Books of the Month – January

Books I finished in January…

  • Twilight (Stephanie Meyer) – My daughter challenged me to read it after I mocked it.  Guess what? It was pretty good.  I will probably end up reading the next book.
  • Thrive! (Alan Weiss) – I’ve read a lot of Alan Weiss books.  This is the best.  A must read regardless of your vocation.
  • What Jesus Saw from the Cross (A.G. Sertillanges) – I try to read a book a month on my faith and this was the one for January. Compelling read.

Now reading…

  • A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
  • Speakers Edge (LaCroix, Tate, Valentine, Brown, and Fripp)


Communication Excellence – Returning e-mails and calls…please

Last night, I sat in my school board meeting and we discussed expectations of returning e-mails.  It seems that our constituents haven’t always been pleased about the promptness of the board returning e-mails.  As a new member, and someone in business, I spoke out.  The bottom line is this – we are a business and the expectations for all businesses are prompt responses via e-mail. With Blackberrys and iPhones, it’s not difficult to get your e-mail.  24 hours should be a minimum expectation.

The same goes for you.  As an business professional, there is an expectation that you are available.  Most clients don’t demand an immediate response. Any response would be nice, though!

My business model is to return all calls in 90 minutes and all e-mail within 24 hours.  Normally, I am well within those limits.  What is your model? Do you inform your clients? Are you scared to?

My experience is that business professionals don’t advertise their response model.  Usually because they don’t have one or are dubious of having one.  I challenge you to do it.  There is almost nothing more universally desired by clients, customers or prospects than to be called or e-mailed back quickly. In today’s technological world, 24 hours isn’t tough to do.  Even if the message is simply that you are on vacation and will have to get back to them, or that you don’t have an answer and will get it – they at least have received confirmation that they were heard.  It’s like them picking up a phone and calling you with a question.  You wouldn’t listen to their question and hang up without talking.  Communications is a two-way street and a certain level of courteousness is in order.

If you truly want to differentiate yourself from your competition, then simply return your calls and e-mails quickly.


© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Communicating by Phone – Say it Twice

Best practice when leaving voice mails is leaving your phone number twice.  That’s right…twice.

One of my pet peeves is when people leave me a message where they speak too fast and leave their phone number once. I end up having to replay the message 7 times hoping to be able at some point to make out the number.  Yes, I understand there is such a thing as caller id.  That may not always work, however.

Do yourself a favor.  When leaving a message that you would like returned, speak slowly and repeat the number.  My guess is you will see a higher “hit ratio” on returned calls.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Better than Text

It never ceases to amaze me that I will be sitting in an audience listening to a speaker and people are either texting, reading their e-mail, or surfing the net on their cell phones.  It happens at my Rotary Club all the time, and I think it’s rude.  That being said, there are three realities you as professional speakers, trainers, and presenters need to know:

  1. You need to be more engaging than the person texting (includes everything I mentioned).  People make priorities all the time, and their listening time is one of them. If you are more dynamic and interesting than what’s on their phone, they will listen to you.
  2. No matter HOW good you are, the world of technology has made some people ADD.  No matter how good you are, they will continue to text as if it’s a sickness or addiction (maybe both).  Don’t let it disrupt your presentation. There are plenty in that audience that need what you’ve got, so give it to them.
  3. If you’re bold (and why shouldn’t you be), you can use it as a humorous opportunity.  Never embarrass anyone, but come up with a line that you can use that will bring levity. You might be able to make it self-deprecating which will endear you to your audience.

Bottom line – You have to be more entertaining and engaging than the audience members cell phone.  The burden is on you!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

PowerPointer #3 Don’t Suck the Life Out of the Room

Want to suck the life out of a crowded room that is waiting to hear you speak?

All you have to do is start your presentation by clicking on the projector.  Hopefully, masks will drop from the ceiling and your audience can be revived!

If you MUST use PowerPoint, then open your presentation without the slides.  Don’t even turn on the projector until after you’ve opened with a story, anecdote, or powerful statement.  You have a much better chance of engaging your audience from the start and giving your presentation a chance for success.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Debrief from the Mentor Summit in San Francisco

My wife Barb and I spent a wonderful three days in San Francisco.  I was attending the Alan Weiss Mentor Summit and Barb was, well, on vacation!  According to the weather prognosticators, it was supposed to rain all three days.  Gladly, they missed the mark.  It was absolutely splendid weather.  We met friends and toured Chinatown, ate at a couple fabulous restaurants downtown, and re-connected and met many other world-class consultants at the Mentor Summit.

One of the big surprises was seeing one of my other mentors, Patricia Fripp, at the event. She and Alan are partners in The Odd Couple ® Marketing & Strategy Seminar.  I also got a chance to re-connect with 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, Ed Tate. The last time Ed and I were together is back in 2007 when I attended one of his Boot Camps.

Biggest Mistakes Made with PowerPoint ® Slides

The Biggest Mistakes Made with Slides:

  • Reading the text to your audience. Don’t insult them; they know how to read.

  • Not fully understanding your presentation because you thought you could skate through the slides.

  • Not checking to see if the equipment works before your presentation.

  • Not having a back up plan in case it fails.

  • Too much text, not enough images.

  • Just plain “too much” on any given slide.

  • Leaving slides visible during your story.

© 2010 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved