Posts Tagged ‘Keynote’

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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Stand Up & Stick Out!

October 14, 2015

Whether you like him or not, everyone knows the name Donald TrumpDonald Trump, host of the television series "The Celebrity Apprentice," mugs for photographers at the NBC 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) He’s ‘that guy’ running for President that speaks his mind regardless of being politically correct. He’s unpredictable, bombastic, entertaining and arrogant.

AND……..he’s the candidate people talk about the most.

In the highly competitive entertainment industry, artists are vying for attention from the media, fans, recording labels, agents and producers. When they make it big, the next challenge is how to stay on top to avoid being forgotten. Lady Gaga appears in outrageous costumes, uses unique props to perform  and constantly finds innovative ways to make her entrance on stage.

In today’s marketplace with more companies competing for the same customer and more candidates looking to fill the same job, how do YOU stand out from the crowd?

Innovation. Do something different. Learn new ways of working, marketing, communicating. In this digital age we live in, calling people has become SO seventies. Reach out and touch someone – really. A personal phone call can make or break a deal because it’s simply being human.

As a keynote speaker I was talking to a company at their annual conference who said they have “Thank you Thursdays”. Employees hand write thank you notes to five people every week. Sometimes it’s to customers in appreciation of their business, sometimes it’s to coworkers for helping out with a project. Do you remember the last thank you note you received? 

Stand up and stick out. It will get you noticed by potential customers and bosses…….in a good way

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!

Funny Stuff Happens When You Mix Up The Generations

August 26, 2015
                                                                              Doing the YMCA thing
Legal waiver: There were no alcoholic beverages involved in the taking of this photo.
This was the scene at a recent conference for the Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (TACVB.org) where I was the closing keynote speaker. After three days of serious sessions about the travel and tourism industry these folks were ready for some serious fun.
centers around standing out from the crowd to succeed in today’s marketplace and I emphasize points by playing popular songs on the piano. (OK, to be clear…this is not me playing piano with a flaming shoe).
This audience spanned across four generations from Millennials to Baby Boomers and since the client had said there were major challenges working together,
we set out to prove differently.
A key point in the presentation is about innovation.
                                                                                   Great teamwork!
I divided the audience into teams with all four generations in each team and told them to perform the song “Yellow Rose of Texas” in the most creative way possible. The only rule was to listen to ideas from each generation.
OMG! Talk about funny! Talk about creativity at it’s best! Old song, new interpretation, impressive results.
For this group of destination marketers we discussed how to make their area shine by highlighting unique and exciting things to do and see. One idea was to feature the colorful Hispanic culture with its lively energetic music, so we ended the program with reps from each generation on stage banging tambourines in tempo to a popular Spanish song. Olay! Oh yay!
                                                  Audience members participating in the music of ‘Malaguena’
Who says the generations can’t work together?
This is where you hear crickets…

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.

Being A Little Crazy Could Be Your Big Success

August 27, 2014

Recently I received a call from American Express asking if I would be the keynote speaker at their annual meeting in Chicago. The man explained the purpose of the event was to unite major clients with Amex staff to collaborate and communicate.            American Express brand logo

United Airlines is one of their biggest clients and in the TV ads for United they use the theme from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. It’s quite cool. Watch video HERE.

The man from American Express asked if I could create a program to include some of the Rhapsody with a relevant motivational message for his group. (I play the piano during my speeches) Errrrrr sure, said I. Just give me a couple of hours and I’ll send you an outline. (Gulp! I hadn’t played that music in 30 years)

Lady Gaga leg on piano with fireMy presentation on extraordinary performance in the workplace refers to Lady Gaga and how the wild costumes and bizarre stage acts resulted in her fame and fortune. She stands out from the crowded entertainment industry by constant creativity and innovation. George Gershwin composed amazing music using a unique combination of a classical style infused with jazz chords and irregular tempos. Unheard of at the time. 

I called the man from American Express with a program titled “From Gershwin to Gaga: Extraordinary Performance is the New Norm for Changing Times!” He loved it.

Whether it’s your resume, an office project, team work or an interview, get a little crazy. Think outside the proverbial box. Search the internet, brainstorm ideas and run with something different.

Sticking out from the crowd will get you noticed….and you don’t even have to play the piano.

Why You Need to be Like the World’s Favorite Clay Boy

July 9, 2014

Who doesn’t love Gumby? Gumby with arms in air
Children love his adventures,
adults love the art form and
people everywhere love his kind heart and good nature.

Flexibility and Gumby are synonomous.

Last week I got a call at 9 a.m. from a distressed man who said the motivational speaker he had booked for his company’s quarterly executive meeting was stuck on a plane in Mexico and couldn’t make it. Could I fill in for him and deliver a 45 minute keynote after lunch that day? And by the way, we can’t afford your full fee.

No worries, said I.

With no time to prep or customize we lunched together so he could brief me on his organization Uchi Restaurants and explain the purpose of the meeting. The group consisted of managers, chefs and corporate executives from Austin and Houston.

Piano cartoon mouse playingWe talked about HOW TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF WORK PERFORMANCE using the same principles that it took for me to master the piano:  Passion, Persistence, Attitude, People, Focus and since I included the company’s core values the young (and very cute) guy that booked me was over-the-moon happy. Whew!

 
In today’s competitive job market we need to be flexible with a ‘can do’ attitude and a willingness to help out.

