field, that’s why I asked for a proposal. You don’t need to inundate your proposal with buzzwords and industry-hooey. A prospect only knows a smidge of what you know about your business, and they don’t really want to know more. Your proposal fails when it sells industry mastery using language I won’t understand.
  4. They’re not selling benefits. Proposals that miss out on #2 and focus too much on #3 invariably aren’t selling benefits. If you’re not selling benefits you’re sunk. And for the love of everything that is holy, spell these out as clearly as possible.
  5. They’re not well structured. Proposals are stories. And every story has a beginning, middle and end. Think of your proposal as a story and write it accordingly.
  6. They’ve got spelling and grammatical problems. A proposal with spelling errors is unacceptable, it’s as simple as that. Grammatical problems may be harder to catch. Three tips: Read it out loud. Write short sentences. Have someone else read it.
  7. They’re poorly formatted and packaged. Style counts! On top of that, your proposal isn’t the only game in town. You want to stand out right? Take some time to format things nicely. Add some pictures. Use bigger headers, smaller paragraphs, and color where appropriate. Think jazzy. If you’ve got substance, sell it with nice packaging.
  8. They’re missing testimonials and client references. I’ve rarely seen a proposal with testimonials or client references. It makes no sense. Pepper in a few testimonials to spice it up and add a feeling of success. Add in some client references with contact information to give your prospect a clear message, “you know what you’re doing and you can prove it.”
  9. They’re missing a thank you. Proposals are personal. You’re not writing installation instructions for IKEA furniture are you? Unless you’re sending a proposal unsolicited (which makes little sense) someone’s given you that opportunity. Thank them for it.
  10. There’s no call to action. You submit the proposal. Now what? Um…um…um…oops. Put in a crystal clear call to action. It could be a follow-up meeting, contract signature, or something else — it almost doesn’t matter. What’s important is that there is a next step and you’ve explicitly told the prospect what it is.

Your business rocks. You work hard. You deserve more business.

Don’t let proposals get in the way. Do them right and you’ll win a lot more business.

Sustainable business success originates from an executable strategic plan. However, creating a strategic plan does have a price tag. The underlying business strategy is to realize a positive return on investment (ROI) by quickly achieving specific and aligned organizational goals.

Business owners to executives have a plethora of resources from which to select the type of strategic plan along with the numerous business coaches, business consultants or national training organizations who can help them to create strategic plans. Yet, most of the outside resources fail to deliver a quick positive return on investment.

The creation of a strategic plan has 3 costs: money, time and results. When analyzing the cost of a strategic plan, each of these costs should be reviewed and compared.

  • Money
  • A recent review of a national seminar offering strategic planning 3 day to 2-day workshops indicated a cost ranging between $2,000 and $1,500. These dollar costs do not include travel, lodging along with salaries.

    When compared to business coaches or consultants offering strategic planning on site or off site with fees ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 and up, the national seminars appear to be the best deal, buy are they?

    Research suggests that a one time exposure to a learning event. If there are not additional opportunities for performance that being the application of learning, then the money spent whether $1,500 to $12,000 is moot. This is why most traditional training offered through a 2 or 3 day event fails to deliver a positive return on investment.

  • Time
  • How much time does it take to create an executable strategic plan? From my experience has a business coach, this ranges from 20 to 30 hours to create the plan and then another 10 to 20 hours to monitor the plan so that the business goals are achieved. Two day to three day traditional training seminars or retreats fall short of the basic time necessary to develop a solid strategic plan. Also, these off site locations do not allow the participants time to do complete the necessary research or answer specific questions necessary to operationalize the strategic plan.

  • Results
  • What results are you getting from the traditional approach to strategic planning? First, the origins of the word strategy mean as a general to deceive the enemy. In today’s world, that means to out think and simultaneously out perform the competition.

    From the initial meeting, a good strategic planning process will begin to deliver immediate results. Additionally every strategic plan should contain a strategic action plan that is everyone works from on a daily basis. In this way the results are almost continuous.

    When a strategic plan is created off site in a few days, the likelihood of immediate results has been greatly diminished because of this learning structure. By crunching some numbers, we can immediately see the advantage for a longer planning cycle

    A 3 days event probably means 6 hours per day planning or a total of 18 hours at an investment of $2,000. Adding in 3 nights of lodging, meals and miscellaneous experiences results in at least another $600. The hourly rate for this seminar per participant is at least $145.00. And what results or deliverables do you have from such an investment?

    Comparing a 10-week (3 hours per week) on site with 6 monthly follow-ups suggests at least 39 hours. Since there are no travel costs, the hourly rate based upon a $5,000 fee is $128.45. And the results are a tangible, active, dynamic and interactive strategic plan that is being executed every week ensuring measurable outcomes.

