How You Can Profit From Being Kind

October 1st, 2015

36062000_sThe single most important aspect of business is the finesse you exhibit when you are with your “audience.” In coaching and teaching communication leadership, I often remind learners to “be kind to your audience.” And I constantly remind them to, “Take responsibility for your audience’s experience of you.”

Who is your audience? Everyone around you.

Whether you are sitting with your boss having a one-on-one conversation, texting a friend or standing on stage in front of 10,000 people: you are with your audience.

Consider how profound your silence is, if you aren’t active on social media. Consider the cost to you, if you are not treating other people like your audience.

Consider the consequences of being aggressive, withholding, menacing, lazy, jealous, insensitive or crazy (even momentarily).

Consider the power of communication with the intention to help your audience move forward – while you are also serving your own goals. Consider how that gives you a competitive advantage in a job interview, the chance for a promotion, and a referral from someone who simply knows you online, or any other situation that matters.

The terrible truth is: every word, every image, every frame of video, and even silence lifts you up or tears you down in the eyes of your audience.

This might include the people who share air with you, like at the office. It includes all your social media posts and comments, all the book reviews or LinkedIn messages you write and all the Periscope, YouTube, and Sooth you create. All the Skype, Facetime, and other relatively real time communication channels you use.

Got it? Anyone who can hear you, see you or otherwise catch your drift: those people are your audience.

The good news is: your greatest, fastest, and most profitable way to reach your desired outcomes is completely in your command. Your success depends on the next word you say, and the word after that, and so on.

Finesse in communication isn’t something tricky like it is in billiards, baking bread or doing anything that demands extraordinary skills.

Communication done with finesse kindly takes into account the ability of your audience to understand and focus on your message, and responsibly putting it in words your audience will embrace because they see evidence you are trustworthy and caring.

With everything you might do to create wealth and profit, consider how simple and productive it is to be kind and responsible.

Those two qualities drive offers and referrals to you, give evidence you are the most attractive candidate or partner, and give people the faith to sign contracts and do deals with you.

If you would like to become a communication leader – and you will be in Southern California on October 10 and 11: join me at my Personal Branding Boot Camp at UCLA Extension. Use Promo Code: W7199 to get 10% off PLUS an hour with me one-on-one (a $495 session FREE).

If you have a question I can answer: email me at, and I will do my best to move you forward. Just put Boot Camp in the subject line, so I know to look for you.

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How Will You Benefit from the Last Boot Camp of 2015?

September 28th, 2015

28968773_sWildest offer ever from UCLAx and me!  Register for my Personal Branding Boot Camp (October 10 and 11), and use PROMO CODE  W7199 for 10% off PLUS a one-on-one coaching session with me ($495, my GIFT) – and a bonus book, too! Now, let’s talk about boot camps!

A boot camp is a famously crushing work out with a drill instructor yelling at you. Or a personal trainer screaming to do “four more.” Why would anyone go to a boot camp? Because it’s actually an immersion, a totally dedicated and focused period of time when you do all the things you should do – with no excuses or distractions. Surrounded by people with intense motivation, which amplifies your own energy and dedication.

A boot camp is the fastest way to get into shape.

What does this have to do with personal branding, your career or business success?

Twice each year, I give the Personal Branding Boot Camp at UCLA Extension – and it’s about to come up. On October 10 and 11, from 9 AM to 4 PM: you can get down and deep with an amazing group of fellow campers; each stretching their brains and expanding their potential.

Simply put: you accelerate your trajectory toward success.

As UCLAx puts it:

In just two days, master the art of branding you! This seminar is perfect for people in career transition who want to discover their passion, solo-entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to attract new clients, or job seekers looking to attract quality job offers.

Get the secrets of using personal intelligence and reputation-building to reach your goals, and learn to leverage the power of social media.

In a structured, fun and supportive workshop, pinpoint your authentic and most attractive qualities, create a unique selling proposition and learn how to communicate online and on-ground in a powerful, engaging style.

Get tips on creating your own visual brand for your social networking pages and blog, plus advanced techniques for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. Enjoy lots of interaction, personal development exercises, and guest speakers.

Here’s The Gobsmacking Bonus Offer

If you are able to register and make it to Los Angeles for this event, I have a big bonus for you.

I will personally coach you for a one hour, one-on-one session, to make sure you get a huge leap forward on your career or business success. This one-hour coaching session is $495, but if you come to the boot camp: it’s yours FREE. Plus: you get a complete notebook with a personal branding blueprint to continue to build your personal brand, once we jump start the process in camp.

So, come for the amazing transformation you will make over the weekend, and then schedule your coaching session with me for your personal one-on-one follow up. That way you can get all the personal attention you need.

