Saturday, September 1, 2018

Why your personal finances matter in entrepreneurship by AishaTaylor

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Entrepreneurship is a way to increase your income and pursue your dreams. However, many people don’t realize their personal finances can matter in business. Managing a business is more than just selling a product or service.  It requires financial discipline. Successful personal financial management can help you practice and develop the critical skills and habits needed to assess business spending, income, financial position, and the value received from business investments or spending.
This post will share 4 reasons why solid personal financial management can help you better manage your business finances.

Better manage business expenses
When you practice financial discipline by reducing impulse spending, you are training yourself to say “no” to the things that don’t matter and say “yes” to more things that add value.  This will help you to avoid succumbing to the temptation to purchase the fresh new product, coaching program, or hot new thing your competitors are doing. Instead, you will decide to focus more on free tools, follow a business budget, create a strategy for things that you will invest in with a clear return on investment in mind, and ultimately develop more discipline with how to approach business spending.

Know where you stand financially in your business
A critical component of managing a business is financial reporting (especially at tax time) and keeping track of income and expenses to ensure that your business is profitable and is able to fulfill customer orders.  If you get in the habit of finding the time and discipline to review your personal finances monthly, then you will also be developing the discipline to do the same in your business. Not only will this make tax reporting easier, it will also help you avoid running out of money which means you may not have the resources for the things you need to grow, expand, or even fill customer orders.  If you are a full-time entrepreneur, then failed to adequately manage business finances can even lead to business closure and returning back to work.

Obtaining a business loan and credit
If you are a sole proprietor or are just starting your business, then the bank may review your personal credit before extending business credit.  If you sign a personal guarantee when taking out a business loan, the bank may review your personal credit history to determine the likelihood the loan will be repaid. Therefore, when establishing business credit, it is also important to work on your personal credit as well.
Funding your business
There may be times when your business isn’t making the income needed to cover your business expenses.  Additionally, you may even need to allocate a portion of your paycheck to help fund start up or relaunch costs.  If this is the case, then review (and if necessary revise) your personal budget to include the amount you are allocating to your business.

Hopefully, these tips help you to understand why your personal finances matter in business.  Leave a comment to tell me how you will implement the tips.

Learn more about Aisha Taylor at  www.FNPhenomenal.comTwitter: @FNPhenomenal

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Balancing Your Personal Leadership by "BOSS Influencer" Dr. Jacquie Hood Martin

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Life is filled with strange encounters. In a moment and at times without notice, a situation arises that dumbfounds you. A place in your heart that is almost mended, a relationship that is just about repaired, or a wound that is nearly healed. Yet, out of the blue a trigger of how hurt you really were by it, causes you to realize you have not come as far as you think!
Living a life of balance is not just how well you handle your finances, manage your affairs, keep up with meals, children, and exercise. It is at times how you balance yourself within the engagements you have with other people. Family, friends, co-workers, bosses, church folk, neighbors, and sometimes casual acquaintances can throw you off balance when you engage in their hurts. These real-life encounters can set anyone (yes, even you) off balance and off-kilter. As you consider how well or not you are balancing your life encounters, consider and remember you are a leader of one; one single person: self. There are times when you must step back, step away, and stand clear of what you are doing in order to re-evaluate your true effectiveness. This is where hindsight and foresight meet. Everyday lends itself to new opportunities and challenges. As you face the day, allow yourself to take it all in. Don’t panic, shy away, or brush off too casually an encounter that may be God-sent.
Sometimes, the best way to learn new coping skills, new ways of viewing a situation, or even improve your avoidance tactics is to take it square on! Yet, other times, it’s a clear directive to steer clear. Either way, you can learn valuable lessons and enhance your ability to lead your own life. Today is the day you start to matter! Sure, you never really meant to doubt your ability, but things happened to shake your confidence. Well, it’s time to regain perspective and put you back in first place in your life. Balance is a state of mind. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:7
Whatever you do today, be sure your heart is in it. If it’s not, walk away and find a path that suits your heart. Pray this week to begin afresh with people who have a heart for what you do, and to be on one accord with you. If they can’t go the distance, take them as far as they can, then release them to find their ‘heart-path.’ And, consider you too may need to do the same.
Today take a moment to review who is in your space, rethink their place, and reassign value to them so that you are not physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or spiritually off-balance by your interactions with them in your life.

