An Earful, A Thank You Or Ice Cream

There once was a mom. She worked hard all day at her job and then in the evening she worked even harder to maintain a household for her busy traveling-salesman husband and three young boys.

One especially busy Thursday evening, she came home to an especially hectic situation. The house was a mess. There was hardly enough food in the kitchen to constitute dinner. And there was a heaping mound of dirty clothes primed to be washed. Worst of all, her mother-in-law was due to arrive the next day for a weekend visit.

Not quite panicked, but certainly stressed, the mother reached out to each of her three boys hoping for some support and assistance.

The first boy yawned with disinterest. “Not my concern,” he thought. He pretended not to hear about the dilemma and then eventually tuned out the entire situation. He kicked his feet back up on the couch and resumed focus on television, texting and video games.

The second boy reluctantly accepted a list of things to accomplish and with a heavy sigh asked, “All of this?” After his mother confirmed his question, he rolled his eyes and in an obligatory fashion began completing items one by one. When the list was complete he joined his brother, sitting on a chair next to the couch.

The third boy jumped to his feet and enthusiastically asked, “How can I help?” He dutifully took a list of items and got busy. With each task he completed, he returned to his mother and asked, “What else can I do?” He worked shoulder to shoulder with his mother through vacuuming, shopping and laundry, taking pride in and enjoying the effort.

When all the work was done, one by one the mother individually addressed her three sons.

The first boy she gave an earful. She chided his obstinate behavior and demanded that he be more cooperative and helpful. As a consequence, she sent him to bed.

The second boy she gave a simple thank you. While he may not have been happy about it, he had no doubt been compliant. She sent him away to carry on with what he was doing.

The third boy she gave a big hug. She could not be more proud of his enthusiasm. She gave him a big hug, sat him down and served him up a heaping bowl of ice cream with his favorite toppings.

The fact of the matter is that we all serve someone in life. We might serve a boss. We might serve customers or clients. We might serve neighbors, friends or loved ones. Yes, we all serve someone. This is not the issue. The issue is how do we want to be known for serving them?

Do you want to be known as the person who is obstinate? Do you want to be known as the person who comes through, but needs to be pushed and prodded first? Or do you want to be known as an enthusiastic contributor to the cause, whatever that cause might be.

In choosing an answer, reflect on the tale of the three boys and remember that life’s best rewards go to those who are known for being willing and eager to serve others. So whenever you have an opportunity to serve another, ask yourself, “Do I want an earful, just a thank you or a heaping bowl of ice cream?”

Do You Tweet?

Social MediaLinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. Social media is here to stay, and Twitter is a big part of that.

If you use this social media application to get out your message 140 characters (or less) at a time, when you mention AmSpirit Business Connections be sure to use the hashtag (#) symbol immediately before the word AmSpirit. For example, “Just met with my #amspirit lunch partner and got a great referral.”

This will allow all those interested to quickly learn what is being said on Twitter about AmSpirit Business Connections.

Plant Seeds

Far too often, people view networking (and especially networking events) as a means to close sales. In fact, they measure the relative success of networking based on how many direct sales opportunities they generate. This is certainly misguided.

Networking is not about generating sales, at least not in the short term. Certainly, we all hope that benefits come to us from networking (often times that translates into sales). The reality is, however, that we cannot expect that those benefits come to us at any particular event or with any individual encounter.
Think of it in these terms … ultimately generating a sale is analogous to picking a ripened fruit off a tree. Each networking activity, however, is the mere planting of the seed that will lead to this tree. Many of these seeds will never even germinate. Others will, but that promise will fade somewhere along the way. Still others will germinate and grow, but may never yield fruit. Nevertheless, eventually our networking efforts result in something for us to harvest.
As there are long odds that any particular seed with sprout, grow and provide fruit, we need to diligently plant seeds at every opportunity. We must continually meet new people. We should remain in contact with those we know. And we must devote ourselves to help others find their fruit (or at least plant their seeds). If we do these things (and many others), one day we will have a fruitful harvest.
Whether it is today, tomorrow or next week, as we embark on networking of any kind we need to remember that we are just there to plant some seeds and not look to pick fruit.

Be Patient

Joining any networking group and expecting immediate results is unrealistic. I am often asked by people in networking groups how long it takes before seeing benefits (referrals)?One way to answer the question would be for you to ask yourself, “How long does it take for me to make a buying decision when I’m the prospect?” Do you normally begin doing business with someone after one meeting, one networking event, one phone call discussion? Probably not.

You have to invest the time in building rapport with others to get the most out of your networking efforts. If you’re not willing to invest the time, then you probably should find a thick phone book and get busy making cold calls.

