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by Angela Kambouris | Featured Contributor

Workplace conflict is on the rise. Whether it be with colleagues, clients, bosses, or navigating work relationships, you need to use your voice rather than avoid these situations. When you don’t speak up, you remain trapped in your conflict.

At times, conflict is needed.

Many humans skirt the chance to confront challenges or opt to avoid conflict when given an opportunity. Your fight or flight response kicks in when faced with potential threats, and often, the flight is much easier. When you avoid addressing workplace issues, they will fester than face away. Whether it be interpersonal issues, job function challenges, or personality quirks, conflicts are inevitable. Working towards a resolution is ecological for all involved – you, your team, and your organization.

Maybe your boss lashed out at you during a team meeting, or your direct report started to cry while you are giving feedback, or perhaps a business partner hung up the phone on you. Whether it be self-preservation, people tend to do everything they can to avoid the most obvious solution: talking. Recognizing the need for an awkward conversation is a starting point.

Being direct is an art-form that many people never master. Being too direct can have you labeled as rude, inconsiderate, or intimidating. On the flip side, if you avoid being direct, being a push-over or follower comes to mind. Either way, labels that you don’t want to adopt.

Most professionals are phenomenal at arguing on behalf of their clients, yet many don’t welcome having tough personal conversations. Rather than avoid, why isn’t your instinct to lean in? People invest their energy into all the negative consequences of their interactions.

The cost of inaction results in ongoing tension and stress. The feeling of being stuck only compounds over time. When you shift your approach and instill a new habit of stepping into difficult conversations, it can be a game changer. Imagine the benefits of not having to spend hours or weeks avoiding conversations, immersing yourself in the inherent underlying fear about them, and instead of the energy of possibility of a successful resolution.

The key is to learn how to produce a better outcome for all while keeping your relationship intact. Consider the following strategies to break through the resistance of mental obstacles by taking the first step to lean in.

Intention is everything

Catering to an audience is an important skill to keep in mind. Delivering constructive comments, without personalizing and finding a tone that adopts an empathetic approach is your priority. When being direct, remain to the facts, keep a measured tone, listen to the talking points, empathize with their response, and breathe when it’s time to respond. Listen to understand, not respond.

Get Uncomfortable

There is a certain level of messiness when dealing with difficult conversations. Getting comfortable with the uncertainty of the outcome is what often consumes people’s thoughts.

Adopt a frame of understanding the nature of difficult conversations and how to handle them, identify the preferred strategies for managing these conversations and use enhanced listening and empathy in a way that minimizes tension and conflict and strengths relationships

Adeptly navigate the murky waters.

When a swag of negative emotions is involved, people avoid talking to those whose behaviors create problems. You talk about them and not to them. Avoidance kicks in, and difficult conversations become foreign concepts.

People make the mistake of avoiding what is uncomfortable, scary or challenging. They choose to lay low or invest in seeking comfort from others who are just as uncomfortable and disagree with the behavior that is causing the difficulty.

When avoidance is the chosen response, people continue to stay stuck. Frustration accelerates, trust remains low, productivity lowers, health and wellbeing become compromised, and problems fester.

Decide to have the conversation or not.

You always have a choice, to have a conversation or not. Not choosing is still a choice. If you decide not to have the conversation, then you have the responsibility of moving on and letting it go.

If you choose to participate in the conversation, check the ego at the door alongside the soapbox of opinions, or morals. In the workplace, organizational values must be the platform for the discussion to launch from, to discuss workplace behavior and establish agreements on how to move on.

Kickstart the conversation

Begin the conversation by stating its purpose and your intention to come to some resolution. When you separate facts from emotion, you can articulate what you know to be true objectively and minimize the opportunity for the conversation to escalate.

By being present during the conversation, you are open to listening and acknowledging their views and engaging in a solution-focused discussion. Being problem-saturated helps no one.

Embrace the pause

During conversations, it can be tempting to fill the silence. Embracing the silence, and embodying the pause, creates an opportunity for the other person to feel listened and valued. Be respectful, patient, and open to walking in another person’s shoes.

Breathe in the Moment

The calmer and more centered you are, the better you respond to difficult conversations. Practice mindfulness where you focus on your breath. It creates a space where you can refocus and collect your thoughts.

Determine what is fact from the story.

Ask quality questions such as:

  • What do you know for sure?
  • What would add more value right now?
  • What are the facts? List all the facts and ask yourself, do you know that for sure? Is it a fact or part of a story l am telling myself?
  • What are you committing to move forward?
  • What is the simplest, fastest yet more thorough way to make this happen?

