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Our holiday gift guide is here! November 07, 2017 09:00

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It's that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us. We're so excited to share with you some of our favorites this year. Some of our favorites are professional gifts for business-builders, and some are personal. Among them you will find treasures for your own gift-giving!

 

1. The Golden Girls Clue Board Game

Oh.My.Goodness. Carrie absolutely LOVES Clue, and she falls asleep every night watching the Golden Girls. This board game is the best of both worlds. Seriously, who doesn't need a little more Sophia in their life? Hours and hours of fun and laughter with your family are the bonus with this gift. Click here for details.

 

2. I'm Listening art

Our all-time favorite television show is Frasier. We watch it on Netflix over and over, and we never stop laughing. This art showcases his signature phrase, "I'm listening." It also contains numerous quotes from various episodes of the show. If you love Frasier like we do, this one's for you! Click here for details.

 

3. Hamilton Beach coffeemaker

If you've been around us for more than five seconds, you know we love coffee. Carrie's family has a Finnish background, and coffee's a big deal to them. Our favorite brand of coffeemaker is Hamilton Beach. We've plowed through our share of coffeemakers, and Hamilton Beach lasts the longest. This one is a 12-cupper (which is a necessity at our house!), has a clock, and is programmable. Christmas is a great time to give the gift of caffeine, and it's also a great gift for yourself! Click here for details.

 

4. Bacon socks

You're missing out if you don't have a pair of bacon socks. On the bottom these say, "If you can read this, bring me some bacon." They are covered with bacon on the top and up the sides. Perfect for fellow bacon lovers! Click here for details.

 

Blue snowball microphone

5. Blue Snowball microphone

If you're using Zoom or recording podcasts, you know you need a high quality microphone. The Blue Snowball is our favorite. It provides crystal clear sound without a super high price tag. This one comes with the necessary pop filter and a set of headphones, too. Click here for details.

 

socialite clip-on mini ring light

6. The Socialite clip-on mini ring light

Anyone who takes selfies for business or who goes Live on Facebook needs good lighting. This clip-on mini ring light provides great lighting, is inexpensive, and is small enough to transport easily. It clips right on your phone for pictures, videos, and Facebook Live! Click here for details.

 

The Happy Hustle

7. The Happy Hustle book

The Happy Hustle, by Julie Ball, is a fantastic gift for the female entrepreneurs in your life. It's full of anecdotes from women who are building businesses, and it's sure to bring on the happy in anyone's hustle! Full disclosure: Carrie has a couple parts in this book! Get a copy for a friend and one for yourself. Click here for details.

 

8. Laila perfume

This is Carrie's favorite perfume, and it's the scent of Norway. It has a lightly floral scent, and is crisp and clean. When we went to Epcot this summer, we were BLOWN AWAY that we had the opportunity to meet the perfume's creator, Geir Ness! The whole family got to talk to him and hear all about Norway! How awesome is that?! Click here for details.

 

Purple seat cushion

9. Purple seat cushion

This is Ryan's saving grace! Because of all the long hours he spends sitting... driving and at his desk, this cushion saves him from hip and back pain. Anyone who sits for extended periods of time needs this cushion! Click here for details.

 

Vintage Meet Modern

10. Vintage Meet Modern sparkle earrings (and more!)

There is nothing prettier than sparkles during the holidays! Vintage Meet Modern has endless possibilities for your gift-giving pleasure! Carrie has several pieces from Vintage Meet Modern, and loves them all. Click here to see several options.

 

charger

11. USB Charger with multiple choice

Ryan is a gadget guy. This multiple choice charger is a fave! It plugs into a USB port and charges multiple devices. How cool is that?! Click here for details.

 

12. Talking is What I'm Best At shirt

Anyone who loves talking as much as we do needs this shirt. It's funny, it's cute, and it provides opportunity to start even more conversations! Click here for details.

 

Those are our favorites for the year. Happy shopping! If you'd like recommendations for other gifts, please feel free to send us an email at info@ryancarriesharpe.com. We're happy to help!


Speaker Spotlight: Damita McGhee October 24, 2017 09:00

Our Speaker Spotlight series puts the focus on speakers in our community. Iron sharpens iron, and we can all learn from the experiences of others. We asked questions and our speakers answered them. These answers come from Damita McGhee.

Who do you most like to speak to? Tell us about your ideal audience.

I love speaking to women who are ready to begin their entrepreneurial journey from their home office. It’s fun when they are full of excitement and trepidation.

It’s something so inspirational about the woman who balances her business and her household. 

What are your favorite topics to talk about or teach?

1. Expanding your vision
2. Balancing building a brand, business and babies
3 Trusting your gut
4. The Sweet Spot-Where your passion and purpose intersect

What sets you apart from other speakers? What do your audiences love about you?

I am so relatable and honest. I realize a lot of people have passion. However, talking from a passionate position is an integral part of my speaking style. 

I want women to feel better after they have left my presence than they did before we met. It’s imperative to me that I inspire women to be the best version of themselves possible. 

What does your dream speaking engagement look like? Describe it here.

A room (whether 5, 50, 500 or 5000) full of women who are ready to take their businesses to the next level. They understand that personal development is part of the growth process and they invest in themselves. They are ready to live outside of their comfort zones. 

The room is full of positive, passionate women ready to walk in their full potential. 

Bloopers happen to everyone. Tell us about one that happened to you. How did you handle it?

Yes they do. 

The most recent was just last week. I have a weekly online TV show. Unfortunately, I just could not get Facebook Live to work for me. My guest was waiting to join but I just couldn’t navigate my phone properly. And this was after I tried BeLive.tv and Zoom webinar. Ultimately, my guest had to go Live and invite me on. 

How do you control your nerves during a speaking engagement?

Just breathe through it. I take the focus off of me and think about the people in the audience who need the message. In my mind, God connected us for a reason. 

What's the best advice you've ever gotten regarding public speaking?

Carrie told me something very powerful. I can’t remember it exactly but it had to do with progress over perfection. 

What do you hope to accomplish with your speaking in the next 10 years?

I pray I impact millions of women across the world. We share something universal. We love our families and have a God given purpose. It is my sincere desire to help women connect the two. 

God designed each of us to accomplish what we alone are meant to contribute to this world. It is our destiny. I will help women realize that. 

Damita McGhee

Damita McGhee is a wife and mother of 3. After working in the corporate world 20 years, she became an Online Entrepreneur, Marketing/Brand Strategist and Motivational Speaker. 

Her personal mission is to help women understand we can have it a all. We can be sensational spouses, magnificent moms and powerful, profitable business owners with the right tools and resources. 

She teaches start up mompreneurs how to create a strong online brand and build profitable marketing/sales funnels. She has a passion for helping solo-mompreneurs get their businesses up and running.

She is a highly sought after motivational speaker and trainer. Her passion and sincere desire to see other women win is the driving force that has shaped her into the thriving entrepreneur she is today. It took 16 years to find her passion and purpose and now she is committed to helping other women do the same. 

Connect with Damita:

Website: www.damitamcghee.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/UnapologeticallyPassionateMOMpreneur

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/UnapologeticallyPassionateMOMpreneurs 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/damitamcghee

Hang out with Damita in our community on Facebook! It's free, fun, and full of help to make your public speaking the best it can be! Click here to join.


No Train Wrecks: How to Properly End Your Speech October 17, 2017 09:00

The most important parts of any speech are the beginning and the end. The beginning sets the stage, engages the audience, and keeps their attention. The end puts the period at the end of the sentence. It closes the speech with a bang and helps the audience remember the speaker's message.

Or not.

There are so many ways an ending can go wrong. Watch this video to learn the most effective ways to end a speech:

Are you working on a speech? I'd love to help you develop a compelling beginning and a memorable ending (and all the stuff in the middle!). If you'd like to talk about it with me, click here.


The Best of the Best October 10, 2017 09:00

Our Facebook community is full of amazing people! They are all so talented, and each one is so unique. They have so much to offer the world around us! They have different backgrounds, experiences, and areas of expertise. Needless to say, they are an impressive bunch!

A few weeks ago I asked them to post links to their recent blog posts and articles so I can share them with you. 

So.Much.Goodness!

Here are the best of the best. Check out this list, and read the ones relevant to you. Post them, share them, and learn from them.

I have.

5 Strategies to Help You Kick Your Stress Eating Habit, by Lori Evans

Successful Corporate Full-time Working Mom Transitions to Part-time Consultant – Stacie Buckley, by Suzanne Brown

How to Infuse Your Voice Into Your Copy, by Tara Bosler

Embracing the "Free" in Freelance Work, by Kathy Krueger

I'm 37, Not a Missed Opportunity, by Carrie Severson

Just a Chair: Letting Go of Stuff After Loss, by Shannon MacFarlane

Happy Back Tips, by Irena Miller

How an Entrepreneurial Sabbatical Saved My Life, by Erin Wilson

Empowered Health – Is my Baby Allergic to my Breastmilk?, by Veronica Lamb

Back to “Real” School: Transitioning from Schooling at Home to Bricks and Mortar, by Julie Ford

 

Ready to be part of the community? Click here to join.


Your Only Competition is You October 03, 2017 09:00

We are surrounded by people we compare ourselves to. They are on social media with their frequent perfect tropical vacations. They're at church with their high-end handbags and heels. They're beside us at the starting line. They are sitting in the bleachers cheering on their child athlete. They're in Facebook groups. They're at work. They're at the grocery store. 

The problem is that we only see one sliver of their lives. We catch a glimpse. We see the carefully constructed representation of reality. We see the perfection.

We don't, however, always see the struggles, the challenges, and the failures. We don't see the profit statement. We don't see the hard work. We don't see the years of hard-won experiences and trials.

So why do we compare?

Friend, your only competitor is you.

Put the blinders on when it comes to others. They are a distraction that will hold you back from achieving your goals and dreams. Believe enough in yourself to look only at yourself.

Even if someone else has your same job title, he is not you. He can't do the job the same way you can. He doesn't have exactly the same background, experiences, and strengths. So don't doubt yourself.

Complement each other, rather than compete with each other.

Fill in each other's gaps, and utilize each other's strengths. Make referrals to others who do what you cannot. Hone your own skills.

This is your race to run, and you are your only competition.

 

Get support and encouragement from others in our Communicate to Connect community on Facebook! Click here to join.


The One Word to Avoid When Apologizing September 26, 2017 09:00

It's inevitable that we'll wrong someone at some point. We'll say the wrong thing, react with anger, or hurt someone's feelings.

When it happens, how we handle it matters.

The best way is with an apology. 

A heartfelt apology can go a long way toward restoring the relationship. Unfortunately, many times apologies are muddled by one word: but.

When apologizing, it's important to allow the apology to stand alone. 

I'm sorry. 

"I'm sorry" should be the full statement. It shouldn't be "I'm sorry, but..."

When it's followed by the word "but" the apology is diminished. Adding "but" adds an excuse or tries to place blame elsewhere. Instead of adding "but," just take full responsibility. Be humble enough to simply say, "I'm sorry."

That one simple statement means everything.


The First Five Minutes September 19, 2017 09:00

 

The first five minutes are the most important of any speech. It's during those few minutes that you, as the speaker, have the opportunity to connect with your audience and keep their attention for the rest of your speech.

Or not.

Those five minutes can make you or break you.

Don't waste those precious minutes thanking the lunch crew or host. Don't waste those five minutes reiterating your introduction.

Don't waste those minutes with fluff.

Instead, fill those minutes with a powerful story, a thought-provoking question, or a stunning statistic. 

Start strong in those initial minutes. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Grab your audience's attention, and keep it.

To that end, it's important that you have rehearsed your first five minutes many times. You don't want to be grappling with it when you get on stage. You don't want to go off on a tangent, stumble over your words, or search for the right words.

Know your beginning, practice it until it's second nature, and use it to your advantage.

 

Let's work on your first five minutes together! Click here to book a time to talk about it.


You Need to Unplug September 12, 2017 09:00

You Need to Unplug

Our family went away on vacation earlier this summer. We were unplugged from our electronic devices, and it was absolutely wonderful. Before you dismiss this idea and say you could never unplug, please know that you can. 

And you need to.

Unplugging while on vacation required some work on our part before we went. Neither Ryan nor I could just leave town without prepping some things ahead of time. We had work projects to complete, articles to write and schedule in advance, autoresponders to turn on, and social media posts to create and schedule. Once all that was in place, our work ran smoothly in our absence.

It was important to us to be fully present with our family while on this vacation, so we did the necessary work ahead of time. We wanted to be in the moment. We wanted to look into our kids' eyes rather than into a screen. We needed to be rid of that gut knot that sometimes develops due to emails from unhappy customers, "urgent" text messages, or comparing ourselves to friends and family on social media.

Because we were unplugged, we relaxed. We shut off the notifications and endless buzzing and dinging. We talked to each other. We talked to our kids. We experienced the moments without distraction. We grew closer to each other by taking a break from business, work, and obligations.

Obviously, we can't do that all the time. Responsibilities don't disappear. I get that. But it sure was heavenly to take a break from all of that for awhile. We came home mentally rejuvenated and relaxed. The prep work beforehand was well worth it.

When was the last time you unplugged?


What I Learned From Doing a Ted Talk September 05, 2017 09:00

By Suzanne Brown

 

And the Planning Begins

I hung up the phone, feeling both ecstatic and terrified. I had just finished a call with the director of TEDxSMU. I was confirmed to give a talk about a holistic look at why It’s Time to Create Professional Part-time Opportunities for Working Mom at the TEDxSMU Women’s Conference (2016). It was the end of June and the event was at the end of October. I had 4 months to figure out my talk while finishing up the interviews for my book (and still do client work, be the default parent, take care of the household duties, try to maintain a relationship with my husband, all in less than 20 hours per week for the summer months).

The next few months flew by. I hired a friend to coach me, helping me find the right words and the right presence on the stage. And I practiced a lot. A few weeks out from the conference, I worked for a few hours each day on something related to the talk.

TED Talks Are Different

I’m not new to public speaking. I’ve been doing some form of speaking in front of an audience since early on in my 18+ year career. I’ve spoken in front of small groups (10 or less) and large audiences, whether a presentation, seminar, panel, or speech. I’ve spoken on panels and done speeches in front of hundreds, but there were others with me or there was a podium. It can be comfortable to have that podium to hide safely behind. Presentations are easy because you have slides. And I can speak to slides all day long, even with limited words or visuals on a screen, because I usually know my content well.

A TED talk is different. You’re sharing stories, ideas, advice, or something that is new or unique. You’re talking about a new topic or a unique perspective on an often talked about topic. You’re passionate or an expert in this topic. And it’s you and your audience. You have a mic and you’re on the stage. No podium. No notes. Limited slides with limited information. That’s it.

If you’re interested in doing a TED talk, I have some advice for you to consider, based on my own experience:

1. Preparation is integral for a TED talk.

  • Understand your motivation for doing the talk. How does it fit into your overall brand and marketing plan? For me the idea behind the talk was to introduce the topic that I was writing about. Essentially, the TED talk set up why my book topic is important. I looked at the two together, not as separate elements of my branding and marketing strategy.
  • Practice a lot. Include hand gestures and how you’d like to move around as you’re practicing. You want these things to become second nature.
  • Don’t have a memorized talk. I wrote out my talk so that I knew what I wanted to say. I never said it exactly the same way two times in the row, but it helped to have it written out so that I knew the talk well. The day of the event I was told I had to cut 4 minutes from my talk. I had practiced it over and over and it was just shy of 17 minutes. All of a sudden on the day of, it couldn’t be over 13. I had to know what I could cut while doing my talk because I was the first speaker of the day. That required me knowing what I wanted to say incredibly well. I quickly had to decide what was most important and what I thought would most resonate with the audience.

 2. There are things to consider the day of that can help with your talk:

  • Get to your happy place. You want to be in the right mindset for your talk. Figure out what that is and what will get you there. For the day of, I wanted to be calm and focused. I stay calm by doing deep breathing. I also made sure to get in an early morning workout to help with the butterflies. I had all kinds of things go wrong that morning before getting to the conference, but none of it mattered on that stage. Make sure you know how to go to your happy place before you walk on the stage too. I took a few deep breaths and I was ready to go. 
  • Water beforehand might help. If you get dry mouth when you talk for long periods of time, that dry mouth sound can clearly be heard through the mic because it’s really close to your mouth. You can’t take water with you, so drink water for 15 minutes before you go on stage. Make sure you have an empty bladder, though, before you do this.
  • Speak louder to combat nervousness. If you continue to feel nervous while doing your talk, speak louder, even though you’re mic’ed. You are probably speaking too softly from being nervous and focusing on your volume will remove the focus from being nervous. Plus, there is usually a team managing the mic and video that can adjust the volume if you’re talking too loud.
  • Breathe. You are on stage for 4 to 18 minutes (usual length for most TED talks). You must breathe during your talk or you’ll run out of air and sound breathless. That breathless sound might not make you seem the most confident in your talk.
  • Slow down. Chances are, you’re probably going to feel nervous. Most people speed up when they’re nervous on stage. Slow down and keep an even pace, unless it makes sense in your talk to speed up at times.
  • Get a picture on the stage with your camera. Ask someone to take a picture with your camera (likely your phone). You want someone toward the front of the audience. You can easily get another speaker to do it if you don’t know anyone in the audience. Get them to take more than one picture, so that the only one isn’t with your mouth opened or your eyes closed. And have the camera zoomed in at least a bit if the person is close to the stage or zoomed in all the way if they’re far back.
  • Connect with people at the event. Be open to conversation because strangers will share their stories with you, if you make yourself available. You’ll hear how people connected with what you said. You might even get ideas on things to change or add the next time you cover the same or a similar topic.
  • Connect with other speakers. Set up time, while at the event, to chat with other speakers or attendees from the event. Have your phone with you, so that you can easily access your calendar. I wish I had done more of this.

 3. After the talk is important, too.

  • Share soon after the event. Tell people on social media that you did the talk and show your enthusiasm before the video is up. Talk about the event itself.
  • Follow up. If you connected with people at the event, especially if you seemed to make a true connection, follow up with them. Mention something you connected over. Try to reach out to them over time to keep that connection going.
  • Promote your video. When the video is posted, promote it everywhere. And do that right after it’s posted. Share on social media, on your blog, in conversations, when you’re on podcasts, and on your resume or LinkedIn profile. How you talk about it will change, based on the marketing vehicle. Let it become part of your story. Share, share, share!

So, what will your TED talk be about? Not ready to do a talk? What’s holding you back?

 

Suzanne BrownSuzanne Brown is a strategic marketing and business consultant, advocate for professional part-time working moms, TEDx speaker, thought provoker, and international travel enthusiast. Most importantly, she is wife to a supportive husband and mother to two active young boys. Suzanne’s current passion project is empowering moms to think differently about their career approach and providing a how-to in her book, which will launch in September. She interviewed more than 110 professional part-time working moms and sprinkles their stories, insights, and advice throughout her book. Follow her reflections on all things related to being a professional part-time working mom and get updates on her book launch at www.mompowerment.com.


Stop Speaking. Start Serving. August 29, 2017 09:00

 

If you agree to speak at a conference, you're not a speaker. You're a server.

There's a huge difference. 

If you're speaking in an attempt to get your name in lights, demand authority, or gain popularity, your heart is in the wrong place. And your audience will see right through you.

Your audience can sense your motives. They'll know if you're there for them, or if you're there for you.

Arrive early, and stay late when you can. Mingle and get to know people. Invest your time and talents. Help people feel welcome and comfortable. Ask them questions, and get to know them. Go above and beyond.

For real. Not just to sell them something.

Speaking is a privilege and should be treated as such. It shouldn't matter whether you get keynote designation, or if you're leading a small breakout. Either way, your job is to make a difference. Your job is to teach something. Your job is to inspire others to implement what you've taught.

Your audience should leave the room better than they were when they arrived.

Take the focus off of you and put it on your audience. Get to know them. Find out their fears, dreams, and goals. Find out what holds them back. Research and prepare weeks in advance. Give them your absolute best.

It's not about you. It's about them.

Every single time.

A spotlight is not the goal. Improving the lives of your audience is.

Serve your audience.

 

Are you working on a speech? Need some help? Click here to schedule a chat with me to discover how I can help you!


Why You Need to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Business August 22, 2017 09:00

We're hearing it everywhere... Facebook Live is powerful. You need it for that "know, like, and trust" factor. Facebook itself loves Facebook Live. It's great for engagement.

Are you using Facebook Live?

If you're still on the fence about jumping in, you have to watch this short video by Maria Page:

 

 

Are you convinced yet? If you're ready to get started with Facebook Live, you need our Let's Go Live Mini-Course. It teaches all the basics to getting started with Facebook Live so you can use it to grow your business. Click here to get yours.


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.


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.