A-Ha #3: The Discovery Delusion

For Part 3 of this series, click here. To check our earlier posts, visit our main page here.

Focusing on strengths? Check. Tweaking perspective? Check. We’ve completed the first two steps on your path to building a superstar personal brand. Those steps are fundamental, but they’re only the beginning. Where do we go from here?

We wait to be discovered, right?


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A-Ha #2: The Player Principle

For Part 2 of this series, click here. To check our earlier posts, visit our main page here.

Be yourself. It’s the first step to turning your uh-oh moment into an a-ha realization. But where do you go from there? How do you continue on the path to success?

Change your vocabulary.

The words you use to describe your situation help frame how you think and what your outcome is.

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A-Ha #1: The Identity Ethic

For Part 1 of this series, click here.

After my life took a turn off of the path that I (and my family) always thought it would be on, I was left adrift. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with my life and how I was going to get there.

Well, I did know something. I knew what I thought was wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

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The Big CLOSE.

Ever wonder how you got to where you are?

Today I was thinking about that…

When I was a kid, every year we’d visit my cousins’ house in Chicago. My family would drive out from Longmont, Colorado and stay there for a couple of weeks, during which time my (indulgent) teenage cousins and I would plan and execute our annual Talent Show in their basement.

The Talent Show featured your standard musical, dance and gymnastic lineup… mostly on roller skates. My mom still has a picture of me at 8 years old in pom-pom pigtails and overalls roller skating in circles around the “audience” (our parents), singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. At right is a picture of me posing before a gymnastic performance.

My talent show duties included: talent recruitment, ordering the numbers, hand-crafting invitations, designing costumes, spreading the word, and getting the parents to attend.

Ah, the glory days…

So no surprise, I guess, that nowadays my favorite time of the year (twice a year, actually) is Summit SeasonThe Women’s Success Summit (May 17th & 18th) is my grown-up version of the talent show. The Summit brings together South Florida’s most ambitious, talented and successful women (and men!) to inspire, educate and ELEVATE the business community.

The theme? The Big CLOSE – all focused around the principles of selling – selling yourself, your ideas, your products, your services. (And by the way, we are ALL selling SOMETHING.)

Clear your calendar, friends, this is one event you must attend. Personally, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And yes, men ARE welcome to attend, and in fact, several often do!

Aside from the phenomenal content and national powerhouse speakers (check out the lineup here: www.WomensSuccessSummit.com), we have new and exciting sponsorship initiatives for businesses that want to engage 800 upscale, professional and highly influential women over 2 whole days. Check out the sponsorship deck here. Or contact Jessica Lurie for details (888) 531-3830, jessica@mivistainc.com.

By the way, I’m SO excited to announce our new venue, The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, (YAY!!!) and our partner, Chispa Marketing, that is producing this Summit.

This Summit will deliver game-changing strategies, foster powerful relationships and inspire those oh-so-important “a-ha” moments to help women like me elevate themselves beyond where they are today. Take a look at some of the amazing speakers and sessions we have lined up, and prepare to be blown away…

Forget Brand Loyalty… Try Brand LOVE

In business, the most profitable brands are those that people with money to spend LOVE (and love to HATE). Think about it: Apple (definitely has its fair share of lovers and haters), Christian Louboutin, Porsche, Whole Foods, and the list goes on and on…

By honing in on the real lovers of your brand, you can start to develop the most compelling messaging for them… which is the direct path into their hearts. And being in people’s hearts breeds loyalty.

On a related note, it also helps to “unload” those clients, prospects and audiences with whom you do NOT resonate.

Just recently I removed 20% of my contacts off of my email list. That’s right. I unsubscribed people from my own list. That may sound crazy to you… especially if you’re trying to build your email list. Why would I do such a thing? Simple. Metrics showed I didn’t resonate with them enough. And if I didn’t resonate, they’d never contract me or refer me business.

In addition to cleaning out my email list, I also eliminated several service offerings and stopped taking small, project-based or “one-off” clients (unless they pay a LOT more).

The result: some awesome free time to spend having a life.

Here’s to “blinging your brand!”

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)


Creating Your Personal Brand – Part I: Defining Your Brand

The most important first step in creating an effective, compelling, personal brand that drives referrals, buzz and word-of-mouth business is to DEFINE your personal brand as narrowly as you can.

Consider these essential elements:

  1. What value do you provide (rather than what services you offer)? Here’s an example, if you are a personal trainer, try positioning yourself in terms of the result: “lose weight,” “get in shape,” or “get hot.” Keep in mind that to cut through the clutter, you’ll want to choose something memorable, something “sticky.” David Barton Gym uses “Look Better Naked.” Now that’s memorable.
  2. Who is your target customer? Get specific. If you say “everyone” or “anyone,” that’s simply not defined enough – especially online.
  3. In what geographic area do you focus?
  4. What makes you different from your competition (your USP – unique selling proposition)? This is a tough one because a UNIQUE selling proposition by definition means that other people can’t say the same thing. So if you say “unparalleled service” or “top-notch quality” that’s simply not unique enough (because everyone says that). How are you truly different from everyone else? That’s your USP.
  5. What are some basic key words (like “luxury real estate” or “small business coach”) that you’d like associated with your name?
  6. What do you want to be top of mind for? From the above, create a one-liner that describes who you are and what you do, that you can start using in multiple places (more on where to deploy this later). For example, mine is “Michelle Villalobos delivers never-boring workshops, seminars and keynotes to help professionals – especially women – market, sell and promote themselves. Our programs are 100% performance guaranteed, or you don’t pay.”

Keep in mind that your goal is ultimately to be “top of mind” for something, and it’s impossible to be top of mind for multiple things – at least at first. So if you have a side business or have two jobs, you need to choose one brand that encompasses both, or just focus on one. Later, once your brand is established, you can start to expand your brand and leverage it into new areas.

Think of Martha Stewart, who got her start focusing on food and catering. Once established in that niche, she started expanding her focus to encompass “homemaking” in general. Plan now for where your going 1 – 3 years out.

Stay tuned for parts 2 – 10 of this Personal Branding Series. Want more? Check out our Personal Branding video training program at http://www.MakeThemBEG.com.

Michelle Villalobos is based in Miami, FL and travels nationally & internationally to consult on brand strategy and deliver workshops, seminars & keynotes, especially for women’s groups and companies marketing to women. 

What Is A “Personal Brand”… And Why EVERYONE Needs One To Get Ahead

Personal Branding is the process of developing a brand around your name and what you do. This brand communicates your skills, shares your personality and conveys your values.

Personal branding is a “must” everyone these days. Whether you are self-employed or working your way up the corporate ladder, Personal Branding raises your profile, establishes you as an expert in something, and increases your market value so you can earn more. Think of it this way: you are the CEO of the business called YOU. In this day and age ANYONE can and should develop a personal brand and deploy it online.

Personal Branding 101

The 3 key steps of personal branding are:

  • Define – in a compelling way – who you are, the value you provide and to whom. What are you the expert of? Who’s going to pay you for that?
  • Develop – create and gather your personal brand elements: everything from your name and the images that are “out there” of you (like a professional headshot), to the professional headlines and descriptions of yourself that you use on social media such as LinkedIn or Google Profiles, and everything in between.
  • Deploy – get your brand out into the world through a variety of tactical means, like social media, networking & referral marketing
Ready to learn more about personal branding? Visit www.MakeThemBEG.com for a free 4-video mini course on the subject.
Who loves you?
Michelle Villalobos (vee – ya – low – bos)

Biggest Tip For Effective Networking?

1. The World Is NOT Your Sales Team

The most important thing to remember in networking is the whole world does not exist to be YOUR sales team. If you want to create a network that refers a ton of business you must remember that networking is about creating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships…. not just leads for yourself. Serve others in your network long before you ever expect to get anything in return. Givers get. Yes, you are busy. But those who are the best networkers are always watching. They can smell a selfish networker from miles away. Connect others just because you can and you will be rewarded over the long run of your career.

Thanks to Thom Singer of NYP Speakers

2. Get Them Complaining, Then Offer Something Free!

When I’m networking, I love to ask people if they are busy. They invariably say yes, and I ask what they are busy with. Often they have conflicting priorities, no clear plan, no delegation strategy, no time management or all of the above. What I’ve done is gotten them to talk about the “pain” that I can solve for them

Once they’re done venting, I let them know that if they like, I’d be happy to give them 15 minutes of my time (I call it a Focus Session) to see if I can come up with a few tips to bring them relief. I mention that I have a 100% success rate. At the end of the 15 minutes, I introduce coaching programs and how we can work together further if they choose.

Thanks to Mary Cravets of FindYourVAHere.com

3. Effective & Creative Networking


I live/work in Washington DC and there are 100 networking events morning, noon & night. I try to get out in the mix. If I can I take a colleague from another company that I have worked with or vice versa. Having someone with you to tell of your success comes across 100x more effectively (and less arrogant) than boasting about your own success. This works both ways, and so in turn, we promote each other. We have real-life examples on how we have worked with each other successfully and these stories are convincing to potential new clients. What better way to have a real-life reference!


Additionally, I was able (for ~ 2 years and counting) to host a no-cost networking event at the prestigious Kennedy Center (performing arts center in Washington, DC). The Center has a free (every day) live music performance in an open area with a light snack/beverage service. It is a high-class, beautiful setting, very well lit and great music playing in the background. By hosting your own event (at your office or elsewhere) you become a credible source and again, real-life references (my clients) are there to speak to my prospects. Additionally, the crowd is able to mingle and make business deals. It has been quite successful – costing me nothing but my time – and cost my attendees nothing but their time.

Thanks to Jennifer Schaus of Jennifer Schaus & Associates

4. Make Every Minute Count!

Three tips to maximize your ROI: Professional name badges that include your logo. These will enhance your brand awareness while it helps you present a professional image.
Never sit with your business partner. If you are there with partners, don’t network together. Separately, you’ll give your business twice the exposure.
Practice an elevator speech that focuses on the most common problems you can solve. It’s not about what you can do. It’s about what you can do to alleviate my pain.

Thanks to Marianne Carlson of Emcie Media

5. Business “dating”

Networking is “business dating” Remember that you did not tell your first
> date everything to know about you, but were afraid to ask! So too, with
> networking. It is about building relationships within the process of
> networking.

Thanks to Denise Beeson of BaySierra Financial, Inc/ Or Santa Rosa Jr. College

6. Networking Tip – Paying It Forward Pays Off!

Think of your connections as longterm relationships and focus on helping them – believe me, they will remember! Pass along useful information as quickly as possible. Constantly put relevant people in touch with each other . . . even though you might not directly benefit from that particular connection, it is still an extremely effective form of networking. People will remember that you kept their needs top of mind, not just your own, and most of the time they will later do the same for you!

