Pet Hamster Holding A Blank  Sign
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“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

“How do you get off the hamster wheel?” This was a question someone posed to me this weekend. He stopped by my table at one of my book signing events. He asked me about the content of my book Living a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters. I told him that I wrote the book to encourage others to find a meaningful purpose to life; then, surround themselves with mentors and coaches to help them live that life.

We were discussing the fact that so many people stay in jobs that they disliked. This leaves them feeling unfulfilled in these positions. He said he admires people, similar to his friend, that are pursuing their passions. He explained that his friend had a lucrative practice as an attorney. His friend left the law business to become an entrepreneur in an area that involves his passion. His friend’s saved money from his law practice. Therefore, he does not worry about earning a large income in this new endeavor.

This gentleman told me that he personally trades in options. He also owns a rental property as added income. He felt that he could not pursue what he would like to do (he never did say exactly what that was). He needed the security of having enough money in the bank to sustain his lifestyle. I reminded him what we do in life is a choice. Whatever we choose to do, or not do, comes with consequences. We have to decide if we can live with those consequences.

My good friend Dr. Larry Benovitz, a psychiatrist and author of There is No ReDo: Strategies for a Lifetime, once said: “Many people are living behind prison bars they created themselves.” I thought about this quote as I spoke with my visitor. It didn’t seem that he was afraid of taking certain risks. He was trading in options…you can make a lot of money one day and lose it the next. Yet, I did sense a fear of failure or of the unknown from him in our conversation. 

Early that day, I had listened to one of Tony Robbins’ sessions on Personal Power. Tony encourages the listeners to embrace failure. We should not be afraid of failing. As we push towards achieving our goals, we may experience failures. We should learn from them and get back in the game. If we don’t push pass fear of failure, we may never experience the joys of the manifestations of our dreams into realty.

Brigette Hyacinth, Director at MBA Caribbean Organization, wrote a great LinkedIn article, Leadership Lesson: The Wisdom of Failure, that gives valuable insight on how to approach failure in our lives. I recommend that you invest the time to read the article by clicking on the title.

Back to the questions: “How do you get off the hamster wheel?” You decide to do so after you examine:

  1. What it is you want – Vision – The End Result
  2. Why you want it – Purpose – If you don’t have a strong why, you won’t survive the failures
  3. How do you get there – Mission – Build a Plan with goals that have timelines and milestones
  4. What is the impact if you do or don’t pursue this Vision

A week before he died, my dad told me he regretted not living his dream of being an artist. He reminded me that we cannot take material things and money with us. Only our life’s experiences and our relationships with people. I don’t want this regret to happen to me. I want live my life doing what I understand to be my purpose. Don’t you?

Yes, we have to be realistic that we have to take care of our basic human needs.But how much are we willing to sacrifice in order to stay behind our prison bars or stay on the hamster wheel due to fear of failure. Prison bars that may exist because we bought into what the media or others tell us is a successful life.

Why not approach life like my 86 year-old friend, Lyle, does? He told me yesterday that he is happy because he realized earlier in life that “It is my choice.” He chooses to define what happiness and success mean to him.He experiments different ways to enjoy life by learning new things and not worrying about failures. He sees failures as life’s lessons. Because of this approach he has been able to enjoy many things in life. By the way, he was captain of his high school football team, a race car driver and married to a beautiful model! Sounds like an exciting life to me.

You will not be a successful entrepreneur if you are afraid to take some risks. Things don’t always work out the way we plan them. Take each failure by learning its lesson and build a stronger Will to achieve your Vision.

Here is to your Success in 2015. Remember to Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose on Invincible Monday.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Diamond Cutters


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Select the Right Webinar Provider

We are almost at the finish line for you to conduct successful Webinars. You may recall in Part 1, we wrote great content. In Part 2, we organized prior to the Webinar. In Part 3, we learned how to be Interactive with our participants.  In this final part (4) you will learn how to select Webinar Providers. The Webinar Platform you choose as your Webinar “stage” is important. Do not use free, cheap or even expensive as your only criteria for selecting  a Webinar provider.

Throughout my career in various positions, I have had to conduct Webinar sessions to a variety of audience: sales people, customers, Value Added Resellers (VARs), customer service representatives, etc. Now as a small business owners, I conduct Webinars as a part of Live a Diamond Life, a Life of Purpose to help people find their true life’s purposes. I also include Webinars as part of my Leadership program to corporations and organizations.

In all these position, I’ve found a webinar is only as good as the platform it is conducted on. At the early stage of the Webinar revolution, many people did not understand the concept that is was simply a conference call that allowed you to share content (data) from your desktop to multiple people simultaneously. Webinars are now widely accepted methods of sharing information.

The processes and platforms have also improved over the years. Yet there are still important matters to consider when selecting a provider.

1) Reliability – Are you able to connect successfully each time you dialing into the Webinar session? You know that making multiply tries to connect to platform gets old very quickly, as the moderator, presenter or participant. It creates frustration and leaves a bad impression on you and your company. You may avoid this by selecting a provider that offers service that has a high percentage of successful connection. This also means that you have to select the right connections to your home or corporate office. Don’t try to conduct a Webinar on a shoddy or shared Internet connection while at Starbucks or Panera!

2) Scalability – Whether you have 5 or 500 participants, you want to know that all parties can get an open port on the Webinar. Have you tried getting on a Webinar only to find out that the session has met the maximum access? If you are unsure of the number of participants, you may want to choose a provider that has a scalable product that can contract or expand based on the number of callers.

3) Stability – I recall a webinar that I was excited about learning to effectively share my blog articles. I registered for the session, included it on my calendar and dialed in. It wasn’t the clings and clangs that got to me, it was the constant dropping of the session. The platform would freeze up and force me to dial back in. The moderator’s voice faded in and out along with some voice clipping. It was a disastrous session. Many participants posted comments about it. The presenter offered a refund and a free session to make up for it. You can minimize this on your Webinar by conducting test sessions prior to the live session. Get others involved with your testing. Once you are satisfied, publish your live session.

4) Security – In this day and age of Hactivism, Identity Fraud, etc. protecting your participants information is important. If providing a strong privacy policy is part of your business, then you need to make choosing a provider with great security part of your decision making. There are providers that address security needs on Webinar platforms. You generally have to pay for these features. Free service providers may not guarantee that your Webinar participants information will be protected.

5) Flexibility – Your participants may use various devices and portals to access your Webinar session. Opt for a provider that offers access from multiple portals (Google Chrome, Explorer, FireFox, etc.) and from multiple devices (tablets, mobile phones and desktops). This will broaden your reach to many folks in the digital community.

6) Pricing – As mentioned prior, pricing should not be the single item to determine a provider; however, it is still important. You don’t want to pay a premium for a particular feature when you can get it for a reasonable rate for another provider. The Webinar arena is becoming more competitive with more providers coming onboard and more useful features being added. Know what your budget can afford and work with a provider that fits most of your other needs at a reasonable price.

7) Customer Service – I don’t know about you, but I prize great customer service. When I company offers great customer service to me, I am more willing to stay with them and purchase more products/services from them. If I’m experiencing issues with a Webinar session or trying to understand a particular feature, I appreciate connecting with a knowledgeable person on the phone that can help me. Ask about the availability of the customer service department before you sign on the dotted line. You don’t want to select a provider with limited or no customer support during a time that you may encounter issues on one of your Webinar sessions that is provider related.

I have used the services of a few providers to conduct my seminars: WebEx, GoToWebinar, and others. I also know, also has a Webinar offering that they call “Online Meeting.” I have not tried this offering yet. These providers all have strong and weak points.

Take the time to do your homework, compare each of these providers features, functionalities and all the points I highlighted in this article, previously. Give them a trial run. Most of them offer a trial period. Test them out. Then select the one that is right for you.

Give yourself a pat on the back! You hung in there for all four parts of this series. I hope that you have gained some information that will prove to be valuable to your Webinars’ success. Remember Webinars don’t have to Suck! Give them great Content, make it Organized, make it Interactive and select the Right Platform, most of all make it Fun!

Until next, keep Living a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose!

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters


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Take a Poll - Make Your Webinar Interactive
Take a Poll – Make Your Webinar Interactive

Interacting with Your Audience

Welcome back! In Part 1 you read about importance of good content, and in Part 2 you learned how to get organized in this four-part series. Now it is time to conduct your Webinar. Don’t fail by making your session! Your content may be technical, complex or perhaps it is a new concept that requires critical thinking. This doesn’t mean it has to be a Snoozer! You can make the Webinar interactive and fun.

Let’s get started…

1) Establish a rapport – Start your Webinar by establishing a great rapport with your audience. Tell them why they should pay attention to you. Lay the foundation of why you have authority or expertise about the subject. Share tidbits about yourself that may help to endear you to the audience.  Or make them laugh; great humor disarms people.  Remember, people buy from folks they like and trust.

2) That Monotone Voice – Did you ever get on a Webinar and the presenter voice makes you want to sleep? You find yourself constantly yawning. Using voice modulation will help to your audience pay attention. Raising and lowing your voice at certain point during the Webinar will make your points come across better. You can emphasize certain words and phrases such as “THIS product will…”

3) Get rid of the Ums, Ers, Likes – It is amazing to me how much folks don’t realize how often they use filler words as crutch words when speaking. It drives me crazy to hear a presenter saying: “and then, you can, like, use it to, um, tweak your, er, SEO ranking.” WHAT! With all those filler words the message gets lost. I’ve been a Toastmasters member from 2009. This organization helped me to learn to get rid of my penchant for using the word “like” every time I opened my mouth. Check it out at Visit a club. It may change your life. It did mine.

4) Ask questions – Asking questions of your audience and allowing them to reply either in the chat session or verbally helps to keep the audience tuned in. Utilizing questions keeps it interactive. Asking a question at the beginning, during and after the session is helpful in keeping the audience engage. It is a great way to gauge if the audience is learning from your presentation.

5) Affirmation Polls (Check in with Your Audience) – One of the tools I admire about my pastor is his use of “Amen” to validate that his parishioners are paying attention. He would make a statement then ask: “Can a get an Amen?” or he may say: “Clap, if you agree.” Checking in with your audience by polling them with a question or statement that prompts an immediate response is a great way to ensure they are following along.

6) Offer Give-aways to Make it Fun – Tell the participants that “N” amount of respondents will receive  a special discount or a give-away item for doing “xyz.” People like gifts and discounts. It could be a free e-book, consultation session, or discount on the next Webinar.

One of my best experiences on a Webinar was a few years ago. The presenter, Lewis Howe, demonstrated how establishing the right LinkedIn Profile can help to increase the participant’s visibility on LinkedIn. This would in turn make the participant more attractive to future employers and recruiters. Lewis had the participant modify his/her profile with keywords during the Webinar. This action caused the participants ranking in his/her area of expertise to increase.

When Lewis was finished he gave a Call to Action to purchase a more detailed session for successfully navigating LinkedIn. The response rate was very high to his Call to Action. You too could increase the success of your Call to Action by keeping your clients and future clients engaged through interactive, informative and fun Webinars.

You have created great content, got yourself organized for your Webinar and you have everything set to make it an interactive session for you participants. But what about the platform? Which Webinar provider should you select? Part four, the final part of this series will give you some information how to select a provider.

We are almost at the finish line for you to conduct successful Webinars. The Webinar Platform you choose as your Webinar “stage” is important. Do not choose free, cheap or even expensive as your only reason for selecting  a Webinar provider.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters


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Get Organized

Yay! You are back today for part deux. Let’s go back to the nightmarish call at the beginning of this series (See part one). All the chimes binging, banging and clanging as folks got on the call. This is often perceived as lack of organization on the part of the presenter. Perhaps the presenter did not take the time to learn how to use the mute function available on the platform. If you want to conduct a successful Webinar, get organized prior to the session. Address as many potential issues you may encounter as the moderator/presenter prior to the call.

Learn how to use the different features and functionality of the Webinar platform. Here are some popular features/functionality you should master:

  1. Instructions for the participants to connect and utilize participant features
  2. Mute all callers
  3. Make the call private or public
  4. Share your desktop or Screen
  5. Start and Stop Recording
  6. Chat Sessions
  7. Take a poll during Webinar
  8. Hand control to another presenter

Set Up in the Right Environment:

Perhaps you work from home or in a nosy office space. It is best to ensure that you minimize any background noise when moderating/presenting a Webinar.

  1. Nosy kids, adults and pets – It is strongly suggested that you make the arrangement to have the kids, adults and pets away from the area that you will be conducting the Webinar. Let all know that you need to have a quite environment in order to make the best impression on your audience.
  2. Turn of the phone – ringing telephone in the background is also a distraction to you and your participants. Make it a habit to silence all your devices near your presentation area, especially if you are recording the call.
  3. The guy/gal with the lawnmower – if you know the day and time of the lawn service provider, schedule your Webinars when he/she  will not be working in the yard. The mowers and leaf blowers often generate a lot of noise, especially when lawn person  decides to go right by the window that you are next to while presenting.

Not knowing how to utilize the platform features and background noise may contribute to the appearance that your Webinar is disorganized and unprofessional.

Now you have done yourself and your audience a favor by honing your Webinar skills and creating the right atmosphere. Next it is time for the Webinar. In the third post of this four-part series, I will share a few ways to make your Webinars Interactive.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters


Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page. This will allow me continue to write and share with you on a variety of topics.

Webinars Suck - Is That Right?
Webinars Suck – Is That Right?

Come on. Admit it. You joined a Webinar that you really wanted to learn something new to advance your business practices, implement new ideas or utilizing new tools. You finally get added into the session after five or ten minutes of downloading software or multiple retries…only to be greeted by hundreds of beeps, bings, and bangs  as other folks join. It is so annoying that you want to yell to the moderator: “Mute the “Beeping” call chimes!!!

Okay, maybe it’s only me. But I would guess that a lot of folks have encountered this experience. Some may have even walked away with a bad impression of a Webinar session; if this was their first experience.

Speaking with a friend the other day, I asked him if he thinks Webinars work. He said most of his clients believe they don’t. In fact, some of them think Webinars suck! Wow! This should make a lot of Webinar providers and presenters happy. Not.

In my humble opinion, Webinars can and do work; if done in the right fashion. Over the years of conducting Webinars as a Sales Engineer Manager, a Product Manager, Marketing Director, a trainer and now as a small business owner, I have learned that to present a successful Webinar I was must include or do the following:

  1. Great Content
  2. Organize It
  3. Make Interactive
  4. Select the Right Webinar Provider

There is quite a lot of information to share with you. I don’t want you to ask: “Where’s the beef?” Therefore, I will share these tips in each part,  spread out over four posts especially for you “multitaskers” (you know who you are)!  Today, we will examine how having the right content will contribute to your next Webinar’s success.

Content! Content! Content!

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here (I’ve been accused of worse), but in planning your Webinar session you need to take into consideration how the content meets the need of our audience. Too often, I have participated in Webinars in which the presenters spent most of the time pushing the products and services. While they spend very little time discuss how these products and services will benefit the participant’s business or individual’s requirement.

Or they conduct the bait and switch approach. They promised one type of experience, but when you get in the session it has nothing to do with what was promised. In fact, the content was not relevant to your needs.

Here are a few ideas for great content:

  1. Make it informational (Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em) – Address a problem that the audience may have. Share ideas with the audience how to address this problem. Example: “Not sure how to maximize your LinkedIn connections to get new business leads? The Five Tips on Maximizing LinkedIn Connections for Business Growth Webinar will give your the methods to Convert Connections to Clients.” or “Learn How to Convert LinkedIn Connections to Clients”
  2. Show them – Give step by step instruction is a great way for people to remember and learn a subject. We love lists. We were conditioned to remember lists. We make a list when we go shopping. We make To-Do lists to get tasks done. We take lists of questions to our doctors for health issues we may be experiencing (if you don’t, you should).
  3. Give them proof that it works – Providing your audience with a strong case study of how you or your company helped solve the problem for someone just like your audience. Back the case study up with a testimonial from that person or persons.
  4. Summarize (Tell ‘em what you told ‘em) – It is a good idea to summarize the problem and solution again at the end of your Webinar. Remind them of the key benefits and value they will get.
  5. Give a Call to Action – Include a call to action in the content of your presentation. You may softly mention the call to action a few times in the Webinar session, then state it stronger at the end.

Throughout your content be clear, get to the point and concise your message as much as you can without losing valuable information. Don’t make it too long. One hour or less is best. Use this quick mantra: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Show them. Give them proofs and examples. Finally, tell them what you’ve told them.” By incorporating some of these tips into creating content for your Webinar, you should be able to make it more attractive to your target audience. In the next post, we will move onto getting organized in part two of this four part series.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters


Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page. This will allow me continue to write and share with you on a variety of topics.