Posts Tagged ‘Motivational speaker’

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.

From Fired To Fearless: Use This to Boost your Biz!

June 17, 2015

Have you ever had things go so wrong you couldn’t see straight? Did you wonder “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?”

As an entertaining motivational speaker I recently spoke to a group of 700 small business owners at their awards luncheon in Texas. Their theme was ‘Fearless’. It was a perfect fit for the story about the worst day of my life…

Laid off during a recession from an office job I loved 30+ years ago, I still remember how devastated and utterly terrified I felt not knowing how on earth I was going to pay rent and bills. With no college degree and no network support, opportunities were scarce. Plus – I was 1,000 miles away from home.

Theresa at piano blue sequin jkt croppedAlthough I’d had a passion for playing piano since age five I was always told you could never earn a living with music so no hope there. What to do? It seemed the world was totally against me as I knocked on doors, made cold calls and was rejected over and over again.

One day a man called desperately looking for a piano player in a hotel for two weeks and asked if I could do it. “Yes!” said I, without thinking. Immediately I was consumed with fear. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I made a fool of myself in front of people? After all, I’d never played in public before and I only knew 50 songs – mostly Beatles. Eeeeks!

Use the fear of failure to propel you forward and take risks rather than paralyze you into a rut. Remember most people FAIL their way to success because mistakes are opportunities to learn and you don’t learn anything sitting in your comfort zone.

Olympic Rings smallLong story short: I ended up becoming a professional piano entertainer who not only toured the world but got to perform at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. Who would have thunk it?

The worst day of my life became the best thing that ever happened.

Fear and passion are great motivators. Find things you love about your work and let the fear of unemployment motivate you to do a GREAT job vs just a good one. 

People are influenced by people with passion. 

Passion gets you noticed by customers and bosses.

Cha ching!

Got Summertime Sluggishness? Wake Up and Try This!

July 23, 2014

With temperatures soaring, days lengthening and folks posting pics Summer season - two chairs on beach of cool vacations on FaceBook, productivity takes a 20% dive in the average workplace this time of year.

So how do you avoid the seasonal sluggish thing in these lazy hazy crazy days of summer?

Some professionals are taking time out to regroup and refresh. Tackling to-do lists that get ignored in busier times such as updating websites, creating a plan for better work/life balance, catching up with friends, exercising (tennis anyone?), host dinner parties, sharpening skills with further education, trying something new to be revved up for fall. As a motivational speaker I’m taking time out to create new programs and networking with peers.

Cartoon - yoga

You can do this, right?

One company in Florida uses summertime to boost teamwork and collaboration by closing at 1 p.m. on Fridays, catering a two hour lunch on Thursdays and having the whole staff take a yoga class once a week.

A single Mom entrepreneur takes a vacation with her daughter that would not be possible any other time. She packs a journal because she says “with rest comes creative ideas” for business.

So what are YOU going to do to beat the summertime blues?

I’m thinking about dance classes……….Cartoon image - couple dancing tango
in between tennis, of course.

How To Stay Forever Young

April 22, 2014

Easter bunny with little girl Variety is the spice of life and I’m   
convinced it helps slow the aging process … if only mentally. As both a motivational speaker & piano entertainer I get to wear different hats that keeps life interesting. I hope you gain inspiration from this blog to keep trying new things to live healthier & happier…..and look good too!

Easter Sunday saw me and a large rabbit entertain 500+ people at the Sugar Creek Country Club in Sugar Land, Texas where in between sets I lunched on lobster, oysters, smoked salmon & cheese cake (not at the same time). Think I’m born to live in luxury ‘coz it feels natural. Yeah Baby.

Sure. This is me in a bikini………………not !!!!Cartoon - frisbee throwing girl in bikini
However I did learn how to play frisbee golf last Saturday. Having never thrown a frisbee in my life this was a totally new experience and a whole new way to have fun and be frustrated. Who knew there was an actual art to tossing a flying saucer thingy?

Another first comes up this weekend when I attend a tennis boot camp at the ranch of famous Aussie champion John Newcombe in New Braunfels, Texas.We’re in for a heckuva time with tennis drills, cocktails, karaoke (no kidding!) and people from all over the USA participating. Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!

Chicago city skyline

Chicago city skyline

Next month I’m off to speak in Chicago, Austin and Indiana so I’m busy customizing speeches for Itasca Bank, Texas Electric Cooperatives & yet another program for The American Heart Association in the mid west. Busy bee!

With the news of two friends  funerals in a week, the one year anniversary of the Boston marathon bombing and hearing of yet another acquaintance with cancer, I’m wondering how much time any of us have.

Get out your bucket list. What’s the next new thing you’re going to cross off? Tick tock.

Hmmmmm……where do I sign up for sky diving?

Say Cheese, Get Hired?

August 8, 2013
WHAT YOUR CHOPPERS SAY ABOUT YOU

Poor people in the US often have bad teeth. Wealthier people do not. If you have crooked,yellow, missing or irregular teeth, ugly teeth bride it is often a sign to many people that you are either poor or you are low class.

Some people spend more money on making the teeth appear whiter than they do on learning the basics of their career.

And then there’s those people having veneers cemented over perfectly healthy teeth.

Whassup with all this obsession over perfect teeth?

If you have less than perfect teeth in the US, people will believe you are of a lower class status than you may be and they will treat you accordingly.