Thanks to Selena Cuffe of Heritage Link Brands, LLC

7. The Best Way To Get Referrals And New Clients From Networking

The single most important part of networking is to ALWAYS help others. Let them know you care. Of course, in order to help them, you need to know them well enough to be able to effectively help.

I have been an assistant organizer of http://www.NYEBN.com for almost 2 years, and have gained many clients for my IT firm as a result. The unique opportunities to help members were directly due to being a part of the organizing team; the result is that those I helped, referred clients or became a client.

Thanks to Susan Risdal of Enterprise Technology Services, LLC

8. It’s Not About You. It’s About Pulling Others In.

I like to meet people, learn about what they do and what they are interested in. This also gives me an idea of who they know. With their business card, I can follow up with a note or email, pass along an article or tip and begin building a relationship. After a few contacts they feel that they know me. Only then have I earned the right to ask for information, advice or a referral. Once you build a bank account of positive interactions then people are happy to help you in return.

Thanks to Myra McElhaney of McElhaney & Associates

9. Givers Who Listen Get High Marks For Networking

Give before you get! When you give with no expectations just to be genuinely helpful it is amazing how generous others will be towards you. Karma really works.

Be a good listener, people will tell you a lot if you give them the opportunity so listen for ways you can follow up & help them. They will love it!

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls

10. Get To Events Early

When attending a networking event for the first time go a few minutes early. Often this gives you a chance to meet people as they walk through the door one on one. You almost serve as a greeter for the event. It’s much easier to walk into a networking event when you are first or only a few people are there than when there is a room full of conversations already happening.

Thanks to Shannon Myers of Walton Search

11. Networking WTF

Networking is often categorized as “working the room” or “working a crowd.” I am convinced that networking is about earning someone’s trust, being the first to give, and only then asking for the business. It’s what I call the “Wow Them First” (WTF) approach.

The next time, rather than ask for business or a referral, give it instead. That gets people’s attention, they’ll know you mean business and they’ll want to do the same for you.

Thanks to Edgar Mejia of Conexion

12. Authentic Networking

Sincerity not Numbers

Instead of thinking about networking success in terms of the number of people you meet at networking events, or getting big numbers on LinkedIn or twitter, think about Authentic Networking as making real connections with people that you would actually like to meet.

Then stay in touch with them because you share a real reason to be connected. This is the way to both grow and build genuine value into your network.

Thanks to Patty Azzarello of Azzarello Group, Inc.

13. Get Best Networking Results By Being More Helpful

1. Listen (for example) to the Q&A at a presentation, then go up to someone who asked a good question and say, I like what you said because….

2. Introduce someone to someone else they wanted to meet.

3. Walk by two people who are talking but not totally absorbed with each other, and look for a way to slip into the conversation–ideally with something that can help one or both.

I discuss a number of forms of networking–both online and in person–in my 8th book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Gree

Thanks to Shel Horowitz of Green And Profitable

14. Ask The “Million Dollar” Question

Successful networkers are genuinely interested in others. Show you are by asking questions and listening carefully to the answers from the people you meet. Then you can ask the “Million Dollar” question. “As I go through my day I meet a lot of people. Please tell me, how will I recognize a perfect referral for you?” Doing this helps the other person understand that you aren’t only in it for yourself and that you are a great connector. It will also prompt others to ask the same of you.

Thanks to Glen Gould of GlenGould.net

15. Niche To Meet You!

Before you plan the “how” you need to think about the “whom”. As a business owner it is important to ask yourself, “Whom, specifically, do I want to be known and trusted by?” Starting off with a smaller demographic of people versus trying to become known by a whole city will speed up the process of trust building and can help you consolidate your marketing budget. It is amazing the amount of information you can find on-line so search engines are the perfect place to start your research. The goal is to find out where your niche market networks and communicates with other people like themselves. Most groups and association have websites with networking calendars available to the public. Start with where your niche market physically gets together then expand upon that. Find out what websites they visit along with which magazines and newsletters they read. This will help you decide where to direct your advertising efforts. Where your niche is, on and off-line, you should position yourself as a resource. Do this and the trust will follow.

Thanks to Sarah Cochran-Loy of American National / Loy Marketing, LLC

16. Best Networking Tips

My approach to networking is confidence (Yes, I say it like it is a tool). Confidence paired with a smile, eye contact and good posture. Confidence makes people think you know what you are talking about, i.e. your business strategy, competition, trends, how to solve problems and so on. Practice it, believe it – Success will follow. Not so easy? Start by simply listening. All good business people start by listening more than they do talking…maybe it should be called ‘reverse networking’.

Thanks to Jenny Kincaid of SocialWRX

17. Listen By Data Mining Then Share Valuable Offerings On-Line & Off-Line

Proactive listening and connecting on-line and off-line. Research to identify targeted potential Clients and Partners then sign-up to stay informed of their needs and interests via Website, Blogs and Social Media platforms. Express gratitude for information shared on-line then reciprocate by sharing value added insights. Helps for you to stay on top of mind. When meeting off-line at professional events, continue to listen to identify more needs and interests so you can create valuable offerings.

Thanks to Brenda Leguisamo of Social Biz Members

18. Eclectic Colaborative Business Services

My colleagues and I have created more than a network referral group. It is a group of professionals from various disciplines providing educational opportunities for each others clients as well as the community at large. We are doing a public presentation once a month on a members topic of interest. More information is available at http://www.cincybrg.com
The Cincinnati Business Resource Group. Contact my self or Erika deStefano at edestefano@claimlinx.com

Mike McCormick

Thanks to Michael McCormick of MJ McCormick, LLC – Cincy Tax Coach

19. Network With A Purpose

Here are my top five networking tips:

1. Never give somebody your card unless they ask for it.

2. Wear your name tag on the right-front side, it’s where people naturally look when shaking hands.

3. Have a goal for your networking event. (e.g. collect business cards, make an introduction, get an appointment)

4. Never, ever “sell” when you’re networking. It turns everyone off.

5. In as little as 3 minutes, you can meet somebody and get permission to follow-up with them.

Thanks to Michelle (Shellie) Seyfarth, PhD of Seyfarth Diversified Strategies

20. Networking Shouldn’t Be Predatory

The number 1 tip for networking I give anyone is: Its not about you. Networking sounds predatory to many because an easy way to think about it is”I need a job or I need a business referral”. However, if a person enters into networking positioned to understand and then share with the other person, then its truly learning about the other person and how you can help or support them. The pay off comes to you once you are seen as a person worthy of giving back to.

Thanks to Dorothy Tannahill-Moran of Next Chapter New Life Career Coaching

21. Pay It Forward!

The best practice that is working for us is the “pay it forward” approach. We help business acquaintances, clients, and prospects without asking for anything in return. The help could be an introduction to someone else, a recommendation, a resource, or valuable advice. Without asking for anything in return, people naturally feel indebted to you for the good deed you did for them. They will “pay back” by eventually hiring us, recommending us, or putting us in touch with someone we need.

Thanks to Aliona Groh of Hoyman Dobson CPAs

22. Networking Without Sounding Like A Pig!

No offense to the pig! The most effective networking tip is to ask a lot of questions about their business. I then ask an insightful & industry specific question about trends/challenges. If true for them, I might follow up with a recommendation on a book/article. If possible, I’ll email a link to them the next day. The point is to plant the seed of your knowledge. That’s when they start to ask what I do. Now I can be a little more brash-after all they asked!

Thanks to Rob Jager of Hedgehog Consulting, Inc.

23. How Can I Help You?

My best networking tip that I have learned and implemented is that when you are networking and you meet someone for the first time, do not talk about yourself and your business, talk about them. Ask them how you can help them? Who they are looking to meet? Effective networking takes time and you have to start with getting to know someone so that you can build a relationship. Always follow up with a nice to meet you note, email, phone call, or card so they will remember you!

Thanks to Michelle Morton of Michelle Morton.com

24. Four Top Tips For Entrepreneurs

1. Be a savvy networker. That means, networking, talking, connecting with
people everywhere you go.
2. Share your contacts freely. If you go into networking just looking out
for yourself, it is not going to work as well as if you share and help
other people.
3. Have an online presence. Get on LinkedIn (a professional social
networking site) and optimize your LinkedIn profile. “It is the best thing
you can do for your business.”
4. Just do it.

Thanks to Dana Humphrey of Whitegate PR

25. It’s About True Connection!

Be you. Be authentic. Have a personality. Don’t be what you think the “appropriate consummate networker” ought to be.

Have an interesting story that’s super short.

For example, after introducing myself, I often start with “I started my career when I was seven years old when I taught school in my garage to five neighborhood kids I bribed with candy to be my students. Now, I’m a professional speaker and workshop leader. I also help women entrepreneurs use speaking to get more clients, make more money, and have a bigger impact. I’ve been doing this since I was seven.

Be more interested than interesting. Be genuinely interested in the other person, and look for ways to support them. The key here is “genuinely,” not as a technique!

Thanks to Ava Diamond of Feisty Women Rock!

26. Be Prepared To Tell Your Story

Bring a business card with you, but leave everything else at home. Instead, prepare your personal 60-second story — who are you and what are you seeking? If you can’t grab someone’s attention within a matter of seconds at a networking event, their mind has already wandered to the next person in the room.

Thanks to Heather Huhman of Come Recommended

27. Increase Traffic To Your Website

One of the most effective tips is to distribute content related to the website’s theme. Properly distributed content easily creates more traffic that even continues to grow over time. Publishers are seeking content which is informative and educational. After you have attracted readers with an informative article, then direct them to your website through your “About the Author” box. Then Publishers are happy because they have high-quality content and you are happy because you have more traffic!

Thanks to LACIE BURKE of Crooner Labs

28. Don’t Be A “Biz Card Ninja” & Other Tips

1. Don’t be what top marketing strategist Olalah Njenga calls a “Business Card Ninja”
2. Don’t show up looking like you just rolled out of bed or worked out
3. Don’t wear beat up shoes. Shoes are a dead giveaway to your attention to detail and your level of confidence and success
4. Keep in mind the “generations” going. Matures, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials – know how to “speak” to them
5. Decide who you want to connect with and learn about them online & in publications
6. Don’t hang by the food

Thanks to Eileen Batson of Batson Group Marketing And PR

29. Stalking On Social Media Is Not A Federal Offense… In Person It Definitely Is!

Make the connection, get the card and follow up via Social Media. Use Twitter or LinkedIn, not Facebook to avoid the eternal ‘non-confirm.’ Send a simple great to meet you last night, checked out the website, or even better use a cool app like Hashable that let’s you connect with others through a simple #with, #justmet, #meeting hashtag. Don’t write a long message on LinkedIn though you have more room. Complete your online profiles and let that info speak for you.

Thanks to Lindsey Holmes of LCH Business SM & Tech, LLC

30. To The Hilt, With ILT

I’ve found networking (electronic, written, or personal) works best if one begins with a focus on the other person. ILT: Inquiry skills, listening skills, and transition skills. They create the impression you’d like to help, rather than self-aggrandize. So, when meeting someone new, I use some variation of this line: “Tell me about your job.” I listen very carefully and when I hear something that allows me to segue to my products/services, I then ask, “Would it help if you had ___________?”

Thanks to Marlene Caroselli

31. To Get, Give!

Volunteer but pick an organization that either is related to your profession or is simply something you care about (animals, feeding the hungry, etc.) As you give of your time, tell other volunteers but most especially the people who work at the organziation that you’re looking for a new opportunity. They will be motivated to help you as you’re helping them.

Here’s an example: a client of mine who was in healthcare marketing didn’t have a local network so volunteered at the American Cancer Society to help out with marketing one afternoon a week. There she met someone with a robust network in healthcare who was very happy to help her out. Through one of those contacts she landed her next job.

Thanks to Jean Baur of Lee Hecht Harrison

32. Be Sure To Get Out And Network In Person At Events

Be sure to get out and network in person, in addition to networking online. It is advisable to join a professional association in your industry and attend networking events. While it may sound “old fashioned” these days, face-to-face networking continues to be a great way to network and establish and maintain connections.

Thanks to Sharon Reed Abboud of allmomswork.com

33. Networking Has Nothing To Do With You”

Successful networking is all about making the people you meet feel comfortable. Too many people think that networking is all about them and how they feel. It’s really about making the people you meet want to talk with you. It’s best to simply ask them questions about themselves but not what they do. People love to talk about their families, their pets, their favorite foods. If you allow the conversation to flow you will be surprised how much you will learn about the person. They will want to find out more about you. After you have established rapport, you can tell them about yourself. Or you may just decide to leave that for when you have the cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Thanks to Kathy McShane of Ladies Who Launch, Southwestern, Ct

34. Mastermind Group Becomes Networking/Motivational Group On Steroids

Start a Mastermind group of female entrepreneurs representing different occupations: attorney, accountant, financial planner, PR, realtor, banker/lender, graphic designer, etc. Mastermind should meet monthly for lunch, dinner, or cocktails and operate on the foundation of free exchange of ideas in a non-competitive environment. This becomes a motivational group on steroids, with each member pushing the other to succeed. Once bonding has taken place, a level of trust will be developed such that these will be your go-to gals for sounding out ideas, problem solving, etc., and client referrals will unreservedly be made to members as the need arises.

Thanks to Cam Gittler of Coldwell Banker Previews International

35. Set A Goal

When attending large events instead of trying to convert each person you meet into a client or referral source, set a realistic goal to leave with 2 or 3 new contacts whom you would like to learn more about. This will take the pressure off of overdoing it, give you better success in the long term and you may find you actually enjoy networking!

Since networking is about building relationships, find people you like and whose business is interesting to you, then let the friendship flow from there. Follow-up within 3 business days with a friendly email invitation to lunch or coffee and get to know each other. Just like you wouldn’t refer a valued client to someone after just having been handed a business card, don’t expect others to do the same for you.

Take the time to get to know others and your network will grow from there.

Thanks to Kelley C. Long of KCL Financial Coaching

36. Networking Is Not Asking For A Job

Networking is talking to as many people as possible to learn about companies of interest, to learn how they hire, to learn what people do and what skill sets are critical. Often when a need arises, people will call the person they networked with if they think there is a fit. Last year, according to the Department of Labor Statistics, more than 80% of all jobs filled were filled through networking. Put your energy where it will make the biggest difference.

A few tips for effective networking:
1. Start with low hanging fruit: People you know – relatives, neighbors, your friends’ parents, etc.
2. With each networking meeting ask that person for at least three other people with whom you should contact.
3. Leverage your alumni database to make additional contacts. Your network should expand exponentially.
4. Keep careful records so you know who you talked to and when.
5. Keep your network posted on your progress.
6. When you see an opportunity of interest, let the person in your network who works there know of your interest and ask them to pass on your resume.

Thanks to Lynne Sarikas of Northeastern University College Of Business Administration

37. Biggest Tip For Effective Networking

I think the biggest tip is to become effective at asking the right questions and listening intently. Fight the urge to talk too much about what we have to offer at the first introduction. We have all done it at one time or another, beware not to go for the sale too soon in the process. It is far better to focus on the other person, talk sparingly about our business and setup a one-on-one for later which will give us an opportunity to talk more about what we do in our business.

Thanks to Rollis Fontenot III of Sales Coach Site.com

38. There Is A Human Behind The Brand

Businesses, services and information is viral and can make a huge impact on your promotion, brand and company. Small businesses utilizing Social Media Outlets help establish their brand in traditional and nontraditional online outlets, which in turn will increase your potential viral impact. Your readers can easily know what’s going on with you and pass your message on to friends with a simple click,RT and ‘status post’. Twitter and facebook are amazing toosl and powerful. People do want to know who is behind the brand, so tweet/post your biz but also make it personal. Let your followers see that you are human and have the same day-to-day that they(your colleague or customer) have.

Social media is an opportunity to reach new customers quickly and you may reach an entirely different group in the online world than you would through other channels and potentially increasing your overall sales the least expensive way (which is important for us small businesses).

Thanks to Katie O’neill of Kt Steppers Llc

39. Stop Kicking Up The Sand!

Some people don’t network enough, but may people network too much and without focus or purpose. This just kicks up more sand, adds to an already busy schedule, and drains your energy and resources. I suggest this alternative: before you put anymore networking events on your calendar or set foot out the door, hit the pause button. Take a moment to create some intentions on what you want to accomplish and attract (in addition to meeting more potential customers). Create a vision statment of what your ideal networking event looks like for you and your business. Who is your market and audience? What events do they attend? What time of day works best for you and your schedule? When are you at your best? What kind of setting do you prefer? Do you like large groups or smaller ones? Do you prefer facilitated networking or more free-form mingling? Do you enjoy hearing a good speaker? If so, what topics could help you grow your business and knowledge base? What topics are attractive to your market and audience? How many events can you attend a week or month — realistically? Creating a plan and having an idea of what networking scenarios are best for you helps you focus on quality, not quantity.`

For example, I don’t find free happy hours particularly productive. I’d much prefer to arrange an invitation-only happy hour with my best colleagues and prospects than stand in a crowded, noisy bar with people who are there just because it’s free and there’s alcohol available. I also don’t like early morning breakfast meetings, although I know plenty of people who do. Lunch time is my best time of day, so I attend meetings where there are plenty of entrepreneurial women, which is my primary market and audience. I also prefer to attend events where there is a good speaker or program that interests me. And I find that one good networking event a week is just right for my schedule. What about you?
For more tips on how to be more focused and selective in your networking, watch for my new book The Intentional Netowrker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. Available this July. Until then, contact me at DeNucciandCo@aol.com for details on how to get 20 additional Networking Success Tips

Thanks to Patti DeNucci of DeNucci & Co., LLC

40. The Pool Rules To Networking

Ever go to a public swimming pool? Pool Rules are always posted to protect everyone and insure a safe swimming experience. Imagine if there were rules posted at every networking event you attended, including association meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows, chamber mixers, golf outings, and community venues.

Have no fear! The Pool Rules of Networking are here! Follow these rules to insure you maximize your networking efforts. So Network safe!

Know what networking is!
Most people don’t. Networking is all about learning from and helping people. If you’re effective and genuine, the people you meet will help you right back!

No selling- ever!
Networking is about a relationship not pitching your products and services. When relationships happen so do sales.

Everyone is NOT a prospect.
The people you meet at events could become prospects and don’t assume they are.

It is never about you.
Always try to learn about the person (or people) you meet first. It’s only about you when they make it about you.

Decide on a target market.
Who do you serve best and therefore wish to meet? Having a target market will help you determine where to go, what to say, and with whom.

Create (and use!) your elevator pitch.
Good to be prepared with a punchy, memorable, different, statement about yourself and the specific connections you ultimately wish to make.

Thanks to Michael Goldberg of Building Blocks Consulting

41. Memorable Networking Tips — At Trade Shows, Conferences Or Conventions

I never purchase a trade show booth or recommend others do either. Why? Too costly, cumbersome, exhausting, and almost always yields zero return on your investment. Attending trade shows however, is very worthwhile if you do as I do.

Several years ago I decided to attend an industry trade show event and instead of purchasing a booth and hiring staff to staff it — I took a ride to the dollar store and purchased:

breath mints
toothbrushes and toothpastes
post-it notes
paper clips

. . . you know, anything you might want, but forgot to bring to a trade show! I had labels printed with the conference name on it and Survival Kit written across it — in Military font with camouflage background. This was hard core. I meant business.

I paid a concierge $3 to deliver the “survival kit” to each person on my list of prospects and clients room with a copy of a book I had written. No sweat. The ones that were returned came back to my room and I made a personal deliver to each and every trade show booth I wanted to visit.

By the end of the conference, I was the talk of the town!

Thanks to Nancy Michaels of GrowYourBusinessNetwork.com

42. From The Bottom Up

Sometimes it seems impossible to contact an executive or expert in a corporation you’d like to become involved with because they are so busy. Should you give up? Not at all. Rather, start lower on the totem pole.

When I began concentrating on speaking full-time, one of my first priorities was to meet Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With the Sharks Before You Get Eaten Alive and Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. He was successful, well-connected, knowledgeable, and local. But would he take my call? No.

I asked my friends who knew Harvey to call or write on my behalf. Through those contacts, I made an appointment to meet Harve’s assistant. The assistant and I hit it off and learned we shared several things in common. Before my friends were finished making phone calls, I also had an appointment for breakfast with the President of Harvey’s firm.

Networking through Harvey’s web of professional and personal relationships landed me my appointment with Harvey and several other meetings since. It never hurts to know the receptionist, secretaries, and administrative personnel who, once they know you by name, can hand you the key to the head office.
The disadvantages? It takes longer and may require several appointments until you reach your targeted goal.

Thanks to Christine Clifford, CSP of Christine Clifford Enterprises

43. It Does Not Have To Be Just Another ‘Same Old, Same Old’ Networking Event

Do you feel you are attending too many networking events, and not making enough sales?