Find common areas of agreement on how you will both move forward and work together.

Lessons Learned

After a courageous conversation, it is worthwhile to reflect post discussion and consider what went well, would be improved, and what were the lessons learned from the experience. Reflect on the tone of the meeting, the responses, and could have there been a different approach. Investing in observing mentors leading these conversations is an opportunity to emulate their language, strategy, and tactics. Having courageous conversations is not just a skill, it is brave.

The post The Fine Art Of Leaning Into Environments In The Workplace, Even When It’s Difficult By @ANGEKYOUMATTER appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Dr. R. Kay Green | Featured Contributor

Employee retainment is a real struggle for businesses. High turnover rates are plaguing corporate offices, with many not knowing how to solve the issue.

A big part of the problem, I believe, comes from a lack of engagement. Employees do not feel invested in what they are doing. They go through the motions, but they do not feel ownership of what they do. They continue on autopilot and do not care about their job past getting a paycheck.

So, how can business owners solve this problem?

Some turn to incentive programs or competitive benefits. And while these are all wonderful things to have, there is one powerful tool that many businesses overlook: elearning.

Many people think of elearning as “a good thing to have.” And they can probably list a few reasons why someone might want to invest in it. But when it comes to the benefits of elearning, employee engagement and retention is probably not at the top of people’s minds. That said, it makes perfect sense that investing in this sort of platform would yield results.

Elearning helps employees think about their jobs in a new light. This will keep them from going on autopilot, as they are thinking critically about how they are working and what they are doing. Days will stop being routine as they begin implementing what they learn.

Employees should not just act and follow instructions. They should know why those instructions and policies are there in the first place. This will help them behave mindfully, and use critical thinking skills in situations where the rules do not have an easy answer. Elearning can help achieve this by teaching them why they are doing things and getting them to consider what they would do in certain situations.

Elearning also encourages employees to be independent and to take action in their careers. If done well, it can get them thinking about their future with the company.

Knowing that they have room to grow and expand with your business will greatly improve your retention rate. They will not go looking for a “better” position somewhere else if they know that they have room to grow with you.

Elearning prepares employees for future hardships. Instead of making them learn in a “trial by fire” setting, it lets them anticipate problems in a safe space. This will improve retention, as it will decrease the chances of an employee leaving when they encounter hardship.

Finally, investing in elearning shows employees that you care about their futures. It shows that you want them to learn and succeed, and this can mean more to many employees than anything else you could do for them.

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Dr. R. Kay Green – Marketing Expert from RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. from Atlanta, GA.

Dr. R. Kay Green is the CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. With over 190,000+ Twitter followers, 35,000+ Facebook Likes, and the Top 1% LinkedIn profile designation, Dr. Kay, a self-motivated trailblazer, is the Quintessential “New-Age” Professional Woman, and PhD Marketing Pro. She earned a Doctorate of Business Administration in Marketing, and has completed PhD coursework in Leadership and Organization Change. She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and an Associate of Arts in Marketing Management.

She is affiliated with several prestigious universities and has instructed over 350 courses online. A popular speaker on Marketing and Business topics, Dr. Green is currently featured on Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Black News, The Network Journal, Business Review USA, Digital Journal, College View, Business New Hampshire Magazine, Bay State Banner, Reader’s Circle, North Dallas Gazette, Harlem News, Top News Today, One News Page, NE Informer, Women in Business PR News, Consumer News Today, Women PR News, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Daily Herald, The Miami Herald, and Book News Articles.

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The post Engage and Retain Employees through Elearning by @DrRKayGreen appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Phyllis Reagin

In one fell swoop, Lori Loughlin (and many others) damaged a carefully crafted professional image. Only she knows what motivated her to take such extraordinary risk. Lori created a successful acting business built on the professional image of being wholesome and trustworthy. Like Lori, entrepreneurs build their professional images with a direct impact on their businesses.

For any entrepreneur, your professional image is tied directly to the livelihood of your business. Your professional image may be cemented by your social presence that is built on the backs of social media, websites, blogs, and vlogs. ‘You’ are interwoven into the products and services you are selling. There is much power in the hands of entrepreneurs to create who they are to the outer world. This also sets up entrepreneurs to be precariously close to tarnishing their image with one wrong statement, viewpoint, or action.

