Tag Archives: Time Management

Event Planning And The Scourge Of Round Banquet Tables

Event Planning And The Scourge Of Round Banquet Tables

By David Deeble

Let’s be serious for a moment: audiences should be seated facing the speaker.

Imagine a photographer going from round banquet table to round banquet table taking pictures of people without asking anyone to turn around and face the camera. To do so would be absurd. But it’s no more absurd than introducing a speaker or entertainer when much of the audience – by virtue of the fact that they’re sitting at round banquet tables – still have their backs squarely facing the podium or stage.

Before introducing an entertainer or speaker to the stage, take a page from the photographer playbook and request that those whose backs are to the stage to at least offer the presenter their profile.

This and a few other simple changes very often make the difference between an audience which is engaged and one that is not.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or learn how a head injury forced me to reinvent myself from a conventional to a comedic juggler.

David Deeble’s career in comedy began at the age of 8 when he joined the Long Beach Mystics, a now-legendary magic club in Long Beach, California. There, he was schooled relentless
ly in the importance of being a polished entertainer – not just a magic act. After opening for such comedians as Ray Romano and Kevin James, David made his debut as the variety star in “Bare Essence” at Harrah’s, Lake Tahoe. From there, he began making numerous appearances on American television including “America’s Got Talent,” “Last Comic Standing,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on which he performed his trademark grocery-sack juggling routine. To Hire David as your next Entertainer, click here or call 888-766-3155 to book him!

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. The Strategic Fit - Building Relationships with Speakers' Bureaus

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. Part one introduces the value of the speakers’ bureau, and part two talks about event speaker trends.

Christy: What do you do about speakers who speak from scripts and are reluctant or unwilling to adapt the message to an audience?

Sue: It’s essential to make sure every client gets a unique and custom experience. Audiences will not accept “canned” presentations, although once that was the norm.  Every speaker search I do starts with a thorough questionnaire for the speaker and the planner so that I know exactly what is expected from and needed from both sides.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have worked with a client; every piece of business must be earned.  Fresh, relevant material is a must and that means adapting to the audience.

Christy: What do you say to those who think they can’t afford to hire a speaker or to those who would prefer to simply book directly?

Sue: I focus on creating an experience from the initial contact, so fees are not the first thing we discuss. I want to know what the client is looking for and what the goal is for bringing in the speaker. From there, it’s my job to find solutions and secure a speaker they like and need.

As for being able to afford my services, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Always ask if the bureau’s fees are paid for by the client or the speaker as it varies by organization. At Remarkable Speakers! the speaker pays for the booking, so there is no cost to the client for utilizing my services. It is also important to know that the speaker fees we quote are not marked up to cover the fees the speaker pays us.

The additional thing to keep in mind is the expertise offered by the bureau. After listening to what the client wants, I make initial recommendations, factoring in not just the speaker’s content but their style. It has to be a good fit at every level. No one has time to waste, so working with a pro means only seeing speakers who meet your needs, style and budget. Watching clips on You Tube and searching the net for speakers can take hours and may not lead you anywhere.

Christy:  Planners are so often in ‘go’ mode that they forget to stop and consult the experts. It’s a good reminder that help is available and that the service providers will likely do a better job than we could. Thanks for that quick reality check!

Sue: I think we can all fall into that trap sometimes! To continue: as for budget: I never apologize or shy away from the cost to book a speaker. Some of the best advice ever given to me that I live by was: “when quoting fees you should be able to do it without blinking an eye. Do it with confidence, facts, and commitments.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for negotiation.  Both sides need to walk away feeling good about the partnership. I can work with both parties to create mutually agreeable terms.  I love the “thrill of the hunt” and closing deals. After booking thousands of speakers I have tons of creative ways clients and speakers can find middle ground.

Christy: My friend is a speaker. Why do I need one of yours?

Sue:  Now, more than ever, everyone thinks they are a speaker, or knows someone who is! I always thank my clients for the opportunity to “earn their business.” Often, when looking for a speaker, initially, people do not know what they want. Even if they have a friend or colleague in mind, it’s a good possibility they still are looking for suggestions. I find that many times after a few questions, the client is not quite as sold on their friend as it might have first appeared.

Knowing the speaker has advantages but does not guarantee it’s the right fit. I ask questions about what they are looking for in their speaker, and does their friend have all need to have a successful event. I share key things to look at; great video clips, an active and engaged social media presence where you can see reviews and testimonials, and what their marketing materials look like to see how fresh, current, and relevant their speaker is. I make sure they think through the ‘why’ around choosing their friend as the speaker.  It’s important to remember that the impact of choosing the best speaker reflects on them.  I want my clients and potential clients to be seen as “rock stars” for choosing the perfect speaker and having a successful event. Sometimes their friend may be their speaker of choice.