Turn every network event into an effective and productive referral process by inviting a network attendee you are interested to do business with, or who you feel can provide referrals to you, to a 1:1 meeting as a follow-up to the network event. It’s difficult to discuss business in detail at network meetings, but spending quality time over coffee, breakfast, or lunch, allows you to build a relationship, share ideas, exchange referrals (you have to give in order to receive), and sometimes, make a sale!

When you do this often enough, your business and professional network will grow organically. All you have to do is leverage that growing network into sales!

Thanks to Lin Engie of Transworld Systems

44. Don’t Talk About Yourself!

Many women get this absurd idea that they have to hard-sell in an aggressive testosterone style when they go to networking events, when really that just turns everyone off (including men!). In reality, we’re selling ourselves – our products are just a nice side benefit.

Instead of walking up to a new face, business card thrust out and cheesy grin plastered on your face, ready to gush about your business — walk up, ask their name and what they do, and then ask how you can help THEM. Ask what kind of customers they are looking for, what problems they’re trying to solve, everything. And really listen.

They’ll remember you as being different from all the sleazy sales pitches, and that will serve your business much better in the long run.

The real purpose of networking is just that — to form a network of supportive peers, who can refer the right customers back to you (and vice versa). It’s not to wrench every last penny out of every group. That won’t work, anyway. Take the time to really get to know the other women entrepreneurs in your area, and you can flourish much more than if you spout off a sales reel every time someone talks to you.

Thanks to Andi Enns of AndiEnns.com Public Relations & Marketing Consulting

45. Change Your Energy, Change Your Life

Networking, both successful and unsuccessful, is a function of your energy.

Have you ever walked into a room, say a party, and been drawn to a certain person? That’s energy. We only connect with people on the same wavelength regardless of our behavior. To network successfully pay attention to the types of people who are in your life and the ones you want in your life.

If you aren’t attracting the kinds of people you want to associate with take time each morning to be quiet with yourself and get to know yourself. Live consciously and forgo trying to force situations. Shift your energy and allow the people you need to know come into your life. If this fails to work, take a hard look at your life to determine what’s blocking you.

Thanks to Laura George of LHG Consulting, Inc.

46. Alycia Kaback’s #1 Tip For Gracious And Effective Networking

One way to avoid being brash is to simply approach experts in the industry asking for help. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Most people are flattered to be asked for advice and to provide assistance for others. It makes them feel important and successful. However, make sure the people you talk to are qualified. You would not want to ask a homeless man for directions home would you? Advice should come from people already successful in the business.
Consider conducting informational interviews, asking industry professionals how they got where they are in the entertainment industry. Talking to people who have already been where you are and surpassed that level is the ultimate networking technique.
Don’t forget to thank everyone in your network who has been helpful to you, preferably with a nice thank-you note. It’s just common courtesy to show your appreciation for peoples’ time and assistance, and your contacts will remember your good manners and could remember you when more opportunities turn up.

Read the full article here: http://www.articlesbase.com/art-and-entertainment-articles/alycia-kabacks-tips-for-networking-in-the-entertainment-industry-4127594.html

Thanks to Alycia Kaback of VIP Talent Connect/ Kaback Models

47. Help Others

The greatest networking tip I learned was to be calm, see how you can help others and follow up. When you help others without seeking to receive opportunities will fall at your feet.

Here are photos of me Networking with Celebrities


Thanks to Derrick Hayes of WOE Enterprises

48. Advanced Networking 101: The Ultimate Secret Weapon For Building Your Brand While Building Your Netw

I have been helping executives build their professional brand (while building their network!!)for over fifteen years. Now that’s a great way to network!That aside, productive networking happens when we take responsibility for the experience we want to have.

Here’s one tip that I share with clients:
Be memorable but not by informing and educating. Instead, try asking the best question of the evening! Rather than tell people about yourself which is probably going to be forgotten by the time they drop off their empty glass at the beverage station, make them feel relevant and noticed. And don’t fall into the networking ditch of saying, “What do you do for a living? Instead, ask “Without telling me what you do, tell me what you love about your profession?

Truth be told, no body cares who you are or what you know until they know you care! And, when they know that, then you’ve got a chance of making a unique impression and building a relationship.

Thanks to Julie Overholt of Julie Overholt Coaching

49. Harness The Power Of Passion!

When I introduce myself as a divorce coach, the most common reaction is a nervous giggle. I laugh appropriately and then quickly explain that my role in the divorce journey is client alignment. As part of the “divorce team”, I ensure the client gets the best education and information regarding the journey. When someone has experienced a divorce, personally or with a family member or friend, the immediate response after my compelling story is always, “I wish I met you before my divorce.”

The greatest advantage I have in networking is the brevity, authenticity and true passion of my story! I completely believe in my work and the value I add to the divorce experience. I know my clients are better able to cope with all aspects of divorce with my support and guidance.

Thanks to Sheila Brennan of Divorce Coach

50. Network Mapping For More Strategic Networking

One of the common beliefs of our time is: The more you network, the better. But while you can often get unexpected benefits from networking with everyone, all the time, it also requires a lot of time and effort that you can’t spend otherwise, for example actually doing content work, developing your product etc. What I found most helpful in being strategic in my networking is to sit down alone every once in a while, draw my existing network and ask myself: “Who influences how strongly that I achieve my goals?” That led me to undestand for example, that excellent advisors are more important for my business success than any individual client. So I make sure to maintain regular good relationships with those people who have given me good advice in the past. And that, to enter a new market with my consulting business I first had to phase out some of my old clients who were taking up most of my time and resources, so that I could make space in my busy schedule to actively network in the new market. I have developed a simple network mapping method (Net-Map) that is open access, so have a look here: http://netmap.wordpress.com for more information and start being more strategic about their influence networking. Using Net-Map, you can answer the following questions in 5 simple steps: Who are all the important actors? How are they linked? What are their goals? How influential are they? What shall I do about it?

Thanks to Eva Schiffer of Net-Map

51. Work The Networking Room Like It Was A Cocktail Party Of Your Friends.

It seems counter-intuitive, but donˆt make the mistake of promoting or
selling yourself to the people you meet (Boring.) The best way to ¯work the
room˜ is to find someone and ask them about themselves and their interests.
This usually puts the other person at ease. Ask yourself “How can I help
this person in any possible way?’ Then suggest a tip, tool, reference, book,
website or referral to help that person out (about any topic, not
necessarily related to business). Basically, act like an “information
broker”. Naturally, the other person will like you and your helpfulness, and
ask questions about you and your business, and request your business card.
Then move onto the next person.

Thanks to Maureen Nuccitelli of Harmonious Life Designs Professional Organizing Services

52. Join The Blogosphere!

“My biggest tip for effective networking is blogging. It’s an extraordinary tool for connecting people to you and your brand. You write about what you know and your audience reads it to learn more about you and your services. Blogging is a very free community, it’s optional to read a post if you so choose, or pass it up in favor of something that better fits your needs.” –Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation

53. Know Before You Go: 3 Networking Tips To Master

The key strategies for optimal networking are the 3 Rs: Research, Rehearse, and Remember:

Before you attend the next office party, speed-networking event, or participate in the company retreat, do your research. It could mean the beginning of a new business relationship, or an exercise in futility. Following is a tip to aid you in your research:

Find out who is on the guest list of your professional networking event. With more people using social media and online event registration sites, such as Eventbrite, it is relatively easy to know who is scheduled to attend the gathering, including, perhaps the human resources director from a company you at which you are interested in working.

Rehearse and practice your “game face” before you approach someone during a networking event:

The 5-7 second pitch: Create and practice your elevator pitch, an engaging way to present yourself, without the hard sale, or overbearing attitude, in less than 10 seconds. The pitch should always cover:
The Who (your name)
The What (your work function, volunteer leadership role)
The How (how, if at all, you and the person with whom you are speaking are connected)
The Why (why you wanted to meet the person in the first place)
The Ending (conclude your pitch and toss the conversation back to the other person)

During The Why: During this segment of the pitch, even if you are in desperate need of a job, do not ask for one! It is gauche and unprofessional to beg for a job from someone you have just met. The caveat, however, is that is perfectly okay to express interest in a position if the person with whom you network asks for your resume or says that you might be a good fit for the organization.

The Ending: At the conclusion of your pitch, you should always have in mind 1-3 questions you will ask the people with whom you network. Remember, you do not want to drone on about yourself. Show interest in the other person.

Whether interacting appropriately while networking, donning the proper attire or timely follow-up with the people you meet, there are a few things to remember to make you stand out from the crowd:

Be fashion forward: You do not have to wear the most expensive clothing and shoes; however, you want to ensure your appearance is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the venue. For example, if you were invited to a golf outing, you would not wear a business suit and take along your brief case.

Always follow up directly with those you meet during networking events of any kind. My rule is to initiate follow-up within 48 hours. If you have made a favorable impression, the people you have met and talked with during the event will probably remember you.

Finally, people love to communicate by email, and sending a quick note is appropriate. Remember to spell check, proof read, and eliminate the ungrammatical verbiage before sending the communication to the recipient. Always have an electronic signature at the conclusion of the email that lists ways to get back in touch with you, including links to your social media sites.

Personally, I like sending hand written notes, a notion that is a rarity these days. If I meet someone who is especially engaging and thought provoking, I typically send a note to reinforce my pleasure of having met the person.

Thanks to Kesi Stribling of KSG Strategic Consulting

54. Say “Hello”!

Although the simple concept of saying “Hi” can seem obvious and vague, saying hello is more than just the simple greeting. When you take the time out to say “hello” it means, introducing yourself and who you are, as well as getting to know the person you are talking. Making small talk and taking a genuine interest in their position/company will allow you to retrieve their information and brainstorm a need or idea later.

Now that you were able to carefully research the person’s position and their company, you can follow up by reaching out to them with the idea. You’re no longer a stranger or a random email sent to spam, you are someone they can put a face to. You have also already established your credibility in your first meeting so they won’t have to waste their time researching if you are the real deal or just a scam.

Remember you never know who you are talking to, or who they may know. The simple act of saying “Hello” requires introducing yourself, what you do and then leave it at that. “Hello” is not a sales pitch, it is simply building a foundation that you can successfully network off of!

Thanks to Vanessa Fusco of SoCal Entertainment

55. Know Your Stuff!

Learn how to confidently tell others who you are and what you do. And keep it simple….I am a [blank – your business] that works with/helps/teaches [blank – target market] how to [blank – identify challenges] so that they can [blank – results]. Once you write this out, practice saying it aloud and practice often. You might also want to tweak it a bit for those times when you’re focusing on a slightly different service or challenge. When you can confidently and effortlessly tell others who you are and what it is that you do, networking will be a breeze!

