Thursday, August 19, 2010

Keep Up with the News to Improve Your Communication

When coaching people I ask, “Do you keep up with the news?” A common reply is, “No, I do not like to hear all the negativity.” Hmmmm. These same people complain that they are bored, or they ask me how in the world I come up with such interesting functions to attend.

I still read the newspaper, for that is where I find little gems. We are used to skimming the large advertisements in newspapers; yet, it’s interesting how often the fine print announces an event the companies are sponsoring. These events are often free and open to the community. They help me keep up with developments in my own community by giving me an opportunity to interact with people from different disciplines.

The morning television news shows are a great way to catch up with happenings overnight. My recent trip to Europe, a nine-hour time change from my home, illustrated how much actually happens in the world while America sleeps. You can easily listen to these shows while you get ready for your day’s activities. Then, once you are out about, you will at least have a broad idea of what is going on in the world.

The Internet provides rich resources for up-to-date news. If there is breaking news during the day, at least a skeleton of information is available. By the way, I check the headlines on my homepage when I open my computer in the morning.

Social media is part of my world, too. I pay attention to LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter every day. Social media is not where I go for news, though. I go there to learn about new strategies and their application, and to share my expertise on improving communication.

You can easily see that I would never be able to read everything in detail—or I would never get anything done. As for those negative articles… Why do I want to read about the latest fire in Florida when I live in Vancouver, Washington? Sound cold? Maybe it does. But as my daughter, who is in public relations, pointed out, the reporters look for the worst areas to photograph and the most distraught people to interview.

Just give me the facts. I have places to go, things to learn, so that I can share.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


While at first glance a one-on-one meeting may seem be an extremely slow way to market, it actually can be the most effective. Remember the Hare and the Tortoise -- who came out the winner? I am interested in learning new things and understand that people are interesting and have much to teach me if I take the time to listen.

What if you take a new approach to your marketing? I know the days are frantic with work and issues to solve. Yet, taking the time to have coffee with a person you met at an event can reap huge rewards.

It’s Relaxing

Stopping to have a cup of coffee with someone at the local coffee shop changes the pace in your day. Trust me; you’ll come back to the office with a new outlook.

You Learn

You do not quite understand what Louise does at the XYZ Company? By the end of the meeting you will know more about Louise and Louise will understand more clearly what you do.

You have a New Contact

Maybe you don’t need Louise’s services but you will be amazed how quickly someone crosses your path that could use her services. You refer her to your friend -- your friend wins, Louise wins and so do you because you become known for sharing great information.

You may get a Referral

Louise liked you -- she sends you a referral. It may not be immediate, it may be a year, yet it will happen when you least expect it.

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Monday, August 16, 2010


Arrange time to just talk with your best friend. You do not always have to have an event or a place to explore. My friend, Molly, and I have never had a problem solving issues of the world. We often joke, of course, we are perfect and our position on the subject is the “right” one.

One afternoon over ice tea, our conversation turned to the subject of Skype. I mentioned I am going to use Skype for my executive coaching. Her response, “Well when you do, make sure you stay still. You drive me crazy with all of your movement when we use it.”

My response was “You are kidding, really?” She smiled, and said “You mean you didn’t know?”

Have to say I wasn’t the slightest bit aware of how I was coming across on her monitor. An easy thing to correct, yet, would not have known if Molly had not mentioned it over our casual conversation.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010


Recently, it took me two days to travel from Belgium to Vancouver, Washington, thanks to late airline departures and mechanical problems. At the time, I was livid that my smart phone would not connect once I was in the United States. However, something interesting happened; I started talking to people instead of fussing with my smart phone.

At JFK International Airport, a couple was sitting next to me—the woman was fast asleep. I said to the man, “Where are you going?” He replied, “I can’t tell you.” A fascinating, mysterious reply. Then he whispered, “We’re going to Italy. It is my wife’s birthday and she doesn’t know where we are going.”

He quietly went on to explain that they are from Alaska and that it was the first time they had ever left Alaska in the summer. She awakened, and I asked her how she felt about being on a journey and not knowing the destination. She smiled and said, “I trust him completely.”

They went out for lunch, and when they came back she was smiling broadly. He had given her the travel journal for Italy so she could read it on the overseas flight.

My plane was delayed and I missed my connecting flight. Fortunately, I received a hotel voucher. Once again, I found myself sitting on a bench next to a couple. The man said, “What hotel are you going to?” I told him, and he said, “I have a hint for you. Be sure to ask them for a refurbished room, for some of them are older and musty smelling.”

Once I arrived at the hotel, I said to the clerk, “There is word on the street that some of the rooms have a musty smell, and I’m allergic to mold.” She said, “Well, we can’t have that. Let me find you a good room.” Soon I found myself in a room on the newly remodeled executive floor, complete with a flat screen television and wonderful view.

Now are these two incidents significant in the realm of everyday life? Maybe not; however, both made my adventure more interesting. One of them was a great example of a couple caring about one another. The other conversation enhanced my physical comfort on a long journey.

I am convinced that if I had been engrossed in my smart phone I would have missed both of these conversations. On my final leg of the trip, I watched as people sat silently engrossed in their own smart phones. What interesting conversations were they missing with their fellow travelers?

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