A damaged professional reputation can be very difficult to rebound from. An example of this is a business owner who has built a socially conscious business that states “We are here to make a difference” but who is captured in the media displaying behaviors that show indifference, such as partying on a yacht. Whether or not it is true or fair, the damage is done. The fallout can be others no longer believe in her and don’t want to follow her. Thought leader Tom Peters stated, “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Actions that are completely out of alignment with who the public believed her to be, is the reason Lori Loughlin has been dropped from all her acting contracts and is social piranha. What could have prevented such an unnecessary tarnishing of her reputation? The very same actions that any entrepreneur can take to ensure that their professional image is not marred.

Know What You Stand for and Don’t Sway

Many entrepreneurs think their work stands for what they stand for, but they fail to recognize that people follow people, not the work. Entrepreneurs need to spend time uncovering what their top five values are, whether these values are in alignment with how they project themselves, and how to manage their businesses from their values.
A good example is a business owner whose number one value is “commitment.” She needs to assess if she demonstrates this value to her team and customers. Her communication and actions need to align to this value. There can’t be any misalignment or confusion. When customers and followers visibly experience your values, they feel like they know you and can believe in you and what you are selling. Entrepreneurs who don’t know their values can’t stay focused on who they are and can cause others to be confused or angered by what they say and how they behave.

Walk the Talk

You probably have been around an entrepreneur that espouses that people behave a certain way and then doesn’t do this herself. This can look like an entrepreneur who tells others on social media that her marriage is the bedrock of her successes but then is caught having an affair. Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, Peter Guber, states, “Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked.”

Entrepreneurs must take every opportunity to demonstrate that what they say to others also matters to them as well. People can easily recognize incongruencies and will not follow these entrepreneurs. Walking the talk is not just a saying. It is truly a reminder to be the evidence of what you say to others, in tangible and authentic ways.

Mind Your Words

Every word an entrepreneur says to his team and others matter. Your team and consumers are constantly trying to connect dots to the “Why” of your business and the surest route is by the words you use. Make sure all your messaging ties back to your overall stated vision and purpose. What you say should be like a continuous commercial for “who” you are and what you believe in.

To prevent tarnishing your professional reputation means knowing who you are as an entrepreneur and what you truly stand for. This is your vision and conviction and it must be modeled by what you do and say. Lori Loughlin missed the mark with this. Her action did not align to her professional persona. As an entrepreneur, it is imperative to your reputation that you strongly tie your values, actions, and words to who you say you are an entrepreneur. When managed well, others will follow you willingly and believe in you and your business.

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Phyllis Reagin is a Confidence Coach and Founder of At the Coach’s Table. A former leader for a Fortune 500 entertainment/media company, she teaches female leaders how to uproot their insecurities, to assertively deal with others and situations, and to find their empowered voice. Widowed while 8-months pregnant, Phyllis uses these important life lessons to help her clients face challenges with resilience and confidence.

The post How to Protect Your Professional Image from Damage by @PhyllisReagin appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Kerry Heaps  | Featured Contributor

The process of applying for speaking engagements can be tedious, and frustrating because it does have a long turnaround time for a response. I’ve compiled a few tips on how to create a follow-up system after you’ve had a conversation with a meeting planner. Keep in mind after you apply for an open call for speakers, it can take a month or two before you hear back. Sometimes the email will be a “thanks but no thanks” email or they’re interested in your topic and would like to talk to you further. After that initial conversation it’s good to apply some of the techniques listed below, these are especially useful when you apply to colleges, universities, and private companies.

  1. Send a handwritten Thank You note. Sending a handwritten thank-you note in the mail is a lost art, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference and help you standing out. You can buy thank you notes in bulk, so sending a note in the mail should be costing you less than a dollar per card including postage. It takes just a few minutes to say thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I look forward to establishing a relationship with you and your company. Then drop it in the mail. Meeting Planners get so few sentiments, especially in the mail so this is always a nice touch and it’s not forgotten.
  2. Send a copy of your book. If you have not written a book, I recommend that you do so, as we are asked 95% of the time if a potential speaker has written a book, more so than a request for video. Sending a copy of your book, not an electronic copy but an actual copy in the mail is a great way for you to establish a relationship with the meeting planner and it gives them the opportunity to learn more about what you do.
  3. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Another step to take is to connect with them on LinkedIn, do a quick search and see if they are listed and send them an invite to connect along with a personalized note.
  4. Pick up the phone. This last one seems to be a task that most speakers don’t want to do, however you will find out more when you pick up the phone and talk to the meeting planner then you ever could from an email or text. Having a conversation with them, just finding out more about their event, what’s going on, do they need additional information, etc. If you can’t reach them definitely leave a voicemail, I would recommend reaching out once a week until you get them on the phone, you don’t need to leave a voicemail every time, just once.
  5. Keep track of your results. Keeping track of your results is crucial, that way you know the date and time when you sent a thank-you note, when you connected with them on LinkedIn, and each time that you’ve reached out via phone. A follow-up system can be as simple as pen and paper or Excel, your choice. This will also give you an idea of the timeline for each event that you are pursuing.

