professional etiquette

15 Professional Etiquette Tips to Help Your Business Blossom

You know that feeling. When someone doesn’t quite live up to your standards. It’s hard to describe that particular feeling though.

Do you feel let down? Sure.

Maybe a little bit of shame because you feel you might have dropped the ball somehow? Quite possibly.

Maybe, it’s neither. Maybe you just brush it off and place a label on that person as “not up to par”.

Well, having grown up in a old patriarchal family that was HUGE on manners, I can tell you a thing or two about how it’s helped me throughout the years.

I remember one particular instance where I reached for food in a wrong manner, and was stabbed with a fork.

It taught me a lesson in being polite at the table. Reaching for things across other people – not a polite thing to do.

Today, however, stabbing someone with a fork (or most discipline for that matter) is not acceptable in our PC liberal leading world. In fact, I’m sure it would be considered child abuse.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there practicing business that might not have been taught how to be polite growing up themselves.

Quite regularly, for example, I hear the question “does profanity bother me in business?” Well, that’s kinda like asking “Does nudity bug you in public?”.

I mean, of course they’re not the same thing. But the same principles of self control are used in both.  

Personally, it’s hard for me to trust people who don’t show self control up front. It makes me wonder if they’ll show self control in the rest of their life and business.

 

Manners Matter!

That being the case, what are some ways of making sure that people don’t get the wrong impression of you when you first meet?

Of course the answer is being mindful with your manners.

Manners are a great way to illustrate that you practice self control. And self control is one of the keys in building long lasting trust.

You want a good working relationship, that first impression (as well as your 2nd, 3rd, and etc.) is huge when it comes to self-selecting yourself when it comes to opportunities.

Likes attract likes. If you want to attract Gary Vaynerchuk type folks in your life, work it like Gary. But I’m not saying just be crass – I’m saying have people skills and know how to get the job done. Otherwise you might end up like looking like a try hard Jesse Pinkman type of character.

So here’s a few things that I think many of us online business folk should probably get a little better at:

 

First Impressions

First impression is the best way to start building good moral right away. Besides not swearing as if you’re beer buddies, it’s also good to present yourself in the manner you want to known. Sure, you can dress like Elliot Alderson if you want or you can suit up. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.

 

Few more pointers include:

  1. When meeting someone, always shake hands firmly while making eye contact. No wimpy hand grabs. And make sure that if you’re sitting, that you get up to shake their hand when you first meet them. Note: It’s ok to sit while shaking hands when you’re agreeing on something!
  2. Pay attention to their name and use it as frequently as makes sense. Up to a point, the more you use it, the more they feel important. (Just don’t use it in negative examples.)
  3. Besides learning their name, give other cues that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Repeat what they say sometimes.
  4. Use your inside voice. Sometimes people are obnoxiously loud when meeting new people. Might be because they’re over-excited. Might be because they’re not aware that their voice carries as well as it does.
  5. Put away any digital devices when meeting someone. Better yet, put it on silent or turn it off completely so that you can have a good uninterrupted conversation.

 

Communication

Speaking of turning off digital devices, there’s some things that you should probably think about with communication etiquette:

 

  1. When it comes to a phone in particular, maintain your usual speaking volume. Also, if you’re speaking with someone on the speakerphone – let them know. This might actually keep them from looking like a tool… or both of you if they drop something on the line that might not be the best thing for people near you to hear.
  2. When it comes to email and other online messages, you can never be too cautious. Generally speaking, in person, we all have an easier understanding of what others are trying to say. But if you use too many exclamation marks, reply in all caps, or use too many emoticons.
  3. Also, when it comes to emails – use professional email addresses. At one point, this meant just not using names like “[email protected]…”, “[email protected]…” or other cute or fun names. That still is good rule, but we live in a time where if you have a business, you should have a business email. You can get up to 10 of them for free at zoho.com.
  4. When it comes to messaging people, whether it’s on Facebook or through texts, try to keep the conversation short. Also, don’t be a negative through messages. Important conversations need to be had on the phone or in person.
  5. If you miss someone’s call, get a text, or an email try to respond to them promptly. In a world where ghosting is a thing, you don’t want people to get the idea that you’re avoiding them on purpose.

 

Other Stuff

A few things that don’t necessarily fit above include:

 

  1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A good rule of thumb is to not disrupt the ways of the locals. Whether that means keeping your space tidy or labeling food in a refrigerator  in a coworking space or knowing a bit about the language.
  2. Be timely. Be on time as much as possible. End meetings on time and never use more words when you could use less.
  3. Unless someone is volunteering information or you have their permission, don’t brain-pick! Always ask permission to get someone’s advice or when you want to be direct with them.
  4. Be strategic when choosing meals. You don’t want to order anything that splatters with new people. If you can, only do meals with people you feel comfortable with.
  5. Might be a little old fashioned, but handwritten thank you cards go a long way. Pat Flynn has a wall where his fans’ notes end up! Also, when not handwriting, make sure you always use spell check!! 🙂

 

Action Steps

That’s a good list to get you started. I’m sure there’s plenty of pointers I’m missing, though. What are some things you’ve noticed people have done that left a sour taste in your mouth? Let us know in the comments below!!

teambuilding

Putting People in the Right Place – A Teambuilding Case Study

As I’ve been going through all of the emotional ups and downs with losing Sadie, there’s been a number of things that have been keeping me optimistic about the future.

For one, there’s a ton of things going well out at Collaborate 317 that I’m glad to hear about. We’re really starting to be recognized by folks in the community. In fact, a nearby town recently contacted us in regards to helping them start their incubator. Oh, and another event that was hosted by HB Bell went pretty well last week. It was called the Community R.U.L.E. Nonprofit Jazz Network Mixer. I got to spend a bit of time at that event after doing last week’s Junto Show with Harrison and Ping. Lots of interesting nonprofits were featured.

Another thing that I’ve been paying close attention to are how the Colts have been dealing with certain events in their organization.

Many of you know that I’m a fan – as I can be found wearing Colts gear pretty regularly. But there’s a reason for that: the team has integrity as a whole. All the way from the top at Jim Irsay (who loves his organization and wants to win) down to the newest members of the team

So when I wear the gear, sure I’m relating as a fan, but I’m also giving myself a reminder in how I need to act.

Recent Examples of Colts’ Integrity

Caring About Others

You might have heard about one of our players getting killed in a drunk driving related accident in early February. The player’s name was Edwin “Pound Cake” Jackson. And he had really only contributed to the team for a year and placed on injury reserve for all of 2017 (meaning he wasn’t able to play even though he was still part of the team).

Even though he hadn’t really been here that long, he was still considered part of the family. Not only did Jim pay for his and his Uber driver’s funerals, but he also set up a scholarship fund in his name.

Not every team would do that.

Sometimes the best Solution isn’t the First Solution

Then there was the recent signing of the Colts’ new head coach.

If you’re familiar at all with the NFL, you know that the Patriots have been doing very well during the last 15+ years. A big part of that success has been their coaching staff – and one of those members was supposedly going to be our new coach after this year’s Super Bowl.

For whatever reason, at the last moment, he decided to go back on his word on becoming our new coach. Needless to say, that angered a bunch of people around the league. For many, it also confirmed that the Patriots have some internal issues with character. As long as someone can do their job when they’re supposed to, they’ll have a place.

Well, we scrambled to find a coach to fit. And let me tell you, our new head coach, Frank Reich, fits the bill of what it means to be a Colt – he has integrity.

Not only was he loyal to his old team throughout the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl by not interviewing with other teams who were looking for their new head coach (he was missing the bus on getting one of these positions), he has fully taken on all responsibilities for working with the team as a part of leadership – not the main guy.

The Colts, especially their new General Manager, Chris Ballard, know what it takes to put a winning team together. And I personally believe that the biggest part of that is knowing if and where people fit into an organization.

Failure in Realizing Talent Leads to Bad Results

I think this was the biggest issue with our last coach and GM combination. They simply had a team where many of the parts didn’t fit quite right. While Grigson would find talent to plug in, Pagano’s job was to help that talent excel.

Apparently they didn’t communicate much on what the vision of the entire team was and that’s where they failed. Specifically, they failed to communicate on the talent of the players and matching that with the three Rs – what’s required, what provides the best return, and what is the greatest reward.

Without having that feedback, the team was set up for failure.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter how good the talent is – no team is going to win if they’re out of place.

How to Put People in the Right Place

In John Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, there are three laws that we can zero in on when it comes to building a team:

  1. Niche
  2. Chain
  3. Bench

Based on what I’ve seen by our new GM Chris Ballard, I believe that he understands these laws quite well. Let’s take a look at them and how the Colts have or have not utilized these laws appropriately.

Law of the Niche

All players have a place where they add the most value. If you were to look at a typical NFL team, this is super obvious. Lineman wouldn’t be great ball handlers and visa versa. Even going deeper, you could say that many quarterbacks wouldn’t make great running backs.

And even another level – not all players fit all schemes of playing.

For example, there was a player a few years ago who people loved when he was coming out of college. His name was Trent Richardson. Unfortunately, his career didn’t pan out as many people would have expected it to.

Why?

For one, we have to realize that the college game doesn’t always translate directly to the professional level. Not all great college players excel in the NFL. In fact, there are times when lesser known college players will be better in the NFL. In a few subtle ways, it’s a different game.

Trent’s strengths that led him to his success in college didn’t translate directly to the success in the pros.

Also, it didn’t help that he missed a good part of his transitional season due to injury. And when it was time to perform, he wasn’t as fine tuned as he could have been. (It also didn’t help that the leadership of the Browns is known for destroying potentially great players.)

When he got to the Colts, he still looked good on paper. So we were excited to get him. But as a fan base, we realized soon why the Browns allowed him to come.

Besides not having his skills fine tuned for the league, the scheme that he was a part of in college wasn’t the scheme that he had in the pros. Eventually, our leadership let him walk because he wasn’t doing what was expected of him.

Law of the Chain

You’ve heard the saying “You’re only as strong as the weakest point” about teams, I’m sure. And as we’ve seen in the example above with Trent, one could say that he was a bit of a liability to the teams that he was on and to himself.

But is it fair to put that responsibility on his shoulders alone?

Personally, I’d say he got screwed over by being in several systems who didn’t know how to place him correctly. We know he was gifted, so obviously the problem had to be placement related.

The evidence of this is that this past year he bounced back a bit in the CFL. I really think it’s because they knew what they were getting when he got him. Plus, he didn’t have all the weight on his shoulders that he did here. In the NFL you’re expected to be able to perform from day 1. People didn’t really ask why he was not performing to level he should. But had they, they would have realized that he needed more time.

In Maxwell’s book, he says that there are 4 questions to ask about a weak link:

Are they weak because they’re new?

If so, give them some time. (I argue he never had this time to adjust with him missing out on training camp and preseason).

Are they weak because they aren’t growing?

Find out why and help motivate them through the issues. In Trent’s case, he wasn’t growing because he had all the weight on his shoulders from having to perform to support friends and the teams he was a part of. He was being forced to be the answer for everyone’s problems.

Are they weak because they lack people skills?

Help them understand how they’re screwing up. Teach Trent to say no to his “friends” who were using him.

Are they weak because they lack giftedness in this area?

If they’re not meant to ever be in a particular position based on personality or giftedness, don’t push the matter. For Trent, what seemed like a gift issue was actually the other 3 problems.

One last thing to note about this law. Stronger members will tend to pick up the slack of weaker members. In our Colts example, Andrew Luck, (who’s a solid 9 when it comes to leadership qualities) many times had to over exert himself to make up for the lack of offensive effectiveness on the field. I believe that’s one reason, in the long run, the team imploded when he got hurt and had to miss time on the field.

Law of the Bench

When it comes to winning games, the 4th quarter is where it’s at. In 2017, the Colts lost most of their games in the 2nd half. Had the game ended in the first half, the team would have made the playoffs no problem.

But because the team was incapable of playing 4 quarters, they won all of 4 games.

Sure, you could say that it was because coach Chuck Pagano played too conservatively in the second half. But I think that the biggest issue was that when people went down to injury (which we had tons of injuries this year!), there was poor talent to back them up.

Heck, you might even say that in many of our positions we didn’t have the right talent in the first place!

What’s great about having our new leadership, is that they’re righting the boat. They realize that recruiting is just as important as training and dropping the wrong people.

Instead of keeping mismatched players around to fill the roster, I think Chris Ballard realizes that when you spend time with the best people, you don’t have time for the worst.

I mean, he seems to take a Jack Welch strategy to the team. Jack was known for getting rid of the bottom 10% on a regular basis during his time at GE. This made that company so much better during his time there. I think Chris understands the power of dropping people – especially for the right reasons. In the end, he gets stronger and stronger players which gives the team more options.

Action Steps

What a difference a change of leadership can make. To be frank, I’m kind of interested to know what Jim Irsay saw in Coach Pagano and Ryan Grigson when he initially brought them on. One thing that definitely was surprising when they first arrived on the scene was how they removed all the players from the previous team – even those that were actually good.

In hindsight, I’m not sure what to make of that. It doesn’t look like it’s going to pan out the same way with our new leadership – at least not quite yet.

Anyway, when it comes to your organization or small team, I want to make sure you have 4 takeaways from this post:

  1. Hire for strengths and natural gifts.
  2. If people aren’t performing to the level you’d expect, ask why. This is key. Maybe you can actually help them improve.
  3. If you believe they no longer express the gifts that you brought them in for, feel free to remove them. In the long run, it’s for everyone’s best interest.
  4. Don’t be afraid to look for team members who are better fits for where your organization currently is. Teams are organic and sometimes someone who was a perfect fit last year, might be in a different place this year than last.

