Posted by: Bill Griffin | October 5, 2009

Sympathetic Resonance

Bill Griffin #10 Thumb In the beginning of any endeavor there has to be some sort of self analysis. Can I take a photography course? Am I to old to go back to College? What will my life be like if I choose to sell the house and buy an RV? How will others perceive me if I decide to write and publish my memoirs? How can I change my career when this is the only way I ever made a living? Can I go into business for myself? Do I have what it takes to________fill in the blank?

  After the entire mind numbing analysis there is still doubt and unanswered questions. You need to bounce your idea off others. You ask advice from family, friends, colleagues, mentors, professionals, and associates. What do they say about your dream?

  In the 1600’s Christian Huygens invented the pendulum clock. He displayed his clocks on the walls of a room, where each pendulum swungpendulum clock independently. Huygens discovered that, after a while, all the pendula began to swing in precise, synchronized rhythm. He theorized that the clocks’ sound waves entered the walls, which responded with their own vibrations, there by bringing the clocks into a single rhythm. Huygens’ theory is now a well excepted law of physics, known as “sympathetic resonance.”

  As you begin to dream, your dreams rhythm will be affected just like the response of the walls to all the other sound waves in the room. So do your dreaming in the company of “clocks” whose rhythm you want to emulate.

  As a child, when you wanted something, you knew which adult to ask, knowing who would be more supportive of your goal. As a student you knew which teacher to approach. Even now, you know which supervisor, boss or colleague will create the vibrations most harmonious to your own.

  If you are thinking about fulfilling your dream, hang around people that are working toward theirs. Don’t try to work amidst the din of naysayers Bill Griffin encouragement and negative nellies. Don’t mingle with the “can not’s” and “non doers.”  Their vibrations, like the walls of the clocks, will cause you to swing in sync with them. They will deter you from your dream.                                                        

  The vibrations of such naysayers are predictable. You must surround your self with people who understand dreams. So, if you decide to run that marathon, talk with fellow joggers. If you insist on going into business for your self, speak with entrepreneurs. If you choose to travel the world, reach out to those who have done it before you.  Stay away from dream killers and embed yourself in sympathetic resonance.

  How do you handle naysayers? Who are your positive reinforcements? Please write back, I would love to know.

Posted by: Bill Griffin | September 10, 2009

An Emotional Pitch Sounds Logical.

Bill Griffin #10 Thumb  According to The Harvard Business Review when it comes to people and retention, emotion trumps logic, always has, always will. Human beings are emotional creatures. People will rely on feelings for their most memorable experiences. That is why I am amazed to hear many business introductions so uninspired. Their elevator speech comes off like I have just been cornered by Joe Friday “Just the facts sir”. No emotion, no excitement, verbatim job description  and an overly rehearsed something, something. See, I forgot what it was already.

  Here are some simple ways to get attention. Personalize the message. Evoke an emotional response from your pitch. Convey that the message comes from a trustworthy sender. How do you become a trustworthy figure in the eyes of a stranger? Persuade them, entertain them and give your audience a sense of fascination. They will listen and remember you.

   Take what is the strongest, impressive and most intriguing, and lead with that. Think of your pitch as a movie trailer. Have a sensational    attention nowheadline. “I save lives” (medical field), “I talk to the world” (telecommunications), “I see dead people” (undertaker). What ever it is you do, put it on a grand scale right at the beginning. Follow that with awards you have won. Mention a well known person that recommends you. Do you have big named clients? Throw ‘em in there. Save the minute details for the interview                                         

  Anticipate that what may be obvious to you maybe invisible to them. Do your best to know your audience. Very rarely are you pitching to a hiring manager. Use your pitch as an invite to questions. Not everything you know can be said in 30 seconds. Metaphors and slogans are great for communicating your pitch. Get creative!! Have pen and paper ready and don’t be afraid to draw a picture. You don’t even have to be Claude Monet. Having someone lean over your shoulder while you’re drawing a camera as they guess that you’re a photographer will get you remembered. Try starting your 30 second pitch with a question. This will invoke extra thought on your audience. Extra thought equals memorable. Someone asks “what do you do?” set the tone by asking your question “what would have to happen for your most agonizing business problem to be solved today?” when they answer, modify your pitch to solve that problem. You can’t control thought, but you can influence people to think in new directions. Questions remove them of their current situation.  

  Above everything else, have fun with it. Entertain yourself, it will convey.  Try to be funny. Funny will find a place in their mind even where  Portrait of business colleagues holding each other and laughingrational statements bounce off. You have 30 seconds to wow your listener. Use emotion, it beats logic every time.

What is your 30 second pitch? Was it memorable?  How has your pitch helped you? Please comment I would love to know.


Posted by: Bill Griffin | August 5, 2009

J. D. Power, Social Media and Lessons Learned

me thumbnail #1      Often in history people can’t comprehend a new invention or cultural upheaval. Most folks need to compare the new to the old to get some kind of semblance of understanding. When the Ford Motor Company started selling cars, people couldn’t relate to the contraption, so they marketed automobiles as horseless carriages because folks could relate to a horse and buggy but not a motor run machine that wasn’t on tracks and required gasoline. On a social level the youth uproar of the 1960’s was quantified as the American–French Revolution by the press and say-so establishment of the time. The mainstream just couldn’t understand what was happening, hence all the social turmoil.

   I recently finished reading a non-fiction by Emily Ross-100 Greatest Businesses and the Minds Behind Them. This is a very good book chock J D Power pic #1full of the information the title suggests. I came across a chapter about J. D. Power and I recognized how his life, personal brand and work contrast to today’s Social Media phenomenon. I also like to compare the new to the old and couldn’t put my finger on how to do so with the new media. I can already see what social media does with information, opinion news and entertainment. How can this new medium be used effectively in business marketing, promotions and advertising?

   James David Power III was a marketing researcher for the automobile industry in the early 60’s. He was a pioneer in customer satisfaction work. He brought his customer suggestion data to Ford and General Motors and they subsequently ignored or bent his findings. With a volatile mixture of arrogance and ignorance, Detroit told the public what they wanted instead of listening to their needs. Disenchanted, Power moved on to work for chainsaw manufacturer McCulloch Motors Inc. McCulloch were forecasting sales based on the amount of lumber trees there were in the forest, not based on the people who actually use them. He told them “You don’t sell to trees, you sell to people”.  Power quickly reversed this tactic and also asked their customers how to improve the product. The response was to make a lighter more affordable chainsaw that could stand to be idle for longer periods of time. It worked and the company went through the roof .

cars under water   Power founded his own marketing company, J. D. Power and Associates in 1968. His trek to success can relate to today’s social media. First he established his personal and professional brand. Already known as a proven maverick in marketing and admired for his integrity and expertise in the automotive industry. Second, he used his own experiences and strategies. He began his business by surveying  American automobile owners. Third, he shared is information with everyone. He reported and rated his findings and published them free of charge to the public. Fourth, the payoff, he also sold more in depth research to the car manufactures themselves. Fifth, he had great sway and influence in his niche. Some say J. D. Power and Associates were responsible for the uprising of the foriegn auto makers and the decline of the American brands.

   J. D. Power was social media marketing before the Internet, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest. He understood that the ideas to improve products and services the company must go right to the source. That’s exactly what is happening today through Tweets, Friends and social-media2Contacts. Word of mouth advertising is the best direction to a purchase. Very few companies understand this new communication. If someone has a complaint about a product or had bad service and relayed that back to their social media connections, it could effect the companies’ public relations drastically. Worse, if it was a complaint, that information could impede profits and the company would never know why. If the complaint came from a particularly savvy on-line personality, the information could reach millions of people by the end of the week.

Just as today’s social media, Power was a commerce filter. He asked consumers what they wanted and reported what needs to be improved. Detroit didn’t care about the public’s opinion. We all know what’s happening there. What companies are ignoring the public now? Where will they be if they keep talking at customers instead of engaging in this new dialog?

Posted by: Bill Griffin | July 17, 2009

Getting Romantical with the Semantical

redcross_volunteer Have you ever poked a hole through someone’s argument and then tore it open on a technicality?

  I remember my first semester in college I had a social science professor claim; (referring to social economic status and politics)–to become President of the United States one would really have to go to an Ivy League school. In my eagerness to look smarter than I actually was, I chimed up. “Ronald Reagan didn’t go to any Ivy League school (Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932). Carter (Georgia Tech) and Ford were Navy men. Richard Nixon went to Ronald Reagan thumbs-upWhittier. Johnson went to Southwest Texas State Teachers’ College, now Texas State University-San Marcos. A fine school I’m sure, but not Ivy League. Harry Truman was a haberdasher and never even got a college degree.” My Professor said I was getting romantical with the semantical and missing the point. That phrase has stuck with me ever since.

  Sister McNamara in the second grade scolded me on my semantics and said that I was being too cute by one half, which of course I took as a compliment. Old habits are hard to break, I suppose. Looking at some of the job search phrases I still find myself doing it today. I don’t consider myself a literal person or wordsmith but some phrases just bother me. One glaring example is time management. Even if you donate generously to your local quantum physics office, time management is an impossibility.                                           

  In most resumes and job descriptions you’ll find the phrase multi-tasking. I happen to know most people can do more than two things at once, but are they tasks? And are they doing them exactly at the same time, like a computer or a machine can? Strong communication skills is another bigstockphotoResumeInABottleWhite320134-main_Fullodd subjective term. Suppose you don’t have strong communication skills and respond accordingly. That response in it self is communicative. Another term I’m having a problem with is self motivator/self starter. “Well, Ms. Jones I believe I’ll be perfect for this position because I’m a self-motivated person. When I wake up, I get up on my own without having to be told. If memory serves me correctly I’ve been feeding myself before starvation kicks in for some time now.”

  The only reason these words and phrases bother me so much is because there supposed to be so important. Career advisers say take out the old haggard resume clichés and write something unique and pleasurable for the hiring manager to read. The hiring manager doesn’t read the resumes he or she just scans them because there are too many. The’re looking for the right terminology which I’ve been told not to put in. HR retrieves resumes filtered through computer software that plucks out relevant key words which may or may not be multi-tasking, strong communication skills or team player. The non-key worded resumes are floating in the ozone somewhere.

 Take Human Resources for example. I could never assimulate human-beings as a resource like oil, gas or a volume of encyclopedias. Maybe I am being too cute by one half or splitting hairs. But if a document such as a resume can ignite the flame of a new career which in turn will pay the mortgage, send children to college and help stimulate the economy, shouldn’t we all be on the same page?

Have you ever been romantical with the semantical? Does anyone else have the same questions about resumes?












Posted by: Bill Griffin | July 1, 2009

Banking on Serendipity



 Banking on serendipity seems like a paradox, but is it?

Many instances in life’s goal search aren’t so straight forward. Christopher Columbus’ goal was to sail to the East Indies for trade and commerce and ended up in the west, in a new land unknown to him and his culture. Alexander Fleming the Scottish biologist, who was searching to cure typhoid fever, left his laboratory in haste to go on vacation. When he returned, he came back to discover his untidiness created a new bacteria killing matter he named penicillin. Penicillin couldn’t exterminate typhoid fever but it could cure many other life threatening diseases including polio.

 Due in part to the current recession my company filed for bankruptcy and I was laid-off for the first time in my life. In the process of a job search in today’s market unbeknownst to me, professional networking is essential. As a result of networking I have met hundreds of new and inspiring friends and acquaintances. I’ve been to companies I never knew existed. I attended business seminars, career fairs, speeches, book signings, events and presentations. Through networking I’ve been to some fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, museums, churches, libraries and colleges I most likely never would’ve visited had I not lost my job.                                                                                                                             networking #1

 While searching for my next income I found a place to volunteer, where by helping others I’m discovering more about myself. I went to a networking gathering to meet new contacts for employment and learned how to set up and write a weblog. Never in a million years did I ever think of writing a blog, or that it could be so gratifying. In searching the job boards on the internet, I’ve come to understand and become a great fan of Social Media. Social Media was to me a narcissistic bulletin board. Through necessary exposure I realize it’s a fascinating and growing communication contrivance that is limitless in its expansion and function in modern society.

 In my previous position here in Rochester I worked 50-70 hours a week. I have two small children. I never seemed to have had the time nor energy to explore my adopted home. In searching for my next opportunity I have been all over Rochester and its surrounding communities. Rochester has been a discovery of a life time. There is a great history here with Susan B. Anthony, George Eastman the underground railroad, cfiles26069the carving of the Erie Canal and a great deal more. I have lived here for almost 7 years and had just been to the Jazz Fest, discovered a wonderful and varied artistic community. Since being liberated I’ve been to the Amerks (Rochester’s AHL hockey team) and Red Wings (AAA minor league baseball team) games, free concerts, theater, an air show, conventions and numerous community exposés. Rochester is a wonderful place to raise children with many family activities rain or shine. Downtown Rochester is an underestimated vivacious community of artists, professionals, businesses, restaurants and nightlife.