To me it’s about helping people make good decisions so even if we don’t book a speaker, I am still thankful for creating a relationship that can be developed for future business. The other opportunity is for me to add a new speaker to my roster as we are always looking for Remarkable Speakers!

A huge thanks to Sue for her time, expertise, buoyant personality and wisdom. I speak to many people each day and few have Sue’s remarkable spirit, candor and enthusiasm. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I had speaking to her. To continue the conversation, leave a note in the comments section below, find me on Twitter: @SMEChristy or email me: Christy.lamagna@strategic.events.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

 

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

Event strategists always start with the end in mind. They know the core principle in strategic planning is that all actions and decisions must support the event goal. When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Engaging the professional skills of a speaker’s bureau allows you to add an expert to your team at no cost to you, saves time and will potentially introduce you to people and topics you may not have otherwise found.

When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Read on to discover, what’s trending in the speaking world?This is the second in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau (you can see Sue’s smiling face in the photo shown above). Our goal was to explore how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. If you missed the first installment and want to see the first article, please click here.

Christy: What changes are you noticing when planners call to book a speaker?

Sue: At one time, my relationship was exclusively with planners operating in a silo, meaning there were no other people for them to run ideas by or to get suggestions from. Now planners are part of a much larger team. Having more people making the decision translates to needing to provide more options as each person has an opinion or vision on the topic and/or presenter needed. I once shared three potential speakers for consideration before someone was selected. Now I find myself presenting up to eight candidates before a decision is made. As a bureau that is focused on helping clients meet their goal, it’s crucial to adapt to their changing needs and timeline to provide the best service possible.

Christy: What is one thing everyone should know when booking a speaker to get the best fit?

Sue: As is the case with all things strategic, the goal is the key. First, I need to know what the speaker is expected to accomplish. Then I find out what the necessary audience takeaways and outcomes are. Not everyone can put their goals into words, so I created a detailed questionnaire to help the process. Sometimes people know how they want the audience to feel after hearing the message but can’t articulate what the message itself should be. We specialize in finding and delivering what you ask for and sometimes even what you don’t know how to ask for!

Christy: I’ve noticed lead times to plan are getting significantly smaller. Are you seeing that too?

Sue: Absolutely! We are getting requests with very short time frames for the search to be done yet the same level of quality is expected.

Christy: In an ideal world, how far in advance should planners start looking for a speaker?

Sue: After the event goal is established and a budget is confirmed, the speaker search should begin. The speaker is often the main draw, so the process shouldn’t be rushed. To do the job correctly, it takes a lot of time to search the options before we can propose the perfect match. We need to find speakers who match not just the topic’s parameters but are also a good fit for the audience/corporate culture, have the right personality, attitude, and of course, price. We need it to be the right fit on all counts or it doesn’t work.

Christy: Are you finding speakers are becoming more flexible in tailoring their topics to the audience?

Sue: I’ve booked over 3000 events and work to make each experience custom to the client’s needs. That includes making sure speakers are willing to adjust their content based on who will be listening to them. Today’s audiences consume tremendous amounts of content daily and are incredibly savvy. They will not accept “canned” presentation. One size does not fit all.

Christy: It seems that this is part fact-based and part intuition in terms of pairing speakers to audiences. Is that right and if so, how do you make that work?

Sue: When first contacted to provide a speaker, I gather detailed information from the client, so I have the background I need. Like I said, it’s not just the topic, the personality and style have to be a good fit. I do my homework in advance and get a sense of who the hiring organization is. I get a sense of their culture, their expectations, what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past and what their goal is. That way when I pick up the phone, I know who I’m looking for and what we need to achieve.

Additionally, my speakers must complete a comprehensive questionnaire before signing with me. This gives me a wealth of information at my fingertips, which saves time, avoids confusion or miscommunication and allows me to be the best at what I do.

Thursday, Sue and Christy finish their conversation, during which they discuss, among other things, how to build a partnership with a bureau.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

All event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, an accredited speakers bureauAll event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is, the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, that means reaching out to an accredited speakers bureau and leveraging their expertise.

For those who are not as calibrated in their process, an internet search for ‘motivational’ or ‘professional’ speakers may start the process. Perhaps a visit to YouTube for clips of speakers is the preferred route, with an obligatory click on cute puppy videos along the way. For some a query to colleagues gets the ball rolling.