Below, let me know what you think about these laws. Do they apply to anything you’ve had experience with? How so?

great leaders

5 Characteristics of a Builder: Why Builders Can Make Great Leaders

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. As many of you know, Maria and I had a wedding to attend in Honduras. So after the last post, the rest of the week was geared towards getting there while at the same time releasing the last podcast.

That’s why you might have noticed the last podcast was released a couple of days early.

Anyway – as we were there in Honduras, I met several guys (including the groom) who were really wanting to improve life down there. Not only their own, but the lives of their neighbors in their city – San Pedro Sula.

For much of the western world, when we think of Honduras, we think of a place that drug lords have called home to and they have no shortage of violence.

While this used to be the case, I was told by the guys that this really isn’t how they see it.

They see a lot of opportunity for truly building something.

While we were having our fairly deep discussions (especially for a wedding!), I got to thinking.

How can these guys be more of an influence in their own town? Then it came to me.

They can become great builders.

Let’s take a minute to dive into some builder characteristics.

 

1. Builders are Results Oriented

When I’m talking about becoming a builder, I’m not talking about just construction builders. While Honduras definitely does need an updated infrastructure, there’s other jobs that these guys could excel at – in which they CAN make a difference.

When I was speaking with the groomsmen, this is one thing I noticed they all wanted to do.

Not only did they want to make a difference for themselves – but for their countrymen as well.

While they wanted to know the inner workings of our government here in the states, they also wanted to make sure that I knew the results that their work was accomplishing.

The thing about builders of all types is that they’re numbers oriented. I mean, when you think about it, people who are numbers oriented are usually builders of some sort. Engineers are a great example. Local government members can be another.

One thing to note though. These folks might fudge their numbers a little bit. Sometimes it’s not a big deal. Other times it can be a huge issue. So make sure if you’re planning on being a builder, set a good example and always be transparent with your results.

 

2. Builders are Hardly Ever Satisfied

When it comes to builders – the reason they build is because they want some sort of change in the world. But even when that change occurs, there’s a big chance that they’re not going to stop there. If they’re an entrepreneur, there’s going to be another product they’ll want to make. If they’re an engineer, there’s another project they’ll want to work on.

One thing to think about is that builders feel like they have to be productive each day. They feel like those who aren’t naturally productive might have something wrong with them.

But, in reality, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s simply the fact that everyone is different. While builders are task oriented, those “non-builders” are probably people oriented.

Both are needed in the world.

So instead of worrying about what others are doing, we should be concerned about whether or not we’ve been meeting our own standards.

 

3. Builders are Comfortable with Uncertainty

You’ve heard the saying before “Ready, Aim, Fire!”. Well, a common saying in the online entrepreneurial community is “Ready, Fire, Aim!”. In fact, in my conversation with Andrew O’Brien (founder of the Vetrepreneur Tribe) he said that when starting a business, people need to think about it as a 50 caliber machine gun instead of a sniper rifle.

That said, snipers have to consider the wind when taking shots. In other words, they have their own kind of uncertainty.

So us builders, even though many of us are ok with rushing into uncertainty and finding an answer, it might be best to think things out first from time to time.

 

4. Options are Desirable

When it comes to being successful, many would say that an abundant mindset is key to reaching that success.

Why? Because having an abundant mindset gives you lots of options in any givien situation. On the other hand, a scarcity mindset prevents many of those options from ever presenting themselves.

Successful builders realize that having more options to tackle a problem is better than having just a few.

To a successful builder, there isn’t any one particular right way.

 

5. A Builder’s Drive is Contagious

A final characteristic about builders is that their plans are contagious to others. For one, builders learn more from other builders. But another thing is that when builders get around other builders, they feel like they can do anything.

So if you’re a new builder yourself, ask yourself, “Am I contagious?”

Do people feel that way when they get around you?

If the answer is yes, then you’re going the right direction.

If not, it could be a number of things. So feel free to contact me if you feel you don’t quite have a magnetic personality yet.

 

Action Steps

Anyhow, there’s just a few characteristics of builders. Whether or not you’re looking to improve your local government, start improving your town’s infrastructure or make your business better, these are some things you might want to consider if you feel that things aren’t going the way you’d like.

If that’s the case and you haven’t plugged into a group who supports each other, then you’re invited to join us in the Junto!

hospitality consulting

Mike Thorp – Less Talk and More Creation! – How Saying No to Gary Vaynerchuk Helped Launch a Hospitality Consulting Business (AoL 114)

There’s a reason that many businesses fail in the first several years of business.