The post I’ve applied, now what? by @KerryHeaps appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor 

If your business strategy includes inbound marketing, business blogging is essential. If you’re new to inbound marketing or blogging, you may have some questions. Why should your website have a blog? What is it? Why do we do it? What’s the goal of it all?

According to HubSpot, “Business blogging is a marketing tactic that uses blogging to get your business more online visibility. A business blog is a marketing channel (just like social media, direct mail, email marketing, etc.) that helps support business growth.”

Here are four major ways blogging helps support business growth, and why you should have a blog on your website.

Blogs Drive Traffic

A blog on your business website provides the opportunity for you to create relevant content for your customers and potential clients. This is a very effective marketing tactic to drive traffic back to your website.

  • You have a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines if you feature a blog as part of your website (Tech Client).
  • Businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t (Hubspot).

The blog on your business website becomes the foundation for all your social media platforms. Posting links and relevant visuals from your blog articles to all your social sites gives your followers a reason to click through to your website. Plus, you can also post inbound links directly in your blog articles, to drive traffic to specific landing pages of your website.

Blogs Increase SEO

Blogs substantially increase your SEO. Fresh, quality content is still the key to beating out your competitors on search engine results pages like Google. Use keywords in your articles. List out the keywords, topics, and categories for which you want your business to be found, then these words and related expressions when writing your posts.

And, whether you actively seek these out or not, blogging regularly about your business, industry, products, services, or customer lifestyle will naturally increase your search keywords. Being intent about your words will only increase results. Keywords and topics on your website are a significant way in which Google (and other search engines) find your site for these searched words.

Moreover, don’t forget voice searches that consumers now perform through platforms like Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana. If you asked any of these voice search digital assistants where your business is located when it’s open, or what you offer, what would they say? According to AdWeek, 67 million voice-assisted devices will be in use in the U.S. by 2019. This changes the way that digital content is managed. And, 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last year alone. Voice-powered services have created a seismic shift in how consumers find information about your brand. Voice search needs to be part of your SEO/content strategy.

Blogs Position Your Brand as an Industry Leader

Well-written, helpful articles position your company as an industry leader. By posting topics that resonate with your market and show your knowledge, you are marketing your skills for your business, service or product too.

If you are a retailer, for example, write blog posts about your products. Your customers will get to know you as the knowledge source for the products they want. If you are in B2B, post articulate, well-researched articles about your services. Become the hub or the place to get answers, for your industry.

You are building trust, too. The more you can show that you are well-versed in your field, the more likely your consumer will trust you to supply what they need. Your customers additionally benefit from the learning you provide them.

Blogs Develop Better Customer Relationships

Blogs provide another source to deepen the connection with your customer. By connecting directly on your website, your clients are able to get to know your business or product from the comfort of your online home. As discussed above, build trust by being a source of information. Consumers like to be informed, and they will remember that you are the one teaching them.

Also, just as on your social media sites, respond to comments and interact with consumers. If they have questions about a product you are writing about, respond to them directly on your website. Unlike many social sites, a blog is generally searchable on your site for some time. Your website comments last longer than a Twitter response or Facebook post. Other customers will see your interactions and learn from them, too.

A blog is a fantastic tool for your business in our digital age. If you don’t currently have one, start one and upload some high-quality content. If you currently use blogging in your marketing, how do you think it is working? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share them in the comments below.

The post Why Should Your Website Have a Blog? by @DONNAAMOS appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Jackie Burke | Featured Contributor 

I started my business, Tini Lux, as a side hustle.  Tini Lux is the first line of fashion jewelry made with metals that are compatible with the human body. At the time, I had not worn earrings for years because they caused extremely painful reactions.  I really wanted a pair that I could safely wear but couldn’t find anything. After some more research into jewelry materials and the current market I decided that I would start my own line!

I was working full time as an engineer when I made the decision to start my business. I had no business background, or jewelry background, but I believed in myself and my idea. I had some money saved and wanted to my business to be self funded. However, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my job completely because I had no idea how long it would take for the business to reach a healthy revenue or to be profitable.

