What Are You Reading?

I just read an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal stating that Amazon said it sold more Kindle books than the “old-fashioned” hard cover books.  Read story

What’s your take on this?

Mine is two-fold…

1 – I hope we aren’t seeing the demise of the hard cover book. I’ve seen the Kindle and it’s pretty cool I must admit. However, there is still something special about having a hard cover book in your hands reading. I don’t think that will ever change for me.

2 – I hope this means more people are reading and that young people will keep reading after school. We as a society need to keep reading a variety of subjects in order to maintain and advance our knowledge and being considered “well-rounded.”

I encourage you to read often. My goal is one book a month minimum. Right now, I’m on two books.  One is religious in nature and the other is fiction. I have the next two picked out already – political science and self-development.

What are you reading?

Cheers,

© 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved

December is always a great time to look back and reflect on the year.  It’s pretty easy to think about the successes, failures, challenges, and triumphs both personal and professional.  Bit how often do you consider what you put into your head?

Professional development should never stop.  The second you think you know it all, you begin to decline rapidly.  Real professional development is never cheap.  There is always a significant investment of time and/or money.  If you do it right, the ROI is always worth it.

In 2009, I spent well over $11,000 on workshops, colleges, resources, and travel expenses.  I traveled to Providence, RI, Newport, RI, and Las Vegas twice for professional development opportunities.  I purchased teleconferences, systems, books, and CD’s.  I gained knowledge from experts like Alan Weiss, Patricia Fripp, and Darren LaCroix.  I passed the third leg of a five part program to receive a designation in risk management.  And what was my return on investment?  It was huge from a standpoint of current and future income and growth.  My intellectual capital increased thus making it easier for my community to improve.  It’s a win-win-win!

What about you?  What did you accomplish in this area last year?  Where will you go in 2010?

Next stop for me…San Francisco for Alan Weiss’s Mentor Summit!

Cheers,

Success…Not Perfection

Lat week I drove down to Portland to meet a friend and colleague.  I’m not overly familiar with downtown Portland, so I brought my trusty friend Maggie to guide me.  Maggie is my Magellan GPS.

As we approached the final exit that would take me to my destination, Maggie exclaimed that I should take the St. Helens exit, however pronounced it as the “Street Helens exit.”  Made me chuckle as I envisioned the old Star Trek character Data telling Captain Picard the same thing.

The GPS wasn’t perfect.  It didn’t understand the abbreviation and improperly pronounced the street.  Regardless, I understood what it meant and it ultimately led me to my destination.  It wasn’t perfect, bit successful.

Too often, speakers fear not being perfect.  That should not be your goal.  Success is the goal.  You are succesful if your audience is improved.  If you focus on your destination (audience improvement), you can easily overlook small errors that are barely noticed by anyone other than yourself.

Whether you are speaking, consulting, coaching, or working, always remember that it’s about success, not perfection!

© 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved

Wardrobe Malfunction…

Here’s a best practices for all you speakers, trainers, and presenters.  Bring an extra shirt.

I’m in Leavenworth, WA about to give a training on leadership, team building, and goal setting.  I am just getting into my suit with about 2 hours to go before start time.  I avoid eating breakfast with my “good clothes” to miss the inevitable spillage.  Here’s a new one…

I put on my favorite blue mock sweater to go with my black suit.  I love that outfit.  To my horror, I notice a tear on the seam of the sweater under my left armpit!  OUCH!  I brought no other shirts other than the golf shirt I wore to drive in yesterday and that won’t work.  After a call to my wife, she assures me it won’t tear further and I don’t need to rush and uy a new shirt.  I guess I’m wearing my jacket all day.

The morale of the story is this…

Bring an extra dress shirt to your presentations.  You never know when you will spill, stain, or tear.  That will now be added to my checklist!

Cheers,

How Do You Communicate Your Message?

If you’re in business, you know one of the base fundamentals for success is developing your brand.  Once you’ve got a brand, you have to make sure people know about you.  In today’s technologically adept world, it’s easier than ever.  The question is, are you doing it?

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in social media and technology to the point of it being a time dump.  As I sit here and type out this blog, I already know my marketing strategy for it – Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Plaxo.  Most of these sites are inter-related so when I post to one, I post to all.  A huge time saver.

Are you utilizing You Tube?  If you’re like me, you are a visual learner.  I enjoy watching people on video, whether its a training or a testimonial.  What can you do for your business to promote your services and provide value?  It’s free and it’s viral.  What are you waiting for?

Bottom line – if you are in business, you need people to understand how they can be improved by your services, advice, or work.  People still buy on trust and need.  The more you can disseminate your message to more people in varied ways, the more opportunities you will have to help them.

How do you communicate your message?

Newport Journal 2

It’s quite something to wake up to the sound of waves crashing outside your window, rather than an alarm clock.  I think my body is now completely used to the time change, although it makes it more difficult to communicate with my family back home. My daughter texted me late last night telling me she was at Safeco Field for the Mariners game.  I asked how they were doing and she informed that the game hadn’t even started yet!  And I was ready for bed!

It has been a fabulous Million Dollar Consulting ® College and we are only 44% through.  I’ve made fantastic new friends and last night we all went out to dinner to an Italian place that Alan Weiss recommended.  The food was great, the company even better.  There is a camaraderie that develops in teams, military units, and workshop groups when you are all working toward a similar goal.  Even though we are all solo practitioner consultants in different fields, our goal for professional development and growth is the same.  In my experience, these friendships that you make with your peers in small groups become strong and lasting.  I’m sure this will be the case with us.  After all, once you’ve gone through role playing together with Alan, you become a kindred spirit!

I’ve decided that Newport is definitely a place to return with my family.  I’m sure they take great solace in the fact that I took the risk to reconnoiter the area first!  Based on the photos, I think they would fly out here now!

More to come…

Cheers,

Dan Weedin’s 19 Tips for Better Business Travel

As I sit and type this, my Mac Book is scrunched up to my stomach as the guy in front of me has leaned back as far as possible, thus eliminating the already limited room I had to move. As all of you who have traveled by air already know, all the best laid plans and precautions are not foolproof. Inevitably, you end up with your laptop on your stomach.

That being said, this trip I am taking to Las Vegas to study risk management principles (what are the odds of that) has led me to write this quick, down and dirty, guide to help you enjoy your business travel. Let’s also agree that these strategies apply to your personal travel as well, though much will be geared to the business warriors who must on a regular basis disrobe, delay, and de-plane.

In no particular order here are my 19 strategies for better travel when flying:

1. Leave early. My wife laughs at me for being a stickler to getting to the airport early, but I hate the stress of being rushed. “Stuff” happens – traffic delays, bridge closures, construction, and detours to name a few. I’ve even had to turn around and go back home to get important things I’ve forgotten! I doubt I’m the only one to do that, although my wife thinks it’s only me. If you commit to leaving in time to get to the airport 90 minutes in advance to carry-on and 2 hours to check baggage, you will ease your stress from the start.

Note – More often than not, my wife or daughter drives me to the airport. We enjoy the time to relax and talk. However, there are many times they can’t make it work. Do yourself a favor and rent a town car or limousine. You will find the majority of limo services are only slightly more cost than taxis, but the investment is worth it. You get friendlier drivers, more comfort, air conditioning, better driving, and a more relaxed experience. I’ve found a regular service in Seattle that will frequently pick me up at the ferry terminal and drive me to the airport. My cost, including a generous tip, is $50. The taxi is $38 without tip. Do the math on your comfort and take the limo.

2. Bring snacks. I always carry a couple energy bars with me on my carry on bag. I learned my lesson the hard way. In December of 2001, on a flight to Juneau, AK, we were diverted twice to Sitka. The first time they wouldn’t let us off due to security issues from a few months earlier after September 11th. They almost didn’t let us off the second time, except a different type of mutiny almost occurred. I was starving, and if you know me that tends to make me cranky. I now make sure I have at least something edible to munch on so I don’t have to rely on airplane food (if there is any left).

3. Carry-on if at all possible. I’m headed to Vegas for four days. I was able to get everything in one duffle bag and my briefcase. I will be in class all week, it’s 95 degrees out, and I have nothing that requires business attire. Carrying-on is the only way to go. I understand business travel often requires that you must check baggage, BUT I encourage you to find ways to avoid it if you can. I purchased a fantastic roll-up carry-on case for my suit from Men’s Wearhouse. He suit stays wrinkle-free and I can carry it on with shoes and accessories. It’s by far the best travel purchase I’ve ever made. Same time and frustration whenever possible by carrying-on.

4. Charge your laptop the night before. If your airport is anything like Seattle-Tacoma International, outlets are few in number, in difficult locations, and in great demand. Take the time the evening prior to fully charge your laptop AND cell phone. Eliminate that stress with a little planning.

5. Carry George W. with you. No not George W. Bush’s photo! I’m talking about the other President named George W. You will constantly need one-dollar bills for tipping, vending machines, newspapers, or other items. I hate wanting to give a $3 tip and only having a $20 bill. If you’re rushing off to the cash machine on your way to the airport, don’t expect them to distribute anything less than a $10 bill. You may get an occasional $5, but that’s it. Keep a stash of George W’s on hand.

6. Become a frequent flyer member for your most used airlines. This should be a no-brainer but just in case, I’ve included it. The membership s free and you often get advantages in addition to miles. I have memberships in Alaska, Southwest, and Delta because those are my most used airlines. If you fly on any regular basis, consider joining their “board room” or whatever each one calls their special membership in the airport. You have better availability for high-speed Internet, food and beverage, and comfortable seats while you wait for your departure.

7. Fly first-class when possible. I wish I could fly first-class all the time I travel, but I don’t. That being said, about 35% of the time, I’m able to for just a few extra bucks. One of the airlines I frequently use, Alaska Air, will upgrade you to first-class if there is room for only $50. That’s a great deal! I usually check in early and get on the waiting list. More often than you might think, I get called and get to enjoy a more comfortable journey. Remember, I’m writing this with my Mac Book squarely in my stomach. If you have an extended trip cross-country, use whatever perks you have to go first-class because it will be worth it. The investment of you being fresh for your meeting or business event will be worth the extra cost.

8. Get your laptop or book out before you get comfy. I’ve finally learned (after too many mistakes) to get anything I plan on using out of my bag before I sit down. It eliminates the gymnastics you have to go through to pull out your bag from under the seat or above in the bin.

9. Sit on the aisle. I like to look out the window as much as anyone, but if you are traveling for business consider the following:

  • You’ve travelled enough in your life and one cloud looks like the next

  • It’s easier to get out to go to the restroom.
  • My favorite – you can at least stand up when the plane stops and you are waiting to get off.

10. Plan on using your time wisely. It might be sleep, reading the newspaper or a book, or writing your next position paper. The bottom line is that your time is valuable so take advantage of the time in the air. Get work done, catch up on rest, or improve yourself in the time you are flying at 33,000 feet.

11. Stake out your airports. I’ve found the best food places, quickest security lines, and most convenient ground transportation in my most common destinations. I’ve got my favorite shoeshine guy in Seattle and save time by getting my shoes shined every time I travel. Security gates are not all the same. Some are made to move quicker and it pays especially if you are in a rush. Know your airport and save time and frustration. As an aside, I learned on this trip that all coffee shops are not made equal. I wish I had waited in line for Starbucks instead of heading to my gate and going to another place. The coffee was average and the scone terribly dry. That’s the last time I make that mistake. I know what to expect at Starbucks and it would have been worth it.

12. Be courteous to others. I don’t like hearing other people’s cell phone conversations sitting on the plane. The thing in the ear, the histrionics of talking with your hands, the rising voice levels…give me a break. I’m not sure what’s so urgent that it can’t wait until you get off the plane. Think about the comfort of the other passengers. Okay, I’m now off my soapbox.

13. Print out your boarding pass at home before you leave. It makes life easier for you. Technology can be a great thing and being able to have that pass on hand is golden. In addition, use the business center of your hotel to print out your return trip-boarding pass in the same way.

14. Print out your hotel confirmation with your boarding pass. If you’re like me, you’ve had hotel personnel look at you funny when you gave your name to check in. Have it handy as proof that you are in the right place. By the way, you should make sure you ARE in the right place!

15. Buy travel insurance. I used to not do it and now almost always do. You never know when you will be delayed, lose luggage, or miss a plane. Travel insurance is relatively inexpensive and worth the small investment.

16. Get updates on your flight by text on your phone. You will find this to be critical to advise you of gate changes, flight delays, and other important things related to your flight. Don’t use text? Learn! It’s a free service available with every carrier.

17. Stay hydrated. Traveling takes a physical toll. It’s even more important to drink water.

18. This has been an issue for me at times – pack over-the-counter medications just in case. I’ve caught the flu and recently had a stomach virus on a trip. Packing your favorite “feel better” medications, like Alka-Seltzer, Sudafed, or Tylenol may come in handy, so you don’t have to run to the nearest drug store.

19. Relax! This may be the most important. There are very few issues in travelling that are critical. Even the most pressing business meeting can be missed due to a travel snafu without detrimental consequences. Understand that when you travel you will inevitably run into delays, missed connections, crying babies, and rude people. Don’t let it add stress to your day. Life is too short to be worrying about travel related issues. It’s bad for your attitude, which affects your business and stress level. Relax and enjoy the flight.

As I said, even if you do all of these things, there are too many factors out of your control. However, if you commit to most of these strategies, you will find that a lot of “luck” will come your way and you will enjoy a more stress-free and relaxed business trip.

You may now return your tray tables to their upright and locked position…

© 2009 Dan Weedin All Rights Reserved

This Killing Time…Is It Killing You?

How do you manage time?

As I write this, my computer is being worked on to update things.  I say “things” because I have no idea what they are, nor do I want to.  The deal is that I’m highly dependent on being on the computer to do things like write articles and blog posts.

While Justin works on fixing the minor irritations I have with technology, I’ve pulled out my MacBook and started working.  I’ve read by RSS Feed, caught up on reading the newspapers online, updated my new forum, posted a Tweet for my Rotary Club, and am now writing this blog post.

Technology has made it simpler for us to work and be efficient in my time.  Too many of us don’t think big enough when trying to determine how to not waste time.  I used to bemoan the fact that my big “project” was losing momentum if I was delayed in accessing it.  Now, I realize there are several smaller projects I can complete and get off my table.  In the end, I’m being productive. What about you?

One tip is to always be prepared with a back up plan.  Carry a book, have an audio book on your iPod or MP3, keep a pad and pen to jot notes, or just have that next “to-do” handy in case something comes up to derail your plans.  It’s not about always needing to be busy.  Sometimes, you may just need to think.  That’s why you carry something to write down all those great ideas.

Don’t just kill time.  Make it useful.  Be prepared with your lap top, your book, or your iPod to be effective and efficient.  You will find you will get more done giving you more discretionary time in the end.

Cheers,

The Weedin Forums

I am very excited to announce that I’ve just launched my exclusive forums for my professional community and it’s available to join immediately.

The Weedin Forums will be a place where C-level executives, small business owners, business professionals, and business leaders can come to learn, grow, and be challenged.  The forums have many categories meant to discuss and debate with peers so you can learn and constantly develop your business or organization.

Topic you will find include:

  • Leadership
  • Insurance & Risk Management
  • Effective Communications Skills
  • Networking & Marketing
  • Current Events
  • Life Balance Techniques
  • Much, much more

There is also a forum for you to ask me any question that you need a quick response to.  I’ve been a member of my mentor’s community just like this for consultants and have benefited greatly.

Membership is a lifetime $500 one-time fee.  You will get a huge return on your investment just by being active and participating.  I encourage you to join and become active in my forums.  It will be good for your business!

Click here to register.

Cheers,