The lesson to be learned here is to be patient, spend time building rapport with others, and make sure you let everyone know that you want to help them first. When you’ve accomplished those things the referrals will come your way.

Patience Road Sign

The Power Of The Status Update

Many of the more popular social media applications (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, for starters), give you the ability to post an update that reveals to the world, more or less, “What are you doing now?” While there are some who only utilize this as a means of sharing the type of bagel they are consuming, the truly savvy social media adventurer sees this as a great opportunity.One way you can start to maximize the benefits you garner from social media is to take advantage of the power the status update holds. You can do this in one of three ways:Mini Press Release: The status update allows you the opportunity to periodically forward out short pieces on the happening in your world. Like tiny press releases, you can provide others a quick summary of the meaningful things you are doing. “Giving an insurance presentation to the Association of Executives,” tells the world you give speeches. “Delivering imprinted mugs to Dale’s Deli,” announces a sample of your product offerings. Or, “Working on writing a blog piece entitled The Power of the Almighty Status Update,” alerts others (and yes, this went out) that you have a blog.

Add Value: Effective networking is about adding value to the world and trust that the value will come back to you in some form or fashion. Your status update is a wonderful place to give a lot with just a little effort. “Your most valuable possession is your attitude,” gets people thinking and helps them have a better attitude. “Remember, now is the time to start thinking about ordering calendars for next year,” serves as a reminder to many, even if you are not the one selling the calendar. “Ask your agent how the new car insurance laws affect you,” provides those around you a potentially valuable insight.

Create Discussion: A big part of success is being relevant and a big part of being relevant is creating exposure for yourself. Your status update affords you an opportunity for exposure on a daily basis. “Who is going to win the Super Bowl?” This draws people into a conversation that you have created. “What is the best ad specialty item you have ever received?,” This not only creates discussion and potentially valuable market research. “Other than Chamber functions, what are some good networking activities?” Responses to this serves to demonstrate the value of your network.

Yes, your status update can be just another means of imparting cute and trivial information about life. Or your status update can be a powerful tool you can use to cast yourself amongst all those curious eyes on social media.


Listen: There is an easy way to grow your network. It has nothing to do with getting your business card out. It has nothing to do with the amount of people you meet or the number of events you attend. The easy way to grow your network is … well, click AmSpirit-Listen to listen for yourself.

And The Capital Of That Font Is…

Blog logo-from Jacci Adams

The use of capital letters in social media, IMing, and texting should be reserved for times when extreme emotion (i.e., anger) is felt. It has been widely accepted in IMing platforms as a form of yelling, but I have also seen it used for emphasis in the social media.

Using capital letters sparingly in print media adds a more professional touch. Like using underlining in HTML coding, all-caps letters can be a good addition for emphasis, but only if there is no other way to call attention to that text or if it has to be all-caps (i.e., headline or call-to-action, such as “TODAY”). Using larger text in a different color is a good alternative, particularly if used in lowercase. Using a different member of the same font family is also accepted and professional. Sometimes you can mix serif and sans-serif by using one for emphasis and the other for your body text, but this depends on which two fonts are used.

One reason to not use capital letters all the time throughout your print media is the difficulty of readability; simply put, using capital letters can make it more difficult to read what was written. Another reason is the font or typeface itself. If you are using Brush (a calligraphic-type font) in all-caps throughout your print media (let’s say a postcard), the shapes of the letters in this particular typeface make it impossible to clearly read the contents. Keep it simple so your marketing material looks great in print!

Happy designing!


Do Not Measure ROI


Do not try to measure ROI on networking. True networking is about faith … doing the right things and having faith that those things will come back to you somehow. You have to remember that networking is not an exact science, where A + B = C.

Networking works, but it is completely unpredictable. The benefits will happen, but …

  • They may not likely happen HOW you want them to … You go to a networking function, hoping to meet a new client but you end up meeting a great new vendor. Networking worked.
  • They may not likely happen WHERE you expect them to … You go to a networking function hoping to meet a new client. Nothing happens. Then you meet one, but at the store as you stop for milk on the way home. Networking worked.
  • They may not likely happen WHEN you want them to … You go to a networking function hoping to meet a new client. Nothing happens. But then one, five or even 20 years later someone from that event becomes a client. Networking worked.

Based on this, how you can make a rational ROI calculation on networking, so why bother. Networking works … have faith in that.



Giving: The secret to getting more out of life (contacts, money, success) is not working harder or even being smarter. The secret is … well click AmSpirit-Giving to listen for yourself.