Thanks to Katy Tafoya of Success For Solopreneurs

56. Set Your Radar

Know who you need to network with, and have your antennae up for those talents wherever you meet and connect with people. Use Your Company’s Super Simple Staffing Support Plan © (available in the book, The Pregnant Entrepreneur) to help you identify who is part of your small business team, even if you don’t employ them directly. The tool includes professionals we all need access to, like a CPA, as well as business-specific resources, like a great photographer. By writing down the members of your current team, you can identify who you are missing on your team. Then you can confidently put the word out that you are looking for a person with a particular skill to round out your small business team. You might meet these resources at formal networking meetings, or you might connect with just the right person through more informal connections with friends and colleagues.

Thanks to Darla DeMorrow of The Pregnant Entrepreneur

57. Best Networking Tips

Before you decide to sign up for the event ask yourself and do research:

Why are you going?
Clear objective written before going

What are you looking for?
Who attends?

Will you find the people that you are looking for?

Presenting Yourself…
Name Tag on the right side of our jacket
Bring your sense of humor

Cell Phone – leave it in the car, on vibrate, off or for emergency use only – remember – 1st impressions….the prospect gets to decide and the room full of people are watching you

Business Cards – take theirs and spend time with it for a moment – be purposeful in handing yours to them. Make it a gift!!!

Exercise your ears give someone your true attention by engaging in conversation will leave a lasting impression; you will develop a reputation within the group. You will learn something!

Ask questions strategically

Follow up; always with at the bare minimum an email within 3-5 days…refer back to when and how you met
refer back to your conversation. Look for an apparent reason to meet and talk over coffee. If you leave a voice message – let the person know when you will be available so that you can avoid phone tag at all cost

Don’t list dozens of names in the To: and CC: box
give purpose to the Subject box

Voicemails are less than a minute long; spell check with your eyes and electronically
part of your daily/weekly routine

Thanks to Mary Erlain of LMI-Riverside

It Was A Hot Summer Day In Boston…

I recently had an epiphany that I want to share with you. Bear with me as I begin my story almost 15 years ago…

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I spent years switching jobs, moving from city to city (NYC, Boston, Concord, NH, just to name a few) and generally being aimless.

At one point I decided “wouldn’t it be fun to work in an art gallery?” So I walked into the nicest one, on Newbury Street (Boston) and asked if they were hiring.

When the gallery curator interviewed me, the conversation went (something) like this:

“Do you have any sales experience?” — “Uh, no.”
“Do you have any art background?” —“Hmmm. Nope.”
“Have you ever done anything like this at all?” —“Well, last summer I visited 45 cities in 60 days to hand out Dentyne Ice chewing gum samples on street corners. Does that help?” [See pic at right]

Maybe they were hurting, because despite my un-qualifications I got the job. So I packed up, left bustling Concord, NH, and moved to Boston to sell art.

By the 3rd month, I hit #1 in the Boston gallery. In month 9, I ranked #2 among ALL of the art consultants across the entire national franchise. What happened?

I didn’t get this back then, but in retrospect, it’s clear. I’d studied psychology in college, and in the absence of ANY art knowledge OR sales skills, I relied on a basic “Psych 101” technique: personality profiling.

When people walked into the gallery and it was my “up,” instead of accosting and trying to “sell” them, I focused on reading their body language, adapting to the cues, and developing rapport, mostly by educating them and focusing on the stuff that they wanted to talk about. The sales followed. Lots and lots (and lots!) of sales.

The lesson that I see now, in retrospect, is that I was successful selling because I wasn’t focused on the sale. Instead, I was focused on building relationships, and ultimately TRUST. People want to do business with regular people – not with salespeople, not with logos, not with marketers. Moreover, they want to do business with people they LIKE.

To that end, one of the most powerful ways to connect with other human beings is to adapt to their unique personality type. Do you know the 4 basic types? If not, here’s my “secret weapon” so you can use it too.


First and foremost, it is important to understand that we ALL have elements of all types, but like a preference for right-handedness or left-handedness, most of the population exhibits a natural preference for certain ways of being over others. When we understand our natural preferences, and those of others, communication and interaction is just easier.

In addition, there are MANY different ways of categorizing personality type – The Myers Briggs Type Instrument (a 16-type distinction that, incidentally, my company is certified to administer and interpret), DISC, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and many, many more.

Below is a SIMPLIFIED 4-type distinction* that can quickly get you to a place where you are recognizing and adapting to different styles. In this type paradigm, there are 4 basic personality types: Lions, Monkeys, Owls and Koalas.

The below designations are adapted from several sources, but the essence is based on my favorite: The Referral Institute’s Behavioral Styles model.

The Lions and Monkeys (top of the chart below) tend to do things FAST. They walk fast, talk fast, drive fast and decide fast.

The Owls and Koalas (bottom of the chart below), tend to take their time. They like to consider things more carefully and tend to be more circumspect in making decisions.

The Lions and Owls (left side of the chart), tend to be more TASK-oriented, whereas the Monkeys and Koalas (right side of the chart) tend to be more PEOPLE-oriented.

The below chart helps you by giving clues about how to adapt to each type.

So, can you tell which type you are? Let me know here. And if you have any questions, post those too!

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)
(888) 531-3830

Freaking Out Onstage…

I’m a ham. I love getting on a stage and presenting. The bigger the audience, the more exciting, the more exciting, the more adrenaline, the more adrenaline, the better my performance.

But it wasn’t always that way. That same adrenaline that today fuels my performance used to have the opposite effect (forget “fight” or “flight,” it was more like “freak out” and “freeze”).

First, I used to try to memorize presentations. The problem with memorization is that the moment I’d get stuck, it would completely derail me. Another thing I did was create slide shows full of bullet points so that I wouldn’t forget anything… problem is then I’d end up reading slides. That would have been fine – if my goal had been to BORE my audience to death.

I knew that getting up in front of an audience and being a COMPELLING speaker would have a huge impact on my business. So I made a real effort to learn how. I took improv acting classes for over a year, I attended Toastmasters, I read books. I practiced. These days speaking is a huge driver of both revenues and leads to my business.

I tell you this so you understand what went into creating what I’m sending you right now. It’s a slideshow of the Top 20 Tips To Being A Compelling Speaker:

By the way, I’m also doing a Public Speaking Workshop for people who need a little more help (and honest, hands-on coaching).

Basic info here: http://www.TheSpeakEasyProgram.com.

Ciao for now…


Plugging Your Business Without Being Shameless

How do you promote your business without self-promotion?  Check out some of these tips that may help people become more “aware” of your business without the obvious sales- “woman”-ship.

1. Let Your Customers Talk For You!

It’s true. In sales there’s nothing that works better than having your customers talk about you. Think about it. Instead of you trying to convince a potential customer how awesome you are, why not find a way to have your customers do it for you? A great way to make this happen is on video. Send your top 5 clients a Flip camera. Ask them to record a short message about why they do business with you. Tell them to keep the camera, just send the footage. Take those videos and promote them!

Thanks to Jim Kukral of The Attention Formula

2. Self Promotion By Promoting Others

One of the best ways to promote yourself is to promote others instead. It’s business karma…give without expecting to receive. Sometimes people reciprocate, sometimes they don’t. Either way, it’s a good thing because you are letting those who listen to you know about businesses and resources that you believe in and can benefit them, and that is providing value. If you provide value, you increase your customer loyalty. Loyal customers talk about you, and your business grows. Simple.

Thanks to Norma Maxwell of Norma Maxwell Internet Marketing | Web Design

3. Get Real: Developing A Real & Relatable Social Media Presence For Your Business

When promoting yourself or your business it’s important to engage with the ever-growing social media community. With this format, there is a fine line between being shameless and not.

When using social media as a tool for branding and marketing yourself or your business, it’s of the utmost importance that a thorough plan is created — before logging on. Start with the end-goal in mind; and let that be your guide to social media success.

To avoid the cheese factor, your output needs to be consistent and focused on perpetuating your brand. Skip the minor updates, but when big things are happening, let your fans and followers join the conversation.

Another key to getting your brand noticed on the social media superhighway without getting eye rolls ; acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of your friends,fans and “followers.Respond thoughtfully to their questions and feedback, too, as this establishes a dimensional relationship with the very people that give your business meaning.

Thanks to Lauri Flaquer of Saltar Solutions

4. Add A Quote

Ask a college professor or high school teacher, a professional in your field or a community leader to test drive what you are trying to sell, whether a product or a service. If there is no product yet, those people who know your abilities may still be sources for quotes regarding your gifts and talents. If you can secure a brief endorsement or a positive quote, add it to your resume. Avoid wordy quotes, and use only something that reflects your potential.

Thanks to Randall Murphree of American Family Association

5. Let Yourself Be Heard!

Radio blogs are forever in need of new guests. Check out blogs in your field – check out blog talk radio to see sorts of guests being aired. You’ll not only be on air, you’ll also be available on line and the podcast stays a long time. Use some of it on your website or blog, promote it on facebook. Discuss a product you wish to promote, tieing in with the host’s subject. If you have written a book, you can direct listeners to it. Be upbeat and helpful, and its a win/win situation.

Thanks to Francine L. Trevens of TnT Classic Books

6. Want Attention? Become A Go-to Source.

Very few people are really interested when you start talking about yourself. (Spoiler: this includes friends.) However, there are tons of opportunities every day to contribute to legitimate publications that allow you to get your story out.

By contributing to HelpAReporter.com, for example, I’ve scored some really nice interview opportunities. It isn’t shameless self-promotion since I’m responding to specific requests – providing an aid and a resource as opposed to just a “pitch.”

Thanks to Erin Deighan of Actress, Voice Artist, Singer

7. You Want Attraction Power And To Be Known As An Expert

I promote myself by first promoting others. I read articles, blogs and send them out to my social media contacts and clients.

Thanks to Cindy ODonnell of Living Insurance Solutions

8. It Is And Is Not About You.

Speak portraying historical characters who achieved important successes in leadership, team building, motivation, ethics, etc. You can then laud them and their contributions without it being only about you. Human nature is unchanging, though technology is ever-changing, thus classic successes of the past are recycleable for contemporary audiences. In fact, why would it need to be about you anyway? Humans have flaws and virtues, strengths and weaknesses. It’s really all about ideas anyway.

Thanks to Richard Cheatham of Living History Associates, Ltd.

9. Balance The Shame With The Content And Get It Out Of The Way.

If you are going for the shameless plug do it in the introduction, I got this tip from British TV presenter Michael Parkinson. It also removes the pressure of how you are going to get the plug in. Once you have plugged your business reward the listener with great content. Fail to reward makes you an oppertunistic waste of time. People will remember you as good or bad. Which one is up to you. If you are going to plug yourself again, make a joke of it. Don’t waste people’s time.

Thanks to Craig Griffiths of Ask Find Buy

10. Self-Branding Can Lead To Effective Self-Promotion

Your personal brand reflects the characteristics you want the public to see, regardless of who that public is. Every adult has the opportunity to create their own brand, and can have their name legally changed with a simple hearing by a judge and some basic paperwork – as long as the reason has nothing to do with your need to evade the law or debt of any kind, have at it. Entertainers do it all the time – would you tune in to watch Larry Zeiger interview celebrities? But before retirement, Larry King pulled in the occasional viewer on a regular basis. Go figure.

Some internal reflection is in order when choosing your personal brand. Give it some thought, understand that it has to be viewed by the world at large and have some meaning, then back up the moniker with the attributes you hold in highest regard, consistently. Now you’re talking branding . . .

Thanks to David Poulos of Granite Partners

11. Brand Yourself As The Industry Leader Without Making It About You

You can gain vast exposure and recognition by branding yourself as an industry leader, without overtly self-promoting yourself. Serve as a speaker for industry conferences, join an industry board of directors, write industry articles, case studies and white papers for publication on blogs, websites, newspapers and magazines, Twitter information about topics that don’t promote your company, but are relevant to your followers, and support your community through volunteer efforts.

Thanks to Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions

12. Shamelessly Promoting My Blog

As an author of a food blog specializing in cooking contests, promotional food related videos, and social marketing strategy for restaurants and culinary companies, part of my work is to promote my website to everyone I see. Sometimes I feel guilty that I do events just to get a plug in for my site or contests, but it turns out that when I have speaking engagements, that’s actually what people want to hear about. I get to talk about great food and drink, then refer people to biteandbooze.com!

Thanks to Jay Ducote of Bite And Booze

13. Anything But Shameless!

Volunteer your services or donate your products! You get to work with highly influential community leaders, show off your talents, make tons of fans/followers, and reap personal growth! It’s a WIN-WIN!

Thanks to Madelyn Fradkin of Mobile Assistant Direct

14. Victory Through Voicemail

Almost everyone knows what the abbreviation “vm” means. Yes, voicemail. I use voicemail to pique prospects’ interest and promote my company two ways. 1) When I leave someone a voicemail, my message ends includes “oh! and next time we talk remind me…pinklabcoat.com”. This leaves them curious. 2) I do the reverse and on my phone greeting it ends with, “remember to ask me about pinklabcoat.com.” This generates interest, opens conversation, and increases hits to my website.

Thanks to Lara Loucks of PinkLabCoat.com

15. Be Friendly Not Aggresive

When I promote my bussiness I’m always friendly on the phone or via emails. I don’t like to sound aggresive because when I have a sales person contacting me I hate when the person is trying so hard that sounds aggresive.

Being friendly and soft in my words- even via email- has help me to get more business or referrals.

Thanks to Mirianer Soto of MSP Productions

16. Answering Questions On LinkedIn (without Promoting) Actually Promotes You

If you use LinkedIn, under the More tab, select Questions/Answers. Then find questions that you can answer in your area of expertise. Give really useful info in your answer. DO NOT promote yourself, just show that you know your stuff & are helpful. People will read your answer, if it’s good – they’ll read your profile. I’ve gotten hired as a consultant this way. Also answers on LinkedIn are a part of their searches, so use keywords in your answer when applicable.

Thanks to Cathy Larkin of Web Savvy PR

17. Show Your Compassionate Side

We show our customers that we are compassionate, care about their feelings and understand their needs by sharing information that is relevant and important to them. We sell a product to special needs families.

Thanks to Shelley Patterson of Buddy Bike, LLC

18. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Generous!

My best tip for promoting your business WITHOUT being shameless is to offer tips! Be the person to rely on for helpful advice. If you have a Facebook page, share tips and strategies related to your business. Belong to networking groups? Answer questions! Offer to do a 15-20 minute presentation for free. Whatever you can do to present yourself as an expert will raise your profile with your target audience and promote yourself without selling anything!

Thanks to Gloria Rand of Gloriarand.com

19. Third Party Validation!!

We build solid relationships with colleagues and clients by offering up helpful information when in need. Be a resource to anyone and everyone who will listen! The buzz will catch on and pretty soon, everyone will be calling you as the expert.

Thanks to Hillary Smith, CMP, CSEP of Koncept Events, LLC.

20. Give Them Your Script

Tip: People love to categorize and talk about the people they know. It is up to you to ensure that what they are saying mirrors the message you are saying about yourself. Give them a clear “script” and they will spread the word.

Use buzz words/phrases like, “I love doing X on Saturday mornings” or “A huge client I retained mentioned that I got the deal because of my ability to Y”. Highlight your experiences often enough and they soon become a part of your brand and thus are easy to repeat.

Thanks to Jasmin French of J FRENCH

21. Links To Your Website

After you create a great website, then write articles for EzineArticles.com. If you are a good writer, this will indeed drive traffic to your website and Google will take notice.

Thanks to Maria Luisa Castellanos of United Architects, Inc.

22. I’m In Your Face But You Like It!

Don’t let people forget who you are and what you do.
Stay in touch: send emails, follow-up with personal hand-written notes (with a couple business cards inside of course) and then follow-up with a phone call “did you get my note?” Recent subject matter for my hand written note cards was as follows:
– 3 birthdays
– congratulations on reaching level 4 of your sales team
– I heard your son graduated from college
– thank-you for the referral

Thanks to Mooshi Chapel of Mooshi Miami


I help businesses make strategic decisions, motivate people, and energize projects. Most of the time, people are stuck because they are concerned about the risks of failure. Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen? The answer is NOTHING. You could get stuck doing NOTHING! I am hired on a retainer basis by most companies because I can MOTIVATE by DECISIVENESS. What is my secret? I make a decision and move forward with it. If it was wrong; then I admit it and take the other path.

Thanks to DAWNNA ST LOUIS of Dragons Eye Online

24. If You Want To Be Important

If you want to be recognized
If you want to be great
Find joy and happiness in serving others

Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.
(“The Drum Major Instinct Speech”, Dr Martin Luther King).

Thanks to Jane Zucker of PKS Investments

25. Once Upon A Story

Once upon a story, business-ella was given the success-pumpkin key by her Fairy Business Coach.

The success-pumpkin key taught business-ella to grow her success-pumpkin by harvesting her very own unique story-seeds. Then business-ella would spread her story-seeds far and wide, to every corner of the business field the eye could see! For through spreading and sharing business-ella story-seeds, business-ella would plant the seeds that would grow into success-pumpkin patches!

Thanks to Lisa Switzer of SwitzerSolutions


I give to get, by volunteering with local not-for-profit organizations. Professional mediators need to remain unbiased, so it is difficult to ask my attorney friends for business. I enjoy giving,volunteering, and donating my mediation services to a variety of legal-aid societies. Whether for business or personal reasons,volunteering is a great way to meet people with similar interests. Someone inevitably asks, what do I do for a living, then for a card and wham! I get a referral.


27. Friendly Sales

The best way to promote the business is by being yourself. No one wants to do business with people that they don’t like, and no one will trust you if they don’t like you. So if you’re genuine and honest up-front, people will realize that like you, and later down the line, they might just need the service that you provide!

Thanks to Betsy Earle of Exhibit Worldwide

28. Tips For Promoting Yourself

Never underestimate the value of in-person networking opportunities. Attending quality events where you have the opportunity to meet others in your field or outside your field is a great way to get your name out there and let people know what you do. It is just as important to follow-up quickly with the contacts you make at these events who you truly believe may need your services. Networking works best when you are authentic with your approach and also show interest in what others are doing.

Thanks to Lisa Turner of LMT Media Partners

29. Converse, Don’t Scream

Use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to start conversations, not to advertise yourself. If used properly, social media is a way to let people get to know who you are as a person, not just as a business entity. Think of it as a cocktail party. You are there to mingle and talk…everyone gets to know each other on a more personal level. You don’t start shouting about your business and quoting prices. Share valuable content and get people to comment…this gets you noticed without shame!

Thanks to Susan Cromer Garcia of StallionPM

30. Your Own Website

The creation of a website that you control is key to shameless plugging and a positive reputation. I include a link to my website, michaelwsilverman.com, at the bottom of every single email I send out. This allows individuals to find out more about me on their own time and on their own accord. It is incredible what percentage of individuals will end up at your website from your emails. This results in a great first impression and a more positive start to your professional relationships.

Thanks to Michael Silverman of michaelwsilverman.com

31. The Number One Way To Promote Your Business

I believe the best way to promote your business is by providing excellent service and quality products. With just a few happy customers you can build an empire through word-of-mouth and referrals. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen!

Thanks to Angela Beasley of Sticky Starfish, Inc.

32. You’re So Vain, I Bet Think This Blog Is About You…

Make your blog posts about your clients! Discover their interests and weave the “benefits” of your product or service–not “the” product or service–inside. Humanize your content; keep is short, interesting, engaging and make that personal connection we all miss.

Thanks to Cynthia Roby of Bluestocking Ink

33. An Easy But Informative Read…

My main goal was to keep my company in the minds of clients and potentially get new clients with quarterly newsletters. I recieve a lot of newsletters and am guilty of deleting many before reading. I keep them a bit more personal than most (example: I annouced I was expecting my second child in one of them), I give some tips/tricks of the trade, but also include pictures of completed projects. My clients seem to enjoy them and each time I send one I get a few calls (usually within minutes).

Thanks to Lisette Naranjo-Perez of Noon Design Group

34. Giving Back Is Great!

Giving back through an in-kind donation of services is the beat way to go! Making a tax-deductable donation to a local school auction, hospital fundraiser or charity of your choice is a great way to help an organization in need, get your brand out there to prospective clients, and help someone who has a need for your services. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you have helped an organization with their fundraising and helped someone else in the process. It’s a win-win-win for all!

Thanks to Andrena Felger of Alma De Casa Design


The BEST tip I can share for promoting my business and myself WITHOUT being shameless would be . . . BE AUTHENTIC!

Be honest and BE yourself. People can tell when you are trying too hard to SELL them something. Just be the real you and share from the bottom of your heart abut yourself and your business. People LOVE honesty!

Thanks to Tracey Hagen of Tracey Hagen Photography Studios

36. Thank You Customers

Our product is business videos. On Social Media sites, I thank a client for doing a specific video about their business with me and then promote their video or website on my fan page and share on my personal page.

Thanks to Sue Haberkorn of SWFL-OnlineVideo

37. To Market – To Market

Marketing comes from the concept of market, which is where all merchants displayed their wares. Today it refers to getting your product in front of the customer and/or distributor and creating and maintaining customer satisfaction.

The number one thing that I do to promote my company is to blog about all things related to anti-aging, and to all things related to world hunger. I post the links on Facebook as well. I give away valuable information that keeps the reader coming back.

Thanks to Patrice Golinvaux of The Business Of Adventure

38. Laugh And Laugh Often Until Its Habit Forming!

Its all in the Laughter! If you have a positive attitude and a great sense of humor, you will be able to laugh at something or someone every day. It may be a joke someone shares. A simple e-mail or phone call. Maybe even talking to someone and reflecting on past experiences. Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself or at others. If you pay close attention there will be something to laugh about. Make sure you take the time to laugh and laugh often. It’s great taking to family and friends, but realize if you complain too much, it gets old fast. Stop for a minute, look at yourself and laugh. Chances are there is someone laughing at you or with you this very moment. Find the fun in life and just enjoy it! Laugh and laugh often until its habit forming!

Thanks to Orlando Espinosa of Emineo Media

39. How To Promote Your Business Without Being Shameless

Referral Business can be serious business. I sent an e-mail blast to my Clientele. “If you are truly pleased with my Service and products, then all I ask is that you tell two friends or Family Members.” To show my appreciation, I have attached two vouchers which you can print out. There is a customer code on them which will grant the users a 5% discount on their order. That code is linked to your account and if redeemed, you will receive 5% discount on “your” next order. The first month my referrals went up 6% & the next , 12%. I send out a bi-weekly newsletter and I added a reminder to use the vouchers in it. The voucher itself was a replica of my business card with a code on it. Since then, my sales force “Asks” for referrals. They realized the commissions they were letting slip through their fingers. It has proved to be the gift that keeps on giving. My sales force works smarter, my clients received a discount, and I increased my client base.

Thanks to Rosemary Salveggi of Retail Metal Dealers LLC

40. Networking Mary Kay Style

The greatest tip I have for promoting my Mary Kay Business is to have Events that are geared to helping others succeed. Once a month I hold a FREE Networking event for any Women who either owns her business or wants to promote a business. This way in addition to my promoting Mary Kay through FREE Make-Overs, they also get to promote themselves. It is a Win, Win for everyone. I get to introduce Woman to Mary Kay and they get to promote their Business!If you put others first the rest happens!

Thanks to Lori Isaacson of Mary Kay Cosmetics

41. Business Plug

When traveling for work across America we now have a resource where the LGBTQ community can find Gay & Gay Friendly businesses…So if your looking for a restaurant or a dry cleaner GAYBORHOOD App will get you there….

Thanks to Marci Alt of Carma Productions Inc

42. “How Do You Promote A Business Without Shameless Plugs?

The best way to promote your business without shameless plugs is Word of Mouth Marketing – let others do the promoting for you. With Social Media so prevalent, people love to take and get their opinions out there. The more people experience your products and service positively and share those experiences with their network of contacts – the better it is for your business. Why? People trust their friends, colleagues, family, contacts more than they will trust you. Unpaid endorsements – great!

Thanks to Marlene Gordon


Branding, branding, branding. I have large mobile shredding trucks that spend quite a bit of time on the highways. My vehicles are completely wrapped with very bold graphics that really stand out. I utilize this method for my business cards as well. Bright and bold. Everything needs to stand out.

Thanks to Andrew Bloom of Shred Trust

44. What’s In It For You?

Since people do business with people they like and trust, the larger you expand your relationship base the less need there is for shameless self-promotion because your focus is always on what is in it for your client or prospect — and you are then simply fulfilling their needs. For example, if someone complains about how they look, I would offer: If I could show you new anti-aging technology that can make you look 10 years younger in 10 minutes, would you be interested in knowing about it?

Thanks to Paula Ehrlich of A Privileged Lifestyle, Inc.

45. Community / Volunteer/ Charity Focus

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did comumunity service/charity or volunteer work? That’s probably the best way to promote your business. A helpul tip I’ve learned: people do business with people — not with companies. If customers like you/ admire you, you are likely to get more business. THe tip: promote what you and your community are doing with your free time/ products/ profits to help the community and the world? This will indirectly lead to more business.

Thanks to Carolyn Berg of Avansa Consulting

46. Expose Your Business By Promoting Your Clients

I teach online courses on how to use the power of a video camera and social media to promote your business by promoting your clients. Taking the focus off of you and placing it on your clients will give you the opportunity to gain visiblity and credibility with your clients…while at the same time gaining you tons of exposure. The program, Act & ReAct, walks you step-by-step through the process of using a video camera every day to build maximum exposure for you and your clients.

Thanks to Jerry Williamson of Teamworx Productions

47. Unlimited Potential With Right Beliefs

Inspire by educating your vision, belief, ideas and passion. When you establish a strong belief in your product, you will share from your heart, and naturally draw people to you. Share with conviction, be confident and encourage your team to do the same. People are attracted to positive people who listen. Manage your expectations – don’t get discouraged, having fear and doing it anyway will equal success. If you implement positive principles, how different could your business be in 90 days

Thanks to Crystal Canet of Juice Plus

48. Authentic With Integrity

Be passionate when speaking about your business, NOT over powering, be yourself, speak with confidence, be sincere and genuine and ALWAYS smile. WIFM? (What’s in it for me?) Share benefits of using your expertise.

Thanks to Heidi Moss of Moss Consulting

49. Promoting Yourself Without Shameless Plugs!

I strongly believe that branding yourself as the corporate image of your business is essential for your success. Rather than using shameless plugs, use your efforts in networking yourself and “growing legs” to your business. By that I mean networking, donating your time and efforts to non-profits, creating blogs that may aid you in providing valuable information, joining organizations and associations while meeting others in your industry, etc. Simply market yourself while educating others!

Thanks to Rosie Q Martinez, MBA of InFokus Marketing, Inc.

50. Use A Best Friend Approach To Get The Right Kind Of Applause & PR

Imagine you really want your best friend to benefit from what you are telling him or her. Bragging or trying to impress has no place, right? So when you are invited to speak as an expert, always share practical techniques the audience will find valuable. Show how you have helped others by including some of your clients’ successes and challenges (keeping their identity confidential!). By keeping the focus on useful practices and how others have succeeded, you’ll get the positive PR you deserve.

Thanks to Anne B. Freedman of Speakout, Inc.

51. We Fix It Right The First Time!

There isn’t a problem we won’t solve, and if we don’t know how to solve it, we know who to call to tell us how to solve it !

Thanks to Michael Thomas of Mike’s Custom Electric

52. Give Them A Taste Of Joy

Social Media Marketing is essential for our company and part of our overall all marketing strategy. What really works for us (as an upscale Caterer) to supplement Social Media is combining a unique and delicious treat that is personally delivered. We give the potential client value with the free delicacy, while tantalizing them with a unique and creative presentation. Nothing opens doors faster than good food, and that few minutes of face time with the potential client is invaluable.

Thanks to John McPhee of A Joy Wallace Catering Production & Design Team

53. Let The Actions Of Others Speak For You …

Repeat what others have to say about you as it is more credible. But even we find it hard to believe that readers (men and women, from high school seniors to senior citizens) are telling us our book has made an immediate difference in their lives. Think we may be exaggerating? Well, we are being approached by schools, organizations (Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement), churches and synagogues who want to use the book for educational, philosophical, charitable and/or spiritual purposes, as well as just plain reading pleasure. Curious why. Check out our website http://www.redandblackbooks.com which includes a wealth of information on us, our book, and our philosophies such as why we made the expensive decision to printed in the U.S.A. and why we are not available at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon. And then decide for yourself.

Thanks to Mandy Williams of Red & Black Books

54. News You Can Use

What do you do or produce that will make someone’s life easier or better? When looking to promote yourself or your business it is all about content and audience. News outlets are not interested in commercials. Don’t lead your pitch with your business name; lead it with the problem you are going to help fix. Example: Wildfire evacuations, perfect time to pitch a new, unique grab and go organizer. Watch the news and look for those opportunities where your expertise can make all the difference.

Thanks to Diane Mulligan of Mulligan&Co. LLC


I am constantly prepared to give FREE LESSON samples of how to create a picture-in-one-minute.
Have pads and pens ready with my ID – people usually won’t throw away the picture THEY created, even at first try. Have them fold paper
like a greeting card and then sketch a flower on the front….I suggest they autograph it to their spouse, loved one, family, friend, etc….
They treasure what THEY create & it opens the door of art to all ages


Does Your Social Media Profile Pic Send The Wrong Message? Top 10 Headshot Tips For Professionals…

People make judgments about you within the first 3 seconds of meeting you. Clearly, looking great is important… Right or wrong, how you are perceived visually is just as important as what you can do – at least at first.

And these days – with so much business conducted online – prospective clients and employers are likely to Google you before they ever meet you in person!

FB,  Linkded IN TwitterSimply put, online pictures and profiles are the new “first impression.”

And though no one should be “all business all the time,” keep in mind that people are increasingly using Facebook and social media to check you out in business.

Are you sending the wrong message? When people Google you, “friend” you or “connect” with you online, does what they see represent you well?

If not, consider getting a professional headshot.

All experts have professional portraits, and the best head shots make it clear who they are and what they do. And by the way, just because a photo is professional, doesn’t mean it has to be cheesy, fake or boring!

Here are 10 ways to ensure you have a GREAT online profile image.

1. Quality. Use a professional photographer. Anyone can grab a camera and take some snapshots, but when you use a professional, it shows.

2. Don’t edit while shooting, edit once you’re done. Example: I use Sharpies in my workshops to release creative thinking and my purse is always full of at least a handful of colors. So during my photo shoot I just pulled them out and played around. There were about 100 bad pictures, and one magical one.

When you do a photo shoot, be open-minded, try everything. You can always trash the photos later. The creative process and the editing process are opposites, don’t confuse them! One requires open-mindedness, the other critical thinking.



3. Use a current photo.

A photo that looks old screams “stuck in the past.” Not only is it unprofessional, but you’re missing the opportunity to keep your brand as current and as relevant as you are.

Even if you were more “beautiful” 10 years ago, chances are these last 10 years have given you experience, character and depth. Don’t hide that.