Given that most national seminars require payment up front and do not offer a money back guarantee, this becomes a win win for them and a potential lose lose for your firm. If you charge the costs, then your hourly rate has just increased not to mention the charges for any other costs. However, if you can locate a strategic business coach who provides a money back guarantee in some format and will work with you by offering non-traditional forms of payment, then what makes more sense?

If you are deciding to seek some help in the creation of your strategic plan, congratulations. Just make sure that you have analyzed ALL the costs and have a better idea of your potential ROI.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S. is a business coach who specializes in strategic planning with offices in Indianapolis and near Chicago. She writes, speaks and coaches people in businesses to quickly double results through the creation of an executable strategic plan.

One quick question,if you could secure one new client or breakthrough that one roadbloack holding you back from success, what would that mean to you? Then, take a risk and give me, Leanne, a call at 219.759.5601 to experience incredible results.

Visit and explore everything from free articles to connecting with Leanne.

PRSA Sacramento Learns Me Some Media Relations

Copied from Into PR


By Owen Lystrup on Career Advancement

– from Veer

PRSA Sacramento hosted a very good media relations panel of four journalists from the Sac area. They were dropping knowledge that left me frantically typing notes into my Blackberry. As you could expect, many of the answers were very much the same as any other media relations panel. It seems interesting that all the do’s and dont’s would be the same from any area or country, meaning public relations professionals are making the same stupid mistakes all over the world.
Here are some of the best pointers:

Faxes – I’m not “in the field” yet, but I had no idea anyone still used such an archaic piece of mechanical equipment such as a fax machine. The panel was a bit torn on this one. A television journalist said she uses them quite often, and gave a few bits of advice for making them useful, another journalist said he will not even look at them.

“Your press releases are getting mixed in with offers for discount cruises. So don’t send them via fax.”

Shifting Spotlight – At any time, your secured PR piece of news can be replaced by a car crash, a fire, an unethical politician, you get the picture. There’s no such thing as secured news coverage. Sometimes things happen and your timeliness is gone. If this happens, one panel journalist said, don’t call five times to see if the news crew is showing up. Call once. If it doesn’t look good, make other arrangements or cut your losses.

Do Your Homework – Know who you’re pitching. Should I even go farther into this one? We all should know this by now. It’s sad to hear journalists repeating it. I’m sure the pace of the PR world gets the better of the best of us sometimes, but this one’s always important.

Stop in for a visit – This is something I’ve never even considered, but the a TV journalist suggested it as a way of relationship building. It would be especially useful for those who haven’t had journalism experience and need to get a good idea of how a newsroom works. The journalist also brought up the idea of sitting in on an editorial meeting or two to get. This would help you get a sense of how the publication or station chooses its stories.

Don’t attach releases

Memorize the important players in the media

Be compelling – Compelling stories are the most important. But it’s not always synonymous with important. You may have the most important news of the year, but if it’s not compelling or interesting, it might get passed on for a dog show. Always be thinking about what makes your story different. Be conscious of how much each publication gets (I’ll give you a hint: it’s a lot), and try to get to understand how each publication decides what’s compelling and important. This goes back to taking a tour and creating a relationship.

News conferences are not compelling–interviews are better

Consider other outlets – If a TV station passes on your story, try pitching it as a Web story as well. Many PR pros forget about the different ways news publications distribute news within the same publication.

Back up your information – Include Web links in your release, not to just your company, but other companies/organizations who support and corroborate your information. This will help the journalist conduct his own research.

Remind once – So you’ve got a big event coming up. Send one reminder call; make sure it gets through, and then leave it alone. Journalists hate being reminded five times of something they already know about.

Be in the know – Make sure you read the news and know what’s happening. If a big story breaks, it may not be the best time to pitch your story. Or perhaps it’s the best time to do so, but without knowing the news, you’ll miss the opportunity.

Send to multiple journalists – Giving your story to more than one journalist can work in your favor, especially if you give it to an editor. It will increase your odds. Just make sure you know the right journalists to send it to. [This one I am not sure about, because I have heard the opposite: that you should never send to more than one person at the same publication.]

What do you all think? Have any quarrel with any of this?

How to Deal with a Bad Boss

Copied from Alexander Kjerulf’s Chief Happiness Officer Blog:

Bad boss

The uncontested, number-one reason why people are unhappy at work is bad management. Nothing has more power to turn a good work situation bad than a bad boss. Sadly there are quite a lot of them around. A recent British study accused 1 in 4 bosses of being bad, while a Norwegian study said 1 in 5.