Of course, finances might play a part in that. But I think that even having a revenue problem is the sign of a deeper issue.

The issue is simply that business ownership doesn’t necessarily make one a great leader.

And without the ability to paint a vision and help employees see what’s going on, of course a company is going to fold.

Today’s guest, Mike Thorp, helps restaurants with this problem. He says that what he does for his clients is a combination of Hell’s Kitchen and The Profit. He loves what he’s doing, as you’ll find out.

But doing his own thing – it came at a cost. As creatives, we find out that to create our consumption must go down. And sometimes, we have to cut it out completely.

That’s exactly what Mike had to do with Gary V.

So in today’s chat, we’ll hear all about what Mike brings to the table with his business, but we’ll also learn what motivated Mike to pull the plug on Gary.

Enjoy!

 

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How’d Mike get started in the restaurant industry? 9:43
  • How does Mike view leadership and culture in the restaurant industry? 15:16
  • What’s an important role he sees his company doing for local students? 22:02
  • Does he only work with local businesses around Grand Rapids? 26:53
  • What was his transition like going from corporate work to consulting? 30:43
  • What does Mike wake up for in the morning? 34:18
  • What lead Mike to write his viral post on Medium? 42:28
  • Why do so many people have trouble leaving the consumer mindset to becoming a creative? 50:37
  • What are some of the things Mike’s looking forward to? 52:39
  • What are his three top favorite books? 54:50
  • What’s a fact from today that would blow the mind from someone ten years ago.? 56:41
  • Smallest decision he’s made that’s made the largest impact? 57:08
  • What’s a life skill that he’s amazed people lack? 58:44
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 1:01:44

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

 

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Last Video You Have to Watch:

Cy Wakeman on The #AskGaryVee Show:

Danny Meyer – The Convergence of Casual and Fine:

Michael Shafer reviews the Oz Principle:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

reading body language

Lisa Mitchell – Becoming Aware of Your Body Posture: Why Reading Body Language and Giving the Right First Impression are Vital to Success (AoL 105)

Whether you’re on a phone, in person, or standing on stage – communication is king. In general, when you think about the word communication, your first thought probably is a vision of someone talking.

I know that’s the case for me.

However, during the time when we’re talking or simply standing still, our body is actually speaking for us as well. In fact, non-verbal communication is often what truly conveys our message more so than our actual words!

In today’s chat with Lisa Mitchell, we find out more about non-verbal communication and how it affects our daily lives as well as our businesses. We also get into why authenticity is so important in today’s world, and we even get into why body language needs to be part of the next generation of online dating.

 

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • Why did Lisa leave behind a career as a coffee house owner to pursue her current career? 10:03
  • Why was the underlying reason she struggled with her first business? 14:47
  • What was her “aha moment” when she realized that she wanted to help people communicate better? 18:56
  • What are some ways that a person can manage their first impression a bit more? 26:41
  • What are the three parts of nonverbal communication? 31:31
  • Why does Lisa believe that the market demands authenticity from their experts? 36:32
  • When it comes to body language, how does being aware of your decoding process help? 39:36
  • What are some of the common conflicts and trends Lisa has seen between Millennials and Corporate? 46:41
  • What got her started helping people in romantic relationships as well? 51:17
  • How are some common problems that young professionals have when it comes to dating? 57:08
  • What does Lisa think the next big thing in online dating is? 1:01:13
  • How can someone plan for a good first impression? 1:04:06
  • What does Lisa have coming up to look forward to? 1:06:07
  • Who are three influencers that has helped her get to where she is today? 1:07:53
  • What’s here least favorite social custom? 1:12:12
  • What kind of advice does she hear parents giving kids that she’d call BS on? 1:14:25
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 1:18:01
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Be a human lie detector:

Own the Room (pt1):

Own the Room (pt2):

Avoid the Question Inflection (Don’t be a valley girl!):

What does LeBron’s post-shot behavior mean?:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

education reform

Education Reform: Why It’s Important for Creatives to Get Involved

With everything that’s been going on in the news cycle, I thought it’d be a great time to bring up the topic of education system reform. Seems this topic isn’t discussed nearly as much as it could be.

I believe that our current education system is part of the problem in both the National Socialist vs International Communist debate as well as people not seeking appropriate shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Personally, in my teens and twenties, for example, I wouldn’t have stuck around to get hit by a hurricane. And when it comes to protests, even when I felt the need to get involved with one, I would have ducked out whenever it got violent and the police showed up.

Today, in both situations, people are playing the role of victim and not taking responsibility for their own actions. They’re saying that the government needs to take more control and tell them or the other side what to do.

The question is… can you blame them? Not necessarily.