4. The right pose says it all.

Your pose should be right for your brand. No generic, cheezy glamour shots! Your picture should reflect who you are and, if possible, what you do.

If you’re a woman, consider avoiding the ever-popular “head tilt.” It’s a “little girl” pose that can diminish your credibility. See below…

head tilt  2Head tilt 1head tilt 3

Marla Acosta

5. Eye contact. While some situations/personal brands require something different, by and large, making eye contact engenders trust. And we all know trust is the basis of every relationship – business or otherwise.

6. Use a variety of shots in different places – but keep them looking consistent. One idea: take lots of pictures in the same outfit in several different poses. Afterward, pull a handful of images: close-up, medium and full body. You can even use the same photo cropped several ways.

7. Be professional. If you’re looking for a job, or are self-employed, your online pics should be professional and align with your brand.

Why? Because it’s likely the first image that many people will ever see of you. If you’re using a crop of yourself at the beach, or a picture of you kissing your mate, you may be sending the wrong message.

Russell Jacobs

8. Notwithstanding the above, be authentic and show personality! Just because you’re getting a professional headshot, doesn’t mean that the photo has to be generic, stiff or boring.

9. Try to capture what you do somehow – perhaps use a prop or props (but be careful you don’t cross the line into “cheez” territory…)

In fact, whether your brand is “Earth Mother,” “Badass Exec,” “Girl-Next-Door Entrepreneur,” “Marketing Queen,” “Trustworthy Financial Planner,” “Kooky Artist” or something completely different, a portrait can and should project your unique brand.

10. Retouch (and crop).

Take a look at these before & after, below. What a difference!!

original  headshot  unretouchednew sharpies headshot


Not sure if your pictures are quite right? Ask a trusted friend to tell you honestly – and don’t get defensive if you don’t like her feedback!


If you do nothing else, right now, at the very least make sure that your profile images are attractive and represent your unique brand. And if you decide that they don’t, and you’re not sure what to do about it, consider our Headshot Workshop.

Ciao for now!

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)

Wow The Crowd: 5 Easy Ways To Transform Your Public Speaking & Presentation Skills

As I attend more and more networking events, chamber events, board meetings and chapter meetings, it’s clear not everyone loves to speak in public. In fact, lots of people dread it, hate it, or are just plain bad at it.

Public speaking cartoonThe urban myth is that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. While it turns out that isn’t quite true,* most of us probably agree that getting in front of an audience and delivering a message effectively is  daunting.

And while you could try to avoid it altogether, the fact is that effective public speaking an essential business skill that provides a competitive advantage to you – whatever your business.

It’s not only about being at a podium in front of a huge audience, either. Every day there are opportunities to use effective presentation skills to run better meetings, give better chamber “commercials,” or to motivate and inspire others.

Fear be damned. Let’s go!


Rule #1. Don’t read your presentation aloud. Ever.

When people read to me, I lose interest… and I’m not the only one.

People want to interact with you, not just listen to you. So instead of reading off slides or notes, give yourself some key bullet points that will jog your memory and put them on note cards, then tell your story.

By the way, note cards are my best friend. I start with the entire presentation on them (sometimes 40 or 50 cards!) and just keep whittling down and whittling down until all the major points are summarized on one or two cards. This ensures I’m not tempted to read them, and helps me learn the material inside and out. I also keep my note cards for future reference, which comes in handy.

Here’s an example of an awful speech ABOUT speeches (oh the irony) in which the speaker reads all his slides.

And this was from Toastmasters!

Rule #2. Practice.

This is the most obvious advice. It’s also the most ignored advice.

I myself have ignored it because I hate practicing. But you know what? It makes more of a difference than ALL the other tips combined. No joke.

If you really truly can’t bring yourself to practice by yourself in front (I can’t either), then call or meet with someone – an honest someone – and do at least one quick run-through. I ALWAYS find problems with my presentations when I do this. And I ALWAYS regret when I don’t.

And yes that was a plug for my services because I can coach you through your practice runs 😉

Rule #3. A picture’s worth 1,000 words.

Stop using slides full of bullets and text!! I admit, I was guilty of this once upon a time. NO MORE!! It’s FAR better to simply illustrate a principle using an image, chart or story. This guy (below) really gets it, so I’ll let him explain it better than I can. (Click the image to watch)

Rule #4. Speak from the heart.

No matter WHAT your topic, you must be passionate about it or invested in it. Especially if it’s the most boring topic in the world!

Even when we aren’t perfect (who is?) the authenticity of speaking from the heart will compensate. Here is an example of a passionate speaker who perhaps isn’t perfect, but is nevertheless effective at inspiring her audience. Notice how she gets the crowd riled up and the mood crescendos from beginning to end. Very powerful.

Rule #5. Speak up!
(Corollary to Rule #5: Whenever you can, use a mike.)

There’s nothing worse than a speaker you can’t hear! Not only will you lose people, but they will likely start talking to people next to them, and then you’ve REALLY lost them.

So if you’re offered a microphone… take it. Embrace it! Microphones are awesome because they allow you to speak in your normal tone of voice, rather than pushing you beyond your comfort zone – this is helpful because it frees you up to focus on content.

I also highly highly highly recommend that if you’re giving a big talk, ask for a lavalier mike (“lapel mike”) because holding a mike is awkward. Freeing up your hands also allows you to use them for emphasis.


That’s it for now – though that’s nowhere NEAR an exhaustive list of what you can do to improve your skills. Some other ideas:

  • Eliminate “verbal filler” like “um” and “ah” and “you know” and “like”) altogether. Try pausing instead. Pauses are great for effect.
  • Know your audience. I like to use Constant Contact to take polls/surveys of my audience before speaking, this also allows me to prepare by incorporating answers to audience questions into my presentation.
  • Interact! Take polls, ask questions, try some role play. Adults learn better when they “discover” rather than are “taught.”
  • Tell stories – good, short stories that illustrate a point
  • If you’re projecting a slide show, use a remote slide advancer (they’re only $40) and never, ever rely on someone else to advance your slides for you, it’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Get feedback. Afterward, see if you can get honest feedback, with a feedback form (don’t look over people’s shoulder while they’re filling it out!)
  • Test out your equipment ahead of time. ‘Nuff said.

If you really want to step up your game and take your presenting to the next level, give me a call. By popular demand, I’m now offering public speaking coaching.


Good luck!! And send me YOUR tips – I want to hear them. You can post them below.


Michelle Villalobos

Michelle Boat
Michelle Boat

(888) 531-3830

* It’s an urban myth because fear of public speaking was listed in The Book Of Lists (from the ’70s) as the #1 most reported fear, and death came in as the #6 most reported fear. However, that’s very different from “Which of the following things do you fear most? Public speaking or death?” Even if you are terrified of public speaking, if someone puts a gun to your head and says “I’ll kill you unless you get up on stage and speak in front of 500 people” – what would you do? Exactly.

“I want to buy the URL for MY NAME but it’s taken… What do I do?”

A question I received from a workshop participant the other day:

Dear Michelle,

I looked at the availability of http://www.myname.com (www.gene____.com). It was taken. However, the .net, .org, .us and all other versions of it were available. Does it make sense to grab the .us or .net since I cannot get the .com? I am too old to change my name. What do you think as I want to purchase the name before another Gene ____ takes your course?

Dear Gene ____,

In general, it is best to own the .com for your name. However, if http://www.yourname.com is taken here are a few ideas:

1. Purchase the others… like .net, .org, .info. They’re so cheap, it’s worth it. It will cost you about $10 or 15$ a year. This is an easy and quick solution.
2. In the meantime, you might want to initiate the process of trying to own http://www.genegutierrez.com, which you still could. How? The following might work if the person who owns the URL isn’t using it (which yours isn’t)

  • On GoDaddy.com you can “backorder” a website for $18.99. Which means it will offer it to you the instant it becomes available (IF it becomes available because the other person lets go of it).
  • You can try to purchase http://www.gene_____.com using a buy agent (in the meantime, go ahead and buy the others) through godaddy (it’s 69.99 to have godaddy broker the deal, there are others out there too)
  • Or you can go to http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/gene_____.com and make an anonymous offer. It costs $19 to make an offer.

3. Another option is to instead purchase your name with a middle initial or a middle name. If you do this, be sure to then brand yourself with that middle initial or name on everything going forward!

4. You could also purchase your name with a hyphen between the first and last names, http://www.gene-gutierrez.com (it’s available, I checked). This is a good solution that is cheap. You could still do the other stuff in the meantime.

5. Think of it this way, if you spend $100 on this project, it’s worth it. In the long-run, even if you have 5 domains, it will cost you about 35$ to $45/year. That’s not a lot to own your name!

Once you make a decision, forward that domain to your website (especially to your “about me” page, if you have one). Or if you don’t have a website, forward it to your LinkedIn profile – at least until you do have a place to forward it to.

Good luck!!

Michelle Villalobos
“The 5-Minute MBA”

Top 5 Things NOT To Do In A Social Media Profile Picture

1. DON’T use an old photo from when you were 10 years younger (or 50 pounds lighter)

2. DON’T tilt your head, especially if you’re a woman you’re trying to establish yourself as an expert in a male-dominated field. You want to be looking straight at the camera (a tilted head is like a visual question mark, think about it).

3. DON’T gaze away from the camera. The best photos are the ones with eye contact. Why? Because it’s the easiest way to establish trust quickly.

4. DON’T look like a robot. Smile! A real smile. The kind that crinkles up your eyes. If you’re in a “serious business” and you think a smile is inappropriate, at the very least make sure there’s warmth in your eyes.

5. DON’T choose a photo because you look “super hot” in it (well, unless you’re brand is “Hollywood starlet” or “supermodel.”)

Yes there are exceptions to every rule, but by and large, you won’t be wrong if you follow the above. That said, rules are meant to be broken, and it’s more important to be TRUE TO YOU. Be authentic, be human, be real.

By far the worst mistake I see people make is not using a picture at all. Using a logo is terrible, because social media is about being SOCIAL. You need to show that you are a living breathing human (well, I guess if you’re Shamu, that’s different – and by the way Shamu is a hilarious tweeter…). But for the most part, show your face.

This page gives tips and advice AND shows some great (and not-so-great) profile pictures… And if you’re interested in attending our Headshot Workshop (we’ll do it all for you), it’s on August 28th.

Ciao for now,

Retouched & Cropped Michelle Villalobos With Sharpies Framed 300 dpi.005

Michelle Villalobos (vee – ya – LOW – bos)
(888) 531-3830

Call or email Jessica Lurie: (888) 531-3830 or (305) 608-9455, jessica@mivistainc.com.