Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Top Ten Reasons Social Media Is Driving Us Crazy and Making Us Want The Old Days Back

You have all experienced it.   You are plowing through your Facebook News Feed and after about 35 negative posts about Trump and how much people hate him, you get to that post that hits you like a brick.  You know, the one with the tagged picture of you looking cross-eyed after a few too many cocktails.   You want to kill your dear Facebook friend, but heck, things can be worse right?

Social Media and smart phones are an epidemic.  I was walking through the streets of Boston today,  you can feel the magnet of wireless connectivity from all of the people glued to their phones posting an Instagram Story, commenting about their hair or even better tweeting about Donnie boy.   It honestly drives me crazy and makes me yearn for the good ol' days of wall phones, cassette tapes and people that talk to you and say hi walking down the street.

So I came up with the Top Ten Reasons Why Social Media is Driving Us All Crazy with some throwbacks to the old days.  Enjoy :)

10.   Everyone thinks they need to practice the First Amendment and then troll anyone that has a different opinion.    You know this never happened in 1995 right?

9.  You know that old crush from high school is trolling through all of your pictures now and using your picture as their screensaver.   Now that is a creepy thought.   Back in 1995, you just had a pin board in your room.  Now it is all online.  Creepy.

8. People need to post their "check-in" to the gym, the hairdresser, the bar, their work, their house, their garage, even their bathroom.   Honestly, who cares where you are right now.   You are asking to get stalked.

7. Trump.   That frigging orange face is all over the place.     He finally is in first place and on the first page of Google because he is trending on social media every flipping day.

6. Traffic in major cities is worst than ever.  Why? Because everyone is multi-tasking texting and posting on social media when they should be looking ahead and driving.   Wanna solve the traffic issue?   Everyone, put their phones down.   Back in 1995, the issue was reading the newspaper and shaving while driving.

5. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, SMS... UGH!!!!  Where else can I post about something useless today?   I can't keep up with all of these social media apps on my phone.  Remember in 1995, when we just had a beeper and it beeped when someone was trying to contact us?

4.  Social Media is now a Sales Funnel for that great new business you started.  Honestly, people could care less you found this great little organic grain drink that gives you energy and makes your skin glow like a full moon.   This  drives a lot of people crazy and has caused a lot of blocking of friends.    Back in 1995, you simply sold lemonade on the side of the street.

3.  People get so emotional on Social Media.    See #10.   Honestly, people need to chill out and not take things so seriously.   Who cares if someone posted that you have a wart on the side of your ear or they hate the city you live in?    Relax and remember, "Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me".   Move on.

2. Oh, great now they have live video on most Social Media platforms.  Nice, now some chick is going to post of video of her brushing her hair for twenty minutes.   That is sure to drive some people crazy.

1.  Always remember, everything you post cannot be deleted so if you screw up, it will be with you forever.   That is sure to drive you crazy.   Nothing like the old days when you can simply burn or shred that bad note.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Do You Motivate Yourself To Exercise Consistently?

I am going to start off my blog with a little personal gloating to get you motivated.   I was a skinny little kid growing up in Rhode Island and had a hard time keeping up with the jocks at my school, when it came to sports and girls.  I was known as "Little Jeffy" and yes, the girls though I was cute and all, but face it I didn't win any athletic awards.  When it came time to graduate and everyone was getting their yearbooks signed, one message from one of my best friends in high school wrote me was a message that stuck to me throughout my life.   The one line that stuck out to me was "Jeff, you'll never be a bodybuilder.."  Hmm... was this a motivational message or the hard truth?

So I went to the local sporting goods store, and got myself a weightlifting belt and The Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding from Arnold Schwarzenegger, read the book cover to cover and got to work.  That was 1988.

I started going to my university's gym and it was a rough start, but I got motivated really quickly when I was around athletes and I continued going to the gym on a regular basis in between classes.  The next thing I knew, I was benching beyond my weight, and running a 5k around the streets of Boston.   Girls started recognizing me, I was getting the respect my peers and I was getting more and more confident in myself.   Because of  my new found confidence, my girlfriend at the time and I decided it would be best to "see other people".  The things you do when you are young.

But this is not the point of my message to you all.  My message is that you need to start somewhere to work toward reaching your goals and believe me, I started at ground zero..