In recent years, it appears that the greater education system has practically said it’s ok to act this way. (Safe spaces anyone???)

However, I don’t believe that’s the truth. And in fact, successful people are only successful based on their own desires and efforts. They’re the ones who have put in the extra time and commitment to make their dreams come true.

Sure others help them along the way, but it’s because they made the initial effort to do more in life. Once they began on their own journey, they met people along the way who were going in the same direction.

So how can we make the world a better place? Help change how students are educated.

Changing Education for the Better

What does that even mean?

Since this post was originally published on October 14, 2010, I’ve heard of various schools doing better work with their students. Traditional schools are starting to make classes that help their students realize their full potential.

Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the norm.

In fact, in Indiana, we still have what are called Core 40 diplomas. To many, it might be considered common sense to educate people in a well rounded manner. However, sometimes that model simply doesn’t work. Some of the individuals who are on the route to get a Core 40 diploma might have done better in a field that school can’t even touch; such as learning how to be a performing artist, an athlete, community leader, or even being a great business builder. (Personally I’m a knowledge junkie, so school was always a drug for me… except for the tests!)

Discussing Possible Solutions:

In the below RSA Animate, I wanted to share with you a video which introduced me to a guy by the name of Sir Ken Robinson. Great guy and has totally changed my perspective in why public education needs to be separated from public schooling.

It was after listening to him, that I was able to start putting two and two together. Soon after, I was re-introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk (not the Wine Library version, but instead the version we know today). If you didn’t know, Gary is completely for Education Reform (start at 12:30):

And then, I was later introduced to the School Sucks Project with Brett Veinotte. Here’s the first episode of the show from 2009. Later in the show’s life, it kinda went away from why I originally tuned in – but those first 20 or so episodes are great material.

 

Something Else to Consider

In many states, the classes that are usually cut first in public schooling are not your STEM classes. They’re not the reading, writing, or social studies classes either. For many systems, they are the “optional” classes. This includes the art, the music, and other “special” classes. You can clearly see which classes are more important to various school boards based on the classes they cut. The problem is that there are students who excel in these special classes more so than the other classes they’re in. That being the case, you can probably understand why I’ve never really been a fan of the “No Child Left Behind” act.

Generally speaking, its result has been to limit everyone’s potential to the same standardized schooling.

So why are these classes the ones normally on the chopping block? I believe it’s because many standardized tests are primarily focused on testing upon vocabulary, math, and writing. The better these test scores are in primary schooling, the better a student can perform in secondary schooling. After being in secondary school myself as a student for 9 years, I realized one main thing about learning in a “formal” secondary education: it makes you better at following orders and instructions. It makes you better suited to work a job.

 

Changing the Education System

Government isn’t the Answer:

So, I believe it’s up to us – the Creatives, the Entrepreneurs, the Rebels – whatever you want to call us – to start coming up with alternative methods of educating those around us.

The world is moving too quickly to let the old system continue to be the primary method of education. Not only that, but those who are in control of it, have no problem teaching its students that it’s ok to rely on the government to provide security.

That’s not what the government is for.

We Need to Empower People’s Individual Strengths – Not Give a One Size Fits All Solution:

In the past five years, I have become even more aware that there are other talents that could be measured for intelligence. However, for one reason or another they are not. And, in fact, the evidence is piling up.

Outside of the types that IQ measures (being linguistic verbal and logical mathematical), nine different types of intelligence have been identified.

Many private primary and secondary school systems have taken note of this as well. They have started to focus on developing intellectual leaders in different fields of intelligence. I’m convinced that making this a vital part of education is the answer to making any country, including the U.S., a player in the new economy.

However, most students still go through the traditional education curriculum that is still rated by a very narrow measure. This worries me. I find it disconcerting that many students are still being taught and measured in a way that is only useful in following directions. The problem today is that with the today’s global economy, this mindset has given us a 10% unemployment rate.

I believe the longer that this goes unchecked, the higher our future unemployment rates will go. It will be the result of an ever increasing ratio of people who should be taught to excel at their strength vs those who are mentored in their natural strengths. In other words, there will be a heck of alot more people trying to take orders than giving them.

Conclusion:

So here’s the bottom line.

It’s been 8 years since I got my masters. It’s been 5 since I haven’t taught in formal education.

I don’t believe it’s totally fair to try and pin every one down in one or two measurements of intelligence. Especially when we’re told by so many people that we need to celebrate our differences.

But funny enough, that’s what the US’s Prussian Education based system focuses on doing.

We have to help others get more creative. Period. We can’t rely on the schooling system to do it. In fact, we have to separate public education from public schooling.