Not only was I working full time with Tini Lux as a side hustle, I also moved to a different state AND was planning a wedding during the first nine months after I launched. During this time period I learned a lot about time management and what it really means to be “busy.” There were some days and weeks when it all seemed manageable and others that I thought I was going to lose my mind.

Since I’m a little bit removed from that crazy time period now, I have had a chance to reflect on the side-hustle skills that I learned then. Here’s my advice for making a side hustle work without going crazy.

Block Time

The best decision I made was to set aside specific days and times during the week to work on my side hustle. Two days a week I came home from my day job and worked on my side hustle until it was time for bed. I also worked during the day every Saturday.  Blocking off these times every week allowed me to be very focused while I was working on my business and also not feel guilty when I was not working on it.

When I started blocking out time I really realized how much time I used to waste on mindless activities. I used to love coming home from work a catching up on anything on Bravo or E!. But once I started my business I did not get as much joy from watching TV or scrolling Instagram because I knew it was taking time away from productive work that I could be doing.

Prioritize Your Life

My non-work priorities had to seriously shift when I started blocking out my time. I used have plenty of time in the morning to hit the gym and after work to go to dinner or catch up on social media and TV.  For better and for worse those activities were put on hold when I started my side-hustle. I wish I could say that I maintained my five day a week fitness routine but that definitely did not happen.  I try to fit a workout in whenever I can now, but I have not gotten back to my previous schedule. I don’t beat myself up about my fitness routine slipping though because I know I building something meaningful and that is my top priority right now.

Don’t Procrastinate

Whether it’s making a dentist appointment or answering a business email, get it done right away. When you put off doing something it just continues to take up space in your brain and on your to-do list. I also find that my anxiety around doing those things just builds and builds when I put it off. If something will take less than five minutes to do, I have gotten in the habit of doing it immediately or as soon as possible so that it does not linger and grow in my mind.

Accept (and Appreciate) Slower Growth

As I said before, I did not have a business background or jewelry background when I started my business. I had A LOT to learn when I started my business. At first I was frustrated that I could only put in a few hours a week of work on my business and knew that it was preventing me from growing the business as quickly as I wanted. Looking back now though, I appreciated the slow growth in the beginning because it gave me time to learn business skills and improve my product.

If you are thinking about starting a side business or have already done so, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your business ideas, your thoughts on side-hustling, and any tips you have picked up along the way.

The post How to Make a Side Hustle Work by Jackie Burke of #tiniluxjewelry appeared first on She Owns It.

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Photo by William White on Unsplash

by Anna McAfee | Featured Contributor

Offline communities have immense value when building know-like-trust relationships.  For brands and individuals they really help showcase more of who you are and what you do.   Offline communities grow brand advocacy, build your audience and help retain customers.  With so many events in the calendar though how can you make ours stand out, and create a community around your idea that will grow and thrive?  The answer is in the planning and execution, and more importantly, in the intention. 

Create an environment where people feel valued

The best in-real-life experiences should not be designed to sell, but be intended for the purpose of adding value.  It should not simply be done with the view in mind to collect as many email addresses as possible for the sole purpose of marketing and selling.  It should be about bringing people together to meet, learn, collaborate and share ideas.  Creating a non-selling space where people feel valued and can interact without pressure to buy or pitch is key to brand community.  A lot of people are fed up with being sold too so give them a reason to spend their valuable time with you.  What topics are your ideal attendees interested in hearing about?  It might be life balance, personal branding, or expanding their software skills.  If you do decide on topics, offer a diverse range to attract new people continually and to ensure existing attendees don’t get bored. 

Connect people under a common theme or idea

There are a significant number of options in any city’s events calendar, so why will people come to yours?  The answer is in the way it is themed, communicated and promoted.  Events designed around your brand should have a clear purpose and it is that purpose that people will buy into.  LinkedInLocal has always been about getting to know the people behind the profiles, and that’s been significant for LinkedIn users as face to face connection for many beats online networking.  CreativeMornings has always been pitched at the creative community.  The Moth’s mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling.   Humans have an appetite for so many things, you just need to find that theme, tap into it, and spread the word. 

Whatever your theme or idea, make it simple and easily communicated.  Ensure its promoted in the right places in order to capture that audience. Find out where your target audience are hanging out.  Use your social media channels, your own and partner websites.  Tools such as Eventbrite, Facebook Events the upcoming LinkedIn events all offer free opportunities to spread the word too. 

Create events that are open and inclusive

Truly diverse and inclusive events should be made available publicly unless you are offering it to your subscription-only community.  But even exclusive events in the way that are promoted should always consider inclusivity and the message its sends to prospective attendees.  For example, if you are using panels or speakers these should be diverse in order to attract the right crowd.   Costs should also be kept low in order to remain inclusive, especially for short events of a few hours.  Shutting people out with high ticket prices will turn some keen attendees away.

