Tom Connellan: Improving Your Personal & Professional Life Is a Piece of Cake!

(Dr. Thomas K. Connellan, New York Times Bestselling Author)

I’ve been recommending a book by Tom Connellan, Inside the Magic Kingdom, for years and I have great respect and admiration for Tom’s wisdom and his work–today, I’d like to share with you a guest blog written by Tom.

 

The Next Big Thing Is Small, Completely under Your Control

Something You Can Do Right Now Which Produces Massive Results in 71 Days

Could you improve some aspect of your personal or professional life by 1% by this time tomorrow?  Of course you could!

At the close of my keynotes over the past 48 months, I’ve asked thousands of people that question.  In all that time, no one has ever said, “Nah, I can’t make a 1% improvement–not in a day, anyway.”  The response has been just the opposite: “Only 1%?” . . . “That’s doable.” . . . “Piece of cake.” . . .”Anyone can improve something by 1% in a day–probably more.”  These responses are exactly right–it IS a piece of cake.

Let’s take an example of something a lot of people want to improve: their listening skills.  You could be 1% better at listening to other members of your networking group at your next meeting.  You could be 1% better at listening to your clients, colleagues, and the people who work for you.  You could be 1% better at listening to your kids, your spouse . . . you get the idea.

The best part?  If you improve by just 1% every day, in 71 days you will be twice as good.  If you think you can’t last 71 days, then in just 42 days, you will be one and a half times as good.  (And once you see the difference it makes in your life, I bet you will keep going.)

Just as compounding interest grows your bank balance even if you add only small deposits, making daily bite-sized chunks of improvement brings an outsized boost to your skill level.  Imagine the edge you would have over your competitors if you were twice as good at listening to your clients’ needs and your colleagues’ ideas.  Think of how much better your relationships would be if you were deeply listening and communicating with the people you love.

It’s true.  The next big thing is 1% and making a 1& improvement is easy. 

So, why isn’t everybody doing it already?  Because not making a 1% improvement is even easier.  Inertia holds us in place.  As Newton said, a body at rest stays at rest.  We make up all sorts of excuses for not starting now, or tomorrow, or the day after that.

The only way to get past inertia is to put yourself in motion.  Go ahead and make that first 1% improvement.  The game will begin to change.  You will overcome inertia and start gathering momentum, because a body in motion stays in motion.

All you have to do is start.  Now.  Pick something that matters to you.  Choose to be 1% better.  It probably won’t even take a day–more like a minute.

So just start!

What do you think of this guest blog by Tom?  Please leave your feedback in the comments section. 

To find out more about Tom Connellan, please visit: www.tomconnellan.com.

4 Steps to Building Social Capital

Social capital, otherwise known as the value behind your social contacts, can be an extremely important resource in both business and life.  If you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you’ll experience benefits that can greatly enrich your life as well as multiply your material returns many times over.

In this short video, I explain that you don’t have to purposely become a networker to reap the benefits of social capital and I outline the four key steps to successfully building social capital.

Do you have a standout story about how investing in your social capital significantly paid off for you?  If so, please share it in the comments section–I’d love to hear about it!

What Are You Waiting For?

The best referral efforts I’ve seen happen by design, not by accident or wishful thinking.  Many business people view word of mouth somewhat like the weather: “Sure, it’s important, but what can I do about it?”

Referrals and word of mouth can be planned and nurtured.  Anyone, including business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, staff employees, even individuals serving in a volunteer capacity in any field, can accomplish plenty with a well-structured and systematically executed referral plan for a business.

All too often I have seen business people waiting for business to walk through the door.  They think because they are good at what they do, people should be flocking to them. I’m afraid the truth is, it doesn’t work that way! You have to take charge, no matter what business you’re in or how good you are, and bring the business in to you.

I once saw a cartoon strip of two large, ravenous-looking vultures perched on a tree limb, overlooking a dry desert plain. After quite a while, one vulture turns to the other and says, “Wait for something to die? Hell, let’s kill something!” So it is with word-of-mouth marketing. You can’t simply wait for people to come to you. If you do, one of your competitors who also provides good customer service will most likely find them before they show up at your door-step.  If you want to succeed, you have to go get your business, or better yet, have someone else get it for you through referrals.

