Friday, May 29, 2009

You are smart.

You're smart. You really are. And so are each of your kids, your spouse, your co-workers and your boss. But what kind of smart may be vastly different. I love the book 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong. His theory of multiple intelligences transformed my thinking about what it means to be smart—because in our culture, the traditional way we view smart is very limited. And limiting. Our society values logical and verbal smarts while often overlooking all the other amazing attributes that make each of us truly gifted.

So, you wonder, what exactly are the types of smart?

• Word Smart – expressing verbal intelligence

• Picture Smart – thinking with your mind's eye

• Music Smart – Making the most of your melodic mind

• Body Smart – Using your kinesthetic intelligence

• Logic Smart – Calculating your mathematical and scientific abilities

• People Smart – Connecting with your social sense

• Self Smart – Developing your intrapersonal intellect

Oh, and he added two more in the revised edition: Nature Smart and Existence Smart, but stick with the list above and think about it for a minute. If you could get beyond your Myers-Briggs Personality and think about your wonderful type of smart (you'll have a mixture of many, but one will shine), how would that help you appreciate the world? Couldn't you see yourself being less self-critical?

Same with your kids. My oldest is off-the-charts on picture smarts. It's truly incredible, but it doesn't translate necessarily into SAT or ACT tests. Meanwhile, my youngest is the music and people smart guy, so he has a lot of trouble sitting still in school and following rules. My middle son is pure word, logic and body smart. He's the scholar athlete of the group, and he's got all the types valued in traditional society.

Think about at the office. It's never great to have your office physically divided with people smart people clustered together and logic smart people clustered together and kept apart. It inhibits the ability to learn from each other.

How can you better utilize the skills of each type of intelligence on your team—and celebrate them? As business moves to valuing emotional intelligence, creativity, intuition and team work, understanding yourself—The Real You and your particular brand of smart—makes sense. (Plus it bolsters your intrapersonal intellect.)

Cut throat competition is being replaced by collaboration and networking, giving, reaching out to others through an appreciation of their unique personal brands. To do that effectively, you need to know yourself. And, once you understand you and how truly smart you are, use that new lens to appreciate everybody around you just a little more.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Navigating new jobs and new personalities

If you’re one of those fortunate people who have found a new job, you’re probably busy learning the ropes and getting to know your new team. Each business and office environment is different. They all come with their own set of quirks and personalities. When starting a new job, it’s often important to understand everyone’s personality and how they interact. This also allows you to figure out who to watch out for…those pesky snarks.

While it may seem difficult to escape their negativity, dealing with snarks is a part of life. Here are a few things that will help you navigate those snark-infested waters.

· Protect your ideas. Whenever possible, avoid the middle man and take your original ideas directly to the boss.

· Don’t share your contacts with people who you suspect might use your relationship for their benefit only.

· Don’t rely on people-pleasers. Their inability to make decisions—especially unpopular decisions—means that you can’t depend on them when times get tough.

· Don’t share confidential information with complainers and whiners.

· Don’t share your dreams with bubble-busters. They’ll only bring you down.

Find the real people in your new environment, and stick with them. Looking for more business advice or snark-busting tips? Sign up for my tip of the week!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Make radio interviews work for you.

I love radio interviews! They're a blast—but only if you're prepped and ready. Here are a few things I learned while on Real You Incorporated's radio tour.

• Do your homework, and get to know the station and its personalities. Learn their style, tone and audience. Are they jokesters, serious, down-to-earth? Listen to a few broadcasts. Most have a listen online feature.

• Know what you'll be asked ahead of time. If you're not provided with questions, send a few to the producer. Also include your background info—bio, product, Web address—to help educate the DJs and let them tell the audience about how great your product/service is.

• Ask for a copy of the interview before the broadcast begins. Some stations won't record it unless you ask. Use the interview on your site for promotion or a demo reel down the road if you're trying to book other interviews.

• Go into the interview knowing the key points you want to cover. This is about you and your product/service. So make sure you convey the right message. You don't have a lot of time, so be concise and powerful with your words. Remember, no technical/industry jargon.

• Rehearse with a colleague and avoid one word answers. Be ready to introduce yourself and your product/service in case the host doesn't.

• Promote your interview to your clients/community. Let them know you're going to be on. It brings you credibility and hopefully new business!

