Articles

How to Prepare for a Podcast Interview April 25, 2017 09:00

How to Prepare for a Podcast Interview

Being a guest on a podcast can be an effective way to get visibility for your business and services. But you need to prepare so you put your best foot forward. There are a few simple steps to doing your best when being interviewed on a podcast.

1. Create a bio. 

2. Know who you're talking to. 

3. Request the interviewer's questions in advance. 

4. Craft your answers and talking points in advance. 

5. Practice responding out loud. 

6. Prepare your equipment and surroundings. 

I explain each step in greater detail in the following video. Be sure to watch so you'll be totally prepared for your podcast interview!

Are you preparing for a podcast interview? I'd love to help! Click here to reserve a time with me.


How to Handle Disagreements with Your Spouse April 18, 2017 09:00

How to Handle Disagreements with Your Spouse

Ryan and I haven't always handled disagreements properly. We had a few ugly knock-down-drag-outs in the beginning of our marriage. One in particular was absolutely horrendous and ultimately lasted for a month. I detail it in this Live show I did on our Facebook page, and I also tell how we handle disagreements now. Watch here:

Disagreements in marriage can be healthy, and even a benefit, in your marriage. I talked about that in the show, and I explained how to make it happen. Be sure to watch, and then leave me a comment about how you and your spouse handle disagreements. I'd love to hear from you!

These Coffee and Connection Live shows are held on our Facebook page every Tuesday at noon (EST). Brew some coffee and join me for a chat about a variety of communication topics! See you on Tuesday at noon!


Dealing With the Joy-Suckers of the World April 11, 2017 09:00

joy-suckers

Some people just bring rain and dark clouds wherever they go. I call them joy-suckers. These are the people in life who have an opinion about everything (always negative), tell you why things can't be done, and generally suck the joy out of every endeavor.

For joy-suckers, there is a cloud for every silver lining. Every idea has a problem. Every situation has conflict. They squash dreams, they bring doubt, and they make us want to run in the opposite direction. Sprint, actually.

Do you know a joy-sucker?

Hopefully you aren't one. 

Dealing with joy-suckers can be difficult, especially when it's someone you care about. It's easy enough to dismiss trolls on our social media feeds, but it's tougher to deal with a joy-sucking family member, spouse, or friend. Knowing how to handle them can be a real challenge.

I talked about this topic on our weekly LIVE Coffee and Connection show over on our Facebook page (the show is on Tuesdays at noon EST). If you missed this episode, you can watch it right now below. You'll learn exactly what a joy-sucker is, how to avoid becoming one, and ways to handle the joy-suckers in your life.

If you're a joy-sucker, or you know someone who is, take heart. Change can happen at any time. If you'd like to talk through a joy-sucking situation, click here to reserve a time with me. We'll chat about it and determine how best I can help you. By the way, it's FREE.


3 Steps to Stay Out of Communication Chaos March 28, 2017 09:00

3 Steps to Stay Out of Communication Chaos, by Julie Ford

By Julie Ford

Communication chaos – it’s happened to us all.

Disconnected

You have an appointment with Jane. A conflict arises preventing this meeting at the original time. You reach out via phone and leave Jane a voicemail, “I need to change the time of our meeting.”

Jane never get the voicemail. Not that the voicemail fails to record, but because Jane just isn’t into listening to voicemails and answering a ringing phone isn’t her thing either. You find this out only after you and she don’t connect for your meeting and Jane texts, “It’s 10am – am I in the wrong place?” You apologize for the mix-up and reschedule the meeting via text, and follow up with an Outlook calendar invite.

The day before the new meeting, seeing that you have no reply to your invite, you try texting Jane to confirm the appointment. Crickets. Nothing, no response.

In desperation, you remember that you’ve once communicated via Facebook Messenger, so you try that.  “Are we still on for tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Gathering Grounds, or would you rather meet at the Coffee Mill?”

This time, Jane responds, “Yep. 😊

Umm?

Sea of Communication Modes

These days we can communicate in person, on the phone, via video chat, text, voicemail, snail mail, email, and social media IM. Even with this sea of choices quite literally at arms-length, instead of effectively and leisurely floating along, we’re drowning.

In his article, Communicating Across Differences, John Gilio notes that 75% of each workday is consumed with talking and listening and yet 70% of that communication fails. When communication fails at work, we lose customers, money, opportunities, and face.

When we don’t communicate well at home, we are running to grab chocolate chips at midnight, we contribute bake sale items a week late, we drop the ball entirely on attending our kid’s MVP ceremony, and we forget date night altogether. 

This assumes that we even get the chance to connect in the first place, unlike our “Jane” situation above. What gives? How can we turn this around so we can have more intentional and effective communication?

Back to the Sandbox

Somewhere between the invention of the answering machine and auto-correct, we forgot about why we communicate. We want at least a two-way connection, sometimes more. We have talkers and listeners. And after listening, most of us expect a response.

Seems simple, but with the giant sea of choice in how to accomplish what used to take a string and two cans, we need a refresh. Let’s talk about it, shall we?

Communicate About Communicating

Duh. Sounds too elementary, right? When was the last time you sat with a colleague, prospect, teacher, coach, or family member and actually asked them how they’d like to hear from you? Here are the not-so-secret but oh-so-magical steps to beating communication chaos:

  1. Know your communication profile
  2. Know the profile of the person on the other side of the can.
  3. Practice flexible connection

1. Know Your Communication Profile

How do you prefer to communicate? What are your favorite modes given your work and life style? Does IM annoy you? Is your voicemail a pain? Is your email not connected to your mobile device causing disruptive delays to your response times?

Choose what works best for you, and where/when appropriate, ask to be communicated with in that form. However, be aware of which side of the communication your sitting (see step 3.)

2. Know the Profile of the Other Side

How do THEY like to communicate? When you’re communicating with others, it can be tempting to exert what I call communication arrogance.  You pick your preferred mode of communication, say, texting -  and if they can’t accommodate, they lose. The trouble with that is that you lose, too. You lose connection, opportunities, and often credibility.

He’s not a good communicator – he leaves me guessing.

She never gets back with me.

So how do you uncover someone else’s communication profile, especially if they’re a prospect or stranger? Here are three ways to try and I’d use them in this order.

Observe – It might be obvious. If someone contacts you out of the blue via email, mirror their action. Email them back. Easy. Is Grandpa all of a sudden tickled to be texting? Fab, then get those thumbs rockin and rollin! Are you getting responses from social media via IM, continue the conversation with that prospect there. Meet people where they are, and then check in from there. “Is this how you prefer to communicate?” Which leads me to the second (and most effective) way to learn a communication profile.

Ask – If you have the chance to contact them, like at a networking meeting, just ask using two modes of communication you most prefer, “how would you like me to follow up, via phone or email?” If you can’t ask the person with whom you’re communicating, ask someone who knows them better than you do. “Hey, does Sam prefer face to face meetings or could we get away with a video call?”

Assume – this is reserved for the totally blind contact or mass communication, like newsletters or announcements for a school fundraiser. Truly, don’t go here unless you’ve exhausted other options. Using the “norms” that go generation by generation can get you in trouble. I know 85-year-olds who love email and a 12-year-old who is over the moon about a posted letter in the real mailbox at the curb.

3. Practice Flexible Connection

Consider the connection you’re trying to create. Is it for business? If so, are you the client or the seller? Are you networking with a referral partner or colleague? Are you the mentor or mentee? Is this a family/friend connection? What do you hope to accomplish with the connection? Gain information from your child about an upcoming event? Set up a dinner date with friends? Are you the one asking for a favor or are you the one in need?

Your approach to communication will vary depending upon which side of the string you’re on and what your intentions are for the connection. If you’re the one asking for something (information, unpaid mentoring, a favor, referrals, business), you’ll want to make the transaction as simple and painless as possible.

If the collaboration is mutual, you have a bit more leeway to stick to your preferences. You can ask to meet half-way between your locations or via video rather than in person to honor your time.

If you’re the one providing the favor, paying for a service, or giving guidance to another person without expecting payment, you are holding the communication preference cards and can feel okay about choosing the time, place, mode and length of the connection.

Common Courtesy

It seems elementary, but we’ve lost a bit of common courtesy somewhere in the evolution of telephony. If you want to set yourself apart and keep your connections, it’s well worth spending a few extra minutes communicating about communicating with family, friends and colleagues.

If you’d like to work through your profile and go over tips to learn the profile of others, email me at Julie@julzoflife.com and we’ll set up a Cool the Chaos call (on me!) to get you reconnected!



Julie FordJulie Ford
 
is a certified life coach, speaker, trainer, and author of Creating Time and Energy. She helps moms and dads through parenting chaos. Individuals hire her to help them trade their "badges of busy" for intentionally full lives. Organizations hire her because they value the next generation and when things are running smoothly at home, amazing things can happen at work! With one-on-one and group coaching, she helps her clients to define what matters most in their lives, and to realize what is and isn’t working. Collaboratively, they move through a customized plan to implement habits that serve rather than sabotage their intentions. Her clients find more joy and less chaos in every stage one habit at a time. Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Look and Sound Better on Camera March 07, 2017 09:00

Look and Sound Better on Camera

By Michael Moreno

It’s never the most comfortable situation to be speaking in front of people. Anything could happen and your nerves can get the best of you. It’s even more strange to be speaking to a camera, where there is literally NO feedback. There are ways to overcome this awkwardness and build a space for yourself to create much better videos that will be more conversational and much more engaging for your audience (and more fun for you)!

I’ve outlined a few tips below gathered from experience on stage and on camera as an actor in New York City. The important thing to remember is that EVERY performer gets nervous. EVERY ONE. Meryl Streep, John Hamm, and the President. With practice, and these tips, you can learn how to move beyond that and excitedly engage with your passion and share it with your loving audience. 

Prepare

Know your topic and practice what you have to say at least once through. This will give you a chance to know where you can look up and connect to your audience on an important point. Just like when you tell any story there is a beginning, middle, and end. If you know where the important points are you can make sure you connect with your audience in those moments so that they will really hear your most valuable information. 

Eye contact is one of the most intimate connections we make in our everyday life and the more you can connect directly with your viewing audience the more engaged they will be with your videos. It feels personal and like you're embracing them. 

Warm up your voice. It’s important to remember that even though you may have a mic, it can’t do everything for you. Take just a few minutes to blow through your lips, lightly massage your jaw muscles, hum while moving your tongue around the inside of your lips in a big circle, hum in a low tone and gradually move up the scale to a high tone, and finally do a couple of tongue twisters to get your whole mouth working. These tips will help your articulation and make your voice more resonant (or louder without having to push).

It’s also important to know where your mic will be. You only need to talk loud enough for the mic to pick you up, but you do have to talk loud enough. The common phrase on a film set is talk to the mic, not the actor. In other words make sure even your softer moments are loud enough to be heard by your mic whether it’s three inches or three feet away. You have total control of this set-up so you can create the best space for you and your style.

Commit

Sometimes we have the luxury of editing and that lets us make mistakes and do another take, but with the power of LIVE streaming video we don’t get to edit out the mistakes, so EMBRACE them! Don’t aim to be perfect; there’s no such thing. Your audience is there because they want to see you. They listen to your ideas expressed through your personality. Be confident in who you are and that we are all here to listen to you because we like you and love what you have to say. Know that there is support on the the other side of that lens, not judgment. This is you getting to do what you love. Commit to coming in with confidence and any mistake then becomes a real moment and a chance to engage with your audience (Oops! Well, we’re all human./This is what happens when you’re a busy parent./I’ll send you the update or link to the correct info in the comments. Thanks for understanding!)

Connect

It’s not natural to talk to a lens like it’s another person. There are a few tricks you can use to let yourself appear more personable on camera, though. 

  • Relax. Take a moment before you start your video to take a few deep breaths, clear your mind, feel your shoulders relax, and tell yourself how happy this passion of yours makes you. Coming from a place of relaxed positivity will boost your energy naturally and will ABSOLUTELY come across on screen. 
  • Imagine you are talking to your best friend! You have that friend or significant other that you can share anything with and be your most honest self. This is who is listening to you when you’re talking to the camera. They get all of your jokes, they love your smile and they are there listening close and smiling back at you the whole time. 
  • Place the camera at or slightly above your eye level. This adjustment will help you keep your eyes as open as possible and is a much more flattering angle than shooting from below. NEVER shoot from below.
  • Keep Breathing. Let a little voice stay with you that reminds you to relax and breathe while you give your talk. This will get better and better with practice, but the more you maintain your relaxation, the more confident you will be and the more engaged your audience will be too!

It’s always important to set yourself up for success, and the best way to do that is to NOT STRESS. No one is going to die if you make a mistake, miss a point, have some technical problems, or get nervous. This is your passion and it’s a beautiful thing that we live in a world where you can freely share that passion with others. Love what you do and share from a place of love. 

 

Michael Moreno
Michael Moreno is an actor, father and entrepreneur in New York City. Working on stage, creating a web series, hosting a podcast for actors called The Actor CEO Podcast, and his work on Law & Order: SVU has helped him guide actors and public speakers on improving their on camera presence. His new company Wild Fire Video brings the right tools and techniques to Live streamers allowing them to dramatically improve their videos. 
Want to be part of the Wild Fire Video Beta? Find out more here: bit.ly/wildfirevideobeta

We Boycott Valentine's Day February 14, 2017 09:00

We're Boycotting Valentine's Day.

We're boycotting Valentine's Day.

Well, kind of.

When we were first dating, Ryan and I bought into all the typical Valentine's Day hooplah... we gave gifts, shelled out cash for overpriced mushy cards, and even made each other mixed tapes (yes, that ages us... I know).

Somewhere along the way, Valentine's Day became annoying to us. We didn't like being told that we HAVE to celebrate love on a certain day. Can't we just celebrate our love when we WANT to? What if the 15th is a better day than the 14th to go out to eat? Doesn't it mean more to celebrate our love spontaneously?

And what about people who don't have someone to celebrate the day with? Valentine's Day can be especially difficult.

So this year we've decided to boycott Valentine's Day. We're taking a stand. Call it a picket. Maybe even a riot (as long as it doesn't cause a mess in my house). Want to join us?

This Valentine's Day, let's do things a little differently.

Instead of store-bought cards, fattening candy, and wilting flowers, let's focus on what really matters:

Relationships.

Let's do what it takes to make our relationships strong, healthy, and productive.

How do we do that?

Start by telling the people who matter to you that they matter to you. Tell them you love them and want to build stronger relationships.

Then book a time to work with me. Whether you're thinking of your relationship with your spouse, child, friend, coworker, or family member, I will help you communicate with them. I'll help you get your point across, listen carefully, and resolve conflict peacefully. Whichever topic resonates with you, we'll work on it.

So this Valentine's Day, celebrate the day in a way that will last a lifetime: by building your relationships and making them stronger. Make a true difference. I'm now booking appointments for next month. Click here to reserve yours before they're all gone!


5 Tips for Communicating Without Getting Angry February 07, 2017 14:20

5 Tips for Communicating Without Getting Angry

Do you get angry? Do you find yourself infuriated and lashing out? We all feel that way at times. Certain things set us off, and we react in anger. We can curtail the anger, however, and it's important to do that so we can maintain our relationships.

Here are five tips for communicating without getting angry:

1. Talk often. Don't let things fester; deal with stuff right away. It's easiest to do that when we're having regular conversations. My husband, Ryan, and I have (almost) nightly coffee hour which really facilitates consistent communication. Because we are talking to each other so often, we are usually able to resolve issues when they are still small instead of trying to tackle issues when they've piled up and snowballed.

2. Ask questions. Seek to understand the situation from the other person's point of view. Listen without interrupting. Instead of making statements or accusations, it's important to allow the other person to express his or her ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Ask open-ended questions to gain a more thorough understanding of the situation. Don't pass judgment or assume anything.

3. Kindly and respectfully share your viewpoint. Be honest but nice. Yelling is not okay. Be direct and say what you need to say, but be kind. If you bite the other person's head off, it will be very difficult for that person to resolve the issue with you. Speak to that person in the way you'd like to be spoken to. Make sure you share everything you need to share. Don't hold back, but be nice about it.

4. Be okay with not agreeing. You don't have to agree about everything. Compromise. Many people believe that a relationship is "okay" only if there are no disagreements. That is false. Ryan and I disagree often, and we're fine with that. Seeing something from another perspective is valuable. We don't need to debate something to the death. We just need to be able to move forward with understanding. Neither of us needs to "be right" or "win" the argument because we're on the same team. We appreciate each other's viewpoints.

5. Speak to the other person the same way you'd like to be spoken to. Be kind and respectful. I've said this throughout, but it's worth reiterating here. Screaming never helps a situation. Ever. Take time to cool off before speaking if you need to. Be humble, and use the golden rule.

Ryan and I help couples learn these communication skills. If you'd like to work with us to learn how to fight right without killing each other, click here to reserve a FREE "Chat with Carrie" so we can talk more about it.


Are You Using Facebook Live to Grow Your Business? February 03, 2017 09:33

Facebook Live

Are you using Facebook Live to grow your business? Are you getting the results you want?

If not, it's time.

Facebook Live is a great tool for growing your business. It helps you really connect with your followers. They're able to get to know you on a more personal level. That leads to that "know, like, and trust" factor that you need.

But Facebook Live can be daunting. Not everyone loves to be behind the camera. Maybe you aren't sure how to get started, or maybe you don't know what to talk about.

No problem. With a few simple steps, you'll end the fear and frustration. Click here to get your FREE COPY of 3 Actions You Can Take TODAY to ROCK Your Facebook Lives, and learn how! Want to really dig in to Facebook Live? Check out our course:


Just Say No to #AllTheThings January 24, 2017 09:15

Just Say No to #AllTheThings

Somewhere along the way, busy-ness started being celebrated. Now we almost brag about how much we have to do and how we "don't have time" for anything else. It seems the more we have to do, the more successful we are. 

But what are we so busy doing?

Being busy working on projects we love or spending time with family might be energizing. If we're busy with activities that excite us and that we enjoy, those are the right activities to be busy with.

On the other hand, if activities are draining you or if you dread them, it's time to reconsider your schedule. It's time to prioritize. It's time to take control of your calendar because it may just be controlling you.

How do we do that?

1. Start with a blank calendar. Seriously, just totally start over. Make a conscious decision to only add items to the calendar that are absolute priorities. Give some thought to how many days each week you want as "free space" and don't schedule anything there. 

2. Prioritize your activities. Only add the "must-do" items to the calendar. If an activity isn't enjoyable or you feel obligated to do it, don't add it to the calendar. Some things will have to go, and that's okay. You'll thank yourself later.

3. Get good at saying "no." You'll need to say no to activities that you don't enjoy. You'll need to determine how many activities your kids can participate in. You'll need to decide which volunteer activities actually bring you joy and make a difference. Say "no" to everything else. 

It's your calendar. You are the master of it. Don't allow other people's priorities to fill your calendar. Rather, fill your calendar with your own priorities. You'll be glad you did.


Put Your Spouse Ahead of Your Kids January 10, 2017 10:38

Ryan and Carrie Sharpe

When I was first dating Ryan, he was my whole world. I thought about him all day long. I would count down the minutes until our next date or phone call. We got engaged and later married, and he was my first priority. I wanted to spend all my time with him, do nice things for him, and make sure he felt important (because he was). He did the same for me.

Then we had kids.

I knew nothing about babies. As a teenager I hadn't done much babysitting for kids younger than 3, and I was pretty young when my own sister was born, so I really had no experience with newborns or babies. To say I was a mess when our first baby arrived would be quite an understatement. I had no clue what I was doing. I felt like a disaster and a failure.

When our baby was born, my OBGYN told us that when we came for our 6-week postpartum checkup he would ask if we had gone on a Date Night during that time. He told us that was our assignment. At some point in those first 6 weeks, we needed to go on a Date Night without the baby.

I laughed at him. I really did. Date Night had never been a problem for us. In fact, almost every night was Date Night before we had a baby! 

But the truth is we struggled to get that Date Night in before that 6-week checkup. Rather, I struggled to get that Date Night in. I didn't understand the importance of making sure my husband was getting my time. I didn't realize then that I needed to purposefully position him and our marriage as my #1 priority, even over our children.

I learned my lesson when we finally went on that Date Night. It felt so good to laugh together and focus on each other. It was a huge relief to get a break from a baby crying. We reconnected, and I remembered why I love being married to him. 

Since then, Date Night has been an important part of our marriage success. Yes, there are times that the children need us, and their needs at times must come first. Yes, there are times when too many days go by between Date Nights. But, getting time alone with each other, without children, is a vital part of our marriage. We make each other our #1 priority. We have five children now, and after they all leave home one day, we'll be left with just each other. I don't want to wake up after the kids are gone and realize I don't even know my husband. I want to prioritize him every day to keep our marriage strong.

I spoke about this topic on a podcast episode with Modern Twin Mom, Sunit Suchdev. I'd love for you to listen in as we discuss the importance of prioritizing your marriage over kids. Click here to tune in. It's Episode 3.

Wife ChatIf you're a wife, we'll encourage you, support you, and share resources with you over in our Wife Chat community. Click here to join!


We Need Communities January 03, 2017 11:40

We Need Communities

We can't do life alone. We need input from others in both our professional and personal lives. We need other people's expertise and experience. We need to learn from their mistakes and successes. Brainstorming with others and getting their perspective is invaluable.

That's why we've created two new communities for 2017!

The first is for business owners and other professionals who would like to incorporate public speaking into their visibility strategies. If you're interested in Facebook Live, video, on-stage events, teaching, or webinars, this group is for you. Whether you're new to public speaking or you're a seasoned pro, we'd love for you to join. Sharing experience and learning from each other is what this group is about, with the overall goal of helping each other connect effectively with our audiences. Click here to join our Communicate to Connect community.

The second group is for wives who want to communicate effectively with their husbands. It's a supportive and encouraging group to learn from others and share resources and experience. Marriage is a journey, and becoming a great wife can be hard work. You don't have to do it alone. Wife Chat is the perfect place to meet other wives on this marriage journey and learn from each other. Click here to join Wife Chat.

We hope that you'll join one or both of these new groups. We're so excited to engage with you in this more personal and productive way!

 

Know someone who would benefit from our communities? Please share this article with them!


3 Reasons Your Marriage Needs a Break December 27, 2016 09:00

3 Reasons Your Marriage Needs a Break

The daily grind and never-ending family activities can really take a toll on your marriage. Days and weeks can fly by in a blur of grocery shopping, house cleaning, work, and parental taxi service. Before you know it, you look over at that person you married and can't remember the last time you talked about anything that didn't involve responsibilities, obligations, or the family calendar.

Your marriage needs a break.

Taking a break together is absolutely essential to a strong, healthy marriage. You need regularly scheduled Date Nights, but you need an overnight (or better yet-- an entire weekend) getaway to take the break that you both need. You may think you don't have the time or money to take that kind of break, but you seriously can't afford not to take a break. Here's why:

1. You need to unwind. Getting away alone together gives you time to de-stress without the dirty dishes, TVs, and Facebook newsfeed calling your name. When you get away alone together, you can hear yourself think. You can focus on each other instead of work and bills. You can shut your brain off for a little while and recharge. You need to. You both do.

2. You need to talk without interruptions. Child chatter and ringing phones do not make perfect atmosphere for adult conversations. You and your spouse need to be able to finish a complete sentence without a child interrupting to have his butt wiped. You need to be able to have an entire conversation without looking at an electronic device. Taking a break together sets the stage for reconnecting and communicating effectively. Whether you need to discuss how to tackle a challenge you face or you just want to talk about ice cream flavors, taking a break together will provide the opportunity to do that without interruption.

3. You need to laugh and have fun together. It's hard to enjoy each other if all you ever do is work (career, house, and otherwise). You need to get out of your usual surroundings and be able to let loose a little. Having fun together reminds you why you fell in love in the first place and encourages you to make enjoyable new memories together. Laughter is good for your soul and for your health, so do a few activities that are fun for you both. 

Taking a break doesn't have to be a huge production or an expensive venture. Cash in your hotel points, utilize family and friends for babysitting, and take a couple days for yourself. Go hiking. Go camping. Visit a museum. Check out a new coffee shop. Whatever. Just get our of your normal routine, and leave your worries behind for a couple days. Just focus on each other. Have fun. Talk and laugh. Fall in love all over again.

Your marriage needs that break.

 

101 Date Nights

Click here for your FREE COPY of 101 Date Nights: Affordable Ways to Have Fun & Connect!