Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

I’m teaching my first class for the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research tomorrow in Seattle. The class is for Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) and I’m at the stage of the process to teach the first half of the class. Presenting in front of a group has never been an issue for me; however there are a couple areas that have me nervous.

I’ve got a brand new laptop and projector with great slides that my daughter, Mindy helped me put together. The problem is I’ve never used either in a formal presentation, so I spent all Saturday night making sure I knew how to connect the laptop to the projector and make sure I knew how to use the wireless mouse and laser (I’ve never had control of a little red dot on a screen, but it’s pretty cool). Still, using new gadgets for the first time in a live presentation always makes me a little uneasy. You never know what challenges you will run into with the configuration of the room, the positioning of outlets, or a just Murphy showing up and imposing his law on you.

Being prepared for a presentation is really vital. It shows that you are a professional and ready for the unexpected. Have you ever been to a presentation where someone’s batteries died and their remote no longer worked? How about having dry erase markers that were out of ink (or whatever that stuff that is). I was at a presentation recently where the presenter’s batteries died and I had an extra set for him. Now, I need to remember to replace them in my briefcase!

I’ve tried to learn from experience to bring extra things just in case – batteries, dry erase pens, Kleenex…you never know what challenges you will have to overcome. Once, I had to bring in my own television to show a video clip because the room’s television didn’t accept my CD!

Remember, those people in your audience deserve your best. Make sure you come prepared to give it to them!

Dan

Are You Ready to Change?

My good friend Darren LaCroix (the guy to the right) recently moved from Tulsa, OK to Las Vegas and I followed his journey during the long drive between the two cities (read Darren’s blog). After speaking with him last night, it brought back memories of all the moves I’ve made with my family since I was married in 1986.

We’ve been in our current home for over six years and the home before that for eight years. Prior to that, though, we were like nomads; living in four different places in a five year period. I hate moving. It seems like every time you went out with a load of stuff, there was more stuff in the house you were leaving. It was like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone!

How do you handle change in your life? I always thought of myself as good change “handler” and then I remember the moving! They (not sure who “they” is) always say that when you close one door, another door opens. When change happens in your life, are you looking for that new door with excitement or dread?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably found more positive doors in your life that have opened up. Change, although difficult at times, will lead to new adventures, journeys, and experiences if you allow it to. Think of that the next time one door slams shut because there is probably another one WIDE open!

Dan

P.S. Speaking of Darren, he is going to be my guest in a teleseminar on September 26th at 7:00pm Pacific time. Please join us and you will learn how Darren took his presentation skills to new levels and how it turned into a great business for him. More importantly, learn what his lessons can do for you! Have a question for him…ask him yourself in this interactive call. To learn more, click here

Let Your Dawgs Out to Play!

Who let the Dawgs out!

That’s my daughter Kelli and me enjoying a beautiful day in Husky Stadium where our Dawgs were beating up on Boise State. We ended their 14-game winning streak and most importantly, got off to our first 2-0 start since 2001.

As you can imagine, everyone wearing purple in Husky Stadium was ecstatic and looking forward to next week’s match-up with perennial power Ohio State. Visions of bowl games, Pac-10 championships, and Jake Locker touchdowns were dancing in all of our heads.

The funny thing was while we were driving home and listening to the post-game show on the radio, a guy called in and wanted to be the voice of caution. “We’ve seen this before. We can’t get too excited. They’ve let us down in the past”. My response was the same as the reporter. “SO WHAT!” Why can’t we enjoy this time and revel in it, especially since we haven’t had the chance to in about half a decade! Isn’t part of the love of sports based on those highs and lows we experience following and rooting for our teams? Isn’t that what makes sports special? For every New York Yankees, there has to be a Chicago Cubs right?

That got me thinking…which can be a dangerous thing. How often do we do that in our lives? Whenever things are going well, are we too cautious waiting for the other shoe to drop? Don’t want to have too much fun in anticipation of a letdown? Conversely, when we are grinding through a tough time, do we look forward to the time when the tide changes, knowing those good times are around the corner?

Life is an adventure and a journey. I liken it to a round of golf. Through 18 holes there will be some very tough times and some great holes. And, for most holes, you will be on an even keel or at least “grinding” as Tiger Woods would say. Rejoice in the birdies in your life. They don’t always come around as often as we all would like so enjoy. Grind through those double-bogeys, knowing that your next par may be on the next hole. And, most importantly, enjoy the round and who you are playing with because you never know when that may be the last one. Game on!

Dan

P.S. You are invited to subscribe to my FREE e-newsletter. It comes out monthly and has several tips and suggestions for improving your communication and presentation skills. Click here to subscribe. Oh, did I mention it’s FREE?


Your Words Have Power…

Did you read an article in today’s paper by Travis Reed from the Associated Press about the death of an old major league ballplayer named Bill Henry? Normally, an article like this only catches my attention because I’m a sports junkie; however this one had added intrigue. It turns out the Bill Henry who died after decades of claiming he was the Bill Henry who pitched in a World Series for the Cincinnati Reds in 1961 and was an All-Star in 1960, was actually lying. His name was Bill Henry alright; however the former major leaguer is still alive and kicking in Texas! The deceased Mr. Henry had been fibbing to his family (third wife of 20 years believed him), friends, and anyone else who cared to ask for over two decades. He even had pictures taken of him and his wife with “his” baseball cards in the foreground. His golfing pals are in shock (probably wondering how many strokes he concealed over the years) and are having a hard time believing this could happen. Needless to say, that small community in Florida is in shock and probably feeling a bit betrayed.

This article isn’t meant to bad-mouth the deceased Mr. Henry, or preach about the ills of dishonesty. That one is a given. However, we should use this also as an example of the power of our words and the effect on those who hear them.

Think about Mr. Henry’s words for the past two decades. His family and friends took him at his word not only for his baseball claims, but in everything else he did in life. Now, with this revelation, does it call into question everything he did?

How important are your words? To whom does your message go? If you are in business, the message you leave with clients, prospects, and associates will resonate who you are. You will build trust and long-term relationships not only in what you say, but how you say it. In your family life, your spouse, children, and extended family will learn from you and in many cases model their behavior after you. How you communicate with the young children in your family circle may be critical to their upbringing.

The moral of this blog is to be attentive to your words and actions. Not only will they define who you are; but they may also influence other people in your lives. You are, or will be, a role model to somebody…make your message count.

Dan

P.S. Want to add power and persuasion to your message? That’s why I offer my Power to Panic Boot Camp. The next one is scheduled for November 8 in Port Gamble, WA (just a few miles after a short ferry trip from Edmonds to Kingston). To learn more about how you can super-charge your business or personal message, click here…

What you can learn from Wii®din

We just bought the new Nintendo game Wii® on Saturday and boy, is it a hoot! How many of you have Wii®? For those of you scratching your head and wondering what the heck is Weedin talking about, let me explain. Wii® is basically a PlayStation ® console where you can play video games on your TV. It’s a wireless game that needs YOU to do all the motions in order to make the characters on your TV move. So, if you’re playing golf, tennis, baseball, boxing, or racing cows – you perform all the actions. No more sitting like a lump on a chair with a joy stick, now you have to get up and move with Wii®.

First of all, as a family Wii® provided us hours of fun, raucous laughter at each others follies, and (unbelievably) great exercise. We were all pooped at the end of the evening. If you don’t believe me, go try out the boxing trainer and tell me you don’t work up a real sweat.

So, what can we learn from playing Wii®?

Well for starters, you can spend real quality time with your family and friends. Wii® is almost like a board game that takes everybody’s participation and attention. Unlike sitting and watching television, conversation, laughter, and bonding take place. You wouldn’t have caught me EVER saying this before about video games, but Wii® changed my mind.

Secondly, I came away with a new appreciation of humility. My daughter Kelli and I were competing in several games, namely boxing and shooting (not people – mainly space ships coming to take away little characters that look like us). She was regularly beating me (pretty soundly) in all the games that required speed, reflexes, and agility. It’s a humbling thing to be beaten by your 17 year old daughter in a boxing match! Although I was stronger (measured by the speed of your punch), she was quicker, delivering more blows.

The lesson in humility is important for all of us. One of the areas of work I need is in humility and sometimes my kids give me a wake up call. Humility can be a very important aspect of good communications. Think about it. If you’re not humble, it’s hard to listen. When listening doesn’t happen, it’s impossible to communicate.

When was the last dose of humility you received? Maybe the more important question is – what did you do with it?

Happy Labor Day!

Dan

Getting LinkedIn to networking

I was recently invited to join an online network called LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). So far, I’m intrigued by the concept and trying to learn more. It seems like a great way to promote your business and services to a huge variety of people who are networked to your network. Are you on LinkedIn? If so, please look me up and join my network. I’m still trying to learn how to export my contact list into it to ask my current address book.

Promoting your product and services are vital to your success and your business survival. This seems like a great way to do that. Once you start to network, are you prepared to effectively market yourself? You’ve heard me espouse how important those first impressions, including your web site, are to getting your message heard. Constant learning is a key to improving your skills.

If you’re in need of professional development, check out my online store by clicking here. You have several educational choices, including my CD Panic to Power that features me and three World Champions of Public Speaking. You will also notice that I am hosting a teleseminar where you will have the opportunity to ask 2001 World Champ Darren LaCroix questions on presenting, business, or anything else you would like to know from him. That teleseminar is only a month away and includes the MP3 download of the event. I hope you can join us.

Dan

Final Thoughts on Steubenville

Well, I’m home now and getting used to the Pacific Standard time zone again. I wish I could say the same for my luggage. It seems my luggage was “delayed” in Philadelphia while I came home without it. Fortunately, the only real things of value were the presents I bought and my dirty laundry. I guess my luggage took to the saying of W.C. Fields who said, “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia”.

Thank you for allowing me this forum to share with you a significant event in my life. The lessons I learned from some of the experiences certainly flow into life. The concepts of teamwork, welcoming, family and faith all are integral to the walks in your personal and business life.

Think back to when you were 18 years old and had the world in front of you. Now, whether its 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years later, are you satisfied? Have you lived the life you imagined…are you ticking off those important adventures in your life’s to-do list? If not…why? This trip revitalized me to think ahead to things I want to accomplish and do. These things may be personal or business related, but they all are important, so taking the time to reflect and set goals is vital. I challenge you to do the same, regardless of what phase in life you find yourself. As my friend Jim Key says, it’s never too late to dream.

Dan