Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Leadership Toledo, Part IV

Tuesday was another Leadership Toledo day. The second one this month and it was a special day.

For those of you not familiar with the LT program, we choose non-profit groups to assist with whatever needs they may have as part of our responsibilities this year.

This is how it works.

A request for submissions is sent out to the various non-profits in the area.

An LT volunteer committee winnowed the large number of entrants to ten finalists.

Tuesday, each group had twenty minutes to present to us to help us understand their needs and also to sell us on the idea of linking with them.

Only six would be chosen. Our LT group numbers 54 participants this year, so that means each project would have about 9 people working on it.

The way the groups were organized was interesting. At a verbal signal, all of us were instructed to gather around the sign on the wall that denoted our non-profit. We knew that if there were too many of us that we'd have round 2, round 3, etc. until the groups were evenly divided.

Two projects garnered most of the people. Those two projects had an emotional appeal and the plus the presenters had known how to use that emotion to their advantage.

Those groups that needed more bodies were given the opportunity to speak to the rest of the us to try to convince us to move their way.

The spokesperson (see picture at the right) for the small group that had chosen The Harvest Theater spoke more passionately about his choice than the "official" representative of the theater had. He said, "I will probably volunteer on my own for one or both of the projects where all of you are standing, but let me tell you why I volunteered for the Harvest Theater project. We all know about how young people are leaving Toledo because of lack of opportunities and culture. Those people are my age. I want to help this group become a stronger entity so they can add one more reason for my generation to stay here in Toledo. If you want to be part of that, come help me."

Two people immediately joined his group.

I was impressed. But I shouldn't have been, because we all know that emotion sells and then people justify their purchases logically.

I did not move, because in my heart I wanted to help Hannah's Socks, but I'll tell you about that another day.

Would you have moved to the Harvest Theater project because of the thoughtful plea?

Selling for Others

The other night at the Evening with Masters book event, we honored three local authors and asked each to bring their books to sell and autograph.

When I first asked my friend Karen Shulman, she deferred saying that book signings are not worth her time. She stated that she never has sold many books at such venues.

I convinced her that this event would be different.

(Man, was I scared that I was going to be wrong!)

Well, I wasn't.

Karen sold 30 of her books. The most she's ever sold at a one time event except for maybe the very first book signing when the book first came out.

What made this event different?

The difference was that Karen wasn't selling her own books. She was an honored guest. Instead I sold her books! Yep, that's right, I told those in the audience why they should buy her book; why it is a favorite of mine; and even who they should think of giving it to. (I gave one copy to my friend Lynda Goodremont to give her reason to laugh when she was at chemotherapy.) By the way, Karen's book is "I Never Meant to be Funny." You can order it directly at here. (Or you can buy a signed copy directly from Karen by sending an email to

We can all sell for each other much more easily, than we can for ourselves.

And that's why the whole world of referral-based marketing is so magical.

What have you helped to sell for someone else?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hiding the Light Under the Bushel

This morning I had coffee with Cindy Morlock. She is a Realtor with Assist2Sell. She also is the president of the Silver Dollar BNI chapter, which is the chapter that I oversee as a director.

While I don't attend this chapter every week, I do go every five to six weeks.

This morning, just in passing, Cindy mentioned that she had been in the million dollar club for the last two years.

That's the first I've heard about it!

I asked Cindy if the members knew this piece of info. She smiled her very nice smile and said, "Ya' know, I was thinking that I'd put that into my introduction when I get the chance to do my next 10 minute presentation."

I said, "How about telling them this week? Put it into your sixty second commercial."

If she waits, she is handicapping her members from helping her. They don't have all the ammunition they need to help promote her.

The very same conversation took place with another person at lunch. She is a partner in a CPA firm, but she said that when she introduces herself to new contacts, she says, "I'm a CPA."

Our mothers have done way too good of a job of telling us not to brag.

When we have something to be proud of, it is time to shout from the housetop.