• Go to a quiet room and turn off all distractions, especially your email and cell phone. Call from a landline for the best reception, and don't use speakerphone.

• Send the hosts a thank-you note, and let them know you'd be happy to be a guest in the future.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A female friendly auto industry is our future!

In today’s world, walking into a car dealership is still like walking into the old boys club. But hopefully not for long! I just interviewed an inspiring woman, Jody DeVere, CEO of DeVere created to offer automotive advice for women. It’s a site where women can shop for cars, tires and repair shops through the network of Certified Female Friendly retailers across the U.S.

A Certified Female Friendly retailer is one that has created a safe and comfortable atmosphere where women are welcome and experience is enjoyable.

In the podcast below, DeVere talks with me about how she is informing women about the industry and educating dealers and sales people on how to give women a better car buying experience and appropriately market to them. Did you know there’s a dealership offering spa services for patrons while they wait for their vehicle?

DeVere gives us the inside scoop on how the auto industry is changing…for the better. Finally!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Of jellyfish, hurt knees, DC, sweet sixteen and the joys of end-of-school

This post will fall into the category of: Oh, my goodness. Is school almost over or what? These last few weeks of the school year feel like a perpetual full-moon, day and night.

The kids are:

#1 excited for summer, spending more time outside and getting hurt (trampoline + my oldest = bruised knee and two weeks physical therapy at least) Oh, and also planning high school graduation, college, yikes;
#2 Anticipating the weekend spent at the lake with good friends, and next week's driver's license test (car + my 16-year-old daughter = lifetime of worry)
#3 Enjoying an 8th grade trip to DC (packing + middle son with no dress clothes that fit = late-night sojourn to Target, much consternation, but eventual on-time departure) and will return just in time for his 8th grade Graduation;
#4 Hibernating. With sinus infection, missing choir concert tonight and opportunity to dance as a jelly fish (me + strange to me environment of fabric store + yards of sparkly fabric + hours of constructing said costume = no performance due to sinuses + an unused, but quite impressive jellyfish costume.)

And me? Taking things one day at a time, trying to remember all the blessing that accompany even the numerous doctor's office visits and trying to make sense of why a McDonald's Baconater helps a sinus headache when you're 12?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Collegiate Entrepreneurs Start Your Engines

Are you or do you know a college student with entrepreneurial aspirations? Show off your business by entering StartupNation Dorm-Based 20, which ranks the top 20 leading collegiate entrepreneurs in the country.

To enter the contest, you must attend a college in the U.S. (not necessarily living in a dorm), your business must have a Web site, and you have to fill out the online form.

The judges will be looking for:

  • Innovativeness of business concept
  • Potential for growth
  • Cutting-edge business practices
  • Demonstration of business fundamentals
  • Potential for overall impact
  • Financial performance

Check out the 2008 Dorm-Based 20 winners:

A Slice of Paradise

Ablaze Custom Cleaning



Brett Adams Design LLC


Digital Wingman, Inc



Hurricane K-9 Waste Removal, LLC

IsThatOneGood LLC


ROCS College Student Staffing

Sand Shack

Shelby Burford Design

The Magic of Jared Sherlock

Vortex Web Solutions

World Gaming Center LLC

Zach’s Computers LLC

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stop apologizing already.

It's a fact that women apologize more frequently than men. Many times we do it just to be polite. But is it diminishing our credibility? Our power? Yes.

Do you ever find yourself saying any of these phrases?

• “I'm sorry, but I think...”

• “I'm sorry you have to do this, but...”

• “I'm sorry to bother you with...”

• “I'm sorry, this might not be exactly what you wanted...”

A talented member of our team constantly apologizes, even for situations she has no knowledge about and no control over. Another young woman, who had a different opinion from the rest of our group, began her sentence during a meeting with, “I'm sorry, but I think we could do it this way.” Just like that, she gave her power away. She weakened her point with that little word.

While “I'm sorry” CAN be very meaningful, and it should be set aside for the moments when you want to correct a situation—something you did that hurt someone's feelings or a mistake you made—overusing the word has a diminishing effect. What happens when you really are sorry for something? Will the person on the receiving end know you mean it?