I want to ensure this a huge win for your personal brand. That’s why I am making this one-on-one coaching offer, and the personal branding blueprint materials.

If you’re coming in to Southern California, don’t worry about our follow-up session. I have clients all over the world, so we can use a myriad of ways to hold your session – and record it, too! So you have a refresher whenever you desire. Want a taste? You can even see me coach live on CNBC TV at NanceSpeaks!.

If you want more information – please email me at Subject line: Camp.

Or, register by going directly to

See you in Los Angeles, on campus at UCLA!

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What to Do with Labor Day Blues

September 9th, 2015

Interview Stress

The workplace is a lot like high school. It’s fraught with angst about being in or out, being smart or not, and being liked or not liked.

According to new research, employees are not into liking each other. They are not making any effort to build relationships with each other.

They are there to do a job or at least put in the time, go home and maybe find something better while grazing on LinkedIn or dozens of other job sites.

It turns out the workplace has become “transactional” for almost all employees. There’s an expectation that it’s simply a matter of time before you leave voluntarily or are asked to leave. So there’s a disincentive to build real relationships with your co-workers, to dig in and really get to know one another.

Back in the day, there were bowling leagues, picnics, families becoming “family friends,” and a kind of comfort in seeing the same folks everyday. In essence, the workplace was a second home for many employees.

Now, the expectation is that you will be at that job for a limited time, until something better comes along. Or, it’s a matter of time before you are told your job is no longer part of the strategic vision. “You are out,” to quote Heidi Klum.

It’s hard to be a free agent, in essence signed to a day-to-day contract. It’s hard to bond, and become an enthusiastic team member. It’s even harder if you are working from home or a remote location.

BTW, it’s equally hard to lead under those circumstances, although I bet you find it hard to sympathize with your boss.

There’s something even more insidious about this new relationship to work – or more aptly: the lack of a secure relationship to work and co-workers.

Stress. Impermanence. Insecurity. Instability. Resentment. Anger.

The best way to assuage these very real feelings is to make the effort to bond to your co-workers. Say hi and really find out how they are doing. Ask what they did over the weekend. If they live in proximity to you, ask if they want to shoot pool, grab coffee or take a yoga class with you next weekend.

Build your network of people, and I don’t mean just on social media. Build relationships with people who work with you.

This will raise your emotional state, and create a personal sense of stability. Real relationships with co-workers make any kind of work more satisfying and stabilizing. Make and keep ties with those who come and then go. And those at all levels.

Almost every night that I work late enough to see our maintenance staff, I feel better. They are a father and son team. I always ask how they’re doing, we talk about stuff, and they always play with my monster-sized dogs (yes, my dogs come to work). The son always tells me to be safe on the road home when we pack out for the night.

Over the holiday weekend we ran into each other, as I was heading for the beach. I felt like I was seeing family. That sense of surprise, a happy jolt, a hug and on with the day, feeling tethered to such nice people.

Consider hugging a co-worker today. Just a side-hug: in an appropriate gender neutral way. Or, at least give a fist bump when you hear what they did when they weren’t laboring on Labor Day.

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How to Turn a Bad Job into a Good Job

September 2nd, 2015


Have you recently gone from no job to a bad job?

A lot of people have emerged from their parents’ basement. They are dressed for work that they loathe. You know why. The crazy boss. Lazy coworkers. Angry customers. Too many meetings. Not enough freedom. The air conditioning is too cold. Someone steals your lunch from the fridge.

Even if the compensation is good enough, there’s no “there” there. Nothing that personally means anything to you.

Why? The job is about productivity not people.

Maybe your keystrokes are counted to ensure you meet quota. Maybe your job is to get on and off the phone as quickly as possible.

Or maybe the product or service is deficient. It does less than it could. Less than the competitors do. It’s not the latest in technology, fashion, approach or media.

Or maybe you don’t like the customers. You can’t relate to their problems. You never use your company’s product or service, because you like something else better.

Or maybe, as we used to say in advertising, your job is to “put lipstick on that pig.” The product or service is truly awful. You are embarrassed to tell people what you do.

There’s at least one theory that gets to the root of the reason you actually want to go back into the basement.

That theory is:

You feel like you don’t matter.

You feel like you are not making a difference.

You have been cut off from a part of yourself that is dying to be expressed.

Before you quit or start looking elsewhere: consider what would boost your personal involvement. What would ignite your feel good emotions? What could you do that is OUTSIDE of your job description that would make you happy or proud?

An enlightened CEO or department head knows how important it is to develop your personal investment in the job. And, we know it has nothing to do with the tasks or skills.

When we can create meaning, we retain employees. And that meaning needs to be genuine, and personally gratifying. In other words, meaning is worth more than money to employees. All the studies have shown that.