Be consistent and show up

Offline community is not about one event, its about creating several events so that people can build upon the ideas and get to know the people they meet regularly.  You don’t build a house with one brick, you need several bricks added to one another over time in order build a trust and a solid community. Create an online space for theme to share ideas online too, through a Facebook or LinkedIn group.  These groups will also act as a way for people to communicate and meet pre-event.   

Share the love (and the workload)

With many events some organisers feel there is a prestige or exclusivity in being to sole host.  It provides an opportunity to build their brand and create some social capital.  In order for events to be sustainable though you must acknowledge the time it will take, and share the workload.  Events solely build around one individual will never be well attended, as potential attendees are put off by what seems to be a very sales event.  Diversity in event organisers not only shares the workload, they bring new ideas to the table. Events work well when collaboration is utilised among event organisers with a shared mindset and intention. Through new ideas and a shared mindset offline communities will grow and continue to add value to the audiences. 

Remember not everyone will get it

Within any community or event there are always going to be people that simply don’t get it.  They won’t understand why you would network outside your industry, or why they need to learn about storytelling.  Don’t be disheartened.  You’re creating events for your tribe, not the whole tribe.  If you receive criticism from people who don’t get it, know you’re doing something right. 

Offline, in real life communities can add a real and quality addition to your marketing, but they need to be designed with the right intention and with consistent execution.

The post How To Build A Thriving Offline Community by @AnnaMcAfee appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Elaine Slatter | Featured Contributor

Last week I was pacing up and down my kitchen rehearsing for an hour presentation on “standing out from the crowd”.  A branding talk.  My dilemma was how to connect with the audience.

I had all the facts, but since I wrote a script and was trying to follow it, the delivery was quite frankly, boring!

Then the lightbulb hit me.  It was boring because there is no passion when you read from a script. And I definitely didn’t want to use Powerpoint only to see the audience on their phones or yawning because it was yet another slideshow.  So here are some ideas I incorporated to connect with the audience.

Ditch the script and speak from the heart

When you do this, you are more natural and your passion for the subject matter shines through. It is a bit scary to abandon the script, but you have to trust you have the power of knowledge and belief in yourself.

My favorite speaker of all time is Professor Maja, a sociologist and women’s empowerment speaker. What makes her stand out is the power of what she says and how she says it.  Then, it’s how she dresses!  Yes, definitely NOT like a professor.  Hop over to watch a clip from Prof. Maja’s TV spot on The Social talking about the “Imposter Syndrome” and you will see what I mean.

She shared with me that people tell her often that she doesn’t look professional…..but she has a unique style that makes her stand out and she stands her ground and doesn’t back off.  And I love that about her, too.  She is unapologetically herself and connects totally with her audience and you can too.

Hook and Hinge or Angle and Peg

Whaaat?   These are techniques to pull the audience in right at the beginning and the best way to do this is to tell a story.  In my audience, there were a few people I know well, so I used their stories to connect both to them, their friends and the whole audience.  They weren’t scary, silly or embarrassing stories, they were branding stories related specifically to their companies.

Breakdown the Topic into Small Bites with Actionable Tips

Use the KISS formula (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)  Your audience can’t possibly know what you know and they don’t want to know it all.  So break it down into smaller bite-size pieces that are easy to swallow. You can always elaborate further by sending them a link to a free tip sheet or checklist after the presentation.  In fact, that is an excellent way to follow up.

Use Examples

Again, you can use stories here, good stories and bad stories, but a story the audience will remember.  My favorite branding story is Nike.  Because quite honestly their logo is just a simple, curvy tick.  Absolutely nothing remarkable about it at all.  It only cost Nike under $20.00 to have the logo designed. It’s how they connected the logo and tagline “Just Do It” with a series of athletes who were “doing it”! And the comparison is if they can “Do It”, so can you!

Everyone can connect with that story because Nike is a household name and recognizable to everyone who has ever gone to a sports apparel store.  And if you have kids, you definitely have been to that kind of store!

Give Local Examples

This is effective because your audience will instantly relate to a business in their local area.  After the talk, members of the audience mentioned that was the part they loved the most.

That was very easy to do because I interviewed the owners of these businesses right there on the spot. We were sitting side by side on stools.  I sent them the questions ahead of time so they had some idea of what I was going to ask, but the conversation flowed naturally and I noticed not one person was glancing out of the window or on their cell phone.