Lack of creativity is hurting the US. If the US is in trouble, the rest of the world can’t be doing so hot. People still come here to get away from the crap that’s going on in their homelands.

We have to remain the the shining city on the hill.

So that being the case – I’m curious. Are you connected to public primary or secondary schooling? Have you seen any signs of a change to focus more on building students in other types of intelligence? If so, what results do you predict from that change?

become famous

19 Ways to Add Value to Influencers So You Can Become “Famous” Yourself (Starting Today!)

Imagine if you were more popular in whatever it was you had a passion for. Whether you’re a band member, an artist, or a CEO of a baby company, having more followers on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is a good thing. Especially if those followers are engaged with you.

But how exactly do you do you get to be more popular.

Here’s one answer: build real relationships with people who are already where you want to be.

In this post, we’re looking at a list that was composed by Primoz Bozic in how you can add value to influencers.

We’ll look at how exactly you can build real relationships online (and offline) with some of your favorite influencers so you can have more impact in the communities and people that you’re wanting to serve.

Or as they call it in the entertainment world – you’ll be more famous.

Hopefully this list will help you out just like it’s helped out tons of other people throughout the web.

Engage with Their Content and Community

If you’ve been studying how to build awareness of your brand online for any amount of time, you know there’s a tons of mega Facebook groups that you can choose to be a part of. I mentioned 6 of them that I’ve been frequenting for awhile now. But there’s tons more out there. Which ones you join depend on what you’re aiming to do and who you want to take notice of you.

Most of the larger names out there these days – especially if they’re interested in building their audience on Facebook – will have a group as well as their main website.

Join these groups. I’d start with 1 to 3 so you can spend some actual time in them because you have some work to do.

 

Help Others in their Communities

So let’s say you’re freshly entered into a group in Facebook, what’s the first thing you’re going to do? I’m going to guess you’re either going to read other people’s posts OR you’re going to be watching the videos they have in there.

But after you’ve done that, then what?

Well, someone who wasn’t trying to build social capital would probably just move on to something else.

However, you want to start adding value and there’s a few ways to do that:

 

1. Start by giving insightful comments on other people’s posts.

Make people aware of you by helping other students in these communities get what they want – engagement or answers to their questions. If you have something of value to let others know, go for it!

 

2. Write useful posts in their communities.

You can talk about how much the group has helped you, how much certain people have helped you, or simply say “Hey, this is something that I’ve been asked quite a bit about and I thought I’d make a post of it.”

Heck, you might even ask a question or two yourself to get engagement going!

 

3. Let them know you’re using their advice.

One of the the many things that I’ve learned over the years from Ramit Sethi is what he calls the “Close the Loop” technique. Basically this means that if someone says to do something (directly or indirectly) that you want to let them know how it went.

 

4. Share their content with others.

Let other people you about this amazing influencer! But be sure to give the post or share some context. I used to share so much stuff without actually titling it. When I asked about the post later, I’d find out they hadn’t read it yet – even though it pertained directly to their current problem!

Eventually I learned that if I wanted people to engage with things I share, I had to give the post a little bit of context to set the tone.

 

5. Host Meetups They’d be Proud of.

If you’re really interested in a certain community and want to have other people share in that awesomeness as well – host a meetup! For the first two years I was in Fizzle, I hosted a local meetup here in Indy. Met a lot of cool people that wanted to start their own business that way – and proud to say that many of them have become successful!

 

 

Use Their Paid Products

You’ll be noticed if you actively show someone you’re interested in what they’re selling. If you’re interested in being friends with someone, it helps by showing your appreciation in buying their work. Nothing says you’re serious to learn more from a person than if you actually buy a course, book, or other product.

Sure, an expert might have thousands of fans who have bought their stuff, but this is good to have on your social capital checklist.

 

6. Study their art, work, or content.

It’s one thing to actually buy a book, a course, or go to a live event, but it’s another to actually take the time to thoroughly understand what they’re trying to convey in their work. For example, most of us are guilty of having books on our shelves we haven’t gotten to.

If you want to have a chance with getting on influencer’s radar, it really helps if you have bought their stuff, learned it, and applied it to what you’re doing!

 

7. Send them a written testimonial for their product.

This doesn’t necessarily mean send them a snail mail – but they definitely want to know that their product is working. So CLOSE THAT LOOP!

Heck, if you do this, you might even get featured on one of their pages as someone who’s tried it AND all of their traffic who has seen that testimonial might think about visiting your site!

 

8. Send them a video testimonial.

What might work even better for you is sending them a video testimonial. Videos take a bit more time to produce and frankly, names and faces stick better than words. If you want to make more of an impact with your influencer and do something only a fraction of their audience is going to do on their own, send them a video testimonial.

