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Get Mileage from Your Speech August 15, 2017 09:00

When you give a speech, you've likely put in weeks of prep work. You've written an outline, decided which stories and illustrations to include, rehearsed your stage presence and speech delivery, and learned about your audience.

It makes sense to utilize that work beyond just the speech.

I'm all about getting as much mileage as possible from the work we do. Since you'll be pouring many hours into your speech, find ways to reuse and repurpose your work. I've detailed a few ideas for you here.

Enlist a friend to take hundreds of photos of you during the speech. Yes, hundreds. You'll need that many because most of them will end up being unusable. Photographing someone whose mouth and body are in motion is not an easy task. Once you have a few photos that turn out well, though, you can use them for other projects.

Those photos can easily be turned into social media quote cards. Use Canva or some other software to add your quotes to the photo using your font of choice. Your speech is full of quotes you can use. Keep them short- just a few sentences- and add them to the photos.

Those photos from your speech can also be used as action shots on your website, email newsletters, or blog posts. Edit them to appropriate size, and post them wherever you can. 

Take it one step further and ask that same friend to videotape portions of your speech. Once you're home, you can edit those videos into very short clips to post on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. They can also be added to your website or used in promo reels.

If you write a post-speech blog, use those photos and videos in that blog. The blog topic can be similar to your speech topic so that you can reuse your speech outline. That way you're getting even more mileage out of your work.

You could also easily run an online workshop with the same topic as your speech. You've already researched and written an outline, so with a few tweaks you could easily be workshop-ready. 

There are countless ways to reuse and repurpose your work from your speech. Give it some thought, brainstorm, and ask colleagues for ideas. That way you can get the most mileage possible from the work you've done.

 

Would you like to continue this conversation? Would you like more ideas for communication, speeches, and content? Click here to join our community (it's FREE!)!


3 Tips for Talking About Difficult Topics August 08, 2017 09:00

No one wants to talk about painful subjects. We don't like to feel that awkward gut knot that develops when we're dreading a certain conversation. We need to do it, though, and it doesn't have to be totally horrible. Following these tips may make it a little easier:

1. Narrow it down to a couple points. Difficult topics require planning. Don't just jump right in without thinking it through first. Weed through all your thoughts and boil them down to 2-3 main points to discuss. Having a very brief mental outline will help you stay on track and choose the best wording for the conversation. If you don't narrow it down to a few points, the conversation will quickly turn into verbal vomit. 

2. Choose the best time. Be picky about when the conversation takes place. Plan ahead for it. Don't talk about something difficult after a bad day at work or when the kids are screaming and running through the room. Select a time that is fairly peaceful, and without distractions. It's tempting to just jump right in when the mood strikes, especially if you're angry, but that won't yield the best results.

3. Keep calm. Getting emotionally charged will not help. Lay out your points calmly and kindly. Even difficult conversations can, and should, be respectful. There is no need for yelling or name-calling, which will only make the situation worse. Prepare ahead of time so you can remain calm during the conversation. Be sure to listen when it's your turn for that, too. Consider the other person's viewpoints.

Not every confrontation needs to turn into a knock-down-drag-out. Following the tips listed above will help you keep calm and talk it out. 


When Personalities Clash August 01, 2017 09:00

When Personalities Clash

[This article contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission for purchases made through those links.]

Ryan and I are so different. We disagree on so many things. Our interests aren't even in the same realm. We are total opposites.

We don't agree about politics.

We don't agree about parenting.

We don't agree about ice cream flavors.

How on earth have we managed to stay happily married for twenty years?

The answer to that question is simple: We learned about personality differences, and we use them to our advantage.

You see, those differences that sometimes annoy the heck out of us can be used to strengthen our marriage.

Where I am weak, Ryan is strong. And vice versa.

Ryan loves details. He likes to have things all planned out, and he's skilled at making sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. I'm more spontaneous and would rather fly by the seat of my pants. Sometimes when I have to sit down and work through too many details I get overwhelmed and feel panicky. So when we need something planned, it's wise for me to just turn it over to Ryan and let him run with it. Everything gets planned thoroughly, and I don't have to do it. It's a win-win. 