So . . . don’t wait around.  Do something!

The Networking Attribute That Equals Success and How to Get It

At a recent event in San Diego, I asked one of the best networkers in the United States, Kathryn Lodal, to talk about the ability to be truly engaged, the attribute she considers to be the most important in a networker.

In this video, Kathryn and I discuss the importance of being genuinely engaged and involved in the networking process and Kathryn explains the three most critical aspects in becoming an engaged networker.

Watch the video now and then offer your thoughts about it in the comments section . . . what do you think about Kathryn’s three traits of an engaged networker?  Do you possess these three qualities already, or do you have a ways to go?  If you have questions about how to develop these qualities or about other ways to become engaged in the networking process, Kathryn and I look forward to receiving them!

Online Networks Lag Behind Other Networking Efforts

As part of the survey for the book, Business Networking And Sex (not what you think), my co-authors and I asked several questions which weren’t used in the final manuscript.  The survey was open to the public and was conducted with over 12,000 business people from every populated continent in the world.  One of the questions we didn’t use in the book was “What types of organizations do you belong to?” (note that respondents were able to pick more than one).

We also asked a question that was used in the manuscript in various places: “Has networking played a role in your success?”  We got some interesting findings when we cross-tabulated these two questions with one another.  We expected casual contact and referral networks to do fairly well, and they did.  However, we were surprised by some of the other results in the survey.

Don’t shoot the messenger however – online networks did very poorly, with only 27% of the respondents saying that networking has played a role in their success!  Women’s business organizations did even worse, with 17.7%; and service clubs came in last, with only 17.2% of the respondents saying that networking played a role in their success.

What does this mean?  Overall, people who got the most results from their networking efforts seem to participate in “face-to-face” casual contact networks like a Chamber of Commerce, referral networks like BNI, and to a lesser extent professional associations (like any professional body or society representing a particular industry), while online networks, women’s business organizations, social/business groups, and service clubs rated very low in success results relating to their networking.

Even though they didn’t fare well in this survey, I’m actually quite an advocate of online networks, women’s business organizations, and service clubs – and I will continue to be so. I did some thinking about the results of the survey, and why these groups came in with such low percentages compared to the casual contact and referral networks.

I’m inclined to believe that the women’s organizations and service clubs didn’t do as well because they both have another important purpose that take precedence over networking.  Women’s business organizations often provide a place where members both support and educate each other. The mission of service clubs focus primarily on providing service to the community, with networking opportunities being more of a “by-product.”  Seeing tangible success in members’ networking efforts is much more subtle in groups like these, and that may be one of the main reasons why they didn’t do as well in the survey.

Because I was really surprised by the results, I spent a lot of time thinking about online networks and their disappointing standing in the respondents’ ranking of successful networking efforts. The results are indicative of a comment that I hear quite often by business owners who have begun to market their businesses via the growing number of online social and business networking sites: “I’ve got a profile page and a thousand connections…now what?”

Many entrepreneurs jumped on the “social media marketing” bandwagon and spent a lot of time and effort building their online social capital (through LinkedIn “connections”, Facebook “friends” and “likes”, and Twitter “followers”), but without an actual plan of how to turn this growing number of contacts into actual customers. This is one area many entrepreneurs struggle with as online networking continues to come into its own.

Another issue is that the addition of Internet marketing (including online networking) has exponentially increased the number of marketing messages the average person sees per day – to literally tens of thousands. While online – whether chatting on Google Talk, or looking at friends’ photos on Facebook, watching a celebrity’s Twitter feed, learning about a connection’s promotion on LinkedIn, reading a blog for business or pleasure, or doing an internet search – a person is inundated with entreaties.

Read this!

Buy this!

Try this!

Connect with me!

Like my business!

It’s easy to get distracted by these messages, particularly because those who have the time, staff, or money to put out the most messages tend to drown out any messages from smaller businesses or single individuals also trying to get their messages to be “heard.”

