Posts Tagged ‘conference’

The Power & Profit of Nice

March 16, 2016

Nice guys finish last. (Translation: they don’t get the hot girl)
She has a nice personality (Translation: bow wow)
It’s a nice movie (Translation: snooze fest)
Nice has become a four letter word.
It’s a well known fact that people join companies but leave bosses. Why? According to a Harvard study on the top Fortune 500 companies in the US, the main reason employees leave an organization is because they feel unappreciated. They feel like their opinions don’t count and they’re not valued.
Ouch! Not nice.  
                                       
 
With employee engagement at only 32%, leaders need to wake up and smell the power of nice. What is the cost of being approachable, encouraging and supportive of a worker’s career goals vs having to replace him/her? Errrrrrr………
A few months ago I was the keynote speaker at a Customer Service conference for a company in Dallas. There were over 500+ employees in the organization yet the staff turnover rate was nearly 0% for over 20 years. How?
Everyone I asked said the same thing – they felt valued. They felt like part of a big family with a common purpose because from the top leadership down they were treated with courtesy, respect and appreciation.
Simple stuff, huge results. 
And for any of you naysayers that think ‘nice’ is politically correct term for ‘pushover’, read about these two women from the Bronx that built a billion dollar advertising company around being nice. Clients chose them over others because ‘they liked them’ www.thepowerofnice.com   
Cha ching!
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You had me at hello. Now what?

September 16, 2015

Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire movie posterTom Cruise would totally have me at hello too. The only difference is I’d be a goo-goo-eyed bumbling mess unlike Renee Zellweger in the movie Jerry Maguire who ends up marrying him.

Oh well……. I’m too tall for him anyway.

So you’ve just landed a new customer/job. You’ve said your first hello and hopefully made a good impression. What’s next? How do you ensure your success? The answer is in a back-to-basics point I make in all my motivational speeches: you build great relationships. You connect with people on a personal level. You treat co-workers, customers and peers like you yourself want to be treated – with courtesy, kindness and respect.

Several months ago I was the keynote speaker at a customer service conference for a sizable electric company in Dallas where the staff turnover rate was almost zero. Everyone was so happy to work for this organization I wondered what was in the water! (just sayin’) I asked several employees why they still loved working there after 28 years and they all said the same thing: they were treated like family by the top management and all the way  down. They felt valued and appreciated. 

Sometimes we all need a reminder that it’s the simple human needs that have a HUGE impact on the success of an organization, an individual or a project.

Alrighty then. Now………………..show me the money!

How the ‘L’ Word can Supercharge your Success

September 10, 2015

As a professional motivational speaker at corporate and association meetings, I hear a lot about challenges between the generations in the workforce today. From the Millennials who think they rule technology to the Boomers who think they’ve been there done that, each generation seems to have a “know-it-all” attitude, resulting in poor communications, tense work environment, lack of cohesive teamwork and decreased productivity.

Super stressful. SO not fun.

Recently I spoke to a group of franchisees for a national chain of dance studios and their conference theme was “Back to Basics”. It was about using a more human aspect in marketing, managing and working together to attract more customers, boost teamwork and thrive as a small business owner. We talked about building great relationships as a way to personalize business and maximize employee potential. Gershwin photo at piano Since my background consists of many years in the entertainment industry, I made an example of what Lady Gaga, Fred Astaire and George Gershwin have in common as successful entertainers………

Likability.

Even with her super star status Lady Gaga still personally connects with fans, Fred Astaire always had a smile on his face, George GershLady Gaga in white costume CROPPED (173x260)win was humble about his talents as a pianist/composer.

When people like you they’re willing to help, do business with you, hire you, follow  you, be influenced by you, recommend you, buy your stuff, listen to your opinion, learn from you, bring you purple M & M’s.

In today’s marketplace we all have to learn new ways of working to stay ahead of the competition whether you’re 24 or 64 but, it takes humility to be teachable and it’s easier to play the “know-it-all” game. The problem is – no one likes a Know-It-All.

Get with the program and get back to basics.

Be the ‘L’ word.

The Power of Passion for Profit

June 4, 2015

If you ask J J Watt, Bill Gates and Taylor Swift what they have in common they will all tell you they started with the same thing: they had a passion for what they do.They will also tell you there is no such thing as an overnight success. These guys have been at their game since childhood and put in their 10,000 hours worth of practice while we were all watching re-runs of Will & Grace.

Do you love your work? Or are you one of the 74% of Americans unhappy with their job?

If you’re one of the latter with no options in sight, try this tip: find three reasons to fall in love with your organization.

As a motivational speaker I get to travel the country speaking to a variety of professionals in corporations and associations. Recently I was the closing keynote at a conference in Dallas for a group of accountants (yeah I know, right up there with engineers on the fun scale) These people were ready for a snooze fest after two days of stats and facts but I have a ‘no nap’ guarantee for my presentations that works every time: I play piano to emphasize points and involve the audience in the music. Result? Maximum engagement, very entertaining, high energy, fun for all.

We talked about how passion is the beginning of all success because when people love their work, they’ll do whatever it takes. I asked this group of number crunchers to give reasons they love their company and the three main answers were:

1) People. Most of them said they like their team members or bosses.

2) Fulfillment. Whether it was doing a good job for the team or knowing their work resulted in helping people, many said they liked the sense of satisfaction of a job well done.

3) Benefits. A steady paycheck sure helps reduce stress levels, health insurance is a great perk and bonuses never lose their sweet taste.

How about you? List three things on a post-it note  you really like about your organization and stick it on your computer to see every day. Be grateful you have a job.

Passion comes in more than fifty shades of gray.

Finding the Funny in Days of Drama

October 15, 2014

Last week saw me on the road to Corinth, Texas to speak to CoServ audienceemployees of CoServ – an electric co-op 30 miles outside Dallas.                              The drive was stress-free and took five hours thanks to my GPS gal Samantha who gave clear concise directions for a change. Her robot voice was silent for the 233 mile hike on I-45 except when she chided me for stopping for lunch.   Have you ever apologized to your GPS?

Having arrived safely at my hotel, I called the client to arrange a sound check and set up my piano keyboard on site at the company where I was the closing speaker for their customer service conference.  the following morning. The sweet woman gave me directions saying “it was about a mile from the hotel”. 20 minutes later I called her lost and  Cartoon image - woman driver stressed outconfused. Apparently her estimate of a mile was a little off. She meant a few hundred yards and I had flown by it.

The sound check was a nightmare. Every outlet I plugged my keyboard into blew the circuits (Ironic? We’re in a freakin’ electric company!) Two hours later we’re all sweating buckets thinking the problem was my keyboard.
CoServ playing keyboard - small(175x240)The 30-something-year-old meeting planner was texting everyone she knew looking for a back up piano with no luck. Suddenly a light bulb went off in one of the staff’s heads: try plugging the keyboard into another room. It worked. WHEW!!!

Back at my hotel I was soooo drained I turned the lights out at 9 p.m. Alas however, sleep was not on the agenda. The a/c unit was circa 19th century and sounded like a freight train next to my bed. Although my presentation wasn’t until 9 a.m. it was being videoed, so I got up at 5 a.m. to take extra time for my makeup to be camera-ready. Flipping on the bathroom light the image in the mirror would have scared small children. The lighting was a very Cartoon_of_Tired_Woman_With_Rollers_in_Her_Hair_Looking_in_the_Mirror (120x140)unflattering fifty shades of grey. Oh swell. Now I look like an Ebola patient.

Breakfast in the dining room was a self serve deal with very strange food-like dishes. There was a smooth shiny bright yellow turnover that was apparently someone’s idea of an omlet. The sausage links were downright sugary. The ketchup packets wouldn’t open.The other diners were part of a religious convention so everyone  was giving a “Hallelujah!” to everyone else.  All I wanted was a miracle to make some edible loaves & fishes appear.

Stepping out into daylight I realized my makeup resembled a remote tribe of red Indians, the temperature had dropped 20 degrees overnight and I had no jacket. Grrrrrr!!!

CoServ audience doing chicken dance

Doing the YMCA thing

The good news? The CoServ group were the most fun folks of all time.  They responded enthusiastically to my motivational message of influencing people by being extraordinary on the job. They laughed, they learned.  They rocked!

POINT:  I’m still laughing. After all, if everything went perfectly all the time, where would we find the funny? 

FEWER FACTS, GREATER FEAR: Can You Put A Price On Hope?

March 26, 2014

The mystery disappearance Malaysia-airplane with question markof Malaysia Flight 370 deepened as days went by. Relatives of those on board were steeped in grief and growing frustration with no information on what happened. Global eyes focused on Western Australia where the latest piece of potential debris was spotted off the coast of Perth.

There was hope.

The Malaysian government has since revealed data confirming the plane sank with no survivors. The grief stricken relatives now begin the long painful journey of healing their loss.

Hopes are dashed. But as one relative put it: “At least we have an answer. We have closure”. Now the hope is for some kind of peace and comfort moving forward.
ExxonMobil IAAP center stageRecently I spoke to a group of professional administrators at a spring conference (you know, the people who REALLY run the organization). They worked for different companies ranging from healthcare to the oil industry. Their concerns were the same: they all needed to learn new software programs.Most of them expressed fear of competency under the pressure of working for two or more bosses. Those that had mastered the new system reassured the others “it gets easier the more you know”.

Ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is power. Hope is priceless.

My prayer is that the victims’ families regain hope for the future and happiness going forward. God bless each and every one of them.

Music to your Ears or Cheap Healthcare?

September 3, 2013
nullIt never ceases to amaze me how people  are transformed by music…..
 
As a professional piano entertainer, I perform a lot of one hour musical programs for seniors in retirement homes in Houston. When I walk in they are usually sitting waiting with blank expressions on their faces. Two minutes into the program you can sense the shift in energy levels.
 What happens?
 
 Healthcare studies have long since recognized the healing effects of music on the brain….something to do with those funky little chemical thingies releasing feel-good stuff that results in a case of the warm fuzzies all over.   

null
         Tambourines added extra excitement for this group! 

Donning my other hat as a motivational speaker, I’ve presented at many conferences and meetings for people in the healthcare industry and one time speaking to a group of nurses, I learned that music was used in the operating room to soothe both patient and doctors.  

Questions are being raised about music and Alzheimers among medical researchers: Does playing a musical instrument stave off dementia? What about just listening to music?   

Frank Iacono still plays the violin. He is the concertmaster for the Providence Civic Orchestra of Senior Citizens in Rhode Island and says: “Music keeps my mind active, and gives me a lot of pleasure.”  

Frank is 101 years old.  

As scientists race to figure out how to promote healthy aging of the brain, and prevent dementia, their preliminary advice for senior citizens has become a chorus of voices: “Stay active! Have hobbies! Be socially engaged!” 

Playing music, for some people, is a natural answer to all of those recommendations.

If someone you love is at risk for Alzheimer’s, consider gifting them with easy-to-learn classes for an instrument they would love to play. You just may give them five more years of quality living.
 
Now THAT’S music to everyone’s ears.

News Flash: Your Emails Are Offending Everybody

April 22, 2013

We motivational speakers are continually writing, researching and building our brand. This blog from Fast Company is useful advice for everyone…

We miscommunicate plenty when we’re talking face to face. And on the faceless Internet, it only gets worse. Here are 3 guidelines to help you out.                                                                                                angry man  

If you’ve ever found yourself pacing around your room trying to decide whether to end a text message or email with an exclamation point or a period (or maybe no punctuation–edgy!), then you are intimately familiar with the scarcity of signaling in virtual communications.

We feel even more clueless about communication online than in person because of the paucity of contextual information available. Take work, for example: If you are having an all-hands meeting, hiearchy will be represented by the way people order themselves (CEO in the center, interns on the roof). These signals are not available during a conference call–which is probably why you hardly ever hear the folks lurking via phone pop in with a question.

So we need to supply some kind of signal. Here’s how:

1. Speak the same language: Even if you are all culturally identical (most firms replicate themselves, after all) , there will still be a modicum of diversity in your language patterns.  

HBR writer Keith Ferrazzi says that being down with your Myers-Briggs types can help us learn each other’s languages. Another option is to try to meet people in person and just listen to them, and use that context later in written missives.

2. Give ’em more signs: “Nothing is ever obvious,” Heidi Grant Halvorson wrote for Fast Company, “unless you made it obvious.” To that end, spell things out: Instead of leaning on generalities like “circle back to me,” actually provide precise instructions of the next step.

 3. Respond quickly: Even if only to say that you’ll reply later, shoot a note over now. Ferrazzi says that since we have little clues for context–aside from that time stamp–waiting a long time to reply can make people feel like you don’t value your relationship with them, which sucks. So be prompt.