Would you hire the bride pictured?

Everyone wants healthy teeth, but “perfect” teeth has little to do with healthy teeth. 
The clark1920s and early 1930s saw the birth of Hollywood and Americans became obsessed with the people they saw on screen.  Black and white film exaggerates teeth coloring.  If the teeth aren’t very white, they appear gray.  The big studios like MGM immediately began to require that their stars get dentures.  American audiences saw those beautiful white choppers and wanted their own “perfect” teeth.
 
The somewhat neglected and feared dental industry realized that they had been given a marketing dream – they could offer Clark Gable or Myrna Loy‘s mouth to the average American.  And they could con and guilt the public into thinking it was about health.

Ovegiraffer the last few decades the practices have escalated so that teeth are veneered and bleached until they look like chiclets.   Take a look at Joe Biden‘s teeth – they don’t joe  resemble organic teeth at all. 

Take a look in the mirror.

Smile – you’re on candid camera.

Would YOU hire you?

And yes, all my front teeth are crowns.

As a motivational speaker and professional pianist I’m on stage  to pay the bills. The minute someone commented on a black gap in my smile I was off to the dentist faster than a speeding bullet.

Now I’m smiling all the way to the bank.  

Not Now. Not Ever.

May 16, 2013

Last week I was on the phone to Chris Long at AEI Speakers Bureau in Boston, MA. who books me for gigs as a motivational speakerBoston Marathon bombinbI asked if his family & friends were OK in light of the recent marathon bombings and he shared  his personal story that is a valuable lesson
for us all…..

Here’s what Chris said:

“My kids had no school Monday on account of Patriots Day.   My wife and I argued about who would take a personal day. 
I won because I had taken 2 days to travel for work the week before. Otherwise my wife’s routine for the past 10 years has been to go to the marathon finish line at about 2:30 p.m. to see friends complete the race. (She works in the John Hancock building).  

She went to the zoo with the kids instead of the race as they tend to go off in opposite directions.

Boston Marathon bombing man on groundWednesday after the bombing I went to the Bruins game which was the first event after the bombing on Monday. Thursday my wife and I went to dinner and the theater for her birthday as planned.  We wanted to take a stand in the face of terrorism. (Editor’s note: Actual language was somewhat stronger here!)

Besides, every one was desperate to get back to normal. 

At dinner, photos of the suspects were released and Thursday night late is when the man hunt began in earnest. Weirdest feeling to have an entire city in lock down. It was like opening the wound all over again. But life goes on and we’re moving right along with it.

Chris and his wife are two of the many faces of resilience in Boston. They flatly refuse to live in fear. Like late night host Jay Lenno said: “They messed with the wrong city”. Despite the tragedy of numerous deaths and injuries, did those cowardly terrorists win?

Not now. Not ever.

When life throws you a curve ball, remember Boston. Face your fear and move forward.

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.

Are You Headed For Prison?

April 18, 2013

                      cell                

The Boston Marathon bombings have shaken
each of us to our core and left us wondering where it will all end….
Once again fear is at the forefront of the news.
 
As a motivational speaker for business groups at meetings and conferences, I talk alot about being fearless – taking risks to succeed at work and be happy in life. Fear can make us a prisoner of our imagination.
 
Terrorists are yellow-bellied cowards filled with hate and fear of anyone not like them. Chances are you don’t know one.
 
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is trying to prove himself using provocative nuclear and missile actions. Odds are you’ll never meet him.

Know-It-All Dictator Boss
doesn’t leave room for disagreements out of a sense of personal insecurity, arrogance, or both. The loyalty of the few cronies he or she has is built on fear, and so it isn’t authentic friendship. You may be familiar with this one.
 
I believe people’s insecurities show up as aggression, shyness, controversy, aloofness, arrogance, bullying, incessant chatter, rudeness, and otherwise unwanted traits.

At the essence of this defense mechanism behavior is the fear of not being good enough. The common result? Isolation, emotional instability, unhappiness.

The first step to solving a problem is to admit it exists. Do you see any of these traits in anyone you know? Errr, yes….especially if you take a look in the mirror.

Don’t let fear build walls around your ability to live, laugh, love and be happy.

Love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like there’s nobody watching, yada yada yada…

Why Professional Admins Are Like This Cat

April 2, 2013

April 21 – 27th is Administrative Professionals  Week. cat  

Employers everywhere will take their office administrators to lunch and/or give them a gift to make them feel happy about their work and appreciated for what they do.  Admins are usually women and they’re usually at the bottom of the proverbial pecking order in the corporate world.
 
As a Houston based motivational speaker  that travels across the country, I’ve given many inspirational speeches at appreciation events to thousands of professional administrators and they all share a common thread: they are very organized.
 
They can find a needle in a haystack ‘coz they filed it. They know where everything is and when stuff is supposed to happen. They often have multiple bosses which means multiple headaches.
 
Every single manager I’ve met describes admins as “the backbone of the business”.
 
It takes courage to be all things to all people the way admins have to perform on a daily basis. Kinda sorta like mothers. Perhaps that’s why admins are usually women?

It takes backbone to be disciplined, efficient and organized.

A-a-a-n-d …..sitting on a huge horse is not for fraidy cats. 

Fearless.
Courageous.
Meeeow!