Fast forward to today, 29 years later, I can say for all of this time, I have consistently gone to the gym 3 or 4 times a week every week, while mixing in cardio exercises, without taking a break.     The only "breaks" were to address some surgeries I needed.   What motivated me most was the feeling I had after working out.   It is a high like no other.  If I went more that two days without a workout, I felt like crap and started to twitch.   What also motivated me was the positive energy you experienced at the gym.  I always befriended determined and focused people at the gym and we motivated each other to reach our goals.    Finally, this was one of my motivating factors for starting AIMC Health Solutions in 2015.

So I would like to provide you some motivating tips to help you get started and be consistent in reaching your goals.

1.  Try Group Fitness
Group fitness classes keep you motivatedThe energy of a group would keep you going in the moments that you want to quit.

2. Get addicted to the post-exercise endorphin rush
My motivation is the knowledge that I will have an awesome endorphin rush afterward and run around, smiling like an idiot for a few hours. I am seriously addicted.

3. Surround yourself with personal motivation
Write your goals on sticky notes and post them everywhere.  The bathroom, your car and even on your smartphone.

4. Work out with people who will cheer you on
Having people standing behind me, yelling and jumping up and down when I’m stuck at the bottom of a heavy squat is the best motivator.   It is amazing what you can do with a little encouragement.

5. Think about how you're sticking it to your doubters
See my message from my high school friend and how it motivated me to prove him wrong.

6. Track your successes
I actually track my workouts in the Calendar function on my phone so I can see what I did recently and know to mix my workouts up to shock the body.

7. Write down how you feel after every workout every time
So, when you are low on motivation to wake up and go for a run or a workout and reap the benefits later.

8. Listen to the voice inside that says, "I can do this!"
I did it and so can you.   Working out and getting healthy is all about your mental state and determining yourself to get healthy and stronger.   There is no reason for you to not reach your goals.

My bonus tip is to workout in the morning.   It helps you get through the day and have a great sleep pattern and diet.   The positive energy from your workout will transition to your daily activities and you will be more successful in what you do.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You're Shy and You Need to go to a Networking Event. What do you do?

Let's build up a few scenarios you may experience in your professional life.

You were just laid off from your job and you are in the process of updating your resume with your outplacement service and then they suggest the dreaded "You should start networking with professionals"  Ahh!!! And you proceed to hide under the desk at the thought of talking to others.    You never been to a networking event.  What is a networking event?

Or how about this one, you are at the bar at a restaurant and you notice a group of people with those "Hello - I am Gertrude" name tags and you are thinking what is this a support group or something?  Then one of the attendees come up to you and introduce yourself and you freak and frantically try to get the bartenders attention to order that next scotch.

For the shy person that have never been to a networking event, the thought of making that transition to being the CEO of yourself and going to business networking events is a tall task.   Your first thought is why is everyone so friendly?   Why are some people asking me so many questions or worse why is this person giving me their ten minute elevator pitch on solar energy?  Is this person hitting on me?  Ewww...

Business Networking is easy.  Really.   Even the most introverted person can be converted and become a networking superstar.   It is a wonderful feeling and it builds confidence in yourself.

So I like to provide some tips to help the shy professional that like to take the leap and attend a business networking event.

Set a goal to meet five people. Three if you’re really shy.
People go to industry events to meet new people. They are very open to meeting you. One thing that really helps is to set a goal of meeting a certain number of people. That makes me get on with it and get it done. Every time you force yourself to step toward a new person, you’re checking off one of your five. Once you hit five, you can go home. But don’t be surprised if your success with those five makes you stay because you’re having a great time.

Start by reaching out to others standing alone.
My usual strategy is to walk up to another person standing alone and introduce myself.   The majority of the time, your new conversation partner is even more self-conscious than you and will remember you as the person who threw them a lifeline.   You both can laugh at the end regarding how hard it was to break the ice and come to the event and now you have a networking partner for future events.

Leverage your natural human curiosity.
Think of a list of questions that can get you through the first few minutes of the initial introduction. There’s no one on earth who doesn’t enjoy talking about themselves.  Learn what they are working on. This provides an opportunity for stories, which is a great way to find common interests.

Don’t hang with people you know.
Sometimes we know a couple of people at a networking event and glue yourself onto those friends, making no effort to meet new people. Connect with friends, but network with them together.   It makes it more fun!

Don’t let the connections disappear.
Make every hard-won networking connection last. If you’ve enjoyed your time with someone, make sure you try to keep the connection going. Tell them you’d like to stay in touch. That’s a flattering thing to hear. Get a business card. Connect on LinkedIn. Follow up and stay in touch.  Go to a future networking event together!