While both methodologies may result in booking the same speaker, not all paths are equal. For those who opt to do the legwork and cut out the middleman, the road is longer, uphill and full of bumps. Speakers’ bureaus are like Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus; at your disposal, designed to make your job easier, staffed by professionals and not fully utilized or understood.

It is critical to remember how we are offended when other people think they can do our jobs. Let’s not be guilty of that same mistake by imagining that if we can search the internet we can find a speaker just as well as a professional can.

To better understand why a professional speakers’ bureau really is the way to go, I interviewed Sue Falcone, founder and CEO of, “Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau.” Here’s the first of three excerpts from our in-depth and enlightening conversation.

Christy: Why should I use a speakers’ bureau rather than find a speaker via Google or references?

Sue: I believe that communicating what speakers’ bureaus really are, and the value they bring is key to being able to be the “go to” resource for securing the best speaker for an event. Here are three questions we ask perspective clients:

  1. Do you want to save time, money and resources?
  2. Do you want peace of mind with less stress knowing your speaker is going to be remarkable and you will be a rock star for choosing to work with a speakers’ bureau?
  3. Did you know that speakers’ bureau fees are paid by the speaker – not you – so therefore all the time and services a speakers’ bureau provides is free to you?

Christy: Is it more expensive to use a speakers’ bureau?

Sue: Cost is the biggest concern about the perception of using a speakers’ bureau. Many bureaus structure the pricing so their commission comes out of the speaker’s fee. Speakers are willing to pay the bureau out of their speaker’s fee to cover the representation, negotiations and follow up work.

To note: some bureaus do charge a fee, so ask up front whose responsibility it is to cover booking fees.

Christy: What is the difference between one speakers’ bureau and another? Are you all selling the same thing?

Sue: Many speakers’ bureaus have become “speaker listing bureaus” rather than ones who actively work to secure events for all speakers they represent.

Christy: What should an event planner – or a speaker – look for as differentiation in a bureau?

Sue: I have a screening process and require the speakers I represent to sign an agreement as to how I will represent them, and what we agree to do. Knowing they are marketable and are booked through my bureau they not only represent themselves, but also my company.

Did you enjoy Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!? Check back in on Thursday, May 10th for part 2.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

It’s Not Enough Just to Be ON Social Media!

businessrelationshipsIn looking back, when Social Media first started becoming the new business and personal  “buzz” I wondered: “what is this really all about? Should I just jump in not knowing why, or should I develop a system and process to make the best use of the options available and optimize the use of my time?”

I’m a “life long learner” so I wanted more information about the why, and the potential benefits for my company, the talent I represent, and my personal life!  I also wanted to know what were all the Social Media options available to me, and were they really “FREE” as everyone was sharing?

I have now come to the conclusion that:
Social Media is here to stay and there are many different forms of it
There is a place and a plan for every business and person to be involved in
This is where our clients, audiences, future business, and friends hang out
With a plan and purpose you can connect with the world 

But the key to making it work for you, says Social Media “Guru” Tracy Taylor of TNT Marketing, http://www.tntmarketing.guru is how you use it! TracyTracy shares: “it is not enough just to be there and share occasionally what you want from others, but it is to daily connect, communicate, share, and engage, with your current and future clients.”  She has facts to back up the benefits and value, and consults with her clients to show them how to have a Social Media strategy that will grow their businesses. Feel you can’t take the time to make it work? Tracy offers additional services of partnering with you to actually do your posting and checking on the progress of the strategy you have chosen.

For me it is connecting with people, so I don’t have to make “cold calls”, or be away networking for long periods of time! I connect with people on Social Media first and then see and listen to what they have to say, and they do the same; so that when I ask if I can contact them it is a natural way of access and a more rewarding conversation. It is not unusual for me to walk into a large event, even if it is not located where my headquarters are, and have people come up to me and say: “glad to meet you, we are connected on Social Media, and I have been wanting to meet with you!” There is no other way I can reach so many with one posting such as I am doing here!

Julie AustinJulie Austin, one of our unique talents at my company, who is an inventor and expert on innovation, shares that “Social Media is key to creating and introducing new products, selling globally, and being there at the right time to enter new markets.” She shares nationally “how to beat your competition through innovation, which starts with great ideas!”  She then shows you how to change the way you do business, save your company money, make your employees happy, and how to think like an innovator every day.

Social Media has become our outlet to the world, whether through your website, blog, or choice of networking sites to best use your time and energy. To be effective at the wonder of it all, you have to be current in your use of it! That means it is “not enough just to be there”, you have to keep wherever you have chosen to be: current, updated, fresh, and remember there are people on the other side looking at who you are and what you share and making the decision to do business, be friends or partner with you!

I value your Social Media connection with us, and check out our Talent here on our current website when you need a Speaker, Presenter, Entertainer, Executive Coach, or Author for your upcoming event!  Keep checking back as we will be launching a new website that you will love as much as we do!

Sue Falcone
Sue Falcone

 

 

 

Part 2 of “The Secrets of Managing Your Time: from the Experts!”

wow1I knew this was an important topic for all Entrepreneurs and those that dream of being one, but was overwhelmed with the response to the advice shared last week from the talent found at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency!  Glad to hear we are sharing solutions to this issue of having enough time to do it all!

Did you know Americans work more hours than any other country in the world?  Is having your own business the answer to being able to choose your own hours and be your own boss? Looks like there is still an issue on how one has the time to accomplish everything!  Our experts are ready to share some more valuable tips that can possibly change your life forever!

Alfred Poor, Speaker, Best-seller Author and Technology Expert shares how he manages his day so that he has time to accomplish all he needs to do!  “I break my day into 90 minute segments with a 15 minute intervals between. That gives me times of head-down concentration, with breaks to make phone calls, answer emails, and post on social media. I also provide time for planning at the start and end of each day so that I can keep an eye on the big picture, as well as on the deadlines that might be looming around the corner. I also have a note posted on my desk that asks: “What do I want to accomplish TODAY?”

Alfred, a graduate of Harvard and sought after speaker on college campuses and technology events, is a full-time professional speaker and author with an international reputation. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, as well as thousands of articles in print and on-line. He brings energy and humor to his highly-interactive presentations. Traveling from Pennsylvania, looks like Alfred’s advice is working in his professional and personal life.

Coming from across the country from where I am located is Julie Austin, speaker, award-winning author, inventor, and innovator. Julie is from the fast-paced lifestyle of Los Angeles, and shares: “My one tip on time management would be to make out a to-do list the night before. That way you can hit the ground running first thing in the morning! I do anything that requires ‘heavy brain focus’ first thing in the morning, make all calls before 5, and do anything, like shopping or cleaning after hours when you don’t really need ‘peak’ brain performance!”

Julie believes “how you beat your competition is through innovation.” As an inventor/innovator who “turned, $5.00 and a lump of clay into an International, NASDAQ winning product, “SWIGGIES-the Wrist Water Bottle by Hydrosport,” Julie appears all over the country sharing the techniques she learned as a former gatekeeper of an International Academy Award-winning production company, commercial actor and TV host. She is featured in the books “Patently Female” and “Girls Think of Everything,” and has a best-seller “The Money Garden” available now.  “Why hire Julie?  If you don’t your competition will!”

Heading back to North Carolina on our time with the experts today, we find PJ Sawvel, award-winning communicator with a passion for helping people turn their words into vehicles that drive profits, productivity, and professional development. She shares: “I begin my day by asking two simple questions. What’s one thing I can do today to move my business forward?  What’s one thing I can do today to move my family relationships forward? Then I make sure I do those two things! Additionally, I schedule my physical exercise and spiritual meditation at the top of every day because that’s the way I take care of me! When these three things are taken care of–God, family, and business–then the rest takes care of itself!”

PJ Sawvel as a former top producer in real estate, insurance, and the brokerage markets–is an accomplished face-to-face communicator. In the mid-1990’s, she changed lanes and became an award-winning investigative reporter, founding president of a grassroots non-profit, and now author of the 2014 Global E-Books Gold Media winner, Under the Influence: The Town That Listened to Its Kids. These roles have given her the rare insider’s view of the connections that exist between intentions, words, and the target audience–and the subsequent results. She is a sought after keynote speaker, and workshop and breakout session presenter.

We have one more tip that is sure to let us see what taking care of our time now can do for our future!

Rachael Wonderlin is a nationally recognized expert in the Dementia Care field. For as long as Rachael can remember she has wanted to care for aging adults. Even though Dementia in some form affects 1 in every 3 seniors,  this can be a very difficult topic to discuss. But not for Rachael! She has a world-wide following on her blog and is a contributor to the Alzheimers Reading Room where she shares all aspects of the aging process and Dementia. With so many challenges in her work life, and personal life for her time, Rachael shares: “I am an A Type personality, so I enjoy being busy. I am into old-fashioned-to-do-lists. My work items items I keep in a special notebook, and my personal to-do list I have on my phone. Keeping them separate really helps!”

Rachael is a former child film actress, and although she loved acting in commercials, video, and film, she wanted to focus on her education and the calling she had early in life of caring for aging adults. While in college she did not give up her passion for performance. She comes alive in front of an audience, and now with the topic of Dementia as her platform, she is able to speak and educate her audiences in a fun, comical, and engaging way. Rachael has a new book coming out soon from  John Hopkins Press:  What to Remember When They Forget.

With the varied lifestyles, careers, and personal abilities we all have, time is very valuable and precious to each of us! One of our other speakers, Carol Andrews recently shared this: “Put a premium on your time. You’ll never get back what you’ve wasted!”

Better prepared to face the issue of time management in your business and personal life?  We would love to hear your comments, and how we can help you and your audiences in the future.

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone

The Secrets of Managing Your Time as an Entrepreneur: from the Experts!

wowEntrepreneurs around the world are seeking answers on how to handle a major issue: how to have the time to do what they love; and also have a personal life! I recently was asked this question at a conference I attended, and knew this needed to be addressed in more detail by the experts!

I sought out some of our speakers, trainers, presenters, entertainers, coaches, and authors, that are represented here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency. They are successful entrepreneurs and business owners with very different fields of expertise and business models; but I knew they had learned secrets along their journey that hopefully they would be willing to share! And share they did!

We each have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, and normally 8,760 hours a year. In making a choice to have your own business instead of working for someone else, one clear thread ran through all the experts’ comments: you need to have a positive entrepreneurial mindset, and create a plan that allows you the freedom to have a blended and balanced lifestyle. Your success is not based on how many hours you spend at working, but rather having a plan that allows you the freedom to choose what is most important and how you spend the hours to accomplish your plan.

Award-winning Global Entrepreneurship Speaker and Professor Gary Palin shares this:
“Balance is key! Take the time to have a family walk, including your dog, every day.”

Professor Palin speaks and trains all the right ways to operate your business plan for success, but he knows you must intentionally take the time daily to spend with your family and, in his case, the awesome dog- Spirit, a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He is an ‘in-demand’ global speaker on all areas of Entrepreneurship, and when he travels Spirit misses him I am sure.

Kelly Swanson, motivational speaker, comedian, award-winning storyteller, and the author of “Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale?” shared in her business she has to have:
1.   A clearly defined business plan for the year with areas of top priority and focus.
2.  Be able to turn that plan into daily/weekly/monthly action steps based on priority and deadlines.
3.  Whenever something comes across your desk/email ask yourself: is this a priority and does it have to be done now?
4.  Daily ask yourself: what is best use of my time today? Stick to it.
5.  Learn to say NO to things that distract you from your top priorities.

Kelly is a Wife and Mom of an 11 year old son, and her business is a “family” business. She lives what she shares and has fun doing it all! She is an excellent blogger, and author, and is a sought after keynote speaker for events across the country.

Barbara Hemphill-known as the “Paper Tiger Lady” offers these tips: “I spend the first hour of everyday in quiet time reminding myself of the “why” for my business. What is it that is important enough to accomplish in my life that makes me willing to do the three most important things in my business today to be profitable?”

Barbara is an internationally recognized Organization and Productivity Expert, Speaker and Author. Her recent book Less Clutter More Life is to help people “accomplish their work and enjoy their lives” by not only handling the paper and digital clutter, but also addressing the emotional and spiritual clutter.  She is a sought after speaker who travels across the country sharing a practical message of change.

Can you see from these successful Entrepreneurs some ways that you could change what you are doing now concerning having enough time to do it all? I want to always be a “long-life learner” and I learned some things here that I am beginning right now!

Hope you will come back next week, as we share some more time management tips from the experts who are successful at making it happen! Are you looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? Save time, stress, and money by taking a look at our speakers found here at www.simplysuespeaks.com 

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone

 

 

 

Is It Time to Be “Intentional?”

intentionalDo you know that 90% of Americans go to work when they are ill, even though they shouldn’t? Why is that? I have done my share to infect others, how about you?

But last week, it all caught up with me! Your past always does at some point in your life! I realized I had a choice, either accept I was ill and take care of myself; or continue to ignore the facts, and end up in worse shape! Funny part of all this is my husband, Carmen, also got the same stuff;  and so there was a total shutdown of life as we thought it was supposed to be!

What had happened? We had this all set to go! Plans were in place, goals were set, appointments and schedules were confirmed; how could we just make the choice to rest and reschedule and give into being ill, instead of keeping commitments to others and to ourselves?

For type A personalities it is a huge decision to admit you are not well enough to do what you have planned, and then not want to pick up something to put in place of the missing action!  I was proud of the fact that I am extremely healthy and have not had to face being ill many times in my life; but at this point I knew I was done and down. I had to do what was best for me, or face the possibility that none of what I was concerned about would even matter.

It has taken longer than I ever thought for us to recover, however, this has been one of the best listening and learning experiences of my life!  I had no choice but to experience and listen to what my physical, emotional, and spiritual self was telling me. Many of my friends, business associates, team members, and mentors encouraged me to make this a time of learning as well as healing. They could see things I didn’t want to face, and were urging me to do what I needed to do for me!

I am thankful now for their WOW ( words of wisdom) for I found there are 3 areas I need to have a clear understanding and plan before I kick into high gear again!   These are: (1)  Priorities- are they the right ones, and in the right order?  (2) Time Management-how wise am I managing it? (3)  Am I really clutter-free and enjoying my life- do my systems and processes allow me to do this?

Not a pretty site as I lay there doing my best to keep warm and the fever at bay! How was I able to get this transparent with myself and be able to share it with others?  I went back to one of my favorite pastimes- reading! My first choice is the scriptures and since we had already chosen a “Verse of the Year” I spent time thinking on these words:

“Those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired., they walk and don’t lag behind.” The Message-Isaiah 40:31.

I felt better already, knowing I was starting with the right priority for me!

I picked up two books that I had been wanting to get into, and took my time reading and listening to their words and thoughts. Just released by one of our speakers, Barbara Hemphill, entitled “Less Clutter More Life” www.lesscluttermorelife.com was what I needed to hear, and the ways to accomplish what I really wanted. Thanks, Barbara for that gift, it really helped me!

Then another book by one of my favorite people, Linda Apple, called “Writing Life” www.lindaapple.com/ showed me I had “let go” of some of my writing and blogging skills and that to be really be who I am, and do what I do, I needed to recapture them! Linda shares that our “stories matter” and she is a master teacher and motivational speaker sharing how to use your gifts and make them come alive on paper! Thanks, Linda for showing me the way back to enjoy reading and sharing “my story” with others once again!

We are now ready to launch into the New Year officially.  It will be a different beginning than we had originally planned! Our vision is still the same, but how we carry it out will be changing! We had chosen “Intentional” as our “Word of the Year” and how to make it key to the success and growth of our business and personal lives.  The speakers we represent here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency know how to bring the #WOWfactor experience to each of your events, and help you be the best you can be!  They also know how to help their “agent” make needed changes too!

I would never wish for you the illness we experienced to be the “wake up call” to motivate you to take a long hard look at your life; but take it from us that “the best is yet to come” for you when you are living with an intentional plan, purpose, and passion for it!  Isn’t it time?

Have a great “Intentional” week,

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“Simply” Sue Falcone
Owner: “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions or Solutions?

successGot your list ready? Aren’t we supposed to be making New Year’s Resolutions to improve ourselves, our families, and our businesses at this time of year?  Or has this age old tradition finally become extinct since we know they don’t work and we’re not sure they ever did?

I agree taking an honest look at ourselves and how we look and live is not the most fun thing to do!  No one wants to think about setting goals and making plans for change!  That’s hard work, and it might include having to give up something we are not prepared to lose!

Is there still a need to plan for change with all of our modern technology and higher education opportunities?  Think a minute, didn’t someone have to take a look at themselves and their lifestyles and made their New Year’s Resolutions and kept them in order for the changes we are seeing to happen!

Today, I believe you know what changes in 2015 are needed and possible for you; but where do you begin? Life is a process of the experiences of success and failure and once you realize that;  you are on your way to seeing your dreams and goals fulfilled! Do you know the choices you make today have the power to impact and leave a legacy of hope for many others?  It’s time to “let it go” and create a new mindset!

Do you know you can become S.M.A.R.T. at this?  It’s not that hard!  I didn’t create this process, (and no one knows for sure who did), but this is the solution to making your New Year’s Resolutions a reality and permanent!  To begin:

  • list your changes and follow these steps in order:

SSpecific-don’ t just list you want to: increase business, get a promotion, lose weight, or get out of debt- be specific- how, when, why, how, where, who is involved! The more specific you are the closer to success you will become!

MMeasurable– your change has to be measurable so you will know when you succeed or fail, and how to handle both!

AAttainable– Your change needs to be attainable for you to reach! Set your goals larger than you can do by yourself, but not so large no one can do them!

RRealistic– make sure you keep in mind where you are in life! Is it realistic to think you can change overnight? Remember this is personal for you,  not a “one plan fits all”  Make it your “real” not some one else’s!