Have a Close

Wrap it up with a memorable summary and a call to action and you simply have done your job! Leave them with a few nuggets that they will remember for a total of 30 to 45 minutes max with a few minutes for questions and you are on your way to connecting.

The post 6 Ideas To Connect With The Audience @XLConsultingGro appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Bryan Goodwin | Featured Contributor 

Ah! Mornings. They can be great or they can be the bane of your day. This can vary from day to day or morning to morning. Many self-help people tell you to have a morning routine. Often these guru’s tell you what they do for their morning routine. Many times those routines are touted as the best morning routine for starting your day.

An important aspect is that they are right. It is the best routine for that particular person. It may not be the best routine for you. So with this topic being on morning routines, I wanted to share 7 different morning routines you can mix and match for your best start to the day.

Write Letters

This is a lost art. Ben Franklin and many of the smartest men around wrote letters. From before Ben’s time to recently many of the smartest people were prolific letter writers. For the longest times, these letters were the only form of long-distance communication there was. That is until E-mail came along.

Now with Email, it is easy to hash out a quick note and press send. No muss, no fuss, right? There is the problem of lack of connection though. Have you ever received a letter in the mail? Odd question for us older folks but for Millennials this is a rare event, and even more so, for the Gen Z that is now entering the workforce.

There is something different about receiving a letter in the mail, besides the unexpected surprise. As you read the letter, there is the connection that you get with the writer. The fact that the sender took the time to hand write that letter shows you that they care. The thought that is put into the words used. All of it impacts the recipient.

No, you don’t have to send this only to your Aunt Gladys. Your letters don’t even have to be a, “hey, how are you doing” type of letter. You can write a letter of gratitude to the waiter who served you your lunch yesterday. Write it and then drop it off while on you are out. The power of telling a person how much their effort affected you means a lot to them. Don’t believe me? How much does it mean to you when someone comments on your blog? That comment of encouragement means a lot. Now make it a personal handwritten thank you note and you have amped the gratitude up to 11.

Read a Chapter

Reading is a classic morning routine and can be incorporated into other activities. That is because the ”reading” is a bit fluid these days. Reading a book can also be an audiobook. If you use the audiobook version, you will be able to throw in walking, running, weight lifting, or just starting your day being still.

Reading is still one of the best ways to garner new knowledge and mindsets. If you can do this while doing something else, it is just that much better.

Practice Creating Some Art

We are all creators. No matter how you want to slice it. We have to create. It is who we are. Whether it is writing a letter or drawing squiggles on a note pad that is creating. One way you can reconnect with your inner creator is to just pick an art medium and create. I do pencil and paper and writing but there is also painting, carving, and more.

Spend an hour working on an art project. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece but the more your work at it the better it will become. So take the time to let your imagination run. You won’t be considered silly. You will be smart and you have exercised a crucial part of your being.

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Walk or Exercise

We need to move around. This is a given. If you sit, too much, you lose creativity and we often will struggle more when we are sedentary. Creativity is what helps you keep your edge. So Start the day with a bit of motion.

Be it nice strolls through the neighborhood or maybe you like to perform self-abuse by running. All of that is fine. Get the exercise your body needs and wants. Not only does the exercise help build strong bones and muscles. It also helps to strengthen your heart. The added heavily oxygenated blood flowing through your body also helps your brain to think better. So you have better ideas.

So get out there and start hoofing it, if any reason because it is a good start to the morning.

Say Your Affirmations

As you wake up you can also reinforce your mind with the thoughts and mindsets that will help you become successful and be more positive.

We know that the world can throw some trash around. It can be a challenge to not get the average day-to-day negativity on you from time to time. Yet when you affirm your beliefs with the truths and beliefs in your affirmation list, you are able to combat those negative beliefs better and with more resolution.

Why? Because you have already stated what you believe. You have only so much room each day and if you fill it up with positive thoughts and affirmations then the negative beliefs have nowhere to take root.

Have a Eureka Moment

You know where Eureka comes from right? If no, then here is an overview of the story.

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician and engineer who was tasked by a tyrant to find out if the Goldsmith he was using was duping him. The tyrant wasn’t sure is his crown wasn’t being shorted some gold. This was a real problem looking for a solution and Archimedes knew he had to find a way to prove that the crown wasn’t having alloys mixed with the gold.

One day Archimedes went to the bathhouse and as he sunk into the bath, he saw that he was changing the level of the water. He had stumbled on the solution to his issue and in his excitement, he leaped out of the tub and ran down the street naked screaming Eureka! Eureka!