There are many other tips, so if you like, please contact me for any networking help and join our group Mass Professional Networking.  The next thing you will know, you will become a business networking pro!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What Exactly is Digital Marketing and Why You Need It - A Blog for Businesses That Are Slow to Change

20 years ago, a local business could put a simple marketing plan together and call it a day. They would place a yellow pages ad, newspaper campaign and some basic advertising.  It was really all it took to get in front of potential customers and meet their revenue goals and business objectives.

Back then, people consumed/received information very differently than they do today.   Remember all those cold calls you use to get or the stacks of newspaper advertisements in the Sunday paper?

Today, people spend an average of 5.2 hours per day on their mobile devices scanning the Internet and social media channels.  Because people are predominantly online, it only makes sense for local businesses to be advertising and engaging people online.

Over 20 million people are active on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at any one minute so why not go where the people are?   People are more likely to react to a great advertisement on their phone than taking the time to read the newspaper or search for those yellow pages.

A second thought is with social media you can quickly engage with your current and potential customers by posting specials and asking for customer feedback.  The last I checked, it is pretty tough to acknowledge customer feedback in the newspaper.

The problem with most businesses is that they do not have the time to engage with customers and actively post content on the social media platforms and they are right.   Business owners normally need to focus on their business whether it is service oriented, their art (music) or a trade.   Spending money on a Yellowpages ad or newspaper advertisement is easy and fast and they assume they work.  Most businesses do not have the time to measure the Return on Investment from their ads whether they are offline or online.

In reality, a simple social media post has more reach than a newspaper advertisement or a TV Commercial, since a post can go viral with the right keywords and get re-posted over and over again for free.   Try placing a second newspaper ad for free.

So in closing, before taking a leap into the world of online marketing, take a look at your business goals.  Are you meeting your revenue projections?   Do you have enough customers?  Are you getting the right customers?   Have a solid business plan and a way to measure what type of marketing can be successful to grow your business and then engage a digital marketing expert to help you.   Digital Marketing is a full time job and you will need to focus on your expertise/trade first.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

My SmartPhone Bit The Dust, Now What?

Have you had one of those days, where one of the most inconvenient thing happened to you and you become flustered and questioning what to do next?  

Some examples of having a bad day can be getting a flat tire in the middle of the Mass Pike without having AAA to rescue you or dropping a bowl of red spaghetti sauce on your nice white shirt.   Well I had one of those days yesterday while on the last leg of my vacation in the Pine Tree State, Maine.

 Are you ready?

My smartphone went bonkers and bit the dust!

I was supposed to be off the grid for the past few days while spending time in beautiful Maine. However, just like any addict, I was drawn to my smartphone, checking email, the latest Instagram Stories, the Facebook News Feed and review my text messages. Then suddenly, a big bright streak went across my screen and I freaked out.    I think everyone on the beach heard me yell out some choice words while covering their child's ears with those Wonder Woman beach blankets.

My phone proceeded to reboot itself and then came back up and then I was able to see part of the screen while the rest of the display was a nice lime green color.   I desperately checked my Facebook feed and tried to post my 23 pictures of Maine before my phone called it a day.   Luckily I was able to post some nice pictures and check a couple of Instagram stories, then poof... my phone turned a bright red ball of fire!

I had the feeling like I just lost my job and a tree just landed on my new car.   My smartphone is useless and what can I do now.  It was the Fourth of July, so not sure if my pride and joy can be recovered on this holiday.

By not having my smartphone, it made me realize how dependent we are on them.  They give us directions to a park, or can help order our dinner.  You can shop online on your phone or talk to someone half a world away for free.   You can text someone without hearing their annoying voice.  You can be a loner, but yet, you can have thousands of Facebook Friends and Instagram followers.   Smartphones allow us to be popular but have no human interaction for days.   They are generally the cause of all what is wrong today, and ironically the leading cause of auto and pedestrian accidents today.

I look back to the world before smartphones and even cell phones in general.   The days of human interaction since you had no choice.  When cold calling was the cutting edge sales technique.  When phones had a cord on them connected to a wall or when you had to use a paper map to route your way to the beach.  Those were simpler times.

Times when you listened to your music on a CD or cassette tape instead of Spotify and actually watch where you are walking and smiling and saying hi to people on the street.    I remembered when I would spend the night calling my friends on the house phone and battle with my family on who can use the phone next.    Another decision was what to do on a Friday night in person with people.