TTimely – for every change you must set a timeframe for accomplishing it! Otherwise you will have set yourself up for the “roundtoit”  mindset! It will never happen! These need to be short enough to create urgency and well defined enough to be successful!

Don’t you  feel “smarter” already? Can’t wait to begin? Word of caution: take a few minutes to get your list as “smart” as you can make it, share it with others because you are not in this alone, and learn to laugh at yourself and the situations that appear everyday! As a woman of faith, I add prayer to my “smart” planning since I know my struggles and how easily I can get off track. Prayer keeps me grounded, transparent, and humble.

Our speakers here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency, are experts at making this process work in their lives and businesses. They enjoy helping others become “SMART” too in a variety of topics and settings! Click here for booking information for your upcoming event!  www.simplysuespeaks.com/contact

Ready for the ball to drop, the band to play, and your favorite football team to take the field?  “The Best is Yet to Come” for them and for You in 2015! Ready to make your SMART solutions this year instead of resolutions? Love to hear how it works for you, share a comment with us!

 

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Happy New “You” Year
from “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency

 

 

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 21 Time Management Tips to Hack Productivity

Post ReBlogged Via CreativityPost.com

iStock_000000350369Small_610_300_s_c1_center_centerA lot of folks in our society try to be hyper-productive.

You know — the people who scurry from task to task, always checking e-mail, organizing something, making a call, running an errand, etc.

The people who do this often subscribe to the idea that “staying busy” means you’re working hard and are going to be more successful.

While this belief may be true to an extent, it often leads to mindless “productivity” — a constant need to do something and a tendency to waste time on menial tasks.

Instead of behaving in this way, I choose to do things differently.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

The old adage, “work smarter, not harder” has become a staple in the way I go about work of any kind.

Instead of being robotic in how I approach tasks, I try to be thoughtful and always ask myself if something can be done more efficiently or eliminated altogether.

Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster, and relieving stress.

It’s about clearing away space in my life to make time for people, play, and rest.

I promise you — there really are enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do, but it may take a bit of rearranging and re-imagining to find them.

21 Time Management Tips

I compiled this list of 21 tips to hopefully nudge you in the right direction.

Remember: There are innumerable hacks and tricks to manage your time effectively. These are some tips that I find helpful, but everyone is different.

Let this list be a catalyst to get you thinking regularly about how to refine your own practices.

1. Complete most important tasks first.

This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first.

Once you’re done, the day has already been a success. You can move on to other things, or you can let them wait until tomorrow. You’ve finished the essential.

2. Learn to say “no”.

Making a lot of time commitments can teach us how to juggle various engagements and manage our time. This can be a great thing.

However, you can easily take it too far. At some point, you need to learn to decline opportunities. Your objective should be to take on only those commitments that you know you have time for and that you truly care about.

3. Sleep at least 7-8 hours.

Some people think sacrificing sleep is a good way to hack productivity and wring a couple extra hours out of the day. This is not the case.

Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. You know if you’re getting enough. Listen to your body, and don’t underestimate the value of sleep.

4. Devote your entire focus to the task at hand.

Close out all other browser windows. Put your phone away, out of sight and on silent. Find a quiet place to work, or listen to some music if that helps you (I enjoy listening to classical or ambient music while writing sometimes).

Concentrate on this one task. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it.

5. Get an early start.

Nearly all of us are plagued by the impulse to procrastinate. It seems so easy, and you always manage to get it done eventually, so why not?

Take it from a recovering chronic procrastinator — it’s so much nicer and less stressful to get an earlier start on something. It isn’t that difficult either, if you just decide firmly to do it.

6. Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down.

We often allow projects to take much, much longer than they could by getting too hung up on small details. I’m guilty of this. I’ve always been a perfectionist.

What I’ve found, though, is that it is possible to push past the desire to constantly examine what I’ve done so far. I’m much better off pressing onward, getting the bulk completed, and revising things afterward.

7. Turn key tasks into habits.

Writing is a regular task for me. I have to write all the time — for school, work, my student organization, my blog, etc. I probably write 5,000 – 7,000 words per week.

The amount of writing I do may seem like a lot to most people, but it’s very manageable for me, because it’s habitual. I’ve made it a point to write something every day for a long time.

I rarely break this routine. Because of this, my mind is in the habit of doing the work of writing. It has become quite natural and enjoyable. Could you do something similar? (Read “The Simple, Powerful Guide to Forming Any New Habit“)

8. Be conscientious of amount of TV/Internet/gaming time.

Time spent browsing Twitter or gaming or watching TV and movies can be one of the biggest drains on productivity.