 My goal is to find employment, and I’m confident I will, but through this journey I have found many other things; extraordinary people, places and opportunities that can never be taken away or forgotten. Columbus came upon this new land because he sailed further than most. Fleming discovered a vaccine that saved countless lives because he was more curious than most. Striving for one thing and getting another seemingly better result, that’s serendipity, and I’m banking on it.

Let me know of some of the serendipitous things that happend in your life.  What effect does it have on you today?

Posted by: Bill Griffin | June 21, 2009

Four Great Ways to Avoid Word Fillers

redcross_volunteer This um..ah post is erh..ah intended to umm.. help ahh.. um you umm articulate your ahh   erh..umm.. speaking voice.

 You do it, I do it, everybody does it. Word fillers are conversation killers. They make it so laborious for the listener; their shoulders slump, eyes wander, heads cock, jaws go slack and can even induce drool and fainting from exhaustion and anxiety.

With most human beings having the attention span of a feral ferret, don’t waste your message. Avoid word fillers by knowing why you use them. Public speaking can be the most frightening thing you ever do. It can also be quite invigorating and enjoyable once you realize that you’re, giving information not getting adulation, and adding value not taking credit. Here are four ways I avoided word fillers in the past.

 1.)   Concentration: Usually your mind is on overload and you can’t seem to formulate natural sentences, fumbling for choice words to impress the audience. Keep it simple. Slow down and use words that you know, not words you think you might know. Remember you’re speaking for a reason, find that reason and get back on track.

2.)    Nervousness: There are hundreds of ways to calm yourself quickly and silently. Discover what can easily put you at peace. I usually take a couple slow deliberate breaths and softly mutter something short and positive to myself like “I want to do this,” “I know this stuff” and “I’ll be fine, this is easy”. Fear is an energy that can be twisted into adrenalin, a very powerful ally for speakers.                                             208_nervous_man_biting_his_nails

3.)    Practice: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The best and the brightest came to be that way only through practice. The Beatles, Tiger Woods, Ted Williams, Yo-Yo Ma are prime examples of people who doggedly practiced their craft. They were not necessarily born with talent, they kept trying to get better at what they do and they did. In many instances through your life you’ll have an audience, large or small, even if you aren’t looking to become a professional speaker, so make your words count.

4.)     Unprepared: Really no excuse for this one, but it does happen. Research your subject matter thoroughly and it’s always a good idea to have a beginning, middle and ending. Keep your ideas formatted and structured. Make an outline of what you want to say so it’s easier to remember, but don’t use it at the engagement, and keep your notes to three points only. Working without a net makes you much more focused on the task at hand. Use your own words and be authentic. If you’re quoting text verbatim folks can tell.

There are thousands or resources out there to help you hone your public speaking skills. I suggest joining a Toastmasters Club or taking Acting or Improv classes or both. If there is an opportunity, participate in community activities that require you to speak to groups of friends and neighbors. Take word fillers out of your everyday speech and replace them with an astute, direct and informative vocabulary. Your audience will be grateful you did.

Share with me your stories of public speaking and word fillers. Who were some of the most memorable orators you’ve ever heard?

(Please remember to roam around this Blog I’m adding something new every posting. Site of the week, new Blog Buddies, Pages, Music, Links and Pictures and as always I appreciate your comments, questions and suggestions.)

Posted by: Bill Griffin | June 7, 2009

Why Not Right Now?

 redcross_volunteer   If there is anything that can bring you out of yourself, something that can show and prove that there is a bit more; volunteering is the way. Simply put, the act of giving makes you feel good. On holidays and birthdays when the recipient of your present is about to open their gift, that’s when you pay particular attention. Your pulse moves up, as their eyes widen in excitement while they tear open their gift. Its fun, it’s exciting to see someone acquire what they need or want due to your thoughtful efforts. Volunteering for the Rochester Red Cross is that and much more. There is no better gift then the gift of giving yourself, your time, your energy, and your kind efforts.