A janitor who interacts with employees working after hours might find joy in the jokes he tells to his audience of over-timers. A customer service rep who actually meets a tech-frazzled customer, sees that solving her problem really saves that customer’s business.

Whatever you do, see if you can see yourself as a hero.

So your task is to think beyond the tasks you must do. Think about the results you help accomplish, and how it changes lives. Don’t wait for an enlightened boss to do it for you. In fact, if you do this for yourself, you are likely to become the boss.

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The Ultimate Productivity Hack

August 19th, 2015

Bad day at the officeThis is something you do not want to hear. It’s the opposite of human nature. It is anti-happiness. The only thing good about it? It’s the truth about productivity

The ultimate productivity hack is sticking to a very boring routine. A life filled – at least for a short time – with almost no variety. No choices. No novelty.

Happiness has been dissected by the experts. Novel, fun experiences create happiness. So the highest level of productivity comes down to eschewing anything that is new and exciting.

The anti-happiness regimen is largely about removing any variety, any distraction and any fun for a period of time. That time is when you are able to fully engage in whatever your work or project demands.

I can hear the life balance people moaning.

Take heart. This is not a prescription for living your life. It is the prescription for getting something done rapidly, with the full force of your intelligence and imagination.

How many times in your life do you need to be ultra productive? It depends on your life, your desired ultimate outcome and your ability to pledge allegiance to a burning desire. Without a burning desire, this won’t work.

I just finished writing my third book. It took 32 edits. It is– as each book has been – my life’s work for a period of time. It – like the other books – aren’t my whole story. I work. I teach. I coach. I speak.

Oh yes, and I live. Bathe. Dress. Drive. Work. Teach. Coach. Speak. But mostly I WRITE. READ. EDIT. REVISE. And repeat. (You get the idea.)

The secret of the ultimate productivity hack is to put everything possible on auto-pilot. At the simplest level, I start with what I eat. I make something I call my “writer’s mix.” It is turkey, Brussels sprouts, spinach, carrots, and a huge volume of turmeric and chile paste.

I eat it three times a day. I start out with a huge stewing pot of this stuff. Then, for breakfast, lunch and dinner: I eat it. The goal is simple: no joy of eating. I start out hungry. I eat the mix. I am full.

I do the same with every other task in my life, while I am writing and editing. I do my social media interactions every three hours. I pick up my email while I’m eating. I walk my dogs for an hour, during twilight so it’s cool enough for them and the right time to clear my head. I don’t hibernate nor am I rigid. I went to a wedding of a dear friend last Friday evening. I met another dear friend for lunch on Sunday afternoon. So, part of the routine is two times over a weekend, I have three hours with people I know well and adore.

There’s a religious text with a passage about there being a time for everything. When you have a project that must be done and have a life that must be folded in around it: this is the time for being focused on your purpose.

Promise yourself, you will be happy. Later. For now: set up the rules, routines, rituals and habits that protect you from distraction, confusion, choices and decision-making.

The more boring your life is the better, when it comes to being super successful at getting something important done. Need some tips on setting up your routine? Email me at Subject line: Productivity.

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Top Ten Traits of Creative Leaders

August 12th, 2015

40254041_sCreativity, innovation and adaptability are the hallmarks of today’s best leaders. Not CEOs mind you, leaders. Don’t confuse a title like CEO with the reality that most of us will lead from the back of the pack, or somewhere in the middle.

Creativity is a calling. Innovation is a burning desire. Adaptability is personal trait.

CEO, COO, president and general manager are just job titles.

Most top officers find it difficult to be creative. There are too many responsibilities and constituencies to look after. Focusing on squeezing out profit every 12 weeks. Cutting costs to keep shareholders happy. When you are watching your back, it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road ahead.

A job title does not imbue the individual with courage or charisma. Those are personal traits. Creativity takes many forms, so don’t count yourself out because you are in accounting, operations, human resources, logistics, project management or any other field or specialty.

Employees, consultants, coaches, freelancers and suppliers: the opportunity to transform an organization (and with that your own career) is yours for the doing.

How do you start? It helps to hold a deep affection for your company and clients, since creativity is a gift you give. Think about the impact your company could have and the growth your clients could enjoy.

Creative leadership makes your job more meaningful and gives you visibility. Do something small at first – deliver a project early, come up with alternative courses of action, and whenever possible deliver unexpected added value. A bit of qualitative research or sentiment analysis (collecting comments made on forums or social media) is a good example of providing new perspectives that lead to new solutions.

David Ogilvy, one of the original Mad Men, a real ad man, espoused ten qualities he saw in creative leaders. They are:

  1. High standards of personal ethics.
  2. Big people, without pettiness.
  3. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
  4. Brilliant brains — not safe plodders.
  5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
  6. Charisma — charm and persuasiveness.
  7. A streak of unorthodoxy — creative innovators.
  8. The courage to make tough decisions.
  9. Inspiring enthusiasts — with trust and gusto.
  10. A sense of humor.