 

9. Leave a review wherever you can.

Whatever testimonials you send the influencer, make sure you reuse that information in way that you can post it around the web as a review.

Anymore you can write a leave videos for reviews on Amazon – so go to town on there if a book really helped you move forward.

 

Appreciate those who have Helped You.

This is one that should go without saying – but it’s something that so many people forget to do.

 

10. Post a thank you note in the group or on a site.

After you’ve been in a group for awhile, make sure you appreciate those that have helped you get better at whatever it is that group is helping you with. You’re more than likely make someone’s day AND you’ll probably make a better friend in doing so.

 

11. Send them an email letting them know how you feel.

Most things that come in the email these days are ads, ads, and more ads. It’s nice to see something come in your inbox that you didn’t expect AND it’s like “You’re most awesomest person ever!”. I’m sure if you got one of these, your first action would be to print it out.

Well, do that for other people if they’ve been a help to you.

 

12. Send a written snail mail note to them.

Why write out a note on paper when you can send an email or post something on Facebook?

Because no one does this anymore – seriously. If you truly want to stand out, I highly recommend you write a thank you and send it. It helps to know that they’re ok with it, but if you can’t find out – don’t be a weirdo. 🙂

 

13. Send a gift.

Depending on who the person is, they might actually be open to gifts as well. Selena Soo writes about how she sent ice cream John Lee Dumas here.

 

14. Thank them Publicly.

If you really want a fun way to make someone blush and make you good in the process, thank someone in public. You can do this as simply as posting on your wall how much you appreciate them and how much they’ve meant to you.

Simply Message Them

Another way that you can build rapport with influencers, and is probably my number one way to do things is to simply treat them as another human being. But be highly aware that they probably have less time to answer messages than you do.

So, if you choose to message them in regular conversation. Here’s a few pointers:

 

15. Keep your messages short and to the point – 15 lines at most.

Also, don’t ask for any favors. If you were randomly asked for a favor out of the blue from someone you didn’t know vs someone you did – which would you probably respond to? Here’s the thing – influencers know TONS of people. You need to know one of those folks first before you ask them for something.

 

16. Mark Messages “No Response Needed (NRN)” when Applicable.

Don’t waste the influencers time if you can avoid it. Instead of making them struggle to write something in response to a email comment or a simple message, it would be kind of you to let them know you’re not requiring anything from them. Ramit spoke of this in the same post as above. Pay attention to this post. 🙂

 

17. Talk to them about things Outside of their Expertise.

People are people and occasionally they’ll take time off from the work they’re known for, believe it or not! If they post something that isn’t related to their field, you’re totally allowed to comment on it as well. Is it funny, laugh with them. If it’s a big part of their life – embrace it like you’re one of their family. Be there for them because so many people are takers these days!

 

18. Mention them in your the Work you Produce.

Ok, so most of you probably think that I love Pat Flynn, Dane Maxwell, and the Fizzle crew. But the truth is that they were really instrumental in me getting comfortable enough to start doing this online business thing – more so than anyone else. For that, I’ll always be thankful.

What I did right there, you need to do that in your content as well. Don’t be afraid to mention your sources. No one knows everything – not even “the experts”. In fact, you’ll hear experts mention people they learn from more often than not. It makes them more real.

If you’ve never really mentioned someone in your content before, feel free to start with at least 5 paragraphs in how they’ve helped you. In my case, I made a post about Pat’s book here, had Dane Maxwell on my show as he’s starting his new career in music, and had a couple of the crew from Fizzle on the show as well (Steph and Barrett).

 

19. Introduce influencers to influencers.

Truth is this – if you can make good connections for others (notice I said “good”), then you’ll be remembered as someone that has those good connections.

Even if you strike out on one, two, or three – keep trying. As you keep going down your path, you’ll keep meeting more and more influential people and you’ll be able to make better matches for those around you.

 

Your Turn!

Remember, you don’t have to do every item on this list. Some might not actually apply to you, while others might take a little while to get started.

Start small – start with one. Pick whichever one(s) stand out – and start knocking them off the list.

You’ve already put this much time into your craft, now it’s time to capitalize.

Also, comment below and let me know if I’ve missed any ways to add value to influencers. If you already are one, I’d love to hear your perspective on this as well! Do you have any memorable stories of someone noticeably giving you value in a way that you really respected?

Look forward to hearing from you!!

 

Bonus

In this chat between Srini Rao and Jordan Harbinger, I was reminded not only who I wanted to be when I “grew up” (I listen to both of their shows pretty regularly), but I also was reminded why building your social capital with influencers is so important.

Great info if you got value out of this post: