Posted by Beverly on
February 17, 2013
Guest Post from BDN member: Lynn Bardowski
Hearing two different women business owners share the same story this week reminded me that I’ve heard their story before. As we discussed who they were communicating their million dollar vision to, they both started the conversation with an apology (not a good sign), and shared that the people closest to them had no idea they had started a business. Or, had a website. Or, that they were so passionate about their business they were losing sleep over it. In a good way. The conversation went something like, “I’m sorry to say that my (fill in the blank with the name of those closest to you) doesn’t know I’m doing this.” I’ve heard this story many times over my last 23 years as a business coach and mentor. Why are are so many women hiding their true passion, afraid to open the door and share their dreams with those closest to them? The common answer is FEAR - fear of failure, fear of success, fear of putting ourselves out there to be judged by the people we know and love the most. Our inner circle knows the “real” us, right? I don’t think they do. It’s the reason I titled the first chapter of my book, “You’re Not Who Everyone Thinks You Are.”
Here are 5 Things You Can Do To Stop Hiding Your True Passion:
1. Stop worrying about what your friends, family, co-workers, cousins or the neighbor next door thinks about you. While it might be easier said than done, realize that their judgement is based on a lack of belief in themselves, not you. They are not capable of supporting you to come out of hiding because they’ve locked themselves into their own limiting beliefs. It’s their “shift”, not yours.
2. Go Full Monty. Letting the real you shine through is a lot like being naked. Suddenly, there’s no place to hide and you’re out in public during bright daylight. You feel exposed and vunerable, wishing you had a pair of invisible Spanx to put on. Have you ever been on a Caribbean vacation with a “clothing optional” beach? You’d think everyone would be staring, but when everyone is naked, no one seems to really care.
3. Free Your Dreams And You’ll Free Your Fears. Letting the real you out is scary and exhilarating all at the same time, kind of like a roller coaster. Let’s face it, it can be a wild ride. After you’ve faced the “Demon Roller” you’ll be ready to conquer the world! When everyone knows you’ve acted on your passion and purpose, there’s nothing left to stop you.
4. Take Responsibility For Keeping Your Passion A Secret. Hiding is such a convenient excuse as to why we’re not getting to where we want to be. We could totally be a success “if only” we could get out. That excuse plays well until you show up at an event and discover that your cousin just started her own business and is soliciting everyone to get the word out. Ouch. It’s not her fault she’s getting all the biz, she had no idea what you were up to.
5. Be Proud, Out Loud. If you’re not shouting your vision off the highest roof top, why would anyone believe in you, your business or your product? It takes courage, belief, persistence and determination to act on your passion and purpose. Proudly celebrate your achievement and set out to be the best in your field. As Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” And don’t keep it a secret.
Lynn Bardowski is a 23-year entrepreneur, best selling author, national speaker, mentor and radio show host. For insights on entrepreneurship, leadership and vision, read her book, listen to her radio show, follow her blog and “LIKE” her Facebook page.
Posted by Beverly on
October 13, 2008
How can you conduct business via voice mail—especially if all you’re doing is leaving a message? Good question. Dr. Stan Fine, author of the book Business Boot Camp for Women, says it all starts using the right words to ensure the person on the other end will call you back.
According to Dr. Stan, you can use these seven techniques immediately to dramatically improve your rate of callbacks when you leave voicemail. What you’re doing is enabling the recipient with enough detail and reasons so that calling you back just makes good sense.
1. Be brief and get to the point. Don’t begin your voicemail with small talk, jokes or other needless filler words. Your message may be one of many, so he may be tired of listening when he gets to yours, so get right down to business. Identify yourself and the purpose of calling.
2. Put the call into context. Say something immediately after your greeting that puts you and your importance in the mind of the listener. She may not remember you if you just met once or twice, so give her a reference. The listener is always thinking, “Who the heck are you and why should I return your call?” If they asked for the call, make sure you say so. Bad: “Hello Ms. Watson. I’m calling today to let you know of our great new line of…” Better: “Hi Ms. Watson. This is Karl Walinskas. We met last Tuesday at the Internet trade show in Chicago at my company’s booth, The Speaking Connection. I’m following up on your request to…”
3. Given the listener a reason to reply. What does the call recipient get if he gets back to you? Pleasant conversation? A special offer? Offer something compelling that makes the listener want to get back to you for his own good. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for me, so provide the listener with an answer to that question.
Bad: “I’d like you to call me back so we can discuss…”
Better: “I’m holding the cruise dates for 24 hours until I hear from you. Call me by tomorrow to book your vacation or plan something else.”
4. Time stamp the message. Most voicemail systems have automatic time stamps, but don’t rely on them. I never listen to them because the electronic voice is annoying, and many answering machines don’t have a time stamp. Let the person know the day and time you called and more importantly, when she can call you back. Provide a window for the return call that is accurate but not too restrictive.
Bad: “We need to talk on the medical account. Call me anytime to discuss.”
Better: “I’m calling on Thursday around 3 pm. I can be reached in my office tomorrow from 10 to 1 in the afternoon at 555-1212. Please call to discuss…”
5. Let the listener know how to reach you. Simple right? Give the listener a phone number for a return call and an alternate like a digital phone that’s always with you. If you’re never around and don’t have a mobile phone (like me for years), use the convenience of email technology to let her know an email address that she can reply to that you can be sure to get.
Bad: “Call me back so we can get to it.”
Better: “I can be reached at 555-1212 from 3-5 today, or at my mobile number of 555-2121 anytime. You can also get me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org I check it regularly.”
6. Provide Instructions. Tell the listener exactly what you want him to do. For business calls, discussion isn’t good enough. What is this person needed for? The “I need” phrase is the most powerful two words in the English language, so use it.
Bad: “Call me back so we can discuss the Warren account.”
Better: “I need your approval on the final contract to propose to Mr. Warren for the half-million dollar widget order.”
7. Explain the consequences of not calling back. This is a great call-return-getter that most people don’t use. Think of the cruise example earlier, with the implied consequence of losing the trip reservation unless a return call was made. If you can, be explicit.
Bad: “Honey, call me back about the groceries you wanted me to pick up.”
Better: “Honey, call me back to let me know if you wanted skim milk or whole milk. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume you found other nourishment and no longer wish for me to pick up groceries. Bye-bye!”
Ladies, a word of caution: Don’t try to come across as sexy or alluring. Just state your message firmly.
Posted by Beverly on
October 4, 2008
At last count, I was a member of MySpace, Ryze, FaceBook, Ning, Fabulously40, Inside919, Tagged, Gathers, Black Writers with Purpose, LinkedIn, Eons, Vibrant Nation, Women Etc., and Boomer Diva Nation (Founder/Moderator). Oh, and let’s not forget about the time consuming site known as Twitter.
I want to be connected. I want people to know who I am and what I do and I want to know them. I’ve read plenty of articles that say you have to develop “relationships” BEFORE you jump into the “buy my product” business. While I agree with that, I also believe there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to say, “The buck stops here!”
Social networking definitely has its advantages. I became a best selling author on Amazon.com because of some wonderful women on the Ryze Network. My media consulting business has also done very well. But somewhere in the course of being connected online, I have lost part of myself. I would rather be on the computer spending idle time than be out in my own community making new contacts and even visiting old friends.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what I suggest:
Practice Time Management: Allocate certain times of the day that you will spend on the computer for social networking and stick to it. It may be hard at first but once you develop a routine, you will find it’ll get easier.
Learn to Walk Away: One of my favorite songs by Kenny Rogers is “The Gambler.” He says, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em—know when to fold ‘em—know when to walk away…”
Out of all of the networks I mentioned above, I’m really only active on three. Sure I contribute from time to time of all of the networks but there is no consistency on the majority of them. I’m sure you know people who only pop onto the site when they want to promote their business or product. That’s a non-no. If your friends on MySpace haven’t seen you in months and then all of a sudden you show up to promote your book, how do you think they will respond?
Do some Research on Social Media: Not every site is necessarily for everybody. Do your homework and find out which sites will serve your best interest. If you’re a baby boomer, why would you want to be connected to women who are all twenty-something? If you’re strictly about business, find like-minded sites, instead of wasting valuable time doing social networking.
Cultivate Real Relationships: I have never understood why some people insist on boasting about having thousands of friends in their “inner circle.” Use part of your networking time to get to know people. Twitter is a one of those places where people will chat about almost anything. Follow their conversation and chime in from time to time. Show others you are more than just your business.
Too much social networking can have you spinning your wheels and failing to meet your overall objectives. But, of course, you must know what that objective is.
Posted by Beverly on
July 21, 2008
If you’re at a business luncheon with some male colleagues and they start to “shoot the breeze” with some random chit-chat about sports, do you sit idly by and listen or do you intelligently engage them in conversation on some of the facts about your favorite team? Where do you draw the line in being treated like a lady versus being accepted as just one of the guys?
In a recent article written by Natalay Kogan from workitmom.com, she talked about experience she had during a lunch meeting with a male business contact. She said they talked about a few issues she needed his help with and when their lunch arrived, he said something that startled her. He said, “You know, you talk like a guy. If I didn’t know you were a woman, I’d think I was working with a man.” He went on to tell her that he worked in an office with quite a few women but none of them were as direct and candid as she was.
I don’t think Natalay was trying to be one of the guys. As a matter of fact, she went on to say she didn’t know if she should’ve been offended, flattered, or something entirely different. But her article brings up an interesting dilemma some women in business have when interacting with men. If a woman in business is assertive, some may see her as a interesting challenge but others often view her as too pushy and domineering. “She’s acting just like a man!” will be the argument. On the other hand, if she acts like a real southern belle, she may be viewed as timid and weak.
So where is the happy median in dealing with men in business?