According to workplace researchers Sharon Jordan-Evans and Beverly Kaye, when people quit, they don’t leave a company, they leave a bad boss. Surveys show that up to 75% of employees who leave their jobs do so at least in part because of their manager. In the exit interview dutifully performed by HR, employees may say that they got a higher salary or a shorter commute out of the switch, but in anonymous surveys the truth comes out: My bad boss drove me away.

The reason that having a bad manager is so bad for us is that managers have power over us. Managers can change our work situation, give us good or bad tasks, and, ultimately, fire us. This power imbalance is why a good relationship with your manager is so important.

The good news is that you are not powerless. You don’t need to quietly accept a bad boss – quite the contrary. If your boss is not treating you and your co-workers right, you have a responsibility to do something! And in many, many cases, bosses long for feedback from their employees – they want to know what they can do better.

Here are the steps you must take, to deal with a bad boss.

1: Assume no bad intentions.

While some of the things your boss does may make you unhappy at work, it is probably not why they do it. Until proven otherwise, assume that they mean well and are simply unaware of the effects of their actions.

2: Classify your boss

Which of these three categories does your bad boss fall into?

  1. Doesn’t know he’s bad.
  2. Knows he’s bad and wants to improve.
  3. Doesn’t want to know he’s bad or doesn’t care.

Most managers who make their employees unhappy are simply unaware of this fact—nobody has ever told them that what they do isn’t working. Some managers know that what they’re doing is wrong and are trying to improve—these people need our support and good advice in order to do better.

Paul’s new boss was constantly critical and never showed any appreciation for a job well done. In weekly status meetings, he would only comment on deviations from the budgets and demand explanations and actions plans.

Well, Paul doesn’t stand for that kind of thing. He kindly but firmly let his new boss know that in order to be motivated he also needed positive recognition for the things he did well. The result: Over the course of three months, the boss has come around and now freely and happily comments on the great results Paul is getting. At their last status meeting before Christmas, the boss even spent five minutes praising Paul’s department for the work they’ve done and the results they’ve achieved.

But this may not always work.

I used to be the Public Relations Coordinator and Editor for a local non-profit organization. A couple of months before I threw in the towel my grandmother became very ill. After a phone call from a family member I was told to come to her bedside, as death was imminent.

I told my boss that I needed to leave for a family emergency and explained the situation and how close I was to my grandmother. My boss replied, “Well, she’s not dead yet, so I don’t have to grant your leave.” And, I was told to complete my workday. Suffice to say I did not finish my workday. (source)

There’s also the third category of boss: Those who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that they’re bad leaders, or who revel in the fact that they make people unhappy at work. These managers are usually beyond helping and may never learn and improve. Get away from them as fast as you can.

3: Let your boss know what they could do better

Presuming your boss is in category 1 or 2, you must let them know what they can improve. This can be scary because of the power imbalance between managers and employees, but it needs to be done. Managers aren’t mind readers, and they need honest, constructive feedback.

4: Do it sooner rather than later.

If you have a bad relationship with your boss it’s vitally important that you do something about it as soon as possible. It can be tempting to wait, thinking that it might get better on its own, or that your boss might be promoted, transferred or leave. Don’t wait – sooner is better.

5: Choose the right time to talk.

In the middle of a meeting or as a casual hallway chat are not the best ways to approach the subject. Make sure you’re in a quiet undisturbed place and have time to talk about it fully.

6: Explain the effects on you and the effects on your work.

Be specific and tell your manager, “When you do X it makes me do Y, which results in Z.” If you can show how his actions reduce motivation, hurt business, or increase expenses, you’re more likely to convince him that this is a serious issue.

7: Suggest alternatives.

If you can, explain what they could do instead and why that would be better. Suggesting specific alternatives makes it easier to make positive changes.

8: Make a plan and follow up.

Agree to follow up at a later date, to evaluate the new situation.

9: Praise your manager when he gets it right.

When your boss gets it right, remember to praise them. Many managers never receive praise because people mistakenly believe that praise should only flow from managers to employees.

You may be nervous about approaching your manager and giving them advice, but good managers are truly grateful for constructive, useful feedback, and will appreciate any opportunity they get to learn how to do a better job.

10: If all else fails: Get out of Dodge

If you’ve tried to make it work and can’t, it’s time to get away. You can go for another job inside the company (with someone you know to be a great boss), or in another organization.

And you?

What about you? Have you ever dealt with a bad boss? How did you do it? Write a comment, I’d really like to know!

This post is an excerpt from my new book Happy Hour is 9 to 5, which is all about making yourself, your co-workers and your workplace happy.

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