The 1 Trick You Must Know To Remember Names

A strange looking and eccentric woman walked up to me and asked my name.  She said she had a strange ability to remember names.  I was in the middle of a class of 30 people and liked my odds.  I bet her should couldn’t remember names of every person.

remember Names

I told her my name, then promptly moved to a seat across the room. I convinced another few people to move as well.  This way, she couldn’t just remember a pattern of names.  She had to remember our names based only on our faces.

My jaw was just as open as the other 29 jaws in the room when she went around naming each and every person.  First and last names!  Forget the speed reading course we’d signed up for, we wanted to know how to remember names.

What followed wasn’t nearly as magical.  The woman we thought was some sort of psychic, sucking our names out of our brains with a single thought, just turned out to be a retired neuroscientist who understood how the brain remember names.

How many times have you cringed as your co-worker called your new client by the wrong name?  Have you ever avoided a colleague in a restaurant because you simply couldn’t remember her name?  Remembering names is a skill that can benefit both your personal life and have a profound impact on your business life.  I’ll give you one example.

In 2010 I was exhibiting at a Trade Show in Long Beach, California.  Standing at my booth I spied a tall, mustached, bald man walking down the aisle.  His face looked familiar.  I closed my eyes for a moment, practiced this trick to remember names, and yelled out “Jim” just as the man was about to pass my booth.

We struck up conversation. I asked him how his daughter’s college graduation had gone and if he’d purchased the retirement home he’d been wanting in the Northwest.

He was so blown away that I remembered not only his name but intimate details of a 5 minute conversation that we had several years ago.  The ability to remember names lets people know you care about them.  Jim has been a loyal customer ever since.

So here’s the not so psychic trick you need to know to remember names.

The name is not important.  Remember other things around the name and your brain will find the name.

When I met Jim, we were outside of an In-N-Out Burger in southern California.  I’d ridden in a friend’s car on my way there.  He had to move some wrappers from the front seat before I could sit down.  Among the wrappers was a protein bar.  And this is how you remember names like Jim’s.

You remember names by remembering more interesting things that surround the name.  What triggered Jim’s name and story was remembering how ironic I thought it was that my friend just tossed a protein bar in the back seat so he could go eat a greasy hamburger.  I remember the weather, the taste of the hamburger, the seagulls encircling us, waiting for a french fry to fall.

If you want to remember names and let people know how much you care about them, be intentional about soaking in the moment.  When you need to recall the name, simply think of the day, the food, the scenery.  The name will come because the name is entwined in the brain and only accessible by way of the stronger memories you formed about the event.

How could this trick to remember names effect you?

Note:  This post was originally published on November 6, 2013.

My Best Productivity Apps and How I Use Them

The request I receive the most often is for app recommendations.  Ever since I purchased my first iPhone, I’ve been a bit of an app junkie; always searching for the best productivity apps.  These are apps I use every single day and couldn’t live without now.

Best Productivity Apps

I frequently mention some of the apps I use in my speaking engagements and they always come up in the Q & A session.  Since they’re so popular, I decided to write a post about my best productivity apps and how I use them.

These are my top 10 best productivity apps that I recommend to everyone:

1. Nozbe – I use this app every single day.  “What gets tracked gets done.”  I use this app to track what tasks I need to do.  I also use this app to assign tasks to others including my employees and family.  They, in turn, use the app to assign tasks to me.  This keeps us all on the same page.

2. Focus Time – Competitive is my second highest ranked strength on the Strength Finders list.  This app times your activity, and then tells you to take a short break.  When I need to focus, this app motivates me to keep my butt in the chair until I complete a pomodoro.

3. Evernote – I live in this app.  It is my external brain.  This one app has made me (almost) paperless.  I can’t recommend it enough.  I’d also recommend reading Evernote Essentials to learn how to maximize your experience with this app.

4. Dropbox – This is my cloud of choice.  I store all my documents, as well as, backup my computers, phone, and iPad to Dropbox.  My favorite feature is the ability to share items with others by simply sending them a link.

5. Up – I use this app to track my physical activity, food intake, and sleep patterns.  These analytics help me hack my body and energy levels.

6. Scrivener – This is where I write everything that I write.  It syncs to Dropbox in one click, so it makes it easy to collaborate with my team.

7. Google Cards – I use Gmail and many other Google services every day.  Having the Google app on my phone allows me access to my Google Cards.  Google takes information from Gmail, Google Voice, Maps, Calendar, etc.  It then presents information that is important to me such as meetings, reservations, packages in transit, stock prices, traffic, and even restaurant recommendations!

8. My Ideal Week – If you don’t allocate your time, someone else will.  My Ideal Week isn’t really an app, but I use it like one.  I’ve loaded it onto my desktop and iPhone.  In one click I can see what I should be doing.  I’ve set these boundaries ahead of time so I know they’re based on my core values and designed to give me more time for what is important, and restrict time I can spend on things that aren’t.

9. Holy Bible App – Helps me find true north whenever I need it.  I use this app every morning for my Bible reading.  This app keeps me productive because it reminds me that I answer to a higher power.  When I’m feeling lazy, I remember whom I’m working for.

10. Photos – There is nothing more motivating than the ones you love.  When I can’t muster up the energy to shut off the world and just work, I look at my photos.  Seeing my family’s smiling faces is all I need to find the motivation to work harder.

I’m a self-confessed productivity junkie.  I’m always looking for ways to work smarter and more efficiently.   These apps help me to do just that every day.

I’d love to hear of some other apps that you use.  Please leave a comment in the section below.

Motivation For Working Out

Recently, I wrote a post about how to accomplish your fitness goals this year.  Fitness seems to always be the top New Year’s resolution.  The truth however, is that 92% of all people fail to accomplish this goal.  The secret sauce that they’re missing is the motivation for working out.

Motivation For Working Out

For whatever reason, human beings are predisposition to be as lazy as we can possibly be.  The same is true of our bodies.  We prefer to be lazy, as a result, our bodies eat away at our unused muscles and store up fat as fast as it can.  To beat this vicious cycle we need to fill our minds with motivation for working out.  Otherwise, we will do everything we can to avoid it.

I’ve heard it said that “all you need to do is lace up your shoes”.  Taking that first, simple step toward working out sets off a domino effect that ends with the elation and satisfaction that can only be felt after a good, hard workout.

Over the years I’ve had to find motivation for working out to get my butt out of the chair and into the gym.  Trial and error has led me to a bulletproof list of ways to receive daily motivation for working out.  This list will help you accomplish your fitness goals this year.

Here are my go to sources for workout motivation:

Tumblr – Follow Fitness Tumblrs like xtremotivation, feeldriven, physiquesofgreatness, gymeandmotivation and fitness-bodybuilding post motivating images and quotes.  When you know you need to workout but you don’t feel motivated, scroll through your tumblr to be filled with instant motivation for working out.

YouTube – I love to watch videos of Ronnie Coleman (Yeah Buddy! Light Weight!) just before I hit the gym.  With eight straight Mr. Olympia wins, Ronnie Coleman’s strength and physic are very motivating.  Women may find motivation from Zuzka Light or Jaime Eason on YouTube.

Jawbone inactivity monitor – My Jawbone Up is set to notify me when I’ve been idle for 45 minutes.  It also shows me how active I’ve been during the day.  It offers great motivation for working out because I can see my fitness (or laziness) in real time.

MyFitnessPal App  – I track all my calories in this app.  Doing so is great motivation for working out because I can see how many calories I’ve consumed.  It is always my goal to come in just under 1800 calories (when cutting) or 2600 calories (when bulking).  Working out means I’ll be able to eat more and still hit my daily calorie goal.

GymPact – This app allows you to earn real cash for hitting your fitness goals.  My wife and I did something like this one year before a trip to Las Vegas.  We had to earn our gambling money.  Having an actual reward waiting for you after your work out is great motivation.

Lacing up your shoes sounds so much easier than it is.  With these apps on your phone or computer, you’re always one click away from a powerful shot of motivation to work out.  Without these apps I don’t know that I’d be in the shape I’m in.

What do you use to get your motivation for working out?


Set Yourself Up To Accomplish Your Fitness Goals This Year

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a 92% chance that you WILL NOT accomplish your fitness goals this year.  Only 8% of the people who set New Year’s Resolutions this year will actually accomplish their goal.  This is how they do it.

accomplishing your fitness goals

The most frequent New Year’s Resolution is always “lose weight”. Sadly, if this were easy, we’d all be in excellent health.  The truth is, to accomplish your fitness goals this year will be tough.  But fortunately, it is getting much easier.

I personally am always chasing some sort of fitness goal.  For the last 10 years, I’ve lost weight, gained muscle, improved my diet, ran more, and ran faster.   I have only been able to accomplish my fitness goals by following a specific regimen that works. Over the next few posts, I’ll share everything I’ve learned in a decade to guarantee you’ll accomplish your fitness goals this year.

What follows is an overview of what’s to come.  Follow this regimen and you’ll accomplish your fitness goals this year for sure.

SMART Goals – Learn to set goals that get results.  Here is a link to my post on SMART Goals.

Set small goals – Lose 50lbs is a big goal.  Lose 4lbs a month, not so bad. Same result.

Change frequently – If you’re like me, you’ll get tired of the doing the same thing over and over and soon lose interest.  To keep it fresh, I change my goal every month.  My goal in January is to clean up my eating.  February is about getting in the gym a certain number of times, March is all about running and so on.  These are all different objectives that keep you moving forward to accomplish your fitness goals this year.

Track your progress in real time – It’s hard to see the fat coming off on a day-to-day basis because you’re comparing yourself today to yourself yesterday.  The change is too small to notice.  Instead track your progress daily so that 30 days from your first day, you can look back at your starting point and actually see results.  Results are insanely motivating.

My Fitness Pal  – I use this app to track all my calories.  To accomplish your fitness goals this year, you’ll need to figure out how many calories you want to eat.  Use this app to guarantee you eat only that amount.

Runkeeper – This is the app where I keep track of my running.  It is motivating to see my progress from the first run of the year to the last.  Once you become consistent with your running, you won’t want to break the chain.

Jawbone Up – I use this to track myself overall.  I’m wearing it right now as I type.  It tracks how many calories I burned during the day, so I can compare it with how many I’ve eaten in MyFitnessPal.  The two sync up together so I can see how many extra calories I’ve burned in real time.  It also syncs with Runkeeper to track my calories burned on my runs.

Small Meals – To accomplish your fitness goals this year you’ll want to learn to eat smaller meals.  I eat five meals a day.  Each one is smaller than your average meal.  If you’re trying to lose weight, this will help you remain satiated.  If you’re trying to gain muscle, this will keep your body full of available nutrients.

To accomplish your fitness goals this year subscribe to my email updates.  I’ll send you one update a week about what you should be focusing on that week.

This year is the year of you.  Go out and get what you’re worth.


The Importance of an Annual Time Block and Ideal Week

This week I am creating my annual time block for 2014 and updating my ideal week. Without this exercise, the new year will be chaos.  An annual time block guarantees that the important things get scheduled.

annual time block

What gets scheduled gets tracked and what gets tracked gets done.  Getting the important things down on my schedule gives the important things in life a chance to actually get done.  December is a time for reflection and planning.  It is also the perfect time to update or create an annual time block and ideal week.

During this process I analyze what worked this year.  I also analyze the more important statistic of what did not work.  For instance, I failed to stay connected to my outside team.  The guys who handle our installations, midstream activity, and our CNG Storage Spheres did not get enough face time with me this year.  I’ll schedule more of that on my annual time block.

I’m a huge fan of benchmarking.  I use Michael Hyatt’s template.  You can find it at the bottom of his home page or in this post.

I follow his approach and schedule the most important non-discretionary things first.  I then move to the most discretionary things:

1. Company Holidays

2. Church Holidays

3. Industry Events

4. Vacations

5. Board Meetings

6. Meetings with Outside Team

7. Business Review Meetings

8. Special Trips

9. Time With Friends

The key is to schedule what is important to you.  If you don’t schedule it, I guarantee less important, seemingly urgent, things will crop up and squeeze out the important things in your life.  You’ll wake up one day and wonder where all the time went.  Worse, you’ll regret not having spent enough time on the important things.

This is a great time to take care of yourself because you and your family are often the first to be sacrificed when work gets crazy.  Schedule important family events such as births or weddings.  Pre-plan your vacations and plan time for social activities.  By planning the non-discretionary items first, you can look at your whole year and find the most opportune times for family vacations and social activities.  This way they have a better chance of happening.

The next thing I do is revamp my ideal week.  The demands on my time are always changing.  This reflective time is a good chance to realign my priorities and ensure that I’m allowing enough time in the day for what is most important.

The largest benefit of an ideal week is that it adds borders and forces you to delegate.  If you find yourself spending more time on one thing than you have allotted for that activity, you need to delegate some of these tasks.  By having these borders, you ensure that you’re forced to spend time on what is most important and delegate whatever doesn’t fit.

I also use Michael’s Ideal Week as a template.  Here is a link to my ideal week.

I allot time in the following order:

1. Faith – This is the most important thing.  If I achieve nothing else all day, I’ll at least have taken care of my soul.

2. Self – This is like the oxygen mask on an airplane.  If I’m not 100% I can’t give 100%, it’s that simple.

3. Family – These are the most important people to me.  I make sure there is time set aside for them.

4. Advancing the company – Many companies find themselves stagnant.  Growth is intentional.

5. Taking care of the company – Last, I give time to the day to day tasks.  These are the first items to be delegated when my schedule is tight.

If you don’t fill your time with your priorities, someone else will fill it with theirs.  Creating an annual time block and an ideal week guarantees you are living your own life.  It also creates the kind of balance and borders you need to be successful as a leader.

What are your favorite exercised to prepare for the new year?

How The Web Has Revolutionized Christmas Shopping

For the last few years I’ve done almost all of my Christmas shopping online.  I’m blown away by how the web has revolutionized Christmas shopping in the last few years.  The offering, ease of use, and display is incredibly astonishing these days.  I actually prefer online Christmas shopping to store shopping now.

Christmas Shopping

When I was young, growing up in the San Antonio area, we would make our annual family Christmas shopping trip to the North Star Mall in San Antonio.  I would take a pocket full of money that I had saved, and I’d split away from the family.  This way they could buy for me and I could buy for them.


The mall would be bustling, Christmas music playing on the sound system, and excitement in the air.  A few years later, I was introduced to online shopping and my world changed, a little.  Until recently, I would still go to the mall.  Anyone I couldn’t find something for, I’d start looking online.  It’s the other way around now.


As a fan of the Tech Sector, and transplant into the desert, I’ve found a strong draw to shopping in my sweatpants on the couch.  It’s much simpler than store shopping because you can:


1. Shop for specific items instantly rather than running from store to store.

2. Compare deals across platforms.

3. Drop ship directly to recipients, thus saving time and money.

4. Avoid the crowds.


I’ve found several go-to sites and services that I rely on to make my Christmas shopping simple and stress free.


1. Awesome Note – This isn’t a site for Christmas Shopping but it is where I accumulate my ideas throughout the year.  You can lock notes so they can only be opened with a password.  Anytime I hear someone mention something they want, I make a note of it.  This makes Christmas shopping happen quickly.


2. – This is my first stop for Christmas shopping.  I was making a train track with my son yesterday and noticed he bumps the bridges over on accident while he’s playing.  His electric powered, ‘Thomas the Train” engine is also slowing down.  I searched bridges and trains on Amazon.  I was done shopping in five minutes.

A few of my favorite features:

A. Search and find a variety of items.
B. Prices are typically the best on the web
C. Prime includes free two day shipping.  It costs $70 annually, but you save that much in shipping during one Christmas shopping season.
D. Scan UPCs in the store and see if Amazon offers it cheaper.
E. They offer gift-wrapping and drop shipping.
F. Create custom ‘wish lists’ for each person you’re buying for.  This way you can earmark the item in June, then buy it when your Christmas shopping

3. Etsy – My wife introduced me to this site.  She buys personalized gifts, mostly for our friends’ new babies.  They offer custom, personalized, gift options for insanely cheap prices.  Plus you’re buying from individuals and mom and pop stores.  The only negative is that I have ordered items before that didn’t arrive on time from the person who made it.


4. Pinterest – You can find great ideas on Pinterest.  Many of the items link back to a small mom and pop retailer who can make it for you.  These items are often amazing and very custom.


5. Google Shopping – There are always items that you just have to touch and feel to know if you’ll like it.  This is the biggest fear of online Christmas shopping.  When I find an item like this, I search for it in Google and can usually find it at a retailer that is close to me.  For this reason, I still like to go Christmas shopping at the mall so I can see items.  If I find something that’s perfect for someone, ‘ll see if I can find it cheaper online.


There is no doubt that the web has revolutionized Christmas shopping.  With the advent of tablets and smartphones, the mobile platforms for Christmas shopping keep you from being tied down to a computer.  You can literally go mobile.  I scan UPCs on my iPhone and buy items via Amazon.


Big Box Stores may have killed the mom and pop stores in the past but the web is giving them a comeback thanks to sites like Etsy, Pinterest, and even Amazon where they can sell their goods.  The mobile aspect gives them access to millions of Christmas shoppers every year and I am thankful for that.


How much Christmas shopping do you do online?


Change The Way You Think About Work

Working 9 to 5 makes you hold on to busy work so you have something to do and prevents you from being truly free to focus on your passions.  To achieve your corporate goals, you must change the way you think about work.  You feel like you’re cheating your employer if you’re not 100% fully engaged in an active activity.  This is termed Work For Work’s Sake.

Change the Way You Think About Work

The truth is that you were hired to accomplish certain goals.  Use your team and your own productivity to achieve those goals faster.  In order to do this, you must change the way you think about work.


Some companies and even leaders struggle with this idea.  The status quo is to have a to-do list that never ends.  So as long as you’re “actively” working on some to-do item, you feel like you’re providing the company with quality work.  The truth is, this way of thinking cheats everyone of grown and achievement.


Think of a board member.  They get paid to be on that board but they don’t do any of the day to day work.  This is how executives should operate.  They serve two purposes:


1.  To create and cast vision

2.  To serve others by directing the work and keeping the company on track toward that vision


It is not an executives job to do the daily tasks.  When you start doing the daily tasks, you tie up the physics bandwidth needed to create vision.  You also lose yourself in the work and lose site of where the company is headed.  This is why you must change the way you think about work.


I’ve experienced this and our company has grown but we have achieved very few of the goals I set out to achieve this year.  This is because I have no time to pursue those goals or move the company towards my vision.  Instead, all my time and mental energy is spent doing things others could and should be trained to do.


When I first began attending a small group at my church, it was run by one of our pastors.  He scheduled the meetings, prepared the lessons and took attendance.  A few weeks later, he approached me about running the group because he was leaving it. “What will you do if you’re not leading the group?” I asked.


“I’ll lead a different group.” he replied.  This should be how we approach our work as executives.  Lead the charge and focus on setting up a successful group.  Once it is running, hand it off and move on to the next goal.


These are 5 things you can do right now to correct your behavior and create the company you’ve always wanted.


GTD –  Start processing and delegating.  Use David Allen’s Getting Things Done book.  Identify tasks that need to happen, do the ones you can do in 2 minutes, delegate anything someone else can do 80% as well as you can and schedule the items only you can do.


Create your ideal work week.  The key is to design your ideal week with your goals in mind.  In this way,you’ll set aside time to accomplish them.  By sticking to this schedule, you’ll force yourself to have to shed the busy work you do for work’s sake and focus on goal setting, vision casting and company monitoring.


Give time for creative release.  This is when I write, it’s work related because what I write is my ideas about how I can make Allied better. These ideas are fully developed only when I think it through and blog on it.  Without allowing myself this time, I won’t fully understand my thoughts and goals.


Get your delegation organized.  I like to use Nozbe. I can assign tasks to my employees and track their progress.  As I process “IN,” I delegate anything I can.  I am then able to see things completed in real time.


Schedule meetings with yourself.  I can’t stress the importance of this enough.  Setting aside an hour or two to revisit your business plan, the goals you want to achieve and your current progress will be the single most important thing most leaders do. Unfortunately, most leaders can’t peal away from their inbox of their staff long enough to do this.  Block off a few hours on your schedule, close your door and get to work.  Everyone will benefit in the end.


If your business is anything like mine, you’ve probably failed to live up to your own expectations this year.  I almost always do.  Implementing these 5 simple things will help you to change the way you think about work and grow your business to what it should be.


Do you struggle with delegating so you can focus on higher level problems?




How To Reach Your Audience

What could your company achieve if only you could reach your audience and get the traffic you deserve?  These 5 tools are guaranteed to grow your business by helping you reach your audience more quickly and efficiently.

How To Reach Your Audience

When I began blogging a few years ago, I would write a post, publish it to my site, then hope and pray that someone would find it.  Sadly, I didn’t achieve the results I was wishing for.  The hack you’ll need to know to reach your audience is that you must DRIVE traffic to your site.


You cannot simply publish something and hope it will do well.  You have to plaster it across the Internet.  You must be everywhere at once and completely unavoidable.  It has taken me years to learn what I’m about to teach you in just a few minutes, so keep reading.


I first realized how important it is to drive traffic to your blog or product site when I read Tim Ferriss’ How To Create A Global Phenomenon For Less Than $10,000.


I always assumed his book did so well because it was a great book.  But the truth is, his book did so well because it is a great book and he made sure people knew about it.  No matter how great a product is, it will never succeed unless people know about it.


When the popular app Draw Something launched in early 2012, they spent 100% of their marketing budget in the first few weeks.  The app was literally plastered everywhere.  Once the early evangelists found it, they spread it like wild fire, ultimately leading to OMGPOP’s sale to Zynga for $180 Million.


So how do you reach your audience with your product?  What follows is the short version of what you can do on a daily basis to make sure your blog posts, of your product offerings are seen by millions every day.


Utilize social media.  This one comes as a no brainer but it can’t be overlooked.  Draw Something’s success is largely credited to its ability to be spread amongst friends via Facebook invitations.  Posting your blog posts or products to social media site is a must so they can be shared by your evangelical followers.


Start using Hootsuite. This service allows you to monitor what is going on across all social media platforms.  There is no need to exhaust yourself by constantly staying connected on several different sites.  Use Hootsuite to monitor the conversation surrounding your offerings but also use it to find opportunities to share your offerings with others who can benefit from it.


Add the extension NeedTagger to your Hootsuite.  NeedTagger will identify people you do not follow, who are looking for your product.  For example, when I publish this post, I’ll use NeedTagger to find people who are looking to gain exposure and reach their audience.  I’ll send them a link to this post and they’ll share it with their friends.


Use services like Vocus.  Through PR Web, you can send out press releases about your products and posts.  My post about my 5K Playlist was picked up by the Houston Chronicle and several other large media outlets.  This exposure ultimately lead to thousands of new readers in a single day.


Use syndication services. Personally, I use Onlywire though I’ve heard there are other good services as well.  These services can post your most recent information directly from your RSS feed and distribute it to multiple outlets.  These services will post your latest information to bookmarking sites and social sharing sites such as Scribd, Reddit, Digg, FriendFeed and much more.


Set up a Google Alert.  Have Google monitor the web for use of your keywords.  This will give you direct access to the web’s discussion of your idea or service.  Go to these sites and get involved in the conversation.  The readers of these sites are people who are looking for what you’re offering.


These few simple steps are guaranteed to help you reach your audience and expose your products, ideas and services to the masses.  A great product is worthless unless it is given the opportunity to impact others.  Using these few hacks, you give your product a chance to reach your audience and begin to change the world.


What have you recently had success doing to reach your audience?




5 Secrets To a Successful Speech

The number 1 fear in the United States is public speaking.  People are afraid that they won’t be able to deliver a successful speech.  Number 2 is death!  As Jerry Seinfeld put it, “this means for an average American, if you have to be at a funeral, you’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy”.

5 Secrets to a Successful Speech

No doubt public speaking can be nerve racking.  There is so much opportunity to make a fool of yourself.  You’re under the spotlight and all eyes are on you.  This is not a scenario most people are used to.  Fortunately, delivering a successful speech isn’t as difficult as most people make it out to be.


I recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to speak to Texas State University’s Studies in Entrepreneurship Class.  Compared to other successful speeches I’ve delivered, this small group of students should have been a breeze.  But for me, this was a Bucket List item.


I took Dr. Bell’s class as an undergrad student.  This particular class was the reason I had selected Texas State University over the more widely revered University of Texas.  I’m very glad I did.  When I graduated, I wrote down a list of accomplishments that would measure my success as my career developed.  At the top of that list was “deliver a successful speech to the Studies in Entrepreneurship Class”.


There is a very short list of speakers every year and each speaker is handpicked by the professors.  To make this list was a big deal.  The list included big names.  A former CEO of Harley Davidson, Presidential Advisor Karl Rove, ATP Oil and Gas Founder T. Paul Bulmahan, have all been past speakers.


Making the list was exciting but set me up for huge failure.  What if I wasn’t any good?  Here I am delivering a speech I’d remember for the rest of my life.  The actual speech would dictate if this was going to be a good memory or a bad memory.  Luckily, I had my 5 secrets to a successful speech written down in my desk drawer.


I have developed this list for over several years already.  Each secret was discovered while watching the best in the industry such as Zig Ziglar, John C. Maxwell and Andy Andrews.  Use the 5 secrets and you’ll start to prefer the eulogy over the casket.


1. Give the audience what they need.  They’re all there for a reason, to grow.  Step one of any speech should be to write down who your audience is and what they need to know.  Then you can write a speech that would cater to their needs.


2. SCORRE!  I follow the method that is taught at the SCORRE conference.  Filling this outline out gives you everything you need to in one place to write the perfect speech outline.


3. Speak from the heart.  The audience will see through any lies in seconds.  Speak strictly on ideas that you know from the heart.  You shouldn’t need notes.


4. Use a slide presentation.  A good presentation doesn’t include much details.  Look at David Allen’s slides in this video.  Most are one or two words only.  The audience can read faster than you speak.  If your slides have too much details on it, the audience will just read them and tone you out.  Slides should provide the central theme, that is it.


5. Be comfortable.  The audience can sense fear quicker than anything.  Do whatever you must to be comfortable.  For Andy Andrews, he walks among the audience.  John Maxwell sits on a stool.  I walk the stage and am fairly animated with my expressions.  Audiences connect with authenticity.  They want to feel like they know you so it is critical that you make yourself vulnerable and deliver the real YOU.


Every speaker gets some sort of jitters.  If you don’t get them, there is something wrong with you.  But following these 5 secrets to a successful speech will help you deliver your presentation with the kind of calm confidence the pros exude.  The best speeches I’ve seen boil down to this simple formula.  Include all these secrets in your speech preparation and you’ll be able to deliver a successful speech every time.


What scares you the most about public speaking?




A Business You Can Run On The Beach

Fewer things interest more in business than the idea of running a multi-million dollar empire from a lawn chair on the beach.  But that is exactly what excites me the most about some of my more recent business ventures.

running a business

It was year 2006 and I was in the third row of Dr. Bell’s Studies in Entrepreneurship class.  “I wanted to start a business I could run from a lawn chair on the beach”, our speaker told the class.  My mind was blown as he described how he did it.


For years, the idea of running a business from a lawn chair on the beach inspired me to think outside the box and challenge the current assumptions of the old school brick and mortar business approach.  This idea has been stucked in my mind as I’ve ventured into other businesses.


In today’s economy, the idea of running a business on the beach is more feasible than ever.  We live in a more mobile world where hard products no longer dominate the consumer market.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are some of the most successful businesses on the market at the moment and they don’t sell a physical product.


Building a business that you can run on the beach is a reality that can be achieved by following a few simple rules:


Focus on tech.  To build a successful business on the beach, your product must exist in cyberspace.  This make believe world in the cloud is the world’s most blossoming market.  Build a product that exists in cyberspace such a eBooks, mobile apps or other digital product to keep yourself away from the warehouse and out by the sand castles.


Work in the cloud.  All my work is stored on Dropbox and backed up to my own server.  All the data on my computer, cell phone, iPad and other business tools is stored in the cloud.  This keeps them accessible from anywhere.  Using Google Chrome and extensions like Tab Cloud means I’m in my office whether I’m at home, an office or the beach.


Work remotely.  Using Skype, FaceTime, cellphones and dropbox for sharing files, the modern office building is no more.  Full time employees can be replaced with freelancers from Elance, oDesk and 99Designs.  Administrative duties can be outsourced to Va’s.  Mail and incoming calls can be outsourced to virtual offices such as BusinessSuites.


Outsource everything you can.  In today’s marketplace, you can outsource nearly everything.  The speaker who gave me the idea had workers scattered all across the country compelling data.  This data was instantly fed to the offsite server they had outsourced and displayed on a website they had run by yet another company.  They had no offices and no desks.  Only a cell phone and a lawn chair which he’d perch fittingly on the coast.


Liberate yourself from the office.  Desktops can be replaced with laptops.  Office phones are replaced by cellphones.  Files are stored in the cloud.  Meetings take place over the web and your next business can be run from a lawn chair on the beach.


Seven years ago my mind was blown by the idea of running a company from at the beach.  Today, it is easier than running a business in a traditional brick and mortar sense.  Escape the cubical and head out for some fresh air.  It may be the next great business idea you’ve been looking for.


Have you ever tried working remotely?