What piece of information have you been withholding from your friends?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Ultimate Tribute

I have to tell ya'.

I have some pretty amazing people in my life.

This past Wednesday evening, there was an event in Toledo to celebrate the book, Masters of Sales, being published. I am a contributing author to that book. So the event could have been a boring book signing, but no, a committee of wonderful friends knew that I would like something bigger (and less focused on me) than that.

With that said, what you need to know is that Sandy Pirwitz, Sandy's Stuff for Women,

and her committee of Leasa Maxx, Maxx Grafx;
Linda Kuns, State Farm Insurance;
Merri Bame
, Breaking Down Barriers;
Lisa Laskey,
Ellen Critchley, Critchley Creative and
Anita Dotson
, Corporate Intelligence Consultants designed an evening to celebrate literacy.

Sandy and the team knew that I hold literacy very dearly in my heart and that I also collect children's books. (I also give only books to my grandchildren for all birthdays and holidays.)

So instead of the evening being barely palatable by the attendees, it was an evening where we were raising money for two libraries and also a center that has children's literacy programs. In addition, each attendee received not one, but two copies of the Masters book -- one to keep and one to give.

It all put some electricity into the air.

But let me tell you more about this event another day!

Just know that I think the team excelled in this project and as the numbers are being finalized, it looks like the charitable money goals are going to be realized.

It couldn't be a better tribute.

Thanks to all who made it happen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Yesterday, I gave a very short talk about the new book, Masters of Networking, to the lunch time Women's Entrepreneurial Network group. Because of the book just being published, I had been asked to give a five minute "business education" talk about it.

This book is chock full of short stories and articles by over eighty different authors.

The challenge was where to start and what could I say in five minutes that would even be memorable?

I choose to talk about just one story and I explained why the article had spoken to me.

After the event, as I was walking out, a person who had also been at the lunch complimented me on the talk wishing that she could be so relaxed in the way she presents.

I thought about it later.

All I did was share what was important to me at that moment. It was just like a conversation with one person. It was if that person had asked me, "What do you like about that book?"

For those who want to become better known by speaking before audiences, my recommendation (for all it's worth) is to ask yourself, "what would I say if I was just speaking to one of these people in the audience?"

What tricks do you have up your sleeve when you are thinking about perfecting your presentation?

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm Comin' Clean, I Didn't RSVP

I just got a phone call.

But first let me take you back about nine months.

In January or February of this year, I was introduced to a woman by a friend in a networking group. To protect the innocent, all names will be fictitious. So, my friend, Joe, intro'd me to Sally.

Sally happens to be a successful purveyor of cosmetics for a direct sales company.

We chatted briefly at the meeting and she said that she'd like to meet with me. Sally did not have her calendar with her.

I called her several times to schedule that appointment and left voice mail messages but I never received a return call.

I stopped calling because I didn't want to stalk. I also kept my friend, Joe, in the loop and he just shook his head.

Okay, now fast forward. Last week I received an invitation in the mail to a party kicking off another type of a direct sales business. This is a new effort - by the husband of Sally. Now, I have never met Bob, the husband. I couldn't pick him out of a lineup. But I got an invitation.

Because I didn't know him, I just threw the invitation away.

That's what the phone call was that I just got. Bob was calling to see if I was coming to his event, and he also happened to mention on the call that he'd invited 100 people. (Didn't that make me feel special?) I gave him my regrets.

Now, I'm sorry, but I'm insulted.

His wife doesn't have the time of day for me, but she passes my contact information on.

Am I being super sensitive?

Friday, October 19, 2007

What the Heck Does RSVP Mean?

Okay, I'm going to do it.

This post is about the definition of R.S.V.P.

If you already know what it means, you can skip this post.

R.S.V.P. comes form the French phrase "répondez s'il vous plaît" which basically means to please respond.

So evidently some people ignore these four little letters because they didn't take French in school.

Or some people think that means, "only if I feel like it."