 I am in-between jobs and had more time on my hands to reflect on what my next steps would be. I thought of volunteering but where? How?  I thought to myself… what can I do, that would make any difference. I was coming out of Rochester Works a career advisory institution and as I turned the corner, I saw a big Red Cross– The American Red Cross. That’s it!! Why not there and why not now?

 I went into the building on 50 Prince St. and was welcomed with a warm smile. I asked about volunteering and I was sent to see the volunteer coordinator. The very next week was an orientation where you get the low down on what The Red Cross does and how I could help.

 There are dozens of opportunities in which to volunteer, from food service and office administration to disaster relief and blood drives. I picked the department that interested me the most, Chapter Advancement, which consists of special events, marketing, fund-raising and communication.

 On my very first day at the Red Cross I was interviewed by a local television station. I was at the Red Cross talking to the camera about why I wanted to volunteer. The next week I’m calling different companies that have donated to Red Cross events and thanking them. The week after, I was taking inventory and descriptions of donated items and filling in the data. I’ve delivered appreciation plaques and picked up donations from different companies around the city. Every week there is something new and rewarding to do.

 The folks that work and volunteer at the Red Cross are some of the nicest, professional and dedicated I’ve ever met. This experience has been rewarding because I feel that same holiday excitement every time I’m there. Volunteering at the Red Cross is truly one of the best decisions I’ve made. This is the more I was referring to, more to give, further experiences, great people to meet and a sense of accomplishment that is only understood by the giving of yourself.                          

Do you want more out of life?  What gives you that sense of accomplishment? Please write, I would love to know.

                                                                                          rochester rc logo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Volunteer today 585-241-4490

Posted by: Bill Griffin | May 24, 2009

The Nuance of The What’s Up Nod

redcross_volunteerTHE NUANCE OF THE WHAT’S UP NOD

  Like any American who requires sustenance in this day in age, I trod toward the local grocery store. It was a fairly uneventful day; I was just going in for a few items. I grab a trusted trolley with one cockeyed wheel and a shopping I go. Because I didn’t have much to purchase I took the half moon counterclockwise route. Hopping aisles, pitch right, grab item, back up left, and move on. I was making time, determined to take only 15 minutes.

 Ready to acquire my last item, I check my list of six. I gaze up, and there stood a guy who gave me a quirky smile and then; THE WHAT’S UP NOD. Admittedly I’m not very good with names, but faces I do remember. I did not know this man, never seen him before. I’m not shy, if you say hi I’ll say hi, put out your hand and I’ll shake it. Sometimes I’ll even initiate. Then I realized what had just happened. I’ve been given the what’s up nod by a perfect stranger.

 Instinctively and with the great timing of a jazz percussionist I up nodded back. We move on. A flush of thoughts flew through my head like a mathematical savant. When was the last time I received the what’s up nod, and by whom and, what is up with the what’s up nod? Particularly from strangers.

 My thoughts immediately raced to when I used to bring my daughter for doctor check ups at Mass General in Boston when she was baby. It was a good ways away and a transfer of subway lines. I remember strolling her down the street and receiving numerous what’s up nods from people I didn’t know, and always from men. Women don’t give the nod, I’m not sure why, they just don’t. Women would actually use language if they wanted to communicate with me, usually something about the baby. “Oh my gosh how adorable!! How old is she? What’s her name?” etc…

 Also, I seem to get this simple salutation seemingly for some kind of approval of my existence; but why? Is it nervous politeness? Mistaken identity? Never have I recieved the nod at a standstill. Always one or both parties have to be on the move.

 Human manual communication systems are vast and subjective. Greetings in particular vary across cultures. Asians bow, Americans high five, Europeans kiss cheeks and toward royalty, curtsy. Hand shakes and hugs are a very common welcoming. The military salute, boaters wave at each other, street gangs “throw down” signs. Athletes pat each other on the boom boom. Harpo Marx would instigate a hand shake, and then offer his leg instead while honking his horn. Thumbs aloft seem to be Sir Paul McCartney and Arthur Her453785636_c6082ab17a_m[1]bert Fonzarelli’s welcoming gestures.

All this came to mind from a subtle nod from some one I don’t know. Everything considerd, I believe the what’s up nod indicates a polite aknowledgment with-out the initiation of conversation; an understanding of sorts. Fair enough, I’ll take it and move on.