There is something about stepping into a shower the first thing in the morning. Many believe that you are in a state of mind that is not entirely subconscious or is it fully conscious. That special state your two states of minds can share thoughts and that is why the best ideas come to you when in a shower. You relax. Your mental blocks haven’t been put into place and so new and interesting ideas form.

Therefore, if you are not a morning shower person it’s worth a try. The worst that happens is that you smell nice when you are done.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Make Your Bed

Finally, the last suggestion is one from your mom. Make your bed. Admiral McRaven best describes some of the benefits of making your bed right away. Right off the bat, you have accomplished something. It may not seem like a big thing but if your day is horrible, at least you can come home to a clean and made a bed.

So make that bed as you get up. Read a book while you are exercising. Then again, maybe you want to meditate and then read your affirmations while watching the sunrise. Your morning ritual is dependent upon you. What do you want to accomplish?

The post 7 Routines for Your Best Morning by @RelaxedMale appeared first on She Owns It.

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by Casi Yost | Featured Contributor

I first heard about these two books over podcasts. Are you surprised? By now you shouldn’t be.

The first is the “Artists Way” by Julia Cameron

This book is what allowed me to creatively break through to get to the mindset where I needed to be to actually take myself and my business seriously.

The premise of this book is that it helps you to unlock your creativity. Lets be real honest here – as soon as we get into high school and then move into college, the creativity is beat right out of us. The real world doesn’t like when we don’t conform, so our creative thinking goes right out the window.

OR we’re too distracted by trying to make money, party, look good on social media, etc., to actually take time to be creative. Because well, that is a “waste of time,” when you could be doing something to make you money. Right?

So wrong.

Some of the top athletes, CEO’s and most successful people in their fields take time to just sit and think.

Don’t believe me? Ryan Holiday does this, major companies and Silicon Valley have what are called “think tanks,” where they creatively come up with solutions to problems or create ideas for things to make money.

You can’t expect to grow your business if you don’t designate time to dream big and come up with new ideas.

And no, the five minutes in the shower don’t count. You need large amounts of dedicated time DAILY to do this. I do this three times a day.

WHAT? But you’re busy! You work and have two jobs!

I know. I fit it in. Right in the morning, when I drive to work and when I drive home. Those are my 2.5 hours a day to think.

You don’t have to have this much time, but because I live so far away from my work, I have this “luxury.”

So how did the “Artists Way” help me in the first place?

Morning Pages. Total breakthrough machine.

How it works is that you write and don’t stop until you have filled three pages each morning. Yes in the morning.

This allows you to brain dump anything that is blocking you from thinking clearly, get your ideas out so they aren’t bouncing around and blocking you once again. It allows you to work through feelings, ideas, whatever.

It helped me because I have ideas and don’t know how to execute them. I need to talk them through and writing them out allows me to look at my idea from point a to point z because its on paper!

There are so many advantages from doing just the morning pages, but there are other excersize’s people can do.

Don’t take my word for it. When you research top performers like Tim Ferris, you notice there is a trend where the most successful people in their industries do something similar to this.

Now, the other book is totally in another area: Philosophy.

Don’t zone out on me here. I totally thought the same thing too.

“Ugh, really? Do I have to?”

Yes. It is digestible. My favorite author of all time as you know by now is Ryan Holiday. He has written so many good books that honestly helped me re-frame my mindset, but I’ll talk about that in another post.

This book, “The Daily Stoic” has one piece of wisdom for you each day and it seriously sets the tone for how I think about problems.

The way I use the information from the book is this:

  • If I approach my problems from a different perspective and different angle, maybe I will have a better outlook, suffer less, and use my problems as a stepping stone or opportunity.

This book allows you to re-frame the way you think so that you can approach problems and life in a way that sets you up for success. Totally amazing right?

This is the one thing I keep telling people: you need to change your mindset about how you approach your business.

Why? If you do the same thing over and over with the same results, why don’t you do it a different way? Maybe you’d get what you wanted: success.

So… this book and other books I talk about (Gary Vaynerchuck and Crushing It) totally do that.

If you want to grow your business, you have to invest in yourself and your business intelligence. You want to know your stuff right? Well start learning, and don’t stop.

I wrote a “short” overview of all the things I’ve done to grow my business HERE in case you’re interested in looking at that too!

Have any books you think I should read? Drop them below:

Thanks for reading friends!

XO,

Casi

The post The Two Books You Need Right Now To Grow Your Business by @CasiYost appeared first on She Owns It.

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