Some people use R.S.V.P. as a verb; "Yes, I am rsvp-ing to your invitation."

Or some people just are totally mystified.

Where is Emily Post when we need her?

If you'd like to read more go to here.

If I were the judge and jury on this, I'd sentence each offender to time chairing an event that has food involved. And for this event I wouldn't let anyone R.S.V.P.

What's you take on this wisp of etiquette in the business world?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How You Can Help

Someone made my day yesterday.

To be specific, Gregg MacMillan, made my day yesterday.

Gregg and I met last weekend in Lansing at a BNI training. He is the owner of TechneGraphics, Inc. and is from the other end of the state of Ohio in Cincy. We chatted only briefly, but promised that we would talk further.

Yesterday, I received an email from Gregg telling me that he had visited my website, read newsletters saved in the archive and also had hit this blog and read through that too.


That is a compliment to someone who spends time on these various items. (Although, as my webmaster would argue, I'm not as attentive to the website as I should be.)

So many times when people ask us how they can help us, the only answer we can dredge up is to give us more business. From now on my favorite answer is going to ask them to visit my blog or the website to specifically read previous newsletters. Then I want their feedback on how I can do better.

Gregg sends out a daily motivational tip to friends and family, a weekly newsletter to clients and prospects called TuesdayTips, has a monthly newsletter called Printips archived at his website and is considering starting a blog. He did practice blogging this summer on a trip out west. You can view that here. Check out the September issue of Printips at his website. He writes about how digital printers work. Pretty interesting.

So if you meet someone new today in your networking activities, visit their website or blog and then get back to them to tell them what you liked. You'll make a friend for life!

What would you change about this blog that would make it better?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Education in Motion

Recently, I met with one of my classmates from Leadership Toledo in my quest to get to know each member better. Pete Lavalette is an attorney with Robson Curphey & O'Connell or RCO as they're know around here.

I had always thought that once an attorney decided to specialize in a specific area, that pretty much was the path their career would take. Maybe it is so for some. Pete shared that because of both market changes and changes in our laws, his focus is having to adjust, too.

I'm glad I have a better understanding of the challenges that attorneys may be facing. It helps me to be more empathetic and it also helps me to understand better how I can help.

Thanks, Pete, for taking the time to help educate me!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tree Loss

Yesterday I went to a local store to buy a gift. The person I was buying it for had registered at that store, so I visited the registry online before I left the house. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy so I just jotted myself a sticky note to take with me. No need to print the whole registry, right?


Within a few short minutes, I was in the check-out line. The lady at the register asked if this was a registry item. I said, "Yes."

She then asked for my phone number. I mistakenly gave her my zip code -- but I got that figured out! As she was keying it in to her machine, I thought to myself, "Now I wonder how that gets me connected to the registry?" After completing that task, she turned back and said, "No registry?" Confused, I replied that yes it was a registry item as I had already told her. She said, "Well, where is your registry?"


Seems like, I had to have the paper copy in order for her to complete the transaction so that this purchase would be noted in the ELECTRONIC registry that it had been bought.

I had to go over to the registry desk, wait my turn, and then wait some more while their S-L-O-W printer spit out the six or seven sheets of paper. Then, and only then, could the clerk complete the transaction.

The kicker at the end was the final question. She asked, "Would you like the copy of the registry?" Now, I've just bought stuff from this registry. And I can view it online. Why in the world would I need a paper copy? Multiply this transaction times all the people who file through that store and all the BabiesRUs stores nationwide.

Every day.

I'm surprised that there are even any Redwoods left.

So in thinking back, I could have taken the BIG GAMBLE. I could have NOT had the gift keyed into the registry and then taken the chance of it being duplicated by some other gift-giver. Oh horrors! And the gift would have to be returned. Just like the old days.

Okay, I'll climb down off the soapbox now before I get a nosebleed.

