Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Best Friend Died Today

The messages you’ve usually received from me have mainly focused on Sales, Speaking, Presentation Skills, Customer Service and Leadership. Very rarely do you get something very personal. But today is different.

Today my best friend died. He had gifts not many others have. He was brilliant, insightful, joyful, and had an almost photographic memory.  

To say we were close is an understatement. All of my favorite activities were his favorite activities. For 12 wonderful years the outdoors was where we both wanted to be. Didn’t matter if we were fishing for striped bass at Lake Powell, or jet skiing into the canyons, or going bike riding in the desert, as long as we were together. He loved to hunt but was rarely successful. I just loved watching him and cheering him on.

His end wasn’t sudden… rather it was a gradual loss of his physical powers. He began to get tired easily. His eyesight dimmed and his hearing diminished. Yet we stuck together like brothers. That’s what best friends do!

The night before he died I slept next to him, gave him a drink of water when he needed it, and held his head in my hands, telling him how much he meant to me.

By now you may have guessed… my best friend was Spencer, my beloved Golden Retriever.  I miss him so much already and I’ll never forget the thousands of days we spent together, having so much fun and being each other’s Best Friend!

Who is your best friend? Who’s always there for you? Who listens and doesn’t judge and somehow makes everything right? Who sees you not with their eyes, but through their heart, and would do anything for you?

Whether it’s your dog or a human being that’s your best friend, go give them a hug right now. Tomorrow might be too late!

There’s nothing better than a best friend… unless it’s a best friend with chocolate!

MAKE it a great day! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"The 24-Hour Rule"

How many times has this happened? You call an associate, they're not in. So you leave this brief but urgent message on their voicemail: "Hi, sorry I missed you. Need your input on LMNOP. Please call, email or text me on how you think we should proceed. Time sensitive. Thanks and make it a great day!"

Sounds pretty common... You leave someone a voicemail or you send them an email or text them and you expect a reply. But nothing happens! You wait and you wait and still nothing. So you repeat the process, and two possible things happen. Either you miraculously get your associate on the phone, and they make excuses, "Oh, I was so busy." Or, you try leaving another more urgent message. 

The side effects of living and working in our fast paced world is that people are so busy they let things slide. They may be well-meaning people, they may like and respect you, yet they don't feel the need to respond as quickly as they should, for whatever reason.

Here's where "The 24 Hour Rule" can help you...

You might have heard Tom Izzo, Basketball Coach at Michigan State, give his team his 24-Hour Rule. "You have 24 hours to wallow in pain and frustration over a loss, not one second more. Then you flip the switch and move on in positive action!" That's good advice. Yet it's not the 24-Hour Rule we're discussing.

Then there's that old saying: "When you're upset or angry, wait 24 hours before you react. It's like counting to ten except it's just longer, 24 hours."  That's a good rule, but no, that's not it either.

This is "The 24 Hour Rule" that can increase your effectiveness immeasurably: 

"Respond to your customers, associates or loved ones within 24 hours, even if you don't have an answer to what they need."

Yes! Get back to EVERYONE who contacts you for ANYTHING ... in 24 hours! That response can be by phone, by text message or by email. It can be as short & snappy as this: 
  • "Got your message -- buried now, will call you by Friday."
  • "Got your message -- impossible to respond till next week, advise!"
  • "Thanks for the update on LMNOP. Have no new ideas. Use your judgment -- trust you!"
Think how YOU feel when your messages just plain go unanswered. Your opinion of the person you've contacted goes down and your frustration level goes up!

Decide now to be a 24-hour responder! Get back to employees, customers, associates and friends in 24 hours, no matter what! No answer is better than no response. At least it shows that you can be counted on and that you're on top of things! And it shows you care!

One "little" company decided to use "The 24 Hour Rule" and it increased their sales 21% in the first year, plus it earned them their highest JD Power rating in the company's history. That was Ford Motor Company and their CEO, Alan Mulally, was the driver of "The 24 Hour Rule."

