This statement was mentioned in one of my classes, and it could not be more true. When giving a presentation, you are not selling the product, or whatever you’re presenting. You are selling the firm’s trust in you. You are selling your abilities and accountability for the project you are working on.
That’s why the concept of You, Inc. is so important. When you communicate, you are emanating your brand to others.
Another issue raised on this day was “True communication isn’t what you say, it’s what the receiver takes away”
You can be the most eloquent presenter in the world, but if you fail to work on expressing your personal brand, you will miss out on the opportunity to truly ‘wow’ and impress the listeners.
We recently had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Adam Steen from Transition Capital Management. He discussed a variety of different subjects, but what interested me the most were his points and advice for communicating in college.
1. Get Networked
– Each person is a resource
– Get the courage to add value
– Creating a blog as a resource –> blog can network for you
2. Create Success For Others
– What goes around comes around
– Helping others is a great way to help yourself too
3. Don’t Hesitate to go to Lunch or Coffee
– There is a 0% chance if you don’t try
– Professionals, more likely than not, want to help students in college (have you seen “Catch Me If You Can”?)
4. Read everything you can, but don’t believe everything
– Reading a variety of opinions is a great way to create a well-rounded opinion about different topics
5. When you get in a jam, THINK
– Don’t let constraints bother you!
Another year has passed, and I would like to thank everybody who has, in one way or another, helped me, inspired me, advised me, befriended me, motivated me and talked to me.
You have all shaped me into what I am now, and into who I will become in the future.
To all of you: Thank You!
To those on top: See you soon!
Filed under: advantage, advice, consumer credit of des moines, credit cards, debt, finance, negative savings rate, responsible finances, tom coates
This weekend I had the pleasure of inviting a friend of mine to speak to our business fraternity. Tom Coates is the founder and president of Consumer Credit of Des Moines, a company that assists families and individuals in dealing with their credit problems.
Some of the statistics that Tom mentioned were frightening. In 1987, credit consolidation was a $100 billion business, with the average debt at $2,000 and average number of cards at 3 to 4. Today, it has become an $850 billion business, with the average debt at $5,000 to $6,000 and the average number of cards at a staggering 8 to 10!
Other interesting facts included
– 60% of adults revolve a balance of $9,000
– The personal savings rate is negative
– More than 50% of people are living paycheck to paycheck, literally
All of these facts and statistics don’t reflect on the underprivileged in this country. Even people who seem rich are affected by it. These facts reflect on those who are financially irresponsible.
As ludicrous as it may sound, these credit offerings are essentially setting a payment trap from which it is quite difficult to escape once caught. The accessibility of plastic, the availability of these deals and the irresponsibility of the people involved are the biggest reasons for getting caught in these payment traps. If you can’t afford it, then why try to buy it?
Lessons learned during this presentation:
Develop an affordable lifestyle. Most people are already in debt straight out of college (college payments). Don’t make it worse.
Balance your budget. Make sure you keep track of all withdrawals and deposits in your bank accounts.
Invest in hard assets. Paper money (the fiat economy as Tom called it), is susceptible to very fast devaluation, especially at the rate that the Fed has been printing dollar bills. By keeping an investment of hard assets (gold, silver) one can make sure their investment maintains its value as long as possible.
Save. Now. According to a calculation that Tom presented, if you start saving $2,000 a year at the age of 25 at 8% interest, at the age of 65 there will be over $600,000 in the account. If you start at 35, there will be just over $250,000 when you turn 65. Starting early is better.
Finances are no laughing matter. Think about your current financial situation, and about ways you could alter your financial habits to make your life better.
Sometimes, the concept of excess is great. There are many companies out there who consistently overdeliver on the promises that they make. What a great way to retain customers. Customer Service at GoDaddy.com told me that I would be contacted within 48 hours. When I received my phone call 10 hours later, boy was I surprised.
I was reading an article about this concept, and the it could not have been more true. If only I could remember where I read it (I believe it was Cigar Aficionado).
The article discussed this exact concept. The writer was describing a recent trip in a taxi from a hotel in NYC to Newark Airport. Upon approaching his cab, the author realized its immaculate exterior without any dings or scratches. As he entered, the taxi driver began talking to him and asked which paper he would prefer (offering the USA Today or the NYT). The driver also offered different types of music (and radio stations) and paid extra attention to the ambiance of the interior. After having the greatest ride to the airport, the author gave the taxi driver a large tip. Upon exiting, he learned that the driver was making thousands of dollars extra a year from tips based on his initiative to provide a greater experience. He overdeliver on a seemingly bland experience, and was rewarded for his efforts.
Overdelivering on promises is a great way to build your reputation as somebody who is reliable, committed and ready to take something the extra mile to make it better.
We had a speaker come into our Journalism Ethics class a few days ago, and he made some strong, valid points. Larry Fish is the Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland group, and was present at our school, his alma mater, to discuss a variety of issues faced by leaders today.
A few of the most important points he made were:
“You will not be successful if you’re not ethical”
– Guilt and remorse are emotions that hang around for a long time
“There are no B+’s in Ethics”
– It’s either pass or fail. There is no grey area. You’re either ethical, or you’re not.
“You will never recover from a bad ethical decision”
– The way human nature has developed, guilt and remorse is an emotion that we feel quite frequently. With ethics it is the same. Just as you feel bad after buying something, you will have second thoughts when making an ethical decision. And just as you will feel bad for a long time when buying something that you don’t need or can’t afford, you will feel bad for making a bad ethical decision.
A strong belief in ethics adds to your personal brand, strengthening You, Inc.
Filed under: advice, college, interacting, knights, networking, reading, round table, smart people
This concept has also been around for quite a while, and it identifies a strategy which may ensure success in the future. First of all, one cannot be successful alone. Relationships, friendships and working with other people are all an integral part of success, and very rarely can be omitted. That being said, if you need other people for you to be successful, why not create your own group of trusted individuals?
Call them the Knights of Your Round Table. These are people who are all, in one way or another, smarter than you. They may specialize in their professional fields, but are not limited to the these. They may have more experience than you in a certain hobby; have travelled more, have a better golf swing. This group is essential in forming habits that will help you in the future.
One of the main benefits of talking to and surrounding yourself with smart people is the learning. You can learn how they interact, what they discuss, how they discuss, how they speak, their mannerisms; the list is endless. You can also learn, albeit vicariously, their experiences. Maybe your Wine Knight can teach you the importance of different kinds of wine, or your Pharmacy Knight can teach you about where the industry is going.
Most importantly, by interacting with these Knights, you can also gain confidence in talking to and approaching people you may not know. When you surround yourself with a group of people with different interests, you must have knowledge about these in order to interact with them. It is to your benefit to take the extra effort to learn something about each of these, and by doing so you will maintain a relationship with that person based on what they enjoy discussing.
One of the hardest aspects of starting up a conversation with somebody you don’t know is finding a topic of relevance. When talking in and around successful people, you can notice the diverse range of topics they talk about, and the fact that most people will have an opinion about these topics. And it all stems from one thing, Reading. How easy!
They say that the best managers are those who employ people who are smarter than them.
Who are the knights of your round table?