Happy Easter!

Hope everyone has a great weekend, no matter what you are doing.  Try not to eat too many peanut butter stuffed chocolate eggs.




--- Art by Amber Sanders

Yes I Met Her On The Internet

The other night, just before I went to sleep, I saw @KrisColvin talking about a blog post that implied social media relationships to be “thin”. (You can read the post here ). 

I want to tell you a story about me and my best friend Rachel.

Coming from a small town and going right into college, I was pretty much forced to make new friends. Which, if you read my post about admitting that I’m a bit of an introvert, then you know how daunting of a task that was for me. I found some new people to talk to on a writing board, and I met this great girl named Rachel. She lived in Philadelphia and we hit it off. We chatted online for a couple of weeks, finally exchanging phone numbers, chatting until all hours of the night. Mostly we talked about writing, we planned little stories together, developed, and made big dreams together.

One day, we started getting real. After that, we determined that we were holding the rope keeping the other afloat. She called me when she got into fights with her Mom, when she had nowhere to go, and when she had no one else to turn to.  What started out as an internet friendship because we had similar interests became someone that I can’t live without. She drove 1200 miles to meet me for the first time, on my wedding day and when she got married, I was there too. No one knows me like her.

It was all up to us how close we were going to get to each other. From a brief chat over AIM to the sheer joy I will never forget on her face the day I met her, face to face, for the first time, everything that she and I are friends wise, is simply because we allowed it to happen. I wanted to invest myself in that relationship.

In the end, the only person responsible for making your relationships over the internet “thick” or “thin” is yourself. The only thing you will ever get from social media is what you put into it. Yeah, it’s daunting (trust me, I know) and sometimes overwhelming, but eventually the light at the end of the tunnel will show.

Who knows? You could be talking to the next great person in your life. Reach out and trust someone. It’s all up to us. Say hi, make a joke, and be friendly. 

And as Rachel likes to say, “It’s always funny to me that we’re so close, because usually when you meet someone online that you get along with, you’re supposed to report them.”

Who are you going to talk to today?

Discontinued Service

I was watching the Food Network the other night (as I am known to do) and they were doing a story on how things were made. Now, I don’t usually name companies on here, but I heard a story about the dish-maker Corelle which I thought was a great idea.

Corelle is known for not only their sturdy nature, but also their clever and funky patterns. Each year they roll out a new pattern to the market place. Just like any other business, Corelle is trying to keep up with the changing wants and needs of consumers. Our tastes change and what was in fashion three years ago wouldn’t fit in the modern, stainless-steel kitchens we have today. (Remember the yellow kitchens of the 70’s? I don’t… but we did buy a house my mother and I promptly redecorated.) Now, even though new patterns make new buyers happy, what happens to the consumer who picked their pattern and now needs to replace or add a plate? Enter the Croelle Discontinued Pattern Customer Center . It’s a special site that Corelle set up for customers who still need to get pieces for their discontinued patterns. To me, this is incredible customer service.

Why? Because this is a company that can identify industry trends and move along, without alienating a customer that has been loyal to them for a number of years. It’s a good balance of attracting new customers as well as remaining loyal to people who may have been in line to pick up the first pattern that ever rolled down the Corelle lines. In business, we are constantly trying to identify the trends of our industries and keep up with what might be popular. What suggestions do you have for embracing change without having to rebuild your entire customer base? How can you grow as well as stay honest to your base customer?

The Extra Mile

A few days ago, I took a call from a customer who had a lot of questions. After burning calories running back and forth to Rob’s office to get the answers, the customer told me a story that stuck with me.

The long and short of it goes like this:  There are three men with the same job description working at a ship yard who are all paid differently.  The dock manager is explaining why each man has a different salary when a ship comes in and each of the three men go to meet the new ship.

The first worker comes back an hour later and tells the manager the ship is from Russia and has some kind of plastic toy on it.

The second worker comes back three hours later and tells the manager that the ship is from Russia, has baby dolls on it, and the dolls are 50 dollars for a bundle.

Two days later, the two workers and the manager find the third worker asleep on the floor in the office and wake him up, “Where have you been?”

The third worker tells the manager that the ship that came in was from Russia and had plastic baby dolls selling for 50 dollars a bundle. He also let the manager know that he had called a buyer in New York that he remembered was asking about plastic dolls and negotiated a selling price of 200 dollars a bundle. He also prepared a proposal that was waiting for the manager’s approval. The third worker makes nearly twice of the first, even though they all have the same “job title.”

What’s the moral of the story?  Well, those who go above the call of duty are ultimately rewarded. Whether you are doing it for a customer, or simply because it’s what needs to be done, it’s noticed and appreciated. How are you going to go above the call of duty today?

April's Fool


It's the April's Fool April Fool. 

I hope you enjoy. It's permanent marker and highlighter.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Reflections and Changes

Ladies and gentlemen, I am an introvert.

Somewhere along the line, I confused professionalism with being quiet. I’ve made myself that “being professional” meant nodding politely, saying yes sir, no sir, and so forth. All these things are important to a professional, but somewhere my voice has been lost in the shuffle.

I’m a wall flower now. Social situations make me uneasy and I’m not sure when that started to happen. I used to draw all of the attention in the room and speak my mind. Now I hang in the back of the room and look around for someone I know. Once I find that person I can start socializing, but I need someone to feel comfortable with first.

Being able to address your flaws and imperfections is powerful. Once you can identify something that holds you back you can change it. It’s like how “they” say that the first step to healing is admitting there’s a problem. Well, I have a problem, and it’s my little shell I’ve put around myself. I have a plan.

Here’s what I’m going to do:
•    Tweet new people every day. If you’re one of them, say hi back. It’ll make my day.
•    Find more social interactions. I like my house, I’m happy there after work with a good book and a nice meal. But I need to get out more.
•    The next time I’m at a social function, I’m going to walk up to someone I don’t know and strike up a conversation.

Tomorrow, I’m going to bust out of my shell.  What are you going to do?

Spring Cleaning

It’s that time again – spring. I love the spring time, everything is blooming and fresh. Grass is starting to grow and plush yards again.  It’s also spring cleaning time. I love cleaning; I’m a freak for organization and the fresh smell of pine cleaner. One thing I do every spring is clean out my closet and put together a big box of clothes to donate. It makes me feel good and it frees up some hangers for new clothes. (Don’t tell my husband that part)

You should be spring cleaning too. A lot of things can change over the course of a year both at home and in your business.  While we all see the spring as a time to roll out the steam cleaner at home, what can you do to clean up a little in your conferencing account?

Reset your conference codes.  Change your moderator and participant codes on the account, especially if you always use the same ones. Conference codes often get moved from one person to another and might be somewhere you don’t want them to be. Give your conference provider a call and have them reset your moderator and participant co des. It’s like freeing up a hanger in your closet.

Check the users. Have conference lines for every employee? Are there any you want to remove from your list of available conferences? Maybe some lines associated to projects or branches that you don’t need anymore? Call or email your conference provider with the list and let them remove them from your active conference lists. Spring cleaning is pretty easy and it’s not just a matter of needing to make things look all neat and organized. It’s also a matter of finding things a little easier and spring is a great time to do it.

How will you be spring cleaning?


Veggies Without Salt Or Butter


If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I consider myself to be a bit of an amateur chef. There is nothing like throwing some stuff together and making something great. With every success in the kitchen there are always failures. Things get burned, the flavors don’t come out right, and, what I consider to be worst of all, and things are just bland. There is nothing like cooking a meal and then tasting nothing. You stare at the plate and you wonder if you even put salt and pepper in the pan. Maybe you actually forgot – which, has been done before, and will be done again. You have to ask yourself, what’s missing?

Consider your last conference call.  Are you looking at the history and wondering what went wrong? Sure it was okay but there was something missing. You expected more of a turn out or more feedback, and you didn’t get what you thought. You can’t do anything about it now, but you can think about what to do next time. What do you add to spice it up a bit?

Try adding a pinch of social media. Facebook and Twitter are huge and are the most likely responses for feedback. Since setting up accounts on both social networks are free, set up a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page for the conference. Give them out and the beginning of the conference and let participants know they should give you feedback there. On top of that add a layer of the visual element and let it melt. By melt, I mean sink into the other elements of your presentation. Use a PowerPoint or share your desktop to help show people all the delicious details of your conference.

If nothing else, always remember to never serve your veggies without butter and salt – and pepper, if you’re me. Lots of it.


Power Boots

When I was in college, I competed in a lot of debate tournaments. I never went on a tournament without my boots. My debate coach called them my “butt-kicking shoes” and he always knew that I was going to do well when I wore them. There was just something about them that made me feel confident. Anytime you do a presentation, it’s always about confidence. You know your subject inside and out but that doesn’t mean that you can’t struggle with the idea of speaking in front of a group of people. If you want to make yourself feel a little confident, here are some things that you can do. They are very easy and will only take a few extra minutes.
Familiarize yourself with where you are going to be speaking. If you’re on a conference call, find a quiet place away from the bustle of your office to give your presentation.  If it’s not a room you’ve used much, take a look around, know where things are.  You never know when you might need to know where an extra outlet is located and knowing the layout of the room will make you feel much better.
Wear something you love. This sounds so trite, I know, but if you are wearing something that makes you feel great, you’re going to feel great. That’s how it was with my boots. Some women might have a lucky skirt or a man who has a lucky tie. Even if no one is going to see you on the presentation, it will make you feel a little more “take on the world”.
In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t always win my tournaments, but I always felt good while I was doing them. Do you have any silly things you do to get yourself feeling confident in the face of a presentation?

AccuConference | The SimCity Mayors Guide to Public Relations

The SimCity Mayors Guide to Public Relations

SimCity is a game that has been around for nearly as long as I can remember. In March of 2013, the latest version was rebooted and it wasn't met with the warmest of regards. Server crashes, the requirement to be 'online' to play, and small map sizes for your lots were just a few of the problems that the developers at Maxis and EA dealt with in the first few weeks of the highly anticipated launch.

As an avid SimCity mayor and the creator of many fine cities, it always seemed funny that the creators of the greatest city building games and arguably the most recognized franchise didn't do what their game has been teaching us about preparation forever.

Have a Plan

When you're a new mayor, you take a moment to sit back and determine where the best place for things might be. Which way is the wind blowing? You don't want to build your residential areas where the industrial pollution will blow. Where are your water supplies and other minerals? These are all important things when it comes to building a new city.

When you take on a new marketing strategy or start a new PR push, you need to have a plan. Going into it blind means you won't have a true understanding of what your direction should be. Is your goal to get national exposure for a brand or company? You're going to take a different direction that a client that has a goal of twenty thousand new Twitter followers.

Prepare for Disasters

For the SimCity Mayors we know that there is nothing more annoying than being in the middle of making tons of cash and then the screen starts to shake, or in your speakers you hear the inevitable horrible roar of the tornado warning sirens. That's right; it's time for SimCity to unleash a random disaster upon your humble town.

In public relations, it's not so obvious when there are warning signs. You can't always be prepared for something to go wrong in your marketing strategy or public relations campaign, but you can always plan around the "what ifs". Make a list of potential disasters (hopefully no Godzilla strikes) and then have an action plan for crisis management.

Give it Time to Grow

Once you've got the basics of your city in place and your cash flow is positive, there's a rush to build up your city quickly and increase the population, so that you can get more money. In life and SimCity, it's not always the best idea expand your small rural town to a big metropolis before you are completely ready.

Initial campaign success does not always translate into long term dollars. While you're enjoying increased exposure, give it some time to sustain before you hire additional staff or move into a new office building. That way you know your growth is sustainable and the additional staff or space is truly needed.

A new public relations or marketing campaign is challenging and exciting, just like being the new mayor of a virtual town. Putting your plan in place and being prepared to act from the start are often the best ways to manage things in the long run.

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