Saturday, February 28, 2015

Now, Shut Your Mouth To Success

Image result for gossip

Gossip can be difficult to avoid because it’s all around us. You’d be hard pressed to find a TV show or movie that doesn't have gossip in it. The same goes for books. There are even “news” programs dedicated entirely to gossip.

We’re all guilty too. At one time or another, just about everybody has shared a nice juicy piece of gossip with a coworker—or two. Even if you haven’t been the one doing the talking, you've probably found yourself standing in the break room sharing a good gossipy laugh until the person you’re talking about walks in.

In fact, gossip has become so prevalent that it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that a little gossiping every now and then is perfectly acceptable behavior. Don’t believe it. Gossip can end relationships. In a business setting, gossip can end the business relationship you were counting on for income.

There are definitely times when it’s hard to decide if what someone is saying has crossed the line from being relevant business information over to providing observations or details that are outside the scope of the current situation. You can’t stop people from gossiping. But there are a few rules you can follow so gossip won’t interfere with your ability to build solid and successful business relationships. Here are three:

1.      Don’t say things about other people you wouldn't be willing to say to them directly. This isn't the old adage of only saying good things about other people. In business, sometimes the facts are the facts and they may not always be nice facts. But they are what they are, and sometimes those facts are the difference between securing, keeping, or losing an account. Don’t embellish. Stick with the truth and you won’t have any trouble remembering what you said if you have to repeat it.
2.      Remember that how you speak about your co-workers, business associates, and clients is the way your co-workers, business associates, and clients believe you speak about them in their absence. When you speak well of the people you do business with, you’ll be building business relationships based on trust and respect. That won’t happen if you gossip.
3.      There might be people you’re thinking about doing business with who gossip to you. We all want to be liked, and we definitely want to build our business relationships to increase our income, but don’t give into the gossip game thinking it will help. That’s not to say you shouldn't do business with people who like to gossip. You might find yourself bluffing your way through a few uncomfortable conversations, but stick to your business strengths and ethics.

When you follow simple rules like these, you’ll be putting yourself in a better position to build solid long-term business relationships….  Well, that’s what I heard.

Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach and Speaker with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, and sales and product training. He holds key accounts with a national sustainable packaging company, is a motivational speaker, and provides sales training to individuals and groups. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Real-Life: The Latest Trend in Design

I am a tried-and-true kind of girl. I like things that have proven their reliability and outcomes. I do not care for change; just for change sake. I prefer to tweak what I know has been working; I think of it as methodical change for an improved outcome.

To that end; I do not typically jump onto “trending” bandwagons. Trends are a bit to fluid for my taste, by the time they make sense to me and shown me their value they are gone and another one moves in.

However, when I opened an iStockphoto e-newsletter sharing what is trending in design for 2015 I could instantly see the power and importance behind each described trend.

Following are a few examples that highlight relationship-building via imagery:

  1. Bringing the differences of all people into the forefront. I love, love, love this. The world is bursting at the seams with individuals taking a courageous stand in showing the world just how unique and different they are. It pleases me greatly to see a trend in marketing design that is inclusive of these very brave individuals. To me this really ties in the human-kind, emotional relationship building aspect of marketing your business.
  2. Woman power. Yes! Now more than ever we have a plethora of dynamic women; wearing their victories, their challenges, their defeats, their truths, their sadness; and their values and talents proud and publicly. They inspire others. Change happens because of them. In brands where it makes sense to do so, using this trend will surely create memorable and meaningful messages.
  3. This is how I see it. In the ever increasing “normalcy” of selfies and body-cams use it actually makes perfect sense that images of the sort are trending this year. It’s all about seeing it from the “actual doing” view point…not the look what “you could do” view point. This approach is fun, exciting, makes one’s heart beat a bit faster, has the viewer actually feeling like they are already there experiencing whatever it is you are offering. It brings the people into, and part-of, your marketing design. Not just designing FOR them, but in a way – WITH them. All I can say is, WOW! I’m in!
  4. See with your sense of taste. Yes, you read that correctly. Seeing is not just for the eyes anymore. Images are becoming more focused and deliberate in how they create the availability to be absorbed by not only the eyes, but by our other senses as well. Imagine tasting the juiciness of the watermelon, or feeling the sharpness of a blade of grass or the smell of a newborn just by seeing its image. It is happening folks; and it is a super engaging whole body experience. This trend can be used in so many industries and be amazingly effective in marketing results. Photographers take note and if not already; brush up on those macro photo taking skills; your services in this area will be highly requested.
There are four more trends that are equally great. Here is a link to the actual article – actually they are set up as short video’s; one for each of the (8) 2015 Design Trends. Take a look. You will be happy you did.