What gets your underwear in a knot?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Helpful Questions

I've written in the past how at our Certified Networker events we've incorporated having a question that everyone answers as part of introducing themselves. We can't take credit for this idea, as it originated from author Scott Ginsberg. In his, Power of Approachability, in Appendix A, he lists 55 questions to start a conversation. They are NOT your ordinary questions!

What we've found at our events, is that the question gives the event a jump start. People start feeling more comfortable, especially when another person's answer is similar to their own reply. They now have a CPI as Scott puts it or common point of interest. Plus, it is a heck of a lot of fun.

So the other day I was paging through a Woman's Day magazine. No, I was not in a doctor's office. I must admit that I read every issue of that magazine and have ever since I was a very young housewife. On page 7 of the November 1 issue, all the editors are listed. You know, it's the same in most periodicals. And that's the page that I usually don't spent much time on. But Women's Day has figured out that they also need to connect in different ways with the readers. They now have a question of the month that they pose to their editors. Four or five of their answers are called out on the page with a dotted line to the appropriate name. This month's question is "If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?" One answer that really caught my attention was, "The power to zap myself from point A to point B instantly. I spend way to much time on the subway!"

Will I ever meet this editor, Sarina Green? Probably not, but I feel like I already have. We have a same want in common. I also want to experience time travel.

But that's not the point I'm trying to make here. What really fascinated me, was that a huge corporation with deep pockets for advertising, knows that there is importance in relationship marketing, too. You can bet that I'm going to see if Sarina's answer is highlighted next month. Another reason for me to pick up the magazine on the way through the grocery line.

Kudos to Woman's Day.

What would your answer be to the super power question? Would it mainly benefit you or others?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leadership Toledo, Part III

Today our group of Leadership Toledo members learned how to work together so that when we decide on a project at our next meeting, we'll have an idea of how to use our various personalities and work styles to our advantage. Ernie Lewis of E. A. Lewis Consulting led the day.

To keep the long day from becoming boring or exhausting, our day was broken up by fun things to do, too.

The best part of the day was the scavenger hunt of downtown Toledo. All six teams were sent out with a list of 13 items to find and then we were to photograph the team in front of the item. We found 11 of the 13 and also thought that our photo creativity should have given us bonus points.

For example: One hint was to find two turtles and two frogs. As you can see, Collette Cordova, John Borell, Brad Augustyniak, Dan Peffley and Lynn Eicher decided to pose as frogs. (I was behind the camera.)

Another clue was to find two dates (1875 and 1953). The clue didn't say they were on the same building, but I think Brad was the one who remembered that the Trinity Church, where Leadership Toledo is headquartered, had burnt and been rebuilt. So you can see that the group is paying homage to the church by taking a prayerful stance.

Another task was to find the "surprised George," and you can see the statue in the back of us that fronts Georgio's restaurant. And yes we were cold. Two days ago it was 90 degrees here in NW Ohio and today we were chillin'.

When we analyzed our personalities earlier in the day, our team was heavy with producer personalities. Those are the ones who like to just jump in and do something for the sake of getting something done. We failed in the toothpick and miniature marshmallow, tower building exercise because we didn't think out a plan first. But with the scavenger hunt, we either had great blind luck or as I'd like to think, our intelligence pulled us through!

When was the last time you were on a scavenger hunt and was it fun for you?

Monday, October 08, 2007

PowerPoint Pity

Here I go on PowerPoint again.

I attended a presentation recently. The lights were dimmed and the speaker began his presentation -- you guessed it with PowerPoint. This first slide had FIVE bullet points and each one had a paragraph attached to it. To give the speaker credit, he did know his material and could speak eloquently about it. But his slides really didn't always fit, and they were boring graphs and facts. Ugh!