AHA Indiana - Theresa acknowledging audience applauseBeing a GOOD team member is about collaboration. Being a GREAT team member means going above and beyond what you’re asked to do. Why does it matter?

Effective teamwork is crucial to any organization’s success.

And let’s face it, the bottom line is what pays YOUR bills.

Gumby is one smart piece of clay.

I wonder if he’s single…..?

Is this your idea of a whale of a good time?

March 5, 2013
                                                                  whale
No. The diver is not headless. His head is below the bubbles inside the wet suit and I wonder what he was thinking right at this moment? 
My guess is it had nothing to do with world peace, the price of gas or the latest on Jay Lenno.

During my motivational keynote speeches on being fearless and taking risks to experience more success and happiness in life, I talk about the worst day of my life when I was laid off from an office job living far away from my home town in Australia as a young woman. I was petrified. The country was in a recession and the economic outlook was as bleak as it’s been here in America for the past four years.
Go Red laughing side on
My first instinct was to call my parents 1,000 miles away.
george Halfway through dialing I realized they would just tell me to come home and I’d be right back where I started. My hopes and dreams of traveling the world, working on a professional stage and dating George Clooney would be dashed.
(OK, so one of those dreams was a fantasy)I hung up the phone and that pivotal moment changed my whole life. 

Long story short, I grabbed an opportunity to play the piano in a posh Sydney hotel with no experience, a repertoire of 50 songs (mostly Beatles) and a tummy full of nerves. And poof! A star was born (lol)

Last week on TV’s reality show The Biggest Loser, there was a man afraid of swimming because of all the unseen dangers lurking below the water. After shedding many pounds and gaining considerable confidence, the man decided to face his fear and go swimming in the ocean (with a guide in nearby boat). He emerged on shore a changed man.

LESSON: Let go fear of things you can’t control.
Whether it’s the economy, other people or big fish.

Take small steps towards things you CAN control to realize your dreams/goals:
Lose weight, change jobs, venture out, meet new people,
Take a class, join a club, learn a language,
Swim with sharks.

Have a whale of a good time.

The Power of Passion

July 2, 2012

As a professional keynote speaker I’m used to being on a stage motivating people to be the best in their field by raising their work performance level. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s fulfilling and I absolutely LOVE what I do. Put me on a stage in front of thousands of adults and I’m right at home.

BUT……… put me in front of 100  kids and I’m terrified.

Last week I walked my talk of stepping outside your comfort zone to be  successful  in today’s world….I was asked to speak to Landrum Middle School by the Brilliant Lecture Series who recently bought George Clooney to Houston to talk about his humanitarian work as well as his life (pant, pant, he’s so-o-o hot!)

The children, aged 10 – 13 years old, were mostly Hispanic from under-privileged homes. More scary. My entire Spanish vocabulary consists of: “Another margerita please”. How to connect with this group?

Anticipation is often worse than realization…

Since I’m an Aussie living in Houston I talk kinda sorta funny (although I think you all LISTEN funny). After asking if anyone had learnt about Australia I was amazed how much these  kids knew and how eager they were to participate in my presentation. When I played the piano to emphasize my point about doing whatever it takes to realize your dream, they were mesmerized – and I was relieved.

Music is a universal language and passion is a powerful tool to influence others. I am passionate about speaking, motivating,  inspiring and uplifting people and these delightful children totally got it.

What are YOU passionate about? Passion is contagious. People that are passionate about their work/product/life are more attractive to employers/buyers/everyone.

Passion pays.

Woo hoo!

Guilty by Association

October 17, 2011
  
                                                                                                                                              ABWA speakers

Last Friday I was the lunchtime keynote speaker for one of the largest and oldest women’s associations in the country: The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA). The Katy chapter in Houston organized a one day conference with a great line up of speakers pictured here from left: Eleese Lester, Michelle Scism, chapter President Francie

Lockwood, Tina Gandy national ABWA President, guess who in blue? and Stephanie DeWagoneer.

Having spoken to numerous ABWA chapters over the years, it was a delightful surprise to be recognized by numerous attendees and in particular, Tina Gandy. Tina was in the audience ten years ago when I spoke at an ABWA symposium in Bryan, College Station. Tina and her twin sister Lina have a very successful marketing & graphics design company called TwinzCo. Ten years ago Tina was a self-described shy violet who ran from attention and was terrified of speaking in public.

Fast forward to now…

Tina Gandy just stepped into the role of National President of ABWA with thousands of members across the country. She gave an impassioned 40 minute presentation on how membership in this association has boosted her self confidence and contributed greatly to her success as a business woman through networking opportunities and educational programs. Powerful testimonial from a former wallflower!

As a professional speaker I am a member of the  National Speakers Association -Houston chapter (www.nsaHouston.org)  It was the smartest thing I ever did when I began speaking in the 90’s as it cut at least five years off my learning curve through its educational and mentoring programs. The second smartest thing I ever did was to form a mastermind group of peers within NSA. We met once a month to brainstorm challenges, speech topics, marketing ideas and trends in the speaking industry. Priceless!

By associating with more experienced colleagues, my level of competence on the platform improved dramatically. They challenged me, they encouraged me, they held me accountable.  

Who are YOU aligning with for professional or personal development?

Be careful. Be picky. Remember: you’re guilty by association.