Back then, you would call someone on the phone and talk to them about going to a music club with people that had lighters, instead of cell phones, to put in the air when a great rock ballad was played.

 Today, it is all about Tinder, Texting and Twitter.   The latter (Twitter) is the evil of our president, so you know how far we have come.

So, I am here, with no smartphone until later in the week when my replacement comes in the mail and I am hungry thinking about a pizza.

Let me see where I put that Yellowpages Phone Book so I can order a pizza from the House of Pizza.  The last I remember, I thought I used the phone book for something else, like a door stop.

Maybe I will keep the good 'ol YellowPages in a safe place next time, since you never know when your smartphone pulls a freak out on you!    Disaster Recovery at its finest.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

You Can Network Anywhere! Really! Some other choices to network beside at an event.

Business Networking at events is one of the most effective ways to build a diverse network of successful professionals that you can help with your expertise or rely on for something that you are working on, such as looking for a new job.   In many large cities, there are always a networking event to go to on any given night.   Some are focused on specific professions and some are more general with speed networking.

The argument for traditional business networking events is that most attendees go to the event with their own agenda.  Face it, you network to build your professional contacts and ultimately your business and career so of course it is all about you when you meet people at networking events.

There is nothing like meeting new people and building relationships with familiar faces, however, believe it or not, business networking events are not the only place to build your social and professional network.  Let's look at some other places you can network that may result in a great lead and/or ultimately new business or a career.   Face it, when you network in most places, the other person may not have a mission like they would at a business networking event.

Ok, so here we go!   There may be some humor in some of the options.

The Airport/ Bus Station/ Subway Stop - Most times people travel alone, are entrenched into their smartphones, but are generally bored while waiting for their ride.    If you do catch their eye, try a simple hello and it they are receptive, start some small talk such as where are you traveling to, or what you do for work.   In this situation, there is really no pressure so next time, don't bury yourself in a book or on your phone and say hi to people.

At a Music Concert - Unless you are a death metal concert, people are usually feeling joyous and are anxious for their music hero to take the stage.  Since concertgoers are having fun, might have had a couple of drinks, it may be easy to strike up a conversation and talk a little business.   It may be awkward to exchange business cards with someone before the music starts, so maybe pull out your phone and connect with them no social media and follow-up later.

At Your Local Pub or Coffee Shop - Yes, this is the traditional networking spot before business networking themselves got popular.  My dad was an entrepreneur and in sales, and he cut his best deals at the local Irish pub.  Again, people are generally friendly at pubs or coffee shops and they are more likely to strike up a conversation with you and connect with you on social media.    Just don't tag yourself with a couple of brewskis in the your hand if you are trying to make an impression.

At the Gym - Like music concerts, generally everyone is happy at the gym unless they took one two many doses of creatine.   It may be easy to strike up a conversation with someone about their workout and goals.  If you are in the health/wellness business, you may be able to offer suggestions.   It may be awkward for a guy to network with a girl right away or vice versa, but if you draw the line early by chatting about shop, this can be a very effective way to build your business network.

At the Park, especially a Dog Park - If you are thinking of taking Fido for a walk, go to a dog park.  It is easy to mingle with people and talk about your canine.   Complement the person's pet so you build trust and they spark up some small talk.    You can also talk about the neighborhood and some things you are working on to see if it generates any interest.

Alumni Events - I know I did not want to include events, but this is one not to pass up.   Most schools have alumni activities such as a Red Sox game, or a boat cruise hoping to get alum to mingle and help each other out.   The pressure is off at an alumni event since most people are there to help each other out and are properly doing something that may relate to what you do.   My advice this summer is to look for alumni events to attend with the fall season coming faster than you think.

At an Evening Class - Continuing Education is very popular for professionals looking to start a "side gig" alongside their regular job and may take a real estate or a social media class at night to build up their skills.    You will already have something in common with others in your class, so the pressure is off to be able to strike up a conversation and build trust.   The only agenda attendees have at a class is to learn.

So here are eight other options to build up that professional network.  Of course, there are other options such as conferences, church, or meetups so anytime you are around people you have the opportunity to network.  Always remember, the person you are talking to may not be a good lead, but they may know someone that can help you.

Let me know about your successes networking at unique places.

Top Ten Reasons Social Media Is Driving Us Crazy and Making Us Want The Old Days Back

You have all experienced it.   You are plowing through your Facebook News Feed and after about 35 negative posts about Trump and how much pe...