Now it's your turn. Look at all your emails and text messages, listen to your voice mails, and respond to them in 24 hours. If you have too many, send a blanket response saying: "Got your message. Will get back to you as soon as I return to the office on the 15th."

Think how frustrating it is for YOU not to hear back from people. At least now THEY will hear back from YOU! 

Implement this powerful idea... and I'll look forward to hearing from you in 24 hours with your good results!

MAKE it a great day!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Greatest Speech of the 20th Century

You probably know that even after 50 years, most Americans still rank the speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 as the greatest speech of the 20th Century. And you probably know that the speech is commonly called the "I Have a Dream" speech.
But you probably don't know what Dr. King did during his speech when he got to the bottom of page 4, and that the technique he used can help you give your greatest speech or presentation!
Before you find out more about this technique, let's set the stage, since you probably weren't one of the quarter of a million people there when Dr. King spoke live at "The March on Washington" during the Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. King had a 5½-page prepared script that he planned to deliver that day, and he did deliver it. Except that he stopped at the bottom of page 4 and used one of the most important techniques you can possibly use when you're speaking to almost any group on almost any subject! It's to "Trust your gut!" That's it!
Put another way, "Listen to that voice within you." Or "Trust your instincts and what's in your heart." Your head says, "Stay with your prepared message," but your gut, your heart, and that still, small voice within you says, "No! Go in this new direction!"
And that's exactly what happened on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Here's what Dr. King said later that year to Donald Smith, author of the book, "The Dream."
"I started out reading the speech, and I read it down to a point, and just all of a sudden I decided (the audience response was wonderful that day, you know) and all of a sudden this thing came to me, I HAVE A DREAM! I just felt I wanted to use it. I don't know why. I hadn't thought about it before that speech."
Dr. King used those four words, "I HAVE A DREAM," eight times in three paragraphs. That's what made his speech so amazing, and now, over 50 years later, it's still called "The Greatest Speech!" Wow! What if every time you spoke you listened to that voice within you, and trusted it!
As a professional speaker for 40 years, I have used Dr. King's technique, trusting my instincts. It has served me well and it will serve you well too. Why? Because your audience will sense your conviction, your sincerity and your passion!
The next time you speak, think of Dr. King. Trust your instincts, your feelings and that voice within that can help you give the greatest speech or presentation of your life!
I too "have a dream" ... that you'll be calling or writing me, and sharing how this idea has helped you!
MAKE it a great day!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

It's Like Having a Crystal Ball for 2014....

When You Answer These 7 Questions....

Here's something you can do right now to look into the future and make 2014 an AMAZING year! You're already busy, of course -- but before time gets away from you, why not take stock of your priorities for the year ahead? We're not talking about New Year's Resolutions here! They don't work! In fact, based on Gallup Poll findings, 24% of New Year's Resolutions are broken in the very first week! 53% are broken within six months! And get this, 92% are broken by year end!
As an alternative, as you visualize your plans for the year ahead, here's an exercise you can do, and I think you'll find it very helpful. The exercise consists of asking yourself these six questions about last year:
1. What was your biggest success in 2013?
2. What was the best decision you made?
3. What was the most important lesson you learned?
4. What made you the happiest?
5. Who had the greatest positive impact on you?
6. What were you most grateful for?
Now I've got one more important question for you ... and the answer to this question will help you see things even more clearly in 2014. Here's the question:
7. If you could re-live 2013, knowing now everything that happened, and everything you did to make things happen the way they did, what would you do differently?
Answering all seven questions is like having a crystal ball! Save these questions, and your answers to them, in a safe place. At the end of each year, answer them again. You'll find clarity and conviction to carry you through the year, as you accomplish whatever you decide is really important to you!
And forget New Year's Resolutions! Instead, make a commitment to yourself that you will MAKE 2014 a wonderful year, in spite of change, in spite of conditions, in spite of circumstances!
Your life is your choice! What 2014 brings you is up to YOU!
MAKE it a great day...every day!  
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