Early on in our marriage, before I understood personality differences, it drove me insane when Ryan wanted every detail planned out. It drove him crazy that I wouldn't plan the details (or I'd plan them badly). One book made all the difference for us: Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer.

In her book, Florence includes a personality test. Ryan and I both took the test and laughed our heads off at the accuracy. We then delved into the chapters of the book to understand our strengths and weaknesses. That helped us learn to work together as a team and to utilize each other's strengths, overlook annoyances, and fill in the gaps for each other's weaknesses.

That book revolutionized our marriage.

Once we had kids, that book helped us understand our children in a way we could not have otherwise.

Personality Plus is the book we recommend most often in our communication coaching business. Our clients need to understand the people around them in order to communicate effectively. So many personality tests do a great job describing personalities, but they don't go far enough in explaining what to do with that information.

That's where Personality Plus excels. It digs deep, gets real, and tells exactly how to relate to each personality type.

Ryan says this information has helped him to be a better salesman as well because he quickly recognizes a client's personality and can give them what they need based on that information.

If you're baffled by your spouse or kids, this book is for you. If you're annoyed by the quirks of those around you, this book is for you. If you just want to understand and relate to people better, this book is for you.

It's an absolute must-read.

Get yours here (affiliate link): 


5 Steps to Resolving Conflict Without Killing Anyone July 25, 2017 09:00

5 Steps to Resolving Conflict without Killing Anyone

Conflict happens. It’s inevitable. It will happen between you and a spouse, friend, family member, or colleague. When conflict arises, it can make or break the relationship depending on how it’s handled by both parties. To resolve the conflict without killing anyone, follow these five steps:

  1. Listen carefully. Stop talking, and truly hear what the other person is saying. Don’t filter their statements through your own preconceived ideas. Simply listen. Lean forward, use good eye contact, and don’t interrupt. Give the other person a chance to get everything off of his or her chest.
  2. Avoid judging. The other person will feel comfortable being honest with you if they feel like you are not judging them. If they feel judged, they’ll walk on eggshells with you and not tell you the whole story. They’ll remain guarded. If you want the other person to feel comfortable sharing their heart with you, don’t judge. Simply try to understand their point of view.
  3. Ask questions. My Business Law professor in college always told us, “Do not assume anything.” It was great advice then, and it’s great advice now. Assumptions lead to misunderstandings. Instead, ask questions. Seek to understand. Get clarification.
  4. Work together. You’re a team, so act like one. You are not on opposing sides. Focus on your common goals in your relationship, and work together to find a way through the conflict at hand. Remind yourselves that there doesn’t have to be a winner or loser. In conflict, you either win together or you both lose.
  5. Agree to disagree. It’s okay if you don’t ever reach total agreement. Honestly, that would be boring anyway. Disagreement doesn’t have to signal the demise of a relationship. Disagreement doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed or that you’ve failed. It just means you and the other person involved are different. Different is good, as long as you respect the differences.

Conflict happens. Whether it’s big or small, it can be resolved in a peaceful manner and doesn’t have to end in a knock-down-drag-out. Follow the five steps outlined above, and practice them often. Soon, resolving conflict will be a skill you easily implement. Your relationships will be stronger because of it.

 

We talk about conflict resolution and other marriage communication issues daily over in our Wife Chat community on Facebook. If you’re a wife, join in the fun by clicking here. It’s free!


Easy Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Live July 18, 2017 09:00

Easy Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Live

[This article contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission for purchases made through those links.]

Facebook Live may seem a little daunting to you, but as a business owner you need it. It provides exposure, connection, engagement, and that “know, like, and trust” factor we all need in business. (Still not sure you need Facebook Live to grow your business? Click here for a quick video that explains exactly why you do!) Once you’ve gone Live a handful of times, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident with Facebook Live. After awhile, it will be “old hat,” and you’ll wonder why you were ever nervous about it to begin with.

Start with a pre-Live checklist. List all the things you need to have in place before going Live, so you don’t forget anything. Having a list that’s easily accessible is key. You’ll feel more prepared when you know you’re ready after putting a checkmark in each box. Click here for a free pre-Live checklist that I use

Equip yourself. Make sure you have the proper lighting, and a tripod to hold your phone. Check that your phone is positioned in a flattering angle. Need a tripod or lighting? Here is what we recommend (affiliate links): 

Prepare. Don’t write a script. Don’t memorize anything. But definitely craft an outline. Keep it simple, with an intro, a few bulletpoints, and a call-to-action. Having an outline ensures that you won’t go off on a tangent or forget to mention something important. Keep it simple. 3-5 bulletpoints is plenty for one Facebook Live.

Practice. Practicing Facebook Live is not so that you become perfect at it. Facebook Live is meant to be conversational and casual, so there is no need to practice ad nauseam. Just try it a few times in a private Facebook group, one where you’re the only member, so that you get the feel of it. Once you’ve gone Live a few times without an audience, you’ll be ready to go Live with actual viewers.

Then do it. Schedule your Facebook Live on your calendar so you know when you’re doing it. Announce it on your page or in your group in advance so you have that accountability to follow through on it. You’ve got this!

 

For everything you ever wanted to know about using Facebook Live to grow your business, check out our mini-course and full course by clicking here!


The 3 Biggest Mistakes Made by Podcast Guests July 11, 2017 09:00

 The 3 Biggest Mistakes Made by Podcast Guests

[This article contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission for purchases made through those links.]

Being interviewed as a guest on a podcast can be a real boon to your business. That interview can showcase your expertise, get you in front of a new audience, and develop the “know, like, and trust” factor needed in business. Make the most of your opportunity by avoiding these three common mistakes made by podcast guests:

    1. They don’t have a strategy. Having a plan to get the most “bang for your buck” is vital. Podcast guests should strategize their interview answers, what product or service would be best to focus on for the podcasts’s call-to-action, and a plan to promote the podcast episode before and after it goes Live. There are endless possibilities for strategizing to get mileage out of a podcast interview, so developing the strategy that makes the most sense is absolutely essential. This requires analyzing your overall business goals and determining how best to utilize the podcast to achieve those goals.
    2. They don’t prepare their surroundings and equipment. Having a quiet place to record is key. Testing it all out ahead of time is also key. No one needs expensive equipment, but a headset and decent microphone are necessities. A headset cuts down on sound feedback, and a decent microphone ensures that there won’t be echoes or garbles. It’s surprising how much background noise makes its way onto a recording, so it’s important to do a test recording in advance to make sure that household sounds like ticking clocks, dog collars, and fans can’t be heard. Phones should be put on “do not disturb.” Some things can be edited out, but the podcast host does not want to try to edit out your crying baby, barking dog, or phone alerts. 
    3. They don’t craft talking points ahead of time. It’s prudent to ask the interviewer for questions in advance. That gives more time to prepare answers. It’s never good to get to the end of the interview and wish you had said something else. Preparing a script is not the goal. No one wants to sound rehearsed, but drafting a few simple notes on paper to refer to during the interview goes a long way toward sounding confident, professional, and an expert in one’s field. Preparing for the podcast helps you sound confident yet conversational during your interview.

A podcast guest has a tremendous opportunity to get in front of a new audience through their interview. Making the most of that opportunity is key. Preparing in advance will ensure avoidance of the three big mistakes made most often by podcast guests.

 

Are you planning to be interviewed as a guest on a podcast? Prepare to make the most out of that opportunity! Click here to schedule a session to work on all aspects of podcast prep, and make sure you shine!


3 Essential Communication Skills You Can Learn From a Pageant Queen July 05, 2017 09:00

3 Essential Communication Skills You Can Learn From a Pageant Queen

I’ve been involved with pageants for over twenty-five years. I’ve competed in them, directed them, emceed them, and judged them. I’ve coached hundreds of contestants in their interview skills, stage presence, and public speaking. I’ve learned so much from my own experiences, and I’ve learned even more from the experiences of those I’ve worked with. A lot can be learned about communication skills from a pageant queen. Here are three essential communication skills possessed by pageant queens that we all should learn:

  1. Congeniality isn’t just an award. Being awarded the title of “Miss Congeniality” isn’t just a cute way of saying that someone is super nice. To win that award, a contestant has to consistently display kindness, generosity, social skills, manners, poise, and enthusiasm. She must serve others and put them ahead of herself. We should all take a lesson from Miss Congeniality. It’s never good to be the office black cloud, Negative Nancy of our families, or the town crier (a.k.a. gossiper). We should put those around us at ease by being approachable, optimistic, and helpful. We should be kind and interested in others. Pageant queens excel at this important skill.
  2. The ability to ace an interview is vital to lifetime success. There is no one more prepared for job interviews later in life than a well-prepped pageant contestant. Pageant contestants are interviewed in front of a panel of judges, sometimes while standing alone in front of the room, and are grilled at length about every issue under the sun. They’re asked about politics, world events, future plans, current opinions, and why they are best person for the job at hand. Successful contestants prepare by participating in dozens, even hundreds, of practice interview rounds. They’re coached through mock interviews on how to handle the pressure, how to answer appropriately, and how to spotlight their individual skills and personality traits. These interview skills will serve them well throughout life when they are faced with job interviews, media interviews, and opportunities to appear on camera or in front of a crowd.
  3. Life is full of impromptu questions that must be answered well. A pageant queen must be able to think on her feet. She will be peppered with questions she hasn’t been able to prepare for, both while on stage and while amongst the general public. For success in our careers, and in life in general, we must all be able to answer unexpected questions thoughtfully, intelligently, and be poised while doing so. Just this morning, I was asked 9,998 questions by my 8-year-old daughter while we drove into town. Each of those impromptu questions required a thoughtful answer on my part. Pageant queens learn to take that in stride, whether the questions are coming from family, friends, colleagues, or total strangers.

Pageant queens represent their festivals and communities well because they prepare and practice, keep a positive outlook, and serve those around them. They will go on to success in other aspects of their lives because of those skills they’ve acquired and developed throughout their pageant careers. We all can cultivate the communication skills that pageant queens possess, and we all should.

 

For FREE public speaking resources and lots of fun, join our Communicate to Connect community on Facebook by clicking here!


Why I'm Not Doing a Weekly Facebook Live Show June 27, 2017 09:00

Why I'm Not Doing a Weekly Facebook Live Show

I absolutely love Facebook Live. It's easy to use, portable, and doesn't require much equipment. It helps business owners like me connect with clients and potential clients from the comfort of home (or office). Achieving that "know, like, and trust" factor is easier with Facebook Live, too, because it gets a brand's real-live face and voice in front of people no matter where they live. I can go Live from my home office in Michigan and talk to people around the world. 

Earlier this year I created an entire digital course teaching how businesses can truly harness the power of Facebook Live to grow their connections and relationships with customers. I've gone Live regularly since Facebook Live first debuted (I used Periscope before that). I've used Facebook Live both on my Facebook business page and in my Facebook groups. I've used it for group coaching programs, being a guest expert in others' groups, and for trying out course material on a Live audience. I've used it to teach things, tell stories, share information, laugh with my audience, be goofy, and promote new services.

But I'm not doing a weekly Facebook Live show.

Weekly Facebook Live shows are set up much like television shows. They occur on a set day and time, consistently each week. They can be entertaining, educational, or a combination of the two. They're effective because an audience becomes accustomed to tuning in on the same day at the same time every week to see and hear the brand or person they're following.

Those who have the most successful Facebook Live shows have clear goals and themes for their shows. Their followers become quite loyal to the show, the brand, and the person hosting the show. The most successful one that I follow is The Scattered Sasha Show. It's hosted by Sasha Gray weekly on Tuesday nights. She also hosts a morning show on her page on almost every day of the week. Her followers adore her and love tuning in to hear her hilarious stories, sarcasm, and funny musings. They are so loyal they have grown her Facebook page to the tune of 250,000+ followers and have gone on to start Facebook groups called "Sasha's Tribe" which are organized by state. If you're interested in starting a weekly Facebook Live show, hers is the model to learn from. Her show is AMAZING, so if you need a reason to try doing your own weekly show, her success is it.

With that type of success, why wouldn't I do the same? Why wouldn't I do a weekly show?

Well, I did one. I did it for about nine weeks. I picked a day and time, I created a plan, and I gave it a go.

Unfortunately, I hated every single thing about doing it.

I love going Live. I love talking about communication topics. I love talking to my audience. My followers have become friends. Many of them are clients. I love laughing with them and teaching them what I know. I love helping them overcome the communication challenges they're facing, and it's easier with Facebook Live.

But I hated that weekly Facebook Live show.

I'm a homeschooling Mom of five fabulous children, and I work from home. Having a weekly Facebook Live show on my schedule made me cringe. It actually brought on copious amounts of dread and anxiety. I didn't enjoy it. I hated planning it. 

Here's why:

  • I had it scheduled for Tuesdays at noon, but if I was in the middle of helping one of our children with particularly difficult schoolwork I had to stop the schoolwork to do the Live show. If we were on a roll with schoolwork, it felt wrong to come to a screeching halt to go do the show and think we'd somehow get back into schoolwork later.
  • Sometimes I'd get to Tuesday morning and realize I still didn't really have great material to talk about or share. Sometimes I wouldn't have that until, say, Thursday. But the show was Tuesday at noon, so I was forced to find enough material to make sure I had that Tuesday show.
  • I lost my spontaneity. What worked for me with Facebook Live was my love of "going Live" when the mood struck or when I became super excited to share something with my followers. Having a set day and time felt like drudgery for me, like I was chained to a calendar.
  • Only certain people could view my show Live. I chose a day and time that worked best for me, but it automatically eliminated followers in varying time zones, work life, or who had prior obligations of some sort. The same people could watch each week, but the same others had to miss each week. 
  • Life gets in the way. One Tuesday I woke up and had no voice. At all. My kids loved it (haha), but there was no way I could go Live that day unless my followers could read lips. So instead of just going Live on a different day, I had to post an explanation as to why I wasn't going Live on that day as scheduled. I despise not following through on a plan.
  • I have five children, and I am taxi-driver for them. I can't always control when one of my children has an appointment, practice, rehearsal, or event. I hate not following through on a commitment, so if I had to cancel a scheduled Live to drive a child somewhere, I felt guilty. Why have a scheduled weekly show if it's better for me to go Live weekly in a more spontaneous manner?
  • It just didn't feel right for me.

So I canned the scheduled weekly Facebook Live shows and went back to doing what works for me. I'm using Facebook Live in a way that I loved before and still love. I still go Live regularly, but it's never on the same day or at the same time. Some Lives are scheduled in advance, but many are not. I still plan my Facebook Live content for the month, but my days and times vary each week. I end up talking about topics that are important in that moment instead of forced. I end up with a variety of viewers each time, so I'm seeing more faces. The dread and anxiety is gone. I'm more of a spontaneous person, and this works for me so much better.

I have to do business my way, and you have to do it your way. What works for one may or may not work for another. All of us should try new things and new ways, but in the end we all need to do what works best for us. A weekly Facebook Live show on a specific day and time did not work for me, so I'm not doing it. A bit of spontaneity with Facebook Live is more my speed, and I love that. So I'm sticking with it. I'm being me.

You be you.

 

What works for you? In the comments, tell me how you use Facebook Live! If you need help figuring out how to grow your business with Facebook Live, please check out my digital courses by clicking here.

 


How to Craft Talking Points for a Podcast Interview June 13, 2017 09:00

How to Craft Talking Points for a Podcast Interview

To make the most out of your opportunity to appear as a guest on a podcast, you must prepare in advance for your interview. You need a bio, the right equipment, and enough practice to have a natural conversation with the host. You can learn more about preparing for a podcast here.

One important way to prepare for your interview is to craft a few talking points ahead of time. These are the phrases and statements most important to you that you want to make sure you say in some way during the course of the interview. They are the things you want the audience to take notice of and remember long after the podcast airs.

To craft your talking points, decide on about three things that are most important to you for the audience to remember. If they could only know three things about you or your business, what would they be?

Write those out, each one separately.

If you are having trouble thinking of what to write, answer these questions for ideas:

1. Why did you get started?

2. How did your business come about?

3. What is most important to you in business?

4. What results do you help your clients achieve?

5. Do you have a specific story of client success? If so, tell it.

After you have your three most important ideas written down, say them out loud like you are explaining them to a total stranger. Say them in a way that most makes sense and that flows naturally. Once you have them how you want them, write them down so you can reflect on them again before your podcast interview.

Those are your talking points. Those are the items you want to make sure you include during your interview at some point. When it seems natural to include those in your answer, do so.

Having talking points prepared in advance helps you know what to say, and they keep you on track. They also ensure that you are including in this interview the things that are most important to you and your business.

 

If you'd like help crafting your talking points for a podcast interview, click here to schedule a time to work with me. I'm happy to help! -Carrie


Quite a Long Lead-Up for a Whopping 10 Minutes May 23, 2017 09:00

Quite a Long Lead-Up for a Whopping 10 Minutes

Our daughter, Marin, recently needed a very minor oral surgery. It was so minor I'm not even sure it's actually considered surgery. It was more like a minor procedure, really.

But for an 8-year-old who hates needles, it seemed more like it would be the end of the world.

She knew three weeks ago that this procedure was scheduled. So, for three weeks she waited for the big day. She had three VERY long weeks to think about it and stew on it.

The actual procedure lasted a whopping 10 minutes. Not even kidding.

The three-week lead-up to those 10 minutes was WAY worse than the procedure itself.

Isn't life much like that?

When we know something will be painful or scary, we build it up in our minds. It grows until it's something larger than life and out of control. 

It's that way with surgical procedures, and it's that way with unresolved conflict, too.

Think about it-- when there is tension between you and someone else, time moves slowly. You repeat every moment of your last conversation over and over in your mind. You dwell on it.

It becomes all-consuming.

But when you take 10 minutes to resolve it, it's over. Done. 

And much like after a surgical procedure, healing can begin.

If you have unresolved conflict with someone, create a strategy to resolve it. Don't let the lead-up grow out of control. Take the bull by the horns and initiate the resolution.

It seriously might only take 10 minutes.

If you aren't sure where to start, begin with an apology. A sincere one. Whether you're totally at fault or not. 

From there, explain how you'd like to proceed. End with "I'd really like to resolve this with you."

Don't let the lead-up continue. End it as quickly as possible. It may only take a whopping 10 minutes.

If you need additional conflict resolution resources, click here to schedule a time to Chat with Carrie. 


How to Homeschool Your Kids While Working From Home May 09, 2017 09:00

How to Homeschool Your Kids While Working From Home

"How on earth do you build a business AND homeschool your 5 kids???"

I get asked that all.the.time.

So I created a course that details how I do it. In this course, I tell how I structure my day, get everything done, and make it all work. I tell which resources we use and what we focus on.

And I help you see how you can do it, too, if it's something you want to do.

There are only so many hours in the day! How can you possibly teach your kids AND grow your business?

In my course, I share how I homeschool my five children while simultaneously building a successful business. I'm in my 13th year of homeschooling, and I've learned a lot along the way. I tell you in this course exactly how I structure my days, and I share resources to help you determine how you can do the same.

Is it hard? Yes. I'm not going to lie. Being responsible for a child's education is not something to be taken lightly, and homeschooling is a lot of work.

But, it's so worth it. If homeschooling is something you'd like to do, just know that you can do it. This course will help you see how.

Ready to learn how you can homeschool AND build a business? Click here to get started!


How One Dentist Connects with His Audience May 02, 2017 12:04

How One Dentist Connects with His Audience

In order to communicate effectively, you have to know your audience. You have to know their dreams, their fears, their needs, and many other things about them. You have to see them as individuals and get to know them. That's how you know what to say to them and how to say it. That's how you connect.

Our daughter's dentist is the master of this. He knows his audience and delivers a customer experience second to none. Watch this episode of Coffee and Connection to learn how he does it. You can learn a lot from a dentist! Watch here:

Not sure how to connect with your audience? I can help. Click here to book a time with me chat about how.