Monday, February 29, 2016

3 Mistakes Every Author Needs to Avoid

Is there anything worse than coming in last? Well, it happened to me this past week. I entered a cherry pie contest. I shouldn’t have. I’ve never baked a cherry pie in my life, but I thought, how hard can it be to bake a cherry pie? And then, my pie came in dead last.

In retrospect, I made 3 huge mistakes: 

1. Instead of making a traditional cherry pie, I made an unusual cherry pie.
2. I made the assumption that I was better at baking than my competition without knowing anything about my fellow bakers.
3. I assumed that knowing the basics of how to bake a pie would be enough to bake a great pie.

Then I realized I’d made the same 3 mistakes I help authors avoid. 

Mistake #1:  Thinking you need a trick, a gimmick, or a hook to get your book to stand out. When people are looking for a way to solve their problems, they aren’t looking for any of those things. They’re searching for answers. Avoid this mistake by making sure your book truly addresses and answers your audience’s problems and needs. Don’t let the quality of your content end up buried under tricks, gimmicks, or hooks.
Mistake #2Thinking about what your competition is doing in the wrong way. Don't focus on figuring out how to be better than your competition. This kind of thinking/strategy rarely works. Anytime you look at your work and think the goal is to be just a little bit better or different than your competition’s, it's highly unlikely your work will reach its full potential. Focus on bringing what you have to offer to the table knowing that you’ve done a first-rate job of preparing and presenting your quality content. Couple that with your sincere intentions and goals, and your audience will devour your content.
Mistake #3:  Thinking that because you did some writing in high school and college, it will be easy for you to bake a pie—oops—I mean write a book. You’ve worked hard to become an expert at what you do. Writing a book requires a level of expertise too, but very likely, a different kind of expertise than you currently possess. Don’t hold yourself to writing standards you haven’t had enough experience or education to reach yet. There are so many ways to get your book written that don’t require sitting down and struggling with trying to write when writing isn’t your strong suit. The more you struggle, the longer it’s going to take, and the more likely your audience is going to notice.
Each of these mistakes can be avoided. And yes, you could scour the internet to figure it all out, but do you really have that much extra time on your hands? Consulting with an expert like me can shorten your learning curve, and help you get your book to market sooner. Like everything else in life though, it starts with a choice. Are you ready to write your book? 

P.S. In case you're interested, I baked a black cherry pie with a chocolate pecan shortbread cookie crust. Delicious, but not what the judges were looking for.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

3 Ways to Boost Your Time Management Effectiveness and Enjoy A More Fulfilling Life

There’s an old saying that if you want help with getting something done, ask a busy person to help you. Everyone knows at least one person like this – the person who always manages to cross everything off their list by the end of the day or week.

Part of their ability to consistently manage their time effectively is based on the fact that they have a system they follow. The better the system, like with the Pareto Principle which states that roughly 80% of our results come from 20% of our work, the more likely someone is to look like they just have a talent for managing their time.

Professionals have used this principle to mercilessly reschedule their time and whittle down their client/customer lists to build a stronger business platform. But truly rounded professionals have learned that this principle can be applied to their personal lives as well. From a strictly time management perspective, what activities are you participating in outside of work that have a positive impact on your life?

Would it surprise you to learn that the average person spends almost 5 hours a day in front of the TV? Perhaps, if the whole family is watching TV together, it could be called “family” time, but let’s not kid ourselves. Until we’re ready to take an honest look at the way we spend our time outside of work too, we will continue to miss opportunities for identifying the 20% of our activities that will bring us 80% of our happiness, relaxation, joy, love, sense of contribution, and peace. Here are 3 ideas that might help you identify your outside-of-work 20%.

1.  Make a list of all your family and friends and decide which category each person fits into. This can be tough to do, but asking and answering these questions will help. 

  • If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, who would you pick to spend today with? 
  • If you were going to live another 80 years, who would you want to spend all that time with?

2.  Remember that you are either in or out of someone else’s 20%. Sometimes we just assume we’re in simply because we’re family or a friend. But think about what you’re bringing to someone else’s table. Do your family and friends know how you feel about them? And even if you’re not great with saying the words, are you doing a good job of making sure the people you care about know you care about them? Anyone can add this to their busy schedule. It takes less than a minute to make sure someone gets the message that we care.

3. Make sure your work schedule includes enough time for you to enjoy your life right now. Even if you’re putting in long hours in at work for all the right reasons, there’s no greater regret than knowing that we willingly let the important people and moments in our lives slip by without a second thought.

The truly wonderful thing about waking up each morning is that it’s another opportunity to do a little bit better today, than we did yesterday. Broaden your perspective when it comes to your time management strategies and you will have every reason to smile, every morning.

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new
product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at

Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Easy Way for Professional Speakers to Explode Referrals from Each Speaking Gig!

My speech was over and audience members were filing out of the room.

Over 100 people had just experienced my signature keynote on The 7 Deadliest Communication Sins.

One woman, with her business card and a completed feedback form in hand came up to speak with me.

She said “your topic is something we need at our company and I’d like to see about bringing you in for a program. Of course, I have to authority to that." Of course.

That’s always the good news/bad news of some of the people in audiences.

They loved the experience of what they just heard and have absolutely no hiring authority.

It didn’t matter, really, because the second best reference for me to get other speaking gigs is that person who was so inspired by my message.  They are ready, willing, and able to introduce me to the person with the authority.

We’ll be speaking next week.

Now that was one percent of my audience actively came up to me with an opportunity.

I’d have to speak to a lot of audiences to build my speaking business at those rates.

The other good news is I have a process to improve those percentages.

All audience members are incentivized to submit  my “feedback form.” And, this feedback form doubles as a lead magnet in two ways:

1.     There is a box that reads “I am interested in more information about having Skip present a similar program to a company/organization with which I am involved.”

2.     There is a space for attendees to submit a question they have that they didn’t have an opportunity to ask during the session.

Historically, about 5% of the audience will check the box for more information on having me speak somewhere else.

And, secondly about 10% will submit questions they’d like my help with for situations they’re dealing with in “real-time.” These questions allow me an opportunity to engage with them via email and can lead easily to other opportunities.

In an audience of 100, where one will come up to speak with me about referring me in, the two other feedback form strategies raise that number of potential business opportunities 16 (5 from the check-off box and 10 from the question submission).

The moral of the story is to always have some way for session attendees to request more information from you. And, make it easy for them to do so.

My incentive to submit the feedback form is typically three or four free digital gifts related to the session. About 30-40% of the audience will request those free gifts and they need to provide their contact information to get it.

If you would like a sample of one of the feedback forms I use email me at

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

Skip works with aspiring speakers to improve their presentation skills and programs around content, organization and delivery, while also working with the owners and CEOs of small businesses with between 6-60 employees to improve communication in the workplace.

The work Skip does with his small business clients can transform work environments in as little as 90-days to create a championhip company cultures that are more positive, more productive and even more profitable.

For more tips on making your speeches even more dynamic go to

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Less is more. I’d been confused by that statement on more than one occasion. Every time I think I really do ‘get it’ another opportunity comes along so that I can ‘get it’ at a more significant level. This has a lot of meaning to a lot of different people. I have a friend that contemplates her own mortality now that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and had procedures. To her it means having less stuff to keep, clean, care for and moving of said stuff which equals more living to be had.

Wiki tells me that simplicity is preferable to complexity. I myself have found that often too many words complicate a description or explanation. Fewer words equal more understanding or at the least less chance for confusion. I’ve also seen it used to describe interior decoration and architecture design. Less clutter equals more aesthetically pleasing rooms and lines. Less time equals more focus. Less restriction equals more freedom. What does it mean to you?

In which ways could you change things in your life from less to more? Would you use fewer words? Would you unclutter your space? Perhaps you would pass on some of your belongings. What would you have less of and how would that produce more for you?

I’d love to engage with you on this subject. Please add to the comments or reach out to me personally through my website.

Lucinda Smith
Coach ~ Speaker
Life Transformationalist
Soulutions for Living