Archive - February, 2011

Plenty of crows-feet: My shoot with Ali

It was a bit funny that I had just read about the science of smile the morning I met Ali of Thistledown Photo for the first time.  I contacted her to take a few business shots for the blog and we had chatted via e-mail for about two weeks.  Guy Kawasaki in his book Enchanted explained that in order for your smile to win people over, it had to be genuine.  One of the defining anatomies of a genuine smile is crows-feet the lines leading out from your eyes on both sides of your face.  These lines, it turns out are very difficult to fake.

Last Saturday when we met for the shoot the wind was blowing and the temperature was low.  I had to alternate between the shots and warming up in my coat.  Ali’s personality was definitely warm though.  I had picked her based on her portfolio but as soon as I met her I knew I was going to get my moneys worth.  She was accommodating, creative and energetic.  She constantly made me laugh.  The whole experience was enjoyable.  As I drove away I tried to define exactly what Ali had that allows her to connect with her customers so easily.  What I think it boils down to is that she puts them at ease, she is professional and has her shoots well planned out.  Not only is she easy to visit with she takes what can be uncomfortable for most and gets the best possible shots.  Really though I think she just loves her work and that translates to the customer.  The result? Everyone of my shots have plenty of crows-feet.  What’s your special way that helps you connect to your customer, reader or co-worker?

Looping back around

When we meet someone a conversation begins over a question, shared interest, or a collaboration. The relationship goes from acquaintance to another level of trust. Like all good conversations, it will eventually end. Sometimes the relationship will transfer to other conversations but you will have gaps between them. It is difficult to maintain a high level of friendship at all times with everyone in your greater circle. That is how what I call the loop-around comes in handy. In Trust Agents, Julian Smith and Chris Brogan talk about this as Basic Touch. It is the art of connecting personally with individuals in your network on significant days or on a recurring schedule….

Calm and cool over hot head and stupid?

A friend challenged me last week to be more edgy in my posts. Why though? Here is some back story. I am passionate about a few things. I use this blog to vet out those passions and thoughts. Some posts are wrought out of frustration. Sometimes I just need to air an idea. It usually unfolds like this. I write unedited (kind of like now) getting the words onto the page. I don’t hold anything back. I edit a draft once or twice. If it is a topic that might be sensitive, or I am struggling with flow, I will ask my wife to take a look at it. She will usually point out a snarky or elitist tone. Neither of wich are my intent. I used to get defensive, arguing that she didn’t get my point, that I was being contrary on purpose. I have softened to her wisdom though. She will remind me that people listen to calm and cool over hot head and stupid. And she is…..

40 Days Forward: Simple, digestible, doable

I have been reading Tara Rodden’s blog posts for over a year now. Each one has left me challenged to live a more balanced and productive life. But with that challenge she has also offered practical ways to achieve it. So when I was sent her new book I knew I was going to read something valuable. That assumption was confirmed. 40 Days Forward: Your Journey to a Life of Abundance and Meaning, is in it’s entirety, simple, digestible and doable. I have read many books on success, both for private and professional life. Many are good. One thing that most of them have in common is complexity to the solution they present. We all face challenges …..

Taking control of your Facebook feed

Most of the world already knows that Facebook is one of the best ways to stay connected. What many people don’t understand is that what they see in their main feed on either the top news or most recent feed, is not a full account of their friend’s updates and activities. Facebook has an algorithm it uses based on activity level, conversation and other factors. Facebook is in control of who’s updates you see.

That can be tweaked though. Like Twitter, you can create lists of your family, co-workers, or all of them. These lists are managed under drop the down menu when the “Most Recent” tab is clicked. It takes some navigation to see list though. I have devised a….

Old boots and lasting customers

n the early 90’s Eddie Bauer was still trying to uphold the great customer satisfaction guarantee their founder established back in 1922. He basically said that you could bring back any item no matter how worn or old, for a full refund, no questions asked. The customer’s satisfaction came first. It was that policy that made me want to work for the company back then. Over the years as stock manager and floor salesman I met many lifetime customers that stayed with Eddie Bauer for the integrity of that policy……

The e-mail addict experiment: three months later

An essential part of connecting is managing time. Time is valuable. Without it we don’t think of ways to connect others or have reserves to invest in relationships. One of the greatest time sucks is email.

If you have received an e-mail from me in the past three months you have seen a disclaimer/notice at the end “I usually check email twice a day. Here is why If you need me right away you can send me a text note using the number below..” In the linked post Andy Traub challenges the reader to only check e-mail twice a day. You see, I was an email addict, checking several times a day. Think of Mark Zucherberg hitting the F5 key over and over again at the end of The Social Network. It is a huge distraction…..

The wrong bus

This post continues a conversation I had with Carissa Caramanis O’Brien, a couple weeks back. Actually it was our first conversation. Carissa asked what I did for a living. If you know me, you know a bit of my story. Saying I went to school for fisheries biology surprises people who know me know me today as a writer and connector. But how did I go from fisheries to what I do now? It is a real journey and one that did not always make sense. So when I gave Carissa the background, I capped my story with “I guess I got on the wrong bus”. She stopped me and said “no you didn’t, you got on the correct bus”. She pointed out that I would not have arrived where I am today if I hadn’t taken that…

Saturday mornings online

I rarely blog on Saturdays. There is something special about twitter conversations on Saturdays mornings though. I have very creative and inspiring people in my network of friends. And like all creative types, you are hard at work shipping throughout the week. Even though there is always a sense of light heartedness throughout, there is also a professional business tone on weekday posts. Saturday mornings are different. Humor seems to come naturally….

Parallel playing?

Small businesses often remind me of toddlers. If you visit any preschool you will notice children busy at parallel play. They will be in their own little world playing right next to each other with minimal interaction. It is a normal development stage where they are naturally self absorbed in the processes and workings of play. It takes a lot of energy to just figure things out and they have not developed the understanding of empathy reciprocity and interaction…..

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