Jacquie Hood Martin, PhD, CSSGB, is a full-time Master Coach Trainer, and CEO of J. Hood & Associates Life Management Firm, a professional development 501(c)3. Her company offers Coaching, Coaching Certifications, Leadership Training, Strategic Planning, and Professional Development services for individuals and companies. More on her website at jhoodandassociates.org. Twitter: @jhoodmartin

Wait! Don’t Quit, Yet By "BOSS Influencer" Yvette Gavin

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How to write a resignation letter made Google’s top 10 most searched ‘how to’ questions earlier this month. Congratulations if you’re among the folks moving on to a promising new job. But, wait. Don’t resign your current position or jump the gun by making announcements on social media until you’ve made it through the background checks and the offer is official. Here are three things you should know before giving your resignation letter:

I have a friend who lost a job offer after a lemon poppy seed muffin caused her to fail a drug test. You may not eat muffins, but there are other reasons the offer could fall through. On that note, you can’t put yourself in any situation where your job offer may be compromised. In other words, if someone else in your presence is smoking illegal substances, you need to remove yourself from the situation.

Drug tests aren’t the only thing that can go wrong at this point. A gentleman I know lost an offer for his dream job when the company discovered he had a felony conviction. More than two decades had passed since he committed the offense, and he'd never had another
run-in with the law. Because it stopped showing up on background checks after all that time, he almost forgot about it. However, this company’s research was so thorough that they discovered the conviction and, as a consequence, withdrew the job offer. Unfortunately, this man had already resigned the position he’d held before the offer was made. The loss left him devastated, and what had promised to be a significant advancement for his career turned into the beginning of a long period of unemployment.

You may be breathing a sigh of relief because you don’t have a criminal record and you can pass a drug test and financial background check with flying colors. I advise you not to get too comfortable. Things happen, so don’t give your resignation until you’ve completely locked down the new job. By completely locked down I mean making sure you have passed all background checks before giving your current employer a letter of resignation.
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Yvette Gavin has coached individuals into higher paying jobs, more rewarding careers, and personal spiritual growth. A dynamic organizational leader, Yvette has helped Fortune 100 companies and small businesses to improve the quality of their deliverables and to build stronger and highly productive teams. Yvette is the author of Recalibrate! Navigating the Job Market with Confidence. Visit www.YvetteGavin.com Twitter: @yvettegavin

3 Things You Should Never Do When You Present … And What to Do Instead by Bridgett McGowen

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1.  Never say to the audience "Come on! You can do better than that!" You usually hear this after a presenter greets the audience and receives a less than enthusiastic greeting in return; oftentimes the presenter will insist - jokingly or otherwise - on telling the audience it can do a better job of returning his/her greeting.

a. You have not done anything to get people hyped ... unless you have rock star status. And you immediately make the audience feel inadequate or like it has to do something it really does not want to do.

b. Do not rely on the audience to get you excited. Never make the audience responsible for making you feel welcome and wanted. Get yourself pumped by thinking of the value you're about to bring that's going to rock the house! Think to yourself "Okay. You aren't excited now, but wait until you get a load of this presentation!"

c. Greet everyone, accept the greeting you get in response, then set out to totally wow the crowd. THEN you will see the audience excitement go through the roof!

2.  Never pose a question to the audience within the first few minutes of your presentation, then call on an individual to bravely answer it in front of everyone.

a. You may not have provided enough information for a person to have a fair chance at arriving at a correct answer.

b. Remember it feels safer to answer a question in a small group of listeners than it does to answer a question in front of a room full of people.

c. Your first question for your audience should be one where audience members can engage with each other, discussing possible answers to the question, then you can call on someone to share with the larger group.

3. Never call on someone to answer a question to which the answer serves as a basis for understanding an integral part of your presentation without you providing the answer/definition, too.

a. Let that person offer an answer.

b. Thank him/her regardless of whether the audience member's answer was correct.

c. Ensure you provide the definition you need everyone to have.

Want more of what to do instead?  Click HERE, HERE, and HERE!

You've got this!

Are you a professional woman who makes presentations as part of your job or as part of your business? Did you ever wish you could get personal and helpful guidance on improving your presentation skills? Get on the phone with me for a complimentary presentation skills analysis. It will involve only about 20 minutes of your time, and you will learn how to start making your presentations amazing once and for all! Schedule your call here.  It’ll be the best 20 minutes you’ve ever spent working on your presentation skills. I guarantee it!


