Friday, August 28, 2009


“Sound bites” capture our attention as we listen to the news or a commercial. They are short, crisp statements that are different from the ordinary dialog. Often they have a different pitch when delivered by the announcer.

“Eye bites” capture our attention when we are reading. Often they are italicized or set off from the rest of the paragraph by indenting. Short, crisp statements meant to capture your attention.

The phenomena of sound bites and eye bites have become more prevalent. Applications like Twitter and text messaging are becoming integrated into our lives as people. People are demanding information be received without fluff words (adverbs).

Writing a paragraph? Surveys have revealed that people do not read paragraphs in reports, resumes, or proposals that are longer than 4.5 lines in length.


If you are the first to arrive at a restaurant, and you know you will want separate checks, ask the server to prepare separate checks before the other guests arrive.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Since I am using my networking skills to help raise funds to bring back the rodeo to Palm Springs after 22 years, six of us were invited to see the inner workings of this nine-year old rodeo.

The day began with putting on an appropriate cowgirl-like outfit. Had the jeans and a top that would work, bought western looking earrings, and borrowed the hat and belt. I have a new appreciation for people who have to wear a belt every day…..not use to wide belts. The loops on my jeans barely accommodated the belt embellished with a great gold rhinestone buckle. Shoes, well we won’t get into that….my boots have not arrived.

Picked up my colleague and we made the two-hour drive to the rodeo grounds that was set in a valley, on a ranch, surrounded by magnificent mountains. We parked the car and the learning began.

First, we met with a woman in charge of all the vendors. Then we spent about an hour with the man who was “in charge” of the event. He let us in on unknown details and shared with us what they had tried in the past that hadn’t worked and why certain things work well.

The big white tent placed along the side the arena was filled with tables covered with white tablecloths and flower arrangements. Think of the feeling of going to a dinner theatre…only in this case, the rodeo takes place in front of you while you eat dinner. This area is reserved for the sponsors who dined on western barbecue complete with freshly grilled steaks.

We watched the stadium bleachers fill to capacity with folks who had bought general admission tickets. At both ends of the arena were the chutes where the real action always began.

At the appointed time, the announcer got our attention. About 30 people walked out with a 40 by 40 foot American flag and unfurled it before our eyes. We sang our national anthem under the brilliant blue sky and sunshine. Once that ended, three service members from the area were asked to come to the center of the arena…the crowd broke into an amazing applause.

While the service members were standing there, the champion cowboys were called to the arena and each one of them shook the service members’ hands. At the chute area, in front of us, the Rodeo manager, Cotton Rosser (83 yrs old) waited on his horse to shake every cowboy’s hand as he came back to the chute gate.

Then the action began. I have a feeling before long the names of the cowboys will start becoming very familiar to me as we develop our own rodeo Palm Springs that will be held March 12, 13, and 14, 2010.

When I arrived “home” that night, I thought about the day. I had been privileged to see and learn how a rodeo is put together. I saw the look of expectation on the cowboy’s face and watched as some of them limp from an injury they had received at a previous rodeo on the circuit. The filled to capacity stadium and dining tent help me understand the thirst to take ourselves out of our daily life routine.

My reasons for getting involved with this project was, in large part, the feeling that I could help people remember history and help others experience the western way of life that helped form this entire Coachella Valley. I look forward to this Palm Springs Wild West Fest & Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo with great anticipation.


Do not go anywhere without a something to write on – your many brilliants ideas will be quickly forgotten if you do not write yourself a note.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Recently, I have been doing a number of radio interviews. Some of the interviews were on Intergenerational Communication and others on Networking to Build Relationships.

When doing the networking presentations, twice the interviewer was “surprised” by one of my responses. They asked me, “How many people should one plan to meet at a networking event?” I replied “No more than three”. Their next response was, “Really, I thought you were suppose to meet as many people as possible.”

Let me explain:

With the goal of meeting three people, the task does not seem as large as having to start a number of new conversations.

When you begin by shaking hands, saying your name and asking the question “What great thing happened to you recently?” you will not have to worry about keeping the conversation going. This open-ended question has a positive slant. When they answer it, and you listen to the answer, I can assure you will have material to ask the next question.

Asking questions helps you learn about another person, and you begin the building of a relationship. You know all you know, your goal is learn more about the person standing before you.

When it is time for you to move on, ask the person for his contact card (formerly called business card). Shake hands again, and say something like “It would be good to continue this conversation sometime in the future.”; “May I give you a call so we can continue this conversation?”

Finally, be sure you send each of the three people you met a handwritten note with your contact card included.


Enter the data from the contact card into your contact program as soon as possible after receiving it. It is much easier to write some notes regarding the conversation while it is fresh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Found a place where things haven’t changed.

As a new arrival to the Coachella Valley, California, I realize there is much to learn. It had been a busy week, so decided Saturday that I would put career duties aside and head out to explore the valley that is majestically surrounded by mountains.

My goal was to revisit a place that provided fond memories. My parents had taken us there years ago. When I lived in San Fernando Valley in the early 70s’, a trip to this valley wasn’t complete unless one went to Shields Date Garden in Indio for dates. Even more important, was buying and savoring a date shake from their old-fashion ice cream counter.

Yes, the temperate was around 104 degrees. Keep in mind people in this valley know how to handle heat. I have quickly learned one would not consider getting into a car without one’s water bottle full. Locals, make it a point to tell you not to keep plastic water bottles in the car nor open it up and then close it up again and set it in the heat--apparently, germs love that kind of environment. Yes, I have added another stainless steel bottle to my “must haves” for my new life here.