I suggest becoming more aware of how much time you spend on these activities. Simply by noticing how they’re sucking up your time you’ll begin to do them less.

9. Delineate a time limit in which to complete task.

Instead of just sitting down to work on a project and thinking, “I’m going to be here until this is done,” try thinking, “I’m going to work on this for three hours”.

The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back and add a bit more later.

10. Leave a buffer-time between tasks.

When we rush from task to task, it’s difficult to appreciate what we’re doing and to stay focused and motivated.

Allowing ourselves down-time between tasks can be a breath of fresh air for our brains. While taking a break, go for a short walk, meditate, or perform some other mind-clearing exercise.

11. Don’t think of the totality of your to-do list.

One of the fastest ways to overwhelm yourself is to think about your massive to-do list. Realize that no amount of thought will make it any shorter.

At this point in time, all you can do is focus on the one task before you. This one, single, solitary task. One step at a time. Breathe.

12. Exercise and eat healthily.

Numerous studies have linked a healthy lifestyle with work productivity. Similar to getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthily boost energy levels, clear your mind, and allow you to focus more easily.

13. Do less.

This is a tactic recommended by one of my favorite bloggers, Leo Babauta. Basically, do less is another way of saying do the things that really matter.

Slow down, notice what needs to be done, and concentrate on those things. Do less things that create more value, rather than more things that are mostly empty.

14. Utilize weekends, just a little bit.

One of my favorite memes depicts a gentleman casting his work aside, declaring, “It’s Friday! F#%$88u this shit.” The following image reads “Monday”, and the man is stooping to pick up the papers he’d tossed to the ground.

This is comical, but I’ve found that it’s amazing how doing just a little bit on weekends can really lessen the workload during the week. Aim for 2-4 hours per day. You’ll still leave yourself plenty of free time for activities.

15. Create organizing systems.

Being organized saves tons of time, and you don’t have to be the most ultra-organized person in the world either. Systems aren’t complicated to implement.

Create a filing system for documents. Make sure all items have a place to be stored in your dwelling. Unsubscribe from e-mail lists if you don’t want to receive their content. Streamline, streamline, streamline.

16. Do something during waiting time.

We tend to have a lot of down-time where we don’t try to do much. Waiting rooms, lines at the store, time on the subway, on the elliptical at the gym, etc.

Find things to do during this time. I tend to have a lot of reading for classes, so I bring some of it almost everywhere I go and read during waiting time.

17. Lock yourself in.

No distractions, no excuses. Sometimes, the only way I’m going to get something done is if I’m under lock and key, alone in a room. If you’re like me, realize it, and act accordingly.

18. Commit to your plan to do something.

I kind of mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t flake on your own plan to do something!

Be resolute. Be committed. Be professional about it, and follow through. A firm will to accomplish what you decide to accomplish will take you anywhere.

19. Batch related tasks together.

Let’s say that over a given weekend you need to do two programming assignments, write three essays, and make two videos. Rather than approaching this work in whatever order you feel, group the like tasks and do them consecutively.

Different tasks demand different types of thinking, so it makes sense to allow your mind to continue to flow with its current zone rather than switching unnecessarily to something that’s going to require you to re-orient.

20. Find time for stillness.

In our go, go, go world, too many people don’t find time to just be still. Yet, it’s extraordinary what a stillness practice can do. Action and inaction should both play key roles in our lives.

Discovering time in your life for silence and non-motion reduces anxiety and shows you that there is no need to constantly rush. It also makes it easier to find your work pleasurable.

21. Eliminate the non-essential.

I know this one has been mentioned in one capacity or another already, but it’s one of the most useful tips you can take away from this post.

Our lives are full of excess. When we can identify that excess and remove it, we become more and more in touch with what is significant and what deserves our time.

One Last Tip (The Best One)

There’s one final tip I want to mention. If you remember one thing from this post, remember this:

Enjoyment should always be the goal. Work can be play.

We get so caught up in busyness that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done.

This should never be the point. Always ask yourself: What can I do to spend more time enjoying what I’m doing?

The goal should be to arrange your commitments in a way that you’re happy living out the details of your daily life, even while you’re working.

This may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s more possible than ever in today’s world. Be curious. Be open to opportunity. Know yourself. Embrace your passions.

Wonderful things will happen. Best of luck implementing these tips, and let me know if I can do anything else to help you.

Your Friend,
Jordan Bates

P.S. ‘Like’ Refine The Mind on Facebook here to stay in the know.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

This article originally appeared at Refine The Mind