That very same evening I was a guest of Davis College for an annual event called Dining for Success. The business fraternity organizes this event every year for the students. They get the experience of being at a mock business meal. Also, they usually have a speaker talk about manners and business etiquette at these meals. This year the speaker was my friend, Linda Fayerweather of Changing Lanes, LLC. (that's her to the left. She really didn't have her eyes closed during the whole presentation!) She makes manners fun. She also brings a piece of paper that resembles a place mat with an image of a place setting. She then uses this to teach from. She also puts a few bullet points right on this handout. Simple and effective. No PowerPoint!

Over the last week in our newspaper, there was an article about a local congressman who had agreed to speak before a junior high class. He downloaded a government produced presentation from the web via a memory stick that he then transferred to his laptop. You can imagine his horror when he flashed his first PowerPoint image up on the screen only to see if contained a picture of naked women. Seems his teenage son had been surfing the net and had used the same memory stick. Just think of how much less hot water the congressman would have been in if he had only just talked with the students instead of having the electronic crutch that so many use.

PowerPoint is an excuse that makes for weak presentations, non-focused presentations, boring presentations and sometimes as in the case of the congressman, surprising presentations.

Which side of the PP aisle do you find yourself?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

V.- V.I.P.

Last night Steve and I asked his mom, Marilyn, to go out for dinner. She said that she wanted Italian. That made me remember an email I had received a couple days ago that let me know that our friends, Gus and Cheryl Nicolaidis were having a "soft" opening of their new restaurant, La Scola.

We we arrived at the parking lot, it seemed a little bare, in fact there were cars parked only at the back of the building. The front door was locked and had a handwritten sign saying, "Sorry, our grand opening was mistakenly published as tonight, but it will be Oct. 9."


But my hubby is not to be stopped.

He just sauntered around to the back door and entered the kitchen. Gus was there and invited us in. There was all kinds of food, as it was supposed to be a tasting night for the staff. Cheryl was at the beautiful bar, giving a taste test to a salad.

She immediately made us feel like welcome guests, not party crashers. We took a tour of the nicely done restaurant including the walls of black and white photos of local personalities and even some nationally recognized people. (Me, "Hey, that looks like Eppie Lederer - Dear Abby - in that picture." It was.) All the photos were taken during the 40 - 50's. Marilyn was happy to see that my father-in-law is pictured twice on the wall.

But let me tell you about the food. The plates just kept arriving at the bar where we sat with Cheryl. The most delectable mozzarella I have ever eaten. The olives were a delight. I think at least six different kinds of pasta made their way to our eating board. The veggie Cacciatore was my favorite for the longest time. Then when I thought I could eat no more, the eggplant Parmesan arrived. It was not only the best I've ever had, the portion size meant that I'd have enough for three meals in the doggie bag. And we thought we were done. But a shrimp appetizer arrived. I cut off just a little piece and oh my god, now I won't be able to decide what to order the first time I visit without crashing the party.

Gus had to leave right when we arrived, but Cheryl, made us feel right at home ... just as if we were in her home. You can bet I will be back because I'll want to share this wonderful experience with others.

Thanks, Cheryl and Gus for a night to remember. And since I can't go to the VIP opening because I'll be teaching that evening, I am content with being a V-VIP - that is a very, very important person. That's one who comes in the back door!

What's your favorite restaurant story?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Business Card Etiquette

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have a networking presentation entitled Six Steps to Purposeful Networking that I really like because I can change it to fit a specific situation even as I am speaking.

Several months ago when I arrived at a club to deliver this talk, a member of the audience walked up to me before I had even caught my breath and handled his business card to me, without asking for mine.

So that day, the part of the presentation where I talk about not shoving your own business card at people without asking for theirs first, was eliminated because I wanted to allow that eager beaver to save face. I am really conflicted about doing this, because it is an important message that many people need to hear -- especially the eager beavers of the world.

I know that I am invited to speak as the expert, but if I definitely make someone feel uncomfortable about how they acted with me, they will probably not hear much beyond that specific point of my delivery. And that is the good reaction. The less than wonderful reaction could be that they get defensive and combative for the remaining of the presentation.

Big dilemma. No answer.

Got any?