Learn more about Bridgett at BMcTALKS.
Twitter: @1bmctalks

How To Establish Your Business Identity and Claim It Boldly by April D. Byrd

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It’s important to establish your business on purpose, before thinking about money. Understanding what our divine purpose gives us better direction in going forward with what we do and why we do it.

Divine purpose is the guide that gives us direction. We find it in prayer, meditation, and taking the time to be one with ourselves. Communicating with the source of the very reason we were created. We have to truly look deep into who we are to find out what exactly it is that we have to offer the world, with excellence!

The first step to establishing a business identity is to look into personal divine purpose. Whatever we do, no matter how menial the job seems will play off this and provide peace in doing it. Even the perceived “hard” things.

I believe when we understand the purpose behind what we do, we can boldly share it with others without hesitation, no matter what the situation.
Recently I was in the car with a new friend that I meant at church, when she asked: “What do you do?” I found myself overwhelmed by the simple question. I doubted she wanted to hear: “I do everything!” Sometimes it needs to be something simple like: “I write” or “I work a Burger King” not the whole works, full of menial details. I found something simple to say and can’t remember exactly what it was that I said.

I later regretted not fully taking pride in the fact that. . . I’m a BOSS! Yep, I said it a BOSS! If we’re not able to take full ownership of the 27 plus hats that we wear as professionals and especially as entrepreneurs then there’s really no reason to even do it. The fact that the question rattled me made me go deep and get back to the purpose of it all.

What I should have said is: “I own a media company where I help people get the word out about their business.” and so the next time someone asks that’s what it will be. I read somewhere that when you introduce yourself at networking events you should share the WHY of what you do, along with what it is that you do. People are enlightened by it and more encouraged to assist.

I’m a firm believer that our business identity should be wrapped up in our purpose. At the end of the day God is in full control of ALL of our affairs anyway, “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”

It’s up to us to be on the right side of purpose when our time comes.

April D. Byrd is a Writer, Producer, creator of BOLDJournal, and Founder of Oasis Media Group. She believes that positive, uplifting media has the power to inspire hope and courage in people to excel. She uses her voice for good and helps others express their creative vision.

Learn more about April D. Byrd at www.vowinspirenetwork.com Twitter@vowinspirentwrk

The 5 Cs you need to Achieve Your Life Goals by Tammy P. Moore

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One of my mantras is K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple Sisters)! Many times, in life we over complicate things.  In the words of Lauren Hill “It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard!”  If you are struggling to achieve your goals or you keep making detours on this road called life.  I have outlined the five Cs you need that will get you right back on track.  Remember goals don’t work unless you do!
For those of you that have created a vision board and stuck it in a corner somewhere I want you to pull it out and look it, so you can remember what your goals are.  Write the vision make it plain. The year is not over yet, there is still time to get your blessings.  All our goals are different, but I think these 5 tips will help you reach them!

1.  Credit/Capital
If you have good credit and a solid business plan you can get money! You need credit for everything, whether you're buying a car, a home, starting a business or even looking for a job.  It’s you on paper so what does it say about you? We miss the mark when it comes to credit education and I’m on a mission to do just that! Educate, educate, educate! You can’t repair what you won’t review!  Stay on top of your credit, it’s one of the keys to success,

2.  Confidence
You need to be confident in your abilities, in your gifts and that they will make room for you.  Don’t get confident and conceited confused.  Because people often do.  If you are well versed and an expert in your field, you must exude confidence.  No one will put someone on a major stage if they’re unsure of themselves.  Study your craft and watch the doors fly open or create your own opportunities!

3.  Character/Integrity
Knowledge will give you power, but Character will give you respect.  In the end, all you have is your good name.  I’ve often heard character is what you do when no one is watching.  Always take the road less traveled, you will find your success there.  You will learn some things along the way that give you knowledge and fortitude to reach your goals. One of my favorite poems is myself by Edgar Allen Guest to quote a verse “I have to live with myself and so I want to fit for myself to know.  I want to be able as days go by always to look myself straight in the eye.  I don’t want to stand with the setting sun and hate myself for the things I’ve done!  I can never hide myself from me, I see what others may never see, I know what others may never know.  I never can fool myself and so.  Whatever happens, I want to be self-respecting and conscious free! Always do what’s right and right will surely follow you.

4. Connections/Networking
It’s not what you know it’s who you know. To increase your net worth, you must network!   I don’t care how smart or talented you are you cannot make it in this world alone. Surround yourself with good people who are going somewhere.  Connect with organizations Like the BOSS network.  My territory has been enlarged with the connections I have made through them!  Be sure to evaluate who’s on your front row, it will tell you a lot about your future.  If you’re around 4 people that don’t want anything out of life, you’re bound to become the 5th.  But if you surround yourself with 4 go-getters that never give up and encourage each other you will all win!

5.  Commitment
Reaching your goals will not be easy. That’s where commitment comes into play. You must stay the course when things aren’t going so well.  Everyone can proclaim to be successful when you’re on the top of the mountain but what about the valley experiences. Can you still stand tall when you face adversity? When the mortgage crisis came in 2007 people were changing careers, but I knew this is what God had called me to do. I remained committed to my purpose and my passion even in the troubled times.
Once you’ve mastered the 5 C’s to success there no limit to what you can achieve!  It is my hope that we all see our visions become a reality.  Because when one of us wins…we all win!  Here’s to you!

Tammy Moore is Division President at Diamond Residential Mortgage and owner of Tammy P. Moore & Associates. She is a motivational speaker and Credit and Financial Coach. In her spare time, she is the Budget Conscious Fashionista, where she teaches Style $ense: How to style your outfits on a budget without breaking the bank!

Learn more about Tammy P. Moore:
Website: www.tammypmoore.com
Twitter: @tammypmoore

Sunday, August 5, 2018

4 Ways to Reduce Money Stress by Aisha Taylor

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According to CNBC 30% of Americans are “constantly” stressed out about money.  The same article reports that need to tap into savings to make it to the next payday and the fear of “unexpected expenses” are large sources of stress.  Not having enough money to cover your expenses or knowing that an unexpected expense could derail your finances is extremely stressful. Fortunately, there are things you can do right now to reduce your stress and put yourself in a healthier financial position.

Create Your Budget And Stick To It
Once you understand your goals and financial priorities then you must understand how to free up or find the money to allocate to those goals. This is where budgeting comes in. When you budget, review your take-home pay, the money that you have after taxes and payroll deductions. Divide your take-home pay according to the 50/30/20 rule: 50% for your needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for financial goals.  This allows you to cover the things that are necessary to your survival, it allows you to have money to do fun things, and have money to make progress on your financial goals.
Start And Grow Your Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is critical because this is the money that you will use in case of an emergency. This would include things like a job loss, medical leave, or a major unexpected expense. An emergency fund will help you to continue to pay the bills while you are looking for a new job or a way out of the situation that caused the emergency. In absence of this fund, you would need to borrow the money, take out credit card debt, or do without.


Pay Off Debt
I used to be a person who felt like, “I will make the minimum payments on my debt until it is paid off.”   However, when I started working in my first job after grad school that I fully understood what debt was. I learned that so much of my current earnings were going to pay back money that I borrowed in the past. Once I had a new perspective on debt, got aggressive with paying down debt and was vigilant about charging new debt. Therefore, rethink how you feel about debt because it will help you make better spending decisions going forward.
Commit To Refusing To Quit
This one is really important because at the beginning of each year many people are so excited about their new goals. This excitement and passion is genuine at the time, but unfortunately not lasting. Therefore, when you are tempted to quit, you must push through. You will fall off the wagon because you are human, but the key is how you respond. New beginnings aren’t always for the New Year. Every day and every moment is an opportunity to do begin again. Therefore, when you make a mistake, forgive yourself and get back up.

Learn more about Aisha Taylor at

www.FNPhenomenal.comTwitter: @FNPhenomenal

Saturday, July 14, 2018

5 Brilliant Customer Service Hacks To Increase Your Bottom Line by April D. Byrd

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Scripture says if you want friends, show yourself friendly, imagine how well this concept also works to gain customers and clients if you’re a Business Owner or Entrepreneur.

Recently a friend asked me if I knew of a good nail salon in town and I was able to recommend one to her gladly. Why? Because the customer service at this particular salon stood out from several other salons in the area, on top of a noticeably good job with the actual service.

If you’re familiar with nail salons and how they operate, you know that most of the staff are of Asian backgrounds. As a customer, at times it can be uncomfortable when the employees are conversing in their native language, which is confusing if we don’t know it.

“Are they talking about me, judging how bad my nails/feet look, saying something negative, etc?” The conclusion that people may be low-key dissing us if there is a language barrier is not uncommon.
The tone of voice and general self-confidence have their part in our perception of what may be being said, but good vibes and sincere politeness are generally easy to catch in any language. Our aura most certainly has a direct effect on business.


Communication is key for customers. At the heart of great customer service is communication. People know when they are being properly communicated with. The service at the nail salon, was so good I naturally wanted to make noise about it, even give the business a shout out on social media which I rarely do unless the service is really good. When my friend asked me if I knew of a place, I was happy to give her a name. She took the referral with surety because she knew what I meant when I explained about not feeling uncomfortable in a nail salon.


Excellent customer service is the signature of the most notable companies in the world. Here are a few tips that may help get your brand or business in the major leagues:


Acknowledge Often and Intentionally
They say first impressions are the lasting ones. Reception makes a major impact. This sounds simple, but sadly some receptions at places of business are not warm. Due to lack of training or general ignorance.  How people are received at the door is the first step toward success. A hotel chain that I used to work for, which is currently the top one in the entire world, has a 5-foot rule. All staff must greet any guest that is within 5 feet of them.  Acknowledge customers quickly and with a smile. Make it undeniably clear to customers that their presence and their desires matter.


Be a Dynamic Listener
This works to give you the absolute best response.


Practice Courtesy and Consideration
Pleasant, gracious, cordial. Just a few words that come up as synonyms for courtesy. There are a skill and an art to courtesy. Those that have it win. Be kind to people. If this is not something that comes naturally it may be something very good to practice if you’re running a business. Keep in mind that at the end of it all you’re in business to serve. Listen and engage with sincerity. Provide service as kindly as possible. Stay gracious and get your paper.


Pay Close Attention to Detail
Noticing the “little things” really means a lot.


Stay Woke in Your Word Choice
What you say is a big deal. “My Pleasure” is a more powerful response than “You’re Welcome” and there is a particular chicken sandwich chain that knows this very well. Word choice can make the difference between mediocre and excellent service. A lot of customer loyalty and retention can be found in kind wording. I once worked with a supervisor who would cringe if any agent he managed used the words “No problem.” when responding to a guest.  Saying “you’re welcome” was better suited to his particular taste. Mindful dialogue can be a dynamic piece of a company’s culture and overall success.


Connect with VOW-Inspire Network to get more hacks on being the most brilliant in your Brand, Business, and Media Influence.



Learn more about April D. Byrd at www.vowinspirenetwork.com Twitter@vowinspirentwrk

Monday, July 2, 2018

4 Questions To Ask Yourself At The End Of Each Month To Stay On Budget by Aisha Taylor

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The idea of a “budget,” can be intimidating. However, budgets are designed to help give you a framework of what you can do. Just like an architect would never build a structure without a blueprint, you should not manage your finances without a plan.

The end of each month is a great time to review your budget and how well you followed it. This will allow you to track and monitor your progress, respond to financial challenges within a reasonable time, and increase the likelihood that you will adhere to your budget.

To help guide you in reviewing your budget, ask yourself the 4 questions below at the end of each month.


Question 1: Did I follow my budget?

Creating a budget can be challenging, but following it is no joke! Therefore, kudos to you if you were able to follow it or even kind of follow it. If you found that you had challenges following your budget and that you did overspend, then congratulate yourself for trying, forgive yourself for overspending, and commit yourself to start over next month. Then, calculate any overdraft fees charged by totaling the amount spent on fees and evaluate the transactions that caused the overspending.


Question 2: Did I pay all of my bills on time and in full?

At the conclusion of each month, review all of your monthly expenses and evaluate whether or not you paid them on time and in full. If you paid any bills late, then indicate which bills were late, by how many days, and why. If you didn’t pay your bills in full and on time, then don’t avoid the late payments. Make payment arrangements to pay it off over time and then adjust your budget going forward by adding the incremental amount to the budgets in the subsequent months.

Question 3: Is there anything that I want to adjust for the next month?

Take the time to assess your progress towards your financial goals and monthly budgeting. After doing this exercise, you may decide that you need to make some changes to your plan and that is okay. If something in the budget isn’t working then feel free to change it and re-adjust the spending categories as you need to until you find something that works for you and your family. 


Question 4: How much closer am I to achieving my goals?

If you don’t pay attention to and monitor your progress towards your goals, then you can easily forget about them as you focus on day-to-day living. As you assess the progress towards your goals you want to understand how much you contributed towards your financial goals this month and whether it was this more than, less than, or on track with what you planned. 


Conclusion

This may seem like a lot of work at the end of each month, but going through this process will help you to fine-tune your spending and put you in a better financial position going forward.


Learn more about Aisha at www.FNPhenomenal.com, Twitter: @FNPhenomenal

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Become What You Believe: 3 Steps to Create Your Professional Vision by Nicole Grimes

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Vision is defined as the act or power of sensing with eyes; sight (dictionary.com). Through visualization, we see so much, our past, the present, and the future. So often, we mistakenly place our vision in the category of dreams and forget that we have the power to manifest our vision through our focused actions. In order to move from vision to reality, it’s critical that you are able to do the following:

· Know What You Want
· Create a Plan for What You Want
· Take Action to Get What You Want

Let’s take a closer look…

1. Know What You Want – Listen, if YOU do know what you want, we have a problem, Houston. Take out a notepad or your laptop, and start writing…write until you can’t write anymore. What is your perfect utopian vision of what you want for your professional life? I don’t care if it seems unimaginable. Write it down. An idea to help you organize your thoughts is to place them in categories. You may choose this by creating the categories in advance or after you write. Consider the following: 6 months to a year, 2-3 years, 5 years and so on. This entire exercise may seem dumb or uncomfortable, but I promise it will help you get on track. The key to creating your vision is to be able to see it…literally.

2. Create the Plan for What You Want – It may be hard to really break down your action steps for the next five years, but you can definitely map our action steps for the next 6 months. Start there…pretty soon, those 6 months will have come and gone. Answer the following key questions:

  • What are 3-5 professional goals I want to reach in the next 6 months? These goals should be SMART:
  • Identify the HOW – How will you achieve these goals? Remember, this may change somewhat, but your goals and your intended results… probably not.
  • Identify real dates and put them on the calendar. Hold yourself accountable.
3. Take Action to Get What You Want – Time to roll up your sleeves to get that plan into motion. Start with those action items you identified in step 2. We are aiming for small wins which will equal big wins over time. For example, if one of your action items is to reach a six-month goal of making 3 new key connections in the workplace, it’s time to get dressed and get to networking. These dreams will not become reality overnight. Put yourself out there, and make it happen for yourself. No action equals no action.

Start with these three steps to manifest your vision. Your job is to make the invisible visible by taking action for your own life. By knowing what you want, creating a plan to get what you want, and taking action, you begin to create a more intentional path to living the life of your dreams. Be aggressive, be clear, focus yourself, and make it happen. Become what you believe.


Learn more about Nicole Grimes at www.thenicolemg.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NicoleGrimes_

Book Nicole as a Motivational Speaker, send an email to nicolegrimes@thenicolemg.com

Do You Ramble When You Present? Here's How to Change That! by Bridgett McGowen

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There is so much you want to cover and only so much time to do it. Subconsciously, you want your audience to fall as deeply in love with your topic as you are already in love with it. This tends to cause a problem.

But just a second … this is not to suggest there is something wrong with wanting your audience to find the same value in your content as you find in it. The challenge lies in this desire propelling you to share and share and share to the point you end up rambling, rambling, and rambling. By going off on tangents or losing your train of thought, you also lose your effectiveness and diminish your power with all of the spins and twirls and ups and downs and twists and turns you put in your message.

First, keep in mind that you are not there to create experts out of your listeners. Would that be awesome if you could? Absolutely! Is that realistic? Absolutely not.

Think of the number of hours, days, weeks, months, and even years or decades it took you to get where you are with your knowledge. As such, remember the time you have to present is limited; hence, the material you provide must be limited in quantity but not - you guessed it - quality. Give your audience the three biggest components that will spark a curiosity and give them just enough information so they can understand why you are so passionate.

Second, with those three big components, remember who is in your audience. Ask yourself …

  • What is the main takeaway?

  • How do I want to change everyone's beliefs and actions?

  • Why should this be important to everyone?
Commit to answer only those questions, and you stay on topic. (More practice with these three questions is available in Master Your Message: The Workbook.)

Next, rely on presentation software to keep you on track. Use slides with as few words as possible because there can never be anything on a slide more interesting or exciting than the words you speak. And as you design your slides, use a minimalistic approach where you provide a high-quality, high-impact graphic with only a few words on each slide. If you get off track, you can glance at your laptop or computer screen, and the image will refocus you.

Additionally, stop and listen to how much you're talking. If you have been talking for more than 10 to 15 minutes without getting input from the audience, then you've been talking too much and possibly rambling as a result.

Finally, pay attention to the audience's body language. Is the audience mentally and even physically checking-out by looking at watches, shifting in seats, thumbing through the handout you gave, engaging with their phones? All of these can be telltale signs that you're rambling and that it's time to change up things.

You've got this. Be seen. Be heard. Be great!

P.S. Check out the BMcTALKS Academy and my NEW online courses. Watch for new courses coming soon!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Truth Your Boss is Afraid to Tell You by "BOSS Influencer" Yvette Gavin

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A boss once told me, “Yvette, life is not fair.” This was the immediate reply from my boss in 1990 when I expressed my dismay with an average merit increase and another year of being overlooked for directorship. After pleading my case of why I felt my work performance merited more money and a title change, I ended with ‘It isn’t fair,’ and my boss agreed. Her agreement led me to tears. Why? Because I felt I had been mistreated, undervalued, and taken for granted and her comment confirmed it. Even worst, she made no excuse or apology for it. Instead, three weeks later I got a significant merit increase and later a promotion. This victorious win, I wouldn’t realize until years later, wasn’t a win at all. It’s true that I got the money and the new position, but I failed to understand or even ask why I wasn’t initially promoted. Honest feedback would have served me better than a "life is not fair."
Unfortunately, years later at a different company I found myself in the same position—feeling undervalued and overlooked for advanced opportunities. According to research sponsored by American Express, Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Interpublic Group, Marie Claire, Credit Suisse, and Moody’s Foundations, leaders are often reluctant to give feedback relating to executive presence (EP) to women and minorities. The truth here is that oftentimes, resources who shine in their specific craft are not promoted into higher position because they lack executive presence and senior leaders are reluctant to tell them the truth. I have coached clients who were told that higher positions were out of their reach because they did not have a college degree only to learn after gaining a degree that higher positions were still out of reach.
Without feedback, I realized that I had to make changes if I were to achieve my goals of higher leadership roles, increased income, and a greater level of corporate contribution. Although I wasn’t familiar with the term “executive presence” at that time, I began to employ the behaviors of EP. I achieved my career goals in 2007 before completing my college degree when I became the first Black IT Director at Cbeyond! Looking back, I realize my career trajectory changed because I learned how to lead with what is referred to as executive presence. 
Depending on the corporate culture, a resource may need to have a strong handle on all three components of executive presence to even get a promotion to manager which for many companies is the first level of leadership. Research done by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) shows that how you look, how you speak and how you act are three critical factors to your success at every step in your career journey.
Back in 1990, I had a lot to learn about my own behavior. I was younger and needed to improve how I managed myself emotionally. Crying in the office under stress and disappointment doesn’t bode well for one’s career. Potential leaders must display the ability to manage and lead themselves before they are capable of managing and leading other people. Trust me on this one: emotionally-led decisions rarely lead to productive actions.
According to the CTI research, “Top jobs often elude women and professionals of color because they lack “executive presence” or underestimate its importance. And they’re simply not getting the guidance they need to acquire it.” I know the truth of this research because I experienced it in my personal life and in my professional life. As an IT Director, I found myself saying to one of my managers who wanted a promotion these words, “you’re not ready.” The hurt in his eyes gave me flashbacks to my own painful journey of understanding that it takes more than being good at what you do to advance into higher positions. The difference is I was willing to tell the resource the truth of why I wasn’t putting him forth for a promotion and then I shared with him specific behaviors he needed to improve.
Noteworthily, the CTI findings also unveiled that EP is elusive for men as well as women because it changes depending on the culture you find yourself in (Google is very different from IBM). Even for entrepreneurs, the lack of executive presence could prevent potential investors from sealing the deal.
Before completing my college degree, I advanced my career to the executive level by leading with executive presence. I am passionate about teaching others how to elevate their careers and achieve their personal goals. I invite you to join me on June 27 for a FREE webinar on the BrightTALK Women in Business channel for a talk on leading with executive presence. Both Men and Women are Welcome! To register, click here.






















Learn more about Yvette Gavin:


Twitter: @yvettegavin