9 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

June 02, 2009

Winning the media lottery

What do Susan Boyle and Captain "Sully" Sullenberg have in common? 

They both won the media lottery. The became famous, will likely get rich from book deals/speaking gigs and endorsement deals -- and will certainly have every last nerve tried. 

Jon & Kate Gosselin won the media lottery when TLC put their life on display.  They'll make hundreds of thousands and likely divorce. 

The new lottery (get big in the media, get rich) will work just like the old lottery (buy a ticket, get rich). Friends and family will come out of the woodwork wanting money or spreading gossip. Privacy will eventually be the #1 goal in life for the media lottery winners.  Hmmm, maybe there should be a media lottery protection program! 

Here's the point:  Millions of us want to get big to be successful.  We might pursue a music or sporting career.  Maybe we'll try out for a reality show or a singing competition.  Maybe we'll try and get five million followers on Twitter or the hottest video on YouTube.  Rest assured, there's a business model behind getting big. 

But the end results are the same.  Get big and rich fast and struggle to maintain your sanity. Maybe you/I/we should all consider taking a smaller slice of the pie.  PS - I'm cheering for Sully to have his pie and be able to digest it too.  He's one the few that deserve the attention as a true hero. 

April 28, 2009

Wash your hands and go back to work

You don't prevent the Swine Flu in your life by reading about it. 

We are so worn down by bad news, we are likely on tender hooks. Recent news about Swine Flu can tip many of us into a tizzy -- even if we haven't been to Mexico recently or work around someone who has.  

How much time will we waste reading, talking and fearing about this?  Too much, likely.  The crack-cable news outlets are beating the drums now, calling for your precious time and attention. 

Simple advice: Wash your hands often.  When in close corners, and someone coughs or sneezes, hold your breath until you can get out of their proximity (if you are paranoid).  Stay tuned to CDC announcements and NOT typical news outlets.  

Let's stay focused on rebuilding, not rekindling fear. 

PS - Too much fear will kill your sleeping patterns, which will lower your immune system's power to ward off illness.  

February 17, 2009

One extra hour of revenue creating (sales) activity per day

This is targeted to sales, small business owners and entrepreneurs:

The best way to counter the economy's funk is to create your own oasis of good news: with a sale.  This week, you need to add five hours of "money-seeking" time to your schedule.  If you sell a service, go back to some old clients and talk about new value-oriented products you've just launched.  If you have a product with some recent improvements, suck it up and make five cold calls a day this week.  

I'm not talking about marketing or PR, either.  I'm talking about phone or face-to-face "can I write you up for a sale" pitch and close.  For many, it's a bit of a shock to the system -- especially if you've been more reactive in nature over the last few years.  

In my case, I'm reconnecting with meeting planners or bureau agents from years gone by, sharing my new speaking topic (Creating Great Relationships During Tough Times) with them.  I'm also listening to them, understanding what they are going through, and seeing if there's anything I can do to help.   This strategy works, too.  In each week I've invested five incremental hours in sales, a 2009 revenue opportunity was created.  Sure, most people are tight with money right now.  But if you've created a recession-friendly product or service, you can find someone with cash to spend and a need to solve.  

Welcome to the new sales driven world of small business success!  (PS - What else were you going to do with that five hours, graze around the net or office?)


December 02, 2008

Recession strategy: Make yourself emotionally attractive

When times get tough, the average person becomes afraid, defensive and tactical. 

This is no way to succeed in business either in the short, medium or long haul. 

I speak at over a dozen sales conferences every year, it's my fave audience to talk to (as a life long sales pro).  I've done sales conferences during two recessions, and my message is the same:  When the economy is in the tank, make yourself emotionally attractive to your clients.  This was a sage piece of advice I received from the late great Stanley Marcus Jr. (former Chairman of Neiman Marcus).  He told me that when you make yourself emotionally attractive during tough times, you become the lighthouse for customers -- and mop up while your competitors wither and die.  

He should know, he worked through several economic meltdowns.  Why is he right?  Customers buy what they need and sometimes what they want.  In many cases, even when they've been given instructions to cut or eliminate expenses (you), the Customer will fight for you -- depending on how you make them feel.  In other words, the intangible benefits you give (inspiration, positive emotions, stress relief, etc.) boost your perceived value.  

How you can be emotionally attractive to your Customers: 

1.  Humor -- Show a sense of humor, tell jokes, laugh and make it a goal to fave fun at your next sales presentation. 

2.  Inspiration -- Have a positive attitude that defies the emotional/financial gravity of the situation.  Use relevant stories or facts to inspire your Customers to believe in themselves, their business model and the future of the US economy over the long haul.  