Overusing apologies makes them lose their meaning. Limit the s-word in your vocabulary. Start using strong phrases. If you bump into someone, say, “Excuse me.” Know that it's OK to have a different opinion and express it. Don't apologize for the things you like or don't. And most of all, don't use “sorry” as your linguistic crutch. You can overcome this self-effacing mechanism by being conscious of it.

Be real, be you, and you won't have to be sorry. Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Attending NAR Mid-Year Conference?

If so, I'll see you there! I'm presenting "Putting the Real You in Your Business" tomorrow at the Women's Council of Realtors' education session at the Capital Hilton in Washington DC. I'll be focusing on branding with personality and speaking to your No. 1 customer. I love presenting to real estate folks. They're a powerful group of passionate entrepreneurs who know how to roll with the punches and stick with it in good times and bad.

If you'll be a Mid-Year, please stop by my session. I'd love to meet you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taking the time to plant a tree

As I helped out with my son's 6th grade class Tree Planting Day, I looked around at all the other "parent leaders" and noticed the diversity represented in the volunteers. Of course, there were a couple dads, but I was focusing on the moms. We represented the reality of moms today. Some of us work full time, some are full-time stay-at-home moms (SAHMs). Many work part-time. Most all have more than one child. We were a wide range of ages - from early 30s to mid-50s. We were, with our shovels, today's moms. One took a call from work while we dug; another a call from a nurse about a sick child at elementary school.

There are more than 82 million moms in the U.S., (82.8 as of 2004 - and I'm sure there are more current figures but these stats were on the cover story this Sunday for a Mother's Day piece in The Columbus Dispatch.) A full 80 percent of women ages 40 to 44 were mothers in 2006, with each mother having 2.1 births (?). The number of SAHMs in 2008: 5.3 million.

We are a powerful group, and if you're part of it, congratulations! If you're marketing to us, know we are diverse; and if you see one of us with a shovel and a big smile, that would be me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bullseye Gives is a Win for Target

I just love corporations with compassion. Today I came across a blog regarding the Target charity promotion on Facebook, which is part of Target’s Community Outreach program.

The promotion is called Bullseye Gives and is hosted on the Target Facebook page. To participate in the challenge, everyone is invited to the Facebook page where they can help decide how Target should allocate $3 million among 10 charities. Each charity will receive a donation. The amount of the donation will be determined by the percentage of votes each charity receives.

Charities include:

You can cast one vote per day until May 25. Happy voting!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What does it mean to be a “green” business?

Green is the exceptionally popular, and widely over-used, phrase everyone seems to be attaching to their business these days. It is very important to be green—at home and at work—but before you label your biz, make sure you know what it means.

Check out this article from Startup Nation for the scoop.

Here are some tips for greening your business:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tips for young professionals entering the work force

As summer approaches and graduating caps and tassels begin to fly, many young professionals are entering the workforce. So to all you young professionals, congrats! You have made it. You should be very proud of yourself and your accomplishments.

Now that you are in the workforce, there are multiple ways to start rising to the top.

  • Start building your personal brand. Your skill set, attitude and social aptitude make up your product—you. After all, you had to “sell” yourself to get this job. Now it’s time to think about how you’ll get to the next level.

So, here are a few things to consider as you move forward.

  • Identify the top five things you want your superior to say about you in a reference letter. Then, strive to be those things.
  • Be personable and connect with others. Email is obviously an efficient way to communicate, but if you show up in person from time to time, you have a great opportunity to build on the relationship.
  • Volunteer. If there’s a project that’s up for grabs, take it and use it as an example of what you can do when given the opportunity.

As you jump into the pool head first, I know times are scary but you will succeed. You have to believe and know that you will succeed. Good luck and have fun!

Use meetings as a training tool

For many of you up and coming entrepreneurs, your best learning experience is your current job. As a future business owner, the most beneficial thing you can do before you even start your company is to take notes from your current company and other employees.

Long meetings are a great place to start. Consider it training for your future and how you will conduct business in your office. What do you like or dislike about the meetings? When do other employees in the meeting start to “zone out”? What helps meetings run more efficiently? Ask friends and other co-workers for their input. They may be your future employees!

Remember, you can take everything you learn with you. And that’s the beauty of it. You’re learning from both the good—and the bad. So, doing your homework now—even if it is during a dull meeting—will reap great rewards for you in the future

Monday, May 4, 2009

Get some new insight. Expand your mind.