Just as I thought I was not heading to my correct destination, I put Shields into my GPS. I smiled as it said I was .5 miles away from it. Sure enough there it was – looking exactly as it had all those years ago. Parked the car, walked in, and smiled for nothing had changed…even the bags full of grapefruit were in the same place.
Straight head was the ice cream fountain-hadn’t changed a bit. Even more surprising was the cost of the date shake -- $3.75 and we’re talking the grand size here. My shake was ordered and received and I sat down to watch the film on the growing of dates.

Two fascinating points:

95 percent of all dates grown in the United States are grown in the Coachella Valley

The dates outside the building are ripening and will be harvested in September.

Finished the movie and the shake, took these pictures and headed back to my “home” in Palm Springs…it had been a fascinating day, l had explored and learned. Life is good.


The way to get comfortable doing interviews, is to make sure you truly are an expert on your subject. You will be amazed how much you know that others do not.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


- A firm handshake. Make sure the two “Vs” of your hands meet. That way you can look the person in the eye and know that you are not crushing his hand. The pressure is equally distributed. (By the way, give your full name as you are shaking hands.)

- Ask the person a question. You know everything you know. Your job is to learn about something about the person with whom you are speaking.

- Listen to the answer. When you listen to the answer, you automatically have information that can lead to your next question. You can keep learning more about the person.

We go about our day, and often do not take time to acknowledge people. These three simple steps help build a connection. Technology is good and important—yet, our connection with people will always be needed.


Periodically, go through your email folders and delete emails. You will be surprised how many you no longer need.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go this event. It was an intimate group of 50 people who had gathered for lunch to meet John Dean. Since I knew no one when I walked into the room, I used my own networking skills that I teach. Found a woman standing all alone, extended my hand, said my name, and said, “What great thing happened to you recently”? She was beaming and said, “Well I work two jobs, and I found out I didn’t have to work this morning so I decided I wanted to come. I’m so grateful they let me come in with no reservation.”

Before the actual lunch started, I had met two more Rotarians and a woman who is a member of the Palm Springs Women’s Club. She immediately invited me to attend when she learned I was new in town.

John Dean began his lecture by saying I have decided I am going to tell you “why” I decided to update Blind Ambition. As my readers know, I am a big proponent of telling people “why” so I found myself smiling even before he began.

He went on to explain that the real reason was because of a lawsuit he was involved with for the last nine years. A person had written a book about him, John Dean, as the central figure. He learned that the book contains outlandish untruths about him and his wife. Through developing his case, he used subpoenas to obtain never before released papers and tapes about Watergate that helped him fill in the missing links. Thus, the book includes many of his new findings.

I couldn’t help being impressed with his candor, which sometimes you could hear the deep emotions in his voice. His willingness to share information about life in Washington DC was very much appreciated. While he now lives in Los Angeles, it was apparent; he is richly connected with the events going on in Washington, D.C.

It was one of the “richest speeches” I have heard in a long time. As I drove home, I thought to myself, about how right Tony Robbins is when he says, “Be sure to get yourself out of your industry and learn about others so that your creativity can be stretched".


Let your friends know what kind of events you would like to attend. You cannot possibly find them all yourself. A friend found an obscure mention in the newspaper about John Dean delivering this talk and she told me about this event—I would have missed it.

Friday, August 07, 2009


There is no place in the world that is not an “idea resource” for my blogs.
Recently, I made a decision to add articles to my blog twice a week. One of them will be personal stories, which lets people see how I live my life--experiences that often are the source of great renewal for me. The second one will be oriented toward my profession of writing, speaking, and training.

Today it is about my profession:

While reading through some of the questions on LinkedIn, I learned a way to focus on ideas for our blogs. Ultimately, we want to drive traffic to our website. Personally, I have answered many questions on LinkedIn and I was reminded I can expand my answer for a blog.

Another way to share information on your blog is to break down your own subject expertise into 250-300 word blogs. When you are speaking and training, you have your presentation broken down into segments. Don’t hesitate to share an article about the segment.

Worried about sharing too much information? Think about it, do you really think a 250-word blog is equivalent to the segment you train for two hours? My belief is that you will get the reader interested in your work and he will want to learn more about you and then will go to your website.


Carry a notepad with you so you can write down the email address and/or the phone number of a person you have connected with that did not have contact cards (business cards).

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Through many “coincidences”, I find myself writing to you from Palm Springs. It seemed only appropriate that the readers of my blog are the first ones I thought of this morning as I woke up to beautiful sunshine on the mountains.

View out my window of "home".

During the past two months, I have been setting things up at my Vancouver, Washington home to take an extended leave to move to Palm Springs. A project surfaced to serve as Fundraising Director the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Frank Bogart Memorial Rodeo. The last rodeo held in Palm Springs was 40 years ago. Perfect position for me to use my networking skills to help make this happen. Imagine the stories I will have to prove my networking and business communication points.

Meanwhile, my career of speaking, training, and writing continues –just working from a different “home” base. For the next month living in a friends’ beautiful casita (separate living quarters from the house). As my Mom always said “Taking life one day at time.” So yesterday was the official arrival and greeting by two dear friends. Getting groceries and unpacking. Today, it is back to official work—well most of the day. It seems my friend has invited me to CD Release party at VIP reception at one of the local grand hotels. Hey, I’m networking.


Snap decisions can sometimes get you in trouble, if a life doesn’t depend on it, suggest that you tell the caller that you will call them back with the decision– give them a specific time. Gives you a deadline so you do not procrastinate.