Do you want to increase the reality of possibilities in your career or business? Then pick one of these qualities each week for the next ten weeks. Find every way you can to demonstrate the quality you’re working on. Add them up and in ten weeks you will have transformed yourself, and perhaps the organization and clients you serve.

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The Most Successful Job Interview Tactic

August 5th, 2015

42033419_sHaving coached the full range of job seekers, from entry-level candidates to C-suite executives, I learned the one job interview tactic that makes the difference between success and failure. This same tactic works for coaches and consultants who want to build a larger practice, secure more clients and do it more quickly.

The true genius of this tactic comes from Anthony Parinello, the author of the best-selling book Selling to VITO: The Very Important Top Officer. Tony has written about this technique as the foundation of successful selling to executives at the top of their organizations. If you don’t know Tony’s work, go to – and grab the free download and enjoy meeting this world-class sales trainer.

There’s a profound similarity between selling to CEOs and interviewing for a job. The same fundamental truth is key for building your professional practice. The common thread between selling and interviewing is this.

Who you think YOU ARE is the key to success (or failure).

Success is not in the hands of the person with whom you are speaking, nor is it in the product, service or skill set you believe you represent.

Per the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of the decision to hire you is based on your personal traits. Only 15% of the decision is based on your skills, experience or proof that what you do is better than other people who are competing for the position.

How does the interview or potential client learn about or experience your personal traits? Largely through how they see you relate to yourself.

Self-respect, self-worth and a self-positive attitude are what you must convey in an interview. Why?

Your attitude about yourself is like a cold. It’s contagious.

If you believe you that you are lucky to have the interview, you are likely to lose the job or the deal. If you believe the recruiter, hiring manager or prospective client is lucky to have the interview: you are likely to lose the job or the deal.

If you see the interview as a meeting of two people with equal business stature – you are going to succeed.

Of course this does not mean that you can do the same work as your interviewer or prospect. Why would they need you to do that?

Equal business stature simply means you share the same profound interest in successfully accomplishing the goals of the job. It means you are someone who is bringing a solution-oriented mindset, resourcefulness, ingenuity, and commitment.

See the next interview you have as an exchange of like-minded people, equally interested in addressing the challenges of the position that needs to be filled. Don’t court, cajole, or toady; don’t undersell or overpromise.

Show up ready to engage in a business conversation, where your focus is on the problems that need to be solved – not simply on what you have or haven’t done in the past.

Simply put: show up ready to engage with clarity and confidence.

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How to Reduce Stress and Avoid Burnout

July 29th, 2015

23723300_sI had the unfortunate experience of reading a list of the top stressors in human life. You may have seen that list. Death of a loved one, divorce, losing a friend, major illness, moving, caregiving … the usual suspects. Then, thanks to grazing on, I discovered the link between unrelenting stress and the deleterious effect on your memory, physical well-being and emotional stability. What a bummer. All bad news.

Well, there was a bit of good news. In the moment, a sudden stressor shuts down any unnecessary bodily function so the organs, systems and limbs you need get fully funded by your central nervous system. Plus they get first priority on blood flow and other physiological processes.

That’s why the caveman wasn’t standing at the sink eating a sandwich when the saber tooth tiger roared outside the opening of his cave. Caveman was suddenly in the mood to flee, or if necessary, fend off the beast. He got super focused in a hurry. Tunnel vision. Got his priorities in order.

The occasional rush deadline or your boss screaming about a missed delivery isn’t in that league of stressor. Most of us turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, or claim we were hacked so we didn’t get that email.

It’s when unrelenting problems meet unsympathetic responses that stress tears you down. It’s physiological, not a character issue. It’s your chemicals: hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal hormones that over time cause inflammation in the oddest places. Arthritis, colds, migraines … almost any ailment you can imagine may be triggered by stress.

So that creates more stress. Unmitigated, ongoing stress leads to a kind of numbness. We call that burnout.

The cure doesn’t seem obvious. “Gutting through it” isn’t a long term strategy. Running away isn’t always possible.

Probably the least obvious stress reliever is helping someone else. We’ve known for a long time that altruism benefits the giver more than the receiver. There is something about doing service for someone who could use your help that breathes new life into your worn out soul.

Maybe it’s walking shelter dogs. Lending your couch to someone who is temporarily displaced. Washing your roommate’s dishes. Reconciling a checkbook, doing the weekly shop or whatever else you can for a disabled or elderly neighbor.

Giving the gift of yourself reminds you that you are a gift.

Don’t do the old “give ‘til it hurts.”

Think: If it hurts, give.

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