As I’ve already mentioned, I like online networking.  I am active in online networking. We may someday figure out how to make it work even better; however, the results are the results and – still a surprise to me – they’re not very favorable for online networks. I certainly don’t think that entrepreneurs should stop finding ways to improve their success in the online networking arena. However, as we have learned in our recent multi-national study, online networks still have a way to go before they can begin to compete with the effectiveness of the more traditional, face-to-face networking opportunities available.

 

If You Don’t Have One, People Could Be Avoiding You . . .

Have you ever been to a networking event and purposely avoided someone you really wanted to talk to because you were embarrassed you couldn’t remember their name?  Well, if you’re not wearing a name badge at networking events, other people could be avoiding you for this very reason!

In this short video, my friend Kevin Barber and I explain why name badges are an extremely important tool for effective networking and why you should always be sure to wear a name badge at networking events.

Do you have an exemplary story that demonstrates how name badges have come in handy for you, or how the lack of a name badge (whether yours or someone else’s) affected your networking?  If so, I’d love to hear it so please share it in the comments section . . .

 

 

Dumbest Online Comments

I recently read an article in FORTUNE magazine entitled “OMG!!! The End of Online Stupidity?”

The article was written a few years ago but it stated that “internet veterans have long complained about the steady erosion of civility — and worse, intelligence — in online discourse.”  I couldn’t help but think that things haven’t gotten much better in the last few years.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people behave online (especially if it is anonymous)!  For example, as I was reviewing survey responses to an online survey at BNIBusinessIndex.com, I read two comments that were almost hysterical in their stupidity.

The first response was in relation to the question “Where Do You Reside?”–a question which was accompanied by a list of answer options (including all the populated continents) from which the respondent was asked to select the continent they live in.  In an optional “additional comments” section attached to this question, one respondent felt the need to empatically state, “I’m located in AMERICA not North America!!!”  OK genius.  For the record, America is in North America!

My other . . . ahem . . . “favorite” response was from a person who went on a passionate rant about how “the survey is clearly just a form of ‘pull marketing.'”  He proceeded to ‘scream’ these instructions in all capital letters: “DO NOT USE MY E-MAIL FOR MARKETING PURPOSES!” 

Fair enough, that’s a reasonable ‘request’ . . . the only thing that puts a hitch in the logic of including these instructions is this: not once in any area of the survey are respondents asked to include their e-mail address (the survey is completely anonymous unless a respondent voluntarily offers their name or other info in one of the optional “additional comments” sections).  This respondent’s e-mail address was never once requested, nor was it recorded!  How exactly could we, the survey sponsors, possibly spam people effectively without ever actually trying to collect an e-mail addresses from anyone???

Suffice it to say that people are funny (euphemism for something else I’m thinking . . . I’ll leave it up to your imagination what that may be). 😉

I know I’m not the only one who has seen some whoppers as far as senseless online comments go and I’d love to add some more examples to my list (What?–They make GREAT stories! ) . . . what are some of the dumbest online comments you’ve seen on the internet lately?  Keep it clean though, please–my Mom reads my blog too and, trust me, according to her I’ll never be too old to get in trouble. 😉

 

 

 

Using Writing to Grow Business: Why Storytelling Is So Important

Just last month I posted a blog about how to grow business and derive identity-building, brand-boosting benefits through writing (CLICK HERE to view the blog post) and today I want to piggyback on that concept.

Whether you’re an experienced writer or you’re just beginning to dabble in writing in an effort to build your personal or business brand, understanding the importance of storytelling can transform your writing into highly effective material.

In this video, professional editor and author Jeff Morris and I explain why storytelling is so important in writing and we reveal the four key factors that define an effective story.

Get ready . . . you’ll want to have a pen and a piece of paper on hand for this one!

By the way, if you’ve had some experience (whether just a little or a lot) with writing to achieve brand recognition and business growth, I’d love to hear what tactics, writing venues, etc. you’ve had the most success with as well as some of the best stories you’ve used to make your most important points.  Please leave your feedback in the comments section–thanks!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox