Don’t visit Toastmasters International clubs, if…

Toastmasters Club MeetingIn a country where there is no police, would theft be considered theft if there was no system to deal with a thief (police arrest, jail cell, courts, juries, trial judges)? The way we respond to societal behaviors affect the way society responds and adapts. Society is constantly evolving and changing, but operates based on sets of silents rules that we all seem to agree to, without ever having to discuss or concert about most of them. For example, when observing how queues form at checkout lines in stores, even someone who has never been to a store knows instinctively that he has to join the back of the queue, no one has to tell him that. In email communications, it feels uncomfortable writing complete email messages in all capital letters (caps), and rightly so because as per email communication etiquette, all caps is the equivalent of  verbally shouting. No no.

Toastmasters International (TI) is the leading non-profit organization worldwide to help people improve their communication and leadership skills. TI is organized in clubs holding regular meeting for members, and non members (guests) alike. One of the unique benefits of TI is that a member of a club can visit any other club to experience a different club culture and meet new people. There are silent rules that must be followed when visiting any club as a Toastmaster, and I believe what I will share applies to anyone going out to visit any group, organization or individual. Don’t visit a TI club if:

  • You are not clear about your purpose. People value their time more than most things. If you don’t know exactly why you are visiting a club, don’t visit the club. There is nothing wrong with visiting a TI club just to see how things are done and what happens during meetings, but that in itself is an purpose. Be able to tell openly what you expect to achieve by visiting a club.
  • You are not dressed appropriately. I do not mean a suit and tie (which would work), but dressed in a way that shows you are conscious of your image and how you’re perceived by others. Put yourself in the shoes of your host and ask yourself: how would I feel about a guest dressed like this or that? The appropriate attire for most TI clubs is business casual, unless otherwise explicitly specified (which is possible with specialty clubs).
  • You will not be able to stay for the full duration of the meeting. If it will be your first visit to that club and they don’t know you, it will be rude for you to leave before the meeting is officially adjourned. Don’t. If you can’t be there from beginning (on time) to end, don’t go at all.
  • You have a sharp eye for identifying what’s wrong. TI meeting are positive learning environment. If you have a negative attitude and you cannot leave it home before going to the meeting, please don’t go. If you carry your negative attitude into a meeting with you, one of two things might happen: 1) You will make everybody feels uncomfortable or 2) You will be asked not to come back until your change, or never (fortunately it is possible).

There are probably more rules of etiquette that would be worth mentioning based on your experience, either with Toastmasters International or with any other organization. What are some of the silent rules for meeting attendance that you have seen broken before?

Refine your personal brand and use social media to drive traffic to your business

personal branding social mediaSocial media is the hottest topic for business owners, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs because customers spend an incredible amount of time on social media networks. If you build it and they [customers] don’t come, won’t it be smart to go to them? As an individual you have a huge influence on your business and its sales. If you are a business owner, you probably know that already. What you might not know is that the influence you have on your business is the influence you have on your employees and your customers. That influence is determined by the image and reputation your entourage has of you.

You can control how you influence people by controlling your image and your reputation. That combination (image + reputation) is your personal brand. If you are not a business owner but work in an organization where you are paid for the results or the contribution you make the the success of the organization, refining your personal brand will increase your job satisfaction and eventually a pay raise or promotion.

In a half day Personal Branding and Social Media Workshop, “The Social Man” Michael Brandt and myself (Lionnel Yamentou) will take you through the process of refining your personal brand and teach you how to use social media platforms and tools to drive more traffic through the doors of your business and increase revenue.

You will specifically learn:

  • How to identify and take control of your personal brand
  • The personal branding myths you might be victim of
  • The 5 elements that make for a strong brand and how to use them
  • How to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to build your personal brand as an expert in your industry
  • How to start a blog and how to get fresh content for daily blog posts
  • How you can use to fill a room with a targeted audience that wants to buy from you

This highly interactive educational training program valued at well over $399 is available for Only $97. To register today, click on this link:

The event will be on Saturday, September 14th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Rib Trader of Orange (2710 E. Chapman Ave. Orange, CA).

If you would like to discuss with the organizers to find out if this event will be most valuable to you before you register, call Michael (949 800 6990) or Lionnel (714 818 4828).

The three types of people you must have in your life

coaches, mentors, cheerleadersDo you have people who have been (or currently are) very instrumental in helping you make the best out of your life? Most likely you do, simply because no man is an island. Life cannot and will not thrive in an environment where there is no support system. I have many times thought about how we would live if there was absolutely no one around to help us navigate through this journey called life. What an awful experience it would be. It has been said and proven that success leave a trail which is easy to follow when that’s the right trail for you to be on.

How do you find out the right trail you are on? There are three types of people you need to have in your life and they will help you find out your trail and if you find it already, they will help you stay on it and get the most out of it. No matter what field of endeavour or industry you are engaged in or passionate about, here are the three types of people you need in your life:

  • Mentors: Mentors are more like big brothers or big sisters. They have been in your shoes and have already discovered what the trail you are on leads to. Mentors can save you a lot of time and unpleasant experiences by telling about their own experiences and what their results were. Mentors will let you make your own informed decision and will observe you from the sideline as you evolve and create your own story from the outcome of your decisions. Getting a mentor is easier than most people think. For the asking, almost anyone you admire who has left or successfully followed a trail will help you get through the journey to the top. If you are clear about how someone will help as a mentor to you, go ahead and make your request. The worst thing that could happen (in most cases), you will get a no and live to tell the story. Mentors are indispensable compassionate allies.
  • Coaches: Coaches are mostly results oriented. They might not have walked the trail you are on or even know what is on the trail, but they know how to get the best of you. For example a football coach might have never player football, but he might be an expert in football strategy who knows exactly what players of team A can do on the field to win against team B. The coach will play the game for team A but if the players in team A follow the guidelines and strategy from the coach, they will more times than not, win the game. Coaches for individuals work the same way, you tell them what you want and they will help you walk the trail until you get it. If you don’t know what you want, a coach can help you get clear on what you want, then proceed on working with you to make sure you get it. Coaches are strategists who are result oriented.
  • Cheerleaders: Cheerleaders are unconditional supporters. They might not know or even understand why you do what you do but because they care about you and love you, they cheer you on. They know you will eventually be successful and get what you seek. Cheerleaders believe in your potential and ability to experience great success at whatever you do. Without cheerleaders, more dreams would be aborted during their initial conception than imaginable. Cheerleaders are those people who believe in you when you stop believing in yourself. They are an essential must have!

Of course you can and should have more people in your life, like friends and family. But as it applies to your personal and professional growth, you must have mentors, coaches and cheerleaders. Is there any other type of people you think one must have?

Three simple tips to instantly improve your public speaking

public-speakingHave you ever listened to a presentation by someone who was very knowledgeable and wished he had given you more? Everytime you speak in public, that is how you want your audience to feel, yearning for more. As I specified in my eBook: The 3P’s of Public Speaking, preparation, practice and performance are the key elements that go into making a speech in public a masterpiece. Because we all get to give speeches in public at one point or another in our lives, we might as well get good at it.

Below are three simple tips to make your speech or presentation better:

  • Consider the worse case scenarios and make peace with them. The best way to overcome an obstacle is to face and acknowledge it, then get over or around it. The problem with public speaking for most people is that they don’t know what it is they are exactly afraid of. They think they are afraid of public speaking but in reality they are afraid of being rejected by the audience. Find out exactly what makes you nervous about public speaking. What don’t you want to happen? List all the bad things that could happen before, during or after your public speech, then make peace with them by accepting them as highly unlikely events that could take place. Make peace with what you fear most.
  • Talk to yourself before you take the stage. We all have an inner voice that only we can hear. Unfortunately most of what comes out of that voice is negative. The best way to disrupt that inner voice feeding your nervousness is to talk out loud to yourself. I usually do that in the bathroom a few minutes before I get on stage. If you cannot give yourself a pep talk speaking out loud, write a personal positive self talk on paper and read it over and over again until the moment comes for you to take the stage.
  • Look at the happy face in the audience. Eye contact is intimidating for inexperienced speakers. Because I know how much intimidating public speaking can be, every time I am in an audience I turn myself into the happy face for the speaker. I wear a smile and encouraging face throughout the time I am engaged in listening. It really can make a huge difference for a speaker who is not much experienced at public speaking. Being a public speaker, I have observed that there is always a happy face in the audience that you can look at to help you feel more at ease.

The items on the list can appear very basic, but if you try them I guarantee you will benefit from it. If you have already used or use those tips, let me know how they work for you. If you have other simple practical tips for improving public speaking, why don’t you share them in the comments section below?

Traditional résumés are now irrelevant. Here are 3 alternatives.

resume before and afterThe future of traditional resumes does not look good. And that is true for two reasons. One is the fact that most resumes for job openings are now accepted almost exclusively through electronic channels. Meaning, there is almost no way to standout right out the door regardless of how fancy or impressive a resume is. The more resumes are submitted for one job opening, the lesser the value or importance of any one resume out of the stack. The second reason why traditionals resumes are now irrelevant is because there are so many alternative that are more effective at landing a job seeker his dream job. Those alternatives work because they leverage the tools made available through the technological revolution we are experiencing. Here are 3 alternative to the traditional resume:

  • LinkedIn Profile: A regularly updated and active LinkedIn public profile page will help in establishing yourself as a professional to your peers on the network. The key with LinkedIn is to stay active and regularly update your profile. Every change that you make to your LinkedIn profile is published to all the connections in your network. Have your friend, family and former colleagues give you feedback on your LinkedIn profile, just like you would have someone give you feedback on your traditional resume.
  • Blogging: If you have experiences that will be valuable to organizations that could use your skills and knowledge, share those experiences at a regular frequency. A blog can serve as a way for you to express your creative genius. Organizations today only employ people with a good mix of logical skills and creative abilities. Starting a blog is free with or and if you don’t like writing and prefer videotaping yourself, a channel is the way to go. Authoring and publishing valuable content in your field of expertise will speak more highly of you than any traditional resume would.
  • Start a business: Starting a business is almost 100% free. There are millions of resources available on the Internet and offline to help anyone who has an idea and wants to turn that into a business. A great resource you can use to start a business today is the $100 Startup book and its resources.  If you are actively engaged in a job search, present yourself as a consultant with practical solutions instead of a job seeker who is looking for problems to solve. That will make a huge difference. Most consultants are not asked to provide a traditional resume by their employers, especially if they have an active LinkedIn profile and a regularly updated blog.

There are probably more alternatives to the traditional resume which I have not mentioned. As we progressively move toward a society in which everything is electronically connected to everything else, job seekers will have to get even more creative to land their dream jobs. In such our current highly competitive environment, can you think of any other traditional resume alternative?