Category Archives: Top Posts

Personal and Uncomfortable to Write

I’ve been doing this blog since 2014. I’ve been sending out my email newsletter since 2009.

Somewhere along the way, I began missing the point of what this is all about.

The Wrong Success?

Here’s what it’s NOT about. The success of this effort is NOT measured by:

  • Having tens of thousands of subscribers and hundreds of thousands of readers
  • Selling tons of books and online training programs
  • My book deal with Penguin Random House
  • My columns with major publications like Psychology Today and Huff Post
  • Working with dozens of Fortune 500 companies as their keynote speaker

Certainly, I view those as successes and I’m extremely grateful for each one.

But it’s not what our little community is all about.

How it Used to Be

Let’s reminisce for a bit…

Every Tuesday, without fail, you would get an email from me. (Remember that?)

I would share stories from my business, my clients, the news, or just my personal life and family. Good, bad, ugly, whatever. No matter what was going on, I’d reach out with SOMETHING.

We would talk about what’s happening to human connection – little ways to bring it back in our lives and in our work. I would share my thoughts and ideas – and my stories. Freely. Authentically.

And I’d hear back from you. Social media, blog comments, likes, shares, etc. But the majority would be personal email responses. You’d hit reply and start typing with equal freedom and authenticity.

Sometimes you’d fire back a thought about the content of my message. But more often, you’d ask about my kids, or my hobbies, or you’d razz me about how I’m a fan of TWO baseball teams (Red Sox and Cubs…but the Red Sox first.)

But Ever Since…

Ever since, well, when exactly? I’m not completely sure.

But I’d be willing to bet it had something to do with more people paying attention to us. The “successes” I mentioned earlier may have changed things a bit here and there.

Once people were watching, a little voice inside my head told me that I’d better make things a little more “perfect”. Like, “Clean the house, man. There are PEOPLE coming over!”

Slowly, but surely, I became hyper-aware of my flaws.

I guess writing gets harder when there are more eyeballs scrutinizing your words.

I got hung up on images, grammar, headlines that seemed “too this” or “too that,” and content. Ohmigosh, the content…

Content, Content, Content

I wanted to wow people with every post. I wanted to be SO helpful or SO insightful for every reader, every time. But I also wanted them to be short, quick, and easy to digest. Mind-blowing, but convenient. I just wanted it all to be…awesome.

Who cares about what happened to my daughter’s foot that week? Why would anyone want to read about my new lawnmower? (A Husqvarna zero-turn…oh yeah, baby!) Does anyone really need to see a picture of me in front of an audience of HR pros in Nashville? NO! They want to know what the latest research paper says about body language and how they can use it to score their next pay raise!

So, I put a laser-focus on content. If I could just give you enough INFORMATION about human connection…If I could just analyze it enough, or provide you with enough strategies to create a more “connected work culture,” or to put technology in its place, or to use magic words to become more influential, THEN I would make an impact.

I got lost in content, facts, knowledge, and information.

Yes, that stuff is important. Informing and entertaining are pretty much my entire job description. But our conversations dwindled. Those tiny moments of connection were lost.

For crying out loud, what we need right now is NOT more information! We are drowning in information, but starving for knowledge. What we need is a community of people who we can count on to help keep our focus in the right place. What we need is each other. Now more than ever.

I Did Exactly What I Teach People NOT to Do

I claim that connection is greater than technical knowledge. I purport that personality is more important than professionalism. Wait…did I just type the word, “purport”? There I go again trying to sound smart. Who says that?? I literally don’t even know what that means.

And yet, despite what I’ve taught…despite what I BELIEVE…I’ve let other things come before our human connection.

And I’m sorry.

I get it, doing what it takes to create true connection is HARD. Believe me, I get it. More so now than ever.

  • It’s hard to be vulnerable.
  • It’s hard to be 100% consistent and dependable.
  • It’s hard to break through the pull of digital technology and create moments of human connection with customers, clients, or even family and friends.
  • It’s hard to consider others first when your own life is upside-down.