You are pretty conversant in what you already know, let's hope. Your industry, your hobbies, your kids, your neighborhood. Great. You should be. That's easy. But what have you done lately to expand your mind, your knowledge? How have you challenged yourself?

I just attended the Marketing to Women Conference in Chicago for the second year, and I love going because I always learn new things. Because I'm outside of my typical focus on entrepreneurism and real estate, my mind gets a break and a chance to focus and expand via a different channel. Sure, marketing to women is one of my passions, but it's not often I have a chance to mingle and share information with a group of people who share that passion. It's amazingly mind-expanding. And what, you ask, did I learn? Here's just a sampling for your consideration!

• Today's women are living fully kinetic lives, according to a Lifetime TV study. 84 percent feel they are busier than the generation before them, and busier now than they were five years ago. They are leading multi-tasking lives.

• Today's men are pitching in more, but it's far from equal at home. The interesting news is husbands who do pitch in have more sex. Go figure.

• Stress is on the rise. 55 percent of all women say they are frequently stressed out, while 85 percent have trouble sleeping. Women are searching for simplification and an unscheduled day every once in awhile.

• Oh, and while there are fewer vertical and horizontal corporate barriers, only 12 Fortune 500 CEOS are women, and women still only make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. Leading to the rise of my passion—and many of yours—women are turning to entrepreneurship.

You don't need to travel to expand your mind. Head to the bookstore and pick up a “how to” or business book (subliminal plug for Real You Incorporated inserted here) about a topic you've always wanted to learn more about. If you have a Kindle, you don't have to leave your home for an entire wealth of knowledge to be delivered into your hands. Of course, the Internet provides a huge, immediate resource, but it also provides innumerable distractions so if you want to focus, and if you want to learn, I'd suggest making time for it through. A book. A conference. Or taking an online course.

In today's multi-minding world, make sure your mind has a chance to focus on expanding, and not just moving from task to task. Enlightenment and learning opens your mind and can change the direction of your life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Step into the spotlight.

Here's the thing. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a corporate employee, a SAHM or a college student, the time will come—and it probably has already—when you need to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight to claim your power. This could take the form of not letting somebody else take the credit for your paper, your proposal, your cost-cutting idea. Or, it may require the actual stepping into the spotlight, on stage or at least in a large group meeting.

Does that thought terrify you? It did me, for too many years in fact. My fear of public speaking (and its accompanying fear of failure, fear of not being good enough) held me back in my business and in my life in general. It forced me to thrust others into the spotlight to say my words and present my ideas, instead of taking the responsibility and the challenge of doing it myself.

Oh, and then I wrote a book. One of the first things you learn when that dream of being a published author—of getting an agent, and a New York publisher and a book on bookshelves—actually comes true is that you must let others know about said book. Without promotion, books, like all products, don't get very far. And in the case of a book especially, even more so in today's publishing environment, the author and her brand are critical to selling any copies. Guess what that meant: No hiding. There isn't anyone else who can speak about my words, my book, for me. (I tried to figure out a way, trust me!)

So, I hired a voice and speech coach. He was amazing. We worked together for a year and still have tune-ups now and again, but truly, it's fun to speak to groups now. Folks with our company can't believe the change. And I can't either some days. If I can do it, you can, too. So let me give you a few tips I've learned as I've stepped into the spotlight. To grow your business and personal brand, I hope you'll decide to take the plunge and step into your own spotlight, too.

1. If speaking terrorizes you, get help. There are speech coaches, Toastmasters and all types of organizations to help you get the tips you need to grow into your comfort zone. You know your material. It's time to get credit for it.

2. Start small. I'm still grateful to the first Rotary group who gave me a chance to speak about my book. They were gracious, warm and not too big in mass.

3. Be prepared. Practice. Be prepared. Repeat. You'll feel better if you've rehearsed and can toss the notes and crutches.

4. And, a big point once you've agreed to take the microphone: Power Point is supposed to be visual, a supporting image of what you're speaking about. Duplicating your speech on slides is a sure-fire boredom creator. Promise. My goal is to get to where the real pros are and use no slides at all!

5. Remember, audiences, no matter how big or small, want you to succeed. They are there to hear your story, your message.

Have a wonderful weekend. And start envisioning yourself in the spotlight!