3.  Cause/Purpose -- Sign up for a charity, community or environmental program at work.  Share your progress (and excitement about it) with your Customers and if appropriate, invite them to be a part of it.  If your Customer has a cause, and it doesn't require your precious money, join it and help them achieve their purpose driven goals.  This makes it much harder for them to fire you, because they now have to divorce product + a make-a-difference partner. 

4.  Knowledge sharing -- Become a mentor to your clients, and take a sincere interest in their business issues.  Find a great business book that addresses their needs and give it as a well-timed gift.  To paraphrase Dale Carnegie:  "You will accomplish more in the next two months, developing a sincere interest in two people, than you will accomplish in the next two years, trying to get two people interested in you. 


May 17, 2007

Relax your shoulders and keep it real

I'm a big fan of American Idol. I'm not so hooked on the singers or even the format per se, but I love what the show can teach all of us about likeability.

For the last few weeks, I've been doing radio interviews, making predictions about who would win this year and more importantly, who would NOT win.

Here's my belief: If you want to win American Idol or the race for American president, you must have the likeability factor. It is the tie-breaker in life. If you lack emotional appeal, your talent or experience will make you a runner up -- not a winner.

Last night American Idol sent home Melinda Doolittle. I've been predicting for three months that she would be in the final three, but lose. Why? She's got zero personality. She hunches her shoulders (sending a signal that she is not inviting) and feigns false modesty. She was also the best tecnical singer by a country mile. But talent is never enough. At the end of the day, you need to stand up straight, open up your body language and let your personality shine through. Learn a lesson from this season about what it takes to gain the likeability factor from the two finalists:
* Jordan -- She shows empathy for the songs she sings. When she sang Wishing On A Star on Tuesday, she sang it to a real person who she loved and lost. You could see it in her eyes and hear the emotion in her voice. Much like Fantasia won our hearts with empathy a few years ago when she emoted Summertime from Porgy and Bess, Jordan bared her sould for us and we liked her for it. Prediction: Winner this season.
* Blake -- He is a beatboxer and is not afraid to abuse it. He has stuck with what makes him different and it defines him and makes us root for him. Sometimes, people are too flexible and too mallable. Eventually, we don't know who they are. In my book, The Likeability Factor, I stressed keeping it real and standing your ground. Prediction: Lose in the final, but win over time with a big record and maybe a hot band that reminds us of 311 or Sugar Ray.


April 20, 2007

Don't live on poison

Luckily for me, I finally sat down with my family and watched The Secret last night. We couldn't watch anymore news coverage or mindless sitcom or reality programming.

The Secret's concept is simple: Think thoughts that are positive, focus on feeling good. If you do, you'll attract good into your life. Focus on what you want to accomplish instead of what you want to destroy.

Simple enough, but certainly not my strategy in this tragedy filled week. I've been on a tear about social responsibility in the media. I've been upset most of the week. You may be having the same gray week. Our thought patterns are negative right now, ranging from shock to outrage. All we are doing is attracting more negatives into our lives. I've noticed that counter service has been surly, drivers have honked at me and a neighbor's dog growled at me like I was a cat burglar. Why? My thoughts were sending out a negative vibe and attracting like vibes back into my life.

So today I'm going to focus on what makes me feel good. I'm going to spend time today visualizing what I want next year (to produce a book that inspires others to make a difference) and I'm going to diet on positive thinking today. I'm not going to logon to any website that carries news headlines. I'm not going to watch live TV tonight or this weekend.

You cannot live on poison. You mind lives on the media you consume and the conversations that you have. Don't poison your mind, because your attitude, outlook and personality depends on it. You can't be happy with negative thoughts coursing through your brain. It is your choice, not the media's.

Today I want you to think of one thing that you do in life that makes you feel good. Carve one hour out of your schedule either today (work) or this weekend (personal) and do what makes you feel good. Give back. Mentor a new team member. Play your guitar. Pet your dog and think about the best day you ever had in camp as a kid. Whatever, just do it.

On Sunday night, right before you go to bed, take out a piece of paper and write down three things you are grateful for. If possible, relate these points of gratitude to your job or family. You'll find that Monday will meet you with a good attitude and you will attract people with good attitudes into your day.

Next week will/can/must be a better week. It's your thought.


April 18, 2007

Don't make killers rock stars (Part 2)

NBC did not do the socially responsible thing with their prize package (the video manifesto of the killer).

One expert calls their decision a "social catastrophy" -- read the article here.

Now Cho Seung-Hui's video is being played millions of times on TVs, laptops and PCs, some of them owned by future school shooters. He's getting more views than any YouTube video EVER released. Talk about inspiring other school shooters!!

There is ample research and examples to make this case. Check out The Copycat Effect.

The video proclaims that "I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people." And he gets airtime and webtime to spew this? I can't believe how irresponsible media sources like NBC and a host of online portals are being. Once let out of the bottle, this newly minted rock star will use the power of sight sound and motion to further his cause after death. If I were NBC I would have squashed it. Give it to the authorities and never show it. They won't show the footage when Steve Irwin was killed, too disturbing. But the media and online publishers cannot resist this video.

Did you notice that in the distributed video, NBC placed their logo in the upper left hand corner? Where ever you see it, they wanted the credit! Do you think he chose them because they have the best programming? Was it because he admired Must See TV?

Do they think that they are generating incremental page views or eyeballs for ad revenue? Ridiculous! No advertiser gets ANY value from this association. In my experience, ad buyers never want to associate with tragedy.

Do you remember when the media finally wised up and stopped showing planes flying into the towers????

I remember back in 2001 after September 11, all the portals took down ads on the home page and focused on Red Cross. "No profiteering on tragedy" was the social norm. Them days are over. I'm worried about the power and lack of accountability of big media.

If you know any advertisers or ad agencies, email them this post and tell them to refuse to pay for ad impressions served against this tragedy. If you know anyone at a newspaper, a web portal or a television station/outlet, tell them how you feel. I've done the best I can, contacting Jerry Yang at Yahoo, execs at GE and even major sites like Huffington Post and MSN. Let's make a difference right now and show that backlash can control the fifth estate.

Thanks to Dave @ 40 N 83 W, who used his blog to do just that. He also posted contact information for NBC as well as their #1 ad buyer, P&G. Check it out here.


Smile like you mean it

In the game of life, you have to smile your way to the goal line.

Last night, on American Idol, smiling was the key to vote getting. In my book, The Likeability Factor, I argue that friendliness is the key to being likeable. A big part of that is decoded by others based on the look on your face.

On the show last night, only a few contestants smiled and it made a difference:
1. Phil and Jordin had the most generous smiles and came in first and second place on DialIdol (which is a great resource for fans.)
2. Sanjaya smiled when he was criticized, which might save him. He will be in the bottom three tonight because his singing was at best weak. Like I've said before, American Idol is a talent sensitive likeability competition.
3. Lakisha scowled through her song and will be in the bottom three tonight -- and perhaps get voted off.

From the competition for American president to American Idol, the likeability factor is the tie-breaker. Whether you are at work, school or the store, smile. When you get honest feedback from the judges in your life, take it with a smile.


April 17, 2007

Don't make killers rock stars

OK, usually I don't comment on these things, but I can't help here.

Cho Seung-Hui's face doesn't deserve to be on the home page of Yahoo, the New York Times or next week's Time magazine. To put his picture there guarantees the creation of new school shooters. When you can get this famous by killing people, it creates inspiration to vent your depression/frustration/anger with violence.

There is ample research and examples to make this case. Check out The Copycat Effect.

I will collect some studies to prove this and add them to this post, I've read them over the last few years. Media organizations (and people talking at the water cooler) need to remember that giving someone attention and focus gives them value. Numerous studies in Europe prove that when you put a terrorist or a serial killer on the front page of a a newspaper, you create a new one.

Let's focus on the tragedy and what we can learn about it. I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to understand what was wrong with Cho Seung-Hui, or the warning signs that we should pay attention to. I mean that we shoudln't make him prominent, use his name or display his picture. He's not worth it. He accomplished nothing.

PS -- NBC did not do the socially responsible thing today (Tuesday). Now his video is being played million of times on laptops owned by future school shooters. He's getting more views than any YouTube video EVER released. Talk about inspiring other school shooters!!

The video proclaims that "I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people." And he gets airtime and webtime to spew this? I can't believe how irresponsible media sources like NBC and a host of online portals are being. Once let out of the bottle, this newly minted rock star will use the power of sight sound and motion to further his cause after death. If I were NBC I would have squashed it. Give it to the authorities and never show it. They won't show the footage when Steve Irwin was killed, too distrurbing. But the media and online publishers cannot resist this video. Do they think that they are generating incremental page views or eyeballs for ad revenue? Ridiculous! No advertiser (like Netflix on Yahoo) gets ANY value from this association. In my experience, ad buyers never want to associate with tragedy.

Do you remember when the media finally wised up and stopped showing planes flying into the towers????