Do it anyway.

Because it’s not what you do, it’s who you do it for.

Quality products and services are important. But the pursuit of quality should never come before the pursuit of connection.

A Re-Commitment

I’m going to continue putting out useful information. I can’t help it. I LOVE reading, researching, interviewing, and dissecting everything I can get my hands on about what makes us tick.

But I’m going to throw away my quest to “legitimize” my work in the eyes of the general public. I’m going to stop acting like a journalist, or a scientist, or a best-selling author, or a thought leader. I’m going to stop acting at all. I no longer want to “fit in” or “find my place”.

I’m just going to continue being extravagantly passionate about human connection. I’m going to continue being purposeful in helping others to create MORE connection in their lives and work. I’m going to continue to evangelize the importance of connection ESPECIALLY in our digital world, even though it feels like pushing a boulder uphill. I’ll share my ah-ha moments, my excitement, my hopes, my fears, and real life.

In other words, I’ll get back to my roots. I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’ll practice what I preach.

It kind of feels like we’ve already started, doesn’t it?

If you don’t already join us for the weekly emails, sign up below…or above…or wherever it is.

Here’s YOUR homework. Write your own letter. Write it to your employees, your customers, your family, or yourself. Tell them what you’ve gotten away from. And tell them what you want to get back to. Be real. Apologize. Promise to be better. But above all…CONNECT.

The Best Word to Use While Negotiating Anything

Negotiation

Occasionally, the skill of human connection involves negotiation.

For example…

I have a nine year old daughter and a six year old daughter…

There is a lot of negotiation that goes on in my house. And we haven’t even entered the teenage years yet. (But let me tell you, nine is the new thirteen!)

There is also a surprising amount of negotiation that happens in our daily interactions with adults. Whether it’s a vendor, a supplier, a boss, a car salesperson, or a spouse, a little negotiation skill goes a LONG way.

Personally, this one little word saves me thousands of dollars each year (sometimes more), AND makes people feel better about doing business with me. It might be a free fountain drink at Subway, or it might be a few thousand dollars off of a new car. Either way, the word is the same.

Once, before I knew about it, a real estate agent used it against me. I suggested an offer, she said the word and immediately I raised my offer $30,000. THIRTY GRAND in about five seconds of work! She made a whole lot more in commission just by saying one stupid word. (Nah, I’m not bitter at all…)

So what’s the word? Continue reading

Stop Feeling like a Babysitter! 7 Steps for Turning Problem Employees into Key Players

stressed_out_mum

This week, I conducted a free live teleseminar for mid-upper managers. Most managers I talk to say that they feel like a babysitter from time to time. Have you ever felt like you run a daycare center instead of an office? These seven simple steps will fix that.

Download the mp3 below and listen to it while you’re driving to work. There’s also a 1-page PDF handout that goes with it so you can take notes. (But let’s not do THAT while you’re driving.)

Enjoy!

Click here to download the “STOP Feeling like a Babysitter” PDF handout

Writing a Persuasive Speech – A Proven Outline (Plus My 50-Point Checklist of Public Speaking Tips)

confident_speakerIf you’ve got to give a speech or a presentation, then chances are you want to make it persuasive. If the audience doesn’t believe or behave differently than they did before they heard you, then you simply didn’t do your job as a speaker.

When people hire me to speak for their group, this is the exact framework I use to craft my talk. Whether it’s a 20-minute “lunch and learn” presentation or a 90-minute keynote address for a management conference, the basic formula remains the same. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to a great speech! Continue reading

What Does Connection Mean?

Hope you’re enjoying the season! I had fun making something this week and I want you to take a look.

It’s a 2-minute video and I’m not sure whether or not people are going to “get” it.

It’s definitely a little different from my usual style. Here it is:

What do you think?