I’d love for you to leave a comment as to which 2015 trend(s) you plan on incorporating into your marketing (designs), or not, this year and why.

Until next time, happy marketing!

Chana Monahan
Greenhouse Graphics, llc. Where Ideas Grow


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Unexpected Turn of Fate

Many years ago my Mother and Father took in a stray cat. He was mostly black with some white spots.
They called him Blackie the Cat. He was a good companion for them and their household.
He had the sharpest claws I had ever seen on a cat. Blackie had a thing about tearing through the house and he would swat at anyone’s ankles and legs that were in range. And it didn't matter who it was.
I wasn't a fan of this cat.
One day Blackie took a swat at my Mothers leg and got her good. He cut her leg wide open with his claws. She was bleeding pretty badly. My father immediately wrapped her leg and stopped the bleeding. Within a week my Mom came down with a severe fever and an upset stomach that sent her to the Emergency Room.
The Doctors ran blood tests and determined she had sepsis. I was much younger and did not know what sepsis was. The attending Nurse that was assisting knew my brother and she told us this is pretty serious blood infection and it could be fatal. She said the infection has reached serious level in her blood stream. The Doctor administered an aggressive medication he called the “Antiseptic Bomb” to kill the infection. He told us to pray.
And we did! I also had thoughts and visions of what Blackie’s fate was going to be. Thankfully, the antiseptic bomb worked. This Doctor wasn't your average run of the mill Emergency Room Doctor which is cure the ailment and send them home.
I noticed a peculiar way the Doctor would act when he came in the room. He seemed a suspicious and puzzled about something. He was PAYING ATTENTION to an intuition he had.
He informed us he was going to run a full MRI on my Mom. He felt the infection level was much higher than a cat scratch should have caused. When the results came back it showed a cancerous tumor on my Mom’s kidney. She was operated on to remove the Kidney immediately. The cancer stayed encapsulated on that kidney and it never spread anywhere else. Within a week my Mom was home.
I accompanied my Mother on the follow up appointment with the Doctor. He told us in reality that the cat was the true hero. The cat scratch triggered the infection (sepsis) otherwise the cancer not diagnosed would have spread within a few short months. The Doctor revealed it was a very aggressive and deadly form of cancer. This occurred over 10 years ago. My Mom to this day still has a clean bill of health.
Blackie the cat saved my Mother’s life. Unfortunately, Blackie is in cat heaven right now and it was from natural causes. In my opinion, The Doctor was also a hero! If his intuition did not lead him to run the MRI in the emergency room (which in reality is a rare request these days) my Mom would not be here today.

The moral of this story is not to pre-judge events or circumstances in your life. Sometimes fate will intervene to make things right. My Family and I to this day are grateful that this Doctor PAID ATTENTION to his professional wit and gut instincts to make the absolute right choice for my mom. He went above and beyond.
We should all commit to this excellence in what we do daily. We should strive make it a code to always go above and beyond our call of duty to those we serve everyday. 

John P. Slosek,Jr. 
Certified Speaker for John Maxwell 
Exclusive Agent for Allstate 
"Let's talk about Retirement Income" 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What is One of the Best Ways to Improve Your Business?

I just returned from another seminar in New York City given by Peter Shankman the founder of HARO or Help a Reporter Out. His seminar, entitled Shankminds, is a day long mastermind group which brings together entrepreneurs, from a variety of backgrounds, who listen to the most pressing problems that are presented by each participant and then provide their suggestions on how you can move to the next level in your business. The process is quite interesting and is very productive and allows you to view what is sometimes obvious to others but somehow escapes your critical eye. So what was the big take away from this event for me?


Each and every day we come into contact with people that can provide us with tremendous insight. We meet people with various types and levels of expertise, educational backgrounds, experience, creativity and the ability to help out those around them. I was fortunate enough to meet a very entrepreneurial branding expert who was an amazing font of information. I was able to discuss a number of my business development issues with her and she immediately provided me with some very insightful, helpful and clever branding and marketing strategies. How many people are there around you that could provide you with the same type of assistance? How many people do you know that could benefit from your expertise and experience?


One of my favorite self-help books, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich talks about the power of the mastermind alliance. The importance of such an amalgamation of like-minded entrepreneurial individuals cannot be sufficiently overstated. If you were to put together such a group of people, and meet on a regular basis, then you could gain the insights, experience and expertise that you might otherwise have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to obtain. So why are you not looking into this very valuable resource that can help you get to that next point in your business growth and development?


A great place to start is to develop a list of people who have the quality and attributes that would make for a great mastermind alliance member. Who are your go to experts? Who are the people on your email lists, customer or client lists, people in your social circles, or those in your community who are held in high regard that you could invite to be a part of a group that could meet on a regular basis either in person or through a teleconference? If you are going to form a mastermind alliance that will meet telephonically then you can make a list of your competitors in different parts of the country who you could connect with and invite to your group who could provide you with the best practices of what they are doing and you could share the same information with them so that both of you could benefit from this information without impacting your local markets.


In order to attract these talented individuals, you need to be in a position to show them what's in it for them. What other individuals will you have in your mastermind alliance that could add value to each new invited participant? How would this be a productive use of that person's time? What is the format of the meeting and how will it be run? You need to develop some type of compelling reason as to why the individuals that you invite would want to become a member. You need to have a limited number of people that can present very valuable information at each meeting so that each participant is able to take away some important tip or technique that they can utilize in their business.


The contacts that you will make, the information that you will receive, the energy that will be shared, and the accountability that will be required of each participant in the group will be invaluable. This will present a regular opportunity for each member of the alliance to review their best practices, what is new and exciting as far as methods, apps, or programs that people are utilizing and requires that each member of the group regularly prepare for these meetings. It provides each member with a group of accountability coaches and forces people to get tasks done that might otherwise fall by the wayside or require additional amounts of time.


I have participated in these groups and have been quite impressed with how much more productive I can be. I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to do business because I want to share this information with my fellow group members. I advise the group what project or task I intend to complete by the next meeting which forces me to make sure that I get this done because members of the group will point out my lack of follow through which only makes me feel like I have not lived up to my responsibilities to the group. Please consider putting together a mastermind alliance because the benefits are tremendous and the energy and contacts that you will take from this are exceptional.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Avoid Procrastination and Eat That Frog!

Between work and family life, many of us are overstressed with too many commitments, tasks and projects. We feel bad when we can’t get it all done in a certain timeframe. We say, “I didn’t have enough time.”

What if you could feel good everyday, without worrying about that task that constantly distracts you from gaining momentum? What if you could better manage your time and get those important things done before they become ugly and urgent. Wouldn’t it be nice to unload the weight of that stressful feeling?

You can, with this simple trick.

Every evening before you go to bed, write down the 3 things that need to get done tomorrow.  Rank them in order, with 1 being the most important, then 2 and 3. When you first begin this practice, you’ll find you are working on urgent and important tasks that need to be done now and throughout the current week. Once you move into week two and three, you’ll start noticing you are working on tasks that are not urgent, but are still very important. These tasks may not be due until a week or two from now, thus elevating that stressful feeling of constantly being under a deadline. When you reach this level of efficiency, you will start experiencing “flow”, and you will begin to master your time.

In his book, “Eat That Frog”, Brain Tracy talks about getting that one thing done first thing in the morning, so the rest of the day you feel alive and productive. The book has many tips and strategies to tackle procrastination, so we could all better manage our time and get the most important things done first. He states, “It has been said for many years that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

What if you need to eat two frogs? Eat the ugliest one first.

As a Professional Organizer, Speaker, Author, Podcast Producer & Host, Rick Woods helps residents and businesses make room for clarity, by getting rid of the clutter that gets in their way.

Rick’s newly released book “Make Room for Clarity” is a step by step guide to getting rid of the clutter that gets in your way. Available on Amazon. Listen to Rick's free weekly iTunes & Stitcher podcast "Make Room For Clarity", which focuses on interviewing business & health experts by visiting

Inquire about Rick's professional organizing business, "The Functional Organizer, LLC.", which focuses on decluttering, organizing, paper filing and time management by visiting

Saturday, February 21, 2015

No One Cares About What You Want to Speak About - Here's How to Overcome This Challenge

Have you ever heard speakers say things like:
  • "Today I'm going to share with you..." or 
  • "I'd like to tell you about..." or 
  • "Let me tell you a story" ?

Whenever you hear those statements from a speaker what is your initial reaction?

You may, or you may not be like me, but if you were like me your immediate thoughts would be something like:
  • I don't really care what you're going to share with me, tell me why I should care first.
  • I don't really care what you'd like to tell me about, how does it relate to me.
  • Why should I let you tell me a story? And, anyway you've got the stage, I'm in a seat in the audience I have no power to let you do anything, I'm stuck here listening.
Have you ever felt the same way?

With those types of lead in statements the speaker comes across as making the information all about him or her. It sends the message that they are the expert and the genius and you are going to learning something magnificent just by listening to them speak.

It is an arrogant and condescending way to present.

Your audience members will either overtly be turned off by that type of language or they will unconsciously sense that you care more about yourself than them.

Powerful speakers know and practice using "you" statements that lead into the stories and points they want their audience to learn.

Just like I opened this blog article with the statement "have you ever" using that language to direct the audience's attention towards their own experience related to a point you are about to make.

Here are three slight adjustments to the "I' versions of the statements above that will make you an even more powerful presenter:
  • Instead of saying, "today I am going to share with you," turn that around to make your point in a more powerful and engaging way with, "today you are going to hear about..."
  • Instead of saying, "I'd like to tell you about," have your audience lean in to listen even more intently when you say, "you are going to learn about."
  • Instead of saying, "Let me tell you a story," engage your audience's curiosity by saying, "if you've ever had this happen, then you know what I went through just getting here today."
Here's a 9-second video clip of what I'm talking about, notice the "you" focused statements I use here:

More on powerful "you" focused statements to connect with and build deeper audience relationships next month.

If you'd like to learn more easy to apply, World Class Speaking strategies to set you apart  join the  PresentationPower for Leaders Community for FREE to receive a weekly Presentation Power Tip that can transform your presentation skills.

Skip Weisman is The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert, and is a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches.  

Skip works with the owners of companies with between 6-60 employees to transform workplace communication in 90-days and create a more positive, more productive and even more profitable company. 

Additionally, he coaches and trains business professionals and professional speakers to become a World Class Speaker and presenter that can inspire and motivate any type of audience.  You can learn more about Skip at and .

Friday, February 20, 2015

Love It Or Leave It! How to Fall Back in Love With Your Job (or Get Outta There)

Want to rekindle your interest in your job? Try one of these tips:

1. Reconnect with why you started this job in the first place.
2. Recall the company’s values and in what ways you align.
3. Think of at least 5 ways the job supports and improves your strengths.
4. Think of 5 ways to demonstrate your strengths at work more often.
5. Think of 3 ways to have more fun at work every single day.
6. Let go of any personal grudges.
7. Make new friends.
8. Find a mentor or create a mastermind group.
9. Volunteer for a project or committee, increasing visibility and leadership profile.
10. Quit a committee you've lost interest in (preferably by grooming someone else for the role).
11. Form a professional or leadership association in your profession but outside your company.
12. Form a mastermind or dreamers group inside your company.
13. Ask for a personal development or a non-work-related workshop for yourself and a group of co-workers.
14. Expand your network – attend talks, workshops, conferences, professional association meetings.
15. Each morning, think of one thing you're looking forward to, rather than dwell on the drudgery of going to work.
16. Place something in your workspace that makes you smile (or even better, that makes you laugh!)
17. Decide what you would do differently if you were the boss, and see if you can influence any changes.
18. Avoid water cooler gossip and start a different kind of conversation.
19. Broaden your skills – get the training you need to move up.
20. Revisit your accomplishments by updating your resume (just in case!)

If none of these will do the trick and you really need a bigger change, perhaps it is time to get outta there. In that case, start working your professional networks to find out where the grass may be greener. Remember, your success and happiness is your responsibility. Do something about it!

Linda Spevacek is an innovative speaker, author and coach who can help you create prosperity across all aspects of your life. For speaking topics and programs, visit

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Do you find grocery shopping to be gruesome?

Shopping can be a time consuming and dreaded task. In fact I have spent years attempting to take grocery shopping off my Top 10 list of Things I Don’t Want To Do This Week! My 2 Week Menu Planner & Shopping List Strategy can turn your shopping nightmare into a more pleasant experience.

Here are a few tips
1. Plan your menu for two weeks rather than one.  Using the 2 week method will cut down on your time in the grocery store.
2. Make two lists. First your main list, meats, canned goods, produce, frozen and refrigerator foods that will sustain two weeks. Second your supplemental list with dairy and produce that may not last or you may not have the space to store through the second week,
3. Put your 2nd list in your wallet for easy access at the end of week 1 or beginning of week 2.
4. Go shopping.
5. When putting your groceries away, organize the pantry and fridge in a manner that will allow you to access the products you need in the order in which you will need them.  For instance, any meat you might need for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday you would leave right in the fridge, freeze the rest.  Canned goods, stack the ones you need first in front and follow with each days behind or to the side in a manner that is most convenient for you to access.

Utilizing these tips will help you cut your Gruesome Grocery Shopping time in ½ and allow you to create more time for the pleasant things in life, spending time with your loved ones, reading a book or catching up on a mini series you have lost track of.

For more information on My 2 Week Menu Planner & Shopping List Strategy click on the link below to connect with me.

Virginia Ann Griffiths
Parent Time & Stress
Management Strategist
We Leap Coaching
(860) 485-8341

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Whenever we discuss customer service, the subject of the irate customer arises. Some actually refer to the person as “the Customer from Hell.” You will recognize the person immediately by their tone of voice, their words, and their body language. They have built up a good head of steam.

Wait a minute! If the customer is in Hell, quite likely someone or something in your company drove them there. This interaction is your opportunity to rescue them from Hell, alive and appreciative, if at all possible.

When confronted with a customer who is demonstrating emotion you must give them the opportunity to work through the emotion before you can start problem solving. Searching for a solution before the emotion is addressed can allow the emotion to remain and fester.
Address the emotion, without emphasizing it. You might say, “I can hear your frustration.” (But not, “You sound angry enough to kill someone.” Why give them ideas?)

Invite them to tell you what is happening. Say something like, “Could you please tell me exactly what happened?”

Validate what they are feeling.  “The delivery arrived too late for the party? No wonder you were frustrated.” Or, "I'd feel that way, too."

Actively Listen to them. If you are face to face, make eye contact, nod encouragingly. If you are on the phone, say that you understand, or make sounds of empathy. This assures the customer that you are engaged, and have not put the phone down and walked away. It may be appropriate to let the customer know you are taking notes.

Withhold Your Own Emotion. The customer has enough emotion for both of you. You are not to emote, not to defend (or blaspheme) a coworker or company policy. If you feel you are being verbally attacked, set that aside for the moment. One of you needs to be analytical and dispassionate, and that’s you.

Nonjudgmentally Rephrase what you heard as opportunity presents. “Sounds as though” or perhaps, “If I heard you correctly…”  

Partner toward Possible Solutions: Once the emotion has been addressed, and only then, you can begin to work with your customer on a mutually satisfactory solution. That is how you get rid of the customer from Hell~~by respectfully leading them out of Hell and back to the world of working partnerships.

Jeannie Newman, founder and president of JZN Associates, is the go-to person for all your group's Emotional Intelligence needs. She brings her experience, compassion, and sense of humor to the arena of social skills. She is available for guided discussions, workshops, and seminars on all related topics. Not sure if she can help your group? Attend one of her talks. Find out more at; join her on LinkedIn.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Welcome back Fellow Movers and Shakers!  The date is February 16th, 2015.
Today’s Blog:  “Building Your Business; Plan, Delegate, Review”

If you’re like me (and I know I am), you started formulating “thoughts” well before you actually considered it a plan.  For me, I personally started to “think” almost two years before I actually began formulating and executing my plan. 

I believe many of us begin with an idea, which we ultimately will cautiously be able to turn into a plan.  Whether you found the blueprint for this plan from the library, google, or a friend. . .you develop it into a business plan.  A plan would include a mission statement, timelines, budgets, top line and profitability goals, etc. . .

And in the beginning, as you build the base of your business, and try to development momentum, you will do everything possible to work develop a strong foundation; one that will result in long-term efficiency and profitability.  Your title might as well be “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer”, as it means you not only head up the Executive Team, but probably also take out the trash!

One of the great challenges of being a “solo-preneur” is recognizing when you’re no longer maximizing your profit potential.  This realization starts to hit when you find yourself doing necessary, but possibly non-productive/profitable tasks.  You find yourself juggling tasks to do what is profit generating short-term although there are other long-term projects that need to be done as well.  You are realizing momentum, but have to now face difficult decisions to keep growing.  It’s time to clone yourself!

Expanding your business by adding manpower is a difficult and often frightening decision for a new business.  We often hesitate to hire support personnel for fear that it will bite into our own profits, and may not generate revenue.  This is a key tenet to consider.

When I look to add support personnel, one of two things needs to happen:
1.      They need to be able to generate enough revenue to cover their own expenses  (self sustaining), or
2.      They need to allow me to offload tasks which will then allow me to generate enough revenue to cover their expenses, and add to the profitability of the business.
The goal should be that #1 and #2 above both add profitability to the business.  That being said however, there are times when a break-even situation will allow you lessen your work load, resulting in a better lifestyle.

Once you make that decision to hire, the next steps are as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1.      Plan.  Plan on what your new hire should be responsible for.  Lay out a training period and make sure their responsibilities are clearly laid out.  Both of you need to understand what their responsibilities are, as well as how it will benefit your business.
2.      Delegate.  As your new hire becomes more accustomed to the nuances of your business, delegate additional responsibilities to them to further expand their contribution to the business.
3.      Review.  Probably the most important step is the review process.  This is your business and your responsibility.  Failure is not the new hires fault, it is yours for not training properly, delegating or reviewing to make sure they “stay on course”.

My name is Bill Miranda.  I can help you develop World Class Customer Service organizations, Marketing Strategies, and Dynamic Sales Strategies and Tactics. 
E-mail me for more information, and a free telephone consultation.
Next